If there is a total antithesis of the clichéd Silver Fox, Sen. John Warner took permanent possession of the title today with the most asinine, craven play in the Iraq end game to date.
In his usual portentous manner, Warner came back from the war zone and made the daring suggestion that George Bush bring home 5,000 troops for Christmas.
On the PBS News Hour, the Senate’s Oliver Twist noted that it was up to the President, of course, but after long study, he was emboldened to ask, “Can we have some, sir, please.”
At 80, Warner is positioning himself to run for a sixth term next year by being on both sides of ending the war, but a proposal to withdraw a handful of 160,000 troops is an insult to the intelligence of his Senate colleagues as well as his constituents.
Journalists of my generation will always remember Warner as a well-tailored empty suit who, in the words of his fellow Virginian Chuck Robb, LBJ’s son-in-law who became a governor and senator, “outmarried myself.”
Warner did it twice, first with a billionaire’s granddaughter, Catherine Mellon, and then movie star Elizabeth Taylor. Even so, he lost his first Republican primary but got the nomination when the winner died in a plane crash and then barely beat his Democratic opponent.
Throughout the Iraq war, Warner has been a stony-faced Bush supporter but is now attempting to play elder statesman with today’s stupid suggestion. Senatorial courtesy will elicit oohs and ahs, but Carl Levin et al must know the score.