Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bush Lite

The Editors have a few words for liberals like The New Republic's Peter Beinart, who want the party to maintain a centrist, "Republican-lite" position (which, in my opinion, has lost us the last two elections.)


When liberals talk about America's new era, the discussion is largely negative--against the Iraq war, against restrictions on civil liberties, against America's worsening reputation in the world. In sharp contrast to the first years of the cold war, post-September 11 liberalism has produced leaders and institutions--most notably Michael Moore and MoveOn--that do not put the struggle against America's new totalitarian foe at the center of their hopes for a better world. As a result, the Democratic Party boasts a fairly hawkish foreign policy establishment and a cadre of politicians and strategists eager to look tough. But, below this small elite sits a Wallacite grassroots that views America's new struggle as a distraction, if not a mirage.

The Editors:

And here we come to the part where Beinart is so perfectly wrong. Rarely is the question asked: why is Michael Moore such a hated figure? He didn't used to be. He used to have network TV shows - it wasn't so long ago he had a show on FOX, for Pete's sake - and, while they didn't get great ratings (unfairly, I think - his style works very well on TV), I think this was largely due to the comedy juggernaut known as "Urkel" rather than to any outcry against his politics. And then, pretty suddenly, he was this horrible bomb-throwing Commie who spoke channeled Tom Daschle's innermost thoughts. Strange.

Or, not so strange. Two factors seem to explain it. One: the ability of Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, or Michael Savage-Weiner to make a living pandering to the basest urges of the Republican base (and that's some base shit), without ever hearing a peep from respectable Republicans about how ashamed they are and how these people are anti-American and are destroying the Party. Secondly: the eagerness for "liberals of conscience" like Beinart to score points in internecine struggles by doing the work of Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell, or Michael Savage-Weiner. It is also instructive to note which party's tactics are winning.