February 6, 2006

DODGE RAHM (via Robert Schwartz):

Don't dodge security, Democrats told: Faithful in Ohio say party must find voice (Jeff Zeleny, January 30, 2006, Chicago Tribune)

The audience was supposed to be a gracious one.

But Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, found himself fielding spirited questions at a breakfast meeting late last week as he laid out his ideas on how Democrats could seize control of Congress from the Republicans. When the Illinois congressman didn't include national security in his top five talking points, a man raised his hand and his voice.

"Can I give you a piece of advice?" said Ford Huffman, a Columbus attorney. "They obviously believe it's their winning issue. Why can't we get out in front with it and say there's not an issue about security? Every American believes in securing America."

Emanuel tried to answer the question, asserting his eagerness to challenge the White House, but said he does not believe national security should be a political issue. As Emanuel spoke, Huffman turned his head and told those sitting around him: "It sounds like we are trying to dodge the issue. People are going to say the Democrats are being wussies."

It's all well and good for Democrats to be the party of economic security--it means that the next time there's a Depression they're almost certain to regain power--but you'd think the Security Party would be more conscious of the need to provide physical security as a threshold issue.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2006 9:51 PM

The shock of Sept. 11 offered about a six-month window of clarity for many on the left about what the West was facing from Islamic fundamentalism. But even then there was still a group of those like Noam Chomsky or Michael Moore who immediately saw the terror attacks as just another aspect of domestic politics, and as the memory of the attacks faded, more and more of those who saw the problem clearly enough on Sept. 12 went back to the fog of relexive anti-Bush rhetoric.

To get the same reaction from those people now and at least have another few months of clarity, the attack would have to be at a far greater level than Sept. 11, and even then, they probably would have to have it happen with a Democrat in the White House to really believe that the terrorists hate them, and are not just angry about Republicans' insensativity to global warming or Medicare entitlement shortfalls.

Posted by: John at February 6, 2006 10:31 PM

Another good quote from the article:

Bill Goldman, a Columbus attorney, nodded in agreement. And before Emanuel could respond, he weighed in with his own set of ideas.


As others echoed similar concerns, Emanuel buttoned and unbuttoned his dark suit. He shifted the weight on his feet and shook the ice in his water glass.

Just perfect.

I don't know Bill Goldman, but I do know Ford Huffman. Ford is a good guy, far too sensible to be a Democrat.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 6, 2006 10:36 PM

I saw a statement tonight on another blog (I forget which one) that the Democratic strategy in the fall elections will be the 'Contract with Al Qaeda'. So far, seems about right.

And Rahm Emanuel can't do a **** thing about it.

Posted by: jim hamlen at February 6, 2006 10:57 PM

If Emanuel and his fellow Dem leaders truly believed that security isn't an issue to run on, all they wuld have to say is "this President has done a fine job of defending the country, and we will support and maintain his policies" . . . and then move on to their mommy party economic policies and what not.

That the Dems can't do that speaks volumes.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at February 6, 2006 11:24 PM

I would think that Democrats need to consider that there's a high probablity that the economic downturn on which they've based their hopes will be caused by a "national security failure" that they can't blame on the GOP. Especially considering how they've been behaving this past month or so.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at February 6, 2006 11:41 PM

Tell me if I'm wrong, but is anyone getting a different vibe from the Left over the past seven days or so?

I think that history will rewcord that the great cartoon uprising of 2006 will have had a FAR deeper and more profound effect on the West (particularily Europe) than on the Muslim world, for whom it really is same old, same old, maybe just cranked up another notch.

I mean, the moonbats are still there, but do they not almost remind one of fish gasping for breath after exhausting themselves on the deck?

The 21st century has been particualrily unkind to the Left, but this latest is close to a sliced open jugular. EVERYTHING this administration has been saying about our enemies, EVERYTHING they have been saying to Europe for five years, even EVERYTHING that the likes of Mark Steyn has been saying has been shown to be true in a manner brutal and crystaline clear.

These fanatics would kill or impose dhimmitude on George W. Bush.... and every writer of the Nation and Daily Kos.... and neither know nor care about the difference between the two. This is now virtually unarguable.

And the beauty? GW Bush has nothing, but NOTHING, to do with this situation at all. Oh, a coule have tried to tag him with it, and gotten nowhere, even on Kos. It's a hopeless argument.

The Left just "feels" different quite suddenly. Is it just me?

Waddya think?

Posted by: Andrew X at February 6, 2006 11:57 PM

Andrew, I think you're onto something, but never underestimate the ability of the Left to minimize and forget challenges to crucial beliefs: the Hitler-Stalin pact, the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, Vietnamese and Cuban refugees, etc., etc.

Posted by: PapayaSF at February 7, 2006 12:28 AM


Yeah, but this is big.


These scummers well and truly ARE coming after them. The cultural elites, the artists, the iconoclasts, the anti-religious.

They have said submit to our God, or we will kill you, and are not even slightly ambiguous.

Hitler, Czech commies, Soviet troops, Vietnamese, Cubans..... the Left defended them all, and none were ever stupid enough to repay the favor by credibly promising to come to New York and LA and kill them in their parlors, newsrooms, studios, classrooms and coffeeshops.

Big, I tells ya.


Posted by: Andrew X at February 7, 2006 12:49 AM

You're more optimistic about this producing any lasting change than I am, Andrew.

