A growing cadre of Democrats accuses President Bush of botching American foreign policy by threatening force first and failing to give diplomacy a sufficient time -- to give chit-chat a chance.

This is an interesting notion, at odds with the whole of human history. Wars end and talk begins only when one side wins.

The idea is interesting for a second reason, which is that the very politicians who complain about the president's reticence have themselves gone silent before the press. Check Sunday show listings and you will find precisely zero Democratic leaders.

We have called them all, week after week, only to discover that the loyal opposition -- with the exceptions a few, such as Joe Biden, Carl Levin and Harry Reid -- have gone AWOL. They're the milk carton brigade: Missing, and sorely missed.

Two key examples: Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle -- tough in speeches, but nowhere to be seen -- and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi -- watching the show, I hope. Here we are on the cusp of war, and leaders of a key political party are ratcheting up attacks on the commander in chief and hiding from one-on-one national interviews.

Yesterday, Democrats handed responsibility for responding to the president's radio address to a man with the lowest approval ratings in America -- California Governor Gray Davis -- 27 percent approval in the most recent Los Angeles Times poll. The guy didn't talk about war and peace, only his desire for further federal hand-outs. Yeesh.

So I close today with an open and heartfelt invitation: Come back, folks. Let's talk. It's not the same without you and it's not a debate unless both sides show up.