The showdown between the president and congressional Democrats over funding the war in Iraq took an odd turn yesterday when the White House subtly changed tactics. The new problem with a withdrawal timeline is that it isn't "mainstream" enough.
During yesterday's press briefing, White House spokesperson Dana Perino argued that the House and Senate measures on the war aren't just wrong, they're too extreme to even consider.
"Now, their proposal is well outside of the mainstream. This is not a moderate bill. It is contrary to the Baker-Hamilton report. It's contrary to the judgment of the President's military advisors, and it's contrary to the unanimous judgment of our intelligence community."
This need not be complicated. The latest Gallup poll found that 60% of Americans support setting a time-table for withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq no later than the fall of 2008. The latest Pew Forum poll said the same thing.
In other words, by Perino's logic, most Americans are outside the American mainstream, which if these words have any meaning, doesn't make a lot of sense.
If the White House opposes the Democratic policy embraced by most Americans, fine. We can have a debate -- a withdrawal timeline vs. an open-ended commitment to fighting in Iraq's civil war indefinitely. But if the White House wants to argue that the "mainstream" position is the superior position, the Bush gang might as well give in now.