With the news that Nancy Pelosi can't find time to listen to the Petraeus briefing on Iraq, you can see why Congressional Democrats might worry about the political instincts of their leadership:
As the House and Senate prepare to vote this week on the final conference report on the $124 billion troop funding bill - which would also mandate that U.S. combat troops begin withdrawing from Iraq on Oct. 1 at the latest - Gen. David Petraeus is scheduled to come to the Hill tomorrow to brief lawmakers on the progress of the recent troop escalation.
ABC News has learned, however, that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will not attend the briefing.
"She can't make the briefing tomorrow," a Democratic aide told ABC News Tuesday evening. "But she spoke with the general via phone today at some length."
A Pelosi aide said the speaker on Tuesday requested a one-on-one meeting with Petraeus but that could not be worked out. He said their phone conversation lasted 30 minutes.
Paired with Harry Reid's embarrassing performance yesterday, it's clear that neither one really understands what the Democrats' posture toward Petraeus should be.
Here's one possible approach:
The Speaker (Majority Leader) recognizes that there's no more important issue right now than Iraq, and our irresponsible policies there. She (he) is eager to hear from our nation's commander on the ground, and will meet with General Petraeus to express gratitude for both his service, and that of our brave men and women in the field. At the same time, the General is sure to to face tough questions about the lack of progress in Iraq.
Is that so hard? You can still say afterward that you've heard nothing that changed your mind.
If Pelosi and Reid are as committed as they seem to be to undercutting the war effort and tying the president's hands, they should at least pretend to be open-minded when they do so. To admit that their minds are closed to any new evidence of progress--as Reid has done--only gives war advocates more ammunition to use against them.