Friday, November 28, 2003
The NY Times article, Democrats Temper Praise for Bush Visit With Criticism, shows just how much the democrats have lost touch with the country's mood. It would have been smarter politically to give firm and unequivical endorsement of the President's gesture. The closest to the mark was the Jano Cabrera's quote: "visiting with the troops is exactly what a commander in chief should do". In other words, the candidates could compliment the gesture and emphasize that this is what they believe a president should do -- a sentiment in accord with most of America, especially on Thanksgiving. By taking a purely affirming position, it would be easier to remain authoritative. Criticism in the moment, even if coupled with credit for a heavily symbolic gesture, only makes the candidates seem petty. Criticism from the candidates opens them to an attack of the form: "apparently they care more about the election than supporting the troops". The job at hand for all of these candidates is to secure the democratic nomination. Every democrat said the same thing. The president's visit was an opportunity to distinguish oneself from the primary field. The country won't forget the president's gesture. If his visit turns out to be an empty political pandering, he will be criticized vehemently. Thursday, however, he did the right thing.