Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Forcing the Surge

Greg Sargent at TPM Election has a post on how dopehead GOP Reps. John Shadegg and Peter Hoekstra wrote a letter telling Republican congressmen to avoid defending the “surge” in Congress, but to focus instead on the threat posed by radical Islamists (how original).  And it’s just too hilarious that this kind of thing got out.  After all, there’s no better way to undermine your argument than to have a memo leak-out that shows that you didn’t even want to make it in the first place.

And my god are these guys dumb.  I mean sure, there are probably quite a few congressmen quite relieved to be given marching orders of any kind, as they’re just not good at handling this stuff on their own.  But there’s got to be at least a few Republican Congressmen and staffers who really do believe in this shit.  They believe in the surge and the rightness of what America’s doing in Iraq, and for Shadegg and Hoekstra to insist that these are indefensible ideas that are traps set by the Democrats has got to sting.  

Democrats could have said this stuff until they were blue in the face and these rightwingers would have called them anti-American.  But to have a trickster-sounding memo from two Republican congressmen insist that the surge-debate is a sure loser for them; that’s got to hurt.  Republicans didn’t use to make these kinds of mistakes.

Baby Steps

The other point I wanted to make is how shallow these people are, and how they think we’re just like them.  I quote:
Democrats want to force us to focus on defending the surge, making the case that it will work and explaining why the President's new Iraq policy is different from prior efforts and therefore justified.

Is that really why the Dems are doing this?  To make the Republicans defend it?  I thought they were doing it because they opposed the surge.  Or to take things more broadly, that they opposed Bush’s War.  Or if you wanted to be cynical, that they want Bush’s War to be lost so they can pin it on the GOP forever.

But even at its most cynical, this isn’t about forcing the Republicans to defend anything.  I don’t know about you, but I’d be perfectly happy if Republicans embraced an anti-surge position.  Screw the non-binding resolution; I’ll gladly let them stop the surge right now.  Or the whole war, for that matter.  And they can keep the credit for themselves  And if they got around to helping us impeach Bush and Cheney, I might even consider voting for them some day.

Because for as much as congressional Dems are playing a game, it’s a game to stop Bush’s dangerous actions.  And it’s a game that Republicans are forcing us to play.  It’d be best if we could outright stop Bush’s war, but that’s just not how the deck is stacked right now.  While things are clearly swinging to our side, it’s still necessary to take baby steps with this stuff.  Nixon wasn’t toppled in a day, and it’s often best to slowly build your support than to assume you’ve got it and be wrong.

But again, this isn’t about the debate or making Republicans look stupid.  And we certainly don’t want them defending the surge.  That’s the way they play things.  Those are their games.  They’re the ones who will rewrite any bill until it becomes unpalatable to most Democrats.  They’re the ones who make phony rhetorical arguments to trap their opponents into defending bad positions.  That’s how they did so well in the past, and why all hell has finally caught up with them.  

And we’re the ones who want to finally bring all that to an end. Because that’s what this is about.  We’re not doing this for the sake of cheap political theater.  We’re trying to save America.  And that’s clearly something that Republicans have shown themselves incapable of doing.


whig said...

I am satisfied as long as forward progress is being made with as much effort and practical objective as possible.

Dan said...

As usual with conservatives: Honi Soit Qui Mal Pense. "Evil him who evil thinks."

Tolkien discusses this in the Lord of the Rings. Gandalf remarks that Sauron is unable to comprehend the strategy of his enemies because lacking in virtues like mercy or compassion, he cannot comprehend his foes having them either, and thus miscalculates their intent.

There's a hopeful lesson in that, suggesting maybe some advantage to the high road, while usually the fight goes to the guy willing to kick the other in the nuts, perhaps knowing you're fighting that guy, you can surprise him by doing something other than try and kick him in the nuts.

Look how I reduced Tolkien's wisdom to nut-kicking. A thing of beauty.

Dan said...

Tolkien discussing this phenomena:

"The treacherous are ever distrustful" (said by Gandalf, of Saruman who assumes Gandalf only wants power)

" crooked eyes truth may wear a wry face." (also by Gandalf, of Theoden who has been twisted by Saruman and is incapable of seeing who his friends really are)

It comes up in every left/right equivalancy myth. Every bill or move by Democrats is assumed to be for the worst possible motives, because, for them doing the same, it would be for those motives, so they naturally assume that's why Democrats do things too.