[Welcome Instapundit readers.]
My fellow Americans, We have have a long and glorious history that I join you in celebrating here tonight. Let me share with you this deguerrotype of my great great great great grandfather, a penniless drunkard and street-corner pugilist who sat in a Dublin jail, until he was paroled and came to Virginia in 1724, just in time to join in the massacre of the peaceful Massapequasimolie Indians. I would hope you draw strength from this tomorrow when you return to your janitorial duties, brooding about the hour when you will rise up against the robber barons of the beef trust, but none of you are likely to have understood those historical references anyway.
But let me get to the real reason we are here, besides your mandate to disband the Mark Foley Man-Boy Love Association: to change course in Iraq. I know a lot about changing course because I was the Navy Secretary in my young Republican days, when I was one of the people my most enthusiastic supporters would ordinarily revile. Actually, we couldn’t exactly agree on an azimuth, per se. Let me be completely honest: we were really hoping no one would ask. Heck, compared to us, Baghdad is the very picture of placid unity. To begin with, we have more proposals for
surrender redeployment than the Eskimo language has words for snow: the Cindy Sheehan Plan, the George McGovern Plan, the Nancy Pelosi Plan, the John Murtha plan, which would redeploy our troops to nearby Okinawa, and the Dennis Kucinich plan, which I believe requires us to give them back Kuwait and Rhode Island as reparations. So, to the 21 percent of Republicans, 36 percent of Independents, and 49 percent of Democrats who are not hoping that Bush’s newest plan succeeds, your home is with us. Without us to stop him, this president would issue you all burkas and ship your miserable candy asses to Spain. We’re all you’ve got, so quit your whining. Yes, I mean you, Cindy.
I mean, what matters more to you — losing this war or the greater partisan good? Surrender is a pretty flaccid standard to bear into a presidential election. How do you think the purple-state swing voters will like those images of choppers carrying the last refugees out of Baghdad before the militias turn the whole place into Tuol Sleng? A whole lot worse than even the current mess, as we know but would never say, for fear of giving aid and comfort to the President of the United States. And do you think that the members of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who are setting those IED’s will all just settle down where they are and open up garage door opener shops? Hell, if we’re lucky, they’ll be toe-to-toe with the French, who are guarding our flanks in Afghanistan, before the New Hampshire primary. If we’re not, half of them will be in Detroit by Super Tuesday. Thus, it is in our most compelling national interest to dissociate ourselves from any decision for which we might be blamed for that in some way. Plus, the majority still does not want to lose this war, for some reason. That’s why we settled on this “change course” thing instead, because it lets all of you believe that it means whatever you want it to believe, at least until late January, or when we ourselves figure it out.
Well, January is here now, and we have heard from you, the great silent majority of this nation. We hear your call for Democrats to offer constructive and effective proposals for defending America against an death-cult of unspecified religious affiliation that means to kill us in our beds, and which seeks only the time and space to make the necessary arrangements. We have heard you calling for to unite as a nation to win the war against the terrorists, to unite as Americans in a spirit of bipartisan statesmanship instead of clinging to endless finger-pointing. United We Stand and all that. Let me be clear, then: that is not our job. Change your bumper stickers.
Some of you, who feel compelled to dwell on the past, point out that most of my Democratic colleagues voted to invade Iraq in the first place. My party’s leadership has taken the necessary corrective action: it picked me to deliver this speech. Harry Reid did this gig last time, and like 28 other Democratic senators, he voted for this mess. And hey, is my delivery not undeniably better than his? I mean, he’s a nice guy and all, but he’s one part Hume Cronyn and two parts Slim Pickens … post-mortem, that is.
By the way, where does the President get off implying that Senator Kerry has ever missed an opportunity in his distinguished career to vote for failure? As if. But the great majority of my colleagues who voted for this war, innocent little doves that they are, did so because they were taken in by the false pretenses upon which it was sold to us. Sure, we realized that Iraq was a broken, dysfunctional, factionalized, and traumatized hell-hole with more ammo dumps than we have Starbucks. Hey, if you can’t fix it in three years, then call Serv-Pro or something. Though it wasn’t expressly stated in the Iraq war resolution they voted for, their support was understood as conditional upon its political popularity, and on this whole thing being a drive-up, swipe-your-card event. Shockingly, this turned out not to be true. We must now hold this president accountable for this war’s unpopularity.
We Democrats are mostly united in our opposition to sending more troops to Iraq. We weren’t last month, but sometimes, the most important part of accountability is a stealthy retreat. Take my colleage Silvestre Reyes over in the House, who recently noted that this president had sent too few troops to Iraq, who saw the importance of “victory” there (finger quotes here), and who called for sending more troops if need be. That was then; this is now. He was mistaken, kind of like when he unintentionally imitated a retarded person when a reporter for the Congressional Quarterly asked him about the sectarian affiation of Al Qaeda and he said, “predominantly — probably Shiite. Representative Reyes knows that these are just distractions from raising the minimum wage, health care, social security, and the things that really matter to Americans. I have absolute confidence that as Chairman of the Intelligence Commitee, he’ll continue to give those important issues his full attention.
Thus, to keep our promise for a new course in Iraq, we will continue to oppose whatever this president says. Whatever course he says, ours will continue to be anywhere between 120 and 240 degrees in the other direction. First, we will offer a non-binding resolution to oppose sending more troops. As my colleage Senator Levin has noted, “the worst thing” of all that could happen here would be the failure of this symbolic act, so let’s hope we can at least agree on something meaningless.
Second, we will continue to harp endlessly about whatever happens.
Having now declared our opposition to, or the impracticality of, every proposed course of future conduct, we will return the return our national conversation to where it must remain: not on the dangers, risks, and even the hopes for millions that hinge on the result of this war, or how many pyschotic tyrants are already dividing up our lunch money, but an obsessive pursuit of how pretty much everyone in this town managed to screw up the entire year 2003. My colleagues and I will present a bill in the Congress within the next hundred days to double the size of our government’s research on time travel. At the end of this fiscal year, when Project Time Cop has reached fruition, all of us will set our great national Wayback Machine for 2002, bypass all of the fraudulently induced votes we cast, and skip directly to the end of this year. That way, our party and our nation will be united again, and the only unhappy thought we’ll have to think will be the public announcement of the Saddam-Zarkawi alliance, and trying to talk our French allies out of signing the contract for that big new reactor outside Baghdad.