Paul  Weyrich

Last week, along with millions of Americans, I watched President George W. Bush deliver his address to the nation. The President is proposing that an additional 20,000 troops be deployed to Iraq in order to quell the violence, especially around Baghdad.

I don't know what the reaction of others has been. I know what mine was. I was sad. The President seemed alone. Indeed, the next day almost all Democrats and some Republicans ripped the President's policies to shreds. A Washington area radio station, which carries conservative commentators, for most of the day conducted a telephone poll. Anything conservative usually gets thumbs-up from that audience. Not a single caller for several hours thought that the President had scored a touchdown. The best his friends would give him was a field goal.

President Bush almost stands alone. Only a single Democrat in the Senate, Joseph I. Lieberman (D-CT), is with him and at least five Republicans oppose him. That means opposition to escalation of the war might be successful.

In the House of Representatives President Bush has greater support. The Democrats, with their 30-vote margin, may be able to do as they wish. Of course, there are Democrats who ran to the right of Republicans and claimed they were tough on defense. Now where are they? Probably hiding under the cloak of public opinion. The President has dropped to a new low of 32% favorable in one major survey. Lest Congress gloat, Congress also was at an all-time low of 32%.

The question I have is how do the Democrats want to carry their opposition to Bush's escalation. If they don't watch out they will own the war.

Therefore, I believe you will see resolutions of disapproval of the President's plans. That is a safe route. Members of Congress can feel good. They can have their media orgy without adverse consequence.

Senator Joseph P. Biden, Jr. (D-DE) whines that the Constitution prohibits the Congress from doing anything about Bush policies. Biden came to the Senate in 1973. Surely he must remember, and no doubt voted for, measures to cut off funds for the Vietnam War. Congress has the power of the purse. It can cut off funds at any time. Of course, if Congress did that Members would need to answer charges that they are hurting American and Coalition troops.

The problem for the Democratic leadership is its left wing. This past week many anti-war rallies were held across the nation.

Paul Weyrich

Paul M. Weyrich is the late Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation.
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