It’s not Walter Cronkite, but still…: National Review White House correspondent Byron York questions the “article of faith in Republican circles that Congress should not impose deadlines on the U.S . troop presence in Iraq.” He writes at The Corner:
Yes, it’s true that a deadline would simply tell the enemy how long he has to wait before the U.S. leaves. But it would have the same effect on the Iraqi government, too, and that might be a good thing. Every instance in which there has been significant progress in Iraq — the writing of a constitution, election of a legislature, etc. — has come as a result of the U.S. pushing the Iraqis to meet a deadline. Without a deadline, they mess around, and mess around some more, and act as if they have all the time in the world. And even with a deadline, they are likely to miss it and delay until the last minute before getting anything done.
York concludes, “I think it’s fair to say the president fears what might happen if he pushes the Iraqis too hard. But he has had more than four years to conduct the war as he sees fit, and if there were ever a time to push harder, it’s now.”
Another Call for Habeas Corpus
The Constitution, still in exile: The Washington Post editorial page joins the editorial pages of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times in despairing over the Democratic Congress’s failure to implement “the reform that may be most achievable — the restoration of the ancient right of habeas corpus to the Guantanamo detainees.” House Democrats have not “hesitated to pick fights with the administration over such issues as whether the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys was properly managed, or whether Karl Rove and Condoleezza Rice can be compelled to testify about their actions as presidential advisers,” the Post editorial notes. “Why not fight for the right of habeas corpus? Maybe because it’s not really a priority for the Democrats, after all.”
This won’t help him win the Republican nomination for president, but The American Prospect’s Garance Franke-Ruta is impressed by Rudy Giuliani’s donations to Planned Parenthood. She writes on her personal blog: “I have to say, the more I hear about Giuliani the more I respect his record of boldness in backing abortion rights for all women, regardless of their ability to pay, so long as abortion is legal. Too bad he’s trying to play that down and walk away from his record.”
The New Republic’s Christopher Orr thinks Giuliani’s biggest mistake in last week’s debate was his attempt to make the phrase “strict constructionist” mean something other than “judge who will vote to overturn Rove v. Wade.” Orr writes at The Plank:
Social conservatives (for the most part at least) don’t want “strict constructionist” judges because they are deeply wedded to a particular form of judicial reasoning. They want them because the phrase is code for pro-life. That’s why Giuliani has used the term so often: to reassure conservatives that, whatever his personal beliefs, he’ll appoint pro-life judges. But now that he’s explicitly decoupled the phrase “strict constructionist” from being pro-life, I’m not sure where that leaves him.
Andrew Sullivan suggests that Fred Barnes knows more than Christopher Hitchens about Karl Rove’s religious beliefs. According to Sullivan, Barnes wrote in his Bush hagiography “Rebel-in-Chief” (the book, by the way, that Carmela Soprano was reading in bed during Sunday’s episode): “Bush has surrounded himself in the White House with fellow Christians. His four most influential advisers — Rove, Gerson, Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — share his faith.”