The Washington Post reports, “The bipartisan Iraq Study Group plans to recommend withdrawing nearly all U.S. combat units from Iraq by early 2008 while leaving behind troops to train, advise and support the Iraqis, setting the first goal for a major drawdown of U.S. forces, sources familiar with the proposal said yesterday.” The pull-out would be “more a conditional goal than a firm timetable.”
Media Matters: “On the same day that President Bush said, ‘We’re going to stay in Iraq to get the job done,’ MSNBC correspondent Jeannie Ohm described the reported forthcoming recommendation by the Iraq Study Group for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq as ‘similar to what the president has been saying.’”
within his divided government as two senior Sunni politicians joined prominent Shiite lawmakers and Cabinet members in criticizing his policies,” the AP reports. “Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi said he wanted to see al-Maliki’s government gone and another ‘understanding’ for a new coalition put in place with guarantees that ensure collective decision making.”
Today on CNN’s Situation Room, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales was asked if he could think of a single mistake he’s made during his service to President Bush during the last six years. He couldn’t do it.
Gonzales told Wolf Blitzer, “I think that you and I would — I’d have to spend some time thinking about that.” He added, “Obviously I’ve made some recommendations to my client. Some of those recommendations have not been supported in the courts. In hindsight, you sometimes wonder, well, perhaps, perhaps the recommendation should have been something different.” Watch it:
Full transcript: Read more
and we will find a solution” for dealing with him, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki told President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today. A senior U.S. intelligence official estimates that “the militia of radical Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr has grown eightfold over the past year and now fields 40,000 to 60,000 men. That makes it more effective than the Iraqi government’s army, the official indicated.”
The self-fashioned political swamis at ABC’s political unit write today:
We think it was The Note that once wrote “politically, American involvement in the Iraq war is over.” That is more true today than it was yesterday, and it will be even more true next week when the Iraq Study Group dog-and-pony-with-a-purpose turns on the TV lights, and even more so when the Democratic majority rules the roost come January.
American political involvement in the Iraq war is over? That may be the conclusion of a publication that does not need to source its opinions, but all evidence indicates that the debate over Iraq will intensify, not wane.
President Bush has claimed the actual American involvement in Iraq will not be over any time soon. “We’re not leaving [Iraq] so long as I’m the president,” he said.
Most congressional Democrats, who were propelled into the majority by an American public tired of “stay the course,” have consolidated behind a plan of a phased withdrawal. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), on the other hand, is clamoring for a phased escalation with the support of some conservative allies. There have been suggestions that McCain’s plan is being given serious consideration.
But don’t worry yourself with these clashing proposals. The political debate is over.
Chris Mooney, author of “The Republican War on Science,” has a new book coming out next year: “Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle Over Global Warming.” Check it out.
Rick Perlstein channels Tom Schaller channeling some academics:
Schaller builds this conclusion on one of the most impressive papers in recent political science, “Old Times There Are Not Forgotten: Race and Partisan Realignment in the Contemporary South,” by Nicholas Valentino and David Sears. Running regressions on a massive data set of ideological opinions, Sears and Valentino demonstrate with precision that, for example, a white Southern man who calls himself a “conservative,” controlling for racial attitudes, is no less likely to chance a vote for a Democratic presidential candidate than a Northerner who calls himself a conservative. Likewise, a pro-life or hawkish Southern white man is no less likely–again controlling for racial attitudes–than a pro-life or hawkish Northerner to vote for the Democrat. But, on the other hand, when the relevant identifier is anti-black answers to survey questions (such as whether one agrees “If blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites,” or choosing whether blacks are “lazy” or “hardworking”), an untoward result jumps out: white Southerners are twice as likely than white Northerners to refuse to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. Schaller’s writes: “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters … the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”
Interesting stuff. Meanwhile, Jonah Goldberg has apparently gotten a lot of email from readers who think the “racist” answers to these questions don’t really demonstrate racism. I think that’s a bit daft, but however you want to characterize the question, the point is that individuals’ attitudes toward race (again, however you want to classify those attitudes) have a large impact on voting behavior.
but life at the White House holiday reception is good. Check out the menu.