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The Wimps of War : ( Here's how bad things are for the Democrats.-- Sounds good to me! )
The New York Times ^ | March 30, 2002 | FRANK RICH

Posted on 03/29/2002 9:38:01 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach

Here's how bad things are for the Democrats. During the last town meeting of liberals that still convenes on network television — Hollywood's Oscar ceremony — no one, not even the tag team of Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford, had so much as a mildly critical word to say about George W. Bush. But Nathan Lane scored one of the night's few laughs when he saluted movie animators for "creating the illusion of life — something that was never achieved with Al Gore."

Such is the torpor of the Democrats these days that Mr. Gore's shaving of his beard is what passes for a galvanizing party event worthy of national polls (62 percent were pro-shave) and desperate '04 prognostication on CNN. Even the Democrats' rare legislative victory, the passage of the campaign finance bill, was robbed of its glory when the party chairman, Terry McAuliffe, almost simultaneously announced a record soft-money donation of $7 million from the "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" mogul, not to mention a spring Apollo Theater fund-raiser at which Bill Clinton will be paired with Michael Jackson, fresh from his photo op at Liza Minnelli's wedding.

If the Democrats stand for anything in a time of rapidly expanding war, it's not clear what it is. Hours before the Passover massacre in Netanya, President Bush could assert that the latest diplomatic foray by Gen. Anthony Zinni was "making very good progress" with little worry that any Democratic leader would challenge him. The incoherence and indolence of the Bush "policy" in the Middle East, which kept General Zinni out of the region for three months of violent meltdown and ultimately rendered Dick Cheney a supplicant to Yasir Arafat, has been more forcefully dissected by conservatives like George Will than anyone in the administration's opposition. At home, the Democrats can't even offer a serious alternative to the Bush budget for the simple reason that they helped give away the store by abetting the administration's mammoth tax cut last summer and made no legislative push for even partial rollbacks after the fiscal world changed on Sept. 11.

The explanations for this fecklessness start, of course, with the president's poll numbers. Democrats are so intimidated by them that a recent open memo co-written by James Carville found hope that Mr. Bush was "falling back to earth" in a survey showing that his approval rating had tumbled from 82 percent in December to a March low of . . . 75. Compounding the Democrats' fear of a popular president is the Republicans' calculated rollout of a strategy branding anyone who questions the administration as "giving aid and comfort to our enemies" (the phrase actually used by Tom Davis of Virginia, the head of the G.O.P.'s House campaign committee).

This strategy was codified by Karl Rove in a January speech to the Republican National Committee inviting his party to politicize the war in an election year because Americans "trust the Republicans to do a better job" of "protecting America." But the impugning of the opposition's patriotism began only two months after Sept. 11, when the Family Research Council ran ads in South Dakota likening Tom Daschle to Saddam Hussein because the Senate majority leader had opposed oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In late February, when Mr. Daschle raised a few mild, common-sense cavils about the next stage of the war, Trent Lott fired back, "How dare Senator Daschle criticize President Bush while we are fighting our war on terrorism?" Since then, President Bush's image and voice have graced negative TV and radio ads in which firefighters and flags are used as props and incumbent Senate Democrats are demonized as partisans who will "put their interests ahead of national interests."

Such tactics are sufficiently ugly that two Republican senators who, unlike Mr. Lott, didn't take deferments during Vietnam, John McCain and Chuck Hagel, were moved to defend Mr. Daschle's right to question war policy after the minority leader's attack. So was another Vietnam vet, Colin Powell. But except for a speech given in New Hampshire by John Kerry, a presidential candidate inoculated against charges of treason by his own Vietnam heroism, no Democrat has articulated a muscular alternative wartime political vision to the president's. As Nicholas Lemann reports this week in his compelling New Yorker account of the White House run-up to a planned removal of Saddam, the administration is now using Sept. 11 "as the occasion to launch a new, aggressive American foreign policy that would represent a broad change in direction rather than a specific war on terrorism." Where is the debate?

It's an index of the general sheepishness of Democratic leaders that such sporadic tough talk as there is usually emanates by default from either the clownish Mr. McAuliffe or the cranky Senate octogenarians Robert Byrd and Ernest Hollings. It's a measure of how compromised leading Democrats are by their own ties to Enron, Global Crossing and the accounting industry that the heavy lifting in pursuing Mr. Cheney's secret energy task force and the dubious Enron dealings of the secretary of the Army, Thomas White, has often fallen to the House's Henry Waxman, who doesn't have the power to call his own hearings.

