Bush, Cheney and Rove are exhibiting their usual adroit rhetorical abilities and dancing rings around the Democratic opposition with their public comments about Iraq.
They accuse the Democrats of using the war issue for politics by sending a bill for the President to sign that is loaded down with pork issues and a non-binding deadline for troop withdrawal in Iraq. Nevermind that every bill the previously Republican controlled Congress was also full of extra pork issues. And that the public support for the war is eroding.
I can’t believe the Democrats can’t seem to get hold of this issue more clearly. This Republican war has been driven by political considerations from its inception. Yet the message from Bush and Rove (who are definitely on the ropes in terms of their weakening political stanceÂ in terms of the popularity of the war, the many corruption scandals of their administration) remains skillfully framed to win the rhetoric war.
If Bush vetos this current funding bill, I think it will come back to haunt him in future debates. On the other hand, I believe that Bush, Rove and Cheney are more clearly idealogues than the Democrats. They share the vision of their more conservative base and are able to articulate it in phrases that sound much more coherent and reasonable than most Democrats.
Pelosi’s recent comments come the closest to clearly stating the opposition to the war when she says it is an ethical issue, and for the President to try to make it a political issue is beneath the dignity of his office.
Iraq continues to be a disaster (death toll is still out of control and now we are going to build a wall in Baghdad that neither the Shiites or the Sunnis want) and still the Bush team insists on taking the rhetorical position that we are in the early stages of succeeding. I can only hope this will be their political undoing and America will move a bit more toward the center of the political spectrum.