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Friday, February 16, 2007

Broder on Bush

David S. Broder, syndicated columnist, has an interesting piece on a possible "Bush Bounce" because of some tactic changes by him over the last month or so.

I'm not convinced Broder is totally right that Bush can make anything of a substantial comeback; he's beyond being damaged goods and closer to being a total wreck. However, Bush has done some things that are going to help him, and hamstring the Democrats in Congress, specifically on Iraq, and in a broader sense, moving into 2008's election season.

I agree with Broder that by softening his rhetoric on the non-binding resolutions in Congress, and calling them meaningful debate, it dulls that sword being aimed at him. He's actually allowing them to pay out enough rope to hang themselves later on with the Iraq issue, in fact.

If we all remember back to August through November of 2006, one of the centerpieces of the Democratic campaign was that the new congress was going to be inclusive; unlike it's predecessor, which didn't allow opposing debate on many issues. Yet the Iraq resolutions have proven that promise to be a falsehood, as no GOP members have been allowed in introduce any resolutions of their own.

Secondly, and this is where the left is getting it wrong, the debate over funding for Iraq will not be pretty, but they don't get which direction they need to go on it. The folks over at Talk Left and Atrios seem to think that by allowing funding the Democrats are going to hurt themselves, as usual not looking at the bigger picture of Iraq and the area as a whole.

The region as a whole is going on a weapons buying binge, good for your stocks if you hold the right ones, but not great for stability in the area. It's easy to deduce why, too, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and other relatively stable countries in the region are seriously worried about what happens to them if we abandon Iraq. As long as the whack jobs of the region are busy dealing with us in Iraq, they are relatively safe.

If, as the left would like, Congress votes to cut off money, and we pull our forces out of the region, they end up with a vacuum that will have to be filled. Unfortunately for our interests and those of most of the western world, the country in the region best equipped to fill that vacuum is Iran, and everyone else knows it. Hence the buying binge on new weapons by others.

The problem here is that the left, in their standard narrow vision of everything, don't see that as an issue, yet. They will if it hit's them upside the head with $100/bbl oil prices as suppliers start worrying about the safety of shipments from the region.

This, not funding the war, is what would cause the left the most grief. You see, that would be the problem they'd have to take ownership of, not continuing to try and provide security to Iraq. If they vote for funding, and their resolution, they can point to the fact they've opposed the president, and supported the troops with what they need. If they vote to cut off funding, they have to stand behind that, and whatever occurs in the region as being of their own doing.

Bush, and the folks in the GOP with the guts to stand with him would be able to (correctly) point to the fact that wider regional conflict wasn't due to us being in Iraq, but occurred when we left, and they'd be able to point a finger at exactly who the architects of that plan were.

And that is where he'll get the biggest bounce, not from being nice to the media, or playing well with Pelosi and Co. over a few domestic issues.

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