A brief news post while Tispaquin rests from an arduous day of smoking his pipe at the Wading Place, blaspheming the Sabbath, and telling lies ...
Washington Post. (07-22-06) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Faced with almost daily reports of sectarian carnage, Republicans are shifting their message on the war in Iraq from optimistic talk of progress to acknowledging serious problems and pointing up mistakes in planning and execution.
Rep. Gil Gutknecht, R-Minn., once a strong supporter of the war, returned from Iraq this week declaring that conditions in Baghdad were far worse "than we'd been led to believe," and urging that troop withdrawals begin immediately.
Other Republican lawmakers acknowledge that it is no longer tenable to say the news media is ignoring the good news in Iraq and painting an unfair picture of the war.
"It's like after (Hurricane) Katrina, when the secretary of Homeland Security was saying all those people weren't really stranded (at the New Orleans civic center) when we were all watching it on TV," said Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C. "I still hear about that. We can't look like we won't face reality."
"Essentially, what the White House is saying is, 'Stay the course, stay the course,' " Gutknecht said. "I don't think that course is politically sustainable."
During a debate last month, Gutknecht intoned, "Members, now is not the time to go wobbly." This week, he conceded "I guess I didn't understand the situation," saying that a partial troop withdrawal now would "send a clear message to the Iraqis that the next step is up to you."
Republicans, especially those in swing districts, had no choice but to shift the emphasis of their war talk, lawmakers said.