Democrats pride themselves on their willingness to engage in diplomacy, to negotiate, to sit down and "dialog" with practically anyone. Senator and presidential candidate Barack Obama indicated during a recent debate that he would meet personally with leaders like Fidel Castro of Cuba, Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who has called for the elimination of Israel and "Death to America."
But there's one leader who is so beyond the pale that even these champions of diplomacy feel the time for talk is over. He must be opposed in all circumstances, even if it means denying plain reality, like the recent progress in Iraq. That leader is not the guy calling America the "Great Satan" though, it's President George W. Bush.
The knee-jerk rejectionism is not limited to issues of national security. Appearing on Meet the Press, Senator Obama proposed raising the $97,500 income limit on Social Security withholding, to deal with the approaching fiscal crisis in the program.
Some on the left were outraged, but of course not at the prospect of a tax increase. What, then, caused their anger? The problem is, President Bush has also argued that Social Security faces a looming crisis, and proposed reforms to try to deal with it. Many liberals are loath to agree with the Bush administration about anything, so it's not enough they defeated the administration's specific solution, they can't stand to admit that a problem even exists.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote angrily, "Lately, Barack Obama has been saying that major action is needed to avert what he keeps calling a "crisis" in Social Security... Progressives who fought hard and successfully against the Bush administration's attempt to panic America into privatizing the New Deal's crown jewel are outraged, and rightly so."
Columnist Joe Conason called the idea there's a problem with Social Security "White House propaganda."
Step one, denial: no problem, nothing to see here but a Bush administration attempt to "panic America," move along. Normally, committed lefties like Krugman and Conason would jump at the opportunity to raise taxes, especially if the targets are above-average earners. But even the happy prospect of soaking the rich can't bring these Bush haters to agree with the president.
Incidentally, they're right to say that health care costs, particularly Medicare and Medicaid, are bigger problems than Social Security. But that doesn't mean Social Security isn't also a huge problem.
The idea that it's just Bush administration fear mongering is fallacious as well. In 1998 President Clinton said, "We have a great opportunity now to take action now to avert a crisis in the Social Security system. ... Before we do anything with that surplus, let's save Social Security first." But for many, as soon as George W. Bush says something, even if Democrats have previously said the same thing, it automatically becomes untrue.
A blogger at the popular left-wing website The Huffington Post, on Obama saying that he'd be able to bring people together across the partisan divide, responded this way: "What this Democrat wants is that our nominee passionately pursue Democratic party ideals, jamming them down the throat of Republicans if we have to..."
Ah, nothing like the spirit of compromise and cooperation. And there it's not just the president, but his whole party that must be rejected and opposed at all costs. Meet with bellicose foreign tyrants? Of course. Compromise with Republicans? Never!
Hillary Clinton has gotten a lot of grief from fellow Democrats because she voted for a recent Senate resolution that designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization. Those objecting haven't done so because the IRGC isn't involved in terrorism, including killing Americans in Iraq. No, they object because to agree to the resolution is to agree with President Bush, a greater threat in the confused minds of many than the Iranians.
As Senator Joe Lieberman said recently, "...there is something profoundly wrong - something that should trouble all of us - when we have elected Democratic officials who seem more worried about how the Bush administration might respond to Iran's murder of our troops, than about the fact that Iran is murdering our troops."
It is indeed troubling. The Democrats appear to hold the morally inverted view that they should negotiate with America's enemies, no matter what, but oppose the American president, no matter what. Those holding such a view shouldn't be entrusted with leading our nation, especially in these dangerous times.