- The Washington Times - Monday, October 23, 2006

George McGovern, Patrick Moynihan, Ed Muskie — where are you when we need you?

I never thought myself capable of writing those words. I cut my political teeth at the time these men were at the zenith of their careers. In the eyes of conservatives, they were the Enemy: liberal Democrats responsible for the economic, social and foreign policy debacles that gave rise to the Reagan Revolution. How we conservatives cheered when their agenda was obliterated on Election Day 1980. How this conservative wishes they were around today.

No, I haven’t changed my stripes, but I have learned to appreciate that while the McGovernites of yesteryear were fundamentally wrong, terribly wrong, in their public policy agendas, they were driven by principle and fueled by conviction, and precisely for that reason they would be absolutely shocked — no, disgusted — by what has become of their Democrat Party today.

In his brilliant new book, “Bankrupt,” bestselling author David Limbaugh delivers 370 pages, and hundreds of examples, documenting the degree to which the leftist leadership of the Democratic Party has lost its collective soul.

Mr. Limbaugh is a lawyer by trade, and like a good attorney patiently and systematically builds his case, issue by issue, with the evidence meticulously documented. When the book is finished, the verdict has been rendered, and it’s an inescapable judgment: Today’s Democratic Party leaders will say and do anything, to gain power.

But it’s worse than that, really. It is not that today’s liberals are advancing flawed ideas or making accusations that are fundamentally untrue. It is that they are deliberately, and regularly, savaging their opposition with scurrilous personal attacks based on information theyknow to be false, with their allies in the national media obediently broadcasting this message to the general public while their far-left shock troops at groups like MoveOn.org use them to mobilize the grass-roots. Today’s liberals are radicals, and many of them are simply dishonest, angry and mean-spirited. It is a sobering, even frightening read.

Mr. Limbaugh starts with the (misnamed) war on terror and demonstrates how this leftist strategy has succeeded in turning American public opinion against President Bush. It has relied not on a serious debate over geopolitical issues but on a barrage of outrageous accusations, each one personal and vicious.

Mr. Limbaugh analyzes the charge that Mr. Bush “lied” about WMDs in order to get us into a war with Iraq, an accusation that indicts him with the personal responsibility for the deaths of thousands of American military and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. He produces public statements from an army of liberal leaders, including Sens. Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, along with former Vice President Al Gore, making this charge.

Mr. Limbaugh then produces public statements from liberal Democrats proclaiming their confidence in the existence of WMDs before the run-up to the war, fully in agreement with Mr. Bush. They include virtually the entire leadership of the Democratic Party, including Mr. Kerry (“The threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real”) and Mr. Kennedy (“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction”). The hypocrisy is stunning.

There are many other examples on this front, and as Mr. Limbaugh shows, the left-wing attack recipe is always the same. Be it the economy, race, the judiciary or values, Democrats will not debate because they cannot debate. Instead, they are raining a hellfire of personal invectives on their Republican opposition based on distortions and untruths.

Perhaps most damning, however, are the personal attacks on Republican leaders themselves simply for the sake of destroying their reputations. The book segments on this character assassination onslaught against the likes of Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretaries Don Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice and former Attorney General John Ashcroft will infuriate any fair-minded reader, even if he’s at odds politically with any of them.

Mr. Limbaugh makes one miscalculation. He states at the conclusion that “as long as the Democratic Party continues to allow itself to be dominated by its fringe elements and treats mainstream conservatism as inherently offensive, it will have a built-in disadvantage in national elections.”

That statement should be accurate, but it presupposes that the leadership of the Republican Party would respond to the onslaught with both sound public policy and effective political action. It has done neither, which is why it is poised to lose control of one or both houses of Congress next month.

Come January there may be many Republicans suddenly with time on their hands. I would recommend to them this book.

Brent Bozell, the author of “Weapons of Mass Distortion,” is founding president of the Media Research Center.

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