I've already heard at least one fright winger projecting blame saying, "Now they [meaning Dems] won't have any excuses for Iraq." But the fact of the matter is that W is still the Commander-in-Chief, and we have had nearly four full years of the W, Rove and Co. "war" in Iraq.
With two years left of what is commonly referred to as a "lame duck" congress and presidency, we will see as history unfolds before us if we end up better off then than we are now. Interestingly, every so often we get a waft of bi-partisanship that percolates hope that we may actually get a change of course. But, then again, maybe not.
Let's have a look at some fun snips from the last two days of press briefings and see what direction we, the people, are going to be lead around by the nose ring toward:
First, you have a cowboy for president who only believes that there is a mandate from the people when it supports his team:
Q Also, why does he think this mandate from the voters doesn't mean to pull out?Secondly, we have become a magnet to draw more terrorists to Iraq than were their in the first place:
MR. SNOW: Because I don't think that's a majority opinion. But furthermore --
Q You don't think so.
MR. SNOW: -- you know what, Helen, what he sees is, he was hired to be Commander-in-Chief, and it's his job to tend to national security. And he's willing -- and he's willing to take whatever political hits come if it means doing -- if he has to choose between doing his job properly and being popular, he's going to do the job properly to save American lives not only now, but for future generations, and also to make the Middle East a safer region and a more secure region, and one that is going to be more reliable, especially in terms of the ongoing battle and the conversation there about what is the proper way to proceed -- democracy or terror. And as you know --
Q Is every Iraqi a terrorist?And, we have an interesting development now that Rummy is toast. Did you know that by hiring Gates, the President has effectively compromised independence of the Baker driven Iraq Study Group:
MR. SNOW: No, absolutely not. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of Iraqis are people who want to breathe free.
Q Who brought the terrorists in, so called, and why wouldn't the Iraqis protect themselves against terrorists?
MR. SNOW: Well, Iraqis -- there are a number of things going on, Helen, and some people are terrorists, and you also have sectarian factions within Iraq. But one thing is clear, al Qaeda had made it its known desire to try to foment friction between factions within Iraq, and Prime Minister Maliki is doing his very best to work on creating peace and shared interest, economic and otherwise, in the political system and economic system, between all different groups in Iraq. That is the challenge of democracy, and it's one we're going to meet.
Q Can I follow one more on that? Is there anything to be made of the fact that a member of the Iraq Study Group is now the nominee to be the Secretary of Defense?We still have a "Commander-in-Chief" who is an ideolog not much unlike the fanatics leading the charge against us. Is he in denial that there is another, better way?
MR. SNOW: No.
Q Any coordination there at all?
MR. SNOW: No, and I'm glad you asked it. No. That's an important thing to note, because -- and I am told -- I was not party to the discussions -- that there was no conversation about conclusions or what the Iraq Study Group was going to come up with, this in the conversations with Bob Gates. The members of the Iraq Study Group --
Q He's never asked Bob Gates, so, what have you all been talking about?
MR. SNOW: I don't think so, and I'll tell you why. He's been very clear about the importance that that -- those deliberations and that advice remain confidential and independent. We've had this conversation before with regard to Jim Baker.
Don Rumsfeld is one of the most extraordinary Defense Secretaries in American history. He not only worked on the tough business of transformation within the Pentagon, he did so during a time of war, and did so with wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was in that office for six years, which may be six of the most trying years that any Defense Secretary has ever faced. And he did an exemplary job, and the President respects him and thanks him for the service...
Q What changed? What clicked, what changed? How did he get to this point from what seemed to be a very different point a couple months ago?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I think the President has great confidence in Don Rumsfeld, but also, again, it's Don Rumsfeld and the President talking about the need for fresh eyes. If you want me to give you interior deliberations, A, we don't do that, and, B, even if we did, I don't have the insights you want.
And what about John Bolton?
Q Do you consider the John Bolton nomination dead?
MR. SNOW: No. Think of it this way: I know a lot of people had positions and old views about John Bolton, but in the spirit of trying to take a fresh look at things and trying to be fair-minded, it's probably worth reviewing his record as United Nations Ambassador, which has been highly successful.
John Bolton, in his tenure at the United Nations, has shepherded through two U.N. Security Council resolutions with regard to North Korea. He has been working aggressively and actively with our allies on the issue of Iran. He has put together a U.N. Security Council resolution on Lebanon. And I think he has demonstrated an ability to work effectively with other members and other U.N. delegations to move forward and show a leadership role in important business.
So, again, the President believes that John Bolton has done an exemplary job, and if people fairly will examine his record -- his real accomplishments, his record at the United Nations -- that he not only will have earned confirmation, but will receive it.
But should we gather a glimmer of hope when Tony the Snow job says things like this?
Q Okay. And then my second question, in this new, sort of, spirit of bipartisanship, how will the President react if Democrats during the lame duck session try to block or do succeed in blocking the Bolton confirmation, or legislation, for instance, on the domestic wiretapping?
MR. SNOW: Well, again, I just think -- I think you owe it to everybody to see what happens in the lame duck. Rather than my giving you a reaction to something that hasn't happened, I will tell you what we hope happens, not only that John Bolton is confirmed, but -- look, what the President wants with the terrorist surveillance program is the ability, in a swift and effective manner, to be able to monitor conversations or communications between al Qaeda terror masters and al Qaeda members in the United States, or terrorists in the United States, especially fearing that if you have an ongoing operation, you're going to need the ability to move swiftly and effectively to get information and to move it into the hands of law enforcement or proper authorities. And --
Q Does the --
MR. SNOW: Well, I'll finish. And we believe the Democrats certainly would share that interest.
And, again, one of the things now is the Democrats are going to be sharing responsibility and they'll be able to share credit for getting these things done in the right way. So let's see what happens.
Of course, the GOP is going to try and ramrod whatever extreme legislation they can manage between now and Jan...
Q Back to the lame duck for a second, there are six weeks -- five weeks, or so, more that Republicans are still in the majority on the Hill. Does the President see this period as a time when he should be pushing things like the surveillance measure and the Bolton nomination --
MR. SNOW: Yes.