Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:34 am

David Broder is:

It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don’t be astonished if that is the case.

Like President Bill Clinton after the Democrats lost control of Congress in 1994, Bush has gone through a period of wrenching adjustment to his reduced status. But just as Clinton did in the winter of 1995, Bush now shows signs of renewed energy and is regaining the initiative on several fronts.

More important, he is demonstrating political smarts that even his critics have to acknowledge.

His critics will never acknowledge anything positive about this President so we can safely throw that last sentence in the wastebasket - along with most of this piece.

Broder is an old Washington hand who knows all the right people, attends all the right parties, and is an expert at the Washington rumor and gossip mills. He’s made a good living telling us what the high and mighty really think about each other as well as offering some excellent “inside politics” insights into how personalities and issues interact in our capitol city and how this affects the way things get done.

But he’s reaching here:

When Bush faced reporters on Wednesday morning, he knew that virtually all those in the Democratic majority would be joined by a significant minority of Republicans in voting today to decry the “surge” strategy.

He did three things to diminish the impact of that impending defeat.

First, he argued that the House was at odds with the Senate, which had within the past month unanimously confirmed Gen. David H. Petraeus as the new commander in Iraq — the man Bush said was the author of the surge strategy and the man who could make it work. Bush has made Petraeus his blocking back in this debate — replacing Vice President Cheney, whose credibility is much lower.

Second, he minimized the stakes in the House debate by endorsing the good motives of his critics, rejecting the notion that their actions would damage U.S. troops’ morale or embolden the enemy — all by way of saying that the House vote was no big deal.

And third, by contrasting today’s vote on a nonbinding resolution with the pending vote on funding the war in Iraq, he shifted the battleground to a fight he is likely to win — and put the Democrats on the defensive. Much of their own core constituency wants them to go beyond nonbinding resolutions and use the power of the purse to force Bush to reduce the American commitment in Iraq.

Where the non-binding resolution will have no teeth, Bush himself will have little influence over the “slow bleed the troops” strategy that leaked on Politico yesterday. House Democrats are in dead earnest to undermine the President’s surge plan. Just because they don’t have the moral character or political guts to call for an up and down vote on funding the war doesn’t mean Bush has trapped them in the slightest. They will get both their resolution going on record against the surge and an end to the war on their terms regardless of what Bush says or does.

Jeralyn Merritt recognizes this:

Sure the Dems support with the base is going to suffer if that happens. But more than that, Dems will join Bush in being blamed on Iraq if that happens. The Dems must see that a position on Iraq can not be avoided. And the choices are binary - in or out. Vote funding for the war and the Iraq Debacle becomes your Debacle too. Vote against it and it does not. It is that simple.

It is “cut and run” all over again. In 2006, the Dems were smart enough not to bite on Rove’s gambit. I smell them biting this time, and taking the Iraq Debacle on their shoulders. Incredibly stupid politically as well as being bad policy.

And when that happens, Bush will look better relatively in comparison. Call it an Einstein Bounce.

I disagree with Ms. Merritt in that I don’t think the Democrats will “bite” this time. Murtha and his “slow bleed the troops” strategy will give a nice cover to even those Democrats who might be wary of voting to cut off funding directly for the war. That’s the genius of Murtha’s cowardly proposals. While his party believes the war is lost and our men and women should be “redeployed,” Murtha and the Democrats are perfectly content to allow our soldiers to bleed in the field while they stay politically safe by gradually undermining the ability of the Pentagon to carry out the orders of the Commander in Chief rather than advocate an up or down vote to defund the war immediately.

Republicans will gripe about it but in the end, Democrats will probably get a sizable number of them to vote for at least some elements of the Murtha plan. So much for a Bush “comeback.”

And that makes the rest of Broder’s musings ironic in the extreme:

In other respects, too, Bush has been impressive in recent days.

He has been far more accessible — and responsive — to the media and public, holding any number of one-on-one interviews, both on and off the record, leading up to Wednesday’s televised news conference. And he has been more candid in his responses than in the past.

While forcefully making his points, he has depersonalized the differences with his critics and opponents. He has not only vouched for the good intentions of congressional Democrats, he has visited them on their home ground, given them opportunities to question him face to face, and repeatedly outlined areas — aside from Iraq — where he says they could work together on legislation: immigration, energy, education, health care, the budget.

With the public eager for some bipartisan progress on all these fronts, Bush is signaling that he, at least, is ready to try.

The question that echoes through everyone’s mind is what the hell took so long? Why did it take a massive defeat at the polls for Bush to reach out and attempt a little bi-partisanship?

If he had tried from the beginning of the War in Iraq to make the Democrats partners rather than playing political games with the AUMF vote (Authorization to Use Military Force) and then rejecting the advice of wise Democrats on war policy for three years, I daresay we wouldn’t find ourselves in this mess today. I know I’m going somewhat against the grain here when it comes to how my conservative friends view the history of the last few years but for every slight, every insult, every bric-a-brac thrown at the President, there has been one returned. It takes two parties to poison the political atmosphere - just like it takes two parties to fashion bi-partisan consensus. And now, in this country’s hour of need in Iraq, when we desperately need a bi-partisan consensus in order to avoid catastrophe, it is impossible to find.

