Jonah Goldberg

On Wednesday, right around the time U.S. forces were wading into the thick of the battle, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, the sad-sack dashboard saint of the anti-war left and a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, called for a halt to the war: "Rescue this nation from a war that is wrong, that is unjust, that is immoral."

Meanwhile, Sen. John Kerry, the nominal front-runner for the nomination, declared, "What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States."

Kerry and Kucinich are simply this week's poster boys for what we might call the Frenchification of the Democratic Party.

France's opposition to America bares a striking resemblance to the Democratic Party's opposition to President Bush. French President Jacques Chirac has overplayed his hand to the point where he is definitively anti-American.

Chirac has said that if the United States finds chemical weapons in Iraq, he won't take our word for it. Rather, France will operate on the assumption that the United States planted the weapons until it hears otherwise from the United Nations. And, when asked recently if he wanted the United States to win the war, France's foreign minister answered with a verbal shrug.

Part of the problem is that the France's leaders have spent so long cultivating widespread anti-American sentiment, they are now constrained by what their constituencies will allow. Indeed, a recent poll the French newspaper Le Monde found that only a third of the French were on America's side and a third wanted Saddam to defeat the United States and Britain.

The Democrats are suffering from a similar problem. While it's certainly unfair to call rank-and-file Democrats "anti-American," it's increasingly clear that a very active and important core of the Democratic and liberal base is so anti-Bush so as to make it difficult to tell the difference.

Pro-war senators Richard Gephardt, Joe Lieberman and John Edwards have all been greeted by hecklers shouting things like "Shame! Shame!" at Democratic events. These people vote in primaries. And Hollywood liberals and other overly clever folk, who write big checks to Democrats, honestly believe that President Bush is invading Iraq to send profits to Haliburton or Big Oil or to distract from this or that domestic problem.

In other words, the political gravity in the Democratic Party is pulling everybody to the left. Gephardt and other pro-war Dems have to keep their heads down or weasel and waffle about their support.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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