April 4, 2007
Pity A Poor DemocratBy Christopher Chantrill
Don't think it's easy being a Democratic officeholder. Here she is, after solemnly assuring the voters that she'll support our troops as patriotically as any Republican, now recklessly using the lives of our fighting men and women as poker chips in a high-stakes political game with President Bush.
Where will it all end? Why, with all those billions we could really solve the health-care problem.
But after opposing President Bush on behalf of the reality-based community for so many years, how can she do anything other than continue opposing and obstructing his every act, especially now that Democrats have gained control of Congress.
For Democratic voters really do believe that wars ought to be a thing of the past. In the modern age, what with social programs and all, there really is no rational basis for conflict. That's why the present war is so obviously a result of President Bush's incompetence or his debt to the oil companies.
It's not just Democratic voters that think this way, you know. We conservatives and Republicans believe something similar. In the modern age, what with markets and free exchange of goods and services and all, there really is no rational basis for conflict. That's why the present war is so obviously a result of 30 years of Democratic appeasement, starting with President Carter's weaselly response to the Embassy hostage-taking in 1979, not to mention President Clinton's radical aversion to any risk other than sexual.
Anyway, we should certainly not judge the Democrats as cowardly caving to their extremist base. As Charles Moore advised his readers, a politician is not a Martin Luther bellowing his integrity to the world from a rock.
And that means catching the wind, he writes.
For Democratic officeholders the problem is not so much catching the wind. That is seldom a problem sailing along in the Roaring Lefties.
As any sailor knows, the roaring winds in the southern Peaceful Ocean create huge following seas and an extremely challenging task for an anxious helmsman.
Over the next two years as Democrats run down their easting towards the distant Cape, they can think of nothing except getting there first. Only then can they enjoy all the benefits of being first in port with a cargo of progressive notions for the political market of Washington DC.
Our Democratic friends want desperately to get back to what they do best, meeting human needs with other peoples' money. So here they are, cracking on sail, driving towards the Cape, dreaming of the Fortunate Isles that lie beyond it.
Maybe their hopes will be realized.
But the world is very different the good old days. How simple it all seemed when FDR told us that we had nothing to fear but fear itself, or when Michael Harrington wrote convincingly of The Other America and launched a War on Poverty. How easy it seemed to the Clintons in 1993 when all we needed was one more Big Push to bring universal health care to every American.
In Europe, reports Janet Daley, the trans-national elite is discovering the virtues of patriotism and socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal is playing the Marseillaise rather than the Internationale at her campaign rallies.
Something of the same kind is likely to confront the Democrats as they come roaring through Drake Passage south of the Cape. They'll find that after a generation of Reaganomics, ten years of welfare reform, and five years of Bush's war they can't ever go back home to "Happy Days Are Here Again."
Progressive people have taken comfort for many years in the old notion that generals are always fighting the last war. This is supposed to demonstrate the immense superiority of the progressive approach to life and politics.
But it reflects a larger truth. A war, such as the one we are now embarked upon, is a struggle that forces us to abandon the certainties and the lessons of an older, simpler time. And a war, such as the one we are now embarked upon, also exposes all our little weaknesses and frailties, for wars are initiated by ruthless, ambitious men with an instinct for the weaknesses of the people in their way.
Democrats have yet to decide whether we face a real threat, the kind of threat met so heroically by the 300 Spartans at the pass of Thermopylae, or whether we are dealing with nothing more than bunch of young rich kids from the Middle East intoxicated with jihad.
By the way, a warning to progressive mariners. Don't veer to far to the right in Drake Passage or you may run ashore on Elephant Island.