For some reason the high school football coach didn't like that boy. For some reason he hated him. But he had to send him into the game because the one he liked got injured.
The hated one took a punt on his own goal line and ran one hundred yards up the sidelines for a touchdown. You'd think the coach would force himself to give the young man a hug as he left the field and say, "Good going, son," or some such. No way. This coach didn't have the depth or breadth of humanity for such an act. Instead he was livid. He snarled at the sudden hero while the crowd was going crazy with delight. He jumped him even before he got his helmet off and got back to the bench.
"Big shot, huh?" the coach said. "You almost dropped the ball the instant you caught it. You carried it like a loaf of bread. You didn't follow your interference. You almost stepped out of bounds at midfield . . ." and on and on. When the painfully out-of-joint coach finally ended his tirade, the boy asked, "How was it for distance, Coach?"
Which brings us to the unfortunate condition of the Democratic Party today. The Democrats and those who support them are worse than that high school football coach. He was too upset to say the right thing. The Democrats are too calculating.
Include me out of the bare-knuckle crowd that points the bony finger of indignation at all who oppose the effort in Iraq and labels them all traitors. Believe me, I understand the accusation. But you can be disastrous without being treasonous. The truth is, the Democrats invested in American failure. They didn't call a broker and say, "Buy me a thousand shares of American failure." They just slowly but inexorably trapped themselves into a situation in which any American success in Iraq redounds to their disadvantage.
The reason sports will always be more popular than politics is that a touchdown, a home run, a basket or a goal goes up on the scoreboard as what it is; nothing more, nothing less. And there it stays. A "success" in Iraq can be argued away, media-ed away, transmogrified into something completely different or ignored.
A Florida newspaper reader once wrote this question to the "Action Line" attorney, "How soon after the funeral is it proper to read the will?" The attorney's answer: "As soon as you can get from the cemetery to the lawyer's office without appearing to run." That's about how long it took after the undenied and undeniable improvement on the ground in Iraq for the Democrats to change the subject.
During World War II, the media loved reporting the crisp shorthand of American success. It was before television but radio let every American know of the American destroyer's report to headquarters, "Sighted sub. Sank same." When the Japanese forces were dislodged from the Pacific atoll of Makin the communique read simply, "Makin taken!" At one point after the breakout from the Battle of the Bulge near the end of World War II, Gen. Eisenhower wired Gen. Patton, "Do not try to take Trier. Cannot take Trier with fewer than seven divisions." And Eisenhower, to his credit, did not react like that coach or today's Democrats when Patton wired back, "Have already taken Trier with four divisions. Do you want me to give it back?"
That was then, when Democratic cheers were indistinguishable from Republican cheers when America won a victory. No longer.
Think hard! After it became clear the American forces with the help of Sunni tribesmen who learned to hate al-Qaida were finally making undeniably headway on the ground in Iraq, did you hear a single major Democratic voice rejoice? Quit listening. We talk about making mountains out of molehills. How about the Democrats turning thunderclaps into butterfly belches. There have been courageous individual Democrats, including some who opposed the effort from the beginning, who have, indeed, acknowledged success on the ground. But getting the Democratic Party — or a Democratic presidential candidate — to acknowledge reality is a bit like dropping a honeysickle down the Grand Canyon and waiting for an echo.
Instead, we hear what the Democrats have changed the subject to. "Don't talk about success on the ground when the political paralysis in Baghdad is so depressing and shameful." And if the political process in Baghdad improves the Democrats will predictably switch swiftly and effortlessly over to "The electrical grid is functioning miserably," or "Look how many educated young Iraqis are fleeing to Jordan and the west!"
A pundit wiser than I once said about someone behaving like the Democrats are now, "If they can't view the storm with alarm they will view the emergence of the sun with alarm."
The Democrats probably never heard of Ludwig Sertorius but they're preening themselves right now as his mirror image. Ludwig was the late Adolf Hitler's favorite news commentator. In the early days of Nazi conquest against Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, Yugoslavia, Greece, and huge hunks of the Soviet Union Ludwig had no trouble wording his communiques to the German people about the battlefield successes of their valiant Nazi hordes.
In October of 1942, that changed when the British Eighth Army pierced German Gen. Erwin Rommel's lines at El Alamein in northern Egypt and propelled the German army into the longest, fastest retreat in military history: from the gates of Alexandria all the way to Tunisia. (That record may well last forever!)
While the British forces were chasing Hitler's Afrika Korps pedal-to-the-medal westward across North Africa at an unheard-of speed, old Ludwig reassured the German homefolks that, "All British attempts to interfere with our systematic advance to the rear have been successfully smashed!"
The late and sorely-missed screen star Spencer Tracy in "Judgment at Nuremberg" looked a Nazi judge in the eye after sentencing him and said, "You went wrong the first time you knowingly sent an innocent man to jail."
We "judges" of the American predicament now have the right to look the Democratic Party in the eye and say, "You went wrong the first time you decided to use an American setback for your own partisan political advantage."
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