October 18, 2003


The Good, the Bad, the Ugly (DAVID BROOKS, October 18, 2003, NY Times)

When it comes to the future of Iraq, there's not just one Democratic Party; there are three.

First, there are the Nancy Pelosi Democrats. These Democrats voted against Paul Bremer's $87 billion plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. The essence of their case is that the Bush administration is too corrupt and incompetent to reconstruct Iraq. If Bush is for it, they're against it.

Their hatred for Bush is so dense, it's hard for them to see through it to the consequences of their vote. But if Pelosi's arguments had carried the day, our troops in Iraq would be reading this morning about the death of the Bremer plan and the ruination of our efforts to rebuild Iraq. [...]

Next we come to the Evan Bayh Democrats, named after the Indiana senator. These Democrats can see past their dislike of the president. They would appropriate some money for Iraqi reconstruction. But siding with the anti-foreign-aid Republicans, they'd turn the rest of the aid into loans. The Iraqi people have been raped, tortured and left bloodied on the floor. The Bayh Democrats say to them: Here's a credit card. Go buy yourself some treatment, and you can pay us back later. [...]

Finally we come to the Cantwell Democrats. This group could be named after Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, but Maria Cantwell, the Washington senator, sits at Scoop Jackson's old desk on the Senate floor. The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They'd like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people.

The Evan Bayh position is entirely honorable, even if wrong, so long as you vote for the final package after losing on the details. The Pelosi position is just irresponsible, defeatist, and dangerous.

-Will Democrats Take 'Bug Out' Stance on Iraq? (Mort Kondracke, October 17, 2003, Real Clear Politics)

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 18, 2003 7:16 AM

The Pelosi Democrats will soon be desperately asking: Who's got the paddle?

Posted by: genecis at October 18, 2003 11:34 AM

The loan provision, as I understand it, will convert to grants as other countries cancel Iraq's debts to them.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 18, 2003 8:02 PM

The Pelosi position is better described as the Ted Kennedy position, which Andrew Sullivan described as "He believes we should pay no price, shirk any burden to defend liberty around the world." (After all it was the Senate, not the House, which imposed the loan conditions) This is truly reprehensible.

The loan demand is not much better. How can we expect France, Russia, et. al. to cancel $200 billion in debt when we are about to impose another $10 billion, and only cancel it if they cancel theirs? Smacks of hypocrisy to me.

Posted by: jd watson at October 18, 2003 8:18 PM