At the Iraq Study Group’s just-completed press conference, a reporter noted that the group’s members had “considerable experience” in “helping presidents change course” and asked Baker what the group could or would do to “help Bush embrace the wisdom” of its report. Baker’s response? A punt. “I think it would be appropriate for President Clinton’s former chief of staff to answer that question.”
Leon Panetta took to the microphone to say that he thinks Bush “understands that he won’t be able to achieve the policy goals he wants if the country remains divided.”
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor chimed in to say that the problem of what comes next is “really out of our hands” now that the group’s report is done — and that it’s the media’s job now to bring the country together behind Bush’s goal of standing up an Iraqi government that can sustain and defend itself. “It’s up to you, frankly,” O’Connor told the reporters in the room. “You are the people who speak to the American people.”
Former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson followed along with a rambling lament about the lack of bipartisanship in Washington….
In other words, the real problem here is that the Democrats are too partisan, and the American people are not supporting Bush. (Even the Democrat Panetta as much as said that, but then he’s a Clintonista.)
All the evidence is that Bush will ignore the report, bland as it is, and continue to hang tough, improvise, throw tantrums, and behave erratically. And the Baker commission’s members will then take that as their cue to lecture us some more about disunity and partisanship.