As for Mr. Gore, America's "president in exile," in the hopeful formulation of the best-selling populist Michael Moore, his most pointed remarks are served up to rich paying customers at fund-raisers. Our country has seen more spirited political back-and-forth over the merger of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq and the factual verisimilitude of "A Beautiful Mind" than it has over a $48 billion defense-budget increase (itself larger than the entire defense budget of any other nation) or our uncertain policy for stabilizing Afghanistan so that the victory by Mr. Bush and our armed forces over the Taliban isn't usurped once more by Al-Qaeda-breeding chaos.

  
Trent Lott did nail his adversaries correctly on one score. "When you don't have anything substantive to talk about," he said, "you start talking about process or how you need more information." This fits the Democrats' one bold but almost substance-free stand of late — the threat to subpoena Tom Ridge if he won't formally testify before Congress about what he's up to as director of homeland security. Would Mr. Ridge really have much to say even if he did testify? His biggest function seems to be to supply gags to late-night comics with his color-coded alert system. The man who has by far the most clout over domestic security (and much else) is John Ashcroft, who continues trying to grab authority from other agencies (from the Treasury Department to the Federal Trade Commission), not to mention extra-constitutional power, with even less resistance from Democrats than they mustered against his appointment in the first place.

Last week, in a typical stroke of grandstanding designed to deflect us from his stalled anthrax investigation and other hapless efforts to find terrorists within our borders, the attorney general announced that he would haul in thousands more men for questioning. He hopes we'll forget that his previous dragnet produced no Sept. 11-related arrests and, according to officials consulted by USA Today, "little usable intelligence about terrorism."

Mr. Ashcroft couldn't even find half of the nearly 5,000 subjects he intended to interview in that previous roundup, but not until there was universal outrage this month over the I.N.S.'s posthumous granting of visas to two of the Sept. 11 hijackers did he decide "to move up [the] timetable" for the agency's reform (as a Justice Department official delicately put it). This week Mr. Ashcroft made yet another move that puts his own political posturing ahead of the war on terrorism by seeking the death penalty for Zacarias Moussaoui. Few legal experts believe that the courts will uphold a death sentence for an indirect participant in the attacks (Mr. Moussaoui was already in jail on Sept. 11), but by overreaching anyway Mr. Ashcroft has given the French government grounds to withhold evidence needed to prosecute the case.

It isn't treason for a party out of power in wartime to talk about these matters. If anything, it's the Democrats' patriotic responsibility not just to hold up their end of the national dialogue over the war's means and ends, but to say where they want to take the country in peace. Yet now that they've capitulated on issues ranging from fuel-economy standards to gun control, the sum of a Democratic social vision these days often seems to have dwindled down to a prescription drug program for Medicare patients. For the party itself, however, nothing short of a spine transplant may do.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: bush; democrats; oscars; politics; war

1 posted on 03/29/2002 9:38:01 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
For the NYT's to print this... It must be bad times for the RATS
2 posted on 03/29/2002 9:49:28 PM PST by MJY1288
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Get ready for it - The Libs are going to use the strategy of Blaming Bush for the current Palestinian problem. Never mind that when W first came into office there were the Israeli elections and after 9-11 we were busy.
3 posted on 03/29/2002 9:51:30 PM PST by Mike Darancette
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
whaaaaaaa...
4 posted on 03/29/2002 9:52:12 PM PST by DB
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The incoherence and indolence of the Bush "policy" in the Middle East, which kept General Zinni out of the region for three months of violent meltdown and ultimately rendered Dick Cheney a supplicant to Yasir Arafat, has been more forcefully dissected by conservatives like George Will than anyone in the administration's opposition. At home, the Democrats can't even offer a serious alternative to the Bush budget for the simple reason that they helped give away the store by abetting the administration's mammoth tax cut last summer and made no legislative push for even partial rollbacks after the fiscal world changed on Sept. 11.

The voice of the democratic party.

5 posted on 03/29/2002 9:53:19 PM PST by What Is Ain't
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Democrats are connoissiurs of fine whine.
6 posted on 03/29/2002 9:59:09 PM PST by friendly
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To: Mike Darancette
Tonights Crossfire on CNN, they were already saying this. That DNC HACK "Crumm" was claiming Bush neglected the middle east and that's what led to the rise in suicide bombings. They're scum, from McAuliffe on down
7 posted on 03/29/2002 9:59:37 PM PST by MJY1288
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
If the Democrats stand for anything in a time of rapidly expanding war, it's not clear what it is.

