Their latest antic, the unveiling of their "Real Security" plan is so insultingly juvenile it would barely qualify for a "Saturday Night Live" skit. Just how dense do they think Americans are?
Before examining the elements of the "plan," which could (and might) have been written on a napkin, we are entitled to ask why they came up with one at all. In November, their leader, Howard Dean, testily announced that it was not incumbent upon the opposition party to come up with a plan.
A month later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said that Democrats would "produce an issue agenda for the 2006 elections," but it would "not include a position on Iraq” because they couldn't reach a consensus. Pelosi said, "There is no one Democratic voice … and there is no one Democratic position.”
But something must have changed their minds. Maybe it finally dawned on them that for all their gloating about President Bush's low approval ratings, their own ratings are also anemic.
This is reportedly the second in a series of agenda papers they plan to release, the first being -- try not to gag -- "Honest Leadership.” Though this document claims to contain a plan for Iraq, it really offers little new. It outlines broad goals for the war on terror and Iraq, but offers no strategic, much less tactical, specifics.
After all their complaining, the Democrats' plan doesn't even demand immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Why? For the same reason they took so long to come up with a "plan” of their own in the first place. They couldn't agree among themselves.
Now they have come up with a junior high school-level outline designed to convince Americans they are better equipped to lead our nation in war. Actually, I don't mean to offend junior high school students, who also might feel insulted at such patronizing slogans as "tough and smart" and "strong and smart" -- as if the human mind is capable of making a distinction between those two formulations.
They don't bother to tell us precisely how their "plan" is "stronger and smarter" any more than they ever fill in the blanks for their empty slogan "We can do better." But during the press conference announcing the plan, I could have easily envisioned Sen. Harry Reid morphing into Popeye, downing a can of spinach and flexing his bicep with an admiring Nancy Pelosi as Olive Oyl looking on wistfully. Actually, I think I did see that image.
Perhaps the plan's most amateurish component is its declaration that, by golly, they're going to quit fooling around and capture Osama bin Laden. Again, they don't say how, or even give us a hint, but can you blame them? When you were playing cowboys and Indians or war on the kindergarten playground, did you want to give away your battle plans to the other kids?
The most insulting aspect of the "plan" is that it mostly just reaffirms goals this administration is already pursuing. "We will ensure 2006 is a year of significant transition to full Iraqi sovereignty … " Significant transition? Excuse me for being underwhelmed with those weasel words. Excuse me for being too obtuse to fathom how this differs from the administration's already-stated goals. Excuse me for being so sarcastic and wanting to be much worse.
It is incomprehensible Democratic leaders believe they can rehabilitate their richly deserved image as soft on defense and terror with one nondescript issue statement. They have voted against our weapons systems for decades, gutted the defense budget under President Clinton and opposed President Bush almost every step of the way in the war on terror. Do they now think they can waltz in with a mere three-page wish list and magically regain the people's trust on national security?
Most remarkably, the document reveals just how thoroughly partisan the Democratic leadership has become -- not that we needed further proof. The tipoff is in their plan's virtual indistinguishability from the president's goals. Since their plan ratifies most of the president's aims in the war on terror, they have just forfeited all their lame excuses for having opposed him so relentlessly on war issues.
They would do well to remember that the terrorists are our enemy, not George Bush. It's time they remove their partisan blinders and join him in this war, instead of throwing up phony opposition and phonier plans -- unless, of course, they don't mean a word contained in their "plan" in the first place.