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Monsignieur Tim seems to be struggling these days.  Russert's background is as a political operative, not as a journalist, and so it must be disorienting to him to be judged as a member of the fourth estate and not as a connoseiur of Lynn Cheney's famous chili.  One can almost sense in his Meet the Press performance yesterday some — dare we say it — prickliness to being known as Cheney's bitch, because he almost seemed to be crediting the war's critics with having been right there for a moment.  Mostly he seems like he just did not know what to say.  Granted whoever booked the Bugman and future Hollinger witness Richard Perle to speak on behalf of the war did its advocates no favors, but perhaps that is how far one has to reach toward the bottom of yonder barrell before one finds someone willing to publicly do so these days. 

Anyway, just in case you were wondering, anyone calling for a timeline is now a traitor:

Russert:  Mr. DeLay, you raise an interesting point in your political column…you talked about congressmen advocating withdrawal, and you conclude by saying "yes, I am questioning their patriotism."  Why is that?

DeLay:  Well, I, it is my opinion that when you go to war, we ought to all come together.  You can debate going to war, that's a legitimate debate.  But once you have our soldiers and our young people dying on the battlefield, we should come together.  We shouldn't have what we had yesterday on the mall of…of…in Washington DC — those are not in my mind, in my opinion patriots that are talking about impeaching the commander in chief, that work as Tom's group works to set a date undermine…

Russert:  But is setting a date for withdrawal…

DeLay:  I think that's aiding and abetting the enemy.  When you tell the enemy what your strategy is, that is aiding and abetting the enemy because they can use that strategy to come back and harm your soldiers.

Blue America candidate Joe Sestak handled himself superbly and was quick to remind Yellow Elephant DeLay that he had publicly opposed the war in Kosovo and hadn't engaged in much "coming together" (I seem to recall a little something about impeachment at that time as well, maybe Digby will remember).  It was really heartwarming to see Sestak and his 31 years of military service called "unpatriotic" by Hot Tub Tom.  Sestak was the supreme adult among children, the sagacious voice of wisdom and experience that inspired confidence and did much to reshape the pervasive GOP meme that Democrats are "mommy party" cowards.  I realize there are many other ideas about who the face of the party should be when it comes to Iraq, and there is a tendency to feature the one that joins DeLay in calling us traitors.   Still, it's something to think about.