On September 11, 2001, this country woke up from a decade in which the President and the media had led them to believe that everything was just fine, and they experienced outrage as reality intruded. Not only were Americans outraged at murderous terrorists, but they were also outraged that their government had not taken the threat more seriously and had failed to connect the dots. Today, almost five years after the unprecedented attacks, there is new reason Americans should be outraged.
Following September 11 there was an outpouring of unity from those in government. Even the most partisan of politicians realized we faced an enemy that required them to work with their political opponents to mount an effective fight. Many congressional Democrats, and other leaders in the Democratic party, have not only abandoned that commitment to unity, but have chosen to put short term political gain ahead of the long term goal of national security. Americans should be outraged by this.
On the Fox News program Hannity & Colmes this week, David Limbaugh debated host Alan Colmes about the way Democrats have conducted themselves on matters of national security and on the issue of the war in Iraq. Limbaugh argued many of the points from his book, Bankrupt, saying that Democrats have not been honest brokers in the debate. Even more important though, he displayed a passion and outrage over the issue that has been sorely lacking. That may be about to change though, as Democrats are beginning to reap some unwanted results from their partisan strategy.
One point Limbaugh made is that over the past few years we have seen Democrats engage in behavior never before seen by a major political party during a time of war. He was outraged that, as he said in his book, “It was almost as if they were rooting for America’s defeat and humiliating withdrawal in Iraq, just for the deliciousness of discrediting President Bush.”
Democrats who voted for regime change in Iraq in 1998 because they believed Saddam was a threat with WMD and voted again in 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq based on intelligence they saw personally, changed course. When it became politically advantageous they decided to deny all they had said before about the threat posed by Saddam, and rather chose to accuse the President of “lying us into war.” They did so with no regard for the impact their statements would have on the success of our mission there. For a while, the Democrats’ strategy worked, but recently the truth has begun to catch up with them.
• It was Joe Wilson's claim that Bush lied about the “16 words” that started the "Bush lied" mantra in the debate over Iraq. Democrats invested a lot in Wilson’s story of an administration so consumed by a desire for vengeance that they would sacrifice national security by outing a covert agent. Those in the media ran with Wilson’s version of the story.Thwack! Over the summer Robert Novak broke his silence about the matter revealing the information he had given the independent counsel which contradicted Wilson’s story. Later it was reported that Richard Armitage was the original leaker, not someone in the White House or a supporter of the war in Iraq. Democrats who had invested so much in the story were left looking like dupes.
• Democrats invested a lot over the past few years in their opposition to the Patriot Act and to the NSA surveillance program. Many in the liberal blogosphere, and even the Democrat congressman who would be the chairman of the judiciary committee if the Democrats retake the House, argued the case that Bush’s use of the NSA Surveillance Program and his supposed assault on civil liberties were cause for impeachment.
Thwack! In August a massive terrorist plot involving over a dozen planes was uncovered in the UK. Cited as playing a key role in the discovery was intelligence that MI5 and Scotland Yard obtained using 'sneak and peak' warrant, as well as U.S. intelligence intercepts of the group's communications.
• Democrats treated the 9/11 Commission Report as a sacred document. Information from the report was used over and over again to beat up on President Bush. Opponents of the President quoted commission findings frequently and they scored some political points.
Thwack! An ABC mini-series based on the commission report, and even blessed by commission chairman Thomas Kean, is planned to air next week on the September 11 anniversary. Clinton administration officials and liberal bloggers are outraged by the portrayal of the Democratic administration, which is based on information from the same report they loved so much to selectively quote.
• Earlier this week, to counter the upcoming speeches President Bush had scheduled to make about national security and the War on Terror, Democrats made a media blitz across the cable spectrum. Their theme was how much less safe America is after five years of George W. Bush.
Thwack! On Wednesday the President gave a speech in which he detailed information that had been collected from some of the most notorious terrorists in the world, who had been held in secret CIA prisons. He explained with specificity how that information had prevented terrorist attacks and had led to the capture of additional terrorists. He then, just two months before the mid-term elections, charged Congress with the task of passing legislation to create military commissions to try terrorists for war crimes.
Just a word of advice to those Democrats who choose to continue putting partisan politics over national security in their upcoming pre-election debate over the legislation, don’t be surprised when (either this November or in 2008) that strategy backfires with a big, loud “thwack” over the head.