Sunday, April 15, 2007

Real Improvements In 3 Months

Ah, a Republican revolt.

Bush expected at least a handful of Republican senators—critics like Chuck Hagel and George Voinovich—to run from a troop increase. But the White House was surprised when even pro-war senators, including Sam Brownback and Lisa Murkowski, came out against the plan. Other prominent senators, including Lott and John Warner, the senior Republican on the Armed Services Committee, have been quiet. They aren't bashing the idea, but they aren't promoting it either. Warner and Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, are contemplating a resolution to draw bipartisan support for the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group report.

Senior administration officials, who declined to speak on the record about private deliberations, say the president knows he has to show real improvements in Iraq within two or three months or risk losing even more GOP support. "All the talking points aren't going to make the difference," says a senior aide. "What matters is what happens ... on the streets and the neighborhoods of Baghdad."

A former senior Bush aide who is still close to the White House says if things don't improve, a delegation of Republican senators could one day show up in the Oval Office to tell Bush that the party is no longer with him and the war must end—much like Sen. William Fulbright's forcefully urging Lyndon Johnson to bring the Vietnam War to a close. (Last week Warner told NEWSWEEK he "wouldn't hesitate" to tell Bush if he came to believe Bush's policy was failing.) Bush's challenge isn't just to take control of Baghdad, but to win back control of his party. "Before this, the president's credibility was hanging by a thread," says the former aide. "After this, I don't know. It may be lost."

While the article is dated 1-22, it actually first hit the web 3 months ago today. While Republicans are still revolting, they have yet to revolt. Check back in another couple of Friedmans.