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Jewish World Review
Jan. 16, 2007
/ 26 Teves, 5767
The coming Democratic party civil war
Dick Morris & Eileen Mc Gann
Iraq is not the only place that is threatening to dissolve into the anarchy and bloodletting of a civil war. It's about to happen to the Democratic Party. Reacting to Bush's planned "surge" in troop strength, the Democratic leaders in Congress, savoring their victory, are contemplating taking only symbolic steps to protest Bush's war policies, a timidity that will highly displease their leftist boosters. The liberal activists who funded and impelled the Democratic victory in 2006 did not focus on winning a Congressional majority so that it would take merely symbolic action. Symbolic action would have been appropriate for a minority party, but the backers of a party in the majority expect something more.
So the Democrats are about to form their customary firing squad a circular one and begin again the battles that ripped their party apart in the late 1960s. The battle lines are the same: The New Left vs. The Party Establishment. Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are about to squander their credibility with their supporters on the left by failing to cut back or cut off entirely funding for the war.
The Democratic Party's left wing is not to be trifled with. It is a massive force, fully mobilized, and led by aggressive online organizations such as Moveon.org. It has plenty of political leaders like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry who are more than willing to articulate fundamental differences with the Party's Congressional leadership and are not shy about doing so.
The Congressional leaders' plan is to give Bush all the rope he needs to hang himself by increasing troop strength in Iraq. They are deeply skeptical about whether more soldiers will accomplish anything besides increasing casualties. But they are not about to take the rap in front of the American people for seeming to sell out our troops by cutting their funding and forcing the Administration to retreat. Nor are they ready for a constitutional confrontation with the Commander-in-Chief over his wartime powers. So, instead, they are going to hold hearings during which a parade of former generals will voice their misgivings and air their disagreements, past and present. It will be like one of Bob Woodward's books enacted on a Congressional stage.
But this theater is not going to appease the left. They did not elect Democrats to Congress so they could hold hearings. They expect laws not shows. Their frustration will become increasingly apparent as the Cindy Sheehans of the world react to the increased troop commitment in Baghdad. The left will launch campaigns of civil disobedience, public marches and protests, online petitions, and the like. It will be the 1960s all over again.
As long as the Democratic Party could be counted upon to represent the left on Iraq, protests against the war were channeled through the political process and were aimed at electing a Democratic Congress. But now that the Democratic leadership has, in the eyes of the leaders of the left, "betrayed" them, look for protest to overflow the bounds of partisan politics and go into the streets.
One can expect candidates in the Democratic primaries to run to the left seeking to capitalize on the frustration of peace activists at the passivity of the Party's Congressional leaders in the face of Bush's determination to add to troop strength committed to Iraq. Moderate candidates like Barak Obama, John Edwards, and even Hillary Clinton may find themselves outflanked by those more willing to run to the left like Al Gore and John Kerry.
Until now, we have had a two-party system in our post 9-11 debates. Now a new entrant is in the field: The New Left.
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JWR contributor Dick Morris is author, most recently, of "Because He Could". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) Comment by clicking here.
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