January 30, 2007

Some ‘Benchmarks’ for John Boehner (UPDATE: Boehner’s Office Responds)

Welcome Instapundit readers! Be sure to catch the Update below with reax to the e-mail I received from Boehner’s Deputy Communications Director.

NOTE: This post will stay at or near the top for the rest of the day because of the topic involved.


What in the world is John Boehner thinking (or is he even thinking)?

From Dean Barnett on Hugh Hewitt’s interview of John Boehner yesterday (painful audio here; Boehner interview is in first half):

Hugh asked Boehner what effect he thought his resolution (proposing a “benchmark measuring device” — Ed.) would have on the enemy. By way of an answer of sorts, Boehner spoke for a while but didn’t address the question.

If Boehner thought Hugh wouldn’t notice that he didn’t answer the question, he had another thing coming. You don’t get those degrees from Michigan Law School at the bottom of a Cracker Jack Box. Hugh asked his question a second time – what effect will the resolution have on the enemy? Again, Boehner spoke for a while without answering the question. Hugh asked a third time. Yet again, Boehner declined to directly answer the question.

SO WHAT ARE WE TO MAKE OF THIS? Two possible scenarios – one is that Boehner knows damn well what this will do for the enemy and yet he still wants to pass the resolution for political reasons. The other scenario, and frankly I find this one both more likely and more chilling, is that Boehner has never even considered, not for one second, the effect his resolution will have on the enemy. Hugh’s question caught him off guard and without an answer because to him, it seemed like a non-sequitur.

Such is the nature of the political vacuum that our politicians dwell in.

In the political vacuum, it’s sad to report that the normally reliable John Boehner is choosing to be the GOP’s Head Hoover, wanting a “bipartisan panel” requiring reports every 30 days and other such blather — even though General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates have said that EVERY resolution being considered is helping the enemy and undermining the war effort.

Ya want “benchmarks,” John? Here are a few — Forget the bleeping resolutions, panels, and 30-day reports, and take your pick of the following:



Are we clear?


UPDATE: “We win, they lose.” –


UPDATE 2, 10:30 a.m: Don Seymour, Boehner’s Deputy Communications Director, sent me an e-mail (thanks to Don for doing so) that led, and then ended, with the following (in between was text of much of Petraeus’s Senate testimony) –

Hugh repeatedly said on the show, and you mention in the post, that “General Petraeus and Defense Secretary Gates have said that EVERY resolution being considered is helping the enemy and undermining the war effort.” Can you point me to their comments that specifically lump Boehner’s proposal in with the Biden and Warner resolutions that oppose the troop increase? We believe both have been clear that resolutions which oppose the additional troops that embody the President’s new strategy could embolden our enemies – neither has offered any similar comment aimed at the House Republican plan, which is an effort to help the President succeed.

….. The General has expressed his willingness to provide periodic updates to Congress – which is what we outlined in our proposal – and the President himself has said he is supportive of our effort. Unfortunately, Boehner did not communicate this on the show. Wish he would have. The House Republican proposal in no way suggests “disapproval of this new strategy” – it is nothing like the resolutions being offered by the Democrats and others who don’t believe our mission can succeed. Boehner believes the mission can and must succeed; he says – pretty much every time he speaks – that victory in Iraq is our only option. No one in Congress has been a bigger supporter of the President – on Iraq in general or his new strategy – than Mr. Boehner, and he has reiterated that time and time again.

Hugh’s point (and I agree) is not to have ANY resolution, but simply to support the president and preach that we WIN, period. Hugh rejected the idea near the end of his show yesterday that there is basis for distinguishing between “good” resolutions and “bad” resolutions, that Petraeus attempted to make any such distinction, or that Petraeus’s testimony about resolutions only related to those that might come out of the Senate.

I’m going to side with Hugh on this one, and do so by consciously deciding NOT to dig further, so I can explain why I believe Hugh is right — If I, among the 85% – 90% of electorate that is NOT going to dig into the details of each resolution, hear on the top-of-hour radio or quick-update TV news that the House GOP leadership wants to pass one that calls for benchmarks and 30-day updates (which is how it will be reported; calls for victory will be ignored by the press), what I would hear is that even the GOP side of Congress wants to micro-manage the war effort. Instinctively, we “the disengaged” are smart enough to know that simply by getting involved in such micromanagement, we inhibit full prosecution of the war effort. Our enemies know that too; this gives them comfort. Game, set, match.

Petraeus said he’ll report periodically anyway; let him do so in his own time, at his own discretion, and when any distraction from war prosecution is minimal to non-existent. There is no need for any House resolution.