One of the things you would think the American left -- which predominently lives in the Blue States -- would have realized after 9/11 is that the terrorists consider sites in the Blue States as their most desired targets; New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle. There are some places like Dallas or Miami (or, I suppose, the Pentagon in Virginia) that qualifies as Red State targets, but if the U.S. fails to take security seriously, the terrorists aren't going after a cornfield in Iowa, or even a shopping mall in Kentucky -- they're going to try and hit high-profile sites that would gain the most world attention, and those sites are predominanty in the areas where Bush's bitterest opponents live and work.

If they couldn't get that through their heads any better on Sept. 12 than a plaintive Michael Moore asking after the towers came down why they didn't attack a state that voted for Bush, the current protests are only a mild mental speed bump.

It may upset their world view and bring a sense of unease for a day or two to see Muslims acting like that towards European governments, but like a battered wife who finds reason to stay with her abusive husband, the left will come up with a rationale for the current situation that will again put them in denial that the terrorists either are a real threat to them, or that changes in Western society the fundamentalists want really don't differ very much from their own politically correct beliefs on what should and shouldn't be tolerated. Just get rid of Bush and the Republicans and all will be forgiven by those Muslims disposed to hate America.

Posted by: John at February 7, 2006 1:30 AM

We may not need a lasting change here, but we do need it in Old Europe.

The rhetoric might ease from them.

Much like Chappaquiddick Ted and Dickie (Eddie Haskell) Durbin found out today, the great unwashed are beginning to drag them into reality.

Posted by: Sandy P at February 7, 2006 2:10 AM

Bush and the GOP get the blame for a national security disaster.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 7:45 AM

If the European left turns anti-terrorist, the American left will follow. They can't stand to be alone in their beliefs. They have to believe they're "mainstream."

Posted by: pj at February 7, 2006 8:08 AM

John -

I see your point, but here's the difference.

The Left simply despises the United States. If H.G. Wells story came true and Martian tripods began laying waste to the US, the Left would rejoice and blame it on Bush and the US as a whole.

We all know this, it's as simple as that.

The point is, here, it is NOT the US, at all, it is not even big bad France or Germany, or NATO as a whole. A billion people have chosen to go after... DENMARK... for printing cartoons.

The facts here are categorically unavoidable and inexplicable (in a Leftist paradigm). And they can try to spin it so that the billion are the victims, and tiny Denmark is the oppressor (hah!), but it is self-evidently feeble, even laughably so, to THEMSELVES even, not to mention sane people.

And that is the subtle or not-so-subtle distinction here, and why I think this could be a sea change. For if Denmark is the victim of religionists, which the Left has railed about for decades, (at least philosphically if only targeting Christians), and Denmark IS the victim here, the whole edifice comes crashing down.

Posted by: Andrew X at February 7, 2006 8:47 AM

i think the left has expended it's energies and is going to go dormant, and that is what andrew is picking up. they have been shouting into the wind for 5+ years now with exactly 0 to show for it (actually they have lost a lot of ground). they won't ever be helpful to the country but at least now, for awhile, they won't be so active in helping the other side. once the swamps of academia are drained they will whither away to the fringes.

i sense that the msm has started to pull back from its deadly embrace with the hard left, so that will also be for the good.

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 9:06 AM

I always love those rare spottings of the decent left, but I haven't seen any. Any pointers?

Posted by: David Cohen at February 7, 2006 9:19 AM

Yes, OJ, and Tancredo will be the first to bang the drums on that after the next terror attack. Remember what he said very shortly after 9/11 that caused a nasty row with Karl Rove?

If I were the Left, I'd keep that it mind.

Posted by: Brad S at February 7, 2006 9:25 AM


Yes, the Nativists and the Left are natural allies against the conservative party.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 9:33 AM

Michael Ignatieff

Paul Berman

Michael Mandelbaum

John Lewis Gaddis

Walter Russell Mead

Michael Walzer

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 9:35 AM

Andrew --

While each new event may peel off a few from the left, who are willing to reassess their own world few in light of new information, the great majority will stick with their convictions barring something so catastrophic as to make denial impossible, such as a nuclear bomb set off in a major American city .... in a Blue State ... during a Democratic administration ... second term ... with a Democratic Congress ...

Posted by: John at February 7, 2006 9:40 AM

If we ever have Democratic control of the White House and Congress again, there won't be a need for terrorists to strike. They'll just hand over the keys to the kingdom and we'll be so thoroughly and completely scr*wed, there'll be no going back.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 10:24 AM

Quote of the week:

"[...]One day the British foreign secretary will wake up and discover that, in practice, there's very little difference between living under Exquisitely Refined Multicultural Sensitivity and Sharia. As a famously sensitive Dane once put it, "To be or not to be, that is the question."

'Sensitivity' can have brutal consequences,
Mark Steyn 02/05/2006

"We are all Danes now" ... Buy Danish!

Posted by: Genecis at February 7, 2006 12:48 PM

you'd think the Security Party would be more conscious of the need to provide physical security as a threshold issue.

You answered your own question, oj.

the next time there's a Depression they're almost certain to regain power

Bush and the GOP get the blame for a national security disaster.

Makes perfect sense if you think of them not as the Security Party, but rather as the Disaster Party. It's a coherent strategy, after all -- disasters do happen -- and it just makes more business sense to sell America short across the board, than to bank on depression domestically but to wish her well overseas.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 7, 2006 3:47 PM