One in particular is Rep. Mark Kirk (IL). Kirk is so worried about the 2008 election and the prospect of losing his job that he went secretly with 10 other Republicans to complain about Bush's stay-the-course Iraq war plans in early May. When the events of the meeting were leaked to the press – by Kirk and others – Karl Rove reportedly sent a nasty message to Kirk and others about naughty members of Congress who refuse to toe the president's line – or at least refuse to be quiet about their discontent.
So far, Kirk's efforts seem to be nothing more than a ploy to appear to differ with Bush on the war, despite 4 long years of supporting and defending every single policy, plan, and SNAFU deployed by the Bush administration. Proof of this: 48 hours after Kirk reportedly gave Bush the what-for, Kirk voted to stay the course by voting no on the House supplemental spending bill that would have tied new funds to a timeline for withdrawal.
Then, when Kirk had the chance to help override the president's veto of that supplemental, he again refused to put his money where his mouth is.
Voters will see this. Even Republican voters are turning against Bush's war policies in droves, according to a recent NY Times/CBS poll. Writes the Times:
Interviews with voters, elected officials and others in Illinois, Minnesota, New York and Pennsylvania — home to 4 of the 11 Republican congressmen who met with Mr. Bush about the war — suggest that more Republican voters are opposing the war, and that independents who might have voted Republican are moving toward supporting a Democrat.
If Kirk and his friends want to keep their jobs, they'll have to do more than public relations. They'll actually have to vote to end this war.