Republican strategist: Why is Bush reminding Americans why they don't like him?
But Bush's trumpeting of what he called a "return on success" could end up backfiring. Bringing the war into America's living rooms is never a safe political bet. And if news of a slow drawdown may be popular, Bush himself still is not. Some key Hill Republicans, in fact, were upset that he returned front and center on the issue at a time when the White House had so carefully ceded the selling of the surge to Petraeus and Crocker. "Why would he threaten the momentum we have?" says one frustrated Capitol Hill Republican strategist with ties to the G.O.P. leadership. "You have an unpopular President going onto prime time television, interrupting Americans' TV programs, to remind them of why they don't like him."Devilstower on DailyKos comments:
Amen. I think the Democratic presidential candidates are the ones in a position to do this. Dodd and Richardson have come out strongly against this occupation. I'd like to see more leadership from Obama and Clinton though. Not only are they the leading Democratic candidates, they are actually in the Senate and in a position to push for mandatory withdrawal or de-funding the occupation and bringing our troops home. The majority of the country is anti-occupation, but anti-occupation politicians still seem to be somewhat ashamed of their positions. Come out of the anti-occupation closet! The big bully whom you're all afraid of, George Bush, is a guy with crappy approval ratings. His front man, Petraeus (how pathetic that the President is hiding behind a battlefield commander! Not the Secretary of Defense, not the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, not the CENTCOM commander, but someone even lower on the chain of command. Lame.) is a guy with a long history of misguided Iraq optimism and whose boss called him an "ass-kissing little chickenshit" who has an annoying habit of saying what his superiors want to hear.
Bush did more than remind the American people that this is his war, and that in supporting this war, the Repubicans are placing loyalty to the worst president in history above any demands of decency or common sense. In his speech, Bush raised the stakes of his long-shot gamble.
In the life of all free nations, there come moments that decide the direction of a country and reveal the character of its people.
Do you smell that? That's the odor of every possible bridge being burned. By supporting Bush now, Republicans are supporting the idea that Iraq is more than just a miserable conflict, badly planned and horribly executed. They're buying the idea that America is defined by what happens in Iraq.
In supporting Bush, they are placing every chip on the table, and accepting that they can never draw them back. You can not accept this cause as the cause and change your mind later. The Republicans are absolutely invested in this war. They hold only a 7-2 off suit, but they are all in.
Now all that is wanting is someone to call their hand.
Note on my anti-occupation stance: I'd support a small residual American force in Kurdish areas to preserve the relative stability there and to prevent Turkish-Kurdish hostilities from getting out of hand. Ideally it would be under the auspices of the UN or NATO or some other international organization. And I'd only support it if the Kurdish people and the Kurdish leadership wanted it there. Everywhere else in Iraq I just don't see a role for us. Approximately 60% of the Iraqi population approves of attacks on our troops. That's a pretty good signal that it's time to go.