A number of readers have written in to disagree with my earlier post which said the Democrats apparently "have no public figure of sufficient credibility and expertise who can publicly sound the alarm when the president marches off into another bout of foreign policy ridiculousness."
They've written in to suggest this person or that person ... Bob Graham, Madeleine Albright, Sandy Berger, Sam Nunn, Dick Holbrooke and a slew of other worthies. Now as I've said earlier, I think the Dems do have a serious problem on national security questions. But a number of those folks and others are very impressive figures.
I think, however, that the people who wrote in only focused on the first part of what I said without noting the second: "who can publicly sound the alarm."
That's the key.
Over the last two months the foreign policy consensus has slowly crept toward a realization that the administration's handling of the North Korea situation has been, at best, a matter of persistent negligence. More likely I'd say it's been a record of blustering incompetence with intermittent bouts of negligence. But let's allow the benefit of the doubt.
In any case, which Democratic foreign policy type help drive this recognition? Which of them wrote a trenchant opinion column on the issue? Which pushed the issue in a series of TV interviews? I've followed this issue pretty closely and frankly I can't think of any. Where was Joe Lieberman? (I think he put out a press release after the tide had begun to turn. Who knew TPM would have to lecture Joe Lieberman about pursuing his own political self-interest!!! -- Late Correction: I'm reminded that what I'd remembered as a press release was actually a column in the Post. Overall, though, the same point applies.)
Once a week I do a brief spot on the Hugh Hewitt Show. Hugh's an awfully conservative talk radio host and we've come to virtual blows several times over the Korea issue. In one of our first 'set-to's back in early January, at the end of a long back and forth, Hugh said, 'If you're right about Korea, why isn't any elected Democrat out there saying the same thing?'
Now, the lesson Hugh drew from this was that I had it wrong. I didn't agree of course and I think the last six or seven weeks have vindicated my position. But frankly, at the time, it was a pretty damn good question and it wasn't an easy one to answer.
There was a good case to make. Dems were just too lame or too wary of getting out into the public square to make it.
Next up: why blaming the problem on the press doesn't cut it.