The Democrats have already held their first candidates’ forum for the 2008 presidential election. And ten months before the first primary, one candidate, former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has already withdrawn from the race. And like Peggy Noonan’s friend, I too am wondering why “everyone is obsessing on the presidential race so early?“
For the first time in twelve years, we have a Democratic majority in Congress. Shouldn’t the focus be on their legislative priorities rather than speculation about who will succeed the current Chief Executive? Alas that next year’s presidential campaign has alas impacted the way Congress does business. I highly doubt that Senator Joe Biden (D-DEL) would be working on legislation deauthorizing the War in Iraq were he not trying to reach out to the left-wing base of his party.
It’s unfortunate that the presidential campaign has begun so soon. It has led to an overpoliticization of the war in Iraq, with top Democrats more concerned with criticizing the incumbent’s policies than in considering the national interest — and achieving victory in this conflict. As Senator Joe Lieberman wrote today in the Wall Street Journal:
Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq–or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?
Unlike some of his Democratic colleagues, he recognizes that “the new security strategy . . . differs from previous efforts” and suggests we give our new commander there General David Petraeus “and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.“
But, with the presidential campaign having begun so soon, too many Democrats act as if the incumbent has already lost all authority. Perhaps, it’s because these Democrats –and some even in the MSM — so resent this man and question the legitimacy of his initial election that they have begun campaigning so soon.
Whatever the case, so early a start to the campaign threatens the system of checks and balances established by the Constitution. Like it or not, in November 2004, George W. Bush was elected to a four-year term, to serve as president until January 20, 2009. The Constitution makes him Commander in Chief of the armed forces and also grants him the power to veto any legislation the Congress passes. Instead of posturing for their political base, Democrats need to confront this reality.
People shouldn’t be focusing on next year’s election particularly when our nation is at war this year. We can speculate why the campaign has heated up so quickly, so long before from the first caucuses. But, we can’t lose sight of our nation’s current political dynamics. This does not mean Democrats should refrain from criticizing the president. For I do believe they should speak out when they disagree with his policies, but they should do so in recognition of his constitutional responsibilities and the national interest of the United States of America.
UPDATE: Some good news — Senator Majoriy Leader Harry Reid is going to “delay votes on Biden’s measure to “repeal the 2002 war authorization and narrow the mission in Iraq.”