Please, allow me:

1. Abortion of the innocent

2. Making Homosexuals feel good about what they do

3. Putting Money into the hands of Union Thugs

4. Bashing Christians

5. Worshipping the Earth (Gaia)

6. Polluting our schools

7. Race bating and racial prejudice

Did I miss anything?

8 posted on 03/29/2002 10:10:26 PM PST by SkyPilot
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To: MJY1288
Let them. Once their position is established, Bush need merely add the Palestinian Authority to the terror list. Then, despite various Eurotrash or UN backing, the Dems will be in an rather awkward positon. "You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists." Checkmate.
9 posted on 03/29/2002 10:11:56 PM PST by bluefish
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To: MJY1288; Tuco-bad; RJayneJ
"Tonights Crossfire on CNN, they were already saying this. That DNC HACK "Crumm" was claiming Bush neglected the middle east and that's what led to the rise in suicide bombings..."

Not only is that a bad lie (the logic would have to be that if U.S. negotiators don't pay enough attention to Palestinians, then suicide bombers automatically blow up Israeli civilians), it demonstrates how out of touch the Democrats are becoming.

After all, since when would middle America ever blame an American President for the actions of Middle-Eastern fantatics? That sort of thing just won't play well to fly-over country, blue-collar America, veterans, or even anyone who ever paid the least bit of attention to world affairs.

Democrats are already losing unions because of their Enviro-Nazi mentality about drilling in the ANWR. Soon they'll be losing Jews over their ardent Big (D) support of Palestinians (if the Democrats follow Crumm's lead, anyway). Next they'll lose the Hispanic/Catholic support over their rigid abortion-uber-alles positions.

Poor Zell Miller and Charles Stenholm are probably going nuts about right now trying to get their party to stop going the way of the Greens and NOW (i.e., less than a million members). And that doesn't even touch the damage that Gray Davis is doing to their party out in California.

Heck, if it wasn't for a complicit media and an indoctrinated group of tenured university professors, the Democratic Party would have already imploded under its own self-contradictions...

10 posted on 03/29/2002 10:13:02 PM PST by Southack
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To: MJY1288
"Senate Democrats are partisans who will put their interests ahead of national interests"

No truer words were spoken!

11 posted on 03/29/2002 10:22:18 PM PST by CyberAnt
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I have no problem with Dems questioning the President or his administration. But I find it troubling that Daschle would foregore private meetings with Ridge to get real information and request having public meetings so that those considered our enemy would have more access to sensitive info. And why not take advantage of the weekly meetings to discuss his concerns with the President? Instead of looking foolish saying on public TV that the President doesn't talk to him.
12 posted on 03/29/2002 10:28:04 PM PST by swheats
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
The latest events
in Israel
put George W. Bush
in a higher position
still.

Wait and see.

13 posted on 03/29/2002 10:33:47 PM PST by Nogbad
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Ellen Ratner's column at World Net Daily blasts the Dems also, but for different reasons. Their internal polling must be awful. Daschle is never going to grow a pair of cherries,it's not biologically possible. The Dems are the testosterone free party. Is there one Democrat that anyone can visualize in a combat situation??
14 posted on 03/29/2002 10:38:00 PM PST by Wild Irish Rogue
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To: Nogbad
I hope so!
15 posted on 03/29/2002 10:53:30 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
Is there one Democrat that anyone can visualize in a combat situation??

Do they make uniforms small enough to fit Daschle?LOL!

16 posted on 03/29/2002 10:55:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Well, they made 'em small enough for Napoleon.
17 posted on 03/29/2002 11:00:59 PM PST by Erasmus
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
— Hollywood's Oscar ceremony —

The immensely unfunny Whoopi attempted one slam by tying a scarf around "oscar"'s waist covering the pelvic area while making a reference to Ashcroft wanting her to do it. Not funnny (because, among other things, there isn't any truth in it) and she didn't get much of a laugh --even from the liberal ultra-left audience.

18 posted on 03/29/2002 11:03:44 PM PST by Optimist
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Years ago Linda Bowles wrote a wonderful column titled "Why Liberals Can't Be Honest." They're supportive of so much that's evil, they get desperate when evil is successfully attacked - it violates their paradigm.
19 posted on 03/29/2002 11:07:49 PM PST by 185JHP
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To: SkyPilot
Did I miss anything?

8. Class Warfare

20 posted on 03/29/2002 11:31:47 PM PST by Jeff Chandler
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To: SkyPilot
". . . incumbent Senate Democrats are demonized as partisans who will "put their interests ahead of national interests."

