By a two-to-one margin (or nearly so), Americans think George W. Bush is doing a lousy job in Iraq. Nearly two-thirds of them say both that Bush has the wrong ideas about how to conduct the war, and think that setting a timetable for pulling out would be a good idea.
Congress, never a terribly popular institution of our government, is nevertheless polling 10 points higher in approval ratings than the pretzelnit is. Both houses of Congress have already voted to either suggest or require that if the pretzelnit wants any more money to carry on his wars, he start thinking about ways to end them fairly quickly.
Yesterday in Najaf and other cities, tens of thousands of Iraqis called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from their country. And yet Bush expects the Democratic leadership to come to the White House next week to parlay on the supplemental war funding bill, but refuses to budge from his "Give me all the money with no strings attached or else I veto it" tantrum? What's wrong with this picture?
Look, George, I know this Constitution stuff is hard, but try to follow along, mmm-kay? Congress holds the purse strings. They not only decide how much money you get for, well, everything, they also decide just how that money gets spent. If they say you can't spend money without setting a deadline, then you can't spend money without setting a deadline.
Y'see, Congress remembers what you've long since forgotten--if in fact your Uncle Dick and Uncle Karl ever told you about it in the first place--and that's that everybody in the federal government works for the voters. We've made our position on your little war more than clear. In fact, we've been shouting it at the top of our lungs for the last four years straight. We've finally gotten Congress to pay attention, because they're mainly interested in keeping their cushy jobs and even cushier pensions, and they lose all those perks if we send them home early--just like we did to all the Republican incumbents you were counting on to keep control of Congress last year.
Now, we can't send you home in the same way, because the Constitution doesn't allow for recall elections. (And you should be thanking your lucky stars for that!) But we--through our representatives in Congress--can surely make your life even more miserable than it already is for the last two years of your pretzelnicity. So why don't you, for once in your life, suck it up and act like the big man you've always pretended to be? Invite the congressional leaders over for coffee and cookies, and let their people talk to your people about finding a reasonable compromise. You aren't going to get your money without strings, and while we're probably not going to get our one-year timetables for withdrawal, we're really not all that tied to a particular date. We'd just like to have you acknowledge the sad fact that there's no chance we're ever going to win the war--or anything else--in Iraq, and that it's long past time we at least started thinking about how and when to get the hell out of there.