UPDATE 3, 9:30 PM: Hewitt — “Benchmarks are the new ‘lockbox.’”

UPDATE 4, 11:30 PM: I agree with AMCGLTD (HT Instapundit) — The improvement in the news coming out of Iraq (or is it the reduction of lying reports coming out of Iraq from phoney-baloney unnamed or falsely-named sources [see italicized section at the end of this post]?) is very interesting. Could it be that the presence of the likes of Roggio, Ardolino, Yon, and Malkin are helping to keep the world’s press reports from Iraq honest, or less dishonest (for a while at least)?



  1. Once again the blogosphere is ahead of the curve and ignored. We wanted Mike Pence, we got business as usual Boehner.

    This kind of “leadership” will keep us out wandering in the desert for 40 years.

    Comment by Mark_McNally — January 30, 2007 @ 9:28 am

  2. [...] Biz has more on the benchmarks. Filed under: General by — Dave @ 9:17 am [...]

    Pingback by NixGuy.com » Hugh on John — January 30, 2007 @ 9:32 am

  3. That is the BEST post I’ve read yet on these dang resolutions! Thank you!

    Comment by Terri — January 30, 2007 @ 11:32 am

  4. What gets me is things that seem pretty darn obvious to us completely escape the thought process of these supposedly intelligent people we send to DC. Since Vietnam, these foreign countries and terrorists have watched and listened to us for signals that we are united or splintered. They would be very afraid of a USA united around a common purpose. They have no fear of us when we are spending our time debating what type of defeat is most preferable. Immediately following 9/11 you didn’t hear Iran or other pissant countries running their mouth. At that time it appeared we were all in agreement that we would do what’s necessary to ensure nothing like that happened again. Now, we send the message that the occasional 9/11 event is an acceptable cost to go back to August 2001.

    Comment by LargeBill — January 30, 2007 @ 11:58 am

  5. [...] UPDATE: BizzyBlog has some benchmarks for Boehner. [...]

    Pingback by The Wide Awake Cafe » Mad and Treacherous Times — January 30, 2007 @ 12:12 pm

  6. One has to wonder if the Boehner has been reading the reports the Defense Department is already required to publish quarterly. Titled “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq.” Complete with benchmarks and progress.




    Comment by Keith_Indy — January 30, 2007 @ 12:18 pm

  7. Amen Tom- I wish the Republicans would start acting like a team, instead of individuals going out and drafting their own resolutions. Its sloppy and certainly doesn’t present an imagine of steadfast, unwavering support of the effort to defeat terrorism.

    Comment by Matt — January 30, 2007 @ 12:42 pm

  8. Great post, Tom.

    Just win baby…LOL!

    Comment by VikingSpirit — January 30, 2007 @ 12:48 pm

  9. Thanks to all commenters.

    #6, Great points, good reports.

    #8, I guess you’re too young to remember when the Oakland Raiders were just about the best NFL team.

    Comment by TBlumer — January 30, 2007 @ 2:11 pm

  10. I’ve seen stuff about the days when they were good…they did beat my Vikings in a Super Bowl after all :-(

    Comment by VikingSpirit — January 30, 2007 @ 2:34 pm

  11. [...] Instapundit pointed me over to bizzyblog who has comments on Boehners interview with Hugh Hewitt. [...]

    Pingback by A Second Hand Conjecture » Who Reads This Stuff Anyway? — January 30, 2007 @ 3:00 pm

  12. Don’t worry everybody, the Republicans have put Trent Lott back in power. That’s the kind of fresh thinking that will continue to advance Republican power, ha, ha.

    The Republican party is completely brain-dead at this point.

    Comment by neal — January 30, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  13. Minority Leader John Boehner is providing aid and comfort to the enemy by insisting that we win…..or something.

    So, what you are saying here is that Boehner asking for benchmarks that is already being published on the Internet by our military is somehow providing aid and comfort to the enemy…..or something.

    I’m having trouble understanding the logic…

    Comment by Matt Hurley — January 30, 2007 @ 5:16 pm

  14. #13, you nailed it… it’s the “or something” part — Resolution-driven “bipartisan” benchmarks, when there already is benchmarking going on, gives the impression of a party confused and provides comfort to the enemy that we don’t know what the bleep we’re doing and that even the President’s party members are flailing away trying to figure out something other than “win.”

    Comment by TBlumer — January 30, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

  15. Excellent post – thank you! I had grave reservations about Boehner. I am now convinced the Republicans suffer from the same IQ deficit the Dems do. Every dang one of them is an idiot! I want the entire lot thrown out.

    Aid and comfort to the enemy is right, and the Right, apparently!

