Larry Elder

 Democrats believe the "insurgents" are winning in Iraq.

 The "idea that we're gonna win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," said Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

 When asked, do you agree with Dean's statement, 59 percent of Democrats say yes. Seventy-eight percent of Republicans disagree. When asked if "setting a deadline to withdraw from Iraq would embolden the terrorists and invite new attacks on America," only 22 percent of Democrats agreed, with nearly 70 percent of Republicans believing a premature withdrawal would make things worse.

 The Iraqis, apparently, failed to get the e-mail. According to a recent ABC News poll taken in Iraq, 70 percent of Iraqis say their own lives are "good," and 69 percent expect things in the country overall to improve in the next year. What about the security situation? More than 60 percent feel very safe in their own neighborhoods, up from 40 percent in June 2004. And what about Iraq's Anbar region, the troubled area that includes Ramadi and Fallujah? Even there, Iraqis seem more optimistic than before. Nearly 60 percent of Anbar residents believe the latest elections will lead to a stable government.

 On Dec. 15, 2005, about 11 million Iraqis voted for a permanent government. Even the Sunnis, who sat out in the past, turned up to vote this time.

Democrats think the economy is in a recession.

 Forty-three percent of Americans, according to a recent American Research Group poll, said the economy was in a recession. While this poll did not break up responses by party line, rest assured the negative outlook comes from the Democratic Party. Only 7 percent of Democrats approve of the way Bush is handling the economy, versus 74 percent of Republicans.

 But, a recession? Most economists define a recession as three consecutive quarters of falling real gross national product. Yet for the last 10 quarters, the economy grew at an average of more than 3 percent, with the latest quarter coming in at 4.3 percent. Inflation and interest rates remain low, with homeownership at an all-time high. Consumer confidence is up. Many businesses and corporations expect to increase hiring next year, anticipate more growth and remain optimistic about the future. Unemployment, coming in at 5 percent, remains lower than the average unemployment rate during the '70s, '80s and '90s.

 Democrats consider President Bush "racially insensitive," if not downright racist.

 According to a Time poll conducted shortly after Katrina, 54 percent of Democrats believe race and income level played a part in the hurricane response, compared to 17 percent of Republicans. The government's sluggish response to Katrina hurt Bush's standing with blacks. Now only 2 percent of blacks approve of the president's performance.

  "George Bush doesn't care about black people," said rapper Kanye West during a nationally televised Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

 CNN's Jack Cafferty also whipped out the race card, "Despite the many angles of this tragedy, and Lord knows there've been a lot of 'em in New Orleans, there is a great big elephant in the living room that the media seems content to ignore -- that would be, until now. . . . [W]e in the media are ignoring the fact that almost all of the victims in New Orleans are black and poor." CNN's Wolf Blitzer concurred," . . . [S]o many of these people, almost all of them that we see, are so poor and they are so black . . . "

 New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, whose befuddled response to Katrina likely cost lives, said, "The more I think about it, definitely race played into this." Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan went even further. He speculated that someone intentionally blew up the levee to flood the black area: "I heard from a reliable source who saw a 25-foot-deep crater under the levee breach. It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry."

 But what about the facts? A just-released report by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals found whites in New Orleans died at a higher rate than minorities. According to the 2000 census, whites make up 28 percent of the city's population, but the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals indicates that whites constitute 36.6 percent of the storm's fatalities in the city. Yet blacks make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Again, whites in New Orleans died at a higher rate than minorities.

 Orleans Parish, which sustained substantial damage, was 28 percent white and 67 percent black. But the devastation included neighboring parishes and Mississippi counties that were overwhelmingly white. Those hardest hit -- besides Orleans Parish -- were St. Bernard Parish (88 percent white, 8 percent black), Jefferson Parish (70 percent white, 23 percent black), Plaquemines Parish (70 percent white, 23 percent black), St. Tammany Parish (87 percent white, 10 percent black), Hancock County (90 percent white, 7 percent black), Harrison County (73 percent white, 21 percent black), and Jackson County (75 percent white, 21 percent black).

 Good news, Democrats. We've established that A) the Iraqis appear optimistic, B) our economy remains strong (even if you refuse to give a little credit to Bush's tax cuts), and C) our president is not a racist. Happy New Year.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.