Jewish World Review July 23, 2003 / 23 Tamuz, 5763

Zev Chafets

JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
James Glassman
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
Michelle Malkin
Jackie Mason
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

Dems under the spell of midsummer's dream | 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.

Donate to JWR

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.

Got it?

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 called September.

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Zev Chafets is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

07/21/03: Can't count on Arab polls for the truth
07/14/03: Dead spy walking
07/13/03: It's a mistake to battle insurgents
07/10/03: It's a mistake to send troops to Liberia
06/26/03: A Dem leaps in and lands on his face
06/20/03: Let Iraq build its own playgrounds
06/12/03: Raines and Clinton — boomers gone astray
06/09/03: Why Hillary did believe Bubba and what it says about her prospective presidency
06/04/03: Iran is next: Bush must tell Americans the Big Truth about ayatollahs
05/30/03: NYTimes has a bigger problem than Blair and Bragg — Dowd
05/27/03: Political — and literal — suicide
05/12/03: That noise is Europe rising
05/09/03: Dems overplay the economy card
05/05/03: Truth or Consequences: To win Arab liberals' trust, Bush needs to find Iraq's WMDs
05/01/03: U.S. security, not economy, is key for prez
04/28/03: Real artists, not airheads
04/22/03: Sealed With a Kiss
04/14/03: Don't believe the cheers
04/03/03: Iraq's only the start --- Syria & Iran are next
04/01/03: War's happy troubadours
03/27/03: What's not going on is the key in this war
03/20/03: The big question: Can Arabs handle liberty?
03/17/03: In war, like in baseball, the idea is to make the other guy cry --- now, let's go get 'em!
03/13/03: Jewish plot? This pol has gone punchy
03/11/03: Prez is ready to finish off the Security Council, too
03/04/03: Those human shields need some star power
02/28/03: How prez could further racial pluralism but end affirnative action
02/24/03: Prof's arrest will test Arab Americans' loyalty
02/11/03: Rhyme, but no reason
02/04/03: McGovern's children
01/23/03: A peace movement that's going nowhere
01/13/03: No time for experts
01/07/03: Senator from Mayberry shouldn't alarm prez
12/31/02: Dem Dummies
12/19/02: Saudis still play Santa to Arafat
12/13/02: Lott has to be dumped to save W's authority
12/05/02: Kissinger's Saudi pals litter 9/11 money trail
11/25/02: Sharon looks like a winner
11/18/02: It's the war, stupid
11/14/02: The Dems don't have a prayer
11/07/02: Watch for Dubya to give Arik political hug
10/31/02: Sharpton the patriot
10/22/02: Rabin, gone but not missed
10/17/02: Israelis bracing for US' punch at Iraq
10/14/02: Geriatric war resisters
09/27/02: Al Gore: The Lost Boy of American politics
09/05/02: The intifadeh's over, and the Israelis won
08/29/02: At the world summit, just anger & hypocrisy
08/21/02: No time for weak knees on Iraq
08/16/02: A pro-Arab pol may get the beating she deserves
08/13/02: Fight it out now
08/02/02: Memo to The Council on Foreign Relations: U.S. values won't sell in Arab world
07/31/02: Israel's nutty neighbors

© 2002, NY Daily News