Political Hay

March Madness

Neopatriotic Democrats find themselves unseeded.

By 3.21.06

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It's that time of year when bubbles burst and buzzer beaters ring out across the land. For many, it's an occasion for great elation, for some, bitter disappointment. But if recent news reports are to be believed, it is truly the month of March Madness for Democrats.

According to Rowan Scarborough in the Washington Times, Senate Democrats are planning to use the March congressional recess to "stage press events with active duty military personnel, veterans and emergency responders to bash President Bush on virtually every one of his national security policies."

So in order to regain their footing at the Big Dance in November, are Democrats truly trying to convert a contingent that voted overwhelmingly against them in 2004? Or will they simply try and renew their efforts to paint themselves red, white and blue to look pro-military and thus in line with the majority of Americans? It appears the latter is closer to the mark.

In a memo provided to Scarborough by a congressional staffer titled "Real Security," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid encourages his minions to stage events at "military bases, weapons factories, National Guard units, fire stations and veterans posts." By way of instruction, Reid demonstrates his party's deaf ear on events patriotic:

Ensure that you have the proper U.S. and state flags at the event, and consider finding someone to sing the national anthem and lead the group in the Pledge of Allegiance at the start of the event.

It is unclear as to whether the "under God" clause of the Pledge should be included; perhaps Mr. Reid should have provided the entire text for those who might be a bit out of practice in its recital. As for the "proper" flags, he might want to dial up a few of his friends on the far left wing of his party who have no trouble locating them in a flash.

Some might find it odd that Reid would expect military personnel to criticize their Commander in Chief during a time of war, but they need only to look to the Democrats' last presidential candidate to know that they think it's just fine and dandy. But those who might be willing to oblige are in for a nasty bit of trouble, according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 88:

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

This injunction is also extended to all active duty personnel under a Department of Defense regulation which says they can be charged under Article 92, of the UCMJ, "Failure to obey order or regulation." It will be interesting to see how many will risk such punishment to aid a party that has repeatedly sought to have their votes discounted, referred to them as terrorists, and compared them to the Nazis and Pol Pot.

And with few exceptions, veterans' organizations will probably also give them the cold shoulder as they did their fellow vet John Kerry. Ditto the employees at weapons factories. It's hard to imagine liberals ginning up much support from an industry they've disdained and voted to under-fund for years. Singing the Star Spangled Banner and waving a few flags at them will not serve to shorten the memories of such folks.

But the problem for these would-be patriotic Democrats is that while they've been distancing themselves from Cindy Sheehan-types, their left-wing base still embraces them with open arms. Their dilemma is best embodied by the schizophrenic history of Kerry: from proud naval service to contempt for the military establishment and repudiation of his involvement in the Vietnam War and then back to crowing about his combat experience when politically expedient.

This blatant opportunism seems apparent to all but liberals and their mainstream media allies. On Sunday's Meet the Press, Tim Russert showed John Murtha some poll results and then plaintively asked, "Why are the Democrats at a lower trust level than Republicans on the war?" Unable to give an answer, Murtha issued a vague threat that Americans would demonstrate their trust level come November.

If Russert and Murtha could take off their blinders, they might see why Americans do not trust Democrats on national defense and security matters. As most blatantly demonstrated by Harry Reid's memo, it seems that the only use they have for our brave soldiers is as political props.

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About the Author

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