Demo­crat backpedal­ing on ter­ror­ism

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Tony Blank­ley

Some­times we can bet­ter un­der­stand where we are po­lit­i­cally from afar than from within. Con­sider this as­sess­ment from Europe’s big­gest and Ger­many’s most in­flu­en­tial mag­a­zine, Der Spiegel, last week:

“The wind has shifted in Wash­ing­ton. Amer­ica, not just its pres­i­dent, is at war. The Democrats are still crit­i­cal of the failed Iraq cam­paign, but they are no longer op­posed to the ‘War on Ter­ror’ in gen­eral. It has been ac­cepted, and not just as a metaphor [. . .] Ninety two per­cent of Amer­i­cans are op­posed to an im­me­di­ate with­drawal from Iraq, and a ma­jor­ity doesn’t want to see the US’s spe­cial de­ten­tion camp at Guan­tanamo Bay closed. At the mo­ment, the Amer­i­can elec­torate’s big­gest crit­i­cism of Bush is that he has not been ag­gres­sive enough in pur­su­ing ter­ror­ist leader Osama bin Laden.

“In­deed, when vot­ers hit the bal­lot box in Novem­ber 2008, they will be look­ing for more than just a can­di­date charis­matic and clever enough to lead the coun­try po­lit­i­cally. They will also ask them­selves which of the can­di­dates is suf­fi­ciently tough, crafty and bru­tal to win the multi-front war that the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion has be­gun.

“Many Amer­i­cans now de­spise Bush [be­cause of Iraq]. Nev­er­the­less, Amer­i­cans are still loathe to ad­mit de­feat. This is pre­cisely what dis­tin­guishes Euro­peans from Amer­i­cans [. . .] The Amer­i­cans fa­vor the power of force, even in its crud­est form, which ex­plains why the U.S. mil­i­tary might is so su­pe­rior to that of all other na­tions.” (By Ga­bor Stein­gart. Trans­lated from the Ger­man by Christo­pher Sul­tan.)

We see ev­i­dence that the Democrats are be­gin­ning to ap­pre- ci­ate the truth of the above de­scrip­tion. The New York Times has sud­denly started coun­sel­ing cau­tion about any sud­den de­par­ture from Iraq. Sen. Barack Obama’s steroid-en­hanced rhetoric now has him call­ing — Rambo-like — for pos­si­ble pre­emp­tive war against Pak­istan. Sen. Hil­lary Clin­ton an­nounces that she might use nu­clear weapons against ter­ror­ists (I hope she doesn’t find the ter­ror­ists in New York, where one of my sons lives, or Lon­don, my home­town). The Demo­cratic con­gres­sional lead­ers quickly passed Pres­i­dent Bush’s re­quested FISA elec­tronic in­ter­cepts author­ity.

The Democrats, af­ter spend­ing the win­ter, spring and early sum­mer fran­ti­cally call­ing for get­ting out of Iraq as fast as their lit­tle feet can carry them, are now, as au­tumn ap­proaches, demon­strat­ing their Olympic­class back-ped­al­ing skills.

By win­ter (with the com­plic­ity of the drive-by me­dia hat tip to Rush Lim­baugh) the Democrats hope to ex­punge the his­toric record of their fail­ure of war nerve this spring. This is the mo­ment for Repub­li­cans from the pres­i­dent, to the can­di­dates for pres­i­dent, to the in­cum­bents and chal­lengers for of­fices all the way down to dog catcher (and es­pe­cially dog catcher) to re­mind the pub­lic of the spring­time Demo­cratic Party de­featism and lost nerve.

They should be in­spired to fol­low the im­mor­tal ad­vice of Gen. Pat­ton to his troops re­gard­ing what they should do to the Nazi en­emy: “We are go­ing to hold them by the nose and kick them in the ass [. . .] we are go­ing to go through them like crap through a goose.” Of course, the Democrats are only the do­mes­tic op­po­si­tion, not the en­emy. In Amer­i­can pol­i­tics we have no Amer­i­can en­e­mies — only philo­soph­i­cal op­po­nents — I mean that.

The lead­er­ship of the Demo­cratic Party has, by its pub­lic words this spring, dis­graced them­selves for a gen­er­a­tion. Repub­li­cans have the right — and the duty — to en­grave in the pub­lic mind the spring­time Demo­cratic per­fidy and cow­ardice in the face of the en­emy.

This spring and early sum­mer: Sen. Harry Reid said the war is lost; Gov. Bill Richard­son said that on his first day in the Oval Of­fice he would or­der our troops to leave Iraq im­me­di­ately (even if it meant throw­ing down their weapons on the way out); Hil­lary bragged that if Mr. Bush doesn’t end the war, she would do so im­me­di­ately upon her ar­riv­ing in the Oval Of­fice (God pre­serve us); and Mr. Obama took pride of place in his adamant op­po­si­tion to, and call for im­me­di­ate de­par­ture from, the Iraq war.

Gen. Pat­ton also ob­served that “Amer­i­cans love a win­ner and will not tol­er­ate a loser.” That is as true to­day as it was six decades ago. (This is the great mis­read­ing of the Amer­i­can pub­lic by the cur­rent Demo­cratic Party. We Amer­i­cans are only sen­ti­men­tal about dogs — we have three in our fam­ily — not about hu­man losers. We love kick-ass foot­ball play­ers — un­less they hurt a dog, and then we righ­teously send them to hell, where they be­long).

The pub­lic must not be per­mit­ted to for­get th­ese cow­ardly pub­lic state­ments by the Democrats. It is the job of the Repub­li­cans this fall and win­ter to re­morse­lessly and re­peat­edly re­mind the pub­lic of what the Democrats were say­ing this spring. In that dis­grace lies the po­ten­tial for a well-de­served Demo­cratic Party de­feat in Novem­ber 2008.

Tony Blank­ley is edi­to­rial page ed­i­tor of The Wash­ing­ton Times. He can be reached via e-mail at tblank­ley@wash­ing­ton­

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