While President Bush and our military prepare the Iraqi battlefield for the troops we are surging into Baghdad, the Democrats are preparing the political battlefield of 2008. One aspect of shaping any battlefield — political or actual — is in manipulating the adversary by psychological warfare. It’s a matter of shaping the imagery of both sides: how they see each other, and how they see themselves. Hillary Clinton wants to pull the Clinton Cloak over the Dems again, relying on her pals in the media to maintain the façade of moderation and reasonableness. Though too many Republicans are making her job easy, it’s her own Senate pals — this week Chuck Schumer and John Kerry — who are the obstacle.
The Senate continues its dance around a non-binding resolution that opposes the President’s plan to surge 21,500 more American troops into Iraq to impose order in the Baghdad area. But as they score soundbites for the evening news and the Sunday talk shows, the Senate Dems — and all too many Republicans — seem eager to prove that they are willfully ignorant of the facts on the ground. In his confirmation hearings last week, Lt. Gen. David Petraeus — the new overall commander in Iraq — warned that these resolutions would embolden the enemy and hurt the morale of our troops. The RINOs charging into the anti-surge resolution find themselves comfortable with the likes of Sen. Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) and see no irony or inconsistency in voting to confirm Petraeus — which they did — and voting for the anti-surge resolution, which they are about to do.
Fresh from his appearance on the Senate floor last week — which by now must be dry of the tears he shed announcing his decision to not seek the presidency next year — Vichy John Kerry went to Davos again for the World Economic Forum. He really should stop going, because every time he does something goes disastrously wrong. Last year, just before the confirmation of Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, the New York Times insisted that the Dems make a Custer-like stand to filibuster Alito. Faced with the senatorial version of a kamikaze mission, Kerry’s military training finally paid off. He took charge and moved out, strapping into the first first-class seat he could get on an airliner bound for Washington to do the Times’ bidding. Of course, he failed utterly to stop Alito’s confirmation. Kerry’s appearance at Davos this year probably left the Abrahmson-Dowd-Sulzberger troika (the people who really run the Times, a story for another day) wishing they’d told him to stay on the ski slopes.
This time, Kerry went to Davos to pal around with such glitterati as Iranian “moderate” and former President Mohammad Khatami. And after he touched all the liberal bases — AIDS, global warming and such — Kerry whined that, “[W]e have a crisis of confidence in the Middle East — in the world, really. I’ve never seen our country as isolated, as much as a sort of international pariah for a number of reasons as it is today.” Think about that for a moment. There is John Kerry, smiling at and having his picture taken with a high ranking member of the world’s most dangerous terrorist regime, one that seeks nuclear weapons to incinerate our nation and allies, and Kerry manages to call America an international pariah. And the crisis of confidence? It is he, and his fellow Dems, who are engineering it. Why shouldn’t our friends and allies doubt us with the steady flow of anti-Bush, anti-war, anti-historical nonsense coming out of the Democrats?
Schumer, on “Meet the Press” yesterday, talked about how he and other Senate leaders would continue to raise the stakes on Iraq. He said, more than once, that the non-binding Senate resolution was only the first step and that the Democrats would continue to “ratchet up the pressure” on the President to change the Iraq policy to what the Dems want: a gradual withdrawal from Iraq regardless of the consequences. Kerry and Schumer are preparing the political battlefield for next year when they will try to force withdrawal from Iraq in the same way as their Dem forbears did from Vietnam: by cutting off the funds to prosecute the war. They know that they can’t do that this year. President Bush would veto it. But they’re working overtime to diminish his political power to the point that he won’t be able to prevent them from overriding a veto next year. Was Kerry’s Davos declamation over the top? Compared to Schumer, Kerry seems almost reasonable.
In that same television appearance, Schumer said that, “[O]nly the President in his bunker…” and a few around him think we should continue to keep, "[P]olicing a civil war.” Can you see the White House through Schumer’s eye? There’s Bush-Nixon, alone in his room except for Cheney-Haldeman and Gates-Ehrlichman, descending into madness. How could anyone — American voter or Iraqi or Kuwaiti or Turkish or Afghani or anyone — be confident in such a President? Hillary Clinton is perfectly comfortable with Schumer and Kerry’s antics. They’re doing what she doesn’t dare to do, and what they do can benefit her if she can overcome her own imagery.
As Mrs. Clinton continues her Iowa charm offensive, she’s still seeking the right image for her campaign. One Washington reporter gushed that Clinton is a woman, amazingly the establishment candidate who’s also the best-qualified. Please. But even Clinton can shake Kerry-Schumer hysteria, she won’t shake the images of the Hollywood stars who support her. If only she could. Last week wizened old Elizabeth Taylor endorsed Hillary. And Halle Berry is for Obama. I can’t wait to see the side-by-sides.