Hey, I'm a bipartisan basher

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Friends tell me I'm always ripping the Bush administration and Republicans generally. They are wrong.

As an example, the Democratic leaders made a mistake by sending that letter to the president calling for a new policy in Iraq. It came across as a political stunt, and it was one.

Any observer of current affairs is aware of Democratic anger over the nation's policy in the war zone. The letter was unnecessary and afforded the opposition an opportunity to dismiss it as such.

At the same time, the call for a no-confidence vote on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld smacks of opportunism. It didn't help that the leading call came from Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, probably the most irritating liberal in the Senate.

Democrats know a stubborn Bush won't budge. And he's out in public again trying to convince voters the Iraq war is linked with the worldwide assault on terror. It isn't.

As a strategy, Democrats would fare better to let Bush stew in his own words before the November elections. Much of the public isn't buying it.

As for individual Democrats, look at William Donald Schaefer, the 84-year-old comptroller in Maryland. A former mayor of Baltimore and two-term governor, he is an argument for term limits. (I'm opposed to them.)

Schaefer has demeaned himself and the office with ethnic slurs and sexist remarks. His latest is to describe an opponent as looking "like Mother Hubbard" in long dresses. Schaefer has already been forced to apologize for remarks about women, immigrants, and other groups. He has a tin ear.

Maryland Democrats have a chance to dump him in the primary for a room in a retirement home. The sooner the better.