July is always a tough month in the newspaper business, and this one is tougher than most. It would be nice to have the luxury of losing a million bucks now and then, the way some companies do, but here a couple of subpar weeks pushes us into panic mode. So I'm feeling panicky.
Finding somebody with bigger problems sometimes helps, so I listened to the president's news conference while delivering papers on Thursday. He actually sounded better than usual -- it was one of the few times I wasn't wishing that Tony Blair was around to explain our Iraq policy to us. But as Mara Liasson pointed out, it did seem that Bush was involved in a different debate than the rest of us. Most of the country is arguing about how best to leave Iraq; Bush seems to be ready to stay there forever.
Bush also bothered me when he said it was the job of commanders of the ground to decide when troops should come home. Dead wrong. The job of commanders is to conduct the war under the general direction of the commander in chief. Congress is supposed to decide when wars begin and end. The opinion of commanders about when the situation is stable enough to send troops home safely obviously should be considered carefully, but it isn't their call.
Then there was the other story of the day: Harriet Miers refused to appear at a congressional hearing. This seemed to get less attention than it deserved, and I was glad to finally find the post I had been looking for. Whatever the merits of the executive privilege claim, I don't see how it entitles someone to ignore a subpoena. But then lots of things that go on in the administration these days don't make much sense to me.
Personally, I don't much care about what the executive branch is required to disclose to Congress. But I do care about what it is required to disclose to me. Those people all get paid with my money. And Congress appears to be the only dog I have in this fight right now, so I'm pulling for Congress.