Facing Down September
I'm curious about whether September provides any sort of watershed for Iraq or not. We'll have an interesting couple of factors coming together. We're supposed to be getting the much-hyped report on the surge from General Petraeus next month, but don't forget that much of the impetus for a fresh new September report was that a number of Republicans up for reelection in 2008 were worried about being saddled with a useless war that's draining our resources and stamina. There was a lot of talk at the time that the Prez would have to put up in September or he'd have to come up with some other viable alternative.
Since then, most Republicans have toed the line and have continued to support the Prez's war. But as we get closer to September, the number of incumbents concerned about their chances for staying in Congress will have to start expanding. Can Bush, especially without Rove, wrangle the Republican congresspeople to keep giving him what he wants, or will those Republicans have to start showing the folks back home that they're independent players, not beholden to or controlled by anyone? Will Republican self-preservation trump a lame-duck president?
While we wait to find out, it's becoming more and more obvious that the Prez is in this for himself. We're still a few weeks out, and the administration is starting to act as though it never had any intention of offering a make-or-break report. I have a feeling that at least a few congressional Republicans realize that the public is way ahead of the Prez on Iraq even if the Democrats aren't. Constituents won't fall for this. It'll be interesting to see which politicians catch on to that fact, and which ones will be willing to throw their political careers away by standing beside the Prez.