Surging Skepticism in the Heartland


From a Cincy Enquirer preview of tonight's speech by President Bush re: troop surge in Iraq:

In Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, where President Bush came 52 months ago to lay out his justification for going to war in Iraq, the idea of committing another 20,000 U.S. troops is being met with a strong wall of skepticism.

The doubts about the president's new Iraq plan—to be laid out in detail in an address to the nation tonight—seemingly come from all quarters:

From a mother in Felicity who has lived through the experience of having one son fight in Iraq and wants to spare 20,000 other mothers that fear and anxiety….

And even from a Republican U.S. senator who has been a consistent ally of President Bush when it comes to the war on terrorism.

"You bet I'm skeptical," said Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. "I would rather see us maintain our current level and get them out of harm's way and put Iraqi security forces in harm's way."

Legend has it that LBJ knew he'd lost Vietnam when he lost Walter Cronkite. I'm not sure that Bush will know he's lost Iraq when he's lost Jim Bunning, especially given that the Blue Grass State statesman and Baseball Hall of Famer's grasp of foreign policy may be every bit as shaky as his knowledge of rudimentary baseball history. But when even an erratic GOP loyalist is saying stuff like this to the press, Bush has gotten to be on guard.

The whole Enquirer story here.