There was a time not so long ago when Democrats crossed the aisle to support Republican positions in war and vice versa. These were not always instances of gentility and partisanship wasn’t ignored; this occasional gesture was a recognition of national welfare that transcended politics.
What one observes with the Democratic party at the moment is an astonishingly anti-American posture that I have not encountered in my lifetime. The impression has been created that critics of the Bush administration are more interested in capturing the presidency than in winning the war in Iraq. In fact, if success in the war is attributed to President Bush, they would prefer defeat.
Obviously this isn’t the position of every Democrat, as Senator Liberman’s stance demonstrates, but it is the Kennedy, Pelosi, Rockefeller, Kerrey and Reid stance. Moreover, two former Democratic presidents, Carter and Clinton, have engaged in what was once taboo for those who sat in the executive office: they have attacked the present administration abroad, in countries already hostile to American interests. Such behavior was always regarded as a “no-no.” You might disagree or even criticize a sitting president at home, but to do so outside the confines of the nation and in countries inimitable to U.S. interests was simply off-limits.
It seems that the Democratic party has imbibed the Michael Moore approach to politics which includes equal parts caricature and traitorous commentary. Moore has noted on several occasions that the Iraqi insurgents are the equivalent of the Minutemen and that we must suffer the bloodletting of our young for the misguided policies of our president.
Of course Moore is not alone. Frank Rich at the NY Times, among others, has engaged in a refrain that the president lied in order to promote the war effort. Despite the evidence that has been marshaled demonstrating a bipartisan concern about weapons of mass destruction prior to Bush’s election, the president’s detractors cannot let go of this theme.
It is instructive that the word “lie” is employed. Even if you embraced the Frank Rich stance (which I do not), you might say the president was “mistaken,” or “misguided” or “misread the signals.” But, of course, these words are equivocal offering the president an alibi, a concession the critics are not willing to consider.
The Democratic party position at the moment is search and destroy. Whether this is “get even” time for the Clinton impeachment or the venting of hostility over the 2000 election is anyone’s guess. What it does suggest is a parlous political state in which any move that harms the Republican leadership is deemed acceptable.
Bush, by contrast, acts as if Marcus of Queensbury rules apply to this street fight. He has been remarkably subdued in the face of continual vitriol heaped upon him. From my perch, I would prefer greater boldness on his part, a condition I did observe with his recent Annapolis speech.
Lest I am criticized for challenging criticism, let it be noted that I believe presidents should be criticized when it is appropriate to do so. What I’m getting at is criticism that verges on treason. When polls say that defeat serves us right, they either want to embarrass the administration without regard to the risks involved or they actually think a defeat for the administration is justifiable. That kind of criticism is beyond the pale.
This backbiting may be amusing for news aficionados, but the stakes are high and go well beyond amusement. The Fifth Column in the U.S. is growing, led by some officials who do not fully appreciate the consequences of their actions. Lives are at stake, regional stability is in the mix and civilization itself is in the balance.
This is not hyperbole. Al Qaeda is watching and listening. Every anti-American position is music to their ears. For them, it defines a nation that has lost its will and fortitude. The disloyal Americans only embolden the enemies. We’ve been down this path before, albeit historical lessons have to be relearned. Unfortunately lives will be lost that could be saved and this nation will suffer before the critics learn their lesson.