I simply cannot believe President Bush withdrew Sam Fox's nomination for Belgium ambassador. When will he confront congressional Democrats with the same resolve he brings to the war on terror? He doesn't need to get down on their level of stridency and sniping, but he should scrap the illusion that they are operating in good faith and want to work collegially or constructively with him.
If the last six years prove nothing else, they show that Democrats are unwaveringly hostile to this administration. Bush's cordiality in return has only emboldened them to new heights of incivility.
With their victory in November it has gotten much worse. With congressional control and their subpoena power they're like spoiled, malicious children with a new toy. According to the L.A. Times, they've already held over 100 oversight hearings.
These are the people -- with the help of their militant base -- who have mercilessly and effectively demonized some of the finest public servants to grace this nation with their time and talents in years, including Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. No, I haven't lost my mind, and yes, I know the conventional wisdom commands that we believe these decent and honest people are devils incarnate. It's a crying shame that it's even necessary to vouch for their character, but it is.
Lest I be misunderstood, I'm not suggesting the president reciprocate in kind and treat Democrats as disrespectfully and unfairly as they've treated him and his cabinet. I'm not advocating that he employ the same abusive and underhanded tactics they've employed against him.
That would require him to level false charges of misconduct and criminality against them, to demagogue every imaginable issue and to place his and his party's interests above the national interest and our national security. It would require him to misrepresent their intentions, statements and actions and to be bitterly partisan and consistently nasty. It would require him to make preposterous, grassy-knoll charges against them like "war for oil, WMD lies" and repeat them every day until people who know better begin to abandon their sound judgment.
But I am suggesting he stand up to these politicians who have made him their sworn enemy and that he go on the offense in getting his message out -- as passionately, unapologetically and relentlessly as the Democrats have. I am suggesting he challenge every one of their lies with the indignation they deserve.