Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Next week, Democrats will probably reclaim Congress. In two years, they'll probably reclaim the White House. This has nothing to do with education, health care, or the economy. Most of the important issues are being ignored — and for the record, it has nothing to do with gay marriage, either. This tide turns on two issues: Iraq, and loyalty.

The election isn't over. Republicans can still win, and it's up to the president: Explain to Americans why our troops are in Iraq, or else bring our troops home. In three years, the White House has been unwilling to do either. That's the first reason Republicans are losing.

The second is that, despite the president's refusal to take the simple step that would ensure their victory, Republicans remain loyal to him. Americans might be impressed with the president's disregard for polls, but they are thoroughly unimpressed with the way congressional Republicans follow in pusillanimous lockstep. The president has systematically abandoned first Republican values, then Republican interests...and still, the tin soldiers march.

Absent a responsible policy on Iraq from the White House, congressional Republicans need to grow a spine. Absent that, Democrats win. It's simple math — although if I were a Democrat, I'd look to the next step and point out that congressional Democrats haven't shown any more courage on Iraq than have Republicans. The question looming over 2008 isn't whether Hillary will run or whether Hillary will win, but whether Hillary will promise to bring our troops home. So far, she hasn't. No one has.