Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Does it mean we should never trust them with anything important?

Via Common Sense and Wonder:

Democratic political strategist Pat Caddell is one angry man. His is not the anger, however, of a typical partisan, seething at his opponents and gloating in their defeat on November 7th. Rather, Mr. Caddell is furious with the Republican leadership for allowing his party to win both houses of Congress at what he rightly sees is a desperate moment in our nation’s history. President Bush and what is left of the GOP on Capitol Hill and around the country would do well to heed this skilled operative’s critique — and the insights it provides for the way ahead in such a dangerous time of war.

On Sunday, before a capacity crowd at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Restoration Weekend in Palm Beach, Florida, the former advisor to George McGovern and Jimmy Carter depicted the election as one the Republicans lost more
than the Democrats won. Above all else, the GOP failed to run on the issue that resonated most effectively, not only with their own base but with independent voters and even some Democrats: the grave nature of the conflict we are in, and
the extent to which the Democratic Party and its senior officials cannot be trusted to manage it.Far from making this case forcefully, consistently and at every level of the 2006 campaign, the Republicans allowed their opponents politically to define the “war” strictly in terms of Iraq. Such a dumbing-down of the subject — largely ignoring the global threat posed to the entire Free World by Islamofascists and their enablers — had several undesirable effects.


Mr. Caddell noted that Sen. Joseph Lieberman’s victory emonstrates it did not have to be this way. Despite his loss in the Democratic primary, the Connecticut senator ran as an independent on a platform that unapologetically rejected cutting-and-running from Iraq. He offered his constituents a well-reasoned, and accurate, assessment of the larger war we are in and the implications for it of our loss of Iraq. As Mr. Caddell sees it, the failure of too many Republican Party leaders and candidates to do as Joe Lieberman did and “put the country first” out of a belief that “they could rely on getting out the vote and the hell with the issues” has led to our present pass.The longtime Democratic operative’s rage is particularly intense because he knows the sort of people to whom our future security is now being entrusted. He expressed deep concern that Nancy Pelosi would be, as Speaker of the House, two heartbeats away from the presidency, saying she is someone who is no more prepared to be Commander-in-Chief than he would be to serve as an astronaut on a lunar mission.


Now I have a couple of issues with this. First of all, if Mr. Caddell is to be seen as sincere, then what does this mean for the Democratic Party? It sounds to me that Caddell is saying--quite clearly--that the Dems cannot be trusted on the single most important issue of my life time--preserving the free world by defeating terrorism. If they can't be trusted on the important issues, then A) why vote them into office B) why trust them with any issue and C) why even bother allowing the party to continue to exist if it is so useless?

My second issue is the belief that the R's didn't do just what Caddell is arguing--they framed the election around the war on terror. They--we--framed it as a vote for cutting-and-running or staying the course. And the voters apparently didn't want to 'stay the course' so they changed it by handing the Congress over to the Democrats. How can anyone argue otherwise?

Finally, and this is going to shock some people, fear that Nancy Pelosi is not Presidential material though she is just "two heart beats" away from the job is not reason enough to NOT support the Democrats. Now I don't care for Pelosi and she certainly wouldn't be my choice, but does anyone believe that Dennis "I looked into the scandal and it wasn't a big deal" Hastert would have been better suited to be President on a whim? I don't. I don't for one minue. I don't believe that a single member of the House of Representatives would be ready to take over the presidency tomorrow if they had to, regardless of parties.

Yet the biggest of this three issues seems, to me, to be why the Democrats continue to exist if they can't be trusted. I suppose we'll see A) if they can be trusted and if not then B) if they can continue to exist after these next two years.

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