Political Hay

Democrats in Bush’s Shadow

The President proposes, the Democrats groundhog the spotlight.

By 2.2.05

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The tacit message of Democrats to grieving military families is: your children died in vain. But the mother of the fallen Marine whom George Bush remembered in his State of the Union address rebutted the Democrats' critique of the war with her presence. Her embrace of a liberated Iraqi was the most significant moment of the evening. She was crying not out of bitterness but pride for a son who served in an honorable cause that did not end in vain. He died protecting his country against an avowed enemy of it, a barbarian who never stopped fighting the first Gulf War. The Marine helped overthrow a regime that indisputably had ties to Al Qaeda. And he performed the most basic act of civilization, protecting the weak against the wicked. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraqis lost their fingers. Now they raise their fingers after voting against his dwindling followers.

Had John F. Kennedy accomplished such an epoch-changing shift in Iraq, the Democrats would have nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, they castigate Bush for turning into reality the Kennedyesque rhetoric of liberty they once lauded.

Who do the Democrats trot out to speak about America's "security" and fighting the terrorists? A San Francisco pacifist, Nancy Pelosi. And who speaks for them about reforming Social Security for younger Americans? A graying Senator who already qualifies for it.

Reid spoke of deficits as "immoral" even as he made it clear that his party wouldn't lift a finger to lower them. Will they support eliminating government programs? No. Will Reid and Pelosi stop bringing pork back to their trough-supping donors? No. There was a hint of sarcasm in Bush's comment about the "bipartisan enthusiasm" for spending reductions. No such enthusiasm exists. Save for a few supply-siders here and there, both parties are chock-a-block full of pols addicted to federal monies that are utterly inessential. Recall that when the federal government shut down in the 1990s, few Americans even noticed. Federal workers in "inessential" offices were sent home, which meant most federal workers.

If the Democrats and Republicans were serious about eliminating the deficit, they could start with the 150 programs Bush said in his speech that he will place on the blocks, and just keep going. But instead they will go through the usual phony hysterics over even the mildest cuts in the most useless departments.

Even as the Democrats speak of their affection for "the world" and forming international alliances, they sound louder and louder isolationist notes on the global economy. Harry Reid wants George Bush to work side by side with foreigners at the U.N., yet is upset that Americans and foreigners are working side by side in companies. Why should that automatically offend these internationalists?

It is hard to discern any principle in the Democratic program save a reflexive opposition to whatever Bush proposes, even if what he proposes is almost identical to what their Democratic forbears were proposing a few years ago. The Democrats' call almost every problem a crisis, until the moment Bush uses that word. Then they turn semantically cautious. This is what will happen with deficits, a problem they now call a crisis but will cease calling a crisis the next time they return to power and get a chance to jack them up.

Harry Reid referred to the movie Groundhog Day in his rebuttal, as if that were some sort of embarrassing parallel to the Bush administration. Did he see the movie? Life got better, not worse, during the course of it. It is about a character who learns from his mistakes, a tale the Democrats might find instructive. As it stands, they increasingly adhere to the famous definition of insanity, committing the same blunders over and over and expecting a different outcome.

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About the Author
George Neumayr, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is co-author, with Phyllis Schlafly, of the new book, No Higher Power: Obama's War on Religious Freedom.