ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dems Benefit from "Freedom Breaking Out?"

BeldarBlog covers a hilarious piece by Noam Scheiber in The New Republic.

Here are a couple of items that I'd like to comment on from the piece.

[I]n the long-term, I think Bush's democratization initiatives clearly benefit Democrats, assuming they don't find a way to screw it up. Here's why: The Republican base consists primarily of Southern and lower-midwestern isolationist/realist types, Western libertarians, conservative evangelicals, and K-Street taxcutters. (As far as I can tell, no one ever lost a Republican primary by failing to win the neocon vote.) None of these groups gets particularly excited about democratizing foreign countries — either because they think it's a utopian project doomed to fail, or because they think it's likely to do more harm than good, or because they think we could put the money and effort we'd spend promoting democracy abroad to better use at home. Except for a small circle of neocons, the only reason most conservatives support Bush's democratization rhetoric is partisanship — because, absent the democratization rhetoric, Bush's entire foreign policy would look like one big disaster, which would be devastating for the party.

The Democratic base, by contrast, consists of a bunch of activist types who love spending time and money on idealistic causes, and who can be convinced to spend it abroad as long as you persuade them the motivation is pure. They believe in things like democracy, human rights, civil society, responsible governance, etc. with every fiber of their being. (If you don't believe me, just ask yourself which party you think, say, most third world debt-relief activists cast their vote for, or members of the free-Tibet movement, or the groups who lobby for equal rights for women in the Muslim world.) Democrats, in other words, have principled reasons for supporting democratization abroad, which, in many cases, even outweigh their intensely partisan dislike for this administration.
This reminds me so much of liberal activism. Construct the big, paper mache' charicature of Bush eating an Iraqi baby and give speeches and talks calling for debt-relief. Or the Free Tibet bumper sticker that Mark Steyn alluded to in his Spectator piece this week. His wife pushed the no doubt sandal-clad hippie with the Free Tibet sticker on his bumper. Here's how Mark retold it:
The other day I found myself, for the umpteenth time, driving in Vermont behind a Kerry/Edwards supporter whose vehicle also bore the slogan ‘FREE TIBET’. It must be great to be the guy with the printing contract for the ‘FREE TIBET’ stickers. Not so good to be the guy back in Tibet wondering when the freeing thereof will actually get under way. For a while, my otherwise not terribly political wife got extremely irritated by these stickers, demanding to know at a pancake breakfast at the local church what precisely some harmless hippy-dippy old neighbour of ours meant by the slogan he’d been proudly displaying decade in, decade out: ‘But what exactly are you doing to free Tibet?’ she demanded. ‘You’re not doing anything, are you?’ ‘Give the guy a break,’ I said back home. ‘He’s advertising his moral virtue, not calling for action. If Rumsfeld were to say, “Free Tibet? Jiminy, what a swell idea! The Third Infantry Division go in on Thursday”, the bumper-sticker crowd would be aghast.’

But for those of us on the arrogant unilateralist side of things, that’s not how it works. ‘FREE AFGHANISTAN’. Done. ‘FREE IRAQ’. Done. Given the paintwork I pull off every time I have to change the sticker, it might be easier for the remainder of the Bush presidency just to go around with ‘FREE [INSERT YOUR FETID TOTALITARIAN BASKET-CASE HERE]’. Not in your name? Don’t worry, it’s not.
If they only spent as much time and effort DOING SOMETHING, maybe they'd actually achieve results. But no, it's the neocons that liberate millions of oppressed in the Middle East. It's the neocons that liberate women and minorities abroad. It's neocons that appoint American minorities to some of the highest posts in the land...

And to be frank... I bet you that Bubba down in backwater Mississippi knows something that panty-waisted Noam doesn't... That democracy in the middle east isn't just about democracy and freedom in the middle east. It's about eliminating the hatred and idiocy which resulted in the death & destruction that hit the likes of Noam in New York City on 9/11. Unlike Michael Moore (who wondered why they didn't target the red states), Bubba didn't look at the smoldering ruins in NYC and think "Hey... at least they were libs!" And Bubba probably realizes something else that Noam doesn't: Again, from Mark: "You don’t invade Iraq in order to invade everywhere else, you invade Iraq so you don’t have to invade everywhere else."

I have never seen such unity in the GOP due to the terrible attack from 9/11. Now, if you're a Lefty, the previous sentence suddenly morphs into a motive behind another rovian conspiracy, where Atta and the other 18 were actual CIA agents... and the JEWS were warned ahead of time. But, that's the state of the Left today. They've become so illiberal, so anti-Semitic, and so tolerant (and even supportive) of oppression abroad that they're moving closer and closer to the very political ideology that they purport to hate...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler