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Congressional Insiders Poll: A Faster Pullout from Afghanistan? Congressional Insiders Poll: A Faster Pullout from Afghanistan?

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Magazine / Congressional Insiders Poll

Congressional Insiders Poll: A Faster Pullout from Afghanistan?

Plus: What's on your constituents' minds?

May 5, 2011

In light of the successful military action that killed Osama bin Laden, should the U.S. accelerate the timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

Democrats (31 votes)

Yes: 74%
No: 23%
Not necessarily (volunteered): 3%

Yes
“If there was ever a time to leave, it is now. Getting bin Laden was the reason we went in.”

 

“The attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden are what took us to Afghanistan in the first place. Now, given his death, we have an opportunity to draw down our presence and ultimately transform the way in which we are waging this war. Bin Laden’s death reminds us that when tackling threats to U.S. security by actors who are increasingly agile, mobile, and amorphous, a heavy military, air, and naval footprint is not only ineffective in dealing with guerrilla-like warfare but also financially unsustainable.”

“The Pakistani mission demonstrated that actionable intelligence, not a standing army, proved successful in leveling America’s enemies. Our military is worn out. Does anybody in Washington care?”

“The biggest budget leak is federal spending in [the Defense Department]. We need to cut, cut, cut DOD.”

“There is no reason to be there. This is as good a time as any to declare victory and leave.”

“But we should be getting out of Afghanistan anyway.”

“The fact he was in Pakistan proves again that our reason for being in Afghanistan—i.e., getting al-Qaida—is no longer relevant.”

“Still depends what the Taliban does, [but] if possible, yes.”

“We should get out of Afghanistan sooner rather than later. This is a war we cannot win.”

No
“The president should stick with the plan and draw down U.S. troops.”

“We are on track to begin our drawdown later this year and complete it by the end of 2014, when Afghanistan will have in place a combined trained and equipped army and police security [force] of approximately 350,000.”

Not necessarily
“The two are not necessarily related. Osama bin Laden’s death does not change the reality on the ground.”

 

In light of the successful military action that killed Osama bin Laden, should the U.S. accelerate the timetable for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan?

Republicans (31 votes)

Yes: 7%
No: 90%
Too soon to tell (volunteered): 3 %

Yes
“We went into Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaida and bring their leaders to justice. That has now been largely accomplished. Occupying Afghanistan on a long-term basis never was, nor should be, our objective.”

No
“It would be a mistake to jeopardize the progress we’ve made and cede Afghanistan back to al-Qaida and the Taliban.”

“Getting Osama offers an opening both on and off the battlefield. We should seize it and push forward. Quitting after you deal your enemy a setback is the equivalent of taking your foot off his throat once you have him on the ground.”

“While the world is better off without Osama, his hatred lives on in his followers, and we must remain ever vigilant on their next move.”

“The mission and movements must be determined by the commanders on the ground.”

“We should continue to stick to the current timeline, carefully monitoring whether certain benchmarks are met.”

“This is a historic victory, but it should not be factored into a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

“Osama bin Laden is only one man, and his death does not help transition Afghanistan’s defense to the Afghan army. The president’s timetable is aggressive; he should stick with it.”

Too soon to tell
“Too soon to tell how much operational impact killing bin Laden will have on al-Qaida in Afghanistan.”

 

What issue is most on your constituents’ minds these days?

Democrats (31 votes)

Gas prices: 32%
Libya: 0%
Medicare: 13%
National debt: 10%
Unemployment: 42%
Overall economy (volunteered): 3%

Gas prices
“Nothing in Washington compares to state issues in California. All eyes are on Sacramento, not Washington.”

Unemployment
“Shockingly, it’s not the president’s birth certificate. As hard as it is to believe, most people are really concerned more about real issues, like whether they or their neighbors have a job.”

“Unemployment still ranks as the issue most on people’s minds. There is an understanding that full employment will help shrink the debt, make gas more affordable to more people, and increase the revenues flowing into Medicare. Also, Libya is seen more as a speed bump, not as a permanent roadblock to a broader recovery.”

“Constituent concerns are segmented, however, and no one view dominates.”

“People may be reminded once or twice per week about outrageously high gas prices when filling up their tanks, but the pain of unemployment is felt every single day.”

“Jobs are still priority No. 1, but seniors in my district are up in arms over Republican plans to end Medicare. They keep asking me, ‘What can we do to fight this?’ ”

“Rising gas prices will create even more unemployment.”

“Lots of hiring, but it’s going to take a while to get back to where we were.”

Overall economy
“Which includes several of the issues listed above and jobs.”

“Lord knows, [Rep. Paul] Ryan has given us plenty of running room. But the overall issues of spending/taxes combined with Obama’s—once again—late arrival on the scene makes this pretty much a draw.”

 

What issue is most on your constituents’ minds these days?

Republicans (32 votes)

Gas prices: 59%
Libya: 0%
Medicare: 0%
National debt: 28%
Unemployment: 13%

Gas prices
“Everyone is talking about it, and it has significantly slowed our nascent economic recovery.”

“With gas prices above $4 a gallon, Congress should be focused on expanding supply by removing the de facto drilling ban.”

National debt
“In town hall after town hall during the district break, these dangerous deficits were topic No. 1.”

“The debt/deficit issues have generated more anger and impatience with the Washington establishment than anything I have ever seen except Obamacare.”

Unemployment
“Which plays into gas.”

__________

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, 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.

__________

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