WaPo hits on Democratic Candidates Biggest Fear

Today the WaPo editorial page did something unusual-it criticitized the Democratic Party.

In an editorial titled “See No Good, the question posed is “Why do the Democratic candidates refuse to acknowledge progress in Iraq?”

The editorial notes:

…it’s indisputable that the surge has drastically reduced violence. Attacks have fallen by more than 60 percent, al-Qaeda has been dealt a major blow, and the threat of sectarian civil war that seemed imminent a year ago has receded. The monthly total of U.S. fatalities in December was the second-lowest of the war.

But what of this? Silence from the Democratic presidential candidates.

I think the editorialist answered the question in his first paragraph:

All of them vehemently opposed the troop increase when President Bush proposed it a year ago; both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama introduced legislation to reverse it.

The fact is that things do seem to be improving in Iraq, and the changing circumstances create the opportunity for new solutions. The problem is that constituencies that vote in the Democratic primaries are in no mood to even listen to facts that suggest anything other than the US experiencing abject failure in Iraq, and the candidates running for the nomination do not want to lose the war an a tool to turn out their voters.

As the Post goes on to note, recognizing the success of the surge:

…would involve a willingness by the candidates to reconsider their long-standing plans to carry out a rapid withdrawal of remaining U.S. forces in Iraq as soon as they become president — a step that would almost certainly reverse the progress that has been made.

Only one thing was more disturbing than the failure to recognize the success of the surge:

Even more disturbing was the refusal of the Democrats to adjust their policies to the changed situation. Ms. Clinton said she didn’t “see any reason why [U.S. troops] should remain beyond, you know, today” and outlined a withdrawal plan premised on a defeat comparable to Vietnam (“We have to figure out what we’re going to do with the 100,000-plus American civilians who are there” and “all the Iraqis who sided with us. . . . Are we going to leave them?”). Mr. Obama stuck to his plan for “a phased redeployment”; if his scheme of a year ago had been followed, almost all American troops would be out by this March.

In keeping with the inflexibility of thought that has driven her campaign to the precipice of electoral failure, Hillary C. has “refused to retract a statement she made in September, when she said it would require “a suspension of disbelief” to believe that the surge was working.”

The WaPo editorial does not go into the obvious…it is in the Democrats best interests politically to cast the Iraq effort as a failure.  A failed GOP foreign policy an electoral plus for the eventual nominee.  The unwillingness by the Democratic candidates to note this is also politically based.  The Daily Kos and Cindy Sheehan’s of the world all vote in the Democractic primaries.  Suggestions that there are successes abroad is tantamount to a gold plated invitation to these voters to go elsewhere in the Democratic primaries.

Are things perfect overseas?  No…but circumstances have changed, potentially creating a new landscape for decision making.

Not that the Demo’s have noticed:

Even more disturbing was the refusal of the Democrats to adjust their policies to the changed situation. Ms. Clinton said she didn’t “see any reason why [U.S. troops] should remain beyond, you know, today” and outlined a withdrawal plan premised on a defeat comparable to Vietnam (“We have to figure out what we’re going to do with the 100,000-plus American civilians who are there” and “all the Iraqis who sided with us. . . . Are we going to leave them?”). Mr. Obama stuck to his plan for “a phased redeployment”; if his scheme of a year ago had been followed, almost all American troops would be out by this March.

There is a long way to go, and much to be done.  The Bush administration has much to answer for in the initiation, prosecution, and administration of the war effort.  The potential Democratic nominees are right to challenge the administration, But, as the WaPo says:

…any U.S. policy ought to be aimed at consolidating the gains of the past year and ensuring that neither al-Qaeda nor sectarian war make a comeback. So far, the Democratic candidates have refused even to consider that challenge.

Why?  Because noting even minimal success in Iraq will enrage their constituencies, and endanger their chance at the nomination.

It is time the leading candidates stop analyzing the facts they with they had and start analyzing reality.  It is time the leading candidates stop thinking like partisans and start acting like statesmen.

Harsh analysis?  Perhaps…but given the concise analysis the suddenly prescient WaPo offers, it seems more than merited.

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One thought on “WaPo hits on Democratic Candidates Biggest Fear

  1. Bwana:
    I have just one question…Did Hell just freeze over? Is that why we are seeing record high temperatures this week? My 90 year-old grandfather said to me over the holidays that if you live long enough, you will sure just about everything. Well, I think we just did.
    BFIV

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