The Democrats’ Credibility Gap

The great Hugh Hewitt has an interesting piece in The Weekly Standard on the Democrats’ weakness on national security issues.

The Democratic strategy on national security is no different than their strategy on every single issue – bash Bush. Not a single one of the Democratic candidates has any clear vision of what they would do with American national security policy beyond a handful of vague platitudes. It’s one thing to say that you want to work more closely with our "allies". It is entirely another to know what to do when our allies have every interest in preventing us from exercising our political and military power. The Democrats act as though Bush never went to the UN, never tried to get a resolution past, and the US was the only country in Iraq. Yet none of those accusations are true. President Bush passed UN Resolution 1441 providing for a timetable for Saddam Hussein to conclusively prove he had disarmed. When it was clear that he had not, Bush led a coalition that includes not only the United States, but the UK, Spain, Italy, Poland, Romania, several Eastern European nations, and now includes even a contingent of troops from Mongolia. Somehow calling a coalition with troops from every corner of the world "unilateral" is a very Orwellian use of language.

The Democrats cries that they are being subject to some kind of political persecution on issues of national security is also completely untrue. If we’re living in some kind of fascist police state as the left argues one wouldn’t see 10 Democrats running across the country in front of every camera they can find to call Bush’s foreign policy things like "a miserable failure" and making accusations that Bush deliberately misled the American public despite volumes of evidence that neither argument is even remotely true. Hewitt finds the obvious motive for these attacks:

Why would an author and a journal of established reputations dirty themselves with trumped up charges of McCarthyism? Because the only way to keep the Democrats from certain electoral setback is to protect the party and its candidates from close examination on the issue of judgment on matters of national security. If the election is fought over which party is better prepared to defend the United States against Islamic fanaticism and North Korean irrationality, the Democrats will lose and lose big. So Democrats and their allies in the media will attempt to dent the president’s credentials on these issues while at the same time making it gauche for Republicans to comment on the Democrats’ judgment.

From the attacks that the Republicans tried to compare Max Cleland to Saddam Hussein (and after finding a copy of the ad it’s clear that no such comparison was made) to Jonathan Chait’s careless cries of "McCartyism" it is clear that the Democrats are more interested in trying to score political points than in fighting terrorism.

And there lies the core of the problem. If you believe that George W. Bush is a greater threat to world peace than Saddam Hussein, you’re simply not taking the war on terror seriously enough. Until the Democrats can have a more adult attitude and put the fight against terrorism above petty partisan bickering they will not, nor should they, be considered a party that that is serious about national security.

One thought on “The Democrats’ Credibility Gap

  1. I would think someone of your foreign policy scholarship could distinguish a real allied coalition from the sort of “coalition” the GOP alleges we have in our current conflict. A real coalition lends monetary and troop support to the cause. A “George Bush” coalition lends a wink, nod and a handshake to the cause. If the current coalition was satisfactory, George Bush would not be sticking his hand out to the American people only five months into the occupation, and wouldn’t be pleading at the feet of the damned irrelevant United Nations for monetary and troop support. If convincing yourself that the verbal support of Latvia and Poland amounts to a military initiative that’s anything but unilateral, go ahead and keep saying it. The rest of us will be acutely aware of reality as we pay the pricetag for unilateralism, however.

    As for the Cleland ads, his picture was sandwiched in between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden on the TV screen. To suggest that isn’t a comparison has about as much credibility as the term “coalition forces” does to the current Iraqi war. As weak as the current batch of Democrats and their platform are, the dimwitted justifications you and your ilk spew in defense of destructive Bush administration policy makes the underwhelming 10 look pretty damn smart in comparison.

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