February 2, 2006
No Democrat Left BehindBy Rick Moran
Watching the President's State of the Union speech one could be forgiven for coming away with the impression only one side of the House chamber was grounded in reality. The contrast between what the President was saying on the podium and the pouting, grimacing, dour faced Democrats, who resembled squirming little children getting antsy during a long church service, was extraordinary.
It only served to highlight the opposition party's need for an intervention of sorts — one that would save them from their own folly and bring them back into the mainstream of American thought.
In fact, one could compare the plight of the Democratic Party with the problems associated with children whose schools are so bad that federal intervention is necessary in order to correct the situation. It is in that spirit that I propose a brand new federal program geared toward helping our friends across the aisle catch up to the rest of America in their attitudes toward security, the war, and perhaps most importantly, what decade we live in.
Entitled the 'No Democrat Left Behind Act,' such a program would serve the dual purpose of bringing Democrats gradually into the 21st century as well as disabusing them of several inaccurate historical analogies that only serve to impede their progress toward becoming useful, contributing members of society.
For indeed, it is history itself that has left the Democratic Party in the dust. The march of freedom across the globe, that began in the 1980's with democracy's triumphs in Latin American as well as the fall of the Wall, was opposed by that Party virtually every step of the way. From opposition to Ronald Reagan's successful efforts to bring freedom to Nicaragua and El Salvador to their refusal to support our defense buildup that eventually helped bring down the Soviet empire, Democrats have consciously and deliberately placed themselves on the wrong side of history.
They have preferred maintaining the status quo rather than support the revolutionary tides that have swept across the planet bringing freedom to hundreds of millions of people.
It will be a challenge to bring Democrats up to speed on what is really going on in the world. After all, a party whose symbol could very well be changed from the donkey to an ostrich almost by definition refuses to engage the truth on any meaningful level. Where most of us see opportunity, Democrats see failure. Where the majority of Americans understand what is at stake in places like Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and other spots where democracy is slowly taking root, the Democrats whine about how hard the process is, how much work needs to be done.
Can anyone imagine Franklin Roosevelt complaining about the uphill battle faced by America as she tried to lift herself out of a searing economic depression not to mention defeating the Nazis, the most powerful military machine the world had seen up to that point?
In this respect, the Democratic Party has truly lost its way. The historical titans Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy all understood in the marrow of their bones that liberating the human soul by working tirelessly for freedom and justice was a goal worth pursuing for a great Party and a great nation. Nowadays, their successors have made cowering in the face of threats, genuflecting to tyrants, and timidity in engaging the world beyond our shores a large part of their party's platform.
For the Democrats, it's almost as if the world stopped spinning sometime in the 1970's when the Party was at the pinnacle of its power. Dominating Congress, the courts, the culture, the media, and the national conversation, Democrats were in a position enjoyed by no party in American history except perhaps the post Civil War Republicans, whose similar domination of the Reconstruction Era not surprisingly produced similar results: a Party whose reason for being went from trying to effect change to trying to hang onto power.
This doesn't necessarily explain why history passed the Democrats by except that it revealed what happens when a party's energies are directed toward maintaining power rather than trying to solve the nation's problems. For Democrats, the 1980's made them painfully aware of the destructive nature inherent in their statist solutions to poverty, the economy, and foreign policy.
For example, to accept 'The Reagan Doctrine' which supported anti—Communist insurgencies wherever they might be would have meant admitting that their opposition to American victory in Viet Nam was mistaken. So too their opposition to the arms build up of the 1980's which took federal funds earmarked for rapidly expanding the social 'safety net' and not only ate away at the notion that these programs were working as intended but also transferred federal priorities to national defense.
Their dire warnings of nuclear holocaust and starving children came to naught. Like two ships passing in the night, they never realized that the world they had dominated and were familiar with had changed forever.
They were vouchsafed a breathing spell in the 1990's when the world allowed America a short respite from her responsibilities during the Clinton years. Intervening militarily in places like Bosnia and Kosovo where there were no real American interests contributed to the illusion that only the selfless application of American power could be justified. Meanwhile, heads were rolling in Rwanda and Osama Bin Laden took the mettle of America in Somalia and found us wanting. Engaging the Palestinians and their terrorist leader Yasser Arafat did nothing to assuage the anger of radical Islamists who saw our support for Israel as well as the world domination of our culture and ideals as a threat to their own hold on power. So while Democrats diddled, Bin Laden planned.
Even attacks on the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers in 1996, our embassies in Africa in 1998, and the USS Cole in 2000 failed to move the Democratic Party toward embracing a security posture consistent with the threats faced by the United States. They continued to support President Clinton's drastic cuts in defense spending which went from over $320 billion in 1987 to $288 billion in 2000. At a time when our enemies were gathering forces to attack us, we were unilaterally disarming, enjoying a 'peace dividend' that not only proved ephemeral but an unconscionable danger to our republic.
It is a mystery why 9/11 did not rouse the Democrats and bring them, however unwillingly, into the modern world. Their support for the invasion of Afghanistan as well as the initial invasion of Iraq involved little more than the cold calculation of power politics. They realized that voting against either of those operations would be used against them by their Republican opponents come election time.
This fig leaf has now been removed and their fecklessness regarding both of those operations has been revealed as just a continuation of their mindless opposition to the broad application of American power. In retrospect, it is hard to imagine what kind of a world we would have if a few votes in Florida hadn't been counted for George Bush. Given recent evidence that Saddam's contacts with Osama Bin Laden were more extensive than first realized, could Osama, like the terrorist mastermind of the Achille Lauro incident, Abu Abbas, have taken up residence in Baghdad following an operation to oust him from Afghanistan?
And what of the Taliban? Would a President Gore have gone all the way for regime change in that cesspool of terrorism and tyranny? Alternative history scenarios are fraught with uncertainty. But given the Democratic Party's historic myopia involving Islamic fundamentalism, there is a good chance that a Democratic President would have settled for simply kicking Bin Laden out of Afghanistan and scrambling his command structure. Where that would have left the Afghan people would not have entered his mind.
Our fictitious federal program to help Democrats adjust to their status as a minority party and drag them into the 21st century would necessarily involve much pain and suffering. It would mean our leftist friends would have to give up cherished beliefs and a wrongheaded worldview. But this would only be a first step. For in trying to relearn the history of the last 30 years, Democrats would be forced to confront the consequences of their obstructionism. And perhaps, just perhaps, at the very least they could learn how to get out of the way of history rather than trying to hamper our efforts to change it.
Rick Moran is a frequent contributor and is proprietor of the blog Right Wing Nuthouse.