Once again, Democrats, to divert the public's attention from their persistent obstruction in the war on terror, are falsely accusing Republicans of challenging their patriotism.
The flap concerns a 30-second Republican TV ad showcasing Democratic resistance to the president's efforts to defeat international terrorism. The ad shows clips of President Bush's last State of the Union address. In the first he says that with just one vial or canister in the wrong hands this country could experience horror like never before.
In a later clip, President Bush is shown pointing out that his opponents want to wait until the terrorist threat to us is imminent before taking action. They would prefer to retreat and put our national security in the hands of others, he says. A graphic then encourages people to support President Bush's policy of preemptive self-defense.
Democrats, including Senator Tom Daschle, started screaming bloody murder about the unfairness of the ad. You see, it's OK for Democrats to lie about Republicans wanting to starve schoolchildren, but it's wrong for Republicans to tell the truth about the Democrats' policies of appeasement toward terrorists and nations supporting them.
On NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday, Daschle said, "It's wrong. It's erroneous, and I think that they ought to pull the ad. We all want to defeat terrorism." But "to chastise and to question the patriotism of those who are in opposition to some of the president's plans I think is wrong."
What? Where in the ad did President Bush question the Democrats' patriotism? He said nothing about that. He merely stated accurately their opposition to his policy of preemption and his decision to strike even without the approval of every nation on the planet.
Just what about those statements is wrong, Senator Daschle? If you are ashamed that President Bush is accurately characterizing your endless opposition, and if you think it makes you and your colleagues look unpatriotic, then perhaps you should consider changing your policies. But don't blame President Bush for pointing out the folly of your policies. And don't issue disingenuous preemptive political strikes against Republicans claiming they've questioned your patriotism when they haven't. But if that shoe fits and you don't like the way it looks -- that is, if you find it politically unstylish -- by all means, take it off.
Despite the Democrats' indignant protests about their patriotism, President Bush isn't making the charge that they are unpatriotic. But he is saying that their policies regarding the war on terror are reckless, foolish and contrary to our national security interests.
You see, when it comes to the War on Terror, Democrats want to have it both ways. They want to appear supportive of our troops and the cause, but they insist on criticizing and undermining President Bush every step of the way.
Early on, Democrats had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the table before they would reluctantly sign on to a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq. Being astute observers of the public mood, they climbed on board when they understood that the political winds were blowing strongly in favor of preemptive action against Saddam.
Before the invasion, they tried desperately to backpedal and make excuses, from charges of "unilateralism" to "imminent quagmire," obviously fearing that Bush's popularity as a wartime president would be nearly impossible to shake.
In the first phase of the war, they continued to whine, from repeated concerns about quagmires again to broken supply lines due to a precipitous ground war. Upon our decisive victory they began efforts to discredit it, from saying the Iraqis weren't welcoming us to complaining about stolen museum property.
During our laborious and thankless task of helping the Iraqi people to establish self-rule amidst terrorist-spawned resistance, they have chosen to focus their energies on criticizing the president for his alleged lack of a plan, instead of offering constructive assistance.
Over and over, they have given a little, then taken it back. Instead of "leaving politics at the water's edge," they have made partisanship their highest priority at the expense of the national interest.
Democrats would love nothing more than to intimidate Republicans from discussing their intrinsic weakness on national defense issues. In a time when our national security is under direct assault they can't afford to bear the dovish image they usually wear so proudly.
Nothing is more legitimate than for Republicans to highlight their opponents' dangerous policies in the war on terror. Instead of withdrawing the ads, Republicans should produce dozens more and saturate the airwaves.