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Republicans.....help is on the way

lily

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http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11995032/site/newsweek/?rf=newsletter

Mr. Fix-It
Republicans hope that James Baker’s involvement in the new Iraq Study Group
will help them forge a path out of the war-torn country.


Web-Exclusive Commentary
By Eleanor Clift
Newsweek
Updated: 1:27 p.m. ET March 24, 2006
March 24, 2006 - President Bush was trying to show resolve, but instead it
looked like he was trying to pass the buck when he said the decision on when
to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq would be made by a future U.S. president
and Iraqi government.


Handing off responsibility is a hallmark of Bush’s leadership. He doesn’t
want to go down in history as the president who lost Iraq, so he’ll hang
tough and leave the day of reckoning to his successor. Stating publicly and
proudly that there is no end in sight for the U.S. mission in Iraq feeds
Bush’s delusion that his determination—along with his low poll numbers—will
be vindicated at some future date.

Bush has his eye on his legacy, but House Republicans have a more immediate
concern—and that is how to save their jobs come November. "Stay the course"
is not a popular slogan on the campaign trail. That’s why a new Iraq Study
Group commissioned by Congress and co-chaired by former cabinet member James
A. Baker III, the Bush family Mr. Fix-It, is seen by many Republicans as
their best hope to forge a path out of the hell that Iraq has become. It was
Baker—the secretary of State in the first Bush administration—who parachuted
into Florida after the disputed 2000 vote and executed the legal strategy
that made Bush president. Now it’s Baker’s cunning and diplomatic deftness
that Republicans hope will extricate them from Iraq, or at least give them
some new talking points in the run-up to the election.

The commission was the inspiration of Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a
thoughtful moderate with genuine concerns about his party’s policies in
Iraq. He also has an important seat on the House Appropriations Committee,
which decides the State Department’s budget, so when it comes to diplomacy,
he has a captive audience. Wolf has been calling for a fresh look at Iraq
since at least last fall, and his main criterion for choosing the commission’s
11 bipartisan members was that they bring a wow factor, that their very
names would command attention. Co-chairing with Baker is the Democrats’ Mr.
Integrity, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, who is fresh from
co-chairing the 9/11 commission. Among the other luminaries are former New
York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Clinton’s confidant—superlawyer Vernon
Jordan. “They’re going to go everywhere and look at this thing and come up
with something, and the president will pay attention,” vows a foreign-policy
specialist who helped shape the idea.

The prospect of getting bailed out by his daddy’s buddy must rankle Bush,
but he needs a new approach. He can’t keep asserting, as he did this week,
that we’re at war and he’s got a plan for victory. Baker has an enviable
track record in the diplomatic and political arenas, but he didn’t do
handstands when he got called to serve. “It’s like being called over to the
White House when you’re 25 points behind and you’re made chief of staff,”
says a former colleague. “The odds are against finding a solution.” Still,
if anybody can find a light to lead U.S. forces out of the current morass,
it’s Baker. There is a high degree of confidence in his abilities on both
sides of the aisle. “He has the interest; he has the clout, and he’ll make
the time,” says the foreign-policy adviser who worked with Baker in the
former Bush administration.

Among Baker’s admirers is former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who recalls the
secretary of State’s heroic efforts in putting together the coalition for
the first gulf war. Wilson prefers to talk about the way ahead in Iraq
rather than the still unresolved case of who leaked the identity of his
wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. He told NEWSWEEK that a debate
based on setting a timetable and exit strategies is “all wrong.” Though
Wilson gained notoriety as a critic of the Bush administration over its WMD
claims, he stands with the president in believing U.S. troops cannot leave
Iraq until there is a political solution. Wilson proposes what he calls a
“concert of nations” that would bring together all the various factions and
their patrons in the region, which means having the Iranians at the table
along with the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Russians, some of the
Europeans and the Turks. “If they’re not there to hammer out a political
solution, you can be darned sure they’ll be there supporting their various
factions as we go through cycle after cycle of instability, insurrection and
civil war,” he says.

They don’t call it a “concert of nations” at the White House or at Baker’s
shop, but a similar proposal for a major diplomatic push is making the
rounds. It would test U.S. leadership and force the administration to reach
out to friends as well as foes. The one card Bush has left to play in
November is that he’s not backing down. Implicit in that statement is that
the Democrats will. Whether the voters still buy the tough talk is another
matter.
 

danarhea

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lily said:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11995032/site/newsweek/?rf=newsletter

Mr. Fix-It
Republicans hope that James Baker’s involvement in the new Iraq Study Group
will help them forge a path out of the war-torn country.


Web-Exclusive Commentary
By Eleanor Clift
Newsweek
Updated: 1:27 p.m. ET March 24, 2006
March 24, 2006 - President Bush was trying to show resolve, but instead it
looked like he was trying to pass the buck when he said the decision on when
to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq would be made by a future U.S. president
and Iraqi government.


