The critics writing in the Times are analysts from the liberal Brookings Institution, Michael E. O'Hanlon and Kenneth M. Pollack. They chide the defeatist critics of the administration who they say "seem unaware of the significant changes taking place" in Iraq. "As two analysts who have harshly criticized the Bush administration's miserable handling of Iraq, we were surprised by the gains we saw and the potential to produce not necessarily 'victory' but sustainable stability that both we and the Iraqis could live with." They conclude by saying, "There is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008."
That would take us into an election year with the Democrats saying the war is lost. What will they say if we are, as these analysts seem to think, winning? My guess is that they will continue to say we are losing. Return to Taranto's insight. The political culture is almost totally befogged by liberal misconceptions and bugaboos. It is, as we say at The American Spectator, a Kultursmog. It pollutes the liberals' minds and renders them oblivious of any evidence contrary to their gloomy views.
Thus, they will continue to say we are losing. They may pipe down somewhat, but they are not likely to admit to being wrong. How would they know? If their calls for retreat gain no support from the electorate, perhaps they will change the subject to another of their favorite misconceptions, to wit, the economy is going to hell. Actually, the economy is chugging along in a healthy and protracted period of growth. For the past five years, per capita gross domestic product has grown at 11 percent. We are living through a vast global economic boom, and the Democrats seem completely unawares. In 2008, their presidential candidate will be moaning that we have lost a war and are economically in a hell of a mess. The Republican candidate only will have to point to a healthy economy and the success of Gen. Petraeus' splendid Army to win. Then, the Democrats will whine that the Republicans stole the election from them. That is my prediction, and I base it on the evidence.