We’ve been talking a lot over the last two days over where the public is on Iraq and how the Democrats should be approaching the issue as they make their case to voters in the lead up to the election.
As we noted yesterday, Republicans are trying to cow Democrats by making a play of going on the offensive in the Iraq debate. But Bruce Jentleson shows pretty clearly here that all the supposed good news over the last couple weeks has barely registered in the public opinion polls. (Take a look at his break down of the numbers.) And President Bush’s handling of Iraq remains overwhelmingly unpopular.
In terms of domestic politics, this isn’t that complicated. President Bush wants to stay in Iraq for at least three more years. Members of his party in Congress agree with him. They don’t have a plan. That’s where to make this argument because very few people in this country think we should keep our troops there for another three years with our current policy.
Moreover, getting suckered into a debate about deadlines for leaving Iraq is foolish, especially when President Bush has said on the record repeatedly that he plans to keep our troops in Iraq for the remainder of his presidency. He wants them there for at least three more years. What happens after that he’ll leave to future presidents. This isn’t what Democrats claim. This is what he says. He doesn’t say he’s willing to keep them there to achieve this or that aim. He’s committed to keeping them there.
He doesn’t have a plan for what to do in Iraq so he wants to keep troops there for the rest of his presidency. That’s his plan: stay long enough that it becomes someone else’s problem.