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  xTuesday, January 14, 2003

not just dems


Last week, Republican senators had a sit-down with White house Chief of Staff Andrew Card for a beginning-of-the-session "retreat." Several senior Republicans used the occasion to put Card on notice about their unhappiness with some Bush administration actions. Here's Robert Novak in the Chicago Sun-Times:
...they complained bitterly of arrogance by the Bush administration, especially the Pentagon, in treatment of Congress along the road to war.

Two years of growing discontent boiled over during the closed-door meeting at the Library of Congress. White House chief of staff Andrew Card was there to hear grievances from President Bush's Senate base that it is ignored and insulted by the administration, particularly by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in preparing for war against Iraq. Recital of complaints began with Sen. John Warner, a pillar of the Senate GOP establishment.

This is a disconnected time in Washington. Republican senators appreciate that they have returned to majority status thanks to George W. Bush's bold midterm election strategy and his popularity leading the war against terrorism. But their unease about a divided administration on the brink of attacking Iraq is deepened because they are neither consulted nor informed about war plans.

...Warner had his colleagues' attention when he addressed Card. ''I will not tolerate,'' he boomed, ''a continuation of what's been going on the last two years.'' He cited cavalier treatment that denies information even to the venerable top Senate Republican on Armed Services.

Then there's this juicy bit:
Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri next got up to tell Card that the administration had better put out more information justifying military action against Iraq as part of the war against terrorism. ''What is the connection between Iraq and al-Qaida?'' Bond asked. ''Don't worry,'' replied Card, indicating the information would come along.

In other words, even the Republican Senate, which went to the mat for Bush over his Iraq resolution, hasn't been let in on whatever evidence Bush's underlings keep claiming they have. Or pehaps the al Qaeda linkage is "no longer operative."

Given the Bush administration's history of breaking promises even to its Republican allies in Congress, I'm not the least bit surprised to hear of this displeasure. I also think it's significant that this time around, several Republicans are among those questioning Bush's latest batch of tax cuts.





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