Friday, December 16, 2005

Each Side's Defects

Peggy Noonan's one of the best there is at spying out weaknesses. First, about the Democrats she says, "Imagine a great party with only one leader, Joe Lieberman, who approaches the question of Iraq with entire seriousness. And imagine that party being angry with him because he does." Then, about Howard Dean's attempts to argue that the administration "lied us into war," she speculates that, "an administration that would coldly lie us into Iraq is an administration that would lie about what was found there. And yet the soldiers, searchers and investigators who looked high and low throughout Iraq made it clear they had found nothing, an outcome the administration did not dispute and came to admit. But an administration that would lie about reasons would lie about results, wouldn't it? Or try to? Yet they were candid."

Finally about the administration, she quotes David Brooks saying that Bush's aides are knowledgeable and forthcoming about the war privately but not publicly and that their rhetorical discipline seems "not persuasive but panicky." Moreover, she argues that the administration views this as their war or Bush's war rather than America's war. They've made the war a "Bush drama."

It almost sounds like Noonan is having a Maureen Dowd Moment with that last remark. Nevertheless, I'm inclined to think she's right on both counts, and has accurately exposed the weaknesses of each side. However, her first point about the Democrats, who don't view this as America's war, probably makes it very difficult for the administration to rectify its defects as she sees them. Although Bush's landing on the aircraft carrier in his flight suit was a bit over the top, the parties have differences that no amount or kind of rhetoric can cover. Joe Lieberman notwithstanding, each party has made its choice. If Bush makes this his war or the GOP's war, and the Democrats encourage him to do so, then let him win it. Besides, what's wrong with a president taking a little responsibility?


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