Demagoguery: At 85, George McGovern, whose far-left candidacy for president in 1972 brought in less than 38% of the popular vote, has accused President Bush of murder. Then as today, desperation brings out the ugly in liberal Democrats.
In an op-ed in Sunday's Washington Post, the former senator whose effort to replace Richard Nixon in the White House was once summed up as "the three A's — acid, amnesty and abortion," charges George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney with genocide.
"The dominant commitment of . . . the Bush-Cheney regime," McGovern writes, "has been a murderous, illegal, nonsensical war against Iraq."Landslide's lesson unlearned.
Citing a figure about eight times greater than reality, he blamed the president for a conflict that has "claimed the lives of an estimated 600,000 Iraqis" and called for his impeachment.
What about the 296 congressmen, 81 of them Democrats, and the 77 senators, 29 of them Democrats, who voted to authorize the war? Are they murderers too, Senator McGovern? Should they be removed from office?
McGovern conceded that "there seems to be little bipartisan support" for such action in Congress.But just why would there be so little enthusiasm in a Democratic-controlled Senate and House to go after this president the way they ran Nixon out of town? Could it be they know too well that many Americans recognize that, far from being a killer, the commander in chief has been a defender of lives?
According to McGovern, the president and vice president's "conduct and their barbaric policies have reduced our beloved country to a historic low in the eyes of people around the world. These are truly 'high crimes and misdemeanors,' to use the constitutional standard."
He adds: "The basic strategy of the administration has been to encourage a climate of fear, letting it exploit the 2001 al-Qaida attacks not only to justify the invasion of Iraq but also to excuse such dangerous misbehavior as the illegal tapping of our telephones by government agents."
The "our" McGovern alludes to, of course, is really those in this country communicating with suspected terrorists or their associates abroad — not a big number. There isn't a shred of evidence that this administration has been misusing the terrorist surveillance program to target political enemies, or any other such Nixonian mischief.
It follows that there's only one reason this president could have had to approve a program that he surely knew would lead to McGovernites calling him a criminal who should be kicked out of office in disgrace: He did it because he believed foiling future terrorist plots and saving American lives was the paramount concern.
The surveillance program has done exactly that, as has the CIA's terrorist interrogation program, by uncovering information straight from the jihadists' mouths that has helped us prevent perhaps a dozen operations that would have slaughtered hundreds if not thousands of Americans.
For those decisions, all Americans owe President Bush a great debt of thanks. The country also owes him thanks for resisting pressure from the Washington establishment in both parties this time last year to cut and run from Iraq. Instead, the president adopted the new surge strategy, now working beyond the wildest dreams of most.The last thing America needs is a Vietnam-like surrender, which McGovern vowed to do as president and which the post-Watergate Congress ended up doing for him.
Congressional Democrats have lost on the issue of Iraq and the global war on terror, just as McGovern lost three and a half decades ago on national security (and, truth be told, on every other issue, foreign and domestic). But instead of cutting their losses and supporting the president in the interests of the country, McGovernite Democrats always seem compelled to lash out with the most desperate and slanderous charges.
With his call to impeach a decent man, George McGovern will forever be judged by history as the sorest of losers.