It is becoming increasingly clear to moderate, realist, reality-based Republicans of the sane variety that, if the President doesn’t quickly do a 180 on Iraq, he and his Vice-President will have to be removed from office. How do I know? This is how I know.

A document that many in Washington had hoped would pave the way for a bipartisan compromise on Iraq instead drew sharp condemnation from the right, with hawks saying it was a wasted effort that advocated a shameful American retreat.

The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page described the report as a “strategic muddle,” Richard Perle called it “absurd,” Rush Limbaugh labeled it “stupid,” and The New York Post portrayed the leaders of the group, former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, a former Democratic member of Congress, as “surrender monkeys.”

Republican moderates clung to the report, mindful of the drubbing the party received in last month’s midterm elections largely because of Iraq. They said they hoped President Bush would adopt the group’s principal recommendations and begin the process of disengagement from the long and costly war. But White House officials who conducted a preliminary review of the report said they had concluded that many of the proposals were impractical or unrealistic.

Now, there are those that are merely ‘mindful of the drubbing the party received in last month’s midterm elections’. They make up one part of the emerging bipartisan impeachment coalition. But the more compelling contingent are the ones that are absolutely in a panic over our Iraq policy. If they can’t convince the President to pay attention to them, they will have no choice but to take him out any way they can.

The Iraq Study Group put to a permanent end all the happy talk, spin, and talking points over Iraq. It’s a disaster. Even if Bush listened to the ISG’s recommendations it would still end in disaster. But, in that scenario, Bush would at least be able to buy some time. His refusal to take the gift is putting the Washington Establishment in a bind. The Brits are freaking out, the Republicans and Democrats are freaking out. They cannot and will not accept Bush’s stance. Bush does not even have much of a constituency to argue his case. Rick Santorum would be willing to do it, but he is leaving office.

Rumsfeld turned on the war and is gone. Jane Harman lost her seat on Intelligence. Lieberman was kicked out of the Democratic Party. The Republicans have very little to gain by sticking with the President.

If Bush doesn’t make a dramatic change of course, he will leave the GOP no choice but to accede to impeachment proceedings. The exact pretext for Bush and Cheney’s removal, and the make-up of the caretaker government, will have to be quietly worked out, but you can be sure that the long knives are out and many power players are going to be spending the holidays plotting out scenarios that will get us out of this nightmare…and fast.

We can talk all we want about where the public is, or how we’d do better to focus on other things, but that is utter, total, hogwash. Nothing can be done until Bush recognizes that Iraq is a total loss and begins to act rationally. If he won’t, and there are no signs that he will, then it won’t be the Dems that are the leading force behind impeachment…it will his own father’s people. It will be the big business Republicans. They don’t give a damn whether the rank and file bought all that propaganda about Islamofascism or not. They’ll send out the signal and the media will get on board.

All the Dems have to do is provide the direct constitutional crisis that leads to articles of impeachment and the rest will take care of itself.

You cannot ignore the wisemen of Washington on matters of urgent foreign policy.

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