- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 6, 2005

Political parties, by definition, engage in politics — obviously. It’s what they do. But Democratic leaders are so singularly driven by partisan politics they seem incapable of recognizing our common enemies. They sometimes even seem disinclined to stand behind America when Republicans are running it, for fear of strengthening the GOP’s standing.

For example, instead of recognizing the potential avian flu pandemic as a common threat and joining President Bush in combating the problem, Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York and Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, to name a few, reflexively castigated Mr. Bush for not reacting soon and forcefully enough to prepare the nation. Their remarks were hysterical, and grossly political — even for them.

That was virtually indistinguishable from their reaction to Katrina. They were simply unable (or unwilling), through their donkey-stained lenses, to see the hurricane as the common foe and help finding solutions. The national disaster provided too grand an opportunity to demonize President Bush.

They read of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq and think, “President Bush’s deceit, imperial adventurism and mismanagement of the war have caused 2,000 Americans to die.” I doubt it ever occurs to them the casualties, though tragic, have been for a noble cause they undermine daily.

It is even less likely American deaths evoke in them a visceral contempt for our common enemy, the bloodthirsty murderers responsible. Such an emotion doesn’t square with their delusional “Bush lied” template.

I was reminded of their monomania yet again when watching Fox News’ “Special Report with Brit Hume” on the terrorists’ ingenuity in devising new techniques for bombing our troops and Iraqis with improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The thrust was not all negative. Fox’s Bret Baier interviewed Army Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. James Lovelace, who said a new IED training facility in Iraq will prepare incoming soldiers for the enemy’s ever-changing tactics.

“We’re making every opportunity to take lessons learned and within 24 hours be able to teach that and put that back out in the field so that the leaders and the soldiers know what they’re up against,” said Gen. Lovelace. He said 40 percent of the IEDs are found and identified before they explode, and the casualty rate for each attack is down 45 percent.

My immediate reaction, and I would hope that of most Americans, was: “Our brave soldiers are facing daunting challenges in Iraq from a ruthless enemy and are doing everything they can to overcome them. But above all, they’re dedicated to the cause of Iraqi autonomy and freedom and American security.”

That was not everyone’s reaction. Fox’s cameras next turned to Senate Democrats Barbara Boxer of California and Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who had just emerged from meeting with the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and were champing at the bit to slam the administration for its “lack of strategy” on Iraq.

Mr. Dodd said, “A lot more needs to be done to get this right or you’re going to continue to see an erosion of support here at home and abroad for these policies which have no end in sight.”

Mrs. Boxer said, “There’s a growing frustration, I think, on both sides of the aisle at how slowly the training of the Iraqi troops and police force is going.”

Bret Baier reported our senior commanders say there are more than 200,000 Iraqi forces, with a goal of 325,000. Gen. Lovelace explained that, though most Iraqi units still need U.S. support, “The little reported fact is that Iraqi troops are controlling more and more battle space.” He noted, for instance, that U.S. troops have withdrawn from much of Baghdad as Iraqi forces gain control of security there.

According to Gen. Lovelace, the transition may not be as fast as the American people want, but he sees considerable “progress.” Surely, the “90 percent of the glass is empty” Democrat leaders are among those who see little progress.

But Senate Democrats really outdid themselves last week in creating a false crisis to invoke an esoteric Senate rule and call a closed meeting to demand resumption of an investigation that was already being wrapped up. Calling it a political stunt is euphemism on stilts.

It is profoundly ironic that so long as Democrats continue in this mode (they seem to have abandoned all others) they radically reduce their chance of regaining the national power they crave.

David Limbaugh is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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