One notices odd things when in Iraq about the American political situation back home:
1. Iraqis associate cynicism, even anti-Arabism not with hard-nosed Republicans, but with liberal, supposedly idealistic Democratic liberals, whose serial trashing of them is constantly aired in Iraq;
2. that the Democrats are serving, rightly or wrongly, as sorts of useful idiots in being referenced as a valuable “bad cop” foil to warn the Iraqis to speed it up, lest the domestic forces they fear all too well will cut off funds;
3. invested as it is in the defeat of the US, the leftist base won’t let Democrats get out on front of the changing battlefield in Iraq: the result is a “reform” team of brilliant officers in Iraq who are winning the war, and whose commander the Democrats gratuitously trashed rather than claimed credit for by demanding changes in policy. Before they once claimed they wanted changes at DOD and Centcom to shake things up; they got their wish; and now turned on their once favorites like Petraeus-while giving Republicans sole stewardship for the changed and improving circumstances of the war.
4. The result: if the Democrats don’t wise up, its leadership will have done the impossible. As bad cops they alienate the Iraqis and make the Republicans look statesmanlike while giving them leverage in pressuring the government to make changes (e.g., Look you sheiks! it’s us-or the unhinged Harry Reid); and two, leave a loud trail of defeatism that somehow amplifies in direct proportion to improved news from Iraq.
In short, their loud cut-offs and timetable talk will strengthen our poker hand in Iraq while earning Democrats the charge of fickleness and cynical illiberality; they shunned natural allies like the PhD Petraeus, and his sophisticated highly educated colonels, whom they once in 2004 in fact claimed needed to be listened to; and will now have their clips played all during summer 2008 as defeatists even as the news from the front continues to improve.
It’s like watching Oedipus Rex around line 700-a tragedy that cannot be averted given it was someday inevitable once they mortgaged the party to fringe extremism.