Roger L. Simon

Stormin' Norman - "Win, or Get Out"

Norman Podhoretz … you remember him – John’s pop … the guy who wrote all those books about the literary life and maybe was the first of us lefties to leave the reservation. Or one of the first. He and his wife ran this mag that might best be described as the antidote to People. (In fact, I gather he’s still editor-at-large.) Anyway, this “codger” – who still seems to have more of his marbles than the rest of us; he must have had a lot of them to begin with – hasn’t been reading his Cook Report or paying much attention, if any, to the latest Newsweek poll. He has the temerity to write the following on Commentary’s Contentions blog:

In spite of what the polls supposedly tell us, I strongly suspect that the Democrats may already have blown the 2008 election. Unlike the late Senator Aiken of Vermont, who proposed that we declare victory and get out of Vietnam, the Democrats want us to declare defeat and get out of Iraq. This, they imagine, is what the American people were demanding in the congressional election of 2006.

But it seems far more likely that the message of that election was not “Get out,” but rather “Win, or get out.” In any case, the position the Democrats are now taking can only have the effect of revivifying and reinforcing the sense of them as weak on national security. And this was the very factor that led to the ignominious defeat of their presidential candidate, George McGovern, in 1972, when they also misread the public temper by paying too much attention to the left wing of their party.

Er… what can I say? Except, as Albany had it at the end of Lear:

The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much, nor live so long.