House Republican moderates, in a remarkably blunt White House meeting, warned President Bush this week that his pursuit of the war in Iraq is risking the future of the Republican Party and that he cannot count on GOP support for many more months.
The meeting, which ran for an hour and a half Tuesday afternoon, was disclosed by participants yesterday as the House prepared to vote this evening on a spending bill that could cut funding for the Iraq war as early as July. GOP moderates told Bush they would stay united against the latest effort by House Democrats to end U.S. involvement in the war. Even Senate Democrats called the House measure unrealistic.
But the meeting between 11 House Republicans, Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, White House political adviser Karl Rove and presidential press secretary Tony Snow was perhaps the clearest sign yet that patience in the party is running out.
The Repubs are gradually reaching the point where their own self-interest as a party and as candidates will give you enough votes to override a veto. At this rate it's only a matter of time before Bush gets his "Goldwater moment." Yesterday's meeting was a dress rehearsal.
So don't blow it now:
It's time to replace some conservative Democrats in Washington, DC. I just heard from an impeccable source that there is serious concern on the Hill that conservative Democrats in the House will vote with the Republicans to strip any and all restrictions from the Iraq supplemental tomorrow, effectively giving Bush all the money he wants with no restrictions and no effort to hold either him or the Iraq government accountable for anything. I.e., they will vote to continue this war along the same disastrous course because they're too afraid to challenge George Bush and his failed leadership.
Let me reiterate: This isn't some idle rumor. The concerns are coming from Hill sources themselves.
Yes, while the Republican leaders of the House and Senate are publicly claiming that they won't give Bush a blank check, they're maneuvering behind the scenes to do just that. And while Republican members of Congress are supposedly laying down the law for Bush in private meetings, on the House floor they're going to give Bush everything he wants and needs to continue the war indefinitely.
If that happens, then we need to hang this war, and hang every lost life and every wasted dollar, around the neck of every Republican and conservative Democrat who betrays our troops and our country tomorrow.
Yes, Arivosis is right: If this GOP gambit to peel off freshman Democratic votes works, those people should wear this war vote around their neck an albatross forever. But the point is that it shouldn't happen. Let's hope Pelosi is twisting arms until they come loose.
Come on, Dems--you're so close. Don't blow it now.