Monday, September 10, 2007

Democrats: Don't Just Sit There Like Burros

I watched most of it on C-Span, and ran a gamut of frustration, embarrassment, disgust, and so on. Gen. David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker laid a huge heap of cherry-picked horse manure on two House committees Monday. It must have taken a long time to collect so much, so carefully. And, for the most part, the Democrats from Ike Skelton on down just sat there like burros.

There were polite questions suggesting the original mendacity of the Iraq war (to her credit, there was a nice moment from Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.); notice of discrepancies between Petraeus' statistical depiction of Iraqi sectarian violence and other reports; and a few observations that, like, we've heard all this before, in 2004, 2005, 2006 ...

But the Democrats sitting in on this were, in general, contemptibly passive. Everybody was just too damned polite.

I was especially embarrassed by a questioner from my home state, Rep. Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas. It's no secret that Solomon has never been the sharpest pencil in the House box. He got elected sheriff of Nueces County, and then somehow persuaded enough voters that this qualified him to represent the Corpus Christi area in the U.S. House. And he's been there for 24 years. It was painful to watch him try to level any incisive questions at Petraeus.

There were a few flashes of what should have been. The New York Times reported:

One of the few lawmakers to challenge General Petraeus was Representative Robert Wexler, a Democrat from Florida, who accused the commander of “cherry-picking statistics” and “massaging information.” He compared the testimony to that given in a 1967 speech to Congress by Gen. William C. Westmoreland, when he said American forces were making progress and would prevail.

But it was, in general, a limp humiliation.

Buffoon Texas gubernatorial candidate Kinky Friedman had, as one of his 2006 campaign slogans, the "de-wussification" of the state. I don't think Kinky had his target picked right. The Democratic Party needs his program, immediately.

Democrats, please -- stop sitting there like burros.