Nancy Pelosi Revives Republican Optimism

President Bush famously doesn’t much care what other people think of him. He figures future historians will judge his presidency better than the current crop of pundits and he is right. But we live in the present, not in the future, so I am glad that Democratic overreach seems finally to have prodded him to work on the image today.

What I am referring to, of course, is the recent Democratic calls to pull out of Iraq. For too long, the President let the Dems have their way - actually both ways. They could sit in the middle of the road, criticizing the Bush policy in Iraq and blandly offering assurances that they could do better. Meanwhile the radical Dems mostly outside government excoriated the President, calling him a war criminal, torturer, fool and worse. Most Dems are responsible people who want to do right by their country. They know precipitous withdrawal would be a disaster for the United States and the civilized world.

Responsible Democrats agree with the President that U.S. troops should stay as long as necessary, but no longer. But they are also politicians and the terms of the debate gave them the luxury of implying to left side that they would move on out of Iraq soon while knowing that was not an option (Talk left; do right.) They faced backwards with their Bush lied myth and let him feel the heat for moving forward.

Murtha soured this sweet deal. Although he ended up getting minuscule support from official Democrats, he energized the radical wing (including many bloggers) that seemed truly to believe their own rhetoric that Iraq is a "Republican war" entered into on false pretenses. They really do think the war was lost and want to get out right away. All they needed was someone to show the open door. They thought they found an ideal spokesman in gruff, honest and plainspoken Murtha - and they were right. Thank God for Nancy Pelosi. She jumped on the withdrawal wagon and spoiled the ride. Republicans couldn't ask more (well maybe Barbara Boxer could ride shotgun). Her persona exudes that aging hippy impractical ideology we so love to face and defeat.

If Polosi is the face of defeat, most Democrats don't like what they see. Responsible Dems are jumping off as Pelosi's perdition express makes the left lane unsafe at any speed. It gets better. The President and his team finally realize that they can't wait for historical vindication and must explain now why we are in Iraq, the stakes and prospects. If recent events forced the President's hand, it was overdue. We can also expect a more bipartisan effort as leading Dems have to reveal their true positions.

I want to see the President and his surrogates more aggressively explain what is happening in Iraq. There is bad news. I think the American people can handle it. There is also a lot of good news and the American people deserve to know it. I would also like to see him take a page from Clinton's playbook and talk up the economy. With the wonderful growth since the targeted tax cuts (more than 4% per quarter average) and the low and dropping unemployment (215,000 new jobs in November) there is a lot be positive about.

It is past time that perceptions started to match reality. The ice is cracking. Here comes the sun.

Posted by Jack at December 2, 2005 3:14 PM