If you believe the polls, there is a frightening disconnect in American politics today. Polls show that while voters believe Iraq and the war on terror are the most important issues, they are leaning toward restoring congressional control to the party that is too arrogant and disorganized to tell us what it would do on those issues if elected.
Many of us have so often stated that Democrats don't have a plan for Iraq that I am concerned voters are either numb to it or think it's just another Republican talking point. But it is undeniably true.
Democrats have been holding their breath throughout the campaign season, praying they could hold on to an apparent lead by relying solely on their criticism of the president's policies and without revealing their hand on the war.
They had no other issues to run on, since the robustness of the Bush economy became too obvious for them to distort it and their faint toward social conservatism was too absurd to sustain, even with the mini-explosion of isolated Republican "morality" scandals.
They also did their best to avoid national security and the war on terror, knowing that public scrutiny would highlight their unacceptably irresponsible softness on both. Beyond scandalmongering and distraction, their campaign has centered on segregating Iraq from the war on terror, then painting Bush and Republicans as wholly incompetent and immoral concerning the initiation and prosecution of that war.
Democrats have been laboring to make this a referendum on the president's performance in Iraq without regard to what they would do differently.
I'm banking on the voters' rejection of that approach and, to the extent that the congressional elections are nationalized, their refusal to roll the dice on the elusive Democrats. It would be one thing to take a chance on an agenda-less party during peacetime, but it is quite a risk to do so during wartime, especially given this party's well-known propensities against the aggressive prosecution of the war.Nothing better illustrates the Democrats' duplicity and emptiness concerning Iraq than the manifestly contradictory statements of two of their leaders in the last few days preceding the election.
Congressman Murtha, who probably represents the bulk of his party, reiterated his nauseating, America-denigrating contention that the United States cannot win militarily in Iraq. We must resolve this matter diplomatically, he said, meaning we must negotiate with terrorists, and we must redeploy, meaning withdraw -- very, very soon.
Then, after Senator Elizabeth Dole said that Democrats are content with losing the war in Iraq, Senator Chuck Schumer replied indignantly, "Democrats want to win the war by changing the war strategy."
Now, should we believe Murtha or Schumer? Does Schumer really expect us to believe he has experienced a miraculous, neoconservative conversion, or is he just lip-syncing?
That's a no-brainer: Of course he isn't sincere in saying Democrats want to win in Iraq by changing the strategy in Iraq. That would put him at odds with 90 percent of the Michael-Mooreized Democratic base and with the pronouncements of his party's leadership over the last year.
Though Democrats don't want this to register with voters until the day after the elections, they want us to lose in Iraq knowing full well that the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) report of April 2006 said that such a defeat would embolden terrorists and make us more vulnerable at home.
Chuck Schumer can pretend he wants to win in Iraq until he's as blue in the face as he is on the rest of his body, but if he were really serious about that, his party would Liebermanize him, too.
Today's Democratic Party simply cannot be honest about what it stands for on the most important issue of our times. That they are even in the running for congressional control is an alarming testament to the formidability of the pressures working against America's current will to persevere in this generations-long war that has been thrust upon us.