February 19, 2003


If Democrats lay low on war, Bush will defeat himself (DeWayne Wickham, 2/18/03, USA TODAY)
It's time for Democrats who oppose George W. Bush's push for war with Iraq to shut up.

Congressional Democrats, in particular, should muzzle their criticism of the president. Instead of publicly questioning his reasons for wanting to invade Iraq, they should voice strong support for the men and women Bush will send into battle — and give the president no reason to blame them for the bad things that almost certainly will result from his handling of this situation.

In the coming weeks, the president is expected to order a "first strike" on Iraq. The televised images of U.S. troops pouring into that Muslim country will be a recruitment poster for Osama bin Laden's terrorist organization and the cause of widespread protests around the world.

"If they continue to criticize Bush, Democrats will be blamed for creating the atmosphere for his failure to build multilateral support for war with Iraq," said William Gray, the former Democratic Pennsylvania congressman who was the House majority whip during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. [...]

If Bush proceeds, it's a good bet that, although Saddam Hussein's regime will be gone by the time the 2004 presidential campaign gets underway, thousands of U.S. troops still will be in Iraq. The price tag for both the war and the "nation building" that will follow this conflict will deepen the federal deficit and push the United States closer to a recession.

By the time voters go to the polls in the next presidential election, the question on the minds of many will be the one Ronald Reagan used so effectively against Jimmy Carter in 1980: Are you better off today than you were four years ago? This is the fight that Democrats must wage--and it is the one they have the best chance of winning, if they don't get bogged down in protesting a war they lack the power to stop.

"Democrats have to avoid being cast as obstructionists when it comes to war with Iraq," Gray said. "They had their say last year, when the war resolution was before Congress--and they lost that vote. If it happens, this will be Bush's war."

He's right. The body bags and the price tag will all be the president's cross to bear.

You know, we used to labor under the delusion that Democrats were patriots first and partisans second. Anyone who really thought this scenario was going to play out but kept silent about it would be unworthy of governing his fellow citizens.

But, bad enough that he'd give such despicable advice, Mr. Wickham is simply blind to what's going on around him. This strategy might make some sense from a purely political standpoint, if stasis were going to follow the fall of Saddam. But if the Democrats fade to black while the Administration moves on to deal with places like North Korea, Iran, Palestine, Syria, South Lebanon, etc., they'll rightly be seen as the party of insignificance.

Even recognizing that it's only mid-February, this one may have locked up worst column of the year.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2003 8:12 AM

They're hoping for Osama to recruit thousands of new followers who would then proceed to kill tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of their own fellow citizens. What kind of monsters are these people ?

Posted by: Peter at February 19, 2003 10:47 AM

Worst column of the year. At. The. Very. Least. I'm sitting here in a cafe still trying to cry two drops of credulity from my disbelieving eyes... did this imbecile actually commit this vile, seditious proposal to a mainstream national newspaper? I'm reminded of the Bill and Democrats' performance in front of the cameras at the Wellstone memorial: they had no idea what they looked like.
It's called delusion. Or, using your favorite device of the (correctly answered) SAT Question:

DeWayne Wickham IS TO
thinks he's hit upon great political advice for the Dems


Kim Il Jung IS TO
feels his barber knows what's he's doing

Posted by: at February 19, 2003 11:24 AM

That should be lie low.

I am reminded of the Progressives and Republicans, moaning how Roosevent was going to "plow under

every third American boy."

Posted by: Harry at February 19, 2003 8:17 PM