Who knows what the heck is going on with Senate Republicans these days? Last week I popped off in anger at them for their cowardice, and was taken to task for doing so, by several Republicans who felt I was “weakening” the GOP Senate, “Do you want to see Pat Leahy in charge? Ted Kennedy?” was the gist of what I got. My response is: seems to me they are in charge, already.
Now, I see that some on the right – including a few who criticized me privately last week – are tearing their hair out THIS week over this story in which we read that the GOP Senate is asking the WH for a report on just when we might be getting out of Iraq.
The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq. The other appeals related to Iraq are nonbinding and express the position of the Senate.
I don’t see this as a particularly bad thing. The Senate is asking for progress reports. In an age where any discussion about the war is coming from the left and is being spun in vast negatives, this is probably a pretty shrewd move – it creates reports, on the record, about where we are at, and forces the press and the Democrats to deal with the REAL record, and not convenient frames, slogans and spin cycles.
I see this as an invitation by the Senate to the President to STOP GOING QUIET and to KEEP TALKING TO US about the war. We’ve seen where “going quiet” gets him and the rest of us.
I mean, let’s think about this: Last May, President Bush was dancing with Georgians celebrating their Independence and all was (relatively) well. Then he – against all sense – unaccountably went quiet. All summer. Then Katrina happened.
The president cannot be allowed to “go quiet” again. Not when the Democrats are bringing the full force of the left-leaning press to bear against this presidency, and conservatism and the war, on a 24/7 basis. When we see columnists re-writing over our own memories and we hear Chris Matthews spitting out utter lies (he actually said President Bush “promised lower gas prices” if we went to war??? Amazing!), then it takes whatever it takes to get the president to keep talking to the American people.
I am no fan of the GOP Senate. I think they are to a one useless, meandering, and too concerned with their own re-elections, and I will not cut them some slack as I was admonished to do yesterday, because they have not earned my slack, they have earned my suspicion, my lack-of-faith, my raised eyebrow and my curled lip.The president has earned my support and my trust, which is why I gave him the benefit of the doubt over Harriet Miers. I think this call to “give them some slack” is pretty misplaced. I can’t think of a single thing the Republican Senate has done even within the last year, to make me feel “slacky” toward them. Alito’s hearing doesn’t come up until January, no drilling in ANWR, they did nothing – NOTHING – in all these months to beat back the “Bush lied” meme, and I am supposed to believe that having a GOP majority in the Senate MEANS something? I don’t think so.
So this is as far as my “slack” will go. I am willing to believe, based upon what I am reading, that this latest move by the GOP senate may NOT be the end of the world as AJ Strata knows it :-). I am willing to believe that with this move the GOP is doing a couple of possibly shrewd things:
1) it is staying ahead of the Democrats who would love to be able to crow that they “ended the war” in time for the 2008 elections, but who will forever be stymied by their incredibly stupid, “let’s tell the terrorists when we’re leaving” insistance on dates and deadlines.
2) it is forcing the president to keep talking to America. Which he needs to do. Unfiltered.
It seems to me no one – except the press and the Dems, apparently – can say precisely what Frist, Warner et al mean by this. I don’t know who is right or wrong, here. I’ve stated what I am thinking. I could be all wet. Astute Blogger is really angry and calling for Frist to resign; he sees this as both cowardice and political opportunism, and he might be right. Like me, Ed Morrissey is thinking this is strategic, and he is not ready to wring his hands. Bryan Preston, guest blogging for Michelle Malking calls it “dumb”. Hugh Hewitt who, some of you might remember, was vilified as a GOP water-carrier during the Miers debacle is fit to be tied. Polipundit is oddly silent on the matter, as is The Corner although they DO have this excellent excerpt from Joe Lieberman’s remarks on the defeat of the Democrat “timetable” idea.
You really MUST go read Lieberman’s remarks – they are what any intellectually honest person would say about Iraq.
If we have learned nothing else over the past few months, we have learned (some of us already knew it) that it is IMPERATIVE that the president keep talking to America, and doing so beyond the media filters. This idea may be nothing more than a way to insure it, no matter how it is being spun.
All I know is, the Republican Senate has only one more chance with me, and this is it. If they’re betraying the President, AGAIN, then all bets are off.