Domenici joins GOP’s ‘cut and walk’ corps by William Neikirk

Last Sept. 28 in Birmingham, Ala., in the middle of the campaign for control of Congress, President Bush said this about the Democratic Party: “The party of FDR and the party of Harry Truman has become the party of cut and run.”

He added that Republicans “understand the nature of the enemy. We know the enemy wants to attack again.” He said Democrats “offer nothing but criticism and obstruction and endless second-guessing” about the situation in Iraq.

On Thursday, a day after Independence Day, Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) joined a number of other Republicans in calling for a new strategy in Iraq. Domenici is about as solid a Republican as you can find on Capitol Hill, but here he was, supporting a plan “that will move our troops out of combat operations and on the path to coming home,” though not an immediate withdrawal. Maybe that’s not cut and run, but it’s certainly cut and walk.

He joined Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) and and George Voinovich (R-Ohio) in calling for a change in U.S. strategy in Iraq. His statement reflected growing Republican concern about the war’s impact on next year’s elections. And other Republicans may be taking the same kind of walk, given the opposition by such party stalwarts.

It is not Democrats who have failed the American people, Domenici suggested, but the Iraqi government. He expressed support for a bipartisan bill endorsing the Iraqi study group’s report that could allow for a “drawdown” of U.S. combat forces by next March.

The measure, introduced by Sens. Ken Salazar (D-Colo.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn), would make the Iraqi study group’s report the policy of the U.S. government and ask the president to implement the recommendations.

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