I have to admit I had a good deal of sympathy for the Instapundit's "pre-mortem" where he said that if the republicans lose they did it by shooting themselves in the foot. Fortunately for them though, when it comes to self inflicted wounds, the democrats and their putative allies are simply unbeatable.
First there was John Effing Kerry and his "thickos go to Iraq" comment. A comment which could hardly be bettered for showing contempt for the great unwashed public and thereby pandering to the stereotype of democrats as elitist snobs and which he managed to extend into complete disaster through his inability to understand that, no matter what he may have thought he meant, it was practically impossible to defend his statement or claim that he was quoted out of context. The fact that he did this denial though meant that what should have been a storm in a teacup got rather more coverage and hence allowed some US Servicemen and women to really put the boot in (large hires image courtesty of Murdoconline).
If that weren't enough the NY Times manages to shoot the other foot today by exposing the fact that Saddam Hussein had really good plans and designs for nuclear weapons. When I heard the BBC going on about this at breakfast I had problems understanding why the story was supposedly a government scandal. The more I read about it the less impressed I am. Let us concede, for the sake of less argument, that the plans were
dated 1991 or earlier
posted on the internet because no one looked at them
The NY Times wants to claim that this is some major Bush booboo and thereby seems practically Kerryesque in its tin-earedness. To anyone outside the cocoon of the NY Times newsroom the fact that Saddam Hussein had detailed working plans about nukes would seem to vindicate the Bush invasion of Iraq. The fact that these documents were tucked away in the middle of some intelligence agency files can quite plausibly be taken to mean that they were deliberately hidden there to avoid notice by all the UN inspectors. The fact that they were good combines with Iraq's clear attempts, despite Joe Plame's denials, to obtain uranium to indictae that yes Saddam Hussein was still keen on making nuclear bombs and that they might well have been good ones and that therefore the WMD claim is good.
The attmept, as Jim Geraghty notes, seems to have been to show that the Bush administrations handling of post-invasion Iraq has been a mess, something which is probably true, but there is a problem:
I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a "Boy, did Bush screw up" meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the "there was no threat in Iraq" meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh... al-Qaeda.
But worse that ripping apart the justification for non-invasion, I think, is that it won't take the thoughtful voter long to reflect (or be reminded by a repiblican ad) that the democrats have never ever had a strategy for Iraq or anywhere else that is even slightly positive. They have, as in this story, relentlessly followed up errors but have never come up with a clearly ennunciated or well thought out alternative. Nor does it take long for one to have one's attention drawn to other documents in the same archive which the same NYT-liberal-antiwar axis has been poo-poohing as unreliable and possibly forged. Captain Ed makes this point:
The Times has just authenticated the entire collection of memos, some of which give very detailed accounts of Iraqi ties to terrorist organizations. Just this past Monday, I posted a memo which showed that the Saddam regime actively coordinated with Palestinian terrorists in the PFLP as well as Hamas and Islamic Jihad. On September 20th, I reposted a translation of an IIS memo written four days after 9/11 that worried the US would discover Iraq's ties to Osama bin Laden.
As he concludes:
The Times wanted readers to cluck their tongues at the Bush administration for releasing the documents, although Congress actually did that. However, the net result should be a complete re-evaluation of the threat Saddam posed by critics of the war. Let's see if the Times figures this out for themselves.
All I can say is that Karl Rove must have some really astute double-agents inflitrated into the democrats and their allies.