E.J. Dionne a leading shill for liberal Democrats, recognizes that “Bush is boxing the Democrats on Iraq,” and then spends his column whining about it. Dionne seems to think it is unfair for Bush to ask Democrats in Congress whether they will support a war against Iraq and, where the answer is negative, for Republicans to point this out to voters. Dionne objects that Democrats “who would support a war under the right conditions” should not be asked “to endorse a war under all conditions.” But every politician would support a war “under the right conditions.” It is hardly unfair to deprive politicians of this dodge.
Dionne’s article illustrates a larger problem in our politics. Ever since the first President Bush successfully pointed out the consequences of Michael Dukakis’s weekend pass for prisioners policy (namely Willie Horton’s brutal acts of rape and murder), the Democrats and their journalistic guard have screamed foul whenever Republicans attempt to hold them responsible for the consequences of their policies. The unstated premise is that politicians can only be criticized for having bad intentions (e.g. not favoring war in “the right circumstances”) or for lacking compassion — in other words, that politicians should be immune from attack when well-intentioned policies don’t work out. Republicans often have been cowed by fear of being attacked for “Willie Hortonism.” This has made it too easy for liberal Democrats to prosper, especially in conservative states. E.J. Dionne’s mission in articles like the one above is to preserve this unfortunate state of affairs.
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