Here We Go Again
Cartoon from the Sacramento Bee's great Rex Babin
Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
Stop me if I have said this before, because I have. And thank God Dan Froomkin sees it too.
In 2002, with declining poll numbers and a pathetic record on a variety of issues, the White House and congressional GOP rolled out their “new product” in late August after the Democrats failed to set the negatives on the administration in the run up to the fall election. Specifically, Dick Gephardt and Tom Daschle went virtually silent during the August recess when any news from Washington can gain traction in the vacuum caused by the summer recess.
In 2006, with basement-dwelling poll numbers on virtually all issues, the White House and congressional GOP prepare to roll out their latest product in late August after the Democrats failed to set the negatives on the administration in the run up to the fall election. Specifically,
Dick Gephardt Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle Harry Reid went virtually silent during the August recess when any news from Washington can gain traction in the vacuum caused by the summer recess. And to show a sense of continuity, the GOP uses the same guys to write the justification that were used to peddle the lies about Iraq.
We have opined repeatedly that the White House and its henchmen on Capitol Hill would repeat this performance this year with Iran, yet the Democrats have been silent once again over the last five or six months, with even some dupes like former Virginia governor Mark Warner trying to earn his foreign policy bona fides with a “me too” let’s-get-Iran assessment.
As the New York Times lead editorial today noted, crazy Peter Hoekstra and the House Intelligence Committee majority staff have started the ball rolling with a factually suspect assessment of our intelligence capabilities with regards to Iran, going so far as to blame the intelligence community again for not being scary enough with their assessments. (Of course Hoekstra never mentions that Valerie Plame was working through Brewster Jennings to gather exactly the intelligence that Hoekstra waxes for now.) It’s gotten so bad that the document Hoekstra produced somehow envisions Kuwait as a source for an Iranian missile strike. Yet where are the Democrats in all of this? Warner can be excused because despite Kos’s attempt to make Warner into the real deal, he is still in over his head when it comes to things outside of our borders. But Jane Harman has been relatively silent while Hoekstra has gone off the deep end, and on the Senate side Jay Rockefeller has, well, been Jay Rockefeller once again: worthless.
Frankly, it looks like the Beltway Dems want to back their way into an anticipated success this November by not sticking their necks out on things like wiretapping and Iran. But that doesn’t mean that a brave Democrat or two cannot lay down a marker now telling voters to get ready for another war drive as a misdirection attempt, so that every pronouncement from nutcases like Hoekstra and the cabal in the White House are seen through the appropriate lens. What amazes me is that four years have passed, and the Democrats have still not found a way to boldly criticize this administration’s performance and missed opportunity to deal with Iran effectively by linking this failure to its grave misjudgment in Iraq. I expect novices like Warner who are finding their voice and want to sound tough to say the drivel he puts out on Iran. But I don’t expect to see the party’s foreign policy big foots like Joe Biden and even Jane Harman to shy away from making an effective and ongoing criticism of what the cabal plans to do with Iran, and yet here we are four years later, with the same failings of the Beltway Democrats once again. (Update: thanks to emal, I stand corrected. Check the comments section to see Biden get tough yesterday on "Hardball". Amen Joe, Amen.)
But the bigger problem that Democrats fail to see is that when they resist taking on the credibility of the neocons over this latest war drive, it allows the idea of another attack to be legitimatized in the mainstream press, when the Democrats should be forcefully pointing out the craziness and mendacity of those pushing these ideas in the first place.
Since when did George Santayana become the Beltway Democrats’ chief strategist?