By Alan Nathan © 2006

Iran and much of the Middle East are celebrating the Democrats’ victory. If I’m a Democrat, I’ve got to feel uncomfortable with an enemy state heralding my party’s triumph just because it views left-wingers as more easily manipulated and less protective of America. How is that anything but embarrassing?

Before election night I thought the polls might be inaccurate because they had been off in 2000, 2002, and 2004; but now I’m almost glad it worked out as it did. The reason is that there’s no better way to punish incompetence than through the practice of “downsizing.” Evidently, Republican voters felt it was better to have the opposition predictably do wrong than to have their own refusing to do right.

So soon the donkeys shall control Congress while the elephants maintain the Executive branch, and matters of war and security will remain our chief concerns. How will the two sides work together now that neither has to feel like the junior partner? Will they be less beholden to their party team and more dedicated to the home team? Can they find some common ground on both Iraq and the struggle against fanatical jihadists – even though such common ground may preempt excuses for partisan combat?

In other words, will they restrict their public disagreements to authentic differences, or will they have fights based on political advantage even when the participants might otherwise agree – in short, will they play more to the cameras than to our interests?

The only reasons for discussing war from an American standpoint (Left or Right) are:

  1. When there’s an apparent threat to existing peace – i.e., North Korea;
  2. The violation of a surrender we’ve earned – i.e., Iraq; or
  3. When peace has vanished because of the ongoing oppression of an enslaved citizenry
    – i.e., virtually all Muslim nations, China and Cuba. (And please spare me the idiots who think that oppression unchallenged by war somehow equals peace!) We know the ones we’re addressing and the ones we can’t just yet, but may have to eventually.

Many in the polling community have managed to create the impression that because only a minority agree with Bush’s, stay the course, that somehow this means that everybody wants to reverse the course like the Democrats – they don’t. The real choice is between staying on the offensive and withdrawing, and clearly the only ones winning wars are those who emphasize the former.

Soon to be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they’ll adopt the recommendations by the Baker-Hamilton commission, empanelled to assess, analyze, and recommend other tactics and strategies in Iraq. The adage, “Be careful what you wish for,” might be thoroughly apropos in that, should the commission recommend more troops (as they’ve been rumored to favor), you can imagine her likely dilemma. While such a stance would clearly represent a change in course, it would prove dramatically antithetical to her preferred tactic of surrender – euphemistically called “redeployment.”

Another oddity is that the Democrats are saying that this is a mandate for how they wish to conduct both national security and the War on Terror as it relates to the issues of immigration reform, interrogation techniques of terrorist prisoners, and the domestic warrantless surveillance of terrorist suspects on the phone from overseas. On all these issues the Democrats are behind the GOP in the polls of consensus across America, and their inability to understand the difference between why they’ve won versus why they think they’ve won may prove similar to the undoing that befell the Republicans.

But hey, I’m just a centrist – we may be the ones choosing the leaders, but we can’t prevent their post-election delusions.

Up until now, the Democrats have been able to get away with these maneuvered self-fulfilling prophesies of a catch-22 nature. You know, demanding certain expectations from the White House but then working against those successes so as to give emphasis to their failure. The examples are ridiculously voluminous but I’ll keep them to the more infamous:

  • Democratic Senate staffers who release security intelligence to the New York Times and the Washington Post so their bosses can then bemoan the president’s inability to manage said security intelligence.
  • Senate Democratic Foreign Relations Committee members demanding that we better corral the UN Security Council to join us in dealing with the likes of North Korea and Iran but then decrying such corralling as “divisive” on the world stage.
  • And finally there’s my all time favorite: Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin insisting that Bush get on board with the EU-3 (Great Britain, France, and Germany) and their approach to bringing Iran into nuclear non-proliferation compliance, only to chastise him later for “farming out America’s national security.”

Don’t get me wrong, the Republicans have pulled similar antics. But this is war, and at some point these politicos must be made to understand that tax dollars are for serving us, and not for subsidizing their political battles against each other. They’ve got their own money for that.