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How Come It's Still 1984?
Why are the Democrats – the party of my youth – so widely dismissed as pathetic poseurs these days?
Let's see. George W. Bush makes a big speech about how America promotes democracy throughout the world. How do the Democrats respond? By pointing out that our Founding Fathers purposely set us up with a Republic, while strongly warning against direct "democracy" as nothing but "mob rule," likely to vote the constitutional rights of minorities out of existence at the first opportunity?
Of course not.
Do Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi – sitting there stiff-backed, our modern equivalents of Herman and Lily Munster – calmly acknowledge, "OK, if Mr. Bush can figure out a way to promote participatory government in the Mideast, we'll admit that's a good idea and we'll do what we can to support him, even if we think selective bombardment and invasion under false pretenses should not be our preferred opening gambit.
"But let's be honest about this: It was a Republican administration that sent in Major Smedley Butler and the U.S. Marines to overthrow the democratically elected government of Nicaragua, forcing the legislature in Managua to sign a peace treaty in English as American warships loomed offshore, a treaty giving us the right to run the Nicaraguan railroads under the laws of the state of Maine.
"It was a Republican administration that overthrew the popular government of Mohammed Mossadegh, the 'weeping mullah,' in Iran in 1953, re-installing the Pahlavi shahs, whose secret police surely ranked them among the most repressive despots in recent history.
"Let's not even get started on the regime-change assassinations we backed in places like Chile and Vietnam, as little as 30 and 40 years ago. And if we're so in favor of democracy and self-determination, why is President Bush making nice with KGB assassin Boris Putin, when just last week the Russian special forces murdered Aslan Maskhadov, the last elected president of independent Chechnya?
"If we're really going to change our stripes now, a good start might be to acknowledge to our own people the things we did that caused our government to be so widely feared, hated and distrusted, out there in the world at large."
Do the Democrats say any of this? Not in public, they don't. And why? Because they're complicit. The Democrats have signed on to the old way of doing things; Bill Clinton set out on many a foreign lark (albeit far less effectively, being the distracted dilettante he was). They have no principled alternative plan or world-view to offer.
Loyal opposition? The only thing the modern Democratic Party can find to "oppose" are such irrelevant cosmetic features as the churchgoing habits and adopted Texas drawls of the ancient Connecticut banking family known for more than a century as the Prescott Bush clan, while shrieking about "tax cuts for the rich," when this other set of elite millionaires who hasn't done their own grocery shopping in decades secretly defines any private-sector slob who works hard enough to own a house as "rich."
The only guy they could find to run against Bush was another, less adept Yalie poseur from Skull & Bones, and the only "agenda" they have to offer is to require us to ban smoking, use helmets and seatbelts, sort our garbage into different colored baskets, and hand over our foreign policy to Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan. Meanwhile, they block economic development anywhere in this country under the rubric of "smart growth" and protecting any "geographically distinct population" of scraggly weed or bug their babbling ecofreak subsidiaries can locate.
Oh, and – of course – ever higher taxes.