Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Showdown on Capitol Hill

These next few days are likely to be interesting for Capitol watchers, and leave it to Al Jazeera to pull a cogent summary together from the wire services. The date to watch is Tuesday, because that will be the day on which the President delivers his State of the Union address to a Congress that is no longer solidly in his camp. Thus, we are unlikely to see the sort of mass cheerleading we have seen at previous State of the Union deliveries. What will be more interesting to watch, however, is whether or not the Congress passes, with bipartisan support, a non-binding (and therefore purely symbolic) resolution in opposition to Bush's "new strategy," which has received so much criticism from so many different circles. As Al Jazeera summarizes it:

The resolution is expected to say that it is not in the national interest to deepen US military involvement in Iraq by increasing the troop presence there.

Bush has put out some interesting displays of contrition, both when he introduced the strategy and in subsequent conversations with the press (conversations that he used to avoid). However, one of those interviews included the telling comment, "I made my decision and we're going forward," indicating that, while contrition has its proper place, that place does not include interfering with will. Fortunately, Congress is now being closely watched regarding how effectively they are likely to do a better job of seeing to the country's business than the preceding Congress did; and, even if this planned gesture is purely symbolic, it may help to restore that badly damaged image.

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