If you missed Donald Rumsfeld's remarks today at the Veterans of Foreign [tag]Wars[/tag] National Convention, you missed the Defense Secretary at his least sensible. This guy was on a roll, lashing out at "quitters," who "cannot stomach a tough fight" and are inclined to "blame America first." Throw in a few straw-man attacks and some sycophantic praise for the president and you get the idea. It was quite a string of bumper-sticker slogans.
And, as Matt Yglesias noted, it was also a hint of what's to come.
"For his latest trick, in a speech to the American Legion, Don Rumsfeld gives the full wingnut monte. America faces an undifferentiated fascist menace. Bush's critics are appeasers who don't understand the lessons of history who blame America first and hate freedom. The media is treasonous and a free press is a luxury we can ill-afford in this time of crisis. Etc.
"This, I think we can assume, is the fall campaign. The idea is to psyche the Democrats out. To make them think they can't win an argument about foreign policy. To make them act like they can't win an argument about foreign policy. And to thereby demonstrate to the American people that even the Democrats themselves lack confidence in their own ability to handle these issues.
"It's essential that the debate be joined, and joined with confidence. Rumsfeld is a buffoon. A punchline. A well-known liar. He and his bosses - Bush and Cheney - are running around the country trying to cite the failures of their own policies as a reason to entrust them with additional authority in order to continue and intensify those same failings."
Quite right. Rumsfeld's almost-ugly tirade today wasn't delivered from a position of strength; it was offered in fear. With neither facts nor narratives on his side, Rumsfeld was left to simply pound the table, and hope that no one snickered at the sad rants of the poor man who doesn't know what he's talking about
The Dems' long-time positions, consistently labeled "out of the mainstream," have not only been embraced by most of the public, they're winning over the GOP as well.
As it turns out, Rumsfeld's "blame America first" crowd includes most of America.
And we're pissed.