Will someone please wake up the Democrats?
The Guardian on the ineptness of the Democrats to do anything about Bush and his Iraq war plans – plans which have alienated most of the planet.
But the official opposition is inaudible. In 2000 a plurality of Americans voted to put into the White House a man whose knowledge of, and commitment to, environmental issues was unparalleled in presidential history. Yet out of funk, Al Gore spent the campaign pretending he knew nothing, and cared less. The planet? Oh, that old thing!
The Democrats are now worse than ever. They have almost a dozen possible candidates for the presidency in 2004. One of them, Joe Lieberman, has tried to out-hawk the Pentagon over Iraq; nearly all the others, Gore included, have just squirmed. The leadership of the opposition appears to have reverted to the president’s father, acting through his surrogates. It is easier to fathom the workings of the Tikriti clan. The informed scepticism has come from unelected quasi-politicians (including three of the last four secretaries of state) and a regiment of ex-generals. Among them is Anthony Zinni, last heard of a few months ago when he had the thankless task of being Bush’s envoy to the Middle East. “We need to quit making enemies that we don’t need to make enemies out of,” he said. Well, yes, that was an old rule of diplomacy.
The Democrats, of course, are terrified that their patriotism will be impugned; that some nasty old rightwinger like Bill O’Reilly of Fox News will say horrid things about them. Someone needs to tell the American people the truth: that whether or not the Iraq policy is right, the government’s methods of making its case have been staggeringly inept. Bush says he will “consult”. But he is so deeply committed rhetorically that he can only pull back from here with extreme loss of face. If he is faced with a choice between starting an unnecessary war and looking an indecisive prat, we can guess which way Bush will jump.
If the war happens, will the Democrats still be slumbering?