Thursday, November 09, 2006

Democratic Margins In Congress Not Enough To Force Withdrawal From Iraq

--written from London

A careful reading of the election returns indicates that the new Democratic margin in Congress is not united enough or numerous enough to force President Bush to withdraw from Iraq.

Enough moderate Democrats were elected who believe in American power in the world to prevent the assembly of any cut-and-run majority. Just the reelection of Joe Lieberman in Connecticut is enough to deadlock the Senate on the war, allowing Vice President Cheney to control.

But even the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate do not really constitute a decisive force against the President.

That said, when the Baker Commission comes in with its report, changes in the way the war is fought in Iraq and Afghanistan may well ensue. It has become obvious that Bush's goal of bringing Western style democracy to these countries is not to be realized, and that "winning the hearts and minds" of the people in these countries is not really in the cards.

The war, in the long run, is likely to intensify, and it is altogether possible that major new terror attacks may occur in the United States and Europe.

The result then would be further changes in American public opinion. The results the other night may not be definitive.

As for the 2008 presidential race, Sen. Hillary Clinton's landslide victory in New York probably fortifies her chances if she does decide to run. But on the Republican side, the situation has become even further clouded. I still feel former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, rather than Sen. John McCain is the more likely prospect, but further developments are likely.

Even Sen. Barack Obama is not favoring a precipitate withdrawal from the war. So it's clear it will go on. But hopefully, there will be a new strategy.

So, there is not quite as much in the election as many Democrats would like.

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