Thursday, August 02, 2007

Third-Tier Dems Come Up For Air


Sen. Joe Biden's time as a presidential contender is dwindling (was he ever anything but a somewhat plausible Secretary of State candidate?). When the star-driven press ran to Sen. Obama's comments about Pakistan, the gray-haired Delaware senator told the National Review's blog "The Hotline" that he's been saying we should get tougher on Pakistan for "five years".

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, the other foreign policy elder also claimed he had already espoused such a strategy. So why aren't these two making more of a wave in the Democratic Party when foreign policy is what is driving front pages all over the country? Because we don't care about the big picture when it comes to the rest of the world.

It must bug the hell out of Biden and Dodd when pundits relegate their campaigns as vanity projects meant to be an audition for a spot in the future Democratic White House. But, Americans are isolationists at heart and despite our attention on Iraq and the Middle East as a whole, it's not what drives us to the ballot box.

Case in point, if Americans truly wanted a president like Biden or Dodd they wouldn't tell pollsters in droves that they want out of Iraq immediately. A more savvy electorate would understand leaving the region would set off a bevy of unintended consequences and disasters. That sort of appreciation of the complexities of foreign policy is nowhere to be seen in this country.

Despite our lack of attention to the rest of the world we also fancy leaders who represent something more than expertise in a part of the presidential resume. We want vision and someone makes tomorrow seem brighter than the day before. Two elders of the Democratic Party with little to say about anything other than Iraq belong at the state department not in the Oval Office.

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