The Democrats’ Groundhog Day

In a column for the Telegraph Michael Barone reflects on the past in which the Democratic Party and its cheerleaders seem to be imprisoned: “No quagmire, no Tet, no Vietnam.” Barone writes:

For liberal Americans of a certain age, the American involvement in Vietnam is the paradigmatic event in human history. It demonstrated – or their warped view of it demonstrated – that America could be on the wrong side of a war, that American military action was dangerous (as the peacenik slogan had it) to children and other living things and could accomplish nothing positive. And to American journalists of that age and younger generations, Vietnam and the soon-to-follow disaster for the American presidency, Watergate, were proof that disbelieving American leaders and providing the most jaundiced coverage of their actions was the road to enormous success and wealth.

Barone distinguishes events in Iraq from our experience in Vietnam, adding in an aside that the liberal account of the past is itself mistaken (“the media’s analysis of Tet was wrong: Tet was a huge defeat for the Viet Cong and largely cleared South Vietnam, for a time, of Communist fighters”). He also begs to differ with certain lessons drawn from our experience in Vietnam that have become conventional wisdom, concluding:

Most Americans are rejecting the spin that Iraq is another Vietnam, spin coming from reporters and politicians who still take a grim satisfaction in the frustration their country suffered in Vietnam.

We can note one difference between Vietnam and Iraq for the Democratic politicians and reporters to whom Barone refers in his conclusion. The grim satisfaction they took in the frustration our country suffered in Vietnam has been replaced by the barely concealed ecstasy they exhibit over America’s current troubles in Iraq.
HINDROCKET adds: That is all true, but it would be a mistake to underestimate the power of the Democratic Party. Yesterday Nancy Pelosi showcased Rep. John Murtha’s claim that the Iraq war is “unwinnable” absent a completely different strategy utilizing many more troops–a strategy that cannot be implemented because we don’t have the troops, and that the Democrats would block if the administration somehow tried to carry it out. Tom DeLay responded appropriately:

In a calculated and craven political stunt, the national Democrat Party declared its surrender in the war on terror. But at least

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