Gray Flannel Dwarf

10/12/2006

Out on a limb: Baker findings the GOP’s October Surprise?

So what do we have so far:

  • So that snotrag Newsmax tells us that Rove has assured Republicans of an “October Surprise

In the past week, Karl Rove has been promising Republican insiders an “October surprise” to help win the November congressional elections.

President Bush’s political strategist is also saying that the final two weeks before the elections will see a blitz of advertising, and the Republican National Committee is deploying an army of volunteers to key locations to help the grass-roots effort and monitor the elections.

The RNC is offering to fly in volunteers and cover their expenses.

Rove is not saying what the October surprise will be.

  • Then, we have James Baker, of all people, who heads up the Iraq Panel and is all over the news.
  • Next, we have conventional wisdom out there is that Bush will approve, at least in the release of its findings, whatever conclusion the committee comes to.

That’s not to say Bush is going to flip-flop on his belief that Iraq is central to the war on terror. It’s just that the political divisions at home, coupled with the mayhem in Iraq, have made changes necessary. Bet your last dollar that Baker will have Bush’s approval for his recommendations even before he makes them public.

  • And finally, today we find out the the Baker commission has pretty much ruled out any “victory” in the short term.

Instead, the commission is headed toward presenting President Bush with two clear policy choices that contradict his rhetoric of establishing democracy in Iraq. The more palatable of the two choices for the White House, “Stability First,” argues that the military should focus on stabilizing Baghdad while the American Embassy should work toward political accommodation with insurgents. The goal of nurturing a democracy in Iraq is dropped.

Anyone else see where I’m going with this? With Bush saying, as recently as this week, that we will keep troops in Iraq, “as long as I’m President”, this gives him an out. A change in course is can still be interpreted as “staying the course”, without any “cut and run”. To much cheers, applause, etc. Standing resolutely, then showing a bit of willingness to change — that’s a change of heart, right? Go soccer moms! It’s humility, right? Go evangelicals! At least, that’s what I’m thinking they’re hoping to convince American voters.

The Baker article above says that the committee won’t release its findings until after the November 7 elections. But leaks occur, inferences can be made, and postures can be construed.

Like I said — out on a limb. But we’ll see what comes of it.


Tags: , , , , — cswiii @ 2:24 pm

No mo’ Warner in 2008

So, Mark Warner won’t be running in 2008… when rumours of this first started coming out today, I joked that

  • Warner’s a moderate Democrat
  • He’s used to working with an otherwise divisive, Republican legislature

Therefore, he’s got such confidence that the Dems will regain the House and Senate that he wouldn’t know how to handle it!

As it turns out, he’s doing it to spend time w/ his family:

I have decided not to run for President.This past weekend, my family and I went to Connecticut to celebrate my Dad’s 81st birthday, and then we took my oldest daughter Madison to start looking at colleges.I know these moments are never going to come again. This weekend made clear what I’d been thinking about for many weeks—that while politically this appears to be the right time for me to take the plunge—at this point, I want to have a real life.

And while the chance may never come again, I shouldn’t move forward unless I’m willing to put everything else in my life on the back burner.

This has been a difficult decision, but for me, it’s the right decision.

Now, while that’s a statement that you normally hear from disgraced polticians who resign due to some scandal, Warner is neither a) currently in office nor b) a corrupt politician. In fact, he’s one of the most honest, down-to-earth figures I’ve seen.

So who’s left? Of the current leaders of the pack, I think they’re all seriously flawed. Edwards? A one-term Senator and failed VP candidate? No thanks… and certainly no Hillary! Kerry is said to be considering it again, and I might have to hold my nose and vote him again if he were to get the nod — although the Dems have a habit of eating their own, especially those who lose Presidential elections.

Once again — and even moreso — hoping that the Dems get smart and nominate Wes Clark. Doubt we’ll see it happen though.