Democrats Rooting for Bad News
Christopher Hitchens cuts to the heart of some recent comments by prominent Democrats in his piece, “Flirting With Disaster – The vile spectacle of Democrats rooting for bad news in Iraq and Afghanistan.” He begins with a quote much-commented upon in the blogosphere and elsewhere last week:
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he appeared in the next month.” Teresa Heinz Kerry to the Phoenix Business Journal, referring to a possible capture of Osama bin Laden before Election Day.
As well as being “quotable” (and I wish it had been more widely reported, and I hope that someone will ask the Kerry campaign or the nominee himself to disown it), this is also many other words ending in “-able.” Deplorable, detestable, unforgivable. Ã¢€¦
The plain implication is that the Bush administration is stashing Bin Laden somewhere, or somehow keeping his arrest in reserve, for an “October surprise.” This innuendo would appear, on the face of it, to go a little further than “impugning the patriotism” of the president. It argues, after all, for something like collusion on his part with a man who has murdered thousands of Americans as well as hundreds of Muslim civilians in other countries.
I am not one of those who likes to tease Mrs. Kerry for her “loose cannon” style. This is only the second time I have ever mentioned her in print. But I happen to know that this is not an instance of loose lips. She has heard that very remark being made by senior Democrats, andÃ¢€”which is worseÃ¢€”she has not heard anyone in her circle respond to it by saying, “Don’t be so bloody stupid.” I first heard this “October surprise” theory mentioned seriously, by a prominent foreign-policy Democrat, at an open dinner table in Washington about six months ago. Since then, I’ve heard it said seriously or semiseriously, by responsible and liberal people who ought to know better, all over the place. It got even worse when the Democratic establishment decided on an arm’s-length or closer relationship with Michael Moore and his supposedly vote-getting piece of mendacity and paranoia, Fahrenheit 9/11. (The DNC’s boss, Terence McAuliffe, asked outside the Uptown cinema on Connecticut Avenue whether he honestly believed that the administration had invaded Afghanistan for the sake of an oil or perhaps gas pipeline, breezily responded, “I do now.”)
What will it take to convince these people that this is not a year, or a time, to be dicking around? Americans are patrolling a front line in Afghanistan, where it would be impossible with 10 times the troop strength to protect all potential voters on Oct. 9 from Taliban/al-Qaida murder and sabotage. We are invited to believe that these hard-pressed soldiers of ours take time off to keep Osama Bin Laden in a secret cave, ready to uncork him when they get a call from Karl Rove? For shame.
Hitchens produces other examples from senior officials in the Kerry campaign. Aside from the disreputatable nature of these statements, though, they reveal something quite striking: Kerry and his crew honestly seem not to understand that we’re at war. Everything is fair game for a political contest because, really, what does it matter? Since the public can’t be persuaded that the most important issues are really outsourcing and health care rather than these nuisance foreign policy issues, let’s treat those issues with the same demagoguery as we would Social Security. Instead of trying to scare little old ladies into thinking George Bush is going to take away their Medicare, let’s tell them that their grandkids will be drafted and that the Republicans are hiding Osama for an October Surprise.
The unfortunately necessary corollary of thisÃ¢€”that bad news for the American cause in wartime would be good for KerryÃ¢€”is that good news would be bad for him. Thus, in Mrs. Kerry’s brainless and witless offhand yet pregnant remark, we hear the sick thud of the other shoe dropping. How can the Democrats possibly have gotten themselves into a position where they even suspect that a victory for the Zarqawi or Bin Laden forces would in some way be welcome to them? Or that the capture or killing of Bin Laden would not be something to celebrate with a whole heart?
The beginning of the end of Howard Dean’s seemingly assured path to the nomination was his insistence that Saddam’s capture didn’t really make America any better off. One would have thought that Kerry would have learned that lesson.