Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Centerfeud had a good post called " The Democrats: Leftward Ho!" outlining the upcoming campaign by the hard Left, the Antiwar Left and the Blame America First Left to use the 2004 election - regardless of the results - to justify seizing control of the Democratic Party machinery. If Kerry wins it will be because of the energy of the Wingnuts, you see and if Kerry loses it will be the fault of moderate Democrats who support the War on Terror. Trademark reasoning in those authoritarian political quarters.

Well, Anatol Lieven has fired a shot across the bow of the moderates in - no surprise here - The Nation blasting pro-war leftists and liberals as future Neocons and liberal imperialists. Unlike Noam Chomsky, who is more or less seen outside radical circles as a discredited charlatan, Lieven is the hard Left's intellectual heavyweight and a respectable scholar which gives his critique more traction than if it was penned by one of the Nation's gang of would-be, trotskyite, commissars. Paul Berman in particular is the subject of Lieven's wrath ( you can almost hear cries of " Apostate !" in the Lieven article) - or at least the straw man that Lieven represents as Berman's argument in Terror and Liberalism.

Hopefully, the DLC and pro-war Liberals and Leftist like Paul Berman are prepared to fight back against what is likely to be a vicious campaign of character assassination intended to drive them out of the Democratic Party and influential liberal think tanks. The wingnuts are playing for power and by definition if their actions also have a negative effect on the war or American national security - so much the better in their view.

The Right needs to have reasonable and responsible critics and the country needs a vital center to win the war. While it is tempting to react with glee to infighting on the Left, Republicans and conservatives need to keep to the long view. A completely defeatist, anti-American, irresponsible, Democratic Party led by socialist zealots hurling embittered jeremiads and actively sabotaging the war against Islamist terrorism is in no one's best interest.

I've been arguing along these lines for some time now. If Kerry loses in all probability we'll have a replay of the post-McGovern purge of the early 1970's. That's when so many white southern Democrats began to flee the party and set the stage for the current Republican Party.

The real question is what happens if Kerry wins. John Kerry is as far left as you can go in this country and still be mainstream enough to be elected to statewide office (even in Massachusetts). Well, maybe Barbara Boxer but it's still pretty rarified company. I've conjectured (to substantial ridicule) that Kerry will do what nearly every president of my lifetime (the exceptions being Eisenhower and Bush 41) has done after election—he'll bring a bunch of people from his home state along with him. The Massachusetts Democratic Party is pretty far left so that would appear to me to place the DLC-ers and other more moderate Dems at a disadvantage.

The counter-scenario is that Kerry will attribute his victory to the ex-Clintonites he's brought into his campaign with his more recent campaign course corrections. And bring them into his government. Advocates of this point-of-view point to a list of prospective Cabinet appointments including Richard Holbrooke and William Cohen.

So as I see it there are several different possible scenarios for a future Kerry government. The first (and prudent IMO) course is the national unity government: bring Republicans in for Sec'ty of Defense, Commerce, and maybe Interior, Dems for other posts. Second is the party unity government: ex-Clintonites and eastern so-called progressives. Third is the left-leaning government—people like Kerry and somewhat to his left.

Scenario three is where my money is. It's been a long time between drinks for this group.
Oh come now.

First, I know a lot of Kerry folks, including some of his family. He's hardly far left. A center left sort in the final analysis, not far on anything really. Don't go bleating on like the wing nuts. It's unbecoming.

Second, in re Left Wing War, well, one shall see. It would have been helpful of course for the current unpleasantness not to have given the knee jerkers such ammunition (and may I suggest that the problem is the anti war people who are knee jerk anti war, rather than those who opposed the war (including non-leftists such as myself) for what I might call rational cost benefit analytical reasons).
As Mr. Kerry said in the last debate, what do labels mean? In the context of the U. S. Senate, Mr. Kerry is clearly on the left. In the context of U. S. politics, Mr. Kerry is clearly center-left. In the context of world politics he's probably center-right.

I don't disagree with your description of Kerry personally but he has never been a power in the Democratic Party and barring his election to the presidency, never will be. His rise to his current stature is mainly circumstantial. Nor do I have a problem with rational cost-benefit analysis opposition to the Iraq war. That was certainly debatable and for myself I never expected the Bush administration to have mishandled things to the degree thay did in terms of not anticipating the easily forseen.

Clinton tamed the Left - which had tormented Carter and sent Mondale and Dukakis down to defeat - through large fund-raising ability and personnel appointments. When I look around and see, to pick one local example, nutjobs like ex-Weatherman Bernadine Dohrn active, respected and influential in the American Bar Association, I recall that as a network stretching from NGO's to academia to the DNC to Big Labor to Congressional staff and lobbyists, the hard left has weathered the last decade reduced but intact.

They may or may not retain the political muscle to recapture control of the DNC from the moderate/pragmatic Clinton wing without the patronage of a Democratic president behind them. They are starting to make noises in this direction that the attempt is in the offing. We shall see.
Sorry the Anon was me, Lounsbury again.
Wow, these are some of the worst articles I've ever read on the subject of Islamism and Arab Nationalism, and that's saying a lot. Lieven should stick to Chechnya (a nation that should have taught him that Islamism and Nationalism blend nicely), and that knob at Slate simply has no journalistic credibility. He begins with a point to make, and he finds singular examples (not large scale movements) throughout the past 200 years to support his argument. This stuff is on par with kids on the playground screaming at each other. If this is the level of our dialouge regarding the subject of defining our enemies in the Middle-East then Sun Tsu says we're going to get our asses whooped. C'mon guys, can we raise the bar beyond these guys. (BTW: Chechnya: Tombstone of Russian Power is navel gazing in the extreme. It's more myopic than Kaplan's work, but without the engaging travelogue part.)
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