Justice For The GOP
What should pain Republicans most--and President George W. Bush most of all--is that they deserved everything they got in the mid-term elections, and more.
As I wrote in October 2005, President Bush lost his claim on conservative voters long ago. As I said in the spring of 2004, President Bush owed it to the troops to fire Don Rumsfeld. And as I've said repeatedly to anyone who will listen, this President has committed the unforgivable sin of sending American soldiers into battle without his commitment to their victory.
From letting George Tenet keep his job at the CIA to keeping the disastrous military leadership that repeatedly got Iraq wrong, President Bush has proven that other considerations were more important to him than victory.
Well, Mr. President, you've gotten your wish at the ballot box and in the streets of Iraq: Something other than victory.
And watching you fire Don Rumsfeld AFTER the Democrats took Congress only makes my point. If you were as committed to military victory as you are to political victory, this would have happened long ago. It didn't, and now both battles have been lost.
This election, from Congress to county clerk, was about Iraq. Sorry, Speaker Pelosi, but you're wrong. It wasn't about the economy, health care, corruption, Mark Foley, blah, blah, blah. And given that the Democrats have no plan and no clue what to do about Iraq either, it's not surprise they're already trying to change the subject.
Well, the voters have made a point and they've made it clearly: If you go to war and don't win, the American people are going to punish you for it.
And they should.
Some congressmen are whining that they're being unfairly held responsible for Bush's mistakes in Iraq. Sorry, guys, but you deserve everything you're getting, too.
Think of how differently this election could have gone if 100 Republican congressmen had lined up on the steps of the Capitol after the second invasion of Fallujah and demanded Don Rumsfeld's head. If the GOP had threatened appropriations for the military unless serious changes were made at the top, think of what the message could have been in this election: "We know there are problems, we know the war isn't being fought the right way, but we're not here to 'cut and run,' we are here to 'fight and win!'"
The same is true of President Bush. If he had followed the example of Lincoln and littered the Pentagon with the heads of generals and politicos, the Republicans would have held the Congress. But more importantly, we could be winning the war in Iraq. We could be carving a place in the Middle East where a modern vision of Islam could thrive.
Instead, the people of Iraq are losing, the cause of democracy is losing, the battle against the Islamists is being lost, and the lives of American soldiers are being lost.
So forgive me if I don't shed even one tear for the lost careers of a few hack politicians or the agenda of a president who has gotten the big issues so very, very wrong.
In war, there is no substitute for victory. Not even Karl Rove's amazing GOP turnout machine.