It’s The Ghost of Left-Liberalism Past that spooks aging neoconservative and liberal war-hawk pundits. They keep summoning that ghost to displace a gnawing, growing anxiety borne of hypocrisies they dare not face in themselves: These are people who've done a bit too well in corporate America as we know it now to challenge its increasingly degrading seductions, inequalities and worse. Yet they’re too well-meaning to be comfortable defending it, either -- except when they can find enemies and evils that are far worse, at home and abroad.
...Obsessing about what the late Michael Kelly called the left-liberal "sandalistas" is fundamentally a dodge, and it only reinforces a taboo on criticizing new configurations of capital, employment and consumption that are eviscerating social trust. Tuesday’s vote was in part a protest against that evisceration, for which conservative Republicans, their apologists and certain Democratic fellow-travelers like Joe Lieberman bear a lot of responsibility and have no answers. To shout that most liberals have none, either, isn't an answer.
...Similarly, the War on Terror has never been threatened by an anti-war movement, whether led by Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan or Ned Lamont, as much as it has been undermined by that war’s own architects and apologists. “The Good Fight” against terror isn’t selling because Beinart and others have distorted that undertaking badly. Lamont felt driven by such nonsense and Lieberman’s truly awful record of supporting it to ignite the spark that changed the national conversation.
Since the War on Terror is indeed different from the one in Vietnam, Lamont supporters have protested it and its Iraq miscarriage very differently from the way anti-war movement of the 1960s and ‘70s protested. But that hasn’t stopped [Slate columnist Jacob] Weisberg from invoking the ghost of McGovern and Brooks from writing that Lamont supporters “rationalize their [outrageous] behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country.”
When someone writes this way without realizing how accurately he is describing himself, he certainly won’t tell readers that Lamont lost mainly because most Republicans voted for Lieberman -- who estimates that 75 percent of his voters were either unaffiliated or Republican -- and that, even so, Lamont carried Connecticut’s largest, poorest and least-white cities against Lieberman overwhelmingly: Hartford by more than two to one, Bridgeport by nearly two to one, New Haven by three to two. Is that a Net roots triumph? Hardly. Does Brooks’ “comic sociology” hold the answer? Silence.
But who got all this going in the first place? Who, trapped in their own illogic and then their belated discovery that the world is a place too hard for Wilsonian idealism, wound up in the arms of a Senator who’d gone hook, line, and sinker with the Bush National Security Strategy? Can’t pundits and reporters stop peddling the line that Lamont was the candidate of Moore, Sharpton, and Moveon.org? That’s not who he is or ever was, and it’s not what 40 percent of Connecticut voters endorsed, and Brooks, Beinart, and Weisberg should resolve not to insult them by reducing them to the demons in their own fevered imaginations.
"Resolve not to insult them by reducing them to the demons in their own fevered imaginations." What a great point, and a really good article about people who cannot extricate themselves from 60s and 70s paradigms and who cannot acknowledge the influence their own privilege has on their need to defend the status quo. Read the whole thing.