Precisely three months after a reputedly divisive President George W. Bush convincingly won reelection, Democrats have become the party of division. While liberal journalists and left-wing activists caricature Bush and the GOP as mean, nasty ogres, Democrats routinely resort to rancorous words and actions that do nothing to unite Americans of varying opinions. The Democratic party is now a giant wedge designed to marginalize the Right, then fall on and flatten it. Thankfully, at least for now, that wedge is loud but ultimately self-defeating.
For his part, President Bush has reached out to Democrats in at least three significant ways:
The president asked former Democratic Louisiana senator John Breaux to collaborate with former Senator Connie Mack (R., Fla.) on a major overhaul of the entire U.S. Tax Code.
Bush recruited former President Bill Clinton, arguably America’s most visible and powerful Democrat, to work with Bush’s own father, former President Bush, to raise private relief money for the millions of survivors and victims of the December 26 earthquake and tsunami in South Asia and East Africa.
The president granted a November recess appointment to Gregory Jaczko, science adviser to Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.). As columnist Robert Novak reported, Reid insisted that Jaczko be named to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, where he could continue to oppose the Yucca Mountain, Nevada atomic-waste dump. Bush may have made this confirmation-free appointment primarily to speed Senate approval of other GOP nominees. Still, Bush could have dug in his heels. Instead, he gave the Senate’s top Democrat something he badly wanted.
Compare this Bush/GOP bridge building with the Democrats’ relentless bridge-detonation program:
On Election Day, Republican volunteers found the tires slashed on 25 vehicles they had rented to drive voters and poll watchers to precincts in Milwaukee. Rick Wiley, executive director of the Wisconsin GOP, said that this delayed the arrival of poll monitors by two hours. It now transpires that five Democrats have been charged with criminal property damage for this political sabotage. Those potentially facing three-and-a-half years in prison and $10,000 fines include Sowande Omokunde, son of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D., Wis.) and the son of Milwaukee’s former Democratic mayor, Marvin Pratt.
“It was unbelievable that people could stoop this low in a political campaign,” Wiley told the Associated Press. “I figured it had to be someone from the opposition. But I didn’t think someone on the paid [John] Kerry campaign would do this.”
California Democrat Barbara Boxer, the Maxine Waters of the U.S. Senate, brought to a screeching halt the January 6 certification of President Bush’s reelection. She joined House Democrats in challenging the validity of Ohio’s electoral votes based on supposed fraud and irregularities. The joint session of Congress, in which electoral-college votes were counted, suddenly was suspended so chamber could debate the validity of Ohio’s ballots.
“I think it’s fair to say there are many legitimate questions about [the election's] accuracy, about its integrity, and they are not confined to the state of Ohio,” declared Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D., N.Y.).
Not since 1877 had Congress entertained a formal challenge to a presidential election. Nonetheless, absent any credible evidence that anything unusual occurred in Ohio, this Boxer-Clinton-”House-Far-Left Caucus” bid went down in flames. The House rejected it 267 to 31. The Senate crushed “Boxer’s Rebellion,” as it was nicknamed, 74 to 1, with even Clinton abandoning the measure she just had praised.
While he did not bother to vote on Boxer’s objections to alleged problems with the Ohio vote, Senator John Kerry (D., Mass.) claimed at a Martin Luther King Day breakfast in Boston that “thousands of people were suppressed in the effort to vote.” He added that in Ohio, “Voting machines were distributed in uneven ways. In Democratic districts, it took people four, five, 11 hours to vote, while Republicans [went] through in 10 minutes–same voting machines, same process, our America,” Kerry said in a January 17 Associated Press dispatch.
Why didn’t Kerry mention this on November 3? Or December 3? Or on January 6, when the Senate considered this very issue for two hours? Rather than raise serious questions about votes that could have cost him the presidency, Kerry stayed mum about all this until he could agitate black voters celebrating the birth of America’s greatest civil rights leader. Division, anyone?
Even though she was a member of the official Congressional Inaugural Committee, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California could not resist issuing a January 19 fundraising letter bereft of bipartisanship, even during the normally conciliatory inaugural season.
“I don’t feel much like celebrating,” wrote the San Francisco Democrat. “So I’m going to mark the occasion by pledging to do everything in my power to fight the extremist Republicans’ destructive agenda.”
The Left’s inaugural divisiveness continued with “Not One Red Cent,” a protest effort in which Americans were encouraged to participate in a one-day consumer boycott to decry Bush’s second term as well as U.S. involvement in Iraq.
“For 24 hours, please do what you can to shut the retail economy down,” insists www.notoneredcent.com, a website “registered and paid for by Laura Carmen and Jesse Gordon, Democratic activists in Cambridge Massachusetts.” It continues: “Not one red cent for gasoline. Not one red cent for necessities or impulse purchases…On ‘Not One Red Cent Day’ you take action by doing nothing. You open your mouth by keeping your wallet closed.”
