Flash forward to January 2009, and what do you see? Here’s what I see — a profoundly disaffected portion of the Democratic base.
They’ll either be furious because the GOP will have won the White House for another four years, or furious because a Democrat won, and yet we still have troops in Iraq.
Now mind you, I’m basing this on my assumption that neither Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul nor Mike Gravel is president. Indulge me in this for a moment, if you will.
If you look at comments by responsible, grownup-type Democratic elected officials in response to the Petraeus testimony, you get respectful quibbling over matters of degree — maybe we should draw down a little more quickly, or some such.
It’s only among the unelected professional whack jobs out there whipping up the grass roots that you hear Let’s pull every last American in uniform out of Iraq yesterday!
This is a disconnect that could have serious repercussions, not only for the Democratic party, but for the country.
The problem is that Democratic elected officials, who know better, have thought they had to humor the more excitable antiwar folks up to now, and have never felt like they could say, Hold on, folks — what you’re asking for is completely unrealistic. Think what you want about the decision to go into Iraq — and I’m with you that that was a bad call — but now that we’re there we’re stuck with this problem on our hands for some time to come.
The only way to avoid the crash between reality and expectations that I predicted at the top of this post will be if some of the top Democrats start leveling more along those lines. If not, look for a real mess in 2009.