In a recent Washington Post column, E.J. Dionne viciously castigates the princes of the party formerly known as the Democrats. He purposes to rouse them from their phlegmatic slumber and compel them to recognize that the centerpiece of the 2006 Republican midterm election campaign strategy once again will be that vexatious war on terrorism. That’s the same "secret" Republican strategy as 2004. And 2002. Karl Rove openly "revealed" it just last week, well in advance of the upcoming 2006 midterm elections. Rove’s argument will be that while the Democrats have a "pre-9/11 worldview," Republicans have developed, implemented, and are continuously refining a "post-9/11 worldview."
Dionne is half-tizzied and half-mystified over Rove’s bravado, his Texas-style "one hand tied behind my back" approach to promoting and staging such a bare-knuckled political slugfest. By contrast, Dionne is alarmed and appalled by the Democrats’ passive response. Rove’s disclosure compels him, Dionne confesses, to "wonder why" the Democrats are hesitant to attack when Rove is so confidently tilting his hand. He’s "puzzled" at the diluent-Democrats’ fecklessness and flaccidity given the fact that Rove’s same strategy has every prospect of working just as well in the 2006 midterms as twice before. It’s all the more distressing given that, if they play their cards right, Democrats might have a real shot at regaining control of both the House and the Senate.
Dionne upbraids the defunct Democrats on their moribund manner of contesting elections, and specifically their enervation on the "Bush-Rove" terrorism issue. He alternately attacks the party leadership for capitulating on national security and castigates the Red State moderate Democrats who cave to the Bush worldview by supporting Bush’s Iraq policy.
First, there is that handful of remaining Old School Democrats who refuse to join the lemmings of the left perfectly willing to let the terrorists incinerate American cities at will. Dionne sound unabashedly paranoid, branding the few moderate Democrats Enemies of the People, declaring them traitors "who bash the rest of the party" for being cowardly, unpatriotic, anti-American, pro-terrorist.
Second, he hysterically condemns the party’s top political advisors for being so under-the-lash submissive as to let "Rove speeches turn Democratic strategists into defeatists" who consistently advise the party brass to reflexively cede national security to the Republicans.
Third, he accuses the Democrat Party mis-leaders of burying their heads in the sand on national security issues and substituting what they think are winning alternatives to Bush’s war on terrorism, "a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, a patients’ bill of rights, the economy and education." To this Issues List Dionne can only respond with mockery and contempt, "Those issues sure worked wonders [in the 2002 midterm elections], didn’t they?"
Finally, Dionne castigates the party hierarchy, presumably the Harry Reids, the Nancy Pelosis, the Kerrys, and the Clintons, urging them to grow a spine on the terrorism issue: You "cannot evade the security debate." You "must challenge the terms under which Rove and Bush would conduct it."
Fact is, Dionne and the rest of the radical left media, along with the wild-eyed antiwar leadership of the Democratic Party, are all equally convinced that Bush in his refusal to abandon the war on terrorism, and Rove in his strategy for turning that war to the Republicans’ political advantage, are just not playing fair. They want the Republicans to mend their ways and play nicey-nice. The Bush administration should worry more about the comfort of imprisoned terrorists who want to murder numberless innocents, than about protecting the lives of American citizens and soldiers. On the left’s scale of moral values, the highest value must be accorded to safeguarding the civil rights of terrorist leaders planning attacks on the telephone together with bin Laden’s Islamist collaborators who have infiltrated our borders. The terrorists must be permitted to keep their phone numbers unlisted so they can hatch their plots unimpeded.
The viperous Clinton apologist Paul Begala expectorated the moral calculus on Monday while appearing on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer show. Characteristically, Begala perverted the "Live Free or Die" motto of the Granite State and imputed his own Death Wish to the American people: "Americans prize their freedoms more than their lives," he proclaimed, and therefore would rather die en masse than permit warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda terrorist leaders communicating mass murder plans to their American counterparts. This Begalism was one of those veritable fits of inadvertent disclosure that occurs when the fevered mind of the leftist is subjected to Bush-Rovean tectonics. Arrogating to himself the right to sacrifice American lives to protect terrorists, what Begala meant was (adapting another leftist cliché), "Better any number of Americans lives lost to the terrorists than the civil rights of even a single al Qaeda terrorist infringed."
