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Democrats Get a Warning from a Friend

10:39 AM, Apr 3, 2007 • By INFLUENCE PEDDLER
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The writers at the Washington Note lean decidedly Democratic. Today, Scott Paul of Citizens for Global Solutions warns that maybe--just maybe--in their zeal to bug out of Iraq ASAP, the Democrats are coming off as isolationist and patronizing:

My hope over these past few years has been that Democrats and eventually Republicans would embrace a more enlightened view: that people in the Middle East do want freedom - and economic opportunity, and peace, and rights, and dignity - and the United States should work with them as a partner to help them achieve these goals.

This rationale, in my view, is the right justification for redeploying troops from Iraq. Such a step, coupled with international partnerships and continued nonmilitary assistance, can help bring about a political solution in Iraq, as well as progress for Iraq's neighbors.

But I'm not entirely convinced that this is the prevailing attitude in the Democratic Party. I'm worried some Democrats, frustrated with the Iraqis and sensing their constituents' impatience, are simply ready to say, "not my problem anymore" and take up the isolationist cause.

Mr. Paul is far kinder than I would be. I have argued (over here), that in turning the Iraq conflict into a replay of Vietnam, Democrats are setting themselves up for post-Vietnam syndrome. After Vietnam, the voters were unwilling to trust Democrats on national security until the end of the Cold War. The only time they won the White House in that era was a quickly-corrected fluke.

In 2008, the Democratic nominee for president will find that voters do not trust him (or her) on national security issues. If that seems overly broad, consider any likely match-up of presidential contenders. What are the chances that any one of Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John Edwards will be perceived as more credible on national security than Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, or Fred Thompson?

In their race to end the war and further discredit a president who will never again run for office, Democrats are damaging their own future electoral prospects.