Your average Martian, dropping in and checking the ideological landscape to get his bearings, might think — what?
Oh, that the American enterprise in Iraq is a catastrophe, that the American economy is tanking, that global warming will get us long before global terror does — and that these and a host of other dismal datums are all the fault of a dread someone named George Bush.
The Martian also would learn, or at least hear, that this Bush is a congenital liar — about the need and reasons for going into Iraq (really, it was all about oil), about jihad (and so about Iran), about petroleum (and the need to drill offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as well as to gasify coal, so as to ease our oily foreign dependence), and about the economic benefits of tax cuts. Yet, bro’ Martian would hear, a president who stole the election would of course be a liar as well as a thief.
So in these days of rage, the opponents of President Bush are heavily invested in recession at home and failure in Iraq. Partly this is because they so detest the man, so want him and his party removed from power, that their watchwords are negativism and pessimism.
A strong economy and success against terror are the two ingredients that just might make a Republican-conservative recipe work. In this game, doom and gloom trump optimism. Democratic accession to unchallenged power depends on a declining economy. The Democrats’ political success cannot abide American success in Iraq; Republican defeat depends partly on American defeat. Thus, in an hour of wish-fulfillment, Democrat-liberal defeatism.
Regarding the economy, we hear incessantly of the credit crunch, the housing debacle, soaring oil prices, the plunging dollar, deficits in the budget and trade — and the screaming need for new taxes. Far less do we hear (1) that those deficits are declining, (2) that economic growth and productivity are up, as are (3) non-farm jobs (8.4 million since the 2003 Bush tax cuts) and gross domestic product (18.5 percent, or $1.8 trillion, since the beginning of the Bush presidency).
Regarding Iraq: Remember, just months ago, the leftist proclamations of unmitigated disaster and failure in Iraq — ululations that the mission there was unwinnable, that the troop surge could not work, that liberation, democracy, and freedom were somehow the wrong goals? Remember Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the Patriot Act, waterboarding, electronic surveillance — all offered up as examples of misdirection, incompetence, and violations of rights?
(And now, we hear that in Pakistan fighting the war on terror to a successful conclusion is less important than even the trappings of democracy, and so Pakistan’s President Musharraf must go, must make way for the fair Ms. Bhutto. This from the same people curiously quiet about the systematic tyrannization of Venezuela by Comrade Hugo Chavez — whose country now serves as the principal transfer station for the transshipment of Colombian cocaine into the United States.)
Yet in Iraq, military deaths have plummeted for five consecutive months, with civilian deaths down as well. No city remains under terrorist control. If it ever happened, the “civil war” is over. And al-Qaida stands decimated. Notes Gen. Raymond Odierno, No. 2 in command of U.S. forces:
“The real change has been that the populace rejects al-Qaida. They no longer have the passive support of the community. They’ve been rejected by their actions, and the people do not want to support them. In fact, what we find for the most part is that people will do anything to keep them out of their area, and they want to work closely with us to ensure that (continues).”
In its rage, the American left has extensive investments in (economic) downturn, (petroleum) shortage, (global warming) doomsday scenarios, and (Iraqi) defeat. Former Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, in an early-November speech practically unreported, put it this way regarding foreign policy:
Since retaking Congress in November 2006, the top foreign-policy priority of the Democratic Party has not been to expand the size of our military for the war on terror, or to strengthen our democracy promotion efforts in the Middle East, or to prevail in Afghanistan. It has been to pull our troops out of Iraq, to abandon the democratically elected government there, and to hand a defeat to President Bush.
So, further, the left blames Bush for rising oil prices and heightened foreign dependency, while denying his (and the Republicans’) efforts to gasify coal and to expand domestic oil production. It blames him for refusing to join the “scientific consensus” on global warming and correspondingly to embrace the Kyoto pact and new taxes and spending.
And it blames him for concealing the truth on a multiplicity of issues while remaining loudly silent about (for instance) Hillary Clinton’s concealment of her Clinton-years White House records.
So checking the landscape, your visiting Martian might logically conclude that in days of rage such as these, a hunger for political power requires ignoring the facts, investing heavily in failure in, e.g., the economy and in Iraq, and chanting the mantra that nothing anywhere is going right.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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