    Comment by Peg C. — January 30, 2007 @ 6:08 pm

  16. Benchmarks: The New Lockboxes…

    The Congressional Republicans’ demand for “benchmarks” is becoming the GOP’s equivalent of Al Gore’s demand years ago for “lockboxes,” –an empty term originally intended to convey seriousness of purpose while disguising empty policy prescriptio…

    Trackback by Hugh Hewitt — January 30, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  17. Given that we cannot “win” in Iraq and only people who know nothing about national-security issues think we can score an unambiguous “victory” there (particularly since there is no monolithic “enemy” to fight, not unless we choose to take sides in a civil war), when you say we should stay until we win, you’re saying we should stay forever and ever.

    So you’re saying that Republicans, our elected politicians, should support staying in Iraq forever and ever, no matter what the cost in American lives and American taxpayer dollars.

    You guys really care more about President Bush than America, don’t you? In order to avoid admitting that Bush lost this war, you are willing to stay in Iraq forever and let more Americans be slaughtered. You hate America, but you love Bush.

    Comment by M.A. — January 30, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

  18. Great Post!
    I listened to Boehner’s tap dance on HH last night coming home from work. It was like a radio play of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and Boehner was Charles Durning singing “The Sidestep”. ( Hey, I ought to post on that myself)

    It didn’t take much insight to catch on that one of two things are going on inside his punkin’ head. Boehner’s either:
    1. Trying to “slow leak” the cut-and-run idea in a way that we won’t notice (and is failing miserably)or…
    2. He really thinks he can attenuate the Dems through playing nice (which WILL fail miserably).
    I remember right after the elections when the Republicans were choosing their miniority leadership. Then, a bunch of Republican Congressmen from both houses stood up for Boehner on talk radio; saying things were going to change and that their guys knew how to be tough. Hah…hah…hah.

    Like a lot of people, I give campaign money to people I can get behind, but unlike most people I give more money to those who run against the people I can’t get behind. So I’m setting aside a little contribution for the next guy who runs against Boehner in the primaries. How much depends on how well my own Representative and Senators perform on this issue.

    You can’t repeat it enough: We Win – They Lose, that is all the benchmark I want to hear Boehner talking about.

    Comment by SMSgt Mac — January 30, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

  19. #17,

    You guys really care more about President Bush than America, don’t you? In order to avoid admitting that Bush lost this war, you are willing to stay in Iraq forever and let more Americans be slaughtered.

    Show me where I expressed that belief, pal, or be gone.

    The war is winnable. Vietnam was winnable (we didn’t “lose” it; our soldiers were gone when it fell; the Democratic Congress let it fall, and to this day that party has no remorse over the millions slaughtered). Korea was winnable. All that has been lacking is allowing our soldiers to be soldiers free of the micro-management of know-nothings, and will at home. Period.

    Clowns like you were saying the same thing about the Soviet Union. You were wrong; Reagan was right.

    Comment by TBlumer — January 30, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  20. The war has already been won. The question is whether we have the intestinal fortitude to secure the peace.

    People mistakenly compare this to 1944. No, this is more comparable to 1946 or 1947. We didn’t win that war just to walk away and hope Germany and Japan would play nice. NO! Rather, what we did was stay and ensure the future peace. Heck, we still have troops in both countries. But now we are demanding that troops leave Iraq 3 years after winning. All that would do is ensure any losses there were in vain. Ridiculous.

    Comment by LargeBill — January 30, 2007 @ 11:28 pm

  21. #20, Great restatement, Bill. Bullseye. We HAVE won, as in Germany and Japan. The occupation of Japan didn’t end until 1954 — and that country had been whipped into submission by the Bombs.

    Comment by TBlumer — January 30, 2007 @ 11:31 pm

  22. All politicians have the same mind set. Must save my power regardless of how many of my countrymen I get killed. Must have the power. The could give a sh** less about the American people. The only difference is there are a few republicans that do care about the safety of the American people and zero dhimmi’s. Dhimmi’s have been getting people killed by the millions since the 60′s to maintain their power with their simple minded followers and it works. Don’t expect them to change. In five years there will be five million + Iraqi’s in the ditch complimtments of the dhimmi’s and they won’t lose a nights sleep. No belief in God will do that to people.

    Comment by Scrapiron — January 31, 2007 @ 12:54 am

  23. Large Bill…Every incumbent has a singular fixed focus. How do I get re-elected? Every speech, every action, every alliance, every agreement, every ear mark, everything is calculated towards re-election. Just think ‘term limits’.

    Comment by Tim Smith — January 31, 2007 @ 8:35 am

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