First, The Bad:
He admitted that Democrats likely will be unable to win more support from wavering Republicans this fall for a change in the president's war policy. Some Republicans, he said, have come to him privately to express support for a withdrawal timeline. But he argued that many GOP lawmakers would hold firm in public at least until the presidential election is in full swing next year.Anonymous Republicans. I do not doubt their existence, but I hope their constituents know who they are, and act accordingly in next year's primaries. On the other hand, those are the kind of Republicans who can drive a fickle voter into the hands of the Democrats and make Murtha's prediction come true. That's bad.
Next, The Good:
The Democrat-controlled Congress is unpopular. Republicans know it, Democrats know it, the American people know it. They keep re-electing the same corrupt fatcats like Murtha, then take control by running on a platform of ethical reform, and disappoint their constituency by failing to act on their promises. That's no way to keep a Contract With America. It's just the sort of thing that can drive fickle voters into the hands of the Republicans and put the lie to Murtha's predictions based on supposed voter sentiment. That's good.
Ken Spain, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm for House Republicans, countered that Democrats had also fallen short in other areas, including a pledge to make significant changes in how Congress distributes money for the lawmaker-sponsored pet projects known as earmarks.
Democrats have significantly cut back on the projects, which expanded in popularity and cost under Republicans, but Mr. Murtha himself has been the target of criticism for directing millions in federal money to his Johnstown district.
"The American public has quickly grown tired of this Democrat-led Congress, and John Murtha's unethical behavior certainly isn't changing any minds," Mr. Spain said. "Democrats should be worried about picking up their record low approval rating instead of making wild, grandiose predictions about how many seats they hope to pick up."
Finally, the ugly:
When did Webb go back to being a Republican? He didn't; this is just an error on the part of PGNow that will probably be corrected by Noon today. But it's a nice thought. If Webb were a Republican, there would not be a Democrat majority in the Senate. Things might not necessarily be better, but at least we'd have Dick Cheney as the tie-breaking vote to give us the edge. As it stands, Webb is a Democrat and his party is still in charge. We've been teased by a typographical error. That's Ugly.
Last year on the campaign trail, Democrats hammered Republicans on extensive spending, questionable ethics and the Iraq war to win control of both chambers of Congress for the first time since 1994.
But the Democratic victory produced only a one-seat majority in the Senate, where at least 60 votes are needed to end debate and pass major legislation, allowing GOP lawmakers to block attempts to set a firm withdrawal deadline. (The Democratic majority in the House is currently 232-201.)
[...skipping a few paragraphs...]
Sen. Jim Webb, R-Va., has proposed a bill that would require all troops to receive equal time in Iraq and at home. Current tours of duty are 15 months long.
With regard to Senator Webb's proposal, let's see what the Administration has to say:
It's all about the mission, Jack. Or have you forgotten?
Mr. Murtha said the bill could win support in the House, but Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday that he would ask the president to veto it.
"It would be extremely difficult for us to manage that," Mr. Gates told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "It really is a backdoor way to try and force the president to accelerate the drawdowns. Again, the drawdowns have to be based on the conditions on the ground. We have to leave Iraq in a much more stable place than it has been over the last two or three years."