Soulless Democrats

In the recent Cynic article “Iraq and Democratic Hope,” the author suggested that with the military and political situation in Iraq becoming increasingly dismal, many Democrats see a possible foothold for a campaign strategy in the 2006 [congressional midterm] elections.

Although he is probably correct that problems in Iraq hurt Republican House and Senate candidates, especially those closely allied with President George W. Bush, the more important message of the article is one that the author certainly did not intend to present: the sorry state of the Democratic party in American politics.

In a post-September 11th political environment, the Democratic party has struggled to present a clear and attractive message to voters worried about the balance between protecting national security and defending civil liberties. So far, the scales have tipped towards national security.

The necessity for the War on Terrorism presents a political challenge for Democrats. For better or for worse, the president has a clear and aggressive strategy for dealing with terrorism, which is embodied in the Bush doctrine of preemptive action against threats to the United States.

While some Democrats disagree with this strategy, the Democratic party as a whole has yet to develop a viable alternative.
Democrats are split over what to do about the situation in Iraq. Some favor setting a timetable for the withdrawal of American forces, a position the president has strongly opposed. Others agree with the president that setting a date for the U.S. withdrawal would send the wrong message to our enemies and weaken our effort to establish democracy in Iraq.

Most of those Democrats who agree with the president that we should leave Iraq only after our mission is complete also criticize the president’s handling of the war. Yet, they do not say how the president should act differently, other than arguing unproductively that we should have never invaded Iraq in the first place. Among these differing opinions, the one constant message in the Democratic party is criticism of President Bush and his policies.

The Democratic party, therefore, has become one dominated by negativism. Its focus is on damaging President Bush any way it can rather than developing any policies on its own.

It stands not for certain policies or principles, but only against those of the president. It survives politically by blaming the president for any reversal in the war on terrorism, the center-piece of which is the war in Iraq.

This point is highlighted nicely by the author of the Cynic article who argues that if things deteriorate in Iraq just enough before the midterm elections in 2006, the Democrats just might be able to gain a political victory for the first time this century.

It is a sad state of affairs for the Democratic Party when its political success hinges on defeats to an American cause in which the lives of American citizens and the security of our country are at stake.

Any Democrat running on that type of message risks not only losing an election, but also his soul.