The delegation included Representatives Mark Kirk of Illinois, another leader of the moderate coalition; Jim Gerlach of Pennsylvania; James T. Walsh of New York; and Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri. Mr. Kirk, Mr. Walsh and Ms. Emerson declined to discuss the meeting. ~The New York Times

They were part of a delegation of “moderate Republicans” who had come to express their concern over Iraq.  They were telling Mr. Bush what their constituents think about the war–their districts have turned hard against the war, in some cases dramatically so.  There was also this item: “One told Mr. Bush that voters back home favored a withdrawal even if it meant the war was judged a loss.”  That sounds like a pretty strong endorsement of a withdrawal policy, at least as far as that district goes.  If this is true in moderate Republican districts, what do you want to bet that this is representative of general national opinion? 

Obsessive election watchers from last fall will remember that Kirk and Walsh survived strong challenges and there was a brief moment where it seemed possible that Walsh would get swept out to sea along with the other 30 Republican House members ousted in November.  Now these “moderates” are scrambling to find some cover before the next election, because they know that the next wave will take them if they don’t.

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