Thursday, May 10, 2007

Iraq and the GOP

Speaking of Iraq, a group of moderate House Republicans have warned President Bush that the Iraq war is deeply damaging the Republican Party, and he cannot count on support from that quarter for too much longer.

The meeting between 11 House Republicans, Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, White House political adviser Karl Rove and presidential press secretary Tony Snow was perhaps the clearest sign yet that patience in the party is running out. The meeting, organized by Rep. Charlie Dent (Pa.), one of the co-chairs of the moderate "Tuesday Group," included Reps. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), Michael N. Castle (Del.), Todd R. Platts (Pa.), Jim Ramstad (Minn.) and Jo Ann Emerson (Mo.)....

Davis, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, also presented Bush dismal polling figures to dramatize just how perilous the party's position is, participants said. Davis would not disclose details, saying the exchange was private. Others warned Bush that his personal credibility on the war is all but gone.

Ya think?

The one thing everyone seems united on -- including Senate Democrats and me -- is that the House war-funding bill, which only provides money through July, is a bad idea, doomed to yet another sustainable presidential veto. Let's hope the House and Senate versions pass quickly, and they toss out the bad stuff in conference committee. That would leave a bill that funds the war through September -- giving us time to assess the "surge" -- while providing timetables that the Iraqi government must meet. Get it passed and to the president's desk in the next two weeks. If he vetoes that, the blame is entirely on his head. Bush seems to recognize that, publicly agreeing to "negotiate" on benchmarks.

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