All tactics and no strategy

Mark Steyn:

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Just for the record, Scooter Libby is the highest-ranking Scooter in the Bush administration, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. All last week, lefty gloaters were eagerly anticipating "Fitzmas," their designation for that happy day when federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments against Libby, and Rove, and maybe Cheney, and -- boy oh boy, who knows? -- maybe Chimpy Bushitlerburton himself. Pat Fitzgerald has been making his list, checking it twice, found out who's naughty or nice, and he's ready to go on a Slay Ride leaving Bush the Little Drummed-Out Boy and the Dems having a blue blue blue blue blue-state Christmas in November 2006, if not before.

Well, I enjoy the politics of personal destruction as much as the next chap, and one appreciates that it's been a long time since the heady days when Dems managed to collect the scalps of both Newt Gingrich and his short-lived successor within a few short weeks. But, as I've said before, one reason the Democratic Party is such a bunch of losers is because they're all tactics and no strategy. Suppose they succeed in destroying Libby and a bunch of other non-household names. Then what? Several analysts are suggesting that the 2006 elections are shaping up like 1994, when Newt's revolution swept the Democratic old guard from power.

It's a bit early for my reckless election predictions, but I'd bet on the Republicans holding both the House and Senate. Though the electorate was disgusted by the sheer arrogance of Democrat corruption, 1994 wasn't just a throw-the-bums-out spasm -- despite Peter Jennings sniffing that "the voters had a temper tantrum." Au contraire, it was also a throw-the-bums-in election. Voters liked the alternative: a coherent conservative agenda. It's quite possible that the electorate will have a throw-the-bums-out attitude to the Republicans in 12 months' time, but I'd say it's almost completely unfeasible that they'll be in a mood to throw the Dems in. There are not a lot of competitive congressional districts, and those that are are mostly in Democrat blue states that, if not yet red, are turning distinctly purple. The Dems' big immoveable obstacle remains their inability to articulate a set of ideas that connects with the electorate. James Carville and Stanley Greenberg are said to be working on a Democrat version of Newt's Contract with America, but Greenberg's a pollster and Carville's an attack dog. Whatever their charms, these aren't the ideas guys.

The difficulty for the left is that if the problem is Iraq, Katrina or pretty much anything else, the solution is not obviously the Democratic Party. The future of Iraq is mostly a matter for Iraqis now, and it's not going badly, as you can sort of tell if you decode the headlines -- "Bitterly Divided Iraqis Take Time Out From Trembling On Brink Of Civil War To Overwhelmingly Ratify New Constitution," "Three Sunnis And Their Pet Camel Boycott Poll In Sign Iraq May Be Becoming Ungovernable," etc. In fact, it's Syria that's bitterly divided and becoming ungovernable, and Baby Assad's fall will not be long now.

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