Lieberman vs. compromise; McCain vs. everyone

Americans may not support "immediate" withdrawal from Iraq, but they don't support sending more troops, either.

By Tim Grieve
Published January 5, 2007 8:42PM (EST)

We're so confused.

Sen. Joe Lieberman, from whom the words "bipartisan compromise" are usually some kind of holy grail, tells the New York Times today that he hopes that the president's proposal for a new way forward in Iraq doesn't set off "partisan political combat or some kind of inside-the-Beltway compromise."

We're not sure what's so wrong about an inside-the-Beltway compromise on Iraq -- that's what you get in a divided government, Joe -- except that those inside the Beltway have so often lagged behind those outside of it when it comes to the need to get U.S. troops out of Iraq sooner rather than later.

Speaking of which, we're also a little puzzled by what Sen. John McCain is telling the Times. McCain insists -- as Republican talking heads are wont to do these days -- that, "When you ask most Americans, 'Should we get out right away?' most of them say no." That's technically correct, but it ignores the fact that most Americans do indeed support the sort of phased withdrawal from Iraq that Democrats like Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are advocating. In a Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg Poll in early December, 52 percent of the respondents said they support a "withdrawal on a fixed timetable." In a CNN poll taken around the same time, 21 percent of the public said all U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq now, and 33 percent more said all U.S. troops should be out by the end of 2007.

The plan McCain favors? Only 12 percent of the Los Angeles Times-Bloomberg respondents said "send more troops"; only 11 percent of the CNN respondents agreed.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Iraq Iraq War Joe Lieberman John Mccain R-ariz. Middle East