President Bush expressed frustration on Tuesday with the congressional debate on Iraq war spending and accused majority-party Democrats of being "more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than providing our troops what they need."
See, here's the thing; congress provided funding for the war. It's the president who's 'fighting political battles in Washington,' rather than 'providing our troops what they need.' The funding's there, all Bush has to do is sign on.
Of course, he has no intention of doing that. And, by vetoing the war bill, he effectively withholds the funding he claims is essential. Way to undermine your case, Mr. President.
This is a tremendous misstep on the part of the Commander in Chief and his team. I suppose strategic blunders from Tean Bush should be no surprise at this point, but saying he can't possibly do the wrong thing every time is just playing the odds -- he has to hit a pitch eventually.
But this isn't that eventual hit. By accusing Democrats of withholding funding for war in Iraq, he frees them up to do just that. Democrats find themselves with two possible outcomes. Either the public sees things Bush's way -- in which case they lose absolutely nothing by going ahead and doing what they're accused of -- or they see reality. In the latter case, the public is already on the Dem's side (and 2006 would suggest that's the case). If you're damned if you do and damned if you don't, you might as well do it.
In fact, Bush's pigheadedness has achieved what it always achieves -- an escalation. Not only are Dems not backing down, they're ratcheting up resistance to Bush policy. AP again:
The president's remarks come one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who previously has stopped short of saying he would support measures to cut off funds, announced he would try to eliminate money for the war if Bush rejects Congress' proposal to set a deadline to end combat.
"If the president vetoes the supplemental appropriations bill and continues to resist changing course in Iraq, I will work to ensure this legislation receives a vote in the Senate in the next work period," Reid said in a statement.
Reid has indicated that he'll sign onto a Feingold bill cutting funding altogether. "I am delighted to be working with the Majority Leader to bring our involvement in the Iraq war to an end," Sen. Russ Feingold said in a statement. "Congress has a responsibility to end a war that is opposed by the American people and is undermining our national security. By ending funding for the President’s failed Iraq policy, our bill requires the President to safely redeploy our troops from Iraq."
Feingold has it right when he says the war 'is opposed by the American people' -- which is why the road Bush is leading Republicans down is a political loser. If Bush vetoes this bill, there will be another and another and another. And each time they're brought to the floor, Republicans will be forced to either vote against them or admit that this war's gone on for far too long. Each vote against one of these antiwar bills will be a vote in favor of a war that's extremely unpopular with voters. Bush is digging a congressional grave for his party.
Frankly, it's about the first thing he's ever done that actually serves the nation well.
Technorati tags: politics; peace; Russ Feingold; Harry Reid; when Bush vetoes funding for war in Iraq, he'll be killing the 2008 election prospects for republican in Congress