GATES: HOORAY FOR DEMOCRATS!….Defense Secretary Robert Gates said today that Moqtada al-Sadr’s withdrawal of six cabinet ministers from the Iraqi government might, in the end, turn out to be a good thing depending on who replaces them. Then he added this:

Gates, on a Middle East tour, called for a range of efforts from inside and outside Iraq to speed up the formation of a broad-based government of Iraq’s majority Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions.

….”The debate in Congress … has been helpful in demonstrating to the Iraqis that American patience is limited,” Gates told Pentagon reporters traveling with him in Jordan. “The strong feelings expressed in the Congress about the timetable probably has had a positive impact … in terms of communicating to the Iraqis that this is not an open-ended commitment.”

Somebody jog my memory here. I know that other people have made this point about congressional pressure before, but never a high-ranking Bush cabinet officer, right? Is Gates off the reservation, or is this is the new party line from the White House?