GOP Gets Itchy to Leave Afghanstan, Independents Scratching

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Mark Thompson’s post earlier today is a good walk-up to the debate on getting out of Afghanistan now that Osama bin Laden is dead. New reports also show more Republicans seeking an exit, and independent voters want to declare victory and leave.

An article in Politico today explores how the urge to leave has spread in the GOP from penny-pinching Tea Party Republicans to more rank-and-file GOP members in the House, like Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who are feeling pressure from their constituents to get out of Afghanistan. The piece explores the shift in mood in the House:

It includes Republicans— like Reps. Jason Chaffetz of Utah, John Campbell of California and John Duncan of Tennessee — who joined a handful of Democrats and anti-war North Carolina GOP Rep. Walter Jones in sending a letter to President Barack Obama this week urging him to “re-examine our policy of nation building in Afghanistan.”

Illinois Rep. Joe Walsh, a conservative Republican and tea party favorite, said he is not even sure that the war in Afghanistan is helping American efforts in the broader war on global terror.

“I come from a swing district,” Walsh said, “a lot of blue-collar folks, and these are the most patriotic Americans in the world, and they’re wondering what we’re doing. There is a shift.”

These members simply know where their bread is buttered — the voters. A USA Today poll earlier this week showed that Republicans are now split evenly on whether to pull out of Afghanistan.

President Obama is probably reading the data also. The USA Today poll shows that 62 percent of independent voters say the job is done in Afghanistan. And if the president is worried that his decision on whether to pull out is keeping people up at night, the poll shows that less than one percent say Afghanistan is the most pressing issue for the nation.