Moderate Republicans Tell Bush the Truth on Iraq

Matt Cunningham chided us for not having as much OC-based news on this site (my count was 7 of the last 10 stories had strong OC hooks).  This one doesn’t, but you didn’t see this story on OCBlog, FlashReport, or PowderBlue.

Moderate Republicans had a “dutch uncle” talk with the president and White House staff on Iraq.  Reports say it was blunt about the war is hurting the party. 

NBC News reported on the meeting on Wednesday night’s report.  Here’s what Tim Russert told Brian Williams:

Russert: The Republican Congressmen then went on to say: “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There’s no longer any credibility.  It has to come from General Petraeus.” 

From Drudge:

At two-thirty in the afternoon, in the private quarters of the White House, the Solarium Room, eleven Republican congressmen had a private meeting with the president, the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, the chief political advisor Karl Rove, and the White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, and others. This delegation was headed by Mark Kirk of Illinois and Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania. It was, in the words of one of the participants, the most unvarnished conversation they’ve ever had with the president.Another member has said he has met with three presidents and never been so candid. They told the president, and one said, quote, “My district is prepared for defeat. We need candor, we need honesty, Mr. President.”

The president responded, “I don’t want to pass this off to another president. I don’t want to pass this off, particularly, to a democratic president,” underscoring he understood how serious the situation was.

Brian, the Republican congressmen went on to say, “The word about the war and its progress cannot come from the White House or even you, Mr. President. There’s no longer any credibility. It has to come from General Petraeus.

The meeting lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, and was, in the words of one, “remarkable for the bluntness, and no holds barred honesty and the message delivered by all these Republican congressmen.


  1. Matt Cunningham chided us for not having as much OC-based news on this site (my count was 7 of the last 10 stories had strong OC hooks).

    And almost every one was posted after I “chided” you. Glad to help.

  2. This one doesn’t, but you didn’t see this story on OCBlog, FlashReport, or PowderBlue.

    That’s because I try to keep my eye on the “OC” in OC Blog — there are already a million and one blogs (right, center and left) covering national issues (and I don’t think our readers need me to give them “talking points”).

    BTW, Dan — do you agree with what my squishy GOP colleagues said: “It has to come from General Petraeus.”?

    Your headline says “Moderate Republicans Tell Bush The Truth On Iraq” — and that would include the above statement on General Petraeus. So what will you do if Gen. Petraeus comes back with an answer your anti-war left-wing ears don’t want hear? (please insert friendly sarcasm)

  3. Comment #1, it’s not even on the Register’s site yet.

    Comment #2, no, the majority of posts has an OC connection, even before you chided.

    Comment #3,I agree with your squishy colleagues that the president has lost credibility here. Militarily, we’ve achieved our objectives of finding No WMDs, deposing Saddam and instilling Democracy on people who didn’t ask for it.

    Given that some members of our military have committed War Crimes (Abu Ghrahib, Haditha) against Iraqis, do you think the US will be sued for reparations?

    And then there’s this: the Iraqis want us out. (HT to AlterNet)
    On Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq’s parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.

    It’s a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country’s civil conflict, and at times it’s been difficult to arrive at a quorum).

    Reached by phone in Baghdad on Tuesday, Al-Rubaie said that he would present the petition, which is nonbinding, to the speaker of the Iraqi parliament and demand that a binding measure be put to a vote. Under Iraqi law, the speaker must present a resolution that’s called for by a majority of lawmakers, but there are significant loopholes and what will happen next is unclear.

    What is clear is that while the U.S. Congress dickers over timelines and benchmarks, Baghdad faces a major political showdown of its own. The major schism in Iraqi politics is not between Sunni and Shia or supporters of the Iraqi government and “anti-government forces,” nor is it a clash of “moderates” against “radicals”; the defining battle for Iraq at the political level today is between nationalists trying to hold the Iraqi state together and separatists backed, so far, by the United States and Britain.

    The continuing occupation of Iraq and the allocation of Iraq’s resources — especially its massive oil and natural gas deposits — are the defining issues that now separate an increasingly restless bloc of nationalists in the Iraqi parliament from the administration of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose government is dominated by Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish separatists.

  4. Comment #1, it’s not even on the Register’s site yet.

    I meant it’s not surprising to see yet another instance when moderate GOPers behave like weak sisters — it’s dog-bites-man stuff.

  5. When 11 GOP congressman in vulnerable districts go to the president to say he’s lost credibility on Iraq, it is NOT dog bites man.

  6. Dan:

    Center-left GOP congressmen in vulnerable districts are continually complaining to the President, and not just about Iraq. It’s their nature, Dan. These guys a a lagging indicator of Democratic opinion. You’re just letting your perfervid opposition to the way and Bush hatred inflate this into something unusual.

  7. I hate Bush? Huh? Never met the man. I strongly disagree with his policies and his management of the country, but hate is not the word I;d use. Disappointment fits better.

    I’d also argue these moderate Republicans are more a part of the reality based community

  8. Jubal,

    OC residents are fighting, dying and being wounded in Iraq. How can this issue not be important to us who love this country? Everytime a Reep candidate comes to the OC with had in hand, nobody asks for details on how we get out of ths quagmire. Blind support for our current presidents’ position is the reason this continues. I applaud the squishy Reeps who have the chops to deliver a rare dose of reality to the White House. GWB does not care about our soldiers, your party, or whoever else gets in his way. Unfortunately he’s proven that again and again…

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