Scorched Earth

The Democratic strategy of opposing Bush’s Cabinet nominees strikes me as one of the most politically tone-deaf ideas they’ve come up with, which is saying something. Blocking Bush’s appointments is one of the things that caused Tom Daschle to lose his seat, and now the Democrats are up to it again. The idiotic grandstanding by Sen. Boxer against the nomination of Condoleezza Rice has put her neck-and-neck with Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN) for the title of “Dumbest Senator Sitting.”

The whole Gonzales-torture issue is also a non-starter for the Democrats. Most Americans would have no quibble with the use of force if it would prevent another 9/11. The argument that Gonzales’ memo somehow lead to Abu Ghraib is also a difficult argument to make. The prisoners at Abu Ghraib weren’t being interrogated, they were being used as playthings by a group of sadistic prison guards. They want to use the argument that they were “just following orders” to evade responsibility — yet no one can find a shred of evidence that connects the events at Abu Ghraib with anything higher than the negligence of Gen. Karpinski.

Questioning Gonzales is fair game, and the Democrats have every right to critically probe his legal opinions on the applicability of the Geneva Convention. That’s the job of the minority party. At the same time, the kind of idiotic grandstanding that went on with Condoleezza Rice is both ignorant and politically foolish. If the Democrats keep playing by that rulebook, the GOP will enter into future election cycles with a 286 electoral vote head start — ensuring permanent minority status for the Democrats.

At the same time, some of the Democrats get the picture. Hillary Clinton voted to confirm Rice. However, “moderate” Democrat Evan Bayh voted against Rice. It’s clear that both are gunning for 2008, and while Bayh is following the failed strategy of embracing the left, Clinton is looking to run a 50-state campaign – which is why the Democrats would be wise to follow their winners rather than embrace the positions that have lost them three straight election cycles.

2 thoughts on “Scorched Earth

  1. “The whole Gonzales-torture issue is also a non-starter for the Democrats. Most Americans would have no quibble with the use of force if it would prevent another 9/11.”

    Most Americans probably would have no quibble with sending Toby Keith’s vigilante posse out to round up the bad guys and hang them from the nearest oak tree either, but civilized society remains civilized by adhering to laws rather the bloodlust of savages. Gonzalez is obligated to follow the Geneva Conventions no matter how popular it might be for us now to pretend we never agreed to it.

    Then again, if you believe that the hillbilly prison guards at Abu Gharib engineered the insanity that went on there without the knowledge, consent and willful request of somebody higher up the food chain, there is nothing that could sway you from the right-wing position on every imaginable issue. I’m sure it’s much easier to believe that Karpinski’s kangaroo court was just when you have no fear of being in the defendant’s chair. With that in mind, you were wise to avoid serving in the wars you call for hourly.

    Evan Bayh is one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate. I was surprised that he voted against Rice’s confirmation, but keep in mind that this guy has rubber-stamped virtually every other campily hawkish move the administration has made. Your condemnation of him after the Rice vote confirms that even an “opposition party” member in near lockstep with your cartoonish worldview becomes a pariah the second he deviates from the script even once. Furthermore, it’s hard to equate 13 Democrats opposing the confirmation of a verified pathological liar to “positions that defeated the Democrats the last three election cycles.” Feel free to expand upon that if you think the argument is salvageable.

  2. The Geneva Convention is only applicable when fighting military forces from another country which also signed onto the Geneva Convention. Neither applies to the current situation.

    Granted, I believe that we should hold ourselves to a higher standard than the enemy does, but to say that we should adhere to the Geneva Convention (which would prevent us from questioning the terrorists, and in fact require us to supply them with scientific equipment and group playtime) is just plain silly.

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