President Bush met with 30 senators yesterday to pump his new war plan. He told them this time it will be different – because Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki has bought in – so we can expect to find those missing benchmarks of political equilibrium, which means increasing troops actually will help to eventually bring them home. Right? One of those senators was Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me), who returned recently from a trip to Iraq where she met with the prime minister. Maliki told her he was opposed to the surge, which became one of the reasons that she decided to oppose it as well. Of course when Collins tried to get the president to hear her story, according to Newsweek, Bush walked her to an advisor’s office and left her there before she could tell it.

If Bush only wants to talk to people who agree with him on Iraq, that is his choice, but as he plunges to Nixonian levels in the polls he should be aware that the list of like-minded dwindles weekly and he may run out of listeners by Memorial Day. Collins is one of 21 Republican senators up for reelection in 2008, and an early defector, but she is not alone and there will be many more.

Democrats are enjoying themselves, raging against Bush war policy without having to do anything to change it. They know that pulling funding would be politically disastrous, while fomenting anti-war sentiment in the public, through hearings and investigations, will ultimately force the president to change course. It will be death by a thousand political cuts, and after a while it will be Republicans who take the knife to Bush.