Gaffe of the Year--so far ...

A mostly political Weblog.
Feb. 12 2007 7:14 AM

Gaffe of the Year

Plus--Radar's blind spot.

(Continued from Page 7)

I am a little disappointed in the way he's opposed it.  Not just the level of emotionalism ... [snip] ... but what really disappoints me is, what I've hear, his failure to kind of articulate really solid logic for being sure this is going to fail ... [E.A.]

Don't look at me!   I didn't say it. 2:50 A.M.

Hon. Loretta Sanchez has quit the House Hispanic Caucus, claiming its chairman called her a "whore." A shocking affront to Congressional dignity! ... Wait. ... Loretta Sanchez ... Loretta Sanchez ... wasn't she the distinguished lawmaker who sent out a Christmas card showing her ... er, cat on fire? I think she was!  ... P.S.:Wonkette is on the case, sort of. But instead of the scandalous flaming "cat" card they chose one with a modest surfing theme! ... 2:32 A.M.

Cynic's Scorecard: 7 Outs and Counting: Are Senators who vote for the Warner anti-surge resolution taking any political risk, or are they just protecting themselves against anti-war sentiment? Inother words, on the off chance that the surge works, would they be embarrassed? Bob Wright says yes. But Senators in this situation have been known to leave themselves escape hatches.

The fewer escape hatches, of course, the greater the political consequences of getting it wrong, and the more support for the anti-surge resolution should actually reflect a senator's judgment that the chances of an embarrassing surge success are small. The more escape hatches, the more the Warner resolution seems simply a convenient way for pols to hedge their bets against any outcome:

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After reading Senator Warner's resolution, I'm reinforced in my suspicion that the bet-hedging scenario is a plausible description of what's really going on.

The resolution says, in the first of 12 clauses::

(1) the Senate disagrees with the "plan" to augment our forces by 21,500, and urges the President instead to consider all options and alternatives for achieving the strategic goals set forth below;

Now, I'm not very imaginative, but I can think of at least seven "outs" a Senator who votes for Warner's resolution could try to use if the surge is ultimately judged beneficial: 1) 'I wanted more troops than the 21,500!' I strongly believe we shouldn't risk troops unless we have an overwhelming force advantage;' 2)  'We were trying to get the attention of this president, to change course. I didn't agree with all the provisions in the resolution.' Oh wait. Hillary's already said that3) I just wanted the president to consider all options and alternatives;' 4) Under my alternative plan, we could have acheived the same result without putting that many extra American soldiers at risk (e.g., 'We could have done the job with 20,500 troops!');  5) Gen. Petraeus is a genius; he took a flawed policy and somehow made it work;  6) 'The plan they actually implemented wasn't the plan we condemned--in the wake of the resolution, I think you'll see they modified the plan, which made it work much better; 7) 'The resolution itself was what scared the Iraqi government and made the plan work, so I actually take some credit for its success.' ...

I'm sure more experiences politicos can come up with other, better, 'outs,' ** The most important "out," of course, is this: Should Bush's surge happen to succeed, angry voters aren't very likely to run around punishing politicians who voiced doubts (especially since most voters harbored those same doubts). Voters just won't be riled up the way they'll be if the surge fails. They'll base their vote on other issues (e.g., health care, taxes). Isn't the rational course for a self-protective Senator, then, to err on the side of pessimism and vote as if the surge had a lower chance of success than you actually think it does (or than you would think it does if you actually analyzed it fully)? ...

**--Update: Anti-surgers could  always "huff, snort, nit-pick" about the inevitable "messy details," suggests Victor Davis Hanson--though I imagine that would be easier for previously antiwar Dems than previously prowar GOPs. [Via Insta]...  2:12 A.M.

Thursday, February 1, 2007

You were supposed to clear the decks for me, dammit! Hillary Clinton hasn't gotten nearly enough grief for declaring, of the Iraq War:

"The President has said this is going to be left to his successor. I think it's the height of irresponsibility, and I really resent it. ... This was his decision to go to war; he went with an ill-conceived plan, an incompetently executed strategy, and we should expect him to extricate our country from this before he leaves office." [E.A.]

Imagine if Eisenhower had said that about Korea. This is the presidency, not a dream date! Presidents are supposed to deal with the problems the face.  JPod riffs, Lee Harris ruminates ... P.S.: Hillary's "evil men" joke  was funny, though. ... 11:21 A.M.