I’ve learned that a writer who calls him or herself “Influence Peddler” is using my post here as a jumping off point for his/her argument that Democrats will suffer in the 2008 elections because of Iraq. Neither the argument, posted at The Weekly Standard, or his/her characterization of me or this blog passes the smell test. Needless to say, I’m not happy about it.
Here’s how s/he starts:
The writers at The Washington Note lean decidedly Democratic. Today, Scott Paul of Citizens for Global Solutions warns that maybe–just maybe–in their zeal to bug out of Iraq ASAP, the Democrats are coming off as isolationist and patronizing:
First, the opinions I share here are my own – I am not representing Citizens for Global Solutions in this forum. Second, my organization is nonpartisan, and, as I’ve said, I’m committed to giving props and criticism to both parties from my perch here at TWN. I want the U.S. to have a smarter, more multilateral and engaged foreign policy, and I’ll be pushing both parties to get us there.
The title of The Weekly Standard post gets it right: I am issuing a friendly warning to Democrats. However, its content conveniently ignores my characterization of Republicans and then goes off in its own direction, which has nothing to do with my post.
Influence Peddler writes:
Mr. Paul is far kinder than I would be. I have argued (over here), that in turning the Iraq conflict into a replay of Vietnam, Democrats are setting themselves up for post-Vietnam syndrome. After Vietnam, the voters were unwilling to trust Democrats on national security until the end of the Cold War. The only time they won the White House in that era was a quickly-corrected fluke.
In 2008, the Democratic nominee for president will find that voters do not trust him (or her) on national security issues.
In their race to end the war and further discredit a president who will never again run for office, Democrats are damaging their own future electoral prospects.
That’s not only unrelated to my post, it’s dead wrong. Democrats owe much of their margin of victory in 2006 to their superiority on national security issues. It’s no accident that this ascent has coincided with the Democrats’ decision to more clearly and strongly articulate their alternative vision, instead of posturing to sound tough or trying to convince voters that they are as inclined to use the military and military threats as their opponents. They are winning because they aren’t being shy about discussing their own ideas for keeping the nation and the world safer and more prosperous.
The Weekly Standard writers are drawing conclusions that most political observers would scoff at. In 2008, the Democratic candidate – no matter who – will enter with a clear advantage on foreign policy. And standing up to Bush on Iraq is clearly enhancing – not damaging – the Democrats’ electoral advantage.
The takeaway from my piece should be simply that the few Democrats who have here and there given in to casual or opportunistic use of isolationist rhetoric need to stop. How that could be interpreted as slamming Democrats or commenting on their electoral chances is beyond me.