The Cantwell Democrats

That’s what David Brooks calls the least leftist, most rational branch of the Democratic Party. Brooks has been widely considered a disappointment as the “conservative” addition to the New York Times editorial page. But this column isn’t bad:
“[The Nancy Pelosi Democrats’] hatred for Bush is so dense, it’s hard for them to see through it to the consequences of their vote. But if Pelosi’s arguments had carried the day, our troops in Iraq would be reading this morning about the death of the Bremer plan and the ruination of our efforts to rebuild Iraq. Saddam Hussein would be jubilant in Pelosi’s Iraq.
“For the roster of the Pelosi Democrats, look at those who voted against the Bremer plan. Some names are obvious: Dennis Kucinich, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer. But there are some names you wouldn’t expect to see on that list: John Kerry and John Edwards. France, Russia and Syria don’t oppose the Bremer plan, but the Pelosi Democrats are to the left of Bashar al-Assad.
“Finally we come to the Cantwell Democrats. This group could be named after Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, but Maria Cantwell, the Washington senator, sits at Scoop Jackson’s old desk on the Senate floor. The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They’d like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. [Huh? If the “rich” are the top 10%, they’re already paying 75% of the cost.] But they knew Friday’s vote wasn’t about George Bush. It was about doing what’s right for the Iraqi people and what’s right, over the long term, for the American people….This week, Gephardt, who has to win over Iowa liberals to have any shot at the White House, is the bravest man in Washington.”
There is one more variety of Democrat, headed by Wesley Clark: “The Clark Democrats are actually the fourth category in the party: the ones who are too mealy-mouthed to take a stand either way.”


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