When House Democratic managers tromp to the Senate Wednesday to caterwaul their contempt for President Trump, saddened onlookers will wonder this: Where’s the Democratic Party we once knew, and to which some of us once belonged?
It certainly wasn’t among the unbroken ranks of Democrats scathing the president for terminating an Iranian general who had crossed Mr. Trump’s red line.
The late general obviously confused The Donald’s line with the one President Obama drew, redrew, then drew again, only to scabbard his sword every time.
The Democratic party we once knew certainly wasn’t there among any of the six presidential nomination candidates on stage in Iowa last week.
Not one of them mentioned Iranians’ ongoing rebellion against their Islamic autocracy.
Not one one of the six presidential aspirants alluded to videos on social media from Tehran and other cities.
No reference to the images of demonstrators chanting, “Death to the dictator” and “Death to Khamenei” — the country’s supreme leader.
Not a peep of condemnation for Iranian authorities who killed at least two protesters in the city of Doroud a few days before.
The anti-dictatorship demonstrations aren’t exactly new. By the start of last year, the regime killed 21 protesters and arrested 3,700.
The four men and two women in Iowa who would be president uttered not a word about Iran’s grand ayatollah and his lesser ayatollahs’ daily belittling of women.
Not a murmur about the regime’s intolerance of infidels, freedom sympathizers, hijab-less women, beardless heterosexuals, homosexuals — bearded or not — and all who salute the Great Satan (you know who you are).
No mention by the six Iowa debaters of President Trump’s Jan. 11 English and Farsi tweet:
“The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people. There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching.”
That from an American president whom Democrats hourly berate on a decibel level that would have made the 9/11 Twin Towers destruction sound like a whisper.
Yet nothing audible passed the lips of Bernie, Pocahontas, Mayor Pete, Uncle Joe, Senator Amy or that sixth guy about Trump’s support for Iran’s protesters.
Nor did we hear the six would-be Trump successors even whisper anything resembling “We got your backs” to the people who risked their lives in the streets of cities and towns across Iran.
Not before or after the Iranian military mistakenly downed a Ukraine airliner over Tehran, killing all 176 aboard.
There are no saints in these accidental shootdowns. In 1988, our navy needlessly downed an Iranian passenger flight over Iranian air space, killing all 290 aboard.
President Reagan expressed deep regret.
That’s not the point here.
Nor is it necessary to argue that Iranians who call us the Great Satan haven’t a historic point.
Near the Cold War’s end, London, Washington and our CIA helped overthrow Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, a democratically-elected secular leader of Iran, because he was a socialist.
It might have served us better to say, “Look, your experiment with socialism will fail, but we’re standing by to help you right yourselves, maintain your independence and erect a market economy — when you’re ready.”
Instead, our hawks grasped the oil-drenched hands of the shah of Iran, who carefully beamed an anti-Soviet ardor.
Mohammad Rez Shah Pahlavi was one of the all-time great embarrassments to humankind.
In 1971, he threw himself and Persia a 2,500-year birthday party that cost a world-shattering record $100 million dollars.
Even England’s Queen Elizabeth II found her schedule too full for such gaudy ostentation. Ditto President Nixon, who dispatched Vice President Agnew to natter over the breast of pheasant that Maxim’s de Paris served up — in Persepolis.
Again, in history’s pantheon, saint and sinner may occupy the same body.
The last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was progressive, corrupt and regressive — all at the same time.
He took Iran’s economy from a drop in the bucket to a bucket dripping with bullion.
From the mid-1960s to the late 1970s, he grew Iran’s economy — with the help of oil — at three times the average annual rate of America’s economy.
In 1975, Iran had the cash-in-hand to lend $1 billion to a drowning Britain and another $1 billion to an equally desperate France.
The shah unchained women from Islam’s excesses —and chained Iran’s 29 million people to his galactic self-worship and whims.
And, yes, as usual, our hawks claimed the day. They stroked the Emperor Pahlavi who bought American arms by the billions, nose-thumbed the Soviets by the day and vowed that in a few years Iran would have a higher living standard the the U.S.
It didn’t. It doesn’t. It won’t. Whether kings or clerics rule, they never quite get a handle on market economics.
As always, back in the U.S., the denizens of what President Eisenhower called the “military-industrial complex” profitably wooshed through the revolving Pentagon-White House-Congress-military contractors-PR-lobbyists’ doors.
The Iowa Six never mentioned that the Trumpster is the only president to publicly vow an end to the endless wars that the hawks use to justify their larceny. The Dems could have doffed their caps to him for that and then clawed him for not ending all our wars yesterday.
Whether ultimately Mr. Trump ends or extends those wars or ends communist China’s cheating on the battlefield of trade, he has unsheathed the sword.
He has made it OK for an American president to talk publicly about putting America’s interests ahead of anyone and everyone else’s. Every other nation talks the altruism talk but walks the me-first walk.
The point here lies wrapped in that question: Where’s the Democratic Party we all once knew, and to which some of us once belonged?
It wasn’t only the party’s presidential aspirants who ignored the Iranian regime’s rebels.
So did journalists and political analysts at CNN, the amen corner of the Elizabeth Warren-Bernie Sanders-Pete Buttigieg-Joe Biden party.
The late shah of Iran established a one-party system to serve himself. Poca, Pete and Bernie are bent on establishing a one-party America that will consign Democrats to the disappearing wormhole of the self-absorbed.
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