Monday, July 9, 2007
Don't go wobbly....
William Kristol, over at The Weekly Standard, writes about President Bush's Moment of Truth, as some within his administration and in the Republican Party call for a "bipartisan compromise" with the Democrats to begin phasing out of Iraq. In a nutshell... "bad idea jeans" (old SNL skit).
Well it's like this... the Bush administration has been trying to play nice with the Dems much too often on too many big issues... going all the way back to "going along" and signing off on the "who named Plame" investigation due to the barking demands of the the "loyal" opposition. The Dems are NOT looking for merely concessions or bipartisanship. They ARE looking to discredit, delegitimize, and defeat Bush, Republicans, and conservatives in general at every point they can. That is the game they are playing. Bush, by staying on the defensive and remaining passively "bipartisan" in his responses to these guys, allows the Dems to choose the playing field, set and then change the rules, be on the offensive politically, and dominate the spin for the fans in the stands.
The Dems come to these fights with a club, Bush brings an olive branch... By not wanting to look like a "bad guy" Bush then ends up becoming the weak guy.
If you have to choose between someone respecting you or liking you... choose respect.
Iraq has been and still is a mucky situation for the U.S., but one that is difficult to imagine becoming better if we pull out. In fact, it is entirely reasonable to conclude that the long term threat to this country will dramatically increase if we just leave.
I'd like to see Bush and his people to begin again strongly defining to the American people what is at stake in Iraq and the war against the radical Islamists... to publicize weekly the progress by General Petraeus... and generally go on the offensive PR-wise to justly match the new military effort that is being undertaken on the ground in Iraq.
Update: By the way I don't think Bush is entertaining ideas that would compromise the current military strategy. Nor do I believe that he is predisposed to begin deemphasizing the importance of a defeated AQ/Jihadists in Iraq (and world-wide). But I do think he is predisposed to avoid taking the policy battle to the Democrats and to the American people. Aand by avoiding the "ideas" battle he may inadvertently compromise the military goals in Iraq. There needs to be a renewed, steady and strong public defense and explanation of our goals and interests in this war. I think it is essential for The Bush administration to gear up for a strong finish to his presidency over these next 18 months by getting this issue right.