Say, has anyone asked Dick Gephardt if this falls under "miserable failure"?
Obviously we'll have to wait for all the politics to play out, but at this stage it's hard to say which was worse for Howard Dean: the capture of Saddam Hussein or Al Gore's endorsement. Until Sunday, Gov. Mean's big applause line in speeches has been to sneer about the Bush administration's failure to catch Saddam Hussein. It seems the governor is better at prescribing bitter pills than at swallowing them.
In a speech to the Pacific Council the day after Saddam was captured, Dean nearly choked on the words, "The capture of Saddam is a good thing," and then quickly added, "but the capture of Saddam has not made America safer." (Possible headline: "Dean Says Saddam's Capture Good Thing, Just Not Really Good Thing.") If George W. Bush announced that a cure for cancer had been discovered, Democrats would complain about unemployed laboratory rats.
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., said of Saddam's capture: "This is a great opportunity for this president to get it right for the long term. And I hope he will be magnanimous, reach out to the U.N., to allies who've stood away from us."
It's as if he were reading my mind! After listening to all the bellyaching from European leftists for the past eight months, I think I speak for all Americans when I say I've been on tenterhooks waiting for the right opportunity to grovel to the French. And now we have it – a major win is the perfect opportunity! That Kerry has an uncanny sense for what the average American is thinking.
(a) Put him on trial.
(b) Get information from him.
(c) Torture him.
(d) Turn him over to the Iraqis.
(e) Appeal to the French.
What was interesting about Kerry's suggestion was that it was the exact same suggestion liberals were making when they claimed the war was going badly. The day before Saddam's capture, the New York Times editorialized: "The way to deal with all that is going wrong in Iraq remains as clear as it was on the day that Mr. Bush declared an end to major combat operations. ... Instead of driving away France, Germany, Russia and Canada with financial sanctions, the president should be creating the room for compromise ..." Damn that Bush. He squandered the good will of a bunch of people who hate our guts.
Apparently, this is what liberals mean by "a plan":
Military setback: Appeal to the French.
Military victory: Appeal to the French.
Saddam captured: Appeal to the French.
Osama captured: Appeal to the French.
Osama catches Saddam: Appeal to the French.
One strongly suspects that the White House sat on the story of Saddam's arrest for a day so the Times could put out its regular Sunday bad news: "A Baghdad Neighborhood, Once Hopeful, Now Reels As Iraq's Turmoil Persists," "Saboteurs, Looters and Old Equipment Work Against Efforts to Restart Iraqi Oil Fields," "It's Going to Be a Bloody Christmas," "Dean Strives for a Nuanced Approach to Foreign Policy." The New York Times hasn't looked this foolish ... well, I guess since the day before.
Liberals should perk up. It's not all bad news. True, Saddam Hussein has been captured. But Norman Mineta is still at large.