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The Democrats: Just what do they stand for?

By Paul M. Weyrich
web posted April 14, 2003

It is interesting to watch the Democrat Party these days. Almost all of the major figures who represent the party's national leadership, as well as most of its presidential candidates, attacked President George W. Bush in the hopes that things would go badly in Iraq. They knew that if things went well, then their attacks would be forgotten, but if things went poorly (i.e., the war dragging on, our troops being ambushed and suffering heavy casualties, the infrastructure of Iraq being destroyed and the country's civilians turning against us, and so on) then the public would remember that they had predicted it.

So now the repressive regime has fallen more easily than anyone would have predicted. And, contrary to what the Democrats predicted, the people did cheer the Americans as they marched into Baghdad and other cities, and did thank President Bush for sending in the troops. In fact, when Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld predicted that Americans would be greeted as liberators, these same Democrats sneered. And in the first two weeks of fighting, when it didn't happen because the people didn't know yet if the brutal dictator would be gone, they intensified their sneering. But when it turned out that Rumsfeld and Cheney were right, the Democrats went on to voice other criticisms, and their friends in the news media protected them. Absolutely no one in the news media asked any of the Democrats why they had made the prediction that America was hated so much that we would not be welcomed in Iraq.

Now they are on to the issue of weapons of mass destruction. Again, many Democrats are questioning whether there are such weapons and they are warning that there will be Hell to pay if there are not. So, naturally, the compliant news media asks Secretary Rumsfeld and his associates at virtually every news conference about the weapons of mass destruction. Never mind that the entire country hasn't even been locked down yet. Never mind that our forces haven't had the chance to look at hundreds of locations which are potential sites for such weapons, many of which have been suggested by local people. Never mind that some sites have been found and the materials are being tested and the results are not back yet. The chances are excellent that weapons will be found, but just on the chance they won't be, the attacks are made anyway.

The same thing is happening with the economy. Of course, these same Democrats are doing everything in their power to stop the tax cuts and the energy bill that would get the economy going again. But now they are making charges that President Bush's policies are tanking the country. The Bush budget is a recipe for disaster, the Democratic Congressional leadership has told us, with the presidential candidates providing the echo. Even former president Bill Clinton has gotten in the act, ripping into Bush's supposed negligence on the economic front.

Again, they have no idea what the economy will look like in October of 2004. If things are looking up, and assuming that things have held together in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bush will be in a strong position to win re-election.

On the other hand, if the Democrats are able to block the Bush program for economic growth, then perhaps their predictions will come true. And that is what the game is about. They are pounding away. They are pounding away because again, if the economy is good, their comments will be forgotten. If the economy is bad then they will have credibility. Then they will be able to reap the benefits of the seeds they are sowing now.

What kind of a political party is it which lacks a program of its own, and whose only agenda is to attack the party in power, hoping for the worst?

I was astounded to hear House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) suggest that tearing down that statue of Saddam could have been done more cheaply. Talk about a cheap shot.

The Democratic Party was once a great party. It gave us some of the world's most important leaders of the 20th Century.

We need great political parties, whether we are going to use our position as the last Superpower to police the world or even if we are going to disentangle ourselves from foreign obligations to tend to our crumbling domestic culture. The Republican Party for many is a "lesser of two evils" party. It too needs to become a great political party. But the Democrats will never regain their previous status by simply banking on the demise of their opposition.

It is said that in difficult times, the Lord raises up great leaders. The Democratic leadership, most of whom object to public prayer, had better pray privately that the Lord will bless them with new leadership. They might begin by formulating a program that is attractive to working class Americans, who constitute the soul of the Democratic Party. If they would take the time and trouble to figure out what working class Americans care about, they will see it has little to do with what the Democratic leadership is highlighting these days. Perhaps if they would return to their roots, the Lord would favor them with great leadership.

Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.

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