April 30, 2006


The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal (PETER BEINART, 4/30/06, NY Times Magazine)

Consider George W. Bush's story: America represents good in an epic struggle against evil. Liberals, this story goes, try to undermine that moral clarity, reining in American power and sapping our faith in ourselves. But a visionary president will not be constrained, and he wields American might with relentless force, until the walls of oppression crumble and the darkest region on earth is set free.

If this sounds familiar, it should. It was Ronald Reagan's story as well. To a remarkable degree, the right's post-9/11 vision relies on a grand analogy: Bush is Reagan, Tony Blair is Margaret Thatcher, the "axis of evil" is the "evil empire," the truculent French are the truculent French. The most influential conservative foreign-policy essay of the 1990's, written by the Weekly Standard editor William Kristol and Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment, was titled "Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy." And since 9/11, most conservatives have seen Bush as Reaganesque. His adherence to a script conservatives know by heart helps explain their devotion, which held fast through the 2004 election, and has only recently begun to flag, as that script veers more and more disastrously from the real world.

Liberals don't have a script because they don't have a Reagan.

reagan and W are actually secondary to the script, which is indeed what the Left lacks because it no longer believes in good and evil, nevermind that America is the former.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2006 7:19 PM

"that script veers more and more disastrously from the [MSM's] real world" The world is getting disastrously for the MSM who deliberately ignore the "real" reality that doesn't fit in their script:


"In a very interesting development, it seems that a woman finally has a chance to assume a powerful position in the [Iraqi] cabinet; ... he supports giving one of the deputy PM posts to a woman, ... explaining that "Safiya al-Suhail is more competent than many of the men in the parliament…".

Meanwhile, in Saudi, "And the key, it seems, is that it has been blessed by the country's new ruler, King Abdullah." And there is "Ben and Izzi", and DubaiLand. Things just keep on improving without the MSM's approval. I bet they'll suddenly discover the changes after Bush's out of office.

Posted by: ic at April 30, 2006 8:21 PM

I read in TNR that Beinart's new book is about how liberals, and only liberals, have the necessary strength of purpose and constancy of commitment to win the war on terrorism.

What's that Beinart says about wild deviation from the real world?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 30, 2006 10:36 PM

Matt: the liberals don't even acknowledge there is a war on terrorism. For the liberals, 911 was a criminal act in which all the criminals were dead. Case's closed. Bush lashed out against Afghanistan, invaded Saddam who was minding his own business killing his own people, which has nothing to do with us. Bush lied us into war. So which war was PB talking about that only the liberals have the strength of purpose and constancey of commitment to win?

Posted by: ic at May 1, 2006 3:25 AM


I have no friggin' clue but I do know a party that polls like this can't be trusted with national security.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at May 1, 2006 3:58 AM

Yeah, Matt, but to be fair to the American electorate, they don't trust the Dems with Nat'l Security.

Even Democrats don't think that their party naturally has a martial side - although about a third of 'em prefer it that way.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 1, 2006 7:31 AM