The delegation of 11 moderate House Republicans told Mr Bush on Tuesday that unless significant progress is made in Iraq by September — when General David Petraeus, the ground commander, delivers a progress report to Congress — they would desert him. Their warning was the clearest sign yet that although most conservatives still back the President’s surge plan, patience inside the Republican Party over Iraq is wearing thin.Instead of treating these Congressmen as comrades in arms, Bush decided to lecture them on how important it was to have victory in Iraq, as though they were small, slightly retarded children. When news of the meeting became public, the White House and its allies berated the members involved.
Bush has never felt any inclination to include Congress in war plans, even his own partisans. He lets them vent (in private), humiliates them in public, then he sends them off to rubber stamp whatever policy his brilliant staff have come up with.
In virtually all instances, the "moderates" have capitulated, and this case is no different.
All of the 11 who came to him Tuesday voted to strip timelines out of the Iraq war funding bill, and voted against including benchmarks with any teeth. They may insist that September is a drop-dead date for support, but they've given the president no reason to take them seriously.
Which reminded me of Grover Norquist's old quote about fixing the Democrats:
"Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant. But when they've been 'fixed,' then they are happy and sedate. They are contented and cheerful."Norquist, Rove and Bush have effectively "fixed" the Republican party, and the party went smiling all the way.