Bush Is Beating Them Back
Keep on Surgin'
By William Kristol
President Bush is absolutely right. But in a way his admonition to Congress at his press conference last week was unfair. He's correct that Congress can't run a war. But this Congress doesn't want to run a war. It wants to lose a war. Congress can, in principle, achieve this, and the Democrats who control this Congress are doing their best to bring it about.
In the process, congressional Democrats are also doing a good job of re-McGovernizing their party. Last week, 95 percent of Democrats in the House voted in favor of legislation requiring that the United States withdraw most combat troops from Iraq by April 1, 2008. The notion that their party is serious about any policy alternative other than getting out and giving up is becoming unsustainable.
It may be, though, that calling this the re-McGovernization of that party is unfair to George McGovern--especially as his friends assembled in Washington this weekend to celebrate his 85th birthday. It is worth noting, after all, that Vietnam wasn't nearly as central to U.S. security interests as Iraq--and that McGovern had a coherent, if mistaken, world view that guided his actions in a principled way. So it would be unjust to George McGovern to call these Democrats McGovernites. We'll just call them Defeatists, who are willing to ensure a U.S. defeat for the sake of destroying the Bush administration.
The Defeatist Democrats have lots of support from the mainstream media, most of whom have simply given up on reporting the war or analyzing arguments about the war. Actually, the newsmen who know something, like John F. Burns and Michael R. Gordon of the New York Times, have produced some terrific reporting. But run-of-the-mill foreign policy and White House reporters have little interest in what is actually happening in Iraq, or in a real consideration of the likely outcomes of different policy options. They're not even reporting what's happening in Washington. They're simply committed to discrediting the war and humiliating the Bush administration.
As for the foreign policy establishment and its fellow travelers in the punditocracy, one might have thought they could be serious about this war--actually analyzing events, engaging in a grown-up debate about the real-world consequences of different courses of action, keeping calm amid the political posturing. Many in the Bush administration who care for their standing in the establishment's eyes have spent an awful lot of time cultivating these masters of nuance and complexity. All for naught.
The establishment, like the media and the Democrats, wants to discredit and humiliate an administration that too often (though not often enough!) dared to think for itself, and to act without their permission. They're out to destroy Bush, his ideas, and his supporters, no matter the consequences for the country.
Bill Kristol has accurately outlined the President's war on two fronts: the terrorists and the Democrat Party Defeatists. Perhaps we'd be more successful with the former if we did not have to also fight the latter... The Democrats don't seem to realize that it isn't just President Bush that must fight these two wars--it's the entire country. That's why I, quite justifiably, call the Democrat party, and the RINOs, traitors.