Dems Still Marching to Pinch's Drummer

If truth in advertising standards were applied to politicians, the Democrats would be forced to change their name to the New York Times Party.  Because they haven’t had an idea since the night Bobby Kennedy was murdered, Democrats need someone to craft policy and positions, and the New York Times has filled the void with all the energy that its ideological publisher has been able to muster.  

Two recent cases point out how quick the Dems are to obey what the Times says even at the risk of contradicting themselves.  

First, in the FISA fight, the Dems were standing against the repair of a problem that had denied our intelligence at least three months of information that they had been gathering – legally — before a new obstacle arose this spring.  The Times, of course, was against the FISA repair, spreading disinformation about it and how it could result in Americans’ telephone calls being recorded in violation of the Constitution.  On August 3, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nv) was asked about the administration’s hard push to get the repairs accomplished before the August Congressional recess.

“Here’s my answer,” said Reid, pulling that day’s NYT editorial (titled, “Stampeding Congress, Again”) from his pocket.  Reid saw no need to answer further, and probably couldn’t. The Times performs its public service by protecting us from the otherwise disjointed harangues of Dems who are actively opposed to gathering intelligence from and about terrorists.  (Reid, were he better-read, might have quoted one of Herbert Hoover’s Secretaries of State, Henry Stimson, who is remembered only for his disdain for pre-WW2 code breakers.  In 1929, Stimson said, “Gentlemen don’t read each others mail,” and disbanded the State Department’s cryptanalytic unit.)   

I have no record of the New York Times’ commentary on wiretapping or other ungentlemanly intelligence gathering methods in earlier wars. FISA wasn’t enacted until 1979 and — in any event — it probably wouldn’t have prevented Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart from assigning one of his troopers to the permanent duty of wiretapping Union telegraphs whenever Stuart’s cavalry came upon them. But I digress.  However Democrats or their Copperhead predecessors would have followed the NYT editors’ direction in the 1860s is a matter of historic curiosity.  Today’s obedience is a matter of public record.  Even when it requires Dems to do an apparent turnabout.

When hyperliberal Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Il) said, “the military is, “…making real progress. … we’re putting troops on the ground to intercept al Qaeda,” he was following the Times’ lead in the now-famous July 30 article by Patrick O’Hanlon and Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution that said the surge was working. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa) jumped to the Times’ tune just after Durbin did.  

But it was only a few weeks earlier that Harry Reid said, “Democrats and military experts and the American people know the president’s current strategy is not working and we cannot wait until September to act.”  Durbin himself said, on May 16 that, “…This Senate knows that the administration’s policy in Iraq has failed.”  The contradiction is not a worry for Durbin because he knows, just as the rest of the Dems do, that the Times will forgive their inconsistencies when the time comes to change their position back to “the surge has failed” in time to greet Gen. Petraeus’ report in September.

And so they will change again.  The Times — and therefore the Democrats — are convinced that no matter what Petraeus says in his report, the war in Iraq has to end with an American withdrawal. In another editorial that ran last month, the Times said, “It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.”  Sulzberger and Co. won’t admit to any other option.

So it will go in September.  The Times will excuse O’Hanlon and Pollack for their views, if they mention them at all.  Gen. Petraeus will report that the surge is working, but only at a level that is too slow for the Times and its Copperhead Democrat marionettes.  They will demand the commencement of withdrawal from Iraq and Durbin, Casey and the rest will march in lockstep toward the exit, regardless of the consequences.

Regrettably, their jobs are made much easier by the Iraqi government’s continued failure to come to grips with reality.  The Iraqi parliament is on vacation this month, vacationing while their government slowly dissolves. When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met with Iranian leaders and pronounced them a positive influence, we were given a glimpse into Iraq’s future.  It is not what President Bush wants. It’s not what anyone who wants to see victory in the war against the terrorist nations should want.  It’s what Iran wants.

Yesterday, Maliki called for an emergency summit of Iraqi political leaders to break the deadlock in parliament. He said, “I have called the political leaders for a meeting to discuss the main issues in the political process. The first meeting may happen tomorrow or the day after tomorrow."   Our top people in Iraq — Gen. Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker — have told the Iraqis again and again that time is running out.  But there is little reason to believe that they will take the necessary steps and make the essential compromises so long as the Iranians (and the Syrians and the Saudis) impose their influence to prevent the Iraqis from accomplishing what they must.  We can hope for positive results, but hope is not enough to prevent the Iranians from dominating Iraq.  

President Bush, asked about Maliki’s trip last week to meet with Iranian leaders, said, “If the signal [from Maliki] is that Iran is constructive, I will have a heart to heart with my friend the prime minister, because I don’t believe they are constructive."  Soft words and diplomatic euphemisms don’t impress Iran.  They won’t even impress the New York Times.   

The Times is predictable.  Before week’s end, they’ll run editorials condemning Maliki, and with some justification.  And they’ll link his Iran gambits to the surge and say that it can’t succeed because Bush won’t make peace with Iran.   Not that he could, or should.