Nothing hurts quite as bad as the spot on truth, does it?

21 posted on 03/30/2002 12:22:24 AM PST by Rubber Ducky
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To: Mike Darancette
That will start tomorrow morning.
22 posted on 03/30/2002 2:16:47 AM PST by CasearianDaoist
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To: Wild Irish Rogue
Is there one Democrat that anyone can visualize in a combat situation??

I enjoy visualizing numerous Democrats in combat situations. I'd love to see Daschle, Lieberman, Schumer, Feinstein, Waters, and McKinney in foxholes on the top of a mountain in Afghanistan, with 1000 Al Quedas bearing down.

23 posted on 03/30/2002 2:56:53 AM PST by FreedomPoster
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To: MJY1288
For the NYT's to print this... It must be bad times for the RATS...

That's what I was thinking -- must be really bad times for the Democrats....
24 posted on 03/30/2002 3:06:16 AM PST by summer
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To: summer
Hmmmm. First we have the Ellen Ratner column, and then we have this one from Frank Rich of the New York Times.

I would say that Terry McAuliffe has been given warning. I believe we will see him getting even more combative and shrill as the elections approach.

Its a good thing.

25 posted on 03/30/2002 3:19:54 AM PST by Miss Marple
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To: summer
It is in times like these that I am glad, to paraphrase Rush: "Those are OUR planes again."
26 posted on 03/30/2002 3:26:26 AM PST by McCloud-Strife
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To: Miss Marple
I believe we will see him [McAuliff] getting even more combative and shrill as the elections approach.

I think you're right. And, what a turn-off to most voters.
27 posted on 03/30/2002 3:37:33 AM PST by summer
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To: McCloud-Strife
I agree.
28 posted on 03/30/2002 3:38:07 AM PST by summer
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Freee-Dame
This reads like a treatise of all the dem talking points. They really are walking in quicksand, now. Couldn't happen to nicer people!!

I happened to see a few minutes of Crossfire last night (Wheel of Fortune was preempted!) and heard Shrum articulate this kind of garbage. Americans are not going to buy the dem mantras in November. McAuliffe and Clinton are irrelevant in these serious times.

Shrum and Press still have the blinders on; Frank Rich and Ellen Ratner are beginning to look at the truth.

29 posted on 03/30/2002 3:42:19 AM PST by maica
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
This is a CLASSIC! Thanks for posting it, I needed a good laugh this morning.
30 posted on 03/30/2002 5:17:44 AM PST by jokemoke
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To: SkyPilot
Did I miss anything?

Yes, creating the GREAT DIVIDE in America.

31 posted on 03/30/2002 5:20:33 AM PST by jokemoke
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To: SkyPilot
Yep, HIGHER TAXES!
32 posted on 03/30/2002 5:38:08 AM PST by GailA
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
It isn't treason for a party out of power in wartime to talk about these matters. If anything, it's the Democrats' patriotic responsibility not just to hold up their end of the national dialogue over the war's means and ends, but to say where they want to take the country in peace. Yet now that they've capitulated on issues ranging from fuel-economy standards to gun control, the sum of a Democratic social vision these days often seems to have dwindled down to a prescription drug program for Medicare patients.

It might just be that the country has just about given away all that can be given to the poor people short of perhaps socialism, which will never fly even among the moderate Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats can no longer scare the people into high taxation and benign representation.

I think this translates into a large Republican victory in 2002, and yet again in 2004.

33 posted on 03/30/2002 5:51:11 AM PST by khenrich
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
I can't honestly say I feel any pity for the party of Leftists. In fact, I'm enjoying their demise.
34 posted on 03/30/2002 6:22:32 AM PST by AntiDemocrat
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To: SkyPilot
Did I miss anything?

8. Having the worst candidates for office.

9. Electing the most deplorable people to office.

10. Losing elections with the biggest landslides.

35 posted on 03/30/2002 10:25:50 AM PST by Liz
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To: SkyPilot;grampa dave
Good list!
36 posted on 03/30/2002 11:55:11 AM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Actually I started to label our home grown lefties and the ones overseas, THE AXIS OF WHINING WEASELS!, shortly after GW came out with the term AXIS OF EVIL.

You knew that he had struck a home run when the lefties all over the world and here started to whine about it. These whiners are perfectly described as:

THE AXIS OF WHINING WEASELS!

