Their complete unwillingness to use force in foreign affairs makes the present election milestone in Iraq an embarrassment to the party. But Scoop Jackson is dead and buried, Sam Nunn is in private life, and it seems there are no Democrat hawks in Congress who will speak up. They do have one member who speaks incessantly about his service in Vietnam, though he hardly seems much help.
Furthermore, the huge erosion of credibility suffered by the mainstream American media over roughly the last 15 years threatens an unelected Democratic stronghold. As a party they have little to say, and few leaders who can articulate a vision effectively. Now they must communicate through a media that is rapidly becoming far more decentralized and therefore more ideologically diverse than the concentrated hothouse of friendly enablers who have helped them so effectively in the past. The clumsy forgeries offered as late campaign news by CBS last September would have devastated a Republican candidate ten or even five years ago. It has always been the case that “in time the truth will out”, but today the outing takes far less time. There are far more ordinary people taking digital photographs, tapping away on keyboards, taking notes on the behavior of their elected officials, and examining local polling records than ever before. And much of this effort then appears on the Internet where it is sucked into Google’s massive databank and made available to millions for collaboration or rebuttal.
Even the slumber of Democrats might be disturbed by nightmares of Condi Rice as the ghost of elections to come. They are right to worry.