Public Opinion Moving Towards Democrats On Iraq
Here are some examples of juvenile outrage amongst the GOP.
First, the GOP is doing their “Fascists Gone Wild” routine once again over the disclosure by the New York Times of the NSA’s monitoring of overseas financial transactions to look for terror funding. Admittedly, I am less concerned about this program than I am about the NSA’s illegal monitoring of my phone calls, cell phone calls, emails, website habits, credit card purchases, and the like. I frankly couldn’t care less if the NSA makes overseas bankers and safe-haven terror-supporting countries a little nervous. But as the New York Times pointed out, they got this information from folks inside the Bush Administration who were uncomfortable with this program. Yet that didn’t stop nutcase GOP representative Peter King from doing his Mussolini impersonation over the weekend, or Bush telling the media today that this disclosure harms the war on terror. First off, does anyone think that Al Qaeda runs money through banks in Brussels anymore? Second, I suggest that if Mr. King and Mr. Bush are really concerned about the war on terror, they get our asses out of Iraq and back into Afghanistan and into Africa.
Second, we now find out that on the same days that the Senate Republicans were bashing their Democratic colleagues for talking about withdrawal options from Iraq, the White House was talking about withdrawal options with the military. As I suggested yesterday, Baghdad’s ability to control its destiny will only go so far as to what is good for the GOP this November, a point made by Carl Levin yesterday as well. Rather than shrink under the GOP assault from debating Iraq, Democrats need as Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter suggests to continue pushing their advantage as the one party that can really debate a change in course. Why would the country trust the same guys who got us into Iraq to now get us out?
I suggested last week that the GOP is now a full captive of the White House on Iraq, and the Los Angeles Times’ Ron Brownstein made this same point yesterday on “Meet the Press.” The GOP cannot discuss a way out in Iraq or a change in course because Rove and Bush have hung the “stay the course” albatross around the necks of the GOP's vulnerable incumbents, while discussing withdrawal with the military. As Barbara Boxer and Carl Levin said yesterday on the weekend chat shows, the only group that is out of step with what the Bush Administration is actually planning to do in Iraq is the congressional GOP. It was the Democrats last week who were talking about the same withdrawal options that the military commanders were discussing with Bush at that same time, not Bill Frist and Denny Hastert. So who is more out-of-step, John Murtha or John McCain?
In fact, Democrats can now say that the congressional GOP are the ones who are isolated and out of step, not only with the Bush Administration, but also with the country as a whole, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll out today, which shows that nearly half the country (47%) now favors a timetable for withdrawal, similar to the Reid-Levin proposal last week that got 40 votes, whereas a bare majority support no timetable, which is down nine points from just late last year. The Democrats can rightly say that public opinion is moving their way on Iraq, and away from the GOP in Congress.