Thursday, November 9, 2006

And Now, Iraq

The bitterly fought Congressional election was merely the prelude to the real showdown in Washington: the battle over the Iraq War. Now that the campaign is over, and Democrats have at least won the House, George W. Bush will face increasing criticism from newly empowered Democrats and Republicans no longer self-censored by party loyalty. And part of the at-home fight over Iraq could play out like a soap opera.

For months, pressure for change has been building on the White House. But the elections froze much of the debate. Congressional Republicans by and large stuck with Bush. Democrats, sensing the war was winning the elections for them, didn't feel compelled to compose and promote a detailed alternative. This status quo is no longer operative, as demonstrated by the quick departure of Donald Rumsfeld. Come January Democrats will have the power to investigate Administration policies. They'll be able hold hearings on previous mistakes and current White House decisions. But they'll be expected to do more than blame Bush; they'll have to present an alternative, despite being divided on what to do.

As Democrats struggle on this front, the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan commission chaired by former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, and former Representative Lee Hamilton, a Democrat, will be crafting a report assessing the situation in Iraq and proposing policy shifts. Weeks ago, Baker told me there are "no easy solutions," that the Administration had to "admit big mistakes were made" and that his commission would produce specific recommendations or a set of unambiguous alternatives. One option reportedly under consideration is a phased withdrawal of US troops. Another calls for stabilizing Baghdad while the US Embassy works for an accommodation with the insurgents.

Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has already dismissed the Baker report, perhaps prematurely because it could provide out-of-Iraq Democrats a degree of cover. The Baker-Hamilton report--should it advocate a version of disengagement--might well draw stark lines in the postelection debate. Days before the election, Dick Cheney vowed that the Administration would proceed "full speed ahead." But Baker has signaled that he believes a new strategic path is required. The question is, How kindly will Bush and Cheney take such advice?

Baker is the consigliere of the Bush the First clan. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he and Brent Scowcroft, the elder Bush's National Security Adviser, publicly cautioned against the war. Their remarks were interpreted as reflecting Bush Senior's concerns. Bush Junior eschewed the advice, and did what his father had not done: invade and occupy Iraq. Now here comes Baker to pull W.'s bacon out of the fire. But does Bush want to be rescued by a surrogate for his daddy? He might well reject Baker's ideas--which would be an act of family rebellion of global consequence. (But by replacing Rumsfeld with Robert Gates, who was CIA director for Bush Senior and who now serves on the Baker-Hamilton commission, Bush indicated he may not be beyond reach.)

Meanwhile, Republicans will have to choose sides in any family feud. "Before the election, we were hearing from Republican senators that after the campaign they wanted to figure out a bipartisan change of course," says a Senate Democratic staffer. These GOPers could rally around the Baker recommendations (with or without Democrats). Other Republicans could find it hard to cut and run from the President. And 2008 considerations will color calculations on both sides of the aisle.

The election is over; the war is not. With their new power, the Democrats will assume a greater responsibility to address the issue of what to do in Iraq. With diminished power, troubled Republicans will be more inclined to press the leader of their party. With the public, Congress and perhaps his father's crowd arrayed against him, Bush will be in one tight corner.


Pandemoniac said...

TNF wave III:

"Democrats are favored to win most races. As a matter of fact, the only Republican in Washington whose seat is safe is Lincoln."
--David Letterman

"The unemployment rate came out. It's down to 4.4 -- lowest in the world, which is good news for Republicans. That means after tomorrow, they'll be able to find jobs."
--Jay Leno

"Things aren't looking good for the Republicans tomorrow. Even Saddam Hussein said today, 'I wouldn't want to be in their shoes.'"
--Jay Leno

"Over the weekend, Saddam Hussein was sentenced to death. ... You know how they are going to do it? He's going to be forced to go hunting with Dick Cheney."
--David Letterman

"Yesterday in Iraq, after Saddam Hussein was found guilty, there was celebratory gunfire in the streets. Unfortunately, it couldn't be heard over the regular gunfire."
--Conan O'Brien

"Reverend Ted Haggard, president of the 30 million member National Association of Evangelicals, resigned his post this weekend after admitting to a three-year relationship with a gay hooker. Oh, and he also used and purchased crystal meth. Because if you're the head of a gay-hating organization and you're having a gay affair, why not go nuts?"
--Jon Stewart

"Haggard was exposed by a male escort named Mike Jones, who said he was troubled by the hypocrisy of Haggard's public support for a Colorado initiative to ban same-sex marriage. And you know you're in trouble when you've ceded the moral high ground to a drug-dealing prostitute."
--Jon Stewart

"Vice President Dick Cheney says he will spend election day tomorrow hunting. Hunting the most dangerous prey of all -- old men. This will be the vice president's first hunting trip since he shot his friend in the face since last February and its about time. The old man population is getting out of hand."
--Jimmy Kimmel

"It's astounding to me that this is the scandal. At the same time this week, George Bush said that Cheney and Rumsfeld are doing a fantastic job and that he is 'pleased with the progress we're making in Iraq.' I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I think we have another president with Alzheimer's disease."
--Bill Maher

"They say (Haggard) used church funds to pay for the male prostitute. That's like robbing Paul to pay for Peter."
--Jay Leno

"MSNBC is reporting that the average poll worker for this Tuesday's election will be 72, and that many seniors are not comfortable with computerized voting, which explains why the projected winner is expected to be Franklin Delano Roosevelt."
--Conan O'Brien

"In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is so confident of being re-elected that he's groping women again."
--David Letterman

Pandemoniac said...

