Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

No big tent here

The Democratic treatment of Senator Joe Lieberman tells me two things. First, the party leadership is essentially in the thrall of, unwilling to brook serious intraparty disagreement about how best to proceed in Iraq. Second, the leaders aren’t leaders, as they claim as their warrant for the position they hold the views of "the majority of the American people." While, last I checked, Nancy Pelosi was wrong about that, it is nonetheless revealing that she seems to be unwilling or unable to imagine taking a position at odds with what she perceives to be public sentiment. I guess she would have been excoriating anti-slavery Democrats in 1860.

Update: More here and here.

Discussions - 7 Comments

Positions on slavery are not related to positions on the war in Iraq. And I hope that you’re not arguing that positions that are in accord with majority sentiment are now out of bounds for political leaders. Otherwise, things like restricting marriage to one man and one woman, as the phrase goes, are indistinguishable from demagoguery. The real disputes over Iraq are policy disputes.


You’re right. Popularity is not an immediate disqualification. But there are occasions when genuine leadership has to overlook the popular in the name of the prudent or the principled. I think that Bush’s Iraq policy, despite flaws in its execution, is both prudent and principled. I think that the policy offered by the Democratic leadership (to the extent that a policy can be discerned from amongst the opportunistic cavillings) is certainly not prudent. And I haven’t found the principle.

My quarrel with Pelosi in particular is with her invocation of public opinion (problematical as it is as a matter of fact) as if that settled anything. If she thinks it actually does, or ought to, then it’s hard to distinguish her from a demagogue.

Thanks for your always intelligent and civil interventions here. Have a merry Christmas, happy holiday, happy Hanukkah, and a great New Year!

as a group, tends to lean or drift in a quasi-pacifist direction.

But they sense this is a losing, even disastrous, stance for them to avow openly, so most of the time they front, as the Congressional Dems did when they pretended to support the use of force against Saddam’s regime in 2002. But when they get an opening (or think they see one) as they have this fall, they’ll show a bit more of their true colors (the hue of ’68) and start bleating out the "quagmire" talking points. The ones who THINK they are smart (but really aren’t) like the pathetic John Kerry, will attempt to execute some sort of straddle.

Howard Dean is refreshing in a way because at least he’s honest and forthright. He’s unaffected by the all the habits of "triangulation" that the Democrats picked up under Clinton, and says out loud what the core of his party really thinks. Of course Dean’s an unvarnished defeatist and the voters will repudiate that, but this just adds to Dean’s appeal for me. Let Howard be Howard.

"I think the Democrat Party as a group, tends to lean or drift in a quasi-pacifist direction."

Oh yes, indeed. A brilliant observation! This must be why most Democrats voted to authorize war power for our recent Freedom Festivals in Afghanistan and Iraq.

What part of "most of the time they front" can’t you grasp, genius? Most Dems voted the way they did on taking down Saddam because they calculated the public would shred their electoral viability otherwise, and once they calculated (w/ egging on from their lamestream media cheerleaders) that Bush and the Iraq war had been badmouthed and talked down enough they began trying to squirm away from their Iraq votes.

And yeah, the Afghans and the Iraqis have now held, what, 4 going on 5 free elections since we toppled the Taliban and Saddam, so "Freedom Festival" may be closer than you think.

Even Dean claims to love the Afghan effort now, mostly to give himself cover for his defeatist blatherings about Iraq, but Operation Enduring Freedom was far more controversial at the time it was launched, w/ a lot of the usual suspects singing the quagmire chorus.


It seems clear to me that based upon recent statements a large number of Dems voted for the war resolutions not as a matter of principle but out of political expediency.

Thanks, Joseph, for the response and for your kind words. Best wishes for you as well!

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