Man Without Qualities

Friday, September 27, 2002

Democracy, Liberal Democrat Style II

Mr. Gephardt makes it official. The Democratic Party holds that voters should not be involved in any campaign debate or process that might actually inform them of their representatives' views on war with Iraq and related topics.

Mr. Gephardt and his crowd could not be more wrong. WAR IS INHERENTLY POLITICAL. IT IS A COMPLETELY APPROPRIATE AND INEVITABLE CAMPAIGN ISSUE. If the Framers didn't think war was a political issue, why did they divide up the decisions involving war betwen the President and Congress?

If we and they thought that matters of war were matters of objective principle, the Constitution would assign the power to declare and wage war to the unelected Supreme Court.

But there is no chance that Mr. Gephardt crowd will succeed in removing the war from the campaign. In fact, even Mr. Gephardt's New York Times Op-Ed is itself obviously driven by an excruciatingly pure political fact reported on the front page of the very same edition of the Times: With six weeks to go until the midterm elections, Republicans appear to hold a slight edge in this year's fight for control of the House of Representatives.

Poor Mr. Gephardt. He probably won't get to be Speaker again this year. Boo, hoo. (Mr. Gephardt can take comfort from the Note's opinion that "Adam Clymer goes out on the limb big-time with this front-page New York Times lead.")

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