Party today reminds me of the hunter who carefully laid a trap
for a bear and when he came back the next day he forgot where
he put it, stepped wrong and got caught in it, and then was himself
eaten by the bear.
trophies of this year's midterm elections and the 2008 presidential
elections, both now appearing to favor the Democrats, could end
up in the jaws of Democratic defeat.
an invisible civil war in the Democratic Party now underway, and
it is between those who are attempting to satisfy the defeatist
and pacifist left base of the party and those who are attempting
to prepare the party for successful elections in 2006 and 2008.
At the center
of this has been party Chairman Howard Dean, now increasingly
joined by the two other party spokesmen -- Senate Minority leader
Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
of bad news from the Middle East had emboldened this trio into
calling for premature retreat from Iraq and thus defeat for the
United States, hoping of course that the blame for the defeat
would fall on President Bush and the Republican Party, which also
controls both houses of Congress. Until recently, Mr. Bush remained
silent to most of the criticism of the war and the repetitive
allegations of deception that many Democrats have claimed got
us into that war.
coupled with sudden rising gasoline prices, provoked a precipitous
fall in the president's support in the opinion polls, and only
further induced the three horsemen of the Middle East apocalypse
-- Mr. Dean, Mr. Reid and Mrs. Pelosi -- to expound their denunciation
and defeatism only louder.
knew that Mr. Dean was a screamer, and I warned on these pages
less than a year ago that naming him chairman of the party was
institutionalizing a political disaster to come. I do not doubt
that Mr. Dean is sincere. This only makes his presence as the
Democratic spokesman more perilous for the party's prospects.
Party liberals and moderates said he would mind his fundraising
and not get into trouble. Now they may have to fire him or face
losing excellent electoral opportunities this year and in 2008.
such as Rep. Steny Hoyer and Rep. Rahm Emmanuel (House assistant
minority leader and congressional campaign chair), Sens. Hillary
Clinton, Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman and others have tried to steer
public interest away from the volatile issue of the Iraq war and
toward much more fertile political ground in domestic policy issues.
But none of them has the natural podia that the three apoplectic
horsemen have, and a party civil war is resulting.
Mr. Bush is finally acknowledging mistakes that were made, is
beginning to explain his policy in Iraq and the Middle East and
is asserting that our goal is victory and not stalemate, the hot
air in the Dean-Reid-Pelosi balloons has brought them back to
the political earth where shrill rhetoric, empty of an alternative
other than defeat, is a losing argument.
The war in
Iraq and the prospects for a genuine peace between Israel and
its Palestinian neighbors are not, of course, yet resolved. There
may not be, in the near future, a neat and exact conclusion to
them. Wars and long-brewing conflicts are always messy, and in
our present age, when the violence of war and hate are broadcast
simultaneously for all to see, resolution is even harder to realize.
should be no ambiguity that American foreign policy today is consistent
with what it has been for almost 100 years, beginning with World
War I, when we emerged as a superpower, and continuing through
World War II and the Cold War. Yes, we are always pursuing our
self-interests, as every nation must, but uniquely in history
the United States is also using its "super" power to
improve the conditions of the whole world and to protect it from
alas, seem always with us, whether they be the kaiser, Hitler
and Mussolini, Japanese militarists, Stalin and Marxist totalitarians,
Balkan thugs, Saddam Hussein or small groups of Islamic fascist
Party was in control of the government at the outset of the Cold
War. President Truman, Hubert Humphrey, Henry "Scoop"
Jackson and other Democrats then heroically led and defined the
defense of the free world against totalitarian Marxism. At the
end of the Cold War, however, the Democrats for the most part
abandoned the fight, and allowed President Reagan to claim (rightfully)
the victory. Subsequently, the Republican Party has become, for
the time being, the majority party in America.
If the Democrats
want to recover the majority, they cannot do it with Howard Dean,
Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. They cannot do it by advocating American
Casselman writes about national politics for Preludium News Service.
(c) 2006 News World Communications, Inc.