Ed Driscoll

Stuck In The Swamps Of The Potomac

Jim Hamlen, a frequent commenter on The Brothers Judd blog delivers a grim, but accurate sounding description of where we’re at in the GWOT. Wake me when the president takes his finger off the pause button:

The problem with the administration is that it was “out of gas” the day after the 2004 election. Other than Roberts and (belatedly) Alito & Bolton, everything since has been reactive. The President has given very good speeches, but nothing has happened. The political capital Bush talked about immediately after the election almost as immediately turned into a deflated balloon.

Is it because Andrew Card left? Is it because Frist and Hastert proved to be formless lumps of dough? Is it because Condi has rapidly become an empty suit, as bloodless (and feckless) as her bureaucracy? Is it because the media really is getting their 15% bonus? Is it because Rumsfeld didn’t kick enough inertial butt in the Pentagon? Is it because the President failed to clearly follow through on the doctrine that bore his name?

All of the above, to one degree or another. Throw in the immigration issue, tinged with GOP foolishness and media/Democratic exploitation (and the President’s unwillingness to confront Vicente Fox), and the corruption (spending)problems (along with Foley and Hastert’s screeching over the Jefferson search), and you have the present state of the GOP.

It is discouraging to watch the solid (though admittedly slender) victory in 2004 go down the drain in less than 2 years. That is why Bruno is despondent and others are disgusted.

However, I still marvel that people like Bill Quick and Stephen Green have a perverse joy in Bush’s misfortunes now, just because they predicted them if their advice wasn’t followed. Last time I checked, neither of them is in Congress, and neither of them is particularly happy with Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.

But here is the real downer – 2 years ago, I laughed when people tried to compare the present time to the 1930s. To me, that meant believing that the ‘enemies’ were as active and evil as Hitler, Stalin, and Tojo; and it meant that our side was as blind, vain, and cowardly as Stanley Baldwin, Leon Blum, and even Alger Hiss.

But after watching virtually the entire Democratic party for the past 2 years, I am not so sure. And there are plenty of Republicans who are up there, too (from Hagel to the sob sisters to Voinovich to Shays to the Bakers, Powells, etc.). One thing is for sure – if the President absorbs the ISG report and goes Potomac for the next 2 years, it really will be 1938. And for some parts of the world, that means only months until Sept. 1, 1939. The US may get a few more years, but perhaps not. And by then, our only response will be to nuke Mecca, because we will have zero influence or ability to do anything else.

I think Hamlen is being facetious in that last sentence–but the second half is dead-on: just as our failure to close the deal in Vietnam led to the Iranian Hostage Crisis, if the War On Terror grinds to halt in Iraq rather than moving forward, America’s credibility in the world–certainly the Middle East–will be nil for a long time to come.