David Schraub at the Debate Link says he doesn’t understand the claim that the Democratic party is a captive of the Michael Moore left. I had thought that David did understand the major influence exerted by the Moore wing when he wrote “unfortunately, while there is a powerful Hard Foreign Policy elite in the Democratic party, the grassroots (Michael Moore, MoveOn, etc.) is decidedly Soft.” Perhaps he was only paraphrasing Peter Beinart, rather than agreeing with him.
David cites the failure of two joke candidates, Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich, as evidence that the Democrats are not dovish. Far more probative evidence, I think, is the party’s utter rejection of the only true hawk in the primary field, Joe Lieberman, the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2000. David dismisses the obvious implication of the Democrats’ love affair with Dean by characterizing him as a “a veritable warmonger whose reputation was inexplicably wholly defined around his opposition to the second Iraq war.” It’s true that Dean was once something of a hardliner on U.S. military intervention, but that was back in the early 1990s. And the fact that Dean’s reputation was defined by his opposition to the current war in Iraq is not inexplicable — this was the niche that Dean successfully carved out in order to rise from obscure former governor of a tiny state to Democratic front-runner. Either that or MoveOn.org should demand its money back.
Finally, we get to John Kerry, the nominee the Democrats settled for when they concluded that Dean was not electable, and one of the most dovish members of the Senate with a 35 year history of opposing the use of American military power. David cites Kerry’s vote in favor of the war in Iraq. But Kerry says he only voted for the war in order to give President Bush leverage with the U.N., so America could pass the global test. In other words, Kerry supported military action against Iraq only if the U.N. would sanction that action. Indeed, after the U.N. refused to sanction our action, Kerry voted to withhold funding for our troops. And during the fall campaign, Kerry most often (though not invariably) took the position that we should not have gone into Iraq. This, perhaps, is the most tell-tale sign of the influence of the Moore wing — with swing voters dubious of Kerry’s bona fides as a hardliner in the war against terrorists and the states that support terrorism, Kerry still had to appease his base by taking a soft line, or at least engaging in double-talk.
Fortunately for the Democrats, they have a champion who seems to get the terrorism issue and can perhaps take on or co-opt the Moore wing. Unfortunately for the rest of us that champion is Hillary Clinton, whose latest move to the right — this time on immigration — is reported in this story in the Washington Times, and discussed below by Rocket Man.
UPDATE by BIG TRUNK: The estimable Michael Ledeen weighs in with “The end of the Left’s history,” and David Schraub fires back at us with “They might be giants.” Schraub’s heading puts me in mind of the fictitious New York Post headline John Updike envisioned on the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to his literary alter ego Henry Bech. Updike’s Post headline commented: “Whodat?”
DEACON adds: David challenges Power Line to “to lay off its mantra of ‘Hillary Clinton = the Evil Incarnate’ and recognize that she has been a relatively effective (and frankly quite hawkish) Senator.” Has that been my mantra? I hope not. When it comes to the war on terrorism, I trust Hillary more than I trust most Democrats (and just about all Democrats likely to receive serious consideration for the 2008 nomination). I disagree with her domestic positions pretty much across-the-board, but I don’t think I’ve ever suggested that they make her evil.
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