The Real Side
The Paper Trained Party
Quick. State the position of the Democratic Party on the Iraq War. Where do they stand on attacking Iran?
If you’re stumped, don’t beat up on yourself. We wouldn’t get any better answer from the leaders of the Democratic Party.
Democrats delivered much clearer statements on Iraq before they reaped the results of last November’s election. Now that they run Congress, they can’t put together two coherent sentences explaining their policy on the occupation of Iraq.
George W. Bush may be incapable of passing some of the proficiency tests his No Child Left Behind law imposes on America’s children, but he is certainly one of the best poker players ever to shuffle a deck from the Oval Office. He’s out of aces and holding only garbage. He’s a lame duck with historically low approval ratings and losing more of his team every week. But he continues to play Democrats into buying his every bluff.
Democrats say they demand change in Iraq. But they haven’t denied Bush a single penny to continue on his present course. Under a Democratic Congress elected to end the war, more American troops now risk their lives in Iraq than at any time since the invasion.
Democrats tell their constituents they oppose Bush’s “surge.” Then they dine on lobster bisque in the Green Zone, visit Baghdad carpet stalls under the guns of Marine platoons and return home to announce the surge wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
Never mind that the civilian body count has doubled, the refugee exodus has swelled, the British have abandoned posts hammered by nightly mortar fire and the Iraqi government has lost its Sunni legislators.
Democrats say we must let Iraqis have Iraq back. Then Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, call for the removal of the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iraq. Perhaps they think calling for the American ouster of another Iraqi leader makes them look as tough as Bush. It certainly makes them look as stupid. An American override of Iraqi election results would be an escalation of our involvement in Iraq far eclipsing Bush’s military surge.
Bush’s spokesperson, Joshua Bolten, told USA Today his boss intends to make it possible “for his successor—whichever party that successor is from—to have a sustained presence in the Middle East.” So even though he’ll be back in Crawford making his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Bush will have locked our nation onto a course of war for years to come. Democrats aren’t doing a thing to stop him.
As for the next war against Iran, Democrats are letting Bush call the shots as he did in 2002. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, under pressure from the White House and the Democratic wing of the Israel Lobby, pulled legislation off the table requiring Congressional approval before the president could attack Iran. The Constitution already gives only Congress the authority to declare war, but raising that point seemed too risky for Congressional Democrats.
Democrats were hired to run Congress in order to get us out of Iraq and reverse Bush’s insane foreign policy. We have witnessed a complete failure in Democratic leadership in getting that done. As this column is being written, the New York Times and Washington Post report that Speaker Pelosi and her counterpart in the Senate, Harry Reid, are preparing to capitulate on their demand for firm withdrawal dates, while letting Bush have more money to drag out the war until the next president takes office.
Reid explains he doesn’t have the 67 votes to override a Bush veto of a legislative withdrawal requirement. Reid forgets Bush doesn’t have the 51 votes he needs to get the money to prolong our idiotic occupation of Babylon. But Bush is willing to play all his cards and gamble on what he lacks. Reid, like Pelosi, holds the trump card, the power to pull the plug on the war. They’re just afraid to play their hand.
If you can bear to watch a half-dozen of the meaningless primary debates, you might notice that the Democrats wanting to be president fret about nuance, splitting the fine hairs of policy proposals and trying to look erudite. Pandering prevails over pugilism. The Democratic contenders strive to assure the interest groups controlling their party’s money and election machinery that they’ve each got their minds right. The object of these tiresome appearances isn’t to identify the strongest leader to challenge Republicans and govern the nation. Their purpose is to assure each Democratic faction that the candidates have been properly paper trained.
While those who seek to be the next Democratic president undergo their obedience training, Bush is upping the ante on bloodshed, confident no one at the table will call his bet.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.