Why Did Democrats Reverse Themselves on Joining Bush’s Bipartisan Iraq/Terrorism Panel?

I found this interesting:

Democratic leaders agreed yesterday to President Bush’s idea for a new bipartisan panel to advise him on the fight against terrorism and the Iraq war, days after rejecting such a commission.

A senior Democratic leadership aide said yesterday that Bush had wanted to dictate the terms of the panel and even select its Democratic members.

Yesterday, Bush spoke with Pelosi and Reid, and they agreed to create a panel to which Democrats could appoint their own members.

I have a hard time believing that allowing Democrats to appoint their own members was the real sticking point. It certainly seemed like this was just an effort by the administration to set up another panel that would kick the Iraq can down the road some more and put off the day of reckoning for the president’s policy. And it looked utterly superfluous, considering we already have had a high-profile bipartisan commission, the Iraq Study Group, which the president pretty much ignored, and considering the Democrats have ample opportunity to make their views on Iraq known to the president now that they control Congress. What exactly is the point of this new entity?

This all makes me think something else is going on here, that possibly Pelosi and Reid extracted some other concession on Iraq from the president in exchange for going along with this bipartisan window-dressing scheme. But what was their deal?


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