What do Democrat leaders really believe concerning their "Bush lied" mantra? If you were to inject the whole lot of them with truth serum and turn them loose with microphones and recording equipment, here's what you might hear.
"Immediately after 9/11, contrary to our guttural instincts, we conceded we had been attacked by international terrorists. Though they probably had legitimate grievances against us, such as our presence in the Middle East and our unfailing support for Israel, they went too far by attacking civilian targets in New York and Washington, D.C.
"But given our aversion to unsophisticated, black-and-white analyses, our affinity for nuance, our predisposition against recognizing evil in the world, and our inclination toward appeasement, we weren't quite prepared to accept Osama at his word that this had become a global War on Terror (WOT).
"We weren't entirely comfortable attacking Afghanistan because the great Soviet Union became quagmired there and we might further provoke the terrorists, not to mention inflame those little pacifist students in the Saudi-funded madrassas into becoming terrorists and joining the non-global war against us.
"But given the public's post 9/11 passion, we had to get on board against the Taliban. And it's a good thing we did, because we've been able to use that vote to demonstrate we were always hawks in the WOT against the real enemies.
"Indeed, in our intermittent periods of opposition to attacking Iraq, we've pretended President Bush was too intent on making Saddam Hussein a straw party bogeyman in the WOT in order to avenge his father (or was it to steal Saddam's oil?) to keep his eyes on Osama. Sure, our claim was ridiculous, but that was hardly a reason not to make it.
"When confronted with the embarrassing plethora of tapes and transcripts in which we declared Saddam was an imminent threat to the United States, a possessor of WMD, and feverishly hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons capabilities, we've told the public to pay no attention to those men behind the curtain.
"Yes, we really did say those things, but we didn't mean them. We had no choice, politically, given the public's overwhelming support for the war, especially since the president called our bluff when we insisted he consult us prior to taking action.
"Instead of just confessing that we were trying to have it both ways, we found a way to reconcile our inconsistent positions -- with yet more inconsistent positions. But we've learned that if you throw enough rubbish out there for public consumption, at the very least you'll confuse the issue enough to establish political cover.
"Consequently, we said that Bush duped us by cherry-picking and exaggerating the intelligence. When GOP nitpickers pointed out we had access to the same intelligence, we alternatively denied it and admitted it, but when admitting it, claimed he had pressured intelligence agencies into doctoring their reports. We know that bipartisan and independent investigators determined otherwise. So sue us!
"We also said that when we voted to give President Bush authority to attack Iraq, which authority was unconditional on its face, we understood that he'd keep exhausting his negotiation avenues.
"Actually, our chutzpah even amazes us sometimes. With straight faces we told the people we 'trusted' President Bush would only attack as a last resort, even though we'd made it clear we wouldn't trust him with his own mother. Though we told them Bush had been secretly planning to attack Iraq since before he was born, we asked them to believe we trusted him not to attack Iraq the first chance he got -- with our formal blessing, no less.
"You may recall that we also tried the ploy of demanding we form a stronger 'multilateral' coalition, all the while doing everything we could to sabotage Bush's efforts to build the coalition by arguing against our own participation."
"After all this chaos we've fomented and with the masterful job we've done in undermining the public's support for the war and trust in President Bush, we still don't have a clue what we should do in Iraq other than to keep attacking the president.
"So we demanded a withdrawal timetable and got shot down in the Senate. And in the House few of us even had the courage to vote consistent with our heated rhetoric.
"Not to worry. The 2008 election is three years off, and that gives us at least two more years of mischief before we have to start coming up with some positive ideas of our own, which won't even be necessary if we're able to pressure Bush into the catastrophic mistake of a precipitous withdrawal.
"So cut us some slack. We're just doing what is in the best interests of the country, which is to hoodwink the people into returning us to power."
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