So much of what President Bush said in his State of the Union address ought to have been said and done when Republicans held a congressional majority. That especially applies to his call for a "special advisory council on the war on terror, made up of leaders in Congress from both political parties." If such a group had been assembled shortly after 9/11, the partisanship over Iraq and the continuing war on terror might have been less bitter and the spirit of unity forged after that awful day might have lasted longer.
At the start of the run-up to the 2008 campaign, the president is unlikely to get an advisory council. Would Democrats serve on such a body if the result makes the president look good and improves Republican chances of retaining the White House in the next election? Who will pick the Democratic members? Will Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid? If so, why should they not engage in some mischief by naming anti-war people like Rep. Dennis Kucinich or Rep. John Murtha? Reid might even name an anti-war Republican, such as Sen. Chuck Hagel. It seems a little late for advice, Democrats could justifiably say, when the president has gone his own way without much input from anyone outside his effectively closed administration.
The most powerful moments of the speech were about the "generational struggle that will continue long after you and I have turned our duties over to others. That is why it is important to work together so our nation can see this great effort through."
Whatever mistakes in judgment this president has made, he is right and consistent in his diagnosis of the war against those who would kill us and destroy our country and way of life. Can any of his critics present evidence to the contrary? Would even the most liberal among them claim the terrorist leaders and their fanatical followers do not mean what they say, since they have repeatedly demonstrated it before and after 9/11? Do any of them seriously believe that if the United States were to prematurely withdraw from Iraq, al-Qaida and Iran would not take advantage of the resulting power vacuum and establish a terrorist state from which even more horrible attacks could be launched against the United States and American interests worldwide?
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Cal Thomas' column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.