Republicans Back on Defensive

Notwithstanding the efforts of some Republican Congressmen to strike back at the Democrats over their attacks on the President, the Republicans find themselves on the defensive again after a 24-hour respite to celebrate the demise of Uday and Qusay.
There is no new news on the Niger uranium flap, so the story has reached the “story about the story” phase, as the Washington Post publishes one article dissecting the Administration’s inept handling of the matter, and another comparing the State of the Union controversy to great scandals of the past.
Then, just as the Niger story was perhaps running its course, Paul Wolfowitz inexplicably handed the Democrats/mainstream press the issue that may dominate the news through August, by admitting that the Defense Department made three key assumptions about post-war Iraq that “turned out to underestimate the problem.” This gave the Post, as it will every other newspaper, the opportunity to trot out all of the Administration’s critics who predicted post-war disaster, now portrayed as vindicated by Wolfowitz’s admission.
People keep saying how smart Wolfowitz is, but if it were up to me, I wouldn’t let him near a microphone. The Administration has now stipulated that 1) they justified the war, in part, on the basis of faulty intelligence, and 2) they underestimated the difficulties of post-war reconstruction. A great platform on which to run for re-election.
And, for comic relief, Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas “tearfully apololgized on the House floor” for calling the police to evict the Committee’s Democrats a few days ago. The Post helpfully tells us that the Republicans are “work[ing] to quell bad publicity stemming from the fracas.” No apologies from the Democratic side of the fracas, of course.
What is it with Republicans and apologies? And why are Republicans, including most Republican politicians, so lousy at politics?
The Republicans’ only hope is that no one reads newspapers in the summer. Which may be true, given that recent polls indicate that only one-third of all Americans can name any of the nine Democratic Presidential candidates.


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