George Voinovich, who claims that he is against escalation of the Iraqi War, just voted against ending a filibuster on the Warner Resolution. In short, he voted to make sure that there is not a vote on Bush's plan to escalate the war. Here is how the Washington Post explained the process:
At issue are four separate resolutions. The main resolution, worked out by Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.), would put the Senate on record opposing the additional troop deployment and calling for a diplomatic initiative to settle the conflict, but it would also oppose a cut-off of funds for troops in the field of battle. The Republican leadership's alternative, drafted by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), would establish tough new benchmarks for the Iraqi government to achieve but would not oppose the planned deployment.
Against those competing resolutions are two others replete with political mischief-making. The first, drafted by Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), recognizes the power of the president to deploy troops and the "responsibility" of Congress to fund them before stating, "Congress should not take any action that will endanger United States military forces in the field, including the elimination or reduction of fund." A second, hastily written by Democrats, would simply oppose the president's plan and insist all troops are properly protected with body armor and other materiel.
The Democratic leadership gave Republicans a choice: Allow all four resolutions to come to a vote, with a simple majority needed for passage, or debate and vote on just two resolutions, Warner's and McCain's.
McConnell said each of the resolutions should only come to a vote if it attains the 60 votes needed to cut off debate. The reason was simple. Both Democrats and Republicans believe the only measure that could win 60 votes is Gregg's.
Democratic leaders feared that a debate designed to put the Senate on record opposing President Bush's war plan could conclude with passage of a resolution opposing a cutoff of funds for that plan.
To keep the heat on Republicans, Senate Democratic leaders charged that their opponents were simply trying to stifle a debate on the most hotly contested issue of the day.
"If Republicans cannot swallow the thin soup of the Warner resolution, how are they going to stomach a real debate on Iraq?" asked Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
Ohio voters should remember the way that George Voinovich is acting on the Warner Resolution. He says that he is against Bush's escalation but doesn't want to go on record saying so. This is not exactly Voinovich's Profile in Courage moment we are seeing here. What we are seeing is a Republican who is against Bush's war except when it counts.