"To pretend the war is resolving itself nicely is no longer an option"As even conservatives are realizing that the neo-cons are madmen divorced from reality Congressional Republicans are realizing that all is not well in George W. Bush's Mesopotamian quagmire, or at least they have figured out the voters are no longer buying the administration happy talk.
~Rep. Charles W. Dent, Republican, (Pa.)
Rank-and file Republicans who once adamantly backed the administration on the war are moving to a two-stage new message, according to some lawmakers. First, Republicans are making it clear to constituents they do not agree with every decision the president has made on Iraq. Then they boil the argument down to two choices: staying and fighting or conceding defeat to a vicious enemy.And one representative who had a healthy dose of reality is Rep. Gil Gutknecht (Minn.).
The shift is subtle, but Republican lawmakers acknowledge that it is no longer tenable to say the news media are ignoring the good news in Iraq and painting an unfair picture of the war. In the first half of this year, 4,338 Iraqi civilians died violent deaths, according to a new report by the U.N. Assistance Mission for Iraq. Last month alone, 3,149 civilians were killed -- an average of more than 100 a day.
"It's like after Katrina, when the secretary of homeland security was saying all those people weren't really stranded when we were all watching it on TV," said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.). "I still hear about that. We can't look like we won't face reality."
Rep. Gil Gutknecht (Minn.), once a strong supporter of the war, returned from Iraq this week declaring that conditions in Baghdad were far worse "than we'd been led to believe" and urging that troop withdrawals begin immediately.Bad news for Lieberman?
Republicans and some conservative Democrats who have backed the president's call to stay the course are finding it increasingly difficult to square their generally optimistic rhetoric with the grim situation on the ground in Baghdad and other cities.The neo-cons got the chance remake the world and as many predicted have made a real mess of it and reduced the influence of the United States in the process.