OK. Last batch. TNF Republicans Suck edition:

Dan Rather, providing election an analysis on The Daily Show:
"She ran away with it like a hobo with a sweet potato pie."
--on Hillary Clinton's Senate victory

"I'd say as ugly as a hog lagoon after a bachelor party."
--on the Virginia Senate race

"If you ain't got the yolk, you can't emulsify the Hollandaise."
--on why Rep. Don Sherwood, the Peruvian mistress wife-strangler, didn't win

"I realized pretty early on that I was just a four-dollar gopher in a two-dollar pelt."
--on appearing on The Daily Show (Watch video clip)

"The people have spoken. And apparently they're tired of freedom. Don't get me wrong, I'm not angry, I'm just disappointed -- I thought this country would last longer than 230 years. That's it, folks, America's over. At this point we might as well just give it back to the goddamn Indians. We'll see how they deal with foreign enemies bent on their destruction. Here's your cake, terrorists, there you go, enjoy."
--Stephen Colbert

"Mmm ... tastes like surrender. ... You know what really gets me, Democrats didn't even win this thing, the Republicans lost it. They ran away from the president. 'Hey, the ship's in trouble, quick, let's drown the captain!' We were this close to Jesus coming back. And you Republicans that turned your back on the president are going to wander in the desert for the next two years. Literally, someone's going to have to replace those troops in Iraq."
--Stephen Colbert

"And don't think you're off the hook, voters, you're the ones who made this bed. Now you're the ones who are going to have to move over so a gay couple can sleep in it. Tomorrow you're all going to wake up in a brave new world, a world where the Constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones, created in a stem-cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning American flags. Where tax-and-spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio, and teach evolution to illegal immigrants. Oh, and everybody's high! You know what, I've had it! You people don't deserve a Republican majority. I quit."
--Stephen Colbert

"What a day for the Democrats. They've won the House of Representatives, they are poised to take the Senate as well, Donald Rumsfeld has resigned, and this just in, Dick Cheney came out as gay."
--Jon Stewart

"You know what GOP stands for? Going Out of Power."
--Jay Leno

"It's ironic because Republicans always wanted to appeal to minorities. Now they ARE one."
--Jay Leno

"Today, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld announced he's stepping down. Rumsfeld said, 'I made the decision after it became clear that I couldn't do my job effectively--and then I waited three years.'"
--Conan O'Brien

"Here in California, the voters overwhelmingly decided they do not want Arnold Schwarzenegger to ever make another movie."
--Jay Leno

"The only Republican now with a mandate is Congressman Mark Foley."
--Jay Leno

"Donald Rumsfeld has been let go. Insiders describe Rumsfeld's reaction as shocked and awed. How does that make Rumsfeld feel when George Bush tells you you're not competent enough?."
--Jay Leno

"There were many reports of problems with the voting machines yesterday, especially with touch-screen voting machines. In fact, in Congressman Mark Foley's district, some of the machines were touched inappropriately."
--Conan O'Brien

"Donald Rumsfeld has resigned and the new Secretary of Defense is a guy named Robert Gates. He's a close friend of the Bush family. Yeah, that always works out pretty well. Rumsfeld took it pretty well. He said he's eager now to move on to try and legalize torture in the private sector."
--David Letterman

"If the results hold up, George Allen will no longer be able to put the word senator in front of his name. He'll have to go back to his old title, 'Imperial wizard.' He was just two racial slurs away from winning."
--Jay Leno

And for those of us who are looking forward to 2008....

"Big, big win for the Democrats. Senator Hillary Clinton's overwhelming victory has fueled speculation that she will run for president in 2008. In other words, there was some good news for Republicans."
--Conan O'Brien

With that, I retire for the evening.

capt said...


Never a last batch!

Those are some of the best of the best.



erling krange said...

The Senate as well!!!!
But is'nt it so, that the President can vetoe any bill coming from the Congress, if the Democrats does'nt hold 2/3 majority?

erling krange said...

The Senate as well!!!!
But is'nt it so, that the President can vetoe any bill produced by the Concress, unless the Democrats hold 2/3 majority or more?

Saladin said...

Let's see, the dems know they were lied to about the war, they CLAIM they were misled, (bullshit) but they are still divided about what to do? How about this, GET THE TROOPS OUT NOW!! How many more thousands have to be slaughtered before they pull their heads out?? IDIOTS!

Saladin said...

