From an article by Bill Kristol
The 1990s were a silly time. But that decade did produce, at its close, an impressive pair of vice presidential candidates–Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. Both spoke up last Thursday as the congressional debate over Iraq reached a new low.
Vice President Cheney was asked on Fox News about concerns that the Iraq war was hurting Republicans. “We didn’t get elected to be popular,” Cheney said. “We didn’t get elected to worry just about the fate of the Republican party.”
Well, that’s good, because you didn’t get popular, but the American public is fairly fickle. I remember this quote by Howard Fineman, now a regular Bush basher, “We had controversial wars that divided this country. This war united the country and brought the military back.” I don’t think he’s gonna requote that line with Chris Matthews anytime soon.
This was a just rebuke to the 11 Republican congressmen who had visited the White House the day before. They had two purposes in mind: to tell President Bush that the Iraq war was harming the GOP, and then to tell the media that they had visited the White House to convey that message. The media are primed to reward Republicans for defecting from the White House on the war. The on-the-record star of the meeting was Rep. Tom Davis of Virginia. “People are always saying President Bush is in a bubble,” Davis told the Post. “Well, this was our chance, and we took it.”
But what chance did they take? How did they help the president deal with a crucial foreign policy challenge? Davis “presented Bush dismal polling figures to dramatize just how perilous the [Republican] party’s position is, participants said.” Polling figures!
The chance they take is losing their seat, and this is regrettable, because it seems that the DNC Caucas is determined to basically take a much larger chance by pulling out of Iraq.
Do the Republicans who want Bush to cut and run really think they would benefit if Iraq were to blow up, with U.S. troops helplessly standing by watching the slaughter, the full spectacle of American defeat unfolding before the American people? Here is a fine posture for a Republican to assume in 2008: I voted for the war, and then I voted for the surrender. Who in their right mind would vote for such a person?
As for the Democrats, they are in a way less abject. Most of them simply believe the war is lost, or that it should be lost, and want to throw in the towel.
This won’t play with the American people, but it will do one thing. If you think that Vietnam cost the country credibility, pulling from Iraq will guarantee that America is a laughingstock in the Middle East. Bin Laden’s words of America is a “paper tiger” will be remembered. These people who are our adversaries are not living in the comfort of air conditioned homes where being overweight is a national health problem. They are patient and merciless, and they do have a goal of obliterating our culture. The Democratic Party needs to remember that, and the American public who have the backbone of overcooked spaghetti also need to be reminded of that also.
Only one Democrat–now an “independent Democrat”–called them on their vote: Joe Lieberman. As the members of his party voted for defeat, he took to the Senate floor to plead for full funding of our troops: “Only a couple of months ago, the Senate confirmed a new commander to implement a new strategy in Iraq, General David Petraeus. That new strategy is now being implemented, and it is achieving some encouraging, if early, signs of success. . . . Yet, now many in Congress would pull the plug on this new strategy and thwart the work of our troops before they are given a fair chance to succeed. I am aware that public opinion has turned against the war in Iraq. . . . But leadership requires sometimes that we defy public opinion if that is what is necessary to do what is right for our country. . . . Al Qaeda itself has declared Iraq to be the central front of their larger war against our way of life. . . . Our judgment can be guided by the polls and we can withdraw in defeat. [But] no matter what we say, our enemy will know that America’s will has been broken by the barbarity of their bloodlust–the very barbarity we declare we are fighting, but from which we would actually be running.”
I think Sen. Lieberman needs to be renamed, “Fighting Joe”. If anyone was a victim of the mealy mouthed, gutless milksop cry babies in our country, it is Joe Lieberman. However, if that is now the majority of what this nation is composed of, we may as well pull the troops back home, because this no longer a nation worth fighting or dying for.