09/13/2005 11:51 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Telltale Sign Your Party Lacks a Backbone: When It Gets Outflanked on Iraq By Iraq's President

Here's a solid telltale sign that the invertebrates who run the D.C. Democratic Establishment are driving the Democratic Party into the ground: Iraq's own President, Jalal Talabani, is now supporting a timetable for reducing American troops in his country, putting him ahead of most top tier Democrats. When your party is being outflanked by the President of the country that we are supposed to be "helping," you should start worrying that there is a serious lack of leadership in your party - a lack of leadership that not only ignores the most pressing national security issue of our time, but has led to electoral disaster in the past, and could lead to electoral disaster in the future.

It is true - Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy (D), Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D) and a group of Democrats in the House have courageously tried to get their party to get serious on Iraq. But they have been thwarted by the Establishment. As just one example, take that oh-so-smarmy profile in courage, Sen. Joe Biden in this excerpt from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Delaware's Joe Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview Tuesday that there will be a growing demand by lawmakers in both parties for answers from the administration about its course in Iraq, but "I don't expect any Democratic stampede to set a firm date."

In other words, even though polls show Americans oppose the war, want an exit strategy, believe the conflict is damaging U.S. national security, and think the war is hurting the effort to win the War on Terror, Biden and his insulated colleagues in the D.C. Democratic Establishment are openly admitting they have long ago been neutered. They are either staying in the fetal position, or actually publicly reinforcing right-wing spin about the war.

With Talabani's announcement today, the aforementioned polls, and the continuing violence in Iraq, the real question is simple: exactly how politically safe do things have to become for the D.C. Democratic Establishment to actually take a serious stand on Iraq? And, even more interestingly, how is it possible that these insulated dolts do not understand that the longer they wait in their thumb-in-the-wind position of taking no position, the more they reinforce public perceptions that the party stands for nothing?