Sometimes we can better understand where we are politically from afar than from within. Consider this assessment from Europe's biggest and Germany's most influential magazine, Der Spiegel, this week:
"The wind has shifted in Washington. America, not just its president, is at war. The Democrats are still critical of the failed Iraq campaign, but they are no longer opposed to the "War on Terror" in general. It has been accepted, and not just as a metaphor Ninety-two percent of Americans are opposed to an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, and a majority doesn't want to see the U.S.'s special detention camp at Guantanamo Bay closed. At the moment, the American electorate's biggest criticism of Bush is that he has not been aggressive enough in pursuing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
"Indeed, when voters hit the ballot box in November 2008, they will be looking for more than just a candidate charismatic and clever enough to lead the country politically. They will also ask themselves which of the candidates is sufficiently tough, crafty and brutal to win the multi-front war that the Bush administration has begun.
"Many Americans now despise Bush [because of Iraq]. Nevertheless, Americans are still loath to admit defeat. This is precisely what distinguishes Europeans from Americans. The Americans favor the power of force, even in its crudest form, which explains why the U.S. military might is so superior to that of all other nations." (By Gabor Steingart. Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan)
We see evidence that the Democrats are beginning to appreciate the truth of the above description. The New York Times has suddenly started counseling caution about any immediate departure from Iraq. Sen. Obama's steroid-enhanced rhetoric now has him calling -- Rambo-like -- for possible preemptive war against Pakistan. Sen. Hillary Clinton announces that she might use nuclear weapons against terrorists (I hope she doesn't find the terrorist in New York (where one of my sons lives) or London (my hometown). The Democratic Congressional leaders quickly passed President Bush's requested FISA electronic intercepts authority for the president.
The Democrats, after spending the winter, spring and early summer frantically calling to get out of Iraq as fast as their little feet could carry them, are now, as autumn approaches, demonstrating their Olympic-class backpedaling skills.
By winter (with the complicity of the drive-by media -- hat tip to Rush), the Democrats hope to expunge the historic record of their failure of war nerve this spring. This is the moment for Republicans -- from the president, to the candidates for president, to the incumbents and challengers for offices all the way down to dog catcher (and especially dog catcher) to remind the public of the springtime Democratic Party defeatism and lost nerve.
They should be inspired to follow the immortal advise of Gen. Patton to his troops regarding what they should do to the Nazi enemy: "We are going to hold them by the nose and kick them in the a-- we are going to go through them like crap through a goose." (Of course, the Democrats are only the domestic opposition, not the enemy. In American politics we have no American enemies -- only philosophical opponents -- I mean that):
The leadership of the Democratic Party has, by their public words this spring, disgraced themselves for a generation. Republicans have the right -- and the duty -- to engrave in the public mind the springtime Democratic perfidy and cowardice in the face of the enemy.
This spring and early summer: Sen. Harry Reid said the war is lost, Gov. Richardson said that on his first day in the Oval Office he would order our troops to leave Iraq immediately (even if it meant throwing down their weapons on the way out), Hillary bragged that if Bush doesn't end the war, she would do so immediately upon her arriving in the Oval Office (God preserve us), Sen. Obama took pride of place in his adamantine opposition to, and immediate departure from, the Iraq war.
Gen. Patton also observed, "Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser." That is as true today as it was six decades ago. (This is the great misread of the American public by the current Democratic Party. We Americans are only sentimental about dogs [we have three in our own family] -- not about human losers. We love kick-a-- football players -- unless they hurt a dog -- and then we righteously send them to hell -- where they belong.)
The public must not be permitted to forget these cowardly public statements by the Democrats. It is the job of the Republicans this fall and winter to remorselessly and repeatedly remind the public of what the Democrats were saying this spring. In that disgrace lies the potential for well deserved Democratic Party defeat next November.