Thursday, June 22, 2006

The war, over the war

There is a little blogwar going on right now between the New Republic (cheerleaders of war-thirsty "Liberal Hawks" worldwide) and DailyKos, over the charge that, supposedly, Kos accepted money from candidates in exchange for endorsing them on his weblog. This seemed unlikely at best to me, and Max Sawicky does a good job of rebutting TNR's wilder charges.

What struck me, though, is this bit in Sawicky's post:

Sectarianism by the way is not an uncommon trait. You could find the same thing in the Ralph Nader Adoration Society or the College Republicans. One always has hopes for 1) a liberal formation that 2) will transcend such weaknesses. On these counts, the Kos hive is oh for two. But they still don't deserve the fictions being served up.

As I think about it, oddly enough you could make a case that this is really about the war. Huh? After all, on most issues Kos is no big leftist. Mark Warner, for chrissakes. Where he really stands out is on Iraq. Where are the attacks mostly coming from? From supporters of the invasion, the current, disastrous occupation, and whatever military tomfoolery is next on the agenda. I can see Peter Beinart on the barricades now, speaking virtually of course.

I'd say they do not look forward to the positive evolution of the anti-war movement, quite possibly in the direction of a more left, radical critique of what Uncle Sam really wants in U.S. foreign policy.
I can't say I disagree. At this point, is there really anything left of TNR but increasingly-feeble attempts to attack anti-war Democrats? Hell, considering the domestic policies of Howard Dean, was there ever a basis for the DLC's "he's an extremist" argument except their pants-soiling terror that Democrats and Republicans might actually disagree about the utility of Bush's adventure?

Sure, it's not as if TNR is right--the public hasn't exactly rallied around the Republicans over the war, and the Dems are freely attacking the war as vigorously as the "Kossacks" were two years ago--but what else do they have, really?

Maybe it's a Walt and Mearsheimer thing, motivated by the worry that the Dems are going to take their anti-Iraq war position and turn it to advocacy of the Palestinian cause (which seems a little unlikely in this day and age). To be honest, though, it seems less about that and more about this fantasy that by embracing warhawk Democrats that never existed, you can somehow "neutralize" foreign policy. Hasn't worked, doesn't work, won't work, and it's just going to piss off the people that you're ignoring and marginalizing.

Or maybe Kos is right, and they're Republicans too afraid to call themselves that. It's quite possible. Maybe even likely. I think it's more likely, though, that they've been so terrified of the foreign policy issue that they're willing to say or do anything to make themselves appear "strong", not realizing how cowardly and servile they appear to everyone else.

Pity, that.

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