The two competing monologues that make up our two party political paradigm go something like this: Democrats know no bounds when it comes to sinking to new lows in order to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat; Republicans know no bounds when it comes to extracting defeat from the jaws of victory.
2016 shouldn’t be too hard as far as electing a President goes. Since World War Two, only once has a single party held the White House more than two terms. In 2016 any prospective Democrat President will be running as Obama’s third term. Given the trajectory we’ve traveled during two Obama terms — a critic of mine defended it as “it isn’t great but could be worse” — a third term would be masochism. Moreover, the leading Democrat candidate is pant suit deep in controversy. 2016 ought not be that hard an election cycle to win simply by contrasting policy positions with the results eight progressive years have accumulated.
Yet the GOP is already failing.
As of this writing most GOP Presidential contenders fell for the state-run media’s oldest trick in the book. Bait and switch, rope-a-dope, whatever you want to call it. It’s been done before and, like always, GOP contenders lined up and promptly took the bait.
The question posed to those contenders went something like this: if you were George W Bush and it was 2002, knowing then what you know now, would you have still decided to invade Iraq?
Note that Democrats are never asked these sorts of things. Hillary Clinton for example, hasn’t been asked: given your statement that “the country can’t pay for” all of your great social program ideas and the recent experience of both the stimulus and Obamacare, would you still engage in deficit spending to pay for all your great ideas?
Asking GOP candidates the Iraq question was designed to do three things. First, it was designed to spare Hillary Clinton future criticism for supporting the war then turning against it. Second, it served to solidify a false progressive narrative about Iraq. Third, for any GOP candidate bold enough to answer the question outside the narrow bounds of that narrative, Palinization.
As Iraq spins out of control, few GOP candidates if any can say a peep about Hillary’s flip-flop. Not now, after they’ve all essentially taken her position. One less thing Bill’s wife has to worry about on the way to her coronation. Had a GOP candidate taken a position differing from Hillary’s the SNL skit would run this weekend portraying — insert GOP candidate’s name here — as “W” incarnate. It probably will anyway.
The Hillary position though is a false narrative. Progressives have peddled this lie for more than a decade. “Bush lied, people died”. Yes, it’s as silly as it sounds to conclude the Iraq invasion occurred because George W. Bush thought Saddam Hussein had WMDs that weren’t there.
Forgotten is the cease fire — not a formal treaty ending hostilities but a cease fire — which paused Operation Desert Storm. Operations Northern and Southern Watch and the several confrontations that occurred between US air patrols and Iraqi forces while Bill Clinton was President. Speaking of Bill Clinton, forgotten is his US policy objective towards Iraq summed up by the two words “regime change”. This was in 1997 or 1998, the time period in which the organization that would become ISIS was born.
There was Saddam’s plot to kill George H W Bush. The safe harboring of terrorists in Baghdad. Oil for Food Program corruption. Illegal Al-Samoud missiles among other munitions prohibited by the cease fire. Seventeen separate and distinct violations of standing UN resolutions. The mysterious appearance of WMD stockpiles in Libya and Syria after we entered Iraq (in the former the WMDs were turned over for destruction when Quaddafi feared we might come after him once Saddam had been dealt with).
Most conveniently forgotten are the media’s own admissions in the latter 2000’s that there were in fact WMD’s in Iraq including stockpiles discovered by the US Army post-invasion. Even the New York Times admitted Saddam had WMDs, after years of Bush bashing.
Virtually every GOP candidate missed an opportunity to intelligently dispose of once and for all the progressive’s Iraq narrative. Instead they all conjured up their best Cindy Sheehan and in doing so gave Hillary a get out of jail free card on this topic.