Friday, November 15, 2002

# Posted 8:42 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

GIVE PEACE A CHANCE. That seems to be Nancy Pelosi's message to Congressional Democrats. As TNR's solid profile of Pelosi points out, her resistance to authorizing a second war against Iraq has been no less steady than her opposition to the First. But interestingly, she backed the use of force in both Bosnia and Kosovo.

Two interpretations of her behavior suggest themselves. First, Pelosi might be one of those liberals who can only conceive of using force when American security is not at stake. Second, Pelosi might be one of those Congressfolk who only support war when their party is in the White House -- and thus stands to benefit from the rally-'round-the-flag effect that all wars have. Remember when Trent Lott said that in Kosovo we should "give peace a chance"? Position One is sincere but misguided, whereas Position Two is pragmatic and deceptive. I'm not sure which is worse, but I lean toward Two since I think integrity and honor are much more important than success. But either way, it seems Pelosi out of touch with the changes wrought by September 11th.

In contrast, TNR had this to say about Harold Ford, Pelosi's opponent in the race for Minority Leader:
Ford voted for the use-of-force resolution but, in explaining that decision last week, said something simple and profound: "September eleventh changed things for me." In other words, he recognized--as few other Democrats seemed to--that catastrophic terrorism requires a rethinking of how Democrats approach foreign policy.
While Ford's numerous weaknesses as a politician justify the Dems decision to back Pelosi, he still does have something to contribute.

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