Monday, October 09, 2006

Partisan? Non-partisan? Slip-up? Deliberate?

The Iraq Study Group, co-chaired by James E. Baker (of Bush I fame), is back in the news via an article in the New York Times today. A reminder, this Group was formed last spring, as a bipartisan group, to reassess "strategy" for Mr. Bush. The group, in order not to influence the election debate, will release its report in early 2007, and members are attempting to come up with a consensus report.

That's good, on the face of it. However, the NYT story contains a troubling comment from Mr. Baker: "I think it's fair to say our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate, of 'stay the course' and 'cut and run.'"

That's also good, except there is a teensy partisan problem in this "bipartisan" effort's co-chairman's point.

The problem is the use of cut and run as an "alternative" in the "political debate."

Mr. Baker has fallen into the easy use of the Republican National Committee's talking points. "Stay the course" and "cut and run" are both phrases thrown around by political operatives in the media who are interested in furthering Republican causes. "Stay the course" has the advantageous characteristic of the old "Damn the torpedoes" school of warfare, and somehow stirs the soul. "Cut and run" seems cowardly.

Of course, the perniciousness of the phrase is that those who are urging the President and the Administration to pay attention to the failure of the current course of waging this war do not advocate "cut and run." That is totally a fiction of the Republican media hacks.

There is not a single Democrat of responsibility who urges anything like "cut and run."

One has to trust one's leaders. Mr. Bush and Co. have made that difficult to do. Mr. Baker, who has some modicum of integrity, if somewhat tarnished by his participation in the villainy of "Florida 2000," might have not meant anything by his casual use of the phrase, but he did use it, and Republican functionaries will seize on it and and repeat it to further their justification for continued power.

Independents and marginal party voters will once again have the "cut and run" implanted into their subconscious thinking, and the bipartisan nature of the Iraq Study Group is called into question--especially since the group's report, as stated above, is being withheld until after November 7.

The perfidy of the current Administration and its apparatchiks is pervasive, and even traps one of its "elder" statesmen.

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