Hype and Hope for a Bipartisan Washington

It all sounded too good to be true — and now we know that it was. For a few days after the midterm elections, leaders of the new congressional majority talked as if they really wanted to work with the Bush administration for the common good. But like so much in Washington, it’s now clear that was just hype.

In their first flush of victory, the idols of the American left scrambled to sound like reasonable, responsible legislators who recognized that our nation faces serious challenges. Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) initially described last week’s vote as a mandate “to restore stability and bipartisanship” in Washington. Senate Majority Leader-in-waiting Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, “The only way to move forward is with bipartisanship and openness, and to get some results … I want to work with the president of the United States.” Unfortunately, rhetoric has now surrendered to reality. Nothing has changed.

The “wake-up call” about how America’s liberal icons will run the 110th Congress came late last week when the Bush administration urged that John Bolton — currently serving a recess appointment as our ambassador to the United Nations — be confirmed by the Senate. The suggestion had barely been uttered when Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) announced that Bolton, despite admirable work trying to protect U.S. interests — would be rejected. “I see no point in considering Bolton’s nomination,” he said.

Though Bolton says he still hopes for “a straight up or down vote on the Senate floor,” lame duck Republicans on Capitol Hill have been acting like crippled chickens. When GOP leaders failed to rally to Bolton’s cause, triumphal Democrats began floating the names of potential replacements. Among those deemed “acceptable” as U.N. emissaries: former Rep. Jim Leach of Iowa and former Democrat Sen. George Mitchell, both ardent supporters of the international body’s globalist agenda.

Just to make sure Bush is getting the message about how stiff the opposition is — and how rudderless his party has become — the House of Representatives refused to vote on a trade bill that was all but assured a week ago. As a result, the president arrived in Vietnam for the Asian Economic Summit empty handed.

For an additional taste of the way things are going to be, Air Force One was still heading west when the Senate Armed Services Committee summoned Gen. John Abizaid, the senior U.S. officer fighting the global war on terror, to appear before them to discuss the next steps in Iraq. Though the general argued against setting timelines for withdrawing U.S. forces and stated, “the prudent course ahead is to keep the troop levels about where they are,” it didn’t matter to incoming committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich.). He’s already decided that we must “begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months.”

And, in case anyone has forgotten how the legislative branch can make just a withdrawal happen, Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) reminded his colleagues — as the president was headed to Vietnam — how a hostile, liberal-led, anti-military, blame-America-first Congress ensured defeat in Vietnam: “There’s one solution here,” Kucinich explained, “and it’s not to engage in a debate with the president … but it’s for Congress to assume the full power that it has under the Constitution to cut off funds.”

Finally, to remove any doubt as to where she really stands on cooperating with Bush on Iraq, Pelosi threw her weight behind the most outspoken critic of the war in the Democrat caucus, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) in his bid for majority leader. Notably, Murtha commented this week that a proposal made by his colleagues was “total crap.” He was — for once — not referring to American troops in Iraq, but to suggested ethics reforms.

The brief post-election hiatus from liberal viscera is now over. The left is — as it was before Nov. 7 — still fervently committed to undoing the Bush presidency — whatever the cost. A few nameplates have been replaced on doors in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, but things are pretty much unchanged.

While they savor their triumph, the Democrats would be wise to consider some other things that their new management will not change:

— Our porous borders are still a major vulnerability and the American people know it.

— Kim Jung Il in Pyongyang, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Tehran, Hugo Chavez in Caracas and now, Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua are still evil despots and will do us great harm if given the chance.

— The jihad being waged against us continues and American citizens are still the No. 1 target for Islamic radicals.

If those in thrall over their newfound power in Washington really want to change things, they should start their term of office by reading the Medal of Honor citation for Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham. He was killed on April 14, 2004, shielding his men from an enemy grenade with his own body. Heroes like Dunham are people who put themselves at risk to the benefit of others. Our armed forces are full of heroes. And as long as our “leaders” in Washington let them do their jobs, that’s not going to change.