Well, we've been through a few months of "emboldening the enemy" and I strongly suspect that the words "surrender" and "retreat" will be the next GOP talking points for the American people when it comes to the future of our presence in Iraq.
Senate Republicans know they're behind the eight ball and that the vast majority of Americans want us out of Iraq and our troops back home, so they need to constantly retool their manipulative language to find a way to get under everyone's skin and make them support the failed Republican agenda in Iraq.
The GOP is also smart enough to know that we're generally a tough, stubborn people but that a certain percentage of our population watches Fox News and, well, aren't the sharpest knives in the drawer... So throwing out words like "surrender" and "retreat" to describe the Democratic plan to end the Iraq quagmire seems to fit their game plan for sowing fear and doubt.
"The American people await this vote. The Iraqi people await this vote. Al Qaeda awaits this vote," said Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) while arguing earlier this week for the amendment to strip withdrawal language from the $122 billion Iraq supplemental bill. "I believe that instead of giving the terrorists a reason to be hopeful and sending mixed signals to our forces in the field, we should be talking about the possibility of a federal Iraq. We need to stop talking about how to retreat and start talking about winning in Iraq."
Hey, what American wants to be seen as retreating, right? And it was kind of nifty the way Brownback slipped al-Qaeda in there too.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sent out a press release Tuesday entitled "Congress Should Not Announce a Surrender Date."
"Attempting to have it both ways -- by slipping a withdrawal date into this bill, by making the support of our troops contingent on a dangerous and defeatist surrender date, was wrong a week and a half ago. It's wrong now," said McConnell, in the statement.
Republicans figure we as a people hate to think of ourselves as surrendering, so they want to throw that one around a bit too.
Sometimes they blend new buzz-phrases with old, such as when Wayne Allard (R-CO) said this before the affirmative Senate vote mandating that withdrawal from Iraq start in four months: "I believe the vote yesterday to retreat from Iraq was a serious mistake. Our enemies now look upon the United States as a country with no resolve, a country that will cut and run when things get tough."
And who better to jump into all of this cynicism than the man who hopes to be the Republican standard-bearer in 2008, John McCain?
"Supporters of this provision say they want a date certain for a U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. But, Mr. President, what they have offered us is more accurately described as a date certain for surrender, with grave consequences for the future of Iraq, the stability of the Middle East and the security of Americans at home and abroad," said McCain on the Senate floor Tuesday.
Let's all at least give McCain credit for stopping his presidential fundraising long enough to come back to D.C. and at least vote on this one.
Now that the funding bill containing the troop-withdrawal language passed this week, I'm on pins and needles waiting to hear what they'll start calling the Democrats responsible for pushing it through.
"Cut and runners" is kind of played out... The smart money says they'll go with either "yellow-bellies" or "scaredy-cats."
You can read more from Bob at BobGeiger.com.