Bill Murchison

So all that divides the Democratic presidential candidates -- vide their debate in New Hampshire last Sunday -- is who hates the war worst; because, as all Americans supposedly agree, the whole thing is a shambles attributable to the ego of George W. Bush; and it remains only to see who can stick Bush hardest and most lastingly with the shame, the reprobation, the...

There comes a time when you don't want even to parody words such as the Democratic candidates swapped with each other, because the effect is so soul-sapping.

The Democratic presidential candidates can't stand Bush. All right -- that's their constitutional privilege. They want the war over. All right -- name an American from the White House down to the Cindy Sheehan for Sainthood Club who doesn't want the war over.

What the Democratic presidential candidates neglect to tell us, the public, is how they would affect this wonderful result without ruin to the Iraqis and shame to themselves.

I have a possible answer for the second eventuality. It is that campaigning for American defeat proves that those who do so had no shame to begin with.

The worst of the lot -- as usual -- was John Edwards. It comes, I imagine, from Edwards' pre-political life as a trial lawyer willing to make any absurd argument in order to win.

I digress. What did the former senator say? He said, "What this global war on terror bumper sticker -- political slogan, that's all it is, it's all it's ever been -- was intended to do was for George Bush to use it to justify everything he ever does. The ongoing war in Iraq [for which Edwards voted]; Abu Ghraib; spying on Americans; torture."

Which proved a bit much for Hillary Clinton, who noted that 9/11 had been carried out on her senatorial home ground. Yet Barack Obama bragged on opposing the war four-and-half years before Edwards.

Mrs. Clinton did make the profound point that Iraq is "George Bush's war." No one else that night, with the possible exception of Joe Biden, strayed far from the reservation. Not on Iraq. Not on the need to wrap it around Bush's neck and twist hard.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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