Sunday, November 12, 2006

Not defeated yet...

I, too, have been very nervous about the situation in Congress come January.

Without a doubt, there is going to be a lot more pressure to pull out of Iraq before the job is done. But I do not share the view held by my partner on this blog that things are lost. It is a lot more likely than it would have been had the GOP held control of at least one ouse of Congress, but all is not lost. In the Senate, there is a firewall - Lieberman makes any vote to cut and run 50-50, and there are Democrats who will face tough re-election races (Pryor in Arkansas, Landrieu in Louisiana and Johnson in South Dakota come to mind). Ben Nelson also doesn't strike me as the type of person who can afford being seen as cut-and-run, either.

That means there are Democrats who can be peeled off. The same is true in the House as well. Not all of the Democrats are Pelosi clones - and a fair number of them are in district where "Pelosi-[fill in the blank]" ads could send them into retirement after one term. Already, Pelosi is not going to rock the boat on China. Business groups have been roundly insulted by social conservatives in the immigration debate. Pelosi is going to try not to upset them, lest they decide to oppose the Democrats.

Bush doesn't strike me as someone who will back down. And in this, I will conclude with some comments by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in The Weekly Standard:
There is a lot of easy talk of how a victory strategy in Iraq has been rendered impossible by Tuesday's elections. This is nonsense. First of all, victory in Iraq is a national priority, and to abandon it because of a loss of House and Senate seats would be irresponsible. But it is also the case that the loss of seats was in great measure due to a lack of confidence that Bush had a strategy for victory in Iraq, not a belief that he wasn't exiting fast enough. If the president makes clear that he is serious about victory, and has a strategy for attaining it, he will have the support he needs in order to do what is necessary to turn things around in Iraq.
The next two years will be a hell of a fight for our country's future - it will be a distraction that will mean we fact a higher risk of being hit in the future, but the war has not been lost yet.

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