37 posted on 03/30/2002 1:07:37 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
Are you getting the new layout figured out?
38 posted on 03/30/2002 1:17:51 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach; Grampa Dave
This pullquote tells you how bad it is for the Dems:

"...in the hopeful formulation of the best-selling populist Michael Moore,"

When the eminent (in his own mind) Frank Rich of the NYTimes has nothing better to do than throw flower petals in the path of "best-selling jerk-off Michael Moore", it has become really, really tough to be a Democrat...

39 posted on 03/30/2002 2:33:28 PM PST by okie01
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Actually on the new layout the News Activism section has become easier to operate in just the last few minutes. I'm basically getting what we got yesterday and it is about as fast. The exception is when I click on a new thread, and it is like pouring 32 degree molasses.

This morning it was like trying to walk on a floor covered with molasses and super glue with all the pictures and the full articles.

I have a new 1.8 ghz Pentium 4 computer with 512 mgs of memory and a few other goodies to speed things up, my new URL is connecting at 50K. It was taking forever this morning to load up a new thread. It still takes a long time to get to a new thread.

On self search it is still slow with too much verbage to scan and see who replied to me or pinged me. This morning it took forever.

Before the changes with the new computer, I could come in, read the lates threads and respond to them, and then clear out a lot of replies and be off in about an hour. This morning even with the new computer it took hours, and I never got to most of the replies to me.

Freepers with slower computers and hookups must be doing house hold work in between threads and reply searches. I really preferred the old self seach with the thread and the reply with who replied. If a clymer replied, I just ignore them. I could go through and scan 30 50 replies in a short time with the self search system we just left with my new computer. Then, I could prioritize my responses to the good people like you.

40 posted on 03/30/2002 2:48:35 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Grampa Dave
1.8 Mhz -- Geez I am envious!

I have a cable model and 256 Mbyte of memory but my processor is a little 300 MHZ IBM Aptiva,

Just put in a new graphics card to seems to have speeded things up and a new wireless mouse that I am trying to get use to!

If you can spend some time on the complaint threads and help people figure this new system out it would be good!

Sooner John gets this fire put out the sooner he can give us the full boat implementation of the Bump List replacement!

41 posted on 03/30/2002 3:38:50 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach
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To: Grampa Dave
Well, I hate to say this but my computer is blazing up the screen. It takes less then a second to load a page.

I have a cable modem and a pretty damn fast computer. Athlon XP1800, with all the trimmings. :D

I like the new layout but as usual, I miss the other one a bit but as soon as I am used to this one I am sure I will miss it when it to is replaced.

As far as the Democrats go... I can not wait to see the results of the 2002 elections. If they can defraud the system enough they MIGHT win but otherwise, its lights out! :D

42 posted on 03/30/2002 3:52:35 PM PST by Arioch7
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To: Arioch7
I'm using MSN with no cable or dsl. My screens were loading really fast with the new computer until this morning. I'm connected at 50.6 kbps.

So people with less powerful computers on a land line modem may really be doing the slow crawl.

43 posted on 03/30/2002 4:13:37 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Every 4 to 6 years, I buy the best that I can afford at Costco or Office Depot. Then it has to last without updates and new equipment for 4 to 6 years.

My last old HP has a pentium 2 with 32 mgs memory and a 4 gb hard drive. So that was too slow in its final days.

44 posted on 03/30/2002 4:18:46 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: SkyPilot
Did I miss anything?

Selling our national defense secrets to our enemies for campaign cash?

45 posted on 03/30/2002 4:25:13 PM PST by jonathonandjennifer
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To: Grampa Dave
Well, I am not the biggest supporter of MSN and automatically I suspect them even though rationally, this should not affect your speeds.

You are not using WIN ME are you? I do know for a fact that that operating system is sub par.

You obviously have a very nice system. The reason why tech people usually hate thier job so much is the vast amount of different configurations of computers out there. All I can say for certain is that my system works just fine so it might be a problem with FR not being optimized for your configuration.

In that case, you have to determine the problem yourself because I am sure that the staff of FR is working towards getting the most people possible able to access the board with no hassles.

Good luck man!

46 posted on 03/30/2002 5:22:42 PM PST by Arioch7
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To: Arioch7
Using Windows, XP. Everything was ripping along until the new changes. Ernest is seeing the slowdown in S. Cali..

It will be interesting to see what happens to night after the eastern people go to bed. If we speed up out here, it may just be the load as well as the limit on the land lines.

Thanks for the concerns and hints!

47 posted on 03/30/2002 8:14:44 PM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: SkyPilot
Did I miss anything?
The party of treason and anti-second amendment zealotry.
48 posted on 03/31/2002 3:45:08 AM PST by Brasky
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