September 16, 2002
Wag the Dog redux

The Washington Post has this incisive post about the timing of the Iraq issue in reference to the upcoming elections. While all of the usual suspects (Daschle, Biden, B. Clinton, Lehane) are accusing Bush of using the war as a campaign issue (why shouldn't he?), Dana Milbank, the author of the piece, points out the obvious—the Democrats painted themselves into this corner earlier this year.

Democrats brought some of the difficulty on themselves, administration officials say. In July and August, when it appeared there were divisions within the administration about whether to involve Congress and the United Nations, Democrats clamored for a full debate on Iraq. As Fleischer put it: "The Democrats, to their credit, asked the president to make his case. He's doing what they asked him to do."
"The Democrats responded to what they perceived as administration confusion in July and August, but they did not think out the consequences," said Hudson Institute analyst Marshall Wittmann. In a "massive blunder," Democrats demanded exactly what they got from Bush: a debate on Iraq that diminishes Democrats' issues.


It's interesting that Paul Begala, Clinton's former press secretary, is now accusing the Bush administration of the same conduct of which Clinton was accused; he claimed that the GOP was engaged in a vendetta against his boss. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, however, he must feel it is valid, since the target is a Republican.

posted on September 16, 2002 02:45 PM


The Democrats clearly asked for this debate, and they're getting it. That's simple.

The timing of Gulf War Redux has been questioned by many because Bush didn't seem so hurried to go after Saddam pre-9/11. This, of course, is a load of hooey -- he wanted to go after Saddam before 9/11, this is just his excuse.

The fact is that the Dems were in a corner -- they could not ask for debate and thus be attacked by their left, or they could ask for debate and thus get attacked by the right. Either way the Wag the Dog scenario holds no water.

posted by George Paine on September 16, 2002 06:07 PM

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