Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), 90 days ago:
"What we do can affect the outcome. But if we don't see progress on two of the three big issues -- oil revenues, de-Baathification, provincial elections -- in the next 90 days, it may not happen. And Iraq could be a failed state."
According to a FOX News interview a few weeks back, Graham's deadline has been adjusted to January.
"t's hard to have democracy when people are getting killed in droves. And the better security is going to produce better political results. They've passed a budget, something we haven't been able to do.
But the four major benchmarks — I predict and hope very much that by January of 2008, the de-Baathification law, which will allow Sunnis to come back into the government and have jobs, to be a full partner in Iraq, will be passed. I was told that by Maliki, by Abdul Mahdi, a Shia vice president. I expect that to happen.
The surge was necessary to bring about the conditions for political reconciliation. I think we're on track at the national level.
Local reconciliation is very robust at the local level. I think it will migrate to the national level. If it doesn't in January, then I will be very disappointed, sit down with Carl and see what we can do on the political side to push them."
Now that real competition from his fellow Republicans is amounting to little more than a nuisance, I'd be surprised if that deadline doesn't come and go as well.