- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 16, 2003

The capture of Saddam Hussein was magnificent news for America, for all in the world who value freedom, and exceedingly bad news for the Democratic Party and its leading exponent of defeat, former Gov. Howard Dean.

Ever since the anti-Americans took over the machinery of the Democratic Party with George McGovern’s disastrous campaign of 1972, the Democrats have always been in the forefront of inaction and defeatism in world affairs, culminating this year in the momentum of Howard Dean with his messages of fear and antiwar propaganda. Our joint victories in Afghanistan and Iraq trouble those like him who would rather see America lose, and thus advance anarchy and tyranny in the world.

Mr. Dean has based his campaign on defeatism, on the theory America had best leave the world to its most negative and destructive instincts, while President Bush has brought the fight against Muslim extremism to its heightened need — war against those who would enslave others, whether through secular murder or religious intolerance.

Mr. Dean represents weakness and shallow opportunism in American politics, yet he supposedly has the momentum that gives him a shot at the White House. His goal is to embarrass America, to heighten the fears and tribulations of America on the loss of every one of its sons and daughters fighting overseas — culminating in our abandonment of Iraq.

Now that will surely not happen as America’s goals are redefined and strengthened by the capture of Saddam Hussein and by the exultation of the Iraqi people at that happy event.

If the Democrats have even a vestige of political sanity left, they will realize they are on the wrong side of history and will abandon Howard Dean as swiftly as the Iraqis will now abandon Saddam and his evil memory. The Democrats need to turn to someone with greater pro-American instincts, perhaps Joe Lieberman or to the former minority leader, Richard Gephardt — even though both prostituted themselves by imitating Mr. Dean in seeming to gloat over American difficulties in Iraq.

Of course, this does not mean that if the Democrats have the good sense to dump Mr. Dean, who has been foremost in giving comfort to the enemy, that they will take the White House. Good Americans, who value freedom and its spread around the world, know action in face of danger is the best guarantee that one day America will be surrounded by free people, and not by enemies, and they will vote that conviction.

In this difficult world, we may be entering an era in which the Democrats — through their own defeatism — will gain an irreplaceable reputation for cowardice and anti-Americanism. If they refuse to dump Howard Dean, they may be signing their own fate as a retrogressive, unneeded force in American politics.

Martin L. Gross, the author of several New York Times best sellers on American politics, and a frequent contributor to these pages, is a former official of the Democratic Party.

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