The bubbling optimism of Sen. Schumer aside, Democrats were getting grilled on their position on the liberation of Iraq. Take this give and take between Tim Russert and Sen. Ted Kennedy:
TIM RUSSERT: “You talked about Iraq. There’s a big debate now about whether or not the data, the intelligence data, was misleading and manipulated in order to encourage public opinion support for the war. Let me give you a statement that was talked about during the war:
“‘We know [Iraq is] developing unmanned vehicles capable of delivering chemical and biological warfare agents…all U.S. intelligence experts agree they are seek nuclear weapons. There’s little question that Saddam Hussein wants to develop them. … In the wake of September 11th, who among us can say with any certainty to anybody that those weapons might not be used against our troops, against allies in the region? Who can say that this master of miscalculation will not develop a weapon of mass destruction even greater-a nuclear weapon. …’
“Are those the statements that you’re concerned about?”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Well, I am concerned about it, and that’s why I believe that the actions that were taken by Harry Reid in the Senate last week when effectively he said that we are going to get to the bottom of this investigation, this had been kicked along by the Intelligence Committee, by Pat Roberts for over two years. And Harry Reid did more in two hours than that Intelligence Committee has done in two years. And the American people are going get this information.
“And it’s important that they get this information about how intelligence was misused because of the current situation. It’s important to know where we’ve been, but it’s important to know where we are today, because we’re facing serious challenges over in Iran. We’re facing serious challenges in North Korea. And we cannot have a government which is going to manipulate intelligence information. We’ve got to get to the bottom of it, and that is what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the United States Senate last week. That was a bold stroke, one that has the overwhelming support of the American people. It’s about time they get the facts on it. They haven’t got the facts to date. They deserve them, and they’ll get them.”
RUSSERT: “But, Senator, what the Democrats stood for on the floor of the Senate in 2002–let me show you who said what I just read: John Kerry, your candidate for president. He was talking about a nuclear threat from Saddam Hussein. Hillary Clinton voted for the war. John Edwards, Joe Lieberman, John Kerry. Democrats said the same things about Saddam Hussein. You, yourself, said, ‘Saddam is dangerous. He’s got dangerous weapons.’ It wasn’t just the Bush White House.”
At some point, Democrats are going to want to get off this topic, but they won’t be able to. The only energy the party is getting is from the anti-war crowd, and, unfortunately, those folks don’t pay the bills or get the Dems elected in national elections. It’s a terrible situation to be in politically, far worse than the one President Bush finds himself in today.