April 20, 2002


Where is the Principled Opposition? (Molly Ivins, April 14, 2002, Boulder Daily Camera)
Across the length and breadth of this great land of ours, from the mountain to the prairie, from every hill and dale comes the question, "Where are the Democrats?"

They're among the missing, along with Judge Crater and Osama bin Laden. The venerable political organization, the party of Jackson and Jefferson, is not to be found in action. So this is what it's like to live in a one-party country.

Is it possible, that Democrats are frightened by the John Ashcroft-Trent Lott school of "patriotism," which holds that questioning our elected (or even not-so-elected) leaders is tantamount to disloyalty if not treason? That expressing concern about our fundamental liberties helps terrorists? For that line of attack to be treated with anything but the contempt it deserves is itself un-American, not a word I use lightly.

As if the argument is not contemptible enough, one has only to look at the performance of these same definers of "patriotism" as blind obedience when Bill Clinton was struggling to fight a war. When the Clinton administration was trying to track and kill Osama bin Laden, Republicans gratuitously dismissed the entire effort as an attempt to change the subject from Monica Lewinsky.

I think Ms Ivins is being too hard on the Democrats here. As Bob Dole noted in the 1976 Vice-Presidential debate, the wars of the 20th Century were mainly Democrat Wars. That is, Democrat presidents took the nation into WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. The Party just doesn't have a tradition of opposition to war. Even in Vietnam, Hubert Humphrey was the war candidate as late as 1968, after the supposed Tet turning point.

So let's give the Democrats some time here. In the immediate wake of 9-11 they understandably reacted in knee-jerk fashion and supported President Bush. But as this thing drags on they'll find their voice and start to oppose the war and the administration. If nothing else, their own presidential primaries in 2004 will force the hopefuls to curry favor with the hard Left, which hates Israel specifically and Western culture generally.

The Democrats may be missing now, but they'll turn up. God help us.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 20, 2002 7:29 AM
Comments for this post are closed.