I was trying to think of a term, analogous to a honeymoon period, to describe the way we were all supposed to say nice things about John Warner in the wake of his retirement announcement.
In any event, the Wall Street Journal has reported today that Warner is reconsidering his support for his VA colleague Jim Webb's proposal to require that our troops be given as much time off between tours as the length of their tours. I learned this from talkingpointsmemo.com which reports that Warner is "reconsidering his position" in light of the administration's willingness to move closer to him on expediting some reduction in U.S. troop levels this year in Iraq. "It took a lot of convincing to make the first units come home before Christmas," Mr. Warner said. "There is a lot of importance in that."
This is patently a false rationale. Warner initially "broke" with Bush by saying that a symbolic number of troops needed to be withdrawn to make clear to the Iraqi government that our commitment is not open-ended. Bush's pledge to bring some troops home by this Christmas sends absolutely the opposite signal to Iraqi government. Between Gen. Petraeus' testimony and everything the Bush Administration has said since, it is clear that the only troops that are coming home are those that were going to have to come home anyway because the surge can't be sustained beyond the middle of next year.
So, can we please quit saying what a great independent statesman Warner is? Without even a re-election bid at stake, he's caving for, I guess, purely partisan reasons. Combining this with Sen. Majority Leader Reid's statement today that compromises with GOP Senators about Iraq are off the table, I fear that not only will John Warner not bring Tom Davis closer to the Dem position, Davis will vote with Bush yet again.