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The Podhoretz Gambit

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John Podhoretz makes an excellent suggestion in his New York Post column this morning (HT: RealClearPolitics): The president should invite senior Democrats back into the foreign olicy mainstream of the country via the Iran crisis. Key graphs:

The president should invite leading Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, sooner rather than later, to Camp David for a major policy summit with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld and Intelligence Director John Negroponte. He could say, very plainly, that the United States faces a crisis and that it would be in the best interest of the nation and the world for there to be a bipartisan consensus on what to do about Iran.

He should have officials from the CIA, Defense Intelligence and the National Security Agency offer serious briefings on what we know and don’t know about the situation. And then he should lead a series of no-holds-barred conversations about the possible options and ways forward.

The odds that many –or any– senior Democrat would use the opportunity to re-engage in the foreign policy mainstream of the United States is small, but should be explored. Senators Biden, Lieberman, and Clinton, former President Clinton and Secretary of State Albright, as well as two or three from the House and two or three from the younger generation of Democratic leaders –Senator Obama, for example– could join a similar number of Republicans from outside the Adminsitration in the sort of sit-down Podhoretz suggests.

If nothing else, those who would be president –Senators Allen, Frist, McCain and Romney and the leading Democrats– would get a serious glimpse inside the Iranian crisis that would inform their campaigns over the next 30 months.

The downside would be the obvious leak potential as well as the inevitable Biden speech to follow, but Podhoretz is correct that the seriousness of the situation warrants one more effort to walk the Democratic Party back from the foreign policy cliff.


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