Michael Barone’s latest column looks at the effect the anti-war left has had on the Democrats. He notes that while focusing on the difficulty in Iraq has driven down the approval ratings of President Bush, it hasn’t really translated into gains for the Democrats. He thinks the reason for this is that the voters don’t like the constant emphasis on American setbacks and misdeeds. And he rather bluntly describes the Democrats’ problem like this:
It comes down to this: A substantial part of the Democratic Party, some of its politicians and many of its loudest supporters do not want America to succeed in Iraq. So vitriolic and all-consuming is their hatred for George W. Bush that they skip right over the worthy goals we have been, with some considerable success, seeking there — a democratic government, with guaranteed liberties for all, a vibrant free economy, respect for women — and call this a war for oil, or for Halliburton.
Is he going too far with that assessment? I don’t think so considering how news from Iraq is treated by some on the left. Just look at the reaction to the killing of Zarqawi. The immediate reaction from some quarters was to try to minimize the impact of the event. The U.S. was able to neutralize the number one al-Qaida operative in Iraq, but we aren’t supposed to think this is a good thing? And the reaction looks even worse when compared with how the anti-war left treats situations like Haditha. Do they try to minimize the impact of those events like they did the killing of Zarqawi? Far from it. Instead they assume the worst of the U.S. troops involved. It’s no wonder the GOP gets more votes from the military.
Now I doubt that is the opinion of the majority of Democrats. But it certainly appears to fit some members of the party, and those members have tended to be one of the louder segments lately. The Democrats have long had problems convincing voters that they are the better party when it comes to national defense issues. And attitudes like those described by Mr. Barone do nothing to help that perception.