This column says it right: The Democrats need to stop cowering on Iraq and they need to kick bastards like Dennis Hastert in the teeth when he says the Democrats want "surrender". Here's the key graph:
Attacks of this sort on Democrats are effective because Democrats help make them so. Democrats are so obsessed with not looking "weak" on defense that they end up making themselves look weak, period, by the way they respond to Republican attacks on their alleged weakness. Oh my gosh, many Democrats say, we can't associate ourselves with the likes of Howard Dean or Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader who recently called for a troop withdrawal within six months. Let's knife them before Karl Rove gets around to knifing us. Talk about a recipe for retreat and defeat.
Amen to that. Stop aiding and abetting the Republican smear experts. The American people are on your side. Dionne continues:
What's gone largely unnoticed is that while Democrats show their divisions on the war in Congress, Republicans are more divided at the grass roots. In the most recent New York Times/CBS News Poll, 76 percent of Democrats favored reducing our commitment to Iraq -- 40 percent were for pulling all the troops out, 36 percent for decreasing their numbers -- while 13 percent favored keeping current troop levels and 6 percent preferred increasing their ranks. Among Republicans, 16 percent favored increasing our troop levels, while 37 percent would keep them constant. On the other side, 41 percent supported decreasing our commitment, including the 10 percent who were for full withdrawal.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: The American people respect those who fight for their principles. If we want victory, we need to remember that.