Wednesday, June 29, 2005

"Pottery Barn" Democrats vs. "Home Depot" Republicans

The Wall Street Journal editorial this morning, in response to the Democrats' criticism of the President and their proposals for what to do about Iraq, seems to me to be spot on. After surveying the views of Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Joe Biden, they write:

We stress Mr. Biden's views because he strikes us as one Democrat who understands the stakes in Iraq and seems genuinely interested in a good outcome. The thinness of even his policy alternatives suggests that Democrats really don't have any better ideas than the two-pronged Bush strategy of 1) supporting a new, inclusive democratic Iraqi government and 2) training and deploying Iraqi security forces as rapidly as possible.

As for the sincerity of Mr. Biden's colleagues, we are less sure. That goes especially for the 122 House Democrats--Barney Frank, Rahm Emanuel and Charlie Rangel among them--who last month supported a Congressional resolution calling for a timetable for withdrawal. This is a guarantee of defeat. These are the "Pottery Barn" Democrats, who claim to support the war effort on the premise that since the U.S. "broke" Iraq (rather than Saddam), the U.S. has to fix it--even as they have nothing but criticism to offer.

So what's left? It's not as if there's no room to criticize the President's policy. Senator John McCain insists we need more troops on the ground, and while we think Mr. Bush convincingly rebutted that view in his speech, at least it's an argument worth having. A more serious criticism is the failure so far to inflict harsher penalties on Syria for its continued support for the insurgency. On these and other points, the Democrats could contribute to a victory in Iraq. But that isn't going to happen until more of them, or even some of them, switch from the Pottery Barn to the Home Depot rule: You Can Do It, We Can Help. . . .