Basicallly, Republicans want out. Smart political move because it does two things. First, it draws a line in the sand between them and a clearly unpopular President. Second, it takes this issue away from the Democrats who can’t actually do much about it anyway.
But is their plan really any different than John Kerry’s plan?
From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 – In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for ending the war.
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq. The other appeals related to Iraq are nonbinding and express the position of the Senate.
The plan stops short of a competing Democratic proposal that moves toward establishing dates for a phased withdrawal of troops from Iraq. But it is built upon the Democratic approach and makes it clear that senators of both parties are increasingly eager for Iraqis to take control of their country in coming months and open the door to removing American troops.
Mr. Warner said the underlying message was, “we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it.” The senator, an influential party voice on military issues, said he did not interpret the wording of his plan as critical of the administration, describing it as a “forward-looking” approach.
Okay, let’s see. Making the Iraqis more involved with policing their own country. Laying out a strategy for ending the war. Bringing in other countries to help secure Iraq. The only thing different between this and Kerry’s plan is a) the United Nations and b) quarterly reports to the Senate, the latter of which probably would have happened anyway.
(Note to self, if ever running for President and trying to get Independents into my tent, never mention the United Nations…ever.)
Maybe if Kerry had simply called his proposal a “foward-looking approach”, Bush may have been more receptive to it…