ROHRABACHER’S PLEASANT SURPRISE…. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is not someone I’d consider a moderate. He’s dismissed Abu Ghraib torture as being similar to “hazing pranks from some fraternity.” He rejects evidence on climate change, and has argued that warming was caused by dinosaur flatulence.

But credit where credit is due — Rohrabacher has taken some sensible positions of late.

[S]peaking on the House floor last night, Rohrabacher said that the president is right not make any “brash” decisions [on Afghanistan]: “President Obama will soon make a decision that will chart the course for America’s involvement in Afghanistan for years to come. I personally am not upset that it has taken President Obama this long to determine his response to General McChrystal’s request for an additional 35,000 U.S. combat troops to be sent to Afghanistan. This is a monumental decision […]

“This is not the time for business as usual nor is it time for brash decision making. A decision to send U.S. troops to Afghanistan will cause money — lots of it — and it will cost lives.”

Rohrabacher added that calls from the right for more combat units in Afghanistan would be “counterproductive and perhaps disastrous.” The California Republican went on to condemn the Bush administration’s efforts in the region: “The competence of the last administration in carrying out that war and building a peace was abysmal.”

All of this comes just a month after Rohrabacher said his party’s caucus is overly invested in “political games,” adding, “The Republican leadership in the House right now is constantly trying to play a political game every day to try and get a headline, and I don’t think that’s going to take us anywhere.”

Maybe it’s the soft bigotry of low expectations, but when a House Republican says something sensible, it stands out as noteworthy.

Update: Atrios reminds me that Rohrabacher, while not insane on this one issue, has a colorful background on counter-terrorism. It’s a good point. For that matter, an emailer also reminds me of Rohrabacher having been up to his ears in the Abramoff scandal.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.