I can understand why Democrats are jazzed about November's election. The polls combined with the fawning media ("Oh, please, Sen. Obama, let us kiss the hem of your garment!") are giving them goose bumps such as they have not experienced since "An Inconvenient Truth" debuted in theaters.
What I don't understand is the seeming tepidness of so many Republicans. Yes, the war in Iraq is a long, hard slog. The world is not Topeka, Kansas (would that it were). A journalist pointed out to President Bush at his most recent press conference that the Iraq war has now been going on as long as World War II did for the United States. Well, yes, but we lost 407,316 men in World War II. On Iwo Jima alone, we lost 6,800. This is not to say that the deaths of our people in Iraq should be trivialized. But comparisons with World War II -- in terms of sacrifice and terrible price paid -- are ridiculous.
Republicans have abundant reasons to reserve a spot at their polling places on Election Day:
1) The economy. More than 6.6 million new jobs have been created since August 2003. Our 4.1 annual growth rate is superior to all other major industrialized nations. The Dow has set record highs multiple times in the past several weeks. Productivity is up, and the deficit is down. Real, after-tax income has grown by 15 percent since 2001. Inflation has remained low. As Vice President Cheney summed it up at a recent meeting with journalists, "What more do you want?" The tax cuts proposed by President Bush and passed by a Republican Congress can take a bow.
2) The Patriot Act. Democrats and liberals mourn this law as a gross infringement upon civil liberties. Yet the much-discussed abuses simply haven't materialized. The law has, on the other hand, permitted the CIA and FBI to cooperate and share information about terrorist threats -- at least so long as The New York Times isn't publishing the details of our counterterrorism efforts on the front page.
3) The Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, to which liberals clung with passionate intensity, has been cancelled, permitting us to work on missile defense. In the age of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is anyone (except Nancy Pelosi) sorry?
4) Immigration. Republicans in Congress insisted upon and got the first serious immigration restriction in decades. On Oct. 26, the president signed a law that will build a 700-mile fence along our southern border and, what is more important, does not offer amnesty.
5) There has not been another terrorist attack on American soil since 9/11. Who would have predicted that on 9/12?
6) Libya has surrendered its nuclear program.
7) A.Q. Khan's nuclear smuggling network has been rolled up.
8) John Roberts and Samuel Alito sit on the U.S. Supreme Court.
9) Those Democrats who do not want to close Guantanamo Bay altogether want to give all of its inmates the full panoply of rights Americans enjoy in criminal procedures.
10) Democrats believe in immediate withdrawal from Iraq. If they succeed in forcing us to leave under these circumstances, the United States will suffer a stinging defeat in the war on terror. The terrorists already believe that they drove the Russians from Afghanistan and Israel from Lebanon and Gaza. They are convinced they chased us out of Lebanon in 1983 and from Somalia in 1993. According to Osama bin Laden and those who share his views, we are militarily strong but psychologically and spiritually weak. Like it or not -- and no one likes it -- we cannot leave Iraq now without utterly and decisively validating this analysis. We might as well run a white flag up the flagpole at the Capitol.
11) Democrats would like to eliminate the terrorist surveillance program.
12) If Democrats achieve a majority in the House, Barney Frank will chair the Financial Services Committee, Henry Waxman will head the Government Reform Committee, and Alcee Hastings will chair the Intelligence Committee.
13) Democrats believe that the proper response to Kim Jong Il's nuclear test is "face to face talks." That's what the Clinton administration did for years.
It worked out well, didn't it?
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