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November 4, 2006
Where's The Plan?

George Bush has hit his stride on the campaign trail, pushing hard to protect the Republican majorities in Congress. He has tried talking up the economy and the war on terror, but he also has not shied from the Iraq war. In fact, in campaign stops, he has advised voters to demand a plan from the Democrats who have criticized the war:

President Bush yesterday said Republicans nationwide are running on a strong record of accomplishment as he ridiculed Democrats seeking to take control of the House and Senate, asking: "What's your plan?"

"The truth is, the Democrats can't answer that question. Harsh criticism is not a plan for victory. Second-guessing is not a strategy. We have a plan for victory," the president said to cheers from 5,000 supporters packed into the Springfield Exposition Center. ...

The president has honed his campaign rally speech into a laundry list of Republican successes and dire warnings about a Democratic majority, but yesterday he added a new twist when he painted Democrats as dangerously unfit to battle terrorism and win the war in Iraq.

"Oh, some of the leading Democrats in Washington argue we should pull out right now. Then you got other voices saying we should withdraw on a specific date, even though the job hasn't been completed. You actually had a member of the House recommend moving troops to an island 5,000 miles away as part of their plan. Nineteen House Democrats introduced legislation that would cut off funds for our troops in Iraq," he said.

"The Democrats have taken a calculated gamble. They believe that the only way they can win this election is to criticize us and offer no specific plan of their own," the president said.

The Democratic Party spokesperson, Stacie Paxton, proved Bush's point with her response. She rejected the allegation that the Democrats lack a coherent strategy for Iraq, but then offered the "new direction" theme. She did, however, mention "phased redeployments" and "benchmarks", but explained neither.

Democrats have rightly targeted Iraq in their campaigning; it's a political weakness for Republicans, and the electorate has become increasingly restive about the money and time that has been spent on Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. The situation in Baghdad and Anbar does not appear to be improving, and after three years, that has a lot of people wanting new ideas. Unfortunately, the Democrats haven't offered any, at least none for victory, and that's what Bush is emphasizing.

"Phased redeployment" means withdrawal and retreat, and everyone knows that, especially our enemy. When General Walker called his retreat from Chosin an "advance to the rear", no one was fooled then, and no one is fooled now by fancy terms for defeat. Leaving the field to one's enemies is defeat, no matter how one paints it. If that's the plan Democrats have -- to declare defeat -- then they do have a "new direction": reverse.

Democrats had an opportunity to plan for victory. If the Bush administration and Donald Rumsfeld don't have the right strategy and tactics for victory, then tell us the better plan. What strategy and tactics do Democrats have that will win in Iraq? They haven't answered, because they have no answer. They want to cut and run, and they want this election to hinge on that choice for Iraq. If Americans want to vote for defeat, they have that opportunity on Tuesday.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 4, 2006 8:21 AM

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Tracked on November 4, 2006 2:06 PM


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