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Mitt Hallucinates Surrender Monkeys

Martin County Democrats

By Tom Blackburn
Palm Beach Post Columnist

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mitt Romney's departure from the Republican presidential marathon included the incredible suggestion that a Democratic president would "surrender to terror." Not only that. A Democrat would "retreat and declare defeat," the wealthy investor said. Wow, how would someone who would do that get any votes?

Mr. Romney is reputed to be intelligent. If intelligent Republicans talk that way, maybe they really believe it. If they believe it, this country is in trouble closer to home than Iraq. The country may be becoming ungovernable.

It wouldn't be objectionable if Mr. Romney said that the Democrats' statements imply putting us in an even worse situation in Iraq than President Bush got us into. So far, what the candidates have said is barely believable when they try to sound specific and vague when they talk about it in general. But you could, with effort, make the case that disaster is where the Democrats are headed.

I would be inclined to say that the first thing Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama would do is to disappoint followers who hope for an early and complete withdrawal. The next president will see that it isn't as easy as it sounds. But a reasonable person might conclude that either would withdraw precipitously and that, five minutes after we left, Al-Qaeda would turn that country into what Afghanistan used to be and appears to be becoming again. That is an arguable point.

What is not open for argument is that Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama plan to "surrender." Obviously, they don't. Who'd vote for that? Many Democrats, probably most, think that Iraq never will stand up and walk by itself as long as we push its stroller. They advocate tough love. That was the Republican program for Americans on welfare. It would not be inconsistent for Republicans to advocate it for Iraqis on the U.S. dole. But they don't, probably because of how Iraq started getting our handouts.

Tough love in this case may be loopy. It may be wishful thinking. It is not "surrender." Democrats do not want to "retreat and declare defeat." It's more like "depart and hope that Iraqis take heart."

The difference between debating the merits and demerits of the tough-love approach and the way Mr. Romney addressed the issue is the difference between saying, "Your policy won't work" and saying, "You are a cheese-eating surrender monkey." One takes apart the other person's ideas; the other tears down his character. Only one approach tends toward wisdom.

Maybe "surrender" was just Mitt wit, but it is a charge amplified seriously on yak-yak radio and blogs. They say loudly and often that Democrats want to surrender to terror. It didn't work for Rudy Giuliani or Fred Thompson. This year, a large majority of voters went for candidates who don't demonize other Americans. But a residual knot of fans of slanderous exaggeration think that the country is headed for surrender in a Porsche.

Now, some of the people who talk like that wouldn't be political commentators if their local dinner theater had recognized their talent. Name-calling is a lucrative substitute career. The pity is that someone like Mr. Romney would legitimize a seedy branch of show biz.

From past experience, we know that half of the voters, give or take, will vote for "giving in to terrorists," as defined by this noisy bunch Mr. Romney finds acceptable. It's really hard to run a business when some of your employees think that half of the other employees want to let Al-Qaeda into the stockroom. It's hard to organize a successful Little League or church bazaar if some of your volunteers think that most of the others, wittingly or unwittingly, support our destruction.

No one can be the president of all the people if a significant group of the people just knows from the start that he or she is an unredeemable supporter of terrorism. You can get along with people you disagree with. You can't get along with people you think support people who are trying to do you in.

It's one thing when Ann Coulter does vituperation. That's show biz. No one would cast her as Dolly Levi anyway. But when it becomes common currency among pretenders for their party's nomination, we lose more than civility.

If you ever wonder where Washington's gridlock comes from, look no further. People who should know better blabber themselves into thinking that there no longer is any loyal opposition. There are only enemies.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Martin County Democratic Executive Committee has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Martin County Democratic Executive Committee endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
This article does not necessarily reflect the position of the Martin County Democrats, we are presenting opinions to encourage dialog and welcome any comments or rebuttals.