Dean Barnett

EVERYONE’S HEARD of the 9/11 Democrats. The 9/11 Democrats are people like actor Ron Silver, comedian Dennis Miller and blogger/author Roger L. Simon. Stunned by the events of September 11, these people surveyed the political landscape and developed new views. A seismic event changed them and changed their politics.

A less noble creature is currently crawling out from Washington D.C.’s swamps. These are the 11/7 Republicans. Stunned by the election results of November 7, these Republican office holders surveyed the political landscape and decided that they had to distance themselves from the Iraq war to have any chance of preserving their political viability. While the 9/11 Democrats worry about the future of the country and matters of the highest principle, the 11/7 Republicans worry about their own craven interests in a completely unprincipled fashion.

THE POSTER CHILD FOR THE 11/7 Republicans is Senator Gordon Smith of Oregon. Oregon is a blue state (or a purple state if you’re a cockeyed Republican optimist), and Smith is up for re-election in 2008.

After the 11/7 election results, Smith had several epiphanies regarding the Iraq war, epiphanies he shared with the country on December 8. In an address that ephemerally made him a hero to the inmates in the virtual insane asylum that is the Daily Kos, Smith distanced himself from the war effort that he had long supported. From the well of the Senate, he forthrightly declared, “I, for one, am at the end of my rope when it comes to supporting a policy that has our soldiers patrolling the same streets in the same way, being blown up by the same bombs day after day. That is absurd. It may even be criminal.”

Declaring the Bush administration “criminal” may knock ‘em dead in the liberal blogosphere, but conservatives were decidedly underwhelmed.

Some conservative cynics even questioned the timing of Smith’s revelations. In the same address, he confided to the nation that he had been nursing growing doubts about the war for quite some time. The fact that he unburdened himself of these doubts only after the cataclysm of 11/7 seemed a tad curious. After all, if he felt the prosecution of the war was perhaps “criminal,” surely he shouldn’t have sat on such sentiments merely because there was an election afoot. That wouldn’t have been much of a profile in courage.

Dean Barnett

Dean Barnett blogs almost daily at He has also been a frequent contributor to the Weekly Standard's online edition, The Daily Standard. He can be reached for comment at

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