From a news analysis by Sheryl Gay Stolberg in today’s New York Times:
By stepping up the American military presence in Iraq, President Bush is not only inviting an epic clash with the Democrats who run Capitol Hill. He is ignoring the results of the November elections, rejecting the central thrust of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group and flouting the advice of some of his own generals, as well as Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq….
In a sense, it is a predictable path for Mr. Bush. This, after all, is the same president who lost the popular vote in 2000, was installed in the White House by a 5-to-4 vote of the Supreme Court and then governed as if he had won by a landslide. And this is the same president who, after winning re-election in 2004, famously told reporters that he had “earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and now I intend to spend it.”
But no American president has been able to prosecute a war indefinitely without the support of the American public. With polls showing fewer than 20 percent of Americans supporting increasing troop levels in Iraq, Mr. Bush and those Republicans who support him know that the new policy will be a tough sell….
The question for Mr. Bush is just how long the American people, and their elected representatives, will wait.
The idea that an unpopular president is about to get away with escalating an unpopular, misguided, and destructive war is almost unthinkable. The Democrats were swept into victory in November because the American people wanted change. Now is the time to stand up to this president and make good on those promises by doing everything in their power to prevent an expansion of the war effort.