Norquist’s Advice For Bush On Iraq: Make Groups Like MoveOn Look ‘More Extreme’

Next week, Grover Norquist — head of Americans for Tax Reform and Abramoff crony — will meet with Karl Rove about the administration’s Iraq policies. In an interview with The Hill, Norquist says that he will tell Rove to change President Bush’s rhetoric:

“The one-paragraph explanation of what we’re doing in Iraq has to have the word ‘leaving’ in there,” said Grover Norquist, a conservative leader and the head of Americans for Tax Reform. “If Bush would move to ‘leaving,’ then other people, including the people and the [Democrats], move to a more extreme position than you have, because they have put themselves in the anti-Bush position.”

Norquist…said Bush should reject a timeline and instead emphasize that he expects “fewer” troops in the region. If the administration changes nothing, it will allow Democrats to charge that the strategy isn’t working, which resonates with the public, added Norquist.

Bush has already tried emphasizing “fewer” troops. In his July 4 speech, Bush said that “we all long for the day when there are far fewer American servicemen and women in Iraq.” But he quickly added that withdrawing U.S. troops “prematurely” would “not be in our national interest.” In 2005, he said that he foresaw “fewer American troops” serving in Iraq in the next year; instead, he added more troops.

The American public wants more than rhetoric on Iraq. According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 55 percent of the American public supports “legislation that would set a deadline for withdrawing U.S. combat forces from Iraq by next spring.” Bush has already vetoed such legislation, and has promised to veto even a symbolic timeline of withdrawal.

All the spin in the world won’t make any difference unless Bush supports legislation with a timeline for redeployment.