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Anti-War, or Anti-Bush?

Justin Raimondo notes that the antiwar movement has pretty much fallen apart since Obama became president, even though fighting continues in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, some of the most outspoken peaceniks are starting to sound hawkish now that there’s a Democrat in the White House.

Discussions - 15 Comments

Thanks for the article, though it's not surprising. I saw in the London Times Sarkozy is bitching that Obama's policies are basically the same as Bush's policies (which, the article infers, is why President Obama's treatment by the press is so Gaulling to Mr. Sarkozy's ego). Of course, the Left can make a similar [and mostly justifiable] argument about fiscal responsibility. Nevertheless, the Right's opposition to the Bankruptcy Budget of '09 hasn't come anywhere near the swamp-fever tone that characterized the Left's relationship with President Bush post-2003.

If you look in all the usual places: the New York Times, New Left Review, The Nation, etc. you'll see that the complaints haven't stopped.

Andrew's right. It's not surprising to see the Left being a bit more tolerant of a Leftist President - but they haven't simply stopped rallying against both wars and the money spent on them.

RNC note to Moser: We lectured the left on how irresponsible a rapid withdrawal would be from Iraq. Now when Obama has a de-escalation plan in place, we will scold the left for being inconsistent with his 'peacenik' base with regard to Afghanistan. We know how important Afghanistan is, but never give Obama credit for acting consistently with what we have said for years. And of course never bow down before him like we demanded everyone do with Bush regarding his being a war-president. Obama cannot be a war-president. He cannot be manly, even with the bold and successful killing of the pirates. That too must be said to be inconsistent with the peacenik crowd that elected him.

ren: no one ever wanted anyone to bow down before President Bush - we just wanted you guys to not say things like "The war is lost" or "The surge failed" while American troops were in Iraq fighting and dying (especially since they all proved wrong). Obama has gotten props from lots of people on the right for his handling of the pirate hostage situation - he displayed good judgment in delegating the authority to act to his troops. Also, it would be more helpful to your cause if you made actually arguments rather than always posting sarcastic comments which, curiously, always revolve around manliness.

Anyone who's ever read anything by Justin Raimondo (who writes for, after all) knows he's no shill for the Bush administration, or the RNC.

Recalls to mind Nixon, ending conscription with a single stroke of a pen, and ending too, with that stroke, the so called "student movement."

As for today, posing loses its cachet when assuming the correct posture entails opposition to the nouveau false messiah.

And Matt, the Left did a bit more than complain about Bush's foreign policy. There might still be grumbling in some quarters--even Raimondo recognizes that--but there's no denying that the movement itself has lost its steam. Note that Raimondo, a consistent opponent of the Iraq War from the start, isn't writing in an effort to score partisan points. He's genuinely disgusted.

The anti-war movement(s) were losing steam a good while before Obama was even elected, unfortunately. If you look at the frequency of protests and the numbers involved at each, both declined a good deal during those last couple years of the Dubya administration. It hasn't just dropped off once Obama inherited the mess. Surely, the decreasing numbers of coffins coming into Dover were part of it, but also, I think people really got resigned to Bush's dismissal of them as a "focus group" - regardless of what percentage of Americans thought we should get out. Had Americans surrounded the White House to demand withdrawal from Iraq, Cheney likely would have set up some heavy artillery on the roof and cleared a path for himself to get to the nearest upscale steakhouse.

We'll see what happens if soldier deaths or Afghani and/or Iraqi civilian deaths (caused by whatever, if anything, remains of the "Coalition of the Willing") start to go up to the levels they were a while back. I don't think the left is afraid to criticize Obama. (See Glenn Greenwald, for starters) I know I'm not. What's odd for me is that even though he's been doing a lot of disappointing (and not because he's gone too far left - haha), there's little to no acknowledgement from the right that he's not the Destruction of America incarnate - from their perspective - that they feared (FoxNews and the teabaggers aside). Instead, amazingly, the right's howling that he's a fascist, socialist (or "worse" as Julie Ponzi put it, I think), Communist, totalitarian (see Glenn Beck), etc. (so I'm guessing that all those who thought he was the anti-Christ, Satan, Mozlem terrist, etc. are probably going even MORE unhinged, somewhere in the bowels of blogdom and the basement of FoxNews)

Oh, honestly. If Bush was "evil", as those guys loudly proclaimed, for not immediately withdrawing troops, and Obama is not, then even if the rest of us agree that he is following the right course, the American anti-war movement is still laughable. The anti-war movement was "losing steam" over the last years because the presumption was that Bush would lose the election and that the war would be over. Obama incarnated the anti-war movement. Yet if Obama keeps us in the war, it must be the right.