Inauguration Day featured Democrats who shouted at and interfered with guests at President Bush’s and Vice-President Cheney’s Oath-of-Office ceremony on the U.S. Capitol’s West Front. Capitol Police arrested six protesters for disorderly conduct including Nathan Ackerman, an aide to the Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid. Authorities say Ackerman and another man unfurled a sheet that said “No War.” A Capitol Police report says the two “were blocking the view of the audience and they were engaged in a verbal dispute with members of the audience.” Tickets to the swearing-in listed “signs and posters” among prohibited items.
Ackerman’s “actions were not anything that Senator Reid condones or supports,” said Reid’s spokesman, Jim Manley.
I was honored to ride in the Inaugural parade on a float sponsored by the Washington Crossing Foundation
, a Bristol, Pennsylvania-based non-profit that provides college scholarships to students interested in public affairs. As a former scholarship winner, I portrayed Prince Whipple, a freed slave who was among those who crossed the Delaware River with General George Washington on December 25, 1776. About two dozen re-enactors and I sat inside a wooden Durham boat braving the cold while protesters delayed the parade for at least an hour. Instead of demonstrating peacefully, they threw rocks and ripped down barricades. Near Pennsylvania Avenue, we were greeted by a huge sign that eloquently said, “F**k off Bush.”
Rather than enjoy Senate confirmation as secretary of state by Inauguration Day, Condoleezza Rice endured nearly a week of Democratic attacks led by former Ku Klux Klan member Robert Byrd (D., West Virginia) and the suddenly ubiquitous Barbara Boxer. Instead of simply differing with her beliefs and decisions, these and other Democrats accused Rice of deliberately deceiving the American public on Iraq.
“I really don’t like being lied to repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally,” Senator Mark Dayton (D., Minnesota) told his colleagues. “It’s wrong. It’s undemocratic, it’s un-American, and it’s dangerous.”
Rice eventually was confirmed January 26, 85 to 13. That baker’s dozen of “No” votes were the most cast against a secretary of state nominee since 14 senators spurned Henry Clay in 1825.
This Democratic obstructionism directly weakened U.S. diplomacy. Rice could not attend the inauguration of Ukraine’s new, pro-American president, Viktor Yushchenko.
“I think it’s unfortunate that she missed the opportunity to go to the Ukraine as secretary of state,” Senator Lindsay Graham (R., S.C.) told Fox News Sunday January 23. “That’s the down side of what’s going on.”
Liberal media mogul Ted Turner on January 25 compared the Fox News Channel’s popularity to the Nazis’ election by German voters. Turner easily could have stated his objections to this cable outlet without associating it with gas chambers and crematoria, especially just two days before the 60th anniversary of Auschwitz’s liberation.
Turner previously has compared FNC’s conservative owner, Rupert Murdoch, to “the departed Fuhrer” and once lamented that when he could not purchase a TV network, it made him feel like “those Jewish people in Germany in 1942.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Abe Foxman denounced “the Mouth from the South” as “a recidivist who hasn’t learned from his past mistakes.”
Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (D., Mass.) told the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington that in Iraq, “The U.S. military presence has become part of the problem, not part of the solution.” He continued, “The nations in the Middle East are independent, except for Iraq, which began the 20th century under Ottoman occupation and is now beginning the 21st century under American occupation.”
Kennedy spoke January 27, just three days before Iraqis voted in that nation’s first free election in at least 50 years. He should have applaud American GIs for being the main buffer between voters and the Islamo-Klansmen who toiled to keep them from the polls through threats, assassinations, and bombings. Instead, the increasingly acrimonious Kennedy dismisses them as “occupiers” who are a problem, not a solution.
That ought to bring Americans and our soldiers closer together.
The common theme here is the Democratic Left’s ceaseless, all-consuming, asphyxiating rage against President Bush. The Left is so obsessed with their 190-proof hatred of the president that, with few exceptions, they have abandoned civil discourse and instead engage in scorched-earth politics. While Americans wait in vain for a positive, forward-thinking Democratic agenda, liberals simply hurl invective at Bush and the GOP. That surely feels warm and tingly on the political Left, but it surely will puzzle swing voters and energizing free-marketeers who feel lucky to have such intellectually paralyzed opponents.
It may be painful, but every member of the Party of Division should sit in a hard chair and meditate on the words Richard Nixon uttered on August 9, 1974, the day he resigned the presidency and flew home in disgrace to San Clemente, California. As an exhausted nation watched him tell his beleaguered staff at the end of Watergate: “Always give your best, never get discouraged, never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”