They really thought they had found one, and the whole inside the beltway crowd bought the line, in an ad placed in the New York Times by MoveOn.org. They screamed that is was a total outrage because it criticized the Iraq Congressional testimony of General Petraeus by using a pun on his name "General Petraeus or General Betray Us". The Washington establishment got so worked up about it (essentially as an alleged insult to the military and wounding of national pride) that the Senate even passed a motion condemning MoveOn this week.
I see the affair as one more piece of evidence for what is a huge reality gap between those inside the beltway and everyone else.
It all was summarized in an article in the Sept. 23 Toronto Star by their Washington correspondent, who has clearly drunk the Washington Kool-Aid.
There is a breed of young blogger pundits in Washington who are able to see through all of this nonsense. One of the best is Matthew Yglesias and here is what he said:
As best I can tell, it's all basically bullshit. The whole fracas of Petraeus, Crocker, MoveOn, etc. has had, to a good first approximation, no impact whatsoever on anything of any significance. Bush continues to be stubborn. Republicans continue to back Bush. The war continues to go poorly and continues to be unpopular. There was nothing else that ever could have happened. A bunch of editors and politicians talked themselves into believing that this September showdown was crucially significant, but they were all wrong and their theory never made any sense.
And the hard evidence wasn't long in coming. The most recent polling, which of course says Bush is unpopular, so is the war, and nothing has changed, can all be seen in this post from Atrios:
When the election comes in 2008 a continuing unpopular war (not to mention an economy increasingly in trouble) will have a devastating impact on the incumbent party in White House.