WASHINGTON — I share the estimable Rush Limbaugh’s assessment of the soi-disant Independent Vote (IV). It is delusional and unconvincing. Usually it is composed of voters who do not weld character to intellect to arrive at an intellectually sustainable conclusion. The conclusions they usually arrive at are consequently superficial and wrong. Yet there are times when I find myself in sympathy with them. There are times when the election debate is so abundant with repellent sophistries and canards that sensible citizens would rather avert their gaze from the undignified proceedings. For observers of the Kerry campaign, it has come to that. Let’s pull down the shade.
The Kerry Democrats are making our war against Islamofascists and Saddam bitter-enders a partisan issue like raising taxes on the rich or extending unemployment benefits. After 9/11 and later our successful defeat of Saddam I would have thought the thing unlikely. The solidarity of the American people seemed invulnerable to partisan bickering. The tiny “peace movement” led by cranks such as Noam Chomsky seemed doomed to futility and a minuscule following. Americans had viewed the evidence and found that elimination of those threatening us was our only alternative. Then partisan Democrats intent on gaining power began to slip away. They correctly concluded that they could not gain power by agreeing with President George W. Bush on the war, and so they broke with him. Gaining power is for them everything.
Today the Democrats say that Bush squandered the goodwill that had built up in the country after 9/11, but their very statements belie them. Their complaints are petty compared with their consequences, namely, the strengthening of our enemies’ wills. Their basic complaints are two: 1) there were no weapons of mass destruction and 2) Bush should have done more to bring the French, the Germans, and the United Nations to our side. The most generous response to these complaints is “maybe so.” Still, this does not justify the ongoing complaints. Historians will someday decide on the validity of the complaints. For now we have a war to fight, and any statements that give encouragement to our enemies are damaging to our national interests.
That has been true during every war we have ever fought. That is why American politicians followed the old adage “politics stops at the water’s edge.” It meant that no American politician traveling abroad ever criticized a sitting president’s foreign policy. It also chastened American politicians against excessive criticism of American foreign policy in time of war. With Senator Joseph Biden claiming he has reason to believe the French will work more closely with a President John Kerry and with Kerry’s repeated complaints about our entry into the Iraq War, the “politics stops at the water’s edge” rule has been abandoned.
The reason for this is that the Democrats’ first concern is gaining power. Carrying out the war comes second. Their charge that weapons of mass destruction did not exist will most likely be refuted in the years ahead. We know Saddam once used such weapons and that from Bill Clinton on to the French and the Germans government officials in the West believed such weapons existed and were a threat. The claim that the French, the Germans, and the United Nations were ever willing to take action with us in the Middle East is fanciful. Look at their military establishments. They have not been ready for war for decades. Their record is clear. They let the United States do the fighting and then they come in to criticize us. The French and the Germans are poseurs and the United Nations is the gaudiest agglutination of anti-Americans and anti-Semites ever assembled.
The Democrats probably recognize this. Yet they hold these shirkers up as the saviors of American policy in the Middle East. One of the discoveries we Independents have made over the years is that in political debate objective truth does not matter. All that matters is the pols’ will to power, and the Democrats have an unscotchable will to power. It has put them in the preposterous position of making common cause with the United Nations. Maybe they can all join in singing a few anti-American jingles with their colleagues at the General Assembly. That ought to be a big help in getting Senator Jean-François Kerry elected.