Kennedy Takes On Cheney’s Remarks On Lamont Win
In today’s Hartford Courant, Sen. Ted Kennedy authored an op-ed responding to comments made by Vice President Dick Cheney about Ned Lamont’s victory in last week’s Democratic primary in Connecticut. Here’s the bulk of what Kennedy had to say:
The comments he made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary – that it might encourage “the al-Qaida types” who want to “break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task” – are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.
What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people – not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times.
Cheney’s comments about the election were ugly and frightening. They show once again that he and his party will stop at nothing to wrap Republicans in the flag and to insinuate that anyone who votes against them is giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. It’s obvious that this administration lacks basic respect for our fundamental freedoms
Additionally, here’s what Cheney actually said in its full context:
And as I look at what happened yesterday, it strikes me that it’s a perhaps unfortunate and significant development from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, that what it says about the direction the party appears to be heading in when they, in effect, purge a man like Joe Lieberman, who was just six years ago their nominee for Vice President, is of concern, especially over the issue of Joe’s support with respect to national efforts in the global war on terror.
The thing that’s partly disturbing about it is the fact that, the standpoint of our adversaries, if you will, in this conflict, and the al Qaeda types, they clearly are betting on the proposition that ultimately they can break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task.
And when we see the Democratic Party reject one of its own, a man they selected to be their vice presidential nominee just a few short years ago, it would seem to say a lot about the state the party is in today if that’s becoming the dominant view of the Democratic Party, the basic, fundamental notion that somehow we can retreat behind our oceans and not be actively engaged in this conflict and be safe here at home, which clearly we know we won’t — we can’t be.
Now, I know that I’m about to take a position that most readers of OTB probably won’t agree with, but if one actually reads Cheney’s comments, they’re just a tad more complex than Kennedy’s op-ed insinuates. Cheney was not saying that Lamont is on al Qaeda’s side or that he is al Qaeda’s candidate–as some MSM coverage portrayed–but rather arguing that Lamont’s desire to pull troops out of Iraq by a certain date is exactly what the terrorists want. And I don’t see how anyone could argue to the contrary; that is, that the terrorists in Iraq wouldn’t be happy if Lamont got his way. American troops out of Iraq is their stated goal, after all.
Rather than supplying any arguments as to why Cheney’s statement is dead wrong, however, Kennedy instead partakes in the same type of hyperbole that he is supposedly trying to condemn by saying that his comments were “ugly and frightening,” an “attack” on democracy, and that they somehow represents a lack of “respect for our fundamental freedoms.” On all three counts, Kennedy seems to be reaching.
Suffice it to say, portraying criticism as some Orwellian plot to subvert democracy has certainly become the new pink. And frankly, coming from Kennedy, it’s a bit rich considering what he did to Robert Bork. But I digress. Kennedy’s talking points are lovely and surely fill the hearts of his followers with fire. But they don’t in any way begin to present a coherent argument that explains why pulling out of Iraq by a certain date–the end of year as desired by Lamont–is a reasonable and responsible policy for the United States. In fact, no Democrat to my knowledge has made such an argument.
So here’s my challenge. Spare me the sermon on the decline of political discourse and let’s hear the argument that Kennedy didn’t/couldn’t make. Why is pulling out of Iraq the right thing do now–or, as Lamont would like, by the end of the year? How will this move help make Iraq safer, the Middle East safer, and the United States safer? How will it lead to more stability in the region? How will it help the fight against jihadism? And how will it not serve to embolden our enemies that have already concluded from events past that the United States doesn’t have the stamina to endure a tough battle?