April 5, 2004

Turning up the Heat:

Sen. Edward Kennedy has become the most rabid of the Democratic Bush-haters, and it’s not entirely clear why. President Bush reached out to Kennedy a number of times early in the administration, and sought his help on two traditional Kennedy issues – education and Medicare. Whatever the case may be, Kennedy cemented his title as the leader of the raging opposition in a speech today to the normally staid Brookings Institution.

The speech made James Carville look like a diplomat. Kennedy has dismissed as a lie every faulty economic prediction, budget estimate and guess ever made by Team Bush. There is, in his book, no such thing as innocent error in this White House. He considers this presidency utterly Nixonian - a tissue of lies, a poison in the veins of Democracy.

In declaring Iraq “George Bush’s Vietnam,” Kennedy seemed to root for an allied defeat in Mesopotamia. On the one hand, he accused the administration of treasonous behavior in mounting the war; on the other, he tried to dismiss the enterprise as a politically ruinous debacle. And he thinks the president is guilty of poisoning the well??

Here’s a paragraph that captures the tone of the thing:

“In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that the Bush Administration misled the American people about the threat to the nation posed by the Iraqi regime. A year after the war began, Americans are questioning why the Administration went to war in Iraq, when Iraq was not an imminent threat, when it had no nuclear weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, no connection to the terrorist attacks of September 11th, and no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons.”

Note that the senator, while decrying lies, utterly miscast the president’s position.

• The administration did not call Iraq an “imminent threat” – and conspicuously argued against letting it become an imminent threat. Nobody claimed Iraq had nuclear weapons, only that Saddam might develop or procure them within a matter of months or years.

• There were plenty of al Qaeda links, and more make news every day.

• The president not only did not claim a linkage between Saddam and September 11th, he repeatedly knocked down speculation about such a tie.

• As for chemical and biological weapons – well, the president did seem to believe such stockpiles existed, and it’s still an open question of whether they did or do exist. But you get the idea: The senator is on a bilious roll. Read the whole speech here.

Believe it or not, Kennedy isn’t the worst of the hate-Bush gang. Check out  the controversy involving some Democratic supporters’ sneering contempt for the four men incinerated and desecrated last week in Fallujah. The most outrageous statement was posted on April 1 by Markos Zuniga, author of a website called the Daily Kos. He said: “Let the people see what war is like. This isn’t an Xbox game. There are real repercussions to Bush’s folly. That said, I feel nothing over the death of mercenaries. They aren’t in Iraq because of orders, or because they are trying to help the people make Iraq a better place. They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.”

Nice.

Some Democrats – John Kerry and Rep. Martin Frost among them – pulled links to the site after the outburst. (Kos later scrubbed the passage from the site.) Tellingly, the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee still advertise on the site. And Kos is still collecting money for John Kerry. (The Daily Kos is the number one Internet fundraising site for the Kerry campaign.)

Back to the war: The Washington Times has a good article that sheds light on why inspectors haven’t had more success in finding weapons of mass destruction. It turns out that Saddam’s old henchmen have ways of keeping quiet scientists who might want to cooperate with Americans: They murder researchers before they can talk. At least Rep. Steve Buyer is alarmed.