President Bush got in a little swipe at Congress during his swing through Australia yesterday, and Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, the influential Chicago Democrat, quickly fired off a nasty letter to the White House. In the letter, published on The Tribune Co.’s The Swamp, Emmanuel calls the president’s remark a “false and gratuitous shot” and writes:

It has long been the custom that members of Congress do not go overseas and criticize the president ­ that partisanship ends at the water’s edge. But reading today’s accounts of the President’s remarks in Australia, it is clear he has a different view. Asked about the lack of political progress in Iraq, the President said Iraq’s Parliament had passed 60 laws, and added, “It’s more than our legislature passed.”

But Emmanuel must not have been following the doings of his colleague and presidential candidate, Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, who is currently visiting Syria: In the Jerusalem Post, Kucinich is quoted as saying, “I feel the United States is engaging in an illegal occupation … I don’t want to bless that occupation with my presence … I will not do it.” The Post reports, “Kucinich, who accused the Bush administration of policies that have destabilized the Mideast, met with Syrian President Bashar Assad during his visit to Damascus. He said Assad was receptive to his ideas of ‘strength through peace.’ ”

The conservative Don Surber, writing on his blog at The Charleston (W.Va.) Daily Mail, has some advice for Emmanuel. He writes:

We shall see how serious Emanuel is about this water’s edge business. Emanuel heads the Democratic congressional efforts.

Unless he is an insincere, cheapshot-taking charlatan, Emanuel will withdraw all party help for Kucinich’s re-election bid to Congress and run a candidate against Kucinich in the Ohio Democratic Primary.

That is how Republicans handle their problems — right under the bus they go. Just ask Larry Craig.