Wednesday, March 2, 2005

The Democratic dominoes clearly are beginning to fall when Jon Stewart, the host of “The Daily Show,” says, “I haven’t seen results like this ever in [the Middle East].” As anyone who watches the Comedy Central “news” show knows, Mr. Stewart isn’t a serious political pundit, but he is unabashedly liberal both on and off air. And since he commands a fairly large audience of mostly younger adults, he is perhaps as much an indicator of the liberal mindset as the New York Times.

His comments came during a Tuesday night interview with former Clinton aide Nancy Soderberg, who was promoting her new book, “The Superpower Myth: The Use and Misuse of American Might.” Unfortunately for Mrs. Soderberg, the host spent the entire interview essentially undermining the very thesis of her book, which, as far as we can tell, criticizes the Bush doctrine of transforming the Middle East.

As a microcosm of the Democrats’ dilemma, the interview proved enlightening. One such moment came when Mrs. Soderberg said, “[A]s a Democrat, you don’t want anything nice to happen to the Republicans, and you don’t want them to have progress. But as an American, you hope good things would happen.” To which Mr. Stewart replied, “Do you think that the people of Lebanon would have had the courage of their conviction, having not seen — not only the invasion but the election which followed [in Iraq]? It’s almost as though that the Iraqi election has emboldened this crazy — something’s going on over there. I’m smelling something.”

Mr. Stewart should be applauded for his intellectual honesty, as well as his obvious pride in America’s accomplishments. Mrs. Soderberg, however, couldn’t be deterred from her rank partisanship. Here’s one of her more odious comments: “Well, there’s still Iran and North Korea, don’t forget. There’s still hope for the rest of us … There’s always hope that this might not work.” Mr. Stewart is funny — it’s his job. Mrs. Soderberg is not, which is why there’s no other way to parse this other than as a desire to see America defeated for political gain — and perhaps book sales.

Mr. Stewart is indeed “smelling something.” He’s smelling the birth of democracy in the Middle East. Regrettably, too many Democrats refuse to stop and smell the sweet scent of freedom.

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