David Limbaugh

Sure, intramural conflict is inevitable during the primaries, but not rank childishness. Immaturity is abounding, even from those we might expect consummate maturity, such as Vietnam War hero John Kerry, who said that John Edwards was still in diapers when he (Kerry) returned from serving in Vietnam.

The Democrats' not only need to show gravitas; they need it in the very area they characteristically lack it: national defense. But the ones who might come forward here have shot themselves in both feet. John Kerry's military record isn't sufficient to negate his opportunistic waffling on Iraq. General Clark's four stars are insufficient to overcome his disturbing strangeness, and legitimate questions about his integrity and judgment raised by colleagues with as many stars as he has.

Further compounding the Democrats' problem -- and this is a much more serious matter -- is that a significant segment of their agitated left-wing base is demanding anything but adulthood from its candidates. Instead, they want a spokesperson through whom to vent their white-hot anger. They have been punishing those, like Joe Lieberman and Richard Gephardt, for being on the adult side of national defense issues.

Obviously Democrats will curtail their self-destructive backbiting and unite during the general election campaign and aim all their firepower at President Bush.

But Republicans can take some comfort in knowing that the left's unquenchable lust for political vengeance against George Bush will persist through the general election, even though it will work against the Democrats' chances of attracting essential swing voters, because it will reveal their instability. They are blinded to a logically driven political strategy by their pathological obsession to rectify an allegedly stolen 2000 election that was never stolen. It's one thing to have righteous indignation; it's another to carry an unrighteous, delusional and unrepentant grudge.

Just when the Democrats need serious adults to recapture their party's leadership, they've got the grumblings of the nine dwarfs, the embarrassing ravings of Ted Kennedy, and the puerile party chairman Terry McAuliffe leading the charge.

Meanwhile Hillary is waiting in the wings for 2008, wisely working on her national defense "gravitas."

David Limbaugh

David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert on law and politics. He recently authored the New York Times best-selling book: "Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel."

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