Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Who You Calling Appeaser?

Democrats are actively recruiting Iraq War veterans to run for public office. It looks like they're having success with that strategy. Some on the right may cry foul, but in doing this the Democrats are following a longstanding American tradition.

In June 1848, the Whigs nominated Mexican War commanding general Zachary Taylor, counting on his military glory to reverse the damage their party had sustained in -- ironically -- opposing the war that made him a hero. Taylor had no particularly strong political affiliation, and unlike most Whigs he was a slaveowner. Yet young Whig Congressman Abraham Lincoln wrote to his law partner that nominating Taylor would hit the Democrats "on the blind side. It turns the war thunder against them. The war is now to them, the gallows of Haman, which they built for us, and on which they are doomed to be hanged themselves."

The Democrats, of course, tried the same tactic against Lincoln 16 years later. And the Republicans, when the wanted to topple the Democratic Party that had led the nation through World War II, they turned to the nation's top general in that war.