October 22, 2010
Harry & FriendsBy Paul Kengor
Harry Reid, the Senate Democrat leader who blasted the Iraq War effort, who assailed President George W. Bush, and who paved the way for the Obama presidency and current governing troika of Obama-Pelosi-Reid, is in serious danger of losing reelection to Republican challenger Sharron Angle, who, in one poll, leads Reid by three points.
In a recent debate, Angle called upon Reid to apologize for his irresponsible April 2007 remarks claiming that the Iraq War was "lost" and that America could not win. Angle wanted to know if Reid understood how these remarks demoralized the troops. Reid did not apologize, instead claiming, to the contrary, that he was a great "friend" of General David Petraeus -- whom Reid's supporters once dubbed General "Betray-Us" -- and acknowledging that "the surge worked."
Of course, what worked for liberals and Democrats like Harry Reid was the demoralizing of not only the troops and their effort, but also their president, George W. Bush, all of which had the curious effect of re-moralizing liberals and Democrats. The more America lost in Iraq, the more George Bush lost, and the more liberals and Democrats won -- all the way to a takeover of the legislative and executive branches, and really, the entire federal government, in November 2008.
It is crucial that Americans everywhere, and Nevadans in particular, are repeatedly reminded of Reid's outrageous comments, of which the "war is lost" assessment is merely one example.
Along these lines, with the same intention, were Reid's remarks in May 2005, where the leading Democrat called America's commander-in-chief, George W. Bush, a "loser." As if that wasn't quite strong enough, Reid also denounced the commander-in-chief as a liar. A year earlier, Reid had flatly declared that "President Bush is a liar."
Once again, there, too, Reid harbored no regrets. When questioned by NBC's Tim Russert about such incivility, particularly from a congressional leader, Reid refused to apologize for calling Bush a liar, stating defiantly, "I don't back off one bit."
And why would he? It was commonplace for liberals in Congress to publicly ostracize President Bush. Take the California triumvirate of Maxine Waters, Barbara Lee, and Pete Stark, who all took a whirl at the wheel. "The president is a liar," declared Waters, in an assessment eagerly picked up and published in a June 2005 edition of the CPUSA organ, People's World. Lee generously widened the net, asserting that "Bush and his administration have lied to the world."
Yet, neither gentle-lady could outdo their colleague, Congressman Stark. In October 2007, Stark -- who earlier had called the U.S. action in Iraq an "act of extreme terrorism" and a "terrorist act" -- was not content to simply excoriate the president as a prevaricator. He also ripped America's troops for allegedly "blow[ing] up innocent people" and, conversely, said that President Bush enjoyed sending more and more American boys "to Iraq to get their heads blown off for the president's amusement."
Had enough yet?
Well, the people of California haven't. All three of these members of Congress have been reelected again and again courtesy of California voters. I blame the voters of California for this scandal more than these members themselves. After all, Waters, Lee, and Stark are who they are, and have been for decades. In fact, Stark made similar accusations toward President Reagan regarding the Grenada invasion in 1983.
Have there been repercussions at the ballot box? No.
Needless to say, this bile aimed at President Bush, from the California crew to Harry Reid, no doubt thrilled radical Islamists, who wanted a defeat of the president and withdrawal of American troops. If I were running propaganda for al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden, or were editor-in-chief at the Tehran Times or Baghdad Times, these comments would have been splashed front-and-center, top-of-the-fold, bold print, day after day after day.
I've written in this space many times about dupes, about how communists during the Cold War hoodwinked America's liberals and progressives into parroting some insidious party line that served and advanced the interests of our Soviet adversary, prompted by carefully crafted propaganda. What's so troubling about these modern-day comments is that no foreign enemy induced them. They weren't agitated by a centrally headquartered Comintern -- such as, say, a "Khomeintern" in Iran -- or CPUSA version of al-Qaeda based in, say, New York City, cooking up propaganda to feed to the field workers, in coordination with ringmasters in Tehran. No, these comments result from pure rage, pure indecency, and terrible judgment.
And when will voters acquire the decency and judgment to say "enough is enough"?
And don't even get me started on comments by senators like Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Barack Obama, accusing our soldiers of war crimes, burning down villages, and even comparing them to Pol Pot, Hitler, and Stalin (Durbin's description), and to Saddam's torture chambers (Ted Kennedy's description). (Click here for article, "Remembering America's Iraq War 'Patriotic Opposition.")
On the plus side, at least Harry Reid is in political trouble. Is it any wonder?
The sad thing is, Reid, and others like him, from Maxine Waters to Barbara Lee to Pete Stark, and more, should have been in trouble long ago.
Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College. His latest book is Dupes: How America's Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.