Skip to comments.Bush Is Down, But Not A Lame Duck
Posted on 02/20/2007 9:11:44 PM PST by GLH3IL
The White House, an aide to President Bush says, is "ratcheting up the rhetoric" against congressional Democrats who seek to restrict the president's ability to send more troops to Iraq. The president is sending Democrats a clear signal that their worst fear may come to pass. If they persist in trying to keep the president from deploying reinforcements in Iraq or attempt to cut off funding for the war, they may be blamed for not "supporting the troops." This is not a difficult case to make. The question is whether Bush has enough persuasive power left to make it effectively.
Three factors are working against Bush. The first is that he's in the seventh year of his presidency. That's normally when the public grows tired of the president and pays less attention to his pronouncements. The second is the press. With Democrats taking over Congress, reporters and editors are now more interested in what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing than in covering Bush's every word. Third is the Iraq war itself. Public opinion is running against the war by roughly a two-to-one margin.
The president still has the best bully pulpit in the world: the nationally televised prime-time speech. But presidents turn to it so often that, in their last years, it produces limited returns. Bush discovered this in January when he delivered two prime-time addresses and failed to alter public opinion either on the Iraq war or his presidency.
But now he has begun to skewer Democrats where they are most sensitive and politically vulnerable: their support for the troops in the field. Democrats are desperate not to be seen as undercutting the troops, even as they try to force the president to begin drawing down American combat operations.
Bush used a press conference last week to assert that the proper test for foes of the war will be whether they provide "flexibility and support" for troops in Iraq. "I think you can be against my decision [to deploy 21,500 more soldiers] and support the troops," he said. "But the proof will be whether or not you provide them the money necessary to do the mission."
Bush added: "What's going to be interesting is if they don't provide the flexibility and support for our troops that are there to enforce the strategy that David Petraeus, the general on the ground, thinks is necessary to accomplish the mission." Senate Democrats unanimously approved the promotion of Petraeus to four-star general recently, but Democrats in both the House and Senate oppose the "surge" of troops Petraeus insists is required to secure and pacify Baghdad.
The Bush statement prompted House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to rush before the media and declare: "We will not abandon, we will not underman, not undersupply, we will not undertrain, and we will not defund those who we have put in harm's way. We will support our troops today, tomorrow, and every day thereafter."
The next day, Bush returned to his point in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute, again citing the popular general to buttress his case. "This may become the first time in the history of the United States Congress that it has voted to send a new commander into battle and then voted to oppose his plan to succeed in that battle," the president said.
Bush noted Congress will soon take up an emergency funding bill for Iraq. "Republicans and Democrats have a responsibility to give our troops the resources they need to do their job and the flexibility they need to prevail," he said.
Democrats don't want to provide such resources, but they don't want to use the crude instrument of a fund cutoff either. That might be politically dangerous. In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to allow a vote on a Republican resolution calling for continued funding. In the House, Democrats have embraced a clever approach that would not directly deny funds but would make it all but impossible to send reinforcements to Iraq.
This, however, is probably too clever. It's transparent what House Democrats are trying to do, which is defund the war indirectly. In fact, they come close to admitting as much, only they've cloaked their proposal in limitations on future deployments to Iraq, to make it look like they're protecting the troops.
To counter this ploy, it's crucial for the president to make headway in his debate with antiwar Democrats. He doesn't have to win the argument overwhelmingly. He only needs to scare Democrats away from trying to curb his authority to carry out the war and especially to continue the Petraeus-led campaign in Baghdad.
Democrats should already be nervous. They risk imitating the disastrous tack Republicans took in the late 1990s. In impeaching President Clinton, Republicans misinterpreted their mandate and overreached. Now Democrats are overinterpreting the results of the 2006 election and may suffer politically just as Republicans did.
In 1974 and 1975, President Ford failed to persuade Democrats or the public that funds should not be cut off from the South Vietnamese Army. Despite his low popularity, Bush is in a better position than Ford was. He has the stronger case and, unlike Democrats, he also has the advantage of being free to make it in a straightforward manner. So far, he's made it quite well.
By Fred Barnes © Copyright 2007, News Corporations, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.
.....and while you're at it.....could you please free the Border Patrol guys.......Thanks G.W.
This is where the rubber meets the road... and when the Dems fold their hand every Republican better beat them over the head with it.
CBS allowed this on their site? My gosh- what's this world coming to? All these liberal networks lately posting positive reports on Iraqm and now reports like this? My qworld makes no sense anymore.
The following link is a signature link and does not relate to this thread http://sacredscoop.com
Hoyer must have missed the memo from Murtha that declares the dems plan to do exactly that: abandon, underman, undersupply, undertrain, and eventually defund. Not to mention demoralize and denigrate. And they think no one will notice.
Our side should always remind these traitors and defeatists how weak and impotent they are, because nothing more will demoralize these delusional hate filled people than to be reminded constantly of the bitter reality of their weakness and impotence.
Time to stick it to the Democrats.
Bush can continue the war on terror, solidify his tax cuts, and reform the judiciary. Not a lame duck by a long shot.
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