September 17, 2007

Well Played, Yerhonner!

A lot of Republicans were upset about's "General Betray Us" advertisement. Indeed, a lot of sensible Democrats thought it was a bonehead play. But instead of being another right-wing whiner, Rudy Giuliani did something about it. He asked for, and was given, the same discount price given to to run an ad ostensibly responding to the attack on General Petreaus -- and which included a prominent attack on Hillary Clinton. In so doing, he took back some of the initative in the Republican primary, which had been all about Fred Thompson, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee for about a week.

This is why Giuliani is the right guy for the Republican party. I know a lot of social conservatives don't like that he isn't in ideological lock step with them. But Rudy will take the fight to the Democrats, and as President he'll take the fight to the bad guys. It's better to be in a position to score points than to have to stop the other side from scoring them. And it's better for Republicans to criticize Democrats than one another.

And most importantly, it was the right thing to do. General Petraeus was not delivering a political message to Congress and he wasn't carrying the White House's water. Not everything he had to say fit in nicely with the current President's desires and wish-list for achievement in Iraq. But it was real and did not, as Senator Clinton had said, require the "willing suspension of disbelief." Seemed to me he was quite forthright about the Iraqi political leadership's complete failure to take advantage of the shift in military events to reach some kind of political modus vivendi acceptable to the country, and that is a critical failure on the road to something resembling peace in Iraq. But that's not something that America can do for Iraq, only Iraq can do that for itself.

And he did not deserve to be attacked because he failed to toe the left wing's line on the war.

Being President is, ultimately, a political job. You want a good politician in the Oval Office. Someone with skill and the ability to get things done in that kind of world. It's not a gentle world, nor is it one where playing fair is either commonplace or even particularly expected. If there's one thing Republicans should be about in the future, it's about standing for a strong military.

And being President is about standing up for your people as well as standing against your political adversaries. Giuliani showed that he'd stand up for his generals if he were President. He deserves to be back in the political limelight for this -- he earned it.

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