Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Reality Based Constituency

One thing that remains puzzling about the candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination is their uniform refusal to accept the reality that we have achieved some success in Iraq that appears to have a momentum to carry us through to victory. They uniformly object to keeping troops in Iraq even when they are not in combat and want "an entirely different view" from this plan:

It's astonishing how casually the Democrats regard the fact that there is an "entirely different view" on Iraq waiting to confront them. It's particularly astonishing that they seem to regard this worldview as something exotic and peripheral to the campaign when it may be a defining issue in the general election: Does America want a president who thinks that victory in Iraq is possible and worth pursuing, or a president who is committed to defeat at any cost? In the Manchester debate Clinton refused to acknowledge that the surge had brought any meaningful progress to Iraq. Obama acknowledged some progress, but dismissed it as unimportant. The Democrats act as though victory in Iraq isn't even open for debate in the next election. It'll be interesting to see whether or not they're right.

The nutroots seem particularly resistant to adapting to change in their denial of even temporary success. Heck, throughout this war I've recognized even temporary setbacks, so I know that I'm not blind to reality. But I had confidence in the big picture and broader trends and facts. Yet our Left seems unable to admit even current improvements while insisting that in the long run we'll lose.

So I guess the candidates going along with this deeply held blind spot of their constituency seems natural enough (if depressing for me). That's the reality of their primary contest. But how will it play in the general election in the fall with voters not so invested in our defeat?