HEARING THAT ECHO. Now it's Michael Barone running with the metaphor.

This sounds like a threat that we will withdraw unless the Maliki government gives us carte blanche to go after Shiite militias, including the Sadr militia. That threat was reinforced by Sen. Dick Durbin's response, in which he said that our commitment was not only "not open-minded" but that as far as the Democrats were concerned it should be ended pretty soon. That will probably be reinforced by the votes on the nonbinding resolutions on Bush's policy that the Democratic leaders have said they will hold. Opponents will presumably prevail.

That won't doom Bush's policy; remember when Speaker Dennis Hastert failed to get a majority vote supporting Bill Clinton's policy in the Balkans? But it should alert the Iraqis to the real possibility that some time in the 2007–08 cycle this Democratic Congress might move to shut off or limit funds for our forces in Iraq.

What we're seeing is a version of the good cop, bad cop routine. Bush is the good cop to Maliki, promising him support but reminding him it's contingent on his own behavior. Durbin, representing the congressional leadership, is the bad cop, telling him he'd like to cut off support very soon and suggesting he may well do it later.

(Via Betsy's Page.)

Sean Hackbarth's American Mind has a few more links (and it appears his buddies are using the old Wauwatosa Mama Mia's for a monthly gathering.)

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