Sunday, April 29, 2007

7. Connecting the Dots and Moving On

It’s like one of those dreams in which you keep falling and falling. You try to stop it by waking up, but you can’t.

How does America’s Iraq nightmare end?

No matter what we do now, we are politically, socially and morally damaged. But what could be salvaged from the ruins is some of the honesty and decency that has made us the world’s longest-surviving democracy.

We can start by not expecting this Administration to be other than it is. As in the fable of the scorpion and the turtle, the Bush-Cheney-Rove creature will not change its nature even for self-survival and the Democrats are unlikely to lumber us to safety.

One reality to accept is that, while the struggle over funding makes Bush look stubborn and insensitive, Democrats risk taking on a share of the blame for his fiasco and mounting public disapproval for failure to make progress on other issues.

Instead of hoping for the support it would take to override a spending veto of timetables for withdrawal, they might look back at Sen. Byrd’s warning about withdrawing Bush’s war powers and work toward the majorities needed to do just that. As the ’08 elections get closer, endangered Republicans will surely panic over drowning with the White House scorpions.

The Presidential candidates can do their share. In the first debate, they got as much mileage as possible out of congenial Bush-bashing. The harder work is to convince voters that they are capable not only of ending the national catastrophe with which this century has started but getting us back to our best values and forward to meet the new challenges we face.

We can’t undo the past, but we can use its lessons for doing better in the future. Tell us how.

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