A Perfect Storm

First things first. The entire left needs to recognize that yesterdays victory means many things but it does not mean that the entire country has miraculously shifted to left. Remember the disgust we all felt and loudly expressed when the President trumpeted his 51-49% victory as some sort of mandate and political capital? It would be very sad if we were to make that same mistake.

This election proves that the American people understand how to send a message and the message in this case was we are tired of people caring more about power than us. We are tired of a failed foreign policy that seems to dig us deeper and deeper into a never ending landfill of crap. We are tired of having our interests sold out to those of K Street. And most of all, we are tired of watching our Democracy run into the ground by a single party bent on creating a permanent majority.

George W. Bush heard this message loud and clear. Whether or not he had planned to fire Donald Rumsfeld prior to the election is irrelevant. The message was out there and it was not only coming from blue states or blue people, it was coming from formerly loyal Republicans who realized the wave was about to come and they would likely be swept up in it.

Bush is not a stupid man, as much as we on the left would like to believe so. In his 1:00PM press conference today I saw a man who realized he and his party had gone too far. Hopefully he realized that he had vested too much of his personal legacy in a band of neoconservative ideologues bent on proving a long held imperialistic theory. The fact that he has tapped former CIA Director under George H.W. Bush, Robert Gates, tells me I am right.

Now I will tell you something I have never revealed on this blog. I liked George H.W. Bush. I voted for George H.W. Bush in 1988 and…oh my GOD! I was also a registered Republican at the time! Why am I revealing this? Well it’s simple, until late in my college years I was a staunch conservative. As a matter of fact, I added my signature to the WMU charter of the College Republicans along with a friend at the time who now works for this bum. Fortunately my experiences as a young Republican forced me to look very critically at my beliefs and I ultimately became a Democrat.

But that is neither here nor there, the reason I mentioned that is because I want to stress the point that I truly respected George H.W. Bush. The main reason for this is that I felt – and still feel this way today – that his record in public service gave him a perspective on the world that few people have. This perspective allowed him to craft a sane foreign policy backed by one of the better diplomats of my lifetime James Baker III.

The fact that our current President Bush has begun to transform his foreign policy team to reflect that of his father is a good idea in my opinion. I know this will be greeted with some skepticism from the left, particularly taking into account the fact that Gates is a CIA man and he is now going to run the military, but I think it will work. One of the main reasons we are in the mess we are today in Iraq is a direct result of the disdain held by Cheney, Rumsfeld and the like for the intelligence world. Had they not tried so hard to discount the analysis provided by the CIA and other agencies they would have realized that they could not launch an invasion of Iraq without a solid plan for the bedlam that would ensue thereafter.

This brings me to the Baker-Hamilton Commission, also known as the Iraq Study Group. Gates was a member of this team and so it is very likely that his entry into the Bush administration will go a long way toward helping lend credibility to any solution this group puts forward. It is also worth noting that what was leaked a few weeks back from the group sounded an awful lot like what the Democrats have been saying for two years now, there is no way we can “win” in the traditional sense. I expect the Democrats and the President to quickly line up behind the Baker recommendations as a convenient method of saving face while finding a palatable exit strategy.

My hope is that this exit looks more like a phased withdrawal back to some of the bases we have now established in the region. At the same time we can still provide logistical support to the Iraqi’s when needed as well as any additional firepower necessary to help if things get bad. Salvaging Iraq is not going to be an easy task but I believe that it can be done so long as it is done in a way that allows the President to save some face and not concede defeat domestically.

So as I said earlier, I hope the left does not become to enamored with this victory. It is most definitely sweet but there is much work to be done. This election, the ouster of Rumsfeld and the impending release of the Baker-Hamilton report provide us with a perfect storm that, if it’s power is harnessed, can be both the salvation of George W. Bush’s legacy and a restoration of sanity in this Republic.

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