Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Democrats and the Low Road

Tuesday's Wall Street Journal editorial, "Trashing Petraeus" hits it right on the head by saying that "[m]embers of the Democratic leadership and their supporters have now normalized the practice of accusing their opponents of lying."

With the exception of Joe Biden, Democrats refused to clearly renounce the MoveOn.org New York Times ad accusing General Petraues of "cooking the books," and transmuting the General's name into "General Betray Us."

The editorial gives these examples of how widespread is the new normal on the Left:

In an editorial on Sunday, the New York Times, after saying that President Bush "isn't looking for the truth, only for ways to confound the public," asserted that "General Petraeus has his own credibility problems." We read this as an elision from George Bush, the oft-accused liar on WMD and all the rest, to David Petraeus, also a liar merely for serving in the chain of command. With this editorial, the Times establishes that the party line is no longer just "Bush lied," but anyone who says anything good about Iraq or our effort there is also lying. As such, the Times enables and ratifies MoveOn.org's rhetoric as common usage for Democrats.

Late last week, for instance, we heard it said of General Petraeus that, "He's made a number of statements over the years that have not proven to be factual." This was from Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate.


The Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Lantos, said Thursday that General Petraeus would not be the author of his report; it would be written "by Administration political operatives." He opened yesterday's hearing, moments before General Petraeus was to speak, by saying, "We cannot take anything this Administration says on Iraq at face value."....

Can this really be the new standard of political rhetoric across the Democratic Party?....

Under these new terms, public policy is no longer subject to debate, discussion and disagreement over competing views and interpretations. Instead, the opposition is reduced to the status of liar. Now the opposition is not merely wrong, but lacks legitimacy and political standing. The goal here is not to debate, but to destroy.

Sounds accurate. And this was written before the disgraceful performance of so many Congressional Democrats during Monday's and Tuesday's hearings with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

The destroy-don't-debate goal explains why there's been nothing like meaningful discussion over policy in the war against Islamic jihad since the Democratic Party, bare months after 9/11, chose a strategy of political annihilation of a popular war-time administration over cooperation on vital matters of national security or--for that matter--on any other issue in the national interest.

For all kinds of reasons, Democrats just don't do moral indignation very well. Like everything else, they overreach, thinking that a soapbox, a furrowed brow, and self-righteous braying at a captive witness who can't respond in kind makes them look like modern-day John the Baptists, rather than insufferable Elmer Gantrys. They also can't get it through their heads that seizing the moral high ground takes more than just convincing people their opponents are liars--it also means convincing people your side is pure of that defect as well.

1 comment:

gary fouse said...

General Petraeus and the Small People in Congress

This week, General David Petraeus made his long awaited report to Congress on the state of the war in Iraq. As we all know, the general described the progress that has been made since the implementaion of the "The Surge" and his projection of the need to keep troop levels at the current number through the rest of the year and part of 2008. What is remarkable (and so disgusting) is the statements coming from the Democrats and far-left disparaging Petraeus even before he appeared.

For the record, General David Petraeus is a highly respected and highly decorated veteran with a sterling military record. Last January, he was confirmed by the Senate unaminously to take over the lead in Iraq. There was absolutely no opposition to his appointment. Yet, now, with his highly anticipated appearnce looming, suddenly the Democrats in Congress and their supporters on the far left began a campaign of character assassination against the general for the purposes of discrediting his testimony even before given. In spite of reassurances from Petraeus and the White House that his report had not been formed in consultation with the Administration, people like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid made public statements to the effect that Petraeus was merely going to parrot the policy of the Bush Administration and tell the Congress what a good job he (Petraeus) was doing. Thus, Petraeus was portrayed as a political hack, whose up and coming testimony could not be trusted nor believed. Reid even went so far as to cast doubt on previous statements by the General.

Then there were the mad hatters at Moveon.org, who this past week, took out a full-page ad in the New York Times describing Petraeus as "General Betray Us", a clear slap at the general's loyalty to his country. Yet, did any of the Democrats speak out against this outrage, even when called upon to distance themselves from the article? Not at all. They are much too afraid of the Moveon folks and the other far-left blogs to do that.

In the face of all this, General Petraeus appeared Monday, and in his professional and dignified fashion, made his report to Congress. He made all those empty suits in Congress look like the pygmies they were. Yet, he had to endure people like Senator Hillary Clinton, possibly our next president, describing him as a "spokesman for a failed policy" and implying to his face that he was a liar.

Regardless of what one thinks of the Iraq War, this attack on the character of General Petraeus was a disgusting spectacle made by hack politicians who were afraid the general was going to tell them things they did not want to hear, so they attacked the general even before he opened his mouth. They questioned the integrity of the very man who is on the ground in Iraq putting his own life on the line. Many of his detractors in Congress have not been to Iraq, yet they pretend to know more than the man leading the effort there. Their attack on Petraeus was also a slap in the face of every man and woman serving in Iraq.

By all accounts, General David Petraeus is a man of whom the military and the nation can be proud. He did not deserve the personal attacks laid upon him by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, John Kerry and others. Where was the support from the Democrats for our soldiers fighting in Iraq? Where was the expression of hopes for victory?

To sum it all up, General Petraeus did what I knew he would do: He made his detractors in Congress look like very small people.

gary fouse
fousesquawk