Political Hay

War Dance

None of the Democratic contenders, not even Sen. Obama, is proving to be articulate on the subject of Iraq.

By 2.6.07

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After the November elections, while most conservatives were in a dual state of shock and mourning, I advised them to turn their thoughts to the joys of congressional minority living: "And this, my fellow partisans, is where the fun begins; fun, as in watching the loyal opposition twist themselves into pretzels on the floors of Congress for a change."

Well that twist contest has begun, at least verbally. The problem for the Democrats -- especially those in the 2008 White House sweepstakes -- is tri-fold. On the one hand, they must appease their large anti-war base, yet maintain a mainstream facade; all the while appearing to be Commander in Chief material. What this means is that they're liable to say almost anything in service of these goals and in the process, they will be in opposition to various party factions, and ultimately, to each other.

For example, Joe Biden ticked off black Democrats with his odd remarks regarding the ascendancy of Barack Obama, when he said of the budding colossus: "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man."

Shouldn't Mr. Biden know that use of the word "articulate" in reference to minorities is a no-no in liberal circles; that it is a covertly racial code word? Yet these are the same folks who can't see that Affirmative Action they champion casts a legitimate veil of suspicion over the accomplishments of all blacks, articulate or not. Besides, calling Obama articulate may be an overstatement for a man who has eloquently referred to our efforts in Iraq as a "dumb war."

Probably the best part of the whole thing was Obama's reaction to the "slur" when he said, "You'd have to ask Senator Clinton, uh, Senator Biden what he was thinking." A Freudian slip of the tongue by the articulate one? Possibly, but maybe a little taste of the deliciously catty campaign season ahead of us.

After all, Hillary Clinton hinted at this last week when she said, "When you are attacked, you have to deck your opponent. I have been through the political wars longer than some of you have been alive. We've got to be prepared to hold our ground and fight back." It is regrettable that she and her party cannot demonstrate that same resolve in holding our ground in Iraq.

In the meantime, we can enjoy the gyrations of others who voted for the War in Iraq while they do the John Kerry shuffle. Former running mate John Edwards added a few new steps on Meet the Press this week. When asked by Tim Russert about his 2004 defense of his vote after no WMDs were found, he gave this rambling, incoherent answer:

When the campaign was over and the election was over, we had a lot going on in my own family. Elizabeth had been diagnosed with breast cancer, we were taking care of her. And for the first time I had time to really think about, number one, what I was going to spend my time doing, and, number two, my vote for this war. And over time, when I reflected on what I thought was going to be necessary going forward, to have some moral foundation to work on issues like poverty and genocide, things that I care deeply about, I could no longer defend this vote.

The operative phrase seems to be, "what I thought was going to be necessary going forward," which is another way of saying, "I stuck my finger in the air to see which way the wind was blowing." Also going forward, or maybe in circles, is Mrs. Clinton; she who has vowed to issue an imperial edict to end the War should she re-assume her share of the presidency in 2009.

Her statements like, "I want to be very clear about this: If I had been president in October 2002, I would not have started this war," even though she voted to authorize it, demonstrate that she is either an insincere panderer or an incredibly incompetent dupe. But no matter how they get it, the left wing of the Democratic Party wants an end to this war and will support the candidate most likely to accommodate them by doing the Hustle.

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About the Author

Lisa Fabrizio is a columnist who hails from Connecticut (mailbox@lisafab.com).