One Card Monte

Tony Blankley

2/21/2007 12:01:00 AM - Tony Blankley

Last month, Sen. Barack Obama called for our troops to leave Iraq by March 2008. Last weekend, Sen. Hillary Clinton called for our troops to start leaving within 90 days. In this Demented Demagogic Democratic Destruction Derby (military status: 5F) of American national security interests, I suppose former Sen. John Edwards, in an effort to hold on to his title of supremo anti-war candidate, will have to designate it a crime against humanity that the troops weren't pulled out a week ago last Friday. Sen. Clinton's husband had a campaign war room in the election of 1992. Now she seems to have put up a quick, prefabricated anti-war room for her campaign 2008.

It seems almost pointless to engage in a serious policy debate with a party whose leading contenders for the presidency are willing to simply make up any preposterous national security policy in a contest of one-upmanship targeted at winning the hearts and minds (if that is the word for it) of their party's ready-for-institutionalizing edge of their lunatic fringe voters. Although, it has to be conceded that such Democratic Party voters may well constitute a majority of their primary voters.

Meanwhile on the legislative front, Mensa-eligible Congressman John Murtha (minimum acceptable score on the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Quotient examination 132 -- 98th percentile), according to even the Washington Post:

"said he would attach language to a war funding bill that would prohibit the redeployment of units that have been at home for less than a year, stop the extension of tours beyond 12 months, and prohibit units from shipping out if they do not train with all of their equipment. His aim, he made clear, is not to improve readiness but to 'stop the surge.' So why not straightforwardly strip the money out of the appropriations bill -- an action Congress is clearly empowered to take -- rather than try to micromanage the Army in a way that may be unconstitutional? Because, Mr. Murtha said, it will deflect accusations that he is trying to do what he is trying to do. 'What we are saying will be very hard to find fault with,' he said."

This has been characterized by some in the media as "too clever by half." But I wonder whether clever is really the best word selection. Speaker Pelosi subsequently seems to have endorsed Mr. Murtha's self-admitted deviousness.

It has long been believed by many politicians that they can engage the voting public in the game of three card Monte and consistently win. (Three card Monte is a con game in which the victim is tricked into betting incorrectly on which of three face-down cards is the money card that was first shown face up to the victim.) John Murtha has come up with the novel idea to try the game of One Card Monte on the public. It is a sign of the awkward times we are in that it is not yet obvious that the Democratic Party public will be able to pick out the one card (out of the one card that is available from which to chose).

To add to the madness, the new argument one sees emerging amongst the more enthusiastic war critics (easily recognizable in public by the tinfoil they wear on their heads), is that anyway, there is not much of a downside to leaving promptly from Iraq because President Bush's warning of dire consequences are just more Bush "lies." It doesn't seem to matter that this rationalization is being made in the face of almost universal concurrence by experts of the high likelihood of dire consequences. Everyone from Democratic Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden to the liberal Brookings Institute to fierce and admired war critic General Anthony Zinni to every Middle East diplomat one talks to (Turkish, Saudi, Jordanian, Israeli, Egyptian, et.al.) express the most profound concern for the consequences of American forces leaving Iraq naked to the raging passions and fears of the Middle East.

Given the fantastic pace and irresponsibility of the Democratic presidential primary campaign, this emerging "what me, worry?" view of the day after we leave probably will quickly become the de rigeur position of even the recently sensible candidates. There appears to be virtually no foolishly dangerous policy proposal that the Democratic presidential candidates will not cheerfully and enthusiastically endorse, if it will keep alive the slightest chance that they may be able to squeeze their backsides into the purple on Jan. 20, 2009.

To the voters across the aisle, a warning: Power so irresponsibly sought is not likely to be responsibly exercised.