So that got me to thinking--if you could get past that lovely barricade Bush has up between himself and independent thinkers, what would you say? If you got the chance to ask just one question or make just one comment, what would it be?
President Bush, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to ask this question. A few weeks ago, one of my friends enlisted in the army. I told her how proud I was of her, and how she was an incredible person for standing up for what she believed in. Apparently, all her friends had just told her that she was going to die, and I was the first to simply thank her for her selfless choice.
That got me to thinking. I supported--and still support--both our actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. I went to a very liberal High School and attend a very liberal college, so being an Iraq war supporter caught me a lot of flak--all the more so because I'm a Democrat. But I believe strongly that the only way to make our world safer is to improve the lives of those suffering under tyranny--creating stable, liberal, democracies which don't slaughter their own citizens. So I persist in my support, because I know that it is the only way for America to win the war on terror--and failure would be disastrous.
Mr. President, I want you to know how hard you and your party have made it for people like me to continue to support this war. Top members of your party accuse Democrats--any Democrat--who questions our progress in Iraq of "giving aid and comfort to the enemy." Words like "treason" seem to fall off the lips of some of your key supporters on a regular basis--and you do nothing to repudiate them. Everything from the FMA to the Flag Burning Amendment to the Energy Bill has been justified on the basis of 9/11--3,000 people didn't die to become convenient political footballs for Karl Rove. Just last week, your Deputy Chief of Staff said that liberals--all liberals, including, presumably, the hawkish ones like me--wanted to give "therapy" to terrorists after 9/11. Only 1 member of congress dissented from the decision to go to Afghanistan--such a blanket statement is shocking, outrageous, and hurtful to the thousands of us who have advocated vociferously for aggressive American responses to terror. It is also sadly indicative. Given the opportunity to work with Democrats on the Department of Homeland Security, you instead decided to use it as a bludgeon in election 2002. Given the chance to find out, once and for all, what we could have done better before 9/11, you decided to obstruct and stonewall. Given the chance to come clean about where we are on Iraq, you stay behind your spin wall and blithely maintain that nothing has gone wrong. And all the while, there has never been any room in the coalition of the willing for willing Democrats--who were hounded out of office in 2002 and 2004 for not having a little "R" after their name. This is not the behavior of a wartime President. It's the behavior of a President at war--with the opposing party.
Mr. President, upon election you promised to be a "uniter, not a divider." You broke that promise. Myself and other Democrats like me rallied behind you on 9/11 and again before Iraq--you betrayed us. You decided that picking up a few seats in congress was worth more than sending America off to war united as one. Charlie Stenholm, Martin Frost, Max Cleland, Tom Daschle--all voted for yea on Iraq, all defeated in bitter, nasty, partisan campaigns because they refused to pledge loyalty to every word that came out of your mouth. Politics is all well and good, Mr. President, but not when we're at war.
I don't think you can regain the trust you've lost. But I'm willing to give you this chance to try. What do you have to say to the legions of moderate, centrist Democrats and liberals who feel like you've spent the last three years stabbing them in the back?
That's what I want to say. What about you?