Instead, we have one side trying to undermine the other - Democrats seeking to undermine the President’s plan while Republicans seeking to make Democrats partners in defeat; an Alfonse and Gaston dance that if the stakes weren’t so unbelievably high, it would be fodder worthy of a Shakespearean comedy - or perhaps tragedy. For in the end, there are 150,000 men and women in Iraq who will be doing Murtha’s “slow bleed” while surging in futility unless the Iraqi government can find a way to bring all the factions together to live in peace.

I frankly don’t care if Bush gets a “bounce” for being clever about placing the onus of defunding the troops on the Democrats. He shouldn’t care either. What they should all care about is salvaging something from this debacle short of a humanitarian and strategic disaster.

And that, gentle readers, would give a bounce to everyone.


  1. The Crawford Kid holds the cards

    While the House debates whether they were for the war before they were against it, President Bush yesterday made it clear that the blood will literally not be on his hands if they pull the rug out from under General Patraeus, the troops and the Iraqi p…

    Trackback by Macsmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense — 2/16/2007 @ 12:06 pm

  2. Rick,
    B-1 bombers over Baghdad and the Democrats are voting against a strategy that is going to work; priceless. Our Founding Fathers were so smart to have a single commander-in-chief. Democrats have signed their death warrant, only Joe Lieberman could win the Presidency in 08′ as a Democrat, but he was kicked out of the Party! God speed General Petreaus.

    Comment by Fritz — 2/16/2007 @ 2:57 pm

  3. How interesting to read your column, to you
    the stopping of the war is hurting the Iraqi
    people and they will be very hurt in every way possible.

    The world will hurt as well, with Americans
    because they grab at the cowardice of
    the democrats and vote them in to give them
    more power for their games. If you are having a war, make it successful and interesting or the Americans get bored and
    turn away.

    The Iraqi people have been shafted by the
    Americans twice, TWICE.

    Remember Bush one, and the amazing sentence
    he gave them for trusting Americans and now
    his son has gone one better and has let down
    the world. They know they are the superpower
    and so it will not hurt them, what about
    the allies who are out there in Afghanistan?
    The NATO troops who are being killed along
    with the astoundingly small number of
    Americans who at this point have lost only
    3000 in many years.

    How many of these allies will America ever
    see again? How many times will the countries of the world join you knowing your
    lack of decency, your starting a war and then running and millions die because you
    simply cannot finish what you begin.

    I read the complaining about the cost of war, it is always the American cost, not
    their allies, America should be there alone
    as they do no even have the class to see
    how they are. If they did they would wrap it
    up in “for the troops, for the children,
    for the world, never saying the truth,
    they don’t care about the allies, they are
    numbers to them and I would like to see
    the numbers of the the dead they have had
    to live with. Start with friendly fire where
    Americans killed four Canadians.

    The arrogance of the Americans never goes
    away, even if you continue to show the world
    what cowards you are, you will be despised
    and have no respect from the world, you
    do not have that anyway and as the war goes
    on, and the dems call for cut and run, you
    will no longer be a real superpower, you
    will only be a bigger bully than usual.

    After watching Vietnam, and the way the
    Americans treated their troops, I lost
    all respect then, I started to trust when
    I saw the man President Bush is, and I still
    know he will fight for the troops and the
    Iraqi people. If only the republicans had
    had courage or actual caring for their country, no spine, no courage, they simply
    do nothing except critize, they were as
    bad as the democrats in their passive

    Tell me again about the wonderful country that goes in to help a country and does not run, he name of the country again? There has not ben one since the big war and they
    came in when millions had already lost
    their lives for their country and since
    then all you hear is the usual American
    bragging, according to them they won everything, the others were just there at
    the time.

    The American people have again whimped out,
    they voted in dems and they knew full well
    the dems are cut and run people. So now,
    all the troops from your friends? will come
    home too, so we have Iraq and Afghanistan
    lost. The fact is, no-one will want to
    help you with anything, so you will have
    to bully us for what you want, and the
    hate will grow deeper.

    it is time for Americans to grow up, and
    learn life can be tough, it is too bad the
    dems encourage childish behavior and they
    tell the people they are brave to stop the
    war, sickening people, really disgusting as
    they lie, spin, omit, and what ever to the
    meidia who love to run down the conservatives.

    You blew it, Once Again.
    Please for the sake of the people of the
    world, stay the course, finish Iraq and
    continue to war on terrorism as they will
    be a huge price to pay if you and the allies
    you quit in the middle of the war.

    Sleep well if you do run, think about the
    miiions who will die because and only
    because the American people who
    vote gave the left more power.

    Thanks, dems. I simply believe more that
    half of them should be committed to a
    mental hospital in order for them to
    face the reality of the war. Then they
    could see the need for the war. Am I not
    a dreamer?

    Comment by cjg — 2/16/2007 @ 4:04 pm

  4. This country is heading down a very slippery slope. Logic has left Washington and the rest of this great nation. No one is speaking out to stop this insanity by our polititians What a sad day in history. The men and women that we put in Washington to represent us have turned out to be poor representatives, in my case anyway. We wanted a change in policy not a cut and run strategy. We wanted a winning strategy not a vote of no confidence. Are we not in a War? this is disgusting. People are dying. We support the troops” What hollow words. I wish polititians would stop. You would have another “Killing Fields”. Between the democratic retoric and 24/7 MSM defeatism being regurgitated constantly,I feel they’ll get their wish

    Comment by the Tapper — 2/17/2007 @ 12:41 am

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