I am glad he is not being foolish about this. Whenever he is not being foolish, I promise to be very happy. But please, after being blasted for supporting the war, only to be told, now that it is Obama's war, that it is right and good and sensible to stay (although policy has not really changed much) can't we laugh?

I think Craig has a point that the decline in the monthly number of Americans killed in Iraq (along with the stories of declining violence in Iraq) did alot to reduce the intensity of antiwar activism and Kate is right that some of the antiwar activism was aggravated by the fact that many people who were antiwar already hated Bush for a bunch of other reasons and were already inclined to show their disagreement with him. There are probably alot of anti Afghanistan war liberals who disagree with Obama's policy but don't feel inflamed enough to hit the streets. They aren't really mad at Obama personally and while not giving him the benefit of the doubt ON THIS ISSUE, don't want to protest him yet. Its kinda like conservatives with the overspending. Its not like conservatives ever liked Bush's budgets, but Obama rather than Bush being President probably had something to do with the size of the tea parties.

In fairness to the antiwar protesters and the tea party protesters, there is also the fact that Obama's Afghan war is so far much smaller than the Iraq War became, and that Obama's budgets are much worse (from a conservative perspective) than all but the last bailout swollen Bush budget - which populist conservatives reviled.

Of course, the Left can make a similar [and mostly justifiable] argument about fiscal responsibility.

Nope. We can only dream that the Democrats would be as fiscally responsible as the GOP during the Bush years. Given the way the GOP behaved, that's really saying something.

I think Craig has a point that the decline in the monthly number of Americans killed in Iraq (along with the stories of declining violence in Iraq) did alot to reduce the intensity of antiwar activism

Craig has never had a point in his entire miserable existence. The decline in outrage over the war is tied to the Democrats taking over first the Congress and then the WH. It was always fairly obvious that they cared noting for the war except as a stick to beat Republicans with.

John M (I'm gonna give John Moser credit - you must be a different guy) - Can you please update me on my emotional state after you lobbed that bag of bile my way? Is it something like humiliation heaped on top of my misery? Keep me posted, I beg of you. Only you know what I REALLY feel.

Congressional approval is on a huge rise, fueled largely by democrats. What I can't deny is that changes in views on people or issues seem to be related to where the party machinery puts them. While it is a different issue I can't help noticing this gallup poll on Bernakepopularity

Now by party machinery I mean something really vague, such as the accumulated slant of all news stories written by folks who are in turn interpreted to speak for a conservative or liberal view point. Either this or folks simply align Keynesian stimulus and the increased role of the fed with liberalism, but again the policies of Bernake aren't quite different than previously, the scope has changed perhaps?

If I had to pin it on a single person I would say that Howard Dean becomming a CNBC contributor and praising Bernake certainly helped things.

Anti-war or Anti-Bush? Does anyone deny that both are dependent upon overall slant and noise?

There is a natural limit to how incredible you can be about being anti-war, and a natural limit to how incredible you can be about being pro-war, that natural limit is reality, or how authoritative the source is who speaks of a distant reality, and again how you interpret or translate the source, or take at face value what is said. When the facts on the ground change the outerlimits of incredibility shift, leaving ideological folks who used to be incredibly perceptive in an outlier state of confusion and disorientation, and open to being considered extremists.

If Random Walk is true in Politics then Gallup is king.

If Hegel is right politicians read Gallup, and pretend they don't.

Albeit the superlow score for congress was due to the fact that when power was ballanced between parties neither could deliver on promises. Now that democrats can deliver, democrat approval of Congress has gone up considerably pulling the sorry metric kicking and screaming upwards and over the rotten-corpse of republicans.

Now that the american approval of congress is up, conservatives can ignore part of my objection to judicial review/activist supreme court(that congressional approval is too low relative to the judicial branch(more trusted by Toqueville's view of americans))

This political season is full of ...
What are alone the President's speech.

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