Sunday, November 20, 2005


Losing China In Iraq?

A DC Republican writes:
Bush's trip to the Far East has been a complete waste, and history will prove it to be a complete disaster. He needed this trip to be presidential and this White House has totally misplayed it. The fact they felt the need to send Rumsfeld out to all the [Sunday] talk shows to clearly step on what should have been the Adminstration's message (China rising and our response) clearly shows this Administration has lost complete control of events. Congress (more specifically the 2006 Congressional elections and the half dozen '08 Presidential hopefuls that reside within Congress) now is the clear dynamo driving events, actions and messages.

Bush needs to regain the agenda soon, or (and this would be truly ironic) the Adminstration hell bent on restoring this nation to a strong executive branch will end up weakening it even further.
Bush's statement Sunday, I would add, praising John Murtha essentially confirms the point:
"Congressman Murtha is a fine man, a good man who served our country with honor and distinction as a Marine in Vietnam and as a U.S. congressman," Bush said.

He did not repeat the White House accusation that Murtha was from the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic Party like Moore, the "Fahrenheit 9/11" filmmaker who is a liberal celebrity loathed by American conservatives.

"I know that the decision to call for an immediate withdrawal of our troops by congressman Murtha was done in a careful and thoughtful way. I disagree with his position," Bush said.
Yes, the president gets to play "good cop," compared to the harsh comments congressional Republicans -- and, ahem, the White House press office -- delivered to Murtha last week. However, anyone seeing this on television had to be jarred: With Chinese characters clearly seen in the backdrop, the president seemingly tries to play peacemaker in addressing a political firestorm taking place in the halls of Congress back home.

This should have been a time for him to discuss the impact of whatever discussions he had had with Chinese Premier Hu Jintao. Instead, the time -- and the headlines -- are taken by Iraq policy and the impact they are having on domestic politics.

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