An Open Letter to the Democratic party.
By William J. Bennett
July 23, 2004, 8:44 a.m.
Shortly after President Bush's inauguration, the campaign to delegitimize President Bush's presidency began: Anti-Bush bumper-stickers such as "Hail to the Thief" were in proliferation. In May of 2001, several newspapers seemingly put this issue to rest. The USA Today wrote: "George W. Bush would have won a hand count of Florida's disputed ballots if the standard advocated by Al Gore had been used, the first full study of the ballots reveals. Bush would have won by 1,665 votes — more than triple his official 537-vote margin — if every dimple, hanging chad and mark on the ballots had been counted as votes, a USA Today/Miami Herald/Knight Ridder study shows." Analyses by the New York Times and other news organizations reached similar conclusions. We soon got past the Florida contretemps, and then an unprecedented attack on 9/11/01 shook our nation to its core. We licked our wounds, girded our loins, and united as a nation. And then, in an effort to ensure neither we nor our allies would be attacked again, President Bush took a forward-looking stance on the war: we would disrupt and end tyrant states and terrorist havens before they could gain the footing and resources to attack us first.
After we began the liberation of Iraq, just as you were winding up for November 2004, the consensus over our national and international war efforts unwound. The personal attacks began anew, the partisanship swung far-left, bumper stickers reading "Re-Defeat Bush" appeared, and rather than propose a serious and legitimate alternative way of governing or waging the war against terrorism, you sprung serious doubt about your seriousness in the most perilous time facing this nation, perhaps since the Civil War. It is not heat you turned up in your campaign to end the Bush presidency, it is fiery hate.
Do not take my word alone. Writing in late 2003 — before he joined the John Kerry campaign — Democratic pollster Mark Mellman wrote, "Democrats hate George Bush....The level of animosity Bush arouses in Democrats appears unprecedented." More recently, the old-style liberal columnist Jack Germond said that Democrats are "just crazed to get Bush out of there."
The "craze" started at the top and moved down the ranks. We have heard the following from the mainstay of your leadership: In 2003, then presumptive Democratic nominee, Howard Dean (number one in the Democratic polls, number one in fundraising), opined on national radio that President Bush "was warned ahead of time" about 9/11. Asked to clarify that speculation on national television, Dean admitted he didn't believe this to be the case but "we don't know and it would be nice to know."
Edited by Ogami, 24 July 2004 - 10:51 AM.