The War as Domestic Policy.
Another striking aspect to the language that saturated the propaganda of the right during the lead up to the war were domestic considerations. Writers constantly asserted that the only reason the Dems opposed the war--which was, a priori, a genius move--had to do with domestic politics. That is, agreeing with the war would damage their standing in the polls. This is especially specious given that most Dems already did support the war (they felt they had to in the wake of administration-manufactured panic of Arabs). It is also ironic, given that they were so obviously using Iraq as a way to permanently solidify their hold on American politics.
Ambivalence is not heroic. Neither is it leadership. The president's liberal critics fear he will succeed, win a second term and then name conservative justices to the Supreme Court. They know Saddam Hussein is evil. But they see President Bush as a greater evil because he will deprive them of their 40-year pattern of using the courts to make law and change culture. In their hearts they know he's right about Saddam. But in their heads they know the days of liberal domination of the courts are coming to an end, almost as quickly as Saddam Hussein's despotic regime.The irony is, of course, that the conservative warmongers had convinced themselves that their own ideological blinders were lenses of pragmatism; looking through them, they were unable to hear credible arguments from those on the left who were, because of their political estrangement, forced to deal pragmatically with the idealogues.
--Cal Thomas, "Losing the Argument Over Iraq," February 27, 2003*
For the anti-war left in America, it's really about Bush. The pent-up fury they felt after Florida never found expression or even validation in the wider culture. It was repressed in the first months of a new presidency - and then made irrelevant by 9/11. Finally, they have a chance to demonstrate their hate - which is why so much of the demonstrations' focus has not been on Saddam, Iraq or even war, but on Bush. The anti-Bush left knows that a successful war will only strengthen the president further and marginalize them even more - hence their utter desperation and viciousness today. This is their moment; and the demonstrations are their therapy. Meanwhile, a real and actual problem in global security is being addressed. Thank heavens that for some, this moment really is about Saddam.
--Andrew Sullivan, March 3, 2003*
Iraq is an element of, not a "distraction" from, the war on terror. It would have been easier to credit the Democrats all along had they been proposing different, tougher steps to fight the terror war. Instead, they wanted to attack the administration for failing to round up al-Qaida operatives without offering any policy alternative. ... The "distraction" argument might finally get a rest. But it was never a line that Democrats, terminally confused on national-security matters, had carefully thought through -- it was just something, anything, to say. Now they'll come up with something else, probably just as inane.
--Rich Lowry, "Busted: Dems Lose Anti-War Argument," March 4, 2003*
At this point, Democrats will rue ever having tried to distract attention from one looming war by implying another war might be necessary elsewhere. They will forget their warnings of the "extremely dangerous," "grave," "tremendous," "imminent" threat of North Korea, and want to talk about something else -- say, Iran or even Nagorno-Karabakh. Today, Daschle says, "The president should stop downplaying this threat." Tomorrow, he will say, "Uh, never mind."
--Rich Lowry, "The Democrats' (Temporary) Warmongering," March 14, 2003*
Speaking of indiscriminate chaos, many elements of the Democratic Party, including most of its base and many of its most conspicuous leaders, seem deranged, unhinged by the toxic fumes of hatred and contempt they emit for the president. From what does this arise? It cannot just be Florida, the grievance that Democrats, assiduous cultivators of victimhood, love to nurse. No, many Democrats' problem, which threatens to disqualify their party from presidential responsibilities for a generation, is their incontinent love of snobbery and nostalgia--condescension toward a president they consider ignorant, and a longing for the fun of antiwar days of yore.
--George Will, "The President's Speech," March 19, 2003*
CNN's favorite general, Wesley Clark, has also been heard to opine that our troops are getting bogged down in Iraq. His competence to judge American generals is questionable since his command was limited to working for NATO. We prefer to hear from American generals. Clark's contribution to international relations consisted of mistakenly bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.
--Ann Coulter, "The Enemy Within," March 28, 2003