Partisanship and pathology

Charles Krauthammer:

"The Democrats have long been unhinged by this president. They could bear his (Florida-induced) illegitimacy as long as he was weak and seemingly transitional. But when post-9/11 he became a consequential president -- reinventing American foreign policy and dominating the political scene -- they lost it.

"Kennedy's statement marks a new stage in losing it: transition to derangement. As such, it merits careful parsing:

"(1) Imminent threat? How many times does one have to repeat this: When Bush laid out the case for the war in his 2003 State of the Union address, he deliberately denied imminent threat. ``Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent,'' he explained, but this president disagreed. The entire assumption underlying the Bush Doctrine of pre-emption is that Sept. 11 taught us that we live in a world where the enemy is too stealthy, his capacity for destruction too great, and the margin for error too small to permit the traditional luxury of waiting for imminence.

"Indeed, in the U.N. speech one year ago that launched us on the road to war, Bush spoke not of a 'clear and present danger,' the traditional formulation of imminence, but of a 'grave and gathering danger,' an obvious allusion to Churchill's two-decade-long 'gathering storm.'''

What political advantage?

"...A year ago, Bush was riding high. He decided nonetheless to put at risk the great political advantage he had gained as a successful post-9/11 leader -- an advantage made obvious by the Republican gains in last year's elections -- to go after Saddam.

"Politically, the war promised nothing but downside. There was no great popular pressure to go to war. Indeed, millions took to the streets to demonstrate against it both at home and abroad. Bush launched the war nonetheless, in spite of the political jeopardy it exposed him to, for the simple reason that he believed, as did Tony Blair, that it had to be done."

"...To accuse Bush of perpetrating a ``fraud'' to go to war for political advantage is not just disgraceful. It so flies in the face of the facts that it can only be said to be unhinged from reality. Kennedy's rant reflects the Democrats' blinding Bush-hatred, and marks its passage from partisanship to pathology."


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