If your mind operates on pre-StoneAge Begalithic micro-morality, then the Dionne-Begala-Michael Moore anti-American worldview is legitimate. But outside the far left New York television networks, the radically antiwar D.C. think tanks, the Democrat’s campaign war rooms, the values-deprived universities and execrable hell-halls of debauched Hollywood, the American people just might demur. Certainly they would repudiate Begala’s perverse and presumptuous mis-formulation, insisting that they prefer not to die merely in order to protect the cellphone connections of al Qaeda terrorists and sympathizers.
Outside the radical left leadership and base of the Democrat Party, Americans will not suggest sacrificing their own lives to protect the free speech of terrorists and suicide bombers: whether they are captured in battle or make their way from the Middle East into our cities; whether they enter this country in planes, on foot, or by phone.
There probably exists a substantial contingent of Americans who under certain circumstances would be willing to put their lives on the line to protect the basic rights and freedoms of the American people. Surely there’s not a single one of them believes American lives should be sacrificed to protect the rights of invading al Qaeda terrorists or their collaborators here at home.
In the end, Dionne is no more capable than the Democrat Party bigwhigs of producing a workable strategy to counter Bush and Rove. In fact, the ragged, tarnished, and shopworn left has been incapable of formulating any original or effective policy proposals for many years now. Perhaps that’s why they’ve lost the presidency, the Congress, and now the Supreme Court.
They can offer the public little more than those tired, old "core questions" and "root causes" of terrorism and crime that supporters of the radical Islamists and liberals love to pose in order to excuse any evil however great.
Dionne for his part dredges up what he terms "core questions" such as the inverted Reaganism, "Are we really safer now than we were five years ago?" — and goes on and on about that crucial national security issue on which Democrats should be focusing, "the job our government did during Hurricane Katrina." (We wonder, how is Katrina more effective as a "national security" issue than the ones proffered by the Democrat leaders whom Dionne ridicules, "a prescription drug benefit under Medicare, a patients’ bill of rights, the economy and education.")
Well, a lot of us think that we’re a lot safer than we were five years ago when those Twin Towers and the Pentagon were hit by fully-fueled jet planes.
And how many believe we’d be safer now if the Democrats had been running the war on terrorism for the last half-decade? Can there be a single sane and patriotic American who would choose the Democrats, that is, with their "I voted for it before I voted against it" and their "pre-9/11 worldview" according to which bombing of our cities and murder of innocents is a criminal justice concern and not grounds for war?
Surely those of us who love this country identify with the Courageous Warriors of Flight 93 more closely than with the Clinton Worriers of ’93, those nervous Nellies who through their inaction and ineptitude after the first World Trade Center bombing effectively sent an invitation to bin Laden to perpetrate the attacks of 9/11.
And here’s the ultimate question we’d like to pose to E. J. Dionne: If the Democrats are too divided to form a unified front in opposition to Bush-Rove; if they are so fearful of Rove that they’ll abandon everything they profess to believe in; if they are so afraid of being branded cowards and traitors that they run away whining from the whole issue of national security because the opposition won’t play nice; then, pray tell us, how are they going to defend America against bin Laden, a nearly-nuclear Iran, and the other terror-sponsoring states restrained only by force or the threat of force?
In undermining and deriding anything and everything America does to defend itself in the war on terrorism, Dionne and Begala and Michael Moore and the other sophists of the left merely mimic bin Laden. They gather strength from the terror leader’s ravings, al-Zarqawi’s roadside bombings and beheadings, and every suicide attack in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. And as we see from bin Laden’s latest diatribe, down to the very last detail he derives all his ideas to instill defeatism in Americans directly from the antiwar Democrats — along with all the encouragement he needs that, if he merely waits a few months, America will surely cut-and-run both from Iraq and the wider Middle East.