Thursday, May 19, 2005

Can the Center Hold?

The Moose observes that the difference between the United States Senate and a kindergarten playground is adult supervision.

The spectacle of the Senate confrontation over the nuclear option caused the Moose to reminisce about those days of unity after 9/11. We were told that politics had changed and that the two parties would put national unity before partisan gain. Boy, that was short-lived.

Instead, we have two parties that would get failing grades for playground deportment if they were elementary school students. One would think that they could work out their differences rather than bring the Senate to the brink on behalf of some far out preachers and a Doctor's presidential ambitions.

Senator Specter had it right yesterday,

"Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said that both parties were at fault. "These filibusters are the culmination of a power struggle between Republicans and Democrats as to which party can control the judicial selection process through partisan maneuvering".

Hopefully, there can be some adult intervention and bring a halt to this madness. Meanwhile, the President of the United States has abysmally failed to keep the focus of the country on the real war in Iraq. And, there is apparently genuine concern by our military leaders about the progress on the ground in Iraq. From today's New York Times,

"American military commanders in Baghdad and Washington gave a sobering new assessment on Wednesday of the war in Iraq, adding to the mood of anxiety that prompted Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to come to Baghdad last weekend to consult with the new government.

"In interviews and briefings this week, some of the generals pulled back from recent suggestions, some by the same officers, that positive trends in Iraq could allow a major drawdown in the 138,000 American troops late this year or early in 2006. One officer suggested Wednesday that American military involvement could last "many years."

"Gen. John P. Abizaid, the top American officer in the Middle East, said in a briefing in Washington that one problem was the disappointing progress in developing Iraqi police units cohesive enough to mount an effective challenge to insurgents and allow American forces to begin stepping back from the fighting. General Abizaid, who speaks with President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld regularly, was in Washington this week for a meeting of regional commanders...

"I think that this could still fail," the officer said at the briefing, referring to the American enterprise in Iraq. "It's much more likely to succeed, but it could still fail."

In view of these assessments, one would think that the President and our Congressional leaders would be single-minded about winning the Iraq war instead of instigating a war between the parties here at home. The President's legacy is written - "He divided America."

Here's a modest proposal - although it is impossible to replicate the danger of Iraq, why not at least bring the temperature of the Senate to around 100 degrees and let the Senators debate in that environment? Maybe it will concentrate the mind and bring a halt to this schoolyard scrum between our version of the Shiites and the Sunnis.

More than ever, America needs a politics of national greatness and unity that puts the country's interests first. Can the two parties accommodate this desire or is there a need for another vehicle?

Can the center hold?

-- Posted at 8:20 AM | Link to this post | Email this post