Genuine good news like that reported daily from the Middle East presents a different sort of problem: how do you spin such good news when it didn't result from your efforts (and more probably occurred in spite of them), and how can you jump on the bandwagon now without anyone noticing? The comments of Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, the senior Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, to host Steve Inskeep on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" program this morning may provide some indication of how the Democrats plan to spin the good news from the Middle East:
Levin: We're not going to know whether or not, for instance, this war made a fundamental change for the better probably for a decade.
Inskeep: For a decade?
Levin: Yeah, in terms of fundamental change in the Middle East, absolutely.
Levin then notes the positive democratic developments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but tempers them by saying, "We can't determine whether that is going to stay or whether these are delaying tactics trying to fend off criticism from the West, and we won't know that, I think safely, one can say a decade, optimistically we can say a few years."
This is probably the most defensible position the Democrats can take in the absence of any actual regression in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Palestine, and Iraq. If Syria also begins to show some internal effects either from its ouster from Lebanon or from the democratic movements elsewhere in the region, it too can be safely added to the list without difficulty; in other words, this can be a consistent Democratic position for some time to come -- "It's good, but will it stay good? No one can reasonably say [at least not until there's some more bad news from the Middle East or until after the next election cycle, whichever first occurs]." Well played, Senator.