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December 05, 2004

Must-Read: Democratic Disarray

Peter Beinert makes so much sense here that he is guaranteed to be ignored:

The challenge for Democrats today is not to find a different kind of presidential candidate. It is to transform the party at its grassroots so that a different kind of presidential candidate can emerge. That requires a sustained battle to wrest the party from leaders like Michael Moore and MoveOn.

In 1950, the journal The New Leader divided American liberals into "hards" and "softs." The hards, epitomized by the ADA, believed anti-communism was the fundamental litmus test for a decent left — non-communism was not enough.

The softs, by contrast, were not necessarily communists themselves. But they refused to make anti-communism their guiding principle. For them, the threat to liberal values came entirely from the right. To attack the communists, reliable allies in the fight for civil rights and economic justice, was a distraction from the struggle for progress.

Moore is the most prominent soft in America States today. He views totalitarian Islam as a ruse employed by the only enemies that matter, those on the right.

When Moore says "There is no terrorist threat," he only succeeds in harming the decent left. When Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe and Tom Daschle flocked to the Washington premiere of Fahrenheit 9/11, many Americans wondered whether the Democratic Party itself was anti-totalitarian.

If Moore is America's leading individual soft, liberalism's premier soft organization is MoveOn. It was formed to oppose Clinton's impeachment, but after 9/11 turned to opposing the war in Afghanistan. One early MoveOn statement warned, "If we retaliate by bombing Kabul and kill people oppressed by the Taliban . . . we become like the terrorists we oppose."

...

Many MoveOn supporters probably disagree with the organization's opposition to the Afghan war, if they are even aware of it, and simply see the group as an effective means to combat Bush. But one of the lessons of the early Cold War is scrupulousness about whom liberals let speak in their name. And MoveOn, by asking questions such as "Can Democracy Survive an Endless 'War'?," raises doubts about liberals' commitment to defeating terrorism.

Doubts? A bit more than mere "doubts," Mr. Bienert -- given the fact that most of these poeple actively agitated against the Afghan war -- but perhaps a spoonful of sugar is needed to help the medicine go down.


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posted by Ace at 04:37 PM

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