W cuts and runs

This is the definition of desperation
This is the face of desperation

After months of resolutely proclaiming that the Bush administration would stay the course in Iraq, in comparison to those namby-pamby Democrats who would cut and run, the White House has suddenly cut and run on its own slogan. They have decreed that the phrase "stay the course" will no longer be uttered by George W or anybody else. It is, to use a term made famous by Richard Nixon, inoperative.

What's more, the Bushies are now trying to convince us that "stay the course" has never been operative. "Listen, we've never been stay the course, George," Bush told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. "We have been -- we will complete the mission, we will do our job and help achieve the goal, but we're constantly adjusting the tactics. Constantly."

This is all of a piece with how the Bush administration responds to every problem. Whenever something hasn't worked out, they have "fixed" the problem by changing the words used to talk about it. In this way, the invasion of Iraq to take away weapons of mass destruction became making Iraq a beacon of Democracy in the Middle East, which became the central front in the war on terror.

The problem is, Iraq has now become an enormous political problem. The chaos and mayhem that began shortly after the invasion toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein grows more fierce and bloodier by the day. The "insurgency" that was supposed to be "in its final throes, if you will," is spinning into all out civil war, and neither the US nor the Iraqi government seems able to stop it. Americans — and the rest of the world — can see this for themselves, just by turning on their TV set. More than 60% of Americans disapprove of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. With the mid-term elections less than two weeks away, Republican candidates are running scared, trying to distance themselves from George Bush.

The White House has reached the point where they will try anything to avoid the political bloodbath that seems to loom on the horizon.

Yesterday, the US military and the Iraqi government held a joint press conference to announce their agreement on various benchmarks and a timetable for gaining control of Iraq.Today, one day later, the Iraqi president is already distancing himself from the agreement. This, like the previously-publicized plans for troop reductions, was clearly intended to placate American voters.

Don Quixote

The steely resolve of "war president" Bush unflinchingly fighting the "war on terror" to "protect America" was supposed to be the Republicans great strength that would consolidate Republican political gains and result in enduring Republican control. But the knight in shining armor looks more like Don Quixote haplessly tilting at windmills, and the American people are no longer buying it.

I just hope that all the dissatisfaction that is showing up in the polls shows up at the polls (that is, in the voting booths) on election day. It is time to throw the rascals out, keeping in mind that they are all rascals.

Even if Republican control of the House or Senate is broken, the Bush administration has created a mess that will take years, if not decades, to clean up. The next president — Democrat or Republican, male or female — will face an absolutely daunting task.