Methinks He Doth Protest Too Much

Methinks He Doth Protest Too Much
Vol: 12 Issue: 26 Thursday, September 26, 2002

I heard someone recently compare the United States Senate to a bunch of idiots. I am sorry to say that at the time, I heartily agreed with the statement.

I would like to apologize, here and now — to any idiots I may have offended by the comparison.

I was fascinated when Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle ripped into President Bush from the floor of the Senate, demanding the President apologize for implying that Democrats were ‘not interested’ in the security of the American people.

Here’s the background statement made by President Bush. “The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people. I will not accept a Department of Homeland Security that does not allow this president and future presidents to better keep the American people secure.”

Daschle went positively ballistic. According to Daschle, Bush was saying the Democrats were unwilling to give Bush the authorization he is seeking to attack Iraq. And that Bush was implying Democrats cared more about their re-election in November than homeland security.

“That is wrong,” Daschle thundered. “We ought not to politicize this war. We ought not to politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death.”

Not to be outdone, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia demonstrated what fifty years in the Senate can do to a man.

[A selected excerpt: “Wrong!” (pause) “Wrong!” (pause) “Wrong!”]

“We’ve got to rise to a higher level,” Daschle said. “Our founding fathers would be embarrassed by what they see going on right now. We’ve got to be better than this, our standard of deportment ought to be better. Those who died gave their lives for better than what we’re giving now.”

“You tell those who fought in Vietnam and World War II they are not interested in the security of the American people” because they are Democrats, Daschle said later in his daily question-and-answer with reporters. “That is outrageous.”

Wow. They got all that out of the previously noted statement about the Office of Homeland Security?

Couple of things to note about that core statement. First, the context. Bush wasn’t talking about the Iraq resolution. He was talking about the debate over elevating the Homeland Security office to a Cabinet level post.

Bush said that Senate Democrats were slowing debate in a politically motivated effort to preserve civil service protections that he said would tie his hands.

So, the tantrum in the Senate was unrelated to Iraq.

And Bush’s response to Daschle’s outburst didn’t sound like it was too concerned with politics to me.

“I am as determined today as I was on September 11th to pursue an enemy which still wants to hurt America,” Bush said. “The American people should expect me and any president to do everything we can to protect the homeland, and I will.”

Assessment:

The threat posed the United States by Saddam Hussein’s regime is real. Bush isn’t making it up. The politicizing of the war is equally real.

It only becomes political when it gets made political. The Bush charge that some in the Senate are more interested in ‘appeasing special interests’ than homeland security has resonance.

Bush wants the authority to hire fire or transfer federal civil service employees of the Office of Homeland Security.

The Senate is holding it up under pressure from labor unions that fear it will erode civil service protections.

Let me say first that they’re right. It WILL erode some collective bargaining power for the labor unions.

At present, federal civil service employees are essentially entrenched for life. The federal government is the nation’s largest single employer. That makes the collective bargaining authority representing them a powerful political force.

Here’s my best effort to translate the doublespeak.

In assuming that the party supported by the federal labor unions is the equivalent to Democrats, Daschle acknowledged the ‘special interest’ pressure referred to in the Bush comment was true.

That’s how Daschle made the connection that Bush MEANT Democrats when he said “the ‘Senate’ is more interested in special interests in Washington.”

Now, how did Bush ‘politicize’ the war?

It was Daschle who decided to take the rest of it out of context, apply it to his own reluctance to act independently of the United Nations, wrap himself in the American flag and demand an apology from Bush for impugning the patriotism of the Democratic Party.

Except Bush didn’t say any of that. The FACTS say all that, but Bush didn’t. The flap in the Senate is over Democratic reluctance to give Bush ‘bargain-busting’ authority.

The Senate has already heard testimony that ’employee entrenchment’ — or career federal civil servants who can’t be fired or transferred for non-performance — contributed to the breakdown of the intelligence gathering apparatus leading up to 9/11.

Let’s look at the equation. The unions don’t like that part of the plan. The unions support the Democrats. The Democrats don’t like that part of the plan, either, although they know it helped bring about 9/11.

A conundrum. Especially if somebody, like the president, points out the obvious. NOW what?

Umm. . .politicize the war by accusing the White House of politicizing the war? Change the focus of the spotlight AWAY from the fact ‘some’ in the Senate are putting their re-election hopes over national security?

This whole thing is an elaborate pre-election con game.

But this is not the time. Nor the place. America is facing a REAL war, against a determined enemy, at a time of unparalleled global unrest.

The Middle East is already primed and ready for war. Even without America’s planned invasion of Iraq.

There are terrorist cells living undetected among us.

America is opposed by most of our traditional allies.

In Germany, all Gerhard Schroeder had to do to come back from behind and win reelection was to hate America with more venom than his opponent did.

Russia announced today it would not support any new UN resolutions against Saddam Hussein.

America, with a handful of allies, stands alone against the rest of the world.

This is not the time for politics as usual.

This entry was posted in Briefings by Pete Garcia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pete Garcia

Christian, father, husband, veteran, pilot, and sinner saved by grace. I am a firm believer in, and follower of Jesus Christ. I am Pre-Trib, Dispensational, and Non-Denominational (but I lean Southern Baptist).

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