The American people, as politicians like to say, spoke last week – and spoke in no uncertain terms. The 2006 vote does not suggest an eagerness for a sharp left turn. It seems, rather, to be a plea for a shift from the hard right of the neoconservatives to the center represented by the old man in Houston [President George H. W. Bush].
The “centrist” ideas “represented” by former President Bush are actually progressive ideas put forward over a year ago. Media reports indicate that the James Baker-led Iraq Study Group will call for (1) a phased drawdown of U.S. troops from Iraq and (2) a diplomatic initiative to engage Iraq’s regional neighbors to help calm ethnic tensions. The Center for American Progress advanced these very steps over a year ago in its Strategic Redeployment plan.
It’s also worth noting that former President Bush publicly backed his son’s Iraq policy prior to the war. Two months before the invasion, Bush 41 said “someone needs to step forward to hold Saddam to account. And the United States, led by our president, is prepared to do just that.” True, some former Bush advisers have opposed the war since the beginning. Yet others, like Colin Powell, were among the most prominent public advocates.