Some say Democrats won't have Iraq as an issue for the 2008 presidential campaign due to our dramatic turnaround there. Republicans should take it a step further and make it an issue themselves.
Democrats have accused President Bush of politicizing the war any time he merely reported favorably on our progress or made a speech defining the enemy and explaining our multi-pronged strategy to defeat him. All the while, it was Democrats who were exploiting the war for partisan gain.
They clearly tried to do so in the 2006 congressional campaigns, and when they recaptured their congressional majorities, they proudly declared their victory was a mandate for their position on Iraq (though exit polling data indicates otherwise).
Indeed, until frustrated by our recent progress in Iraq, Defeatocrats had been planning on making Iraq the central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign. But now, even The New York Times ruefully acknowledges that "as violence declines in Baghdad, the leading Democratic presidential candidates … are trying to shift the focus to the lack of political progress there, and highlighting more domestic concerns like health care and the economy.
I think it's even worse that that. Democrats aren't even consistent on whether American casualties should be the criteria to measure our success in Iraq. First, they say the declining figures are just temporary and will return, and that we can't win militarily. Next, they say even one casualty is unacceptably too many to justify our continued presence there. Then they say things won't turn around until we withdraw. Finally, they say that the real yardstick is political, not military, progress.
But for the most part, Democrats are scrambling desperately to change the channel. Republicans should not give them the remote but insist that Iraq be Exhibit A in the long list of exhibits demonstrating why the Oval Office cannot be entrusted to the Donkey during wartime.
It's undeniable that Democrats have been frightfully weak on national security since shortly after the Sept, 11 attacks. They've pooh-poohed the enemy's evil nature and the magnitude of the threat he represents.
They've tried to handcuff us every step of the way and painted the Bush administration and the United States as the bad guys in the war, doing untold damage to our image in the world, all the while falsely projecting that misdeed onto President Bush.
They've consistently said Iraq is not part of the war on terror, though our enemies obviously disagree, have made it the focal point of the war and have been the aggressors following Saddam's ouster.