Reid the Omens
[Cross-posted on AmbivaBlog]
Senate minority leader Harry Reid's brazen calling of a closed session of the Senate today -- a sudden move that the blindsided majority leader, Bill Frist, called a "hijacking" -- has to be seen, I think, as the unveiling of the Democrats' 2006 campaign strategy.
Smelling blood in the water as the Administration flounders, the Dems have obviously decided to mimick successful Rovian ruthlessness and move in for the kill. They're going to put up a big and (in my view) inappropriate ideological brawl over Samuel Alito. But much worse, they're obviously betting on the public's growing alienation from the Iraq war as their meal ticket -- and to bet on it is to fan it, to exacerbate it.
The ultimate judgment of the invasion of Iraq will not be its origin but its outcome -- its success or failure in establishing a viable democratic state, a tremulous enterprise that is now struggling to be born in the teeth of a vicious and unrelenting effort to destroy it. The entire drama of whether we, the (classically) liberal West, and our values will or will not survive and prevail is being acted out in miniature in Iraq right now, as a prefiguring. It's kind of like the play within the play in Hamlet. The origins of the war -- yes! it was sold on false pretenses, I think because the Cheney crew made the judgment that the real reasons were too complex to rouse public support for such a risk -- are almost irrelevant now. If the war fails on its own merits because it was an impossible undertaking AND badly executed, there will be plenty of time for heads to roll and historic judgments to be passed. But the core Democrats, consciously or not, are trying to force that outcome prematurely, because they think it will be good for them.
That's criminally insane.