It is never a good sign when members of your own political party begin to turn against you. However, since his reelection in 2004 and especially since the announcement of troop escalations, that is exactly what is happening to President Bush. This lame duck president is growing so unpopular, it is historic. And that approval rating has not got any better since last week's speech. More and more Senators and Representatives are joining in a unified way to speak out against the President. Today saw the latest addition in the fight against the lame duck.
Senator Olympia Snowe from Maine said today, "This resolution is an expression of the American people's frustration with our current Iraq policy." She is, of course, speaking of a resolution in Congress that speaks out against any further escalation of the war in Iraq. The Senator joins fellow Republican Chuck Hagel in standing up against the President's views on Iraq. It seems they have finally realized just how crazy this whole war really is. Senator Hagel said yesterday, "It is not in the national interest of the United States to deepen its military involvement in Iraq, particularly by escalating U.S. troop presence in Iraq." This statement flies in the face of all the President said in his speech. It is very clear that Congress is not happy.
Of course, this is to be expected, right? We are talking about a Democratic majority. These same people would disagree if the President said trees are pretty. So it is no surprise what the majority party is saying. The amazing thing in all of this are the words from fellow Republicans. For almost eight years now, the Republican controlled Congress has followed every whim Bush had. Why change their minds now? One word, elections.
In an interview on CNN, Senator Hagel (running for re-election next year) said the following:
"We are no longer just going to quietly stand by, as we have done for the last four years, and let our young men and women be thrown into this conflict when they cannot affect the outcome. This is the biggest issue facing our country since Vietnam. It's dividing our nation. It is dangerous for our country. It's dangerous for the world. The Congress needs to be part of this."
Sound like a man with a plan. But that is the problem. Even with a few Republicans on board, Congress still does not have a plan that they approve over the President's. The resolution, mentioned earlier, says nothing about what should be done in Iraq. It simply states that Congress (read the majority) do not want a troop escalation. No, what this all boils down to is election time politics. As was mentioned in a previous entry, politicians running for re-election will say anything to get a vote. At this point, putting [political] distance between yourself and the President is an excellent idea. It appears that will get your what you really want. A few more years to spend our tax money. So don't get your hopes up about this new Congress just yet. I want to see some results before I back them up.