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.