Handing off responsibility is a hallmark of Bush’s leadership. He doesn’t
want to go down in history as the president who lost Iraq, so he’ll hang
tough and leave the day of reckoning to his successor. Stating publicly and
proudly that there is no end in sight for the U.S. mission in Iraq feeds
Bush’s delusion that his determination—along with his low poll numbers—will
be vindicated at some future date.

Bush has his eye on his legacy, but House Republicans have a more immediate
concern—and that is how to save their jobs come November. "Stay the course"
is not a popular slogan on the campaign trail. That’s why a new Iraq Study
Group commissioned by Congress and co-chaired by former cabinet member James
A. Baker III, the Bush family Mr. Fix-It, is seen by many Republicans as
their best hope to forge a path out of the hell that Iraq has become. It was
Baker—the secretary of State in the first Bush administration—who parachuted
into Florida after the disputed 2000 vote and executed the legal strategy
that made Bush president. Now it’s Baker’s cunning and diplomatic deftness
that Republicans hope will extricate them from Iraq, or at least give them
some new talking points in the run-up to the election.

The commission was the inspiration of Virginia Republican Rep. Frank Wolf, a
thoughtful moderate with genuine concerns about his party’s policies in
Iraq. He also has an important seat on the House Appropriations Committee,
which decides the State Department’s budget, so when it comes to diplomacy,
he has a captive audience. Wolf has been calling for a fresh look at Iraq
since at least last fall, and his main criterion for choosing the commission’s
11 bipartisan members was that they bring a wow factor, that their very
names would command attention. Co-chairing with Baker is the Democrats’ Mr.
Integrity, former Indiana congressman Lee Hamilton, who is fresh from
co-chairing the 9/11 commission. Among the other luminaries are former New
York mayor Rudy Giuliani and the Clinton’s confidant—superlawyer Vernon
Jordan. “They’re going to go everywhere and look at this thing and come up
with something, and the president will pay attention,” vows a foreign-policy
specialist who helped shape the idea.

The prospect of getting bailed out by his daddy’s buddy must rankle Bush,
but he needs a new approach. He can’t keep asserting, as he did this week,
that we’re at war and he’s got a plan for victory. Baker has an enviable
track record in the diplomatic and political arenas, but he didn’t do
handstands when he got called to serve. “It’s like being called over to the
White House when you’re 25 points behind and you’re made chief of staff,”
says a former colleague. “The odds are against finding a solution.” Still,
if anybody can find a light to lead U.S. forces out of the current morass,
it’s Baker. There is a high degree of confidence in his abilities on both
sides of the aisle. “He has the interest; he has the clout, and he’ll make
the time,” says the foreign-policy adviser who worked with Baker in the
former Bush administration.

Among Baker’s admirers is former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who recalls the
secretary of State’s heroic efforts in putting together the coalition for
the first gulf war. Wilson prefers to talk about the way ahead in Iraq
rather than the still unresolved case of who leaked the identity of his
wife, Valerie Plame, as a CIA operative. He told NEWSWEEK that a debate
based on setting a timetable and exit strategies is “all wrong.” Though
Wilson gained notoriety as a critic of the Bush administration over its WMD
claims, he stands with the president in believing U.S. troops cannot leave
Iraq until there is a political solution. Wilson proposes what he calls a
“concert of nations” that would bring together all the various factions and
their patrons in the region, which means having the Iranians at the table
along with the Saudis, Jordanians, Egyptians, Russians, some of the
Europeans and the Turks. “If they’re not there to hammer out a political
solution, you can be darned sure they’ll be there supporting their various
factions as we go through cycle after cycle of instability, insurrection and
civil war,” he says.

They don’t call it a “concert of nations” at the White House or at Baker’s
shop, but a similar proposal for a major diplomatic push is making the
rounds. It would test U.S. leadership and force the administration to reach
out to friends as well as foes. The one card Bush has left to play in
November is that he’s not backing down. Implicit in that statement is that
the Democrats will. Whether the voters still buy the tough talk is another
matter.

Welcome to the board. A bit of advice. Dont post the whole article, just the link with a few words of your own explaining your own thoughts. It will help in getting discussion going.

As for your thread, I totally agree. Calling in Baker is part of a general purge of the Neocons from the Bush administratiion. Bush is returning to his pragmatic roots, and distancing himself from the Neocons, who I am willing to bet he blames for getting him into this mess. Other signs that the Neocons are on the out are Bush's distancing himself from Cheney, and not only giving Rice the job of Secretary of State, but allowing her to effectively neuter Donald Rumsfeld on foreign policy.

The Baker move is just another aspect of the Neocon ouster now in progress.
 
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