I was struck by this statement from a John Edwards campaign advisor, according to OpinionJournal.com, May 24, 2007:
“John Edwards has seen the Bush administration use the phrase ‘war on terror’ to justify everything they do. So although he believes that there are terrorists and terrorism, the phrase itself has become a political tool the right uses to justify whatever they want to do—like Guantanamo, like Abu Ghraib, like warrantless wiretapping of Americans here at home.
Has he used the phrase before? Yes. He has and does believe that America should fight individual terrorists and terrorist groups when they pose a real threat. But as a political doctrine, as a slogan, as a universal justification, it must be rejected because of what Bush and friends have done with it, because it’s backfired, making America less safe.”
There are quite a few folks in public life, in and outside elective office and across the political spectrum, who have thought long, hard, and deeply over the past 5 ½ years about the meaning of 9/11 and the appropriate response to it. As a former U. S. Senator and Democratic nominee for Vice President, one would think that John Edwards might be one of those people. But in describing the current war as a “bumper sticker without a plan”, followed by the comments above from his campaign office, Edwards has revealed himself to be what I have long suspected—a glib, slick, lightweight demagogue; a wealthy personal injury trial lawyer with no depth and no really mature convictions on the issues that matter; as Dennis Miller says, a phony. The fact that he is currently running at least a strong third in the polls (and much better in some states) in the Democratic primary race should be instructive.
As to his campaign advisor’s comments about the war, he and his fellow travelers should remember something about our system that is exceptional among historical world powers. If we had a parliamentary system, we would probably have had elections by now because of Bush’s poll ratings on the situation in Iraq. But we don’t, and the election last November was not the referendum on Iraq that the left would have us believe. To our credit, we have a constitutional republic, one of the great virtues of which is in the fact that, if Bush’s popularity in the polls goes to 0%, he is still Commander in Chief until January 2009 and, under our constitution, the only true legislative branch recourse to his convictions to sustain our commitment in Iraq as the primary front in the war is to eliminate its funding—so have another shot!