Opportunism with a liberal face

I think it’s fair to say that Democrats as a party oppose President Bush’s foreign policy — so much so that they are willing to make purely opportunistic attacks on it that are wildly dissonant with the gist of their own critique of that foreign policy. They apparently think the public doesn’t pay sufficient attention to note the dissonance.

Insufficient attention is not a fault that can be attributed to Peter Beinart, who calls the approach “pander and run” in his Washington Post column this morning. A liberal Democrat who yearns for his party to adopt a respectable foreign policy, Beinart finds the Democrats’ condemnation this week of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki too much to stomach. He finds that the condemnation fits with a Democratic line of attack on Bush administration foreign policy that he calls “jingoism with a liberal face.”

Watching the Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee perform the rites of opposition yesterday to the renomination of John Bolton to serve as America’s ambassador to the United Nations is also dizzying, but with a difference. The Democrats on the committee apparently think that the Bush administration foreign policy requires a more effective advocate than Ambassador Bolton. They strongly question his ability to effectuate American foreign policy at the United Nations. It is a critique that does not quite square with the theme of “jingoism with a liberal face” that Beinart deduces from other Democratic criticisms. It is more like “incoherence with a liberal face,” or “opportunism with a liberal face.”

In this morning’s Washington Times, Alan Dershowitz places Ambassador Bolton in the line of the great American ambassadors to the United Nations: “A public advocate for the United States.” Like Beinart, Dershowitz is a liberal Democrat. Like Beinart, he must bristle at the incoherence and opportunism of the Democratic enemies of John Bolton.

UPDATE: At Gateway Pundit, Jim Hoft provides a striking example of the Democrats’ pitiful performance in the hearing yesterday:

Kerry: Why not engage in a bilateral [rather than multilteral negotiations with North Korea] and get the job done? That’s what the Clinton administration did.

Bolton: Very poorly, since the North Koreans violated the agreed framework almost from the time it was signed.

(Thanks to Instapundit.)


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