The Dems' losing strategy
Democrats in Congress recently released their plan to take back
Congress in the upcoming fall elections. But there seemed to be a
few pages missing since their plan contained not even one utterance
about the situation in Iraq.
Unfortunately, that was by design. In fact, apparently not content
to simply be silent on the most important issue facing our nation
today Democrats in Congress of late have been highlighting their
party's division on this central issue.
This division was highlighted prominently when Sens. Hillary
Clinton (D-NY) and John Kerry (D-MA) addressed a group of
Democratic activists last week. Clinton told the crowd she did not
think bringing the troops home according to a "date certain" was a
"smart strategy." She was roundly hissed and booed.
Later, Kerry sucked up to the anti-war crowd by disavowing
virtually every position he took on the issue during the 2004
campaign. He apologized for his Senate vote to authorize the war
and instead called for immediate troop withdrawal. If the
rambunctious crowd could have carried Kerry out on its shoulders
Rudy-style it would have.
The Clinton-Kerry split is not just tactical maneuvering by two
wannabe 2008 Democratic presidential nominees. The split is real,
and it has been playing itself out in Congress over the last few
Last week in the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi laid it all
out on the table. The Democratic leader told National Journal's
Congress Daily, "We don't even have a party position on the war."
Instead of leaving it at that, Pelosi and her team of lieutenants
decided to bring a resolution to the House floor that would call
for the precipitous withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. The
resolution was opposed by nearly a quarter of the Democratic
Having failed to unite her caucus even around a non-binding
resolution Pelosi was left trying to explain her party's divisions
and lack of consensus.
Democrats in the Senate have faired no better.
During last week's debate on the Department of Defense
authorization bill, Kerry offered a Senate version of the
withdrawal amendment. His version was soundly defeated, garnering
only six votes. But Kerry still plans to offer more amendments, and
he is not alone. Fellow Democratic senators Carl Levin and Jack
Reed have their own competing resolutions calling for "phased
redeployment" while liberal darling Sen. Russ Feingold has agreed
to join forces with Kerry in his quest for immediate
The lack of clarity and unity for Senate Democrats mirrors that of
their House colleagues' but like Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader
Reid appears unfazed.
At a recent press conference Reid rebuffed criticism about the
Democrats disarray and instead pointed at the President. "We feel
this today; it's not November 7th," said Reid. "Where is the plan?
Where is the president's plan to get us out of Iraq? He's the
commander in chief, we're not." Indeed, attacking the president in
hopes of diverting attention from the Democrats' lack of a plan has
become a favorite call in the Democratic playbook.
Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton
attacked the President after a recent news conference in which Bush
touted positive developments in the war. "The President's
optimism," she declared, "is no substitute for a real plan for Iraq
that will help the American people understand when the mission is
successful and completed."
But don't ask Democrats for that "real plan." As noted above, even
their highest ranking leaders have admitted that they do not have
one nor do they intend to come up with one.
Absent any plan to win the Global War on Terror, Democrats are
left unified around one goal related to the war: scoring maximum
political points. Certainly Democrats think they can translate
public weariness with the war in Iraq into electoral success. But
this political calculation puts them in perhaps the worst posture
they could be in going into an election; they have to root for
failure in Iraq. Each success seems to be a political setback for
Indeed, after U.S. Forces killed the brutal terrorist leader Abu
Musab al-Zarqawi, some Democrats were less than enthusiastic.
The Washington Times
reported that Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
complained that the good news was "just to cover Bush's [rear] so
he doesn't have to answer" for Iraqi civilians being killed by the
U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers. "Iraq is still a
mess," said Stark. "Get out."
Another of the Democrats' fringiest members, Rep. Dennis Kucinich
(D-OH), agreed. As The Washington Times
dismissed the death of the al Qaeda leader as relatively
meaningless, saying Zarqawi was a small part of "a growing
Will the American public really favor a party that politically is
forced to root for bad news for the country and the free world in
general? Not only is this a strategy designed to lose the war in
Iraq, it would seem to be a loser politically as well.
Tim Chapman is the Director of the Center for Media and Public
Policy at The Heritage Foundation and a contributor to
First appeared in TownHall.com