February 16, 2007


Bush Regains His Footing (David S. Broder, February 16, 2007, Washington Post)

[H]e is demonstrating political smarts that even his critics have to acknowledge.

His reaction to the planned House vote opposing the increase he ordered in U.S. troops deployed to Iraq illustrates the point. [...]

He did three things to diminish the impact of that impending defeat.

First, he argued that the House was at odds with the Senate, which had within the past month unanimously confirmed Gen. David H. Petraeus as the new commander in Iraq -- the man Bush said was the author of the surge strategy and the man who could make it work. Bush has made Petraeus his blocking back in this debate -- replacing Vice President Cheney, whose credibility is much lower.

Second, he minimized the stakes in the House debate by endorsing the good motives of his critics, rejecting the notion that their actions would damage U.S. troops' morale or embolden the enemy -- all by way of saying that the House vote was no big deal.

And third, by contrasting today's vote on a nonbinding resolution with the pending vote on funding the war in Iraq, he shifted the battleground to a fight he is likely to win -- and put the Democrats on the defensive. [...]

In other respects, too, Bush has been impressive in recent days.

You'd think Mr. Broder would have sense enough to hide his own surprise at a completely routine development.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2007 8:19 AM
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