PDA to Join National Groups to Announce Movement for Accountability and Impeachment
November 9, 2006, Philadelphia, PA

On Saturday, November 11, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just across from Independence Hall, where the U.S. Constitution was written and signed, Progressive Democrats of America will join a coalition of national organizations to announce plans to mobilize a movement to impeach President Bush
and Vice President Cheney. The mobilization will be called ImpeachForChange.

Speakers will include Elizabeth Holtzman, former Member of Congress, who served on the House panel that voted to impeach President Nixon, and author of "The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens", PDA National Board Member Cindy Sheehan, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace, PDA National Board Member David Swanson, Co-Founder of and Washington Director of, Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America and Co-Founder of, PDA National Board Member Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODE PINK Women for Peace; Bill Perry, Veterans for Peace; and Bob Fertik, President of and Representatives of other participating organizations will be present. Participating organizations include the National Organization for Women, the Hip Hop Caucus, Constitution Summer, and many of the 200 plus organizations in the After Downing Street Coalition.

The speakers will be followed by a discussion of impeachment by prominent bloggers, including Sally Hemings (Sally Hemings in Paris), Rob Kall (, Dave Lindorff(, Martin Longman (, Susie Madrik (Suburban Guerilla), Liza Sabater (Culture Kitchen), Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report), and Bob Fertik (

Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? 313303 responses

Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.

No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching "high crimes and misdemeanors."

No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.

I don't know.
Attention pelosi and all wishy-washy dems, WAKE UP! the people want action not rhetoric!

Saladin said...

Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?
Paul Craig Roberts
Friday, November 10, 2006

After the years of illegal war and the overnight destruction of civil liberties that were 800 years in their creation, the United States stands at a watershed. If the legislation that has been put on the books permitting spying on Americans without a court warrant, legalizing torture and self-incrimination, and repealing habeas corpus and the right to an attorney remains on the books, the United States will be a police state regardless of which party is in power.

If the Democrats are to make a real difference, their first task is to repeal the Orwellian-named "Patriot Acts," the torture legislation, the detention without court evidence legislation, and the right-to-spy and invade privacy without court warrant legislation. The White House tyrant needs to be quickly told that one more "signing statement" and he will be impeached, convicted, and turned over to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague.

The notion that Americans can be protected from "terror" by giving up the Bill of Rights is absurd. Democrats are complicit in this absurd notion. Many were intimidated into voting for police state legislation, because they lacked the intestinal fortitude to call police state legislation by its own name. The legislation that has been passed during the Bush regime is far more dangerous to Americans than Muslim terrorists.

Indeed, the prime cause of Muslim terrorism is the US interference in the internal affairs of Muslim countries and America's one-sided stance in favor of Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. When Jimmy Carter was president, his even-handed approach made the US respected throughout the Muslim world. 9/11, if it was actually an act of Muslim terrorism, was the direct consequence of US one-sided meddling in Middle Eastern affairs.

When, and only when, the Democrats have erased the Bush administration's police state legislation from the books, thus restoring the Constitution, they should clear the air on two other issues of major importance. The Democrats must convene a commission of independent experts to investigate 9/11. The 9/11 Commission Report has too many problems and shortcomings to be believable...
What a coincidence, that's exactly what I said a few days ago! If the dems do not take the necessary steps to repeal this police state bullshit they are no better than bushco. This is not open for discussion, it must be priority one.

O'Reilly said...

Wouldn't it be great if the Dems prove themselves just as reprehesible as the Repugs (snark). We'd sure have a lot to gripe about (snark).

How about we watch and listen to the course of action taken by the Democratic majority and then comment on it?

'Jaded' demonstrates a profound lack of hope and I'm not ready to give mine up.

capt said...

"Will the Democrats Become Part of the Problem?"

There are more than a few DINO's that are a big part of the problem.

Of course that goes without saying.

Frankly I have never thought it was a good idea to have one party rule. Either party. I would welcome some gridlock before more bad or poorly written BS (Patriot Act) laws are passed.


capt said...

Does Father Know Best?

The making of American foreign policy – a sitcom in two acts


"Defeat is not an option" – that's the operative principle shared by all the major Washington factions, from neocon to realist. Whatever the arguments were for or against the invasion of Iraq, that debate is now water under the bridge, and the question is: what now?

It's all so self-consciously hardheaded and "realistic" – yet it doesn't take into consideration the underlying reality of the American occupation: we've already lost. Defeat is not optional – it is already in the past. The only question now is how we will engineer an orderly retreat.

This administration and its rapidly shrinking cheering section in the neoconservative media have been babbling on about "victory" without bothering to define what that might mean. The creation of a Jeffersonian republic in Mesopotamia? The end of sectarian killing? A unified nation? The formal surrender of the insurgents followed by the installation of a Starbucks in every town? "Victory" is elusive precisely because it cannot be defined, but defeat – ah, defeat! – we know what that looks like.


*****end of clip*****

I just wish they would bring our troops home.


capt said...

One thing I have only heard mentioned once or twice is the effect the election has on how America is seen by other countries.

That might be the best things to come from the congress that has not even been sworn in yet.


capt said...

A new post/thread.

Includes "And Now, Iraq" with a whole bunch more!