Just as a reminder, nobody called Max Cleland unpatriotic. That’s another one of these campaign fixations the Democrats have from 2002 that they just can’t get over. They can’t get over the fact the guy lost on issues, and the voters rejected him on that basis. There were no charges that he was unpatriotic. As to this business of who calls whom unpatriotic, there’s a story by Ron Fornier of the Associated Press with this little quote, “During a campaign appearance in New Hampshire this past weekend, Howard Dean said, ‘John Ashcroft is not a patriot. John Ashcroft is a descendant of Joseph McCarthy.’ Now, who out there, Senator Kennedy, is challenging other people’s patriotism?
As for the Al-Qaeda ties and the WMD, have we all forgotten that throughout calendar year 1998 Bill Clinton said the same stuff about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And despite what the Swimmer says now, the administration never said Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. In fact Andrew Sullivan went back and did a search and found what Bush actually said. Bush said, “We can’t wait for an imminent threat.” The administration also never said that Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. In fact, it’s frustrating to some of us because they wouldn’t do it. It’s far more likely that there are links between Saddam and Al-Qaeda than not. To this day the administration hasn’t pointed out the training center at Salman Pak where an airline fuselage was used for hijacker training. They haven’t done that, senator, and you know it. Now, who’s lying about this, senator?
Then, there’s Kennedy’s criticism of the cost of Iraq and saying we’re bribing countries to participate. When have you ever been concerned about what the American taxpayer is paying for, senator? Actually what Senator Kennedy is unhappy about is that we’re sending $8.5 billion to Turkey and he’s not the one controlling what we get for it. He’s the one that wants to be in charge of government spending and he doesn’t like Bush moving in and taking over their territory.
The president took the high road, in his response. The Democrats would love for the president to get his back up, and say, “I demand an apology, I can’t believe you’re speaking that way.” Instead, what you hear is the new tone. He’s trying to say that Senator Kennedy has crossed a line, and has engaged now in uncivil discourse. It’s actually far more than uncivil discourse. This is an actionable charge he’s made, bribery.
Frankly, though, when I heard the president’s response, I heard a little bit of Senator Bill Frist when he was asked to respond to the Democrats and their ongoing filibuster of judicial nominations and said, “Well, we hope Democrats someday change the way they are speaking.” I’m paraphrasing, but he said something along the lines that we hope they understand the mistakes they are making and change their behavior down the road. Word has gone out from the White House that they’re just not going to roll up the sleeves and duke it out with these guys.