Monday, December 06, 2004

Kevin Drum, one of the major liberal bloggers, is taking enormous heat from his wingnut commenters for two posts that examine the premises of the Beinart article and for suggesting that perhaps liberals might need to look at their positions on terrorism and on war. The reaction to Kevin's extremely mild call for self-examination was a blistering torrent of invective and abuse, evasion of his points, changing of the subject and ad hominem argument ad nauseum. Some of it was plainly absurd. A few samples:

"Oh please, the religious right would just as soon deliver the left into trenches filled with fire than express sympathy or offer help with any of their agenda. We on the left want to believe red/blue, us/them, religious/secular are minor differences to be finessed or massaged. They're not. They're real, brutal, clear lines of demarcation. The right views us as the enemy, an enemy just as pernicious and evil and dangerous as any Islamic terrorist. When the left finally comes to realize this truth and works every bit as hard and ruthlessly as DeLay and Rove and Norquist to crush and eventually destroy the right we may save this nation. Don't patronize ANY business you know to be owned or run by a Republican or fundamentalist Christian. Don't hire them if you can legally pull it off. Don't leave them anything in a will, even if they're your children. The children must be made to believe developing into a Republican is the most shameful, dangerous, despicable path a person can travel. Do everything in your power to make their lives as difficult and miserable as possible. "

"This country is too rich and too fat for its own good. Our politics is spinning out of control when otherwise intelligent liberals are sucked into the hysteria. I just hope when we come to a stop somewhere we land in a place that doesn't do the world major harm. "

"The war on Afghanistan was cowardly and futile. An appropriate action to capture and bring to justice those responsibloe for 9-11 would have been acceptable. By far the largest number of people punished were just ordinary poor people who have already suffered too many years of war. The people responsible for 9-11 appear to have escaped, and the whole episode left the US as vulnerable to terrorist attack as before, if not more so. A Democratic Party that doesn't have room for critics of the US war on Afghanistan is not a party I care to work or vote for. "

"I think, as a nation, we all suffer from Bushitis. We are largely a bunch of gutless cowards who refuse to accept any responsibility for our actions. As horrific as 9/11 was, we cannot honestly play pure victim. Bin Laden was partially our creature. Accepting that fact, and learning from it (gosh, that was a screw up, just like Noriega, Sadam, Franco... , let's fix it by getting in bed with Pakinstan...) would be a first real step towards a more secure America."

"...an aggressive, militant policy toward Islamic totalitarianism is necessary simply because any other policy will end up with a lot of dead people."

Let's cut to the chase. By this, you can only mean, "a lot of dead Americans" or "a lot of dead non-Muslims," because our "aggressive, militant policy" has already, and will by definition, result in a lot of dead Muslims. And basically what you're looking for is for some figurehead from the left to come out and say this is OK.

Well, all right. Thanks for clearing that up. I think you're wrong, though. I think a lot of people would respond to a policy that said we would aggressively pursue genuine fairness and justice in our dealings with other sovereign nations."

"Atrios's whole fucking point was that opinions like the one expressed in Drum's earlier post do NOT facilitate "conversation" but rather limit it to a very narrow range of acceptable viewpoints.

Kevin Drum: the Joe Lieberman of the blogosphere."

"I had two thoughts in opposing the Afghan War:1) It is Pashtun tradition that when a man asks another for shelter, then shelter MUST be given, it's a matter of personal honor. If bin Laden was being hosted under Nanawatai, then some degree of sensitivity on our part was called for. Bush displayed a gross ignorance for the culture of the Afghans. There was a chance this could have been resolved peacefully. Afghans, in general, were VERY distrustful of foreigners."

"Fuck you, Lieberman-wannabe."

The tone of the conversation, where the name of a moderately liberal Jew known for his dedication to public service is invoked as an epithet, is not a good indication of rationality - or for that matter, liberality - on the part of people claiming to be " liberals ". These folks however really are not liberals so much as they are Leftists who happen to vote Democratic.

And they appear to be the future of the Democratic Party unless the real liberals - those in the tradition of Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, Robert Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey - align themmselves with moderates to take the world's oldest political party out of the hands of the Hate-America, Chomskyian, lunatics.

I think the process that's going on in the Democratic Party is a useful one. We're finally getting a bright line distinction between the liberals in the party and the just plain Leftists. Whether there will still be a viable party when the dust has settled remains to be seen.
I second what Dave just said. Along these lines, note that the DLC has joined a host of Republicans in calling for Kofi's resignation. One's stance on Kofi may prove to be a good litmus test to distinguish between centrist-Democrats and left-Democrats. I'm waiting to see what, if anything, Kerry and Howard Dean have to say.
I always feel kind of sorry for Kevin, yet amused at the same time. I stopped reading him when election season started up and he moved to the Washington Mothly because he become increasingly mean-spirited and hackish. He has a clientele that reads his blog for part of their daily Bush-bashing fix, but every time he starts making noises that don't sound like the Party Line they all go for his throat. Well, reaping what you sow, etc. I'm just wondering how long it's going to take him to close the comment section.

This is the intolerant left eating their seed corn. As long as they keep attacking their own for wandering off the reservation, they are going to keep losing. As Dave says this sort of show is useful in a grim sort of way, but that's like saying hardline Wahabbists are useful for drawing the disctinction between them and moderate Muslims. It would nevertheless be better if there were far fewer of them.

-- Matt McIntosh
Thanks for that comment, Matt. That was exactly my experience with Drum. When he posted on Calpundit I read him every day. When he moved to Washington Monthly I just couldn't face it any more.
I have to concur with Matt and Dave. While I read Kevin's stuff I only rarely venture into the comment section anymore - too many robotic Bush-haters there now to have an intelligent debate. If Kevin kills his comments section it will be no loss in my opinion. A shame because there used to be some extremely bright ppl hanging out there.
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