While appearing on Fox News Sunday, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) admitted that Congressional Republicans are getting nervous about the lack of progress in Iraq, but he did say that they should give the Bush troop surge some time to see if it works. “We don’t even have all of the 30,000 additional troops in Iraq yet, so we’re supporting the president. We want this plan to have a chance of succeeding,” he said.

He also repeated the GOP delusion that there are signs that this plan is working. “Over the course of the next three to four months, we’ll have some idea how well the plan’s working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts,” he said. What military experts have said all along is that a plan like this will be effective in the short term, where the troops are deployed. What happens in the long term is that the violence shifts to regions where there are fewer troops. Thirty thousand troops are not going to turn the tide of this war. It would probably take 150,000 more troops just to stabilize the situation.

What Boehner said next was the real news here, “By the time we get to September or October, members are going to want to know how well this is working, and if it isn’t, what’s Plan B?” First of all the Bush administration never had a Plan A, B, or C for this war, so I can tell Boehner right now that Plan B is to keep doing Plan A over and over again. Boehner’s remarks are significant, because I think he is starting to set the stage for congressional Republicans to break with President Bush on the war. Come the fall, the unpopular war along with the threat of losing more seats in Congress should be too much for many Republicans to stomach.

This is why the Democrats keeping passing troop withdrawal bills. This is not about pressuring Bush. The president has nothing to lose by sticking to his guns. It is all about keeping the heat on the Republicans in Congress, until they have no choice but to either lose more seats or side with the Democrats on the war. There is a long term strategy at work here on the Democratic side, which I think many people don’t understand. They know that President Bush has nothing to lose, so he can stick to his guns, but members of Congress can’t afford to ignore the will of the public for much longer, to do so would be political suicide.

FNS interview transcript

Jason Easley is the editor of the politics zone at 411mania.com.  His news column The Political Universe appears on Tuesdays and Fridays at www.411mania.com/politics

Jason can also be heard every Sunday afternoon at 1:30 pm (ET) as the host of The Political Universe Radio Show at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/thepoliticaluniverse blog radio


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