Bush Blinks

The stand off between congressional Democrats seeking to establish some form of oversight in regards to the way the current administration has been handling the Iraq war, and the White House, which has been obstinately acting in spite of and without concession to voices of dissent within the government, the military, and the citizenship has been marked by high levels of tension, and a continuous drop of support for the president and GOP legislators that have taken his side in the battle raging on in the nation’s capital.

Throughout the political world, pundits and political junkies alike have been devouring headlines waiting to see who would budge first, which side would begin to backdown as pressure mounts to provide troops in Iraq with supplies and funding to continue the conflict underway in the Middle East. It would seem that Bush has blinked first.

Perhaps it was an uncommonly candid meeting held between Bush and his staff with 11 congressional Republicans that finally got the embattled President to finally begin to shift. Maybe the announcement yesterday that British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, will no longer be the Prime Minister as of next month, making way for his likely successor Gordon Brown who will hardly be even remotely as much of an ally in Bush’s ill-begotten war in Iraq as Blair. Or perhaps it was simply that Bush has finally realized that the party that holds the majority in congress is no longer in the palm of his hand and can, if they so chose, keep him vetoing war funding bills until the public decides its time to bring out the tar and feathers. This final point is bolstered by the fact that Bush’s approval ratings are now at an all time low with only 28% approving, a number so low that we haven’t seen it since the Carter administration.

Whatever the case, after months of forcefully asserting that the administration will not be subjected to timelines, deadlines, or benchmarks, the president has now said that, “One message I have heard from people of both parties is that benchmarks make sense and I agree,” essentially saying that he may support legislation for funding that would have some sort of benchmark language attached.

On the flip side, though, Bush employed the royal “we” (maybe because he just got done spending some time with the Queen, or maybe because he just really does consider himself royalty, who can say for sure?) when he decided to stand firm on vowing to veto current legislation that will only fund the troops through to July at which point in order to continue funding congress would have to reassess the situation to see if things are working. In Bush’s words, “We reject that idea. It won’t work.”

The moral of the story here is that Bush can be moved. It’s, to borrow a favorite phrase of his, hard work, but it can be done, all we need is to keep the pressure on him.

Update: To the list of possible reasons why Bush may be flip flopping on benchmarks, I’d like to add a series of ads by retired generals who actually served in Iraq that directly call the president out on his claim that he listens to the commanders on the ground.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook