From the very beginning, Senator Edward Kennedy was against the Iraq War. He did not consider Saddam an active enemy in the War on Terror. And Kennedy's basic tenet is and always has been negotiation until there's no question military force has to be used.
President Bush is exactly the opposite. He believes the War on Terror is interconnected. Saddam was a terrorist enabler and the USA must be aggressive in confronting all components of international terrorism.
So you can see, there is little common ground between the president and the senator.
Tuesday, Kennedy announced he'll try to stop funding for more troops in Iraq:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. EDWARD KENNEDY, D-MASS.: Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam. The best, immediate way to support our troops is by refusing to inject more and more of them into the cauldron of a civil war that could be resolved only by the people and government of Iraq.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
That kind of hard-line stance is probably not going to happen. They will fund the additional troops, because moderate Democrats understand any denial of funding could possibly hurt our military people already in the field. And that could backfire on the Democrats in 2008. So Kennedy will probably not get what he wants.
On the other side, President Bush will ask the American people Wednesday night to support 20,000 more troops in Iraq. The problem is the president has little credibility left in that country. Every poll says the same thing. Americans are deeply disappointed the situation there is so chaotic.
In fact, a Gallup poll says only 12 percent of Americans want more troops in Iraq.
So it is a troubling situation for all Americans. We're caught in the middle of two world views. The far left does not want to confront the bad guys unless we absolutely have to. The Republicans say we must be aggressive in confronting jihadists and other evildoers.
Since most Americans are not ideological nuts, the decision boils down to performance. The reason most Americans aren't supporting Iraq any longer is that the war is not going our way. And the reason for that is that the Iraqi people have not helped America or themselves nearly enough.
"Talking Points" believes at this stage President Bush should try to secure Baghdad one last time without sniping from Ted Kennedy or anybody else. Oversight? Absolutely. And the president should understand the window in Iraq is closing. But at this point for the sake of those who have been killed and wounded, let's give it one more shot.
And that's the Memo.
Most Ridiculous Item
The Comedy Central network and the FOX News Channel released a joint press release today, saying, "A colossal media event a year-and-a-half in the making will unfold when Stephen Colbert ventures into the 'No Spin Zone' to make his debut guest appearance on FOX News Channel's 'The O'Reilly Factor.' Later that evening, Bill O'Reilly will head over to the 'Colbert Nation.'"
Well, the fun is set for Thursday, January 18.
Colbert said, "I look forward to the evening. It is an honor to speak face-to-face with a broadcasting legend, and I feel the same way about Mr. O'Reilly."
Mr. O'Reilly then replied, "I'm really looking forward to speaking to a man who owes his entire career to me!"
Ridiculous? Might well be.
—You can catch Bill O'Reilly's "Talking Points Memo" and "Most Ridiculous Item" weeknights at 8 and 11 p.m. ET on the FOX News Channel and any time on foxnews.com/oreilly. Send your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org