The GOP's Choice: Bush Or Survival
We've said it around here before, and the Los Angeles Times runs a piece today that concludes the damage Bush has done to the GOP nationally has likely crippling repercussions in 2008.
President Bush's unpopularity and a string of political setbacks have created a toxic climate for the Republican Party, making it harder to raise money and recruit candidates for its drive to retake control of Congress.
Some of the GOP's top choices to run for the House next year have declined, citing what Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-Va.) called a "poisonous" environment. And Republicans' fundraising edge, an important advantage over the last five years, has dwindled.
Yet these GOP incumbents will still stick with Bush a while longer on Iraq, even though they know what the real game is: Bush rejects any appearance that Congress is telling him what to do, and simply wants to run the clock out and dump a mass exit on his successor.
Yes, there will be a deal this week after the veto whereby the Democratic leadership will remove the withdrawal dates from the funding bill, to be replaced with meaningless political benchmarks on the Iraqis. Bush will save face and sign a bill without any military timelines in it, which is all that the GOP leadership wants: something to save face for Bush. But this compromise only puts off the political Armageddon for the White House when the 2008 defense budget bill comes up this fall. Already, we can see the outlines of this “four-corners stall” tactic being put into place.
Petraeus will issue a report that says the surge is only working somewhat because the Iraqis are doing sh*t to implement a political solution. Bush will take this and say we need another Friedman before doing anything substantively different, and point to questionable evidence of success against Al Qaeda even as things unravel in intra-sectarian power plays elsewhere. He’ll ignore the fact that his hand-holding buddies have been working to undermine the al-Maliki government all along, but keep insisting that we must stay until after he leaves office to fight an Al Qaeda enemy that he failed to snuff out years ago.
And then it will be up to the national Republican Party to decide what is more important: its own political future or George W. Bush’s manhood.