The MSM heralded the Iraq Study Group as the revenge of the adults. The notion was that young turks (Rumsfeld and Cheney!) had expropriated foreign policy from the establishment elders, but that this now would be reversed. One obnoxious liberal cartoonist produced a drawing of the first President Bush with the second over his knee being spanked.
The “adult” theme pre-dates the formation of the ISG. I’ve heard it used during media appearances over the past two years. The adult is anyone with experience who agrees with the anti-war view of the liberal I’m debating. Brent Scowcroft, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and even Melvin Laird have all played the part. Now they are joined by James Baker, Lee Hamilton, and company.
But a different set of indisputably adult statesmen are not at all impressed by the ISG report. The Washington Times reports that the document has received harsh criticism from Sen. John McCain and Sen. Joseph Lieberman. McCain calls the recommendations a “recipe for defeat” and Lieberman finds some recommendation no different from the policies we’ve been following and others unrealistic.
And the Bush administration now contains a key member who is an MSM-designated adult (at least for now) — Robert Gates. During his confirmation hearing, Gates made it clear that Iraq policy, in his view, should be informed by recommendations from various sources including (believe it or not) our military commanders on the ground. This sounds like the “fruit salad” approach that Baker deplored yesterday during Senate hearings.
The administration took a risk in selecting Gates, but the possible advantages of having him inside the tent are starting to come into focus.