Iraq Pullout Coming Up?

A couple of quick blog-related points:

1) An article in The Hill about neocon fears that Bush might pull out of Iraq seems to have goosed a couple of the blogoisie, including Josh Marshall, into wondering if there could be anything to it. As Kevin Drum points out, though, there’s been zero sign of any such thought:

I haven’t seen any evidence either in the form of statements or leaks from administration officials or leaks of secret plans for an early withdrawal.

However, he adds that it’s not inconceivable:

Just to make my thoughts crystal clear: it wouldn’t surprise me if the Bushies declared victory and started pulling out early next year. Unlike Bush’s admirers, I view him as a strongly poll-driven man who undertakes only policies that he thinks are widely popular and risk free. If public support for Iraq goes in the tank, I think he’s the kind of person who would indeed cut and run.But that’s just psychoanalysis. I don’t have any evidence that they’re really thinking along these lines.

FWIW, I am not (in case you were wondering) a Bush supporter, and I understand why Kevin would see him that way, but there’s an element to Bush that, it seems to me, over-rides Rove’s poll-obsession: he has consistently, all his life, refused to admit he made a mistake about anything. Kevin and Josh both suggest that he might use the Kissenger Formula (“Declare victory and get out.”) but I doubt that even a Denial Monkey like Junior could see a withdrawl as anything other than a retreat–Viet Nam sits too heavy on his soul as it does on the souls of all neocons. That strategy might be OK for a Democratic war (Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay all advocated it for Kosovo), but no right-wing Republican could see it as anything but an acknowledgement of failure–a failure of will, of which there is no sin so frighteningly awful. Not to mention an electoral blowback which would be more destructive to Pubs than Dems–the Pubs would lose their right-wing engine, which would be (to say the least) profoundly disappointed.

What’s interesting here is that Bush’s Brain (Rove, of course) is totally unconcerned with either policy or political philosophy. His only concern is winning. If he sees the polls continue to drop as the war ramps up (and he probably will), his end-plan to save Junior’s re-election might very well be Kissenger’s dictum; after all, with some smart sales you could hold on to the right–where are they going to go if Lieberman or Clark isn’t the nominee? Dean? Kerry? I don’t bloody think so.

So what could be shaping up is a major disagreement between Bush and his own Brain. To assume, as Marshall and Drum both seem to do, that the Brain would win automatically is to underestimate Junior’s emotional investment in being right and overestimate Karl’s ability to sell the “Victory” meme to a simple-minded President fully indoctrinated into neocon thinking. Even George is going to see through that one.

2) For Political Junkies: Digby at Hullabaloo has an interesting post up about how the Democrats should be more active in framing the election more positively. Scroll down to October 28–“Frame Up”–and read. It’s worth the time.

I have some thoughts on this subject, but I’ll get to them later.

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