That was what Bush accomplished so superbly in his speech: the idealistic position -- spreading liberty -- is now also the realist one: If you don't spread it, in the end your own liberty will be jeopardized. "It is the policy of the United States," said the president, "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." By the end of his second term? Well, not necessarily. But what matters is that the president has repudiated the failed "realism" that showers billions on a friendly dictator like Egypt's Mubarak and is then surprised when one of his subjects flies a passenger jet into the World Trade Center.Whether it's "iron poor blood," silent radios, or post-modern confusion, the Democrats are the party that "just says 'no!'"
You'd think the Democratic Party would welcome this: They spent the days after Sept. 11 yakking endlessly about the need to address "root causes." But, as the pitiful displays in the Senate hearing made clear, they still don't comprehend the new world -- abroad or at home. . . .
There's a big lesson for the Democrats there that goes way beyond the merits of abortion or gay marriage. On Sept. 11, the world came unspun: There's no shame in acknowledging, as Condi Rice did last week, that previous policy -- Republican and Democrat -- toward the Middle East is wrong. But there's something silly and immature about a party that, from Kerry to Boxer to Byrd, can't get beyond spin, grandstanding and debater's points . . . If the president's speech yoked idealism and realism, that doesn't leave much for dissenting Dems except their own peculiar combination of cynicism and delusion.