Jewish World Review July 23, 2003 / 23 Tamuz, 5763
Dems under the spell of midsummer's dream
http://www.jewishworldreview.com | Summer is the Democratic season of hope.
Last year around this time, they launched a campaign against the impending war in Iraq. President Bush was in Crawford, Tex., playing cowboy when a front-page New York Times headline announced, "Top Republicans Break With Bush on Iraq Strategy."
According to The Times, Brent Scowcroft, the national security adviser under Bush's father, thought the U.S. should be more unilateral. So did Henry Kissinger. House Majority Leader Dick Armey had voiced similar concerns. A mutiny was brewing.
It soon emerged that Kissinger was actually in favor of the war. The posse of critics never grew. Still, many Democrats convinced themselves in the summer of 2002 that Bush was in trouble.
For weeks, nobody could talk about anything else. Nobody that is, on the TV talk shows. The rest of the nation pursued its normal summer activities, which did not include an impassioned analysis of the opinions of Brent Scowcroft.
In September, Bush came back from Crawford, put on a business suit and went to the UN. In short order he gave the critics of the war what they said they wanted, a UN Security Council Resolution, and, in November, what they did not want - a thrashing in the congressional elections. Then, popularity soaring, the President took the country to war.
Now it's summer again, and once more the Dems have a caus célèbre. This time it's Bush's last State of the Union speech, which contained the now infamous 16 words - a claim, attributed to British intelligence, that Iraq had been looking for nuclear material in Africa.
When the flap started last week, Bush admitted that it was a mistake to have said this. CIA Director George Tenet proclaimed his responsibility for the President's misstatement. The next logical step was for Tenet to resign.
Inexplicably, he hasn't. Instead, he seems to be fudging his admission of guilt by blaming the White House staff. This has given the Democrats hope that a State of the Uniongate is possible. They are demanding details: What did the President know, and when did he know it?
So far, their investigation has turned up this: Some guy named Bob Joseph on the national security staff told another guy named Alan Foley at the CIA that he'd appreciate it if the CIA would vet the African uranium claim for the Bush speech. So of course, Foley did, even though he knew (or should have known, or might have known) that yet another guy, Joseph Wilson - a retired second-string diplomat - had conducted an informal, eight-day inquiry and hadn't been able to confirm the uranium story.
There are Democrats who think this convoluted bureaucratic squabbling could wreck Bush's credibility. Their optimism was reflected in another front page story in The Times, this time reporting that there are folks in Ohio who are beginning to doubt the President's word.
Sorry, but this isn't going to work. Nobody in Ohio or anyplace else can be persuaded to give a damn about Bob Joseph and Alan Foley and Andrew Wilson and their opinions. In fact, most people don't care about the President's misstatement in the State of the Union. They get the big picture - America is at war. They see that the President gets it, too. And that the Democrats don't.
There is probably enough anti-Bush indignation to feed the summer
squall for a few more weeks. By then, the President will be back in
Washington, ready to move on to the next stage of the war. He knows
from experience that the great rockabilly political philosopher Eddie
Cochran was wrong. There is a cure for the summertime blues. It's
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