By David Edwards on 12/10/2005, 10:41am PT  

Guest blogged by David Edwards

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This morning on the NBC Today Show, Chris Matthews acknowledged that falling gas prices have given the president a small bump in the polls. Matthews said that the trend in approval ratings since 9/11 is downward and that trend will continue due to problems with the Administration's Iraq policy.

President Bush's recent speeches win the argument that "We cannot leave Iraq now" but it also reinforces the perception that "we are never leaving Iraq". In fact, Matthews said, he had never heard the president say that we would eventually pull all the troops out of Iraq. It is no secret that the neocons have long wanted to use permanent military power to protect our "interests in Iraq" and to eventually become the dominate military power in the Middle East.

The unspoken policy of unending military influence in Iraq offers Americans no "light at the end of the tunnel", Matthews said.

Democrats have been largely divided on the future of the Iraq war. Matthews predicted that Harry Reid would attempt to show that most Democrats are coalesced behind a moderate pseudo-policy. Senator Reid and other Democrats will suggest a "timetable" that draws down troops based on measurable progress without imposing an actual timeline. Matthews thinks that it could take a year or longer to put enough pressure on the administration before they would accept concrete definitions of success tied to troop redeployments.

Matthews said that both sides should join the debate on whether or not there will be total troop withdrawal from Iraq.

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