JOE LIEBERMAN -- A PROFILE IN POLITICAL COURAGE AND STATESMANSHIP
If the Democratic Party had anything on the ball, if it could bring itself to understand that its strident, left-of-Left cabal led by Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean is bringing ruin, if it could put strength of character, statesmanship, and impecabble honesty before a virulent "Bush lied" mantra and crass, down-in-the-ditches politics, it would elevate Senator Joseph Lieberman's profile in the party and give him the voice that the "Wall Street Journal" has given him before the nation and the world.
Do read, indeed, DO NOT PASS GO, until you've digested Senator Lieberman's observations on the progress of the emerging democratic nation of Iraq and the favorable results being achieved by America and its allies there.
This is the other end of the spectrum from the viewpoints on that war of Representative John Murtha (D-PA) with his call for near-term troop withdrawal. For the first time in a long time there is a legitimate point-counterpoint debate emerging within the Democratic Party on a compelling matter of national security and by two well-respected, non-extremist, highly-experienced politicians. The question becomes: will Lieberman be torpedoed by the party's fanatical left wing or will he be heard and gain cachet with party moderates, as well as with GOP moderates and conservatives who support the war and do not want a Vietnam-like retreat that dooms all that has been accomplished in Iraq.
As Joe Lieberman observes:
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood--unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
The following is telling:
It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.
And read this a couple of times while pinching yourself:
Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.
Why do I think (wistful dreamer that I am, to be sure) that a single OP-ED piece could (should) thrust Joe Lieberman into the forefront of the Democratic Party's leadership and put Hillary Clinton's presidential bid in 2008 in checkmate? Probably because when I listen to Kennedy, Dean, Reid, Pelosi, Boxer, Durbin and Schumer, I still cannot believe that the Democratic Party has been kidnapped and held hostage for so long by this fringe element on the far left.
Lieberman's column is a breath of fresh air in a party that has become as smothering as the atmosphere inside the New Orleans Superdome during Katrina. Many in the party are waiting to be rescued. Question becomes: can Joe Lieberman pilot them out of there?
FOLLOW-UP: Here's an OP-ED piece by Dante Chinni, published in the Christian Science Monitor, on the Democratic Party's need "... to be the party of something more than 'we're not them.' They have to decide what it is they believe." It's a good read on what the author terms "the confused state" of the Democratic Party.
FOLLOW-UP II: Here's a well-written OP-ED piece by Lorie Byrd (who regularly writes for the blog "Polipundit"), published at Townhall.com, which suggests that the GOP must now make the case that the Democratic Party has not proven itself equipped to fight the global war on terrorism and deal with the hard realities of Islamofascism. Read Lorie and you'll realize just how isolated Joe Lieberman is in his Left-dominated party.