While there, I got to talking with Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose thoughts about how the Republican base would react to a withdrawal from Iraq seem in sync with Andrea Mitchell's report (via TPMCafe) that G.O.P. Senators are ready to get out and are giving the president's surge until August to fail before saying so and breaking with him. Said Grover:The base isn't interested in Iraq. The base is for Bush. If Bush said tomorrow, we're leaving in two months, there would be no revolt.
In other words, many of Bush's loyal supporters (reduced to 25% - 30% of the country's populace, depending on which poll you read) are not interested in the war on terror except to the extent that Bush tells them to be, and that if Bush said otherwise tomorrow we'd be reading within hours on the right-wing blogs all the justifications for why the war in Iraq is suddenly not so central to our war on Islamofascism (the rest of the right-wing blogosphere would be bitterly disappointed and incredulous but have nowhere to turn.) Now if someone on my side of the aisle made such a statement they'd be accused of deriding the right's lack of principles on the basis of little to no evidence, but one would imagine Grover Norquist knows something of which he speaks. Referring to the Bush political movement as an authortarian leadership cult aided and abetted by 19 suicidal terrorists might be overstating the case...but probably only by a little bit.
Anyway, don't get your hopes up. We'll be talking about this war for quite some time to come.