The men of Wonkette apply the appropriate helpings of scorn on the buildup to the surge, which has really been masterful. Two weeks of leaks and a prime time address scheduled for Wednesday—the night when most people are watching TV! High five! (But it's not like this is a political solution to a policy problem.) The Washington Post, it's got details.
President Bush yesterday began promoting his plan to send more troops to Iraq, bringing more than 30 Republican senators to the White House as part of a major campaign to rally the American people behind another effort to stabilize the country.
Senators who met with Bush said the president made it clear that he is planning to add as many as 20,000 U.S. troops to help quell violence in Baghdad. They also said the president is arguing that his new plan has a better chance for success than past plans because of a greater willingness of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to commit Iraqi forces against all perpetrators of violence, including Shiite militias.
You know what? No. No, you don't get to "rally the American people" by making a speech and buttonholing a bunch of senators. We're getting ready to celebrate the glorious fourth anniversary of the conflict, and we're pretending it's both the Most Important War ever (for political purposes) and a mere outgrowth of the war Congress originally approved (for Alberto Gonzales' purposes). Enough of this. Here's a few things the White House should do if they want to sell the surge.
1) Let Congress debate another resolution. We really shouldn't have to listen to Joe Biden debate whether, as Wonkette puts it, "it's unconstitutional for me and the Senate to exercise our constitutional authority to direct the military during wartime." Read the 2002 resolution—it's all about 9/11 and the invasion of Kuwait and the United Nations (Does that even exist anymore?). Let the House and Senate debate a resolution on sending more troops and one on pulling them out, and then let the president command-in-chief his way to another disaster with only a Cromwell -style rump backing him up.
2) Take it on the road! One prime time speech to endorse the surge (or more likely, "surge and a billion dollars of schoolhouse paint")? Weak. I'm hesitant to compare this to the Social Security campaign, since that was the nugget of a good idea and this is a bad one, but is a hypothetical reform really dozens of times more important than the future of Iraq? If not, put Bush (and Cheney, et al) on the road to give speeches explaining why the surge is important, why it will work, and why you, citizen, should join the military to win this war and whatever comes next.
3) The Bush or Lieberman families* have to convince one of the prime fighting age members of their extended families—for argument, let's say Pierce Bush—to enlist. Yeah, I'll go there. This is a "war for civilization" or it isn't. If it is, let's get some skin in the game.
4) A promise that if the surge doesn't work, the president and vice president will resign and hand the White House over to the gentle lady from San Francisco. That's not a serious idea? Hey, neither's the surge.
*This originally included a reference to McCain; I temporarily forgot that McCain has a son in the Marine Corps. All joking aside, good for them.