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Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll

Does Qaddafi have to go?

Is it an acceptable outcome for Qaddafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya?

Democrats (30 votes)

Yes: 33%
No: 63%
Neither (volunteered): 3%



“Provided that there are options for him to leave power that he is likely to pursue. [Serbia’s Slobodan] Milosevic left power a year after the NATO air campaign ended.”

“What act of war did Libya precipitate that warrants such acts of force by Western forces? This Libyan action looks like the West against a 99 percent Muslim nation. There are many repressive leaders in the world, and there have been other mass killings of innocent civilians, as in Rwanda, the Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, and Sudan. So, why does Libya warrant ‘humanitarian’ intervention when those didn’t? The shelling of Libya will likely deepen animosity against the West in the Arab world as another example of ‘selective Western intervention’ for oil and strategic control of geography.”


“I suppose we could live with that outcome if we had to; but, fortunately, it’s not likely we’ll have to accept that outcome.” 


“The people of Libya have indicated they want him out, and that will probably be the result.”

“Now that we are in it, it should be done right but subject to congressional approval.”


“We should have taken the SOB out years ago. Bring in the covert-ops team.”

“We’ve crossed the Rubicon.”

“The most powerful country in the world cannot win by allowing Qaddafi to remain in power. If so, he will become the new icon for the anti-American world.”

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“This is not to say we should undertake an open-ended military effort to drive him from office.”


“The Libyan people decide.”


Is it an acceptable outcome for Qaddafi to remain in power after the military effort concludes in Libya?

Republicans (31 votes)

Yes: 10%
No: 87%
No opinion (volunteered): 3%


“It is hard to tell what is U.S. policy and what is just the president’s personal opinion. However, regime change is not the stated U.S. goal in Libya.”


“If we are willing to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way and spend hundreds of millions of dollars, the status quo should not be acceptable.”

“However, the current military engagement will not serve that purpose if it is executed as proposed.”

“But not sure to what lengths this administration is prepared to go now to knock off Qaddafi. Mission creep has already begun.”

“At this point, it’s difficult to imagine Qaddafi could remain.”

“The mission conflicts with U.S. policy goals, so you have to wonder how and why it was agreed to.”

“Because I do not believe we should be engaged there at all.”

“When you shoot at the king, and Obama did, you better do more than wing him.”

“Qaddafi has lost the legitimacy to lead and has demonstrated a willingness to massacre his own people if his authoritarian interests are threatened. For the stability of the country and the broader democratic movement sweeping the region, he cannot remain in power.”

“Removing Qaddafi is really the goal of this operation.”

“Military should only be provided for a successful conclusion.”


Should President Obama have sought a vote in Congress before authorizing military operations in Libya?

Democrats (30 votes)

Yes: 40%
No: 60%


“The Constitution is quite clear—Congress shall have the power to declare war.”

“All military intervention should require congressional authorization.”

“All the criticism will be that this is Obama’s war. Even [George W.]Bush came to Congress.”

“The key concern remains the lack of congressional involvement and oversight. The War Powers Act of 1973, created after the Vietnam War to ensure legislative checks and balances before and during wartime situations, limits the president’s ability to commit armed forces to conditions that are not met in this case.
If the U.S. wants to lead and inspire the world in setting the standard for good governance, getting this executive-legislative relationship right is critical.”

“He violated the War Powers Act and the Constitution.”

“It would have been preferable, and he would have gotten it.”


“And come before a hostile Republican Congress that has criticized the president at every turn, even after taking their recommendations?”

“The situation in Libya was deteriorating quickly, and the delay would have allowed Qaddafi to slaughter his people. Obama moved quickly, but apparently not quick enough for Republicans, who trashed him for ‘dithering’ before trashing him for acting.”

“The matter was urgent, and there was no time. But what’s stopping him from seeking authorization now?”

“He consulted with the leadership on this action, which I think was appropriate.”

“A congressional vote would make this conflict a bigger deal than it is. He has played this one right.”

“The president must be able to make decisive decisions unhindered by popularity considerations…. Informing Congress prior to military operations is sufficient.”

“Just follow the War Powers Act.”


Should President Obama have sought a vote in Congress before authorizing military operations in Libya?  

Republicans (31 votes)

Yes: 68%


“He sought the world’s approval; he should have sought Congress’s.”

“Particularly when Libya had not attacked the U.S. or an ally and didn’t pose an immediate threat, it’s incumbent upon the president to consult with the Congress before committing American military resources abroad.”

“The president must define the military strategy for the operation, and he also must establish an exit strategy for U.S. forces from the region.”

“Although I don’t think he violated the Constitution, he needs to make his case to the Congress; he should have done so two weeks ago, before the recess.”

“Or the intervention should have happened much sooner!”

“It is always smart to get as many fingerprints on the murder weapon as possible.” 


“But he should have explained the decision, timing, strategy, and endgame from Day One.”

“Although consulting Congress, particularly key members on relevant committees, would have been helpful and advisable.”

“He should have consulted Congress and defined the mission and how it would be achieved for the American people beforehand. He didn’t do either.”

“He did not have to.”

“It would be nice for Congress to be consulted rather than briefed. The president has 60 days; ticktock … ”


Democratic Congressional Insiders Sens. Sherrod Brown, Ben Cardin, Thomas Carper, Frank Lautenberg, Barbara Mikulski, Mark Pryor, Jon Tester, Tom Udall, Mark Warner; Reps. Jason Altmire, Robert Andrews, Tammy Baldwin, Karen Bass, Xavier Becerra, Howard Berman, Lois Capps, Michael Capuano, Dennis Cardoza, James Clyburn, Gerry Connolly , Jim Cooper, Joseph Crowley, Elijah Cummings, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Eliot Engel, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Chaka Fattah, Bob Filner, Alcee Hastings, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Steve Israel, Marcy Kaptur, Jim Langevin, John Lewis, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Carolyn Maloney, Ed Markey, Jim McDermott, Jim McGovern, Jim Moran, Gary Peters, Collin Peterson, David Price, Silvestre Reyes, Linda Sanchez, Jan Schakowsky, Allyson Schwartz, Jose Serrano, Adam Smith, Pete Stark, Bennie Thompson, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, and Frederica Wilson. 

GOP Congressional Insiders Sens. Lamar Alexander, John Cornyn, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Johnny Isakson, Richard Lugar, Jeff Sessions, Olympia Snowe, John Thune, David Vitter; Reps. Michele Bachmann, Brian Bilbray, Marsha Blackburn, John Boehner, Charles Boustany, Kevin Brady, John Campbell, Eric Cantor, John Carter, Tom Cole, Mike Conaway, Jeff Denham, Charlie Dent, David Dreier, Sean Duffy, Jo Ann Emerson, Jeff Flake, Scott Garrett, Bob Goodlatte, Trey Gowdy, Kay Granger, Doc Hastings, Nan Hayworth, Darrell Issa, Mike Kelly, Peter King, Jack Kingston, Adam Kinzinger, John Kline, Dan Lungren, Kenny Marchant, Kevin McCarthy, Patrick McHenry, John Mica, Candice Miller, Sue Myrick, Devin Nunes, Mike Pence, Tom Price, Dave Reichert, Mike Rogers of Michigan, Phil Roe, Paul Ryan, Aaron Schock, Pete Sessions, Adrian Smith, Steve Stivers, Lee Terry, Pat Tiberi, Fred Upton, Daniel Webster, and Joe Wilson.

This article appears in the April 2, 2011 edition of National Journal Magazine.

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