THE SECOND TIME AS FARCE
I like today's Frank Rich column on the Iraq War, but I'm not sure I agree with this:
As [retired Army General William] General Odom says, the endgame will start "when a senior senator from the president's party says no," much as William Fulbright did to L.B.J. during Vietnam. That's why in Washington this fall, eyes will turn once again to John Warner, the senior Republican with the clout to give political cover to other members of his party who want to leave Iraq before they're forced to evacuate Congress. In September, it will be nearly a year since Mr. Warner said that Iraq was "drifting sideways" and that action would have to be taken "if this level of violence is not under control and this government able to function."
...Without him, the Democrats don't have the votes to force the president's hand. With him, it's a slam dunk.
Is it? I seem to recall that it was a "slam dunk" that Alberto Gonzales would have to resign, given how many people in Washington, Republicans as well as Democrats, had turned against him. I seem to recall that it was a "slam dunk" that Bush would follow the recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton group.
That's how things used to work, when we had presidents who gave a damn what other people thought.
If Warner flips, Limbaugh and Fox News and the rest of the end-timers will attack him as a senile old coot who used to be married to that wacko child molester's pal Liz Taylor. It's going to get very, very ugly.
And Republicans members of Congress who are waiting for Warner's imprimatur before they'll switch sides are clearly too weak-willed to resist the inevitable intense White House pressure to persuade them not to follow in Warner's footsteps. This is going to be a goal-line stand for the White House -- they can't win the war, but I'm sure they really think they can win the war to keep the war going until Bush is back in Texas. I hope I'm wrong about this, but I'm afraid they're right.