It isn’t unreasonable to have Congress call for some accounting from the White House on the status of Iraq, given the 150,000 troops currently deployed on a police mission there. It doesn’t have to be a net negative for Bush to come to the Senate to present his side of the story; as the events this past week have shown, the President can use that kind of platform to correct many distortions of his record and the state of the effort in Iraq. Given the frustration many in the GOP feel with the White House in communicating all the good that our intervention has created, it sounds like a very good idea indeed, one that might be cast as a long-overdue bullhorn.
While I’m sympathetic to Morrissey’s argument and his later defense that “in this hyperpartisan atmosphere, any attempt to find a middle ground looks like surrender,” the circumstances and actors in this Republican effort make it suspect. Leader Frist and Sen. John Warner have proven all too ready to preen for cameras even if that means conforming to conventional wisdom. If this were a genuine attempt at oversight, and not merely meeting the surrender halfway, the Warner amendment would have been presented independently of the Democratic one. Instead, we have Warner and Frist slipping their amendment, which reads like a cut-and-paste version of the Democrats’, into the record immediately before the Democrats act on theirs.