Friday, April 14, 2006

Who Hates America

Eric Alterman quoted Time columnist Joe Klein as saying that:
The hate America tendency of the [Democratic Party's] liberal wing" had made it harder for Democrats to challenge Republicans on foreign policy.

Klein corrects the quote saying:
What I actually said was "the hate America tendency of the [Democratic Party's] left wing" had made it harder for Democrats to challenge Republicans on foreign policy.

[...]The default position of leftists like, say, Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation, is that America is essentially a malignant, imperialistic force in the world and the use of American military power is almost always wrong. Liberals have a more benign, and correct, view of America's role in the world and tend to favor the use of military force if it is exercised judiciously, as a last resort, and in a multilateral contect--with U.N. approval or through NATO. The first Gulf War, the overthrow of the Taliban and the Kosovo intervention met these criteria; Bush's Iraq invasion clearly did not. That was the point I was trying to make at breakfast.
Klein's post at Huffington is full of comments (it's hard to tell if they are from liberals or leftists) insisting that they do so love America and that Klein is full of it.

Alterman argues back:
“Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation” are not a “wing” of the Democratic Party: They are not even in the Democratic Party, as far as I know. (I also don’t accept that they “hate America,” well, except Alexander Cockburn.) I know Moore was a vocal supporter of Ralph Nader in 2000 as were the people at The Nation to whom—I assume—Klein refers. When one speaks of the “left wing” of the party—that is, people who are running for office which was the clear context of the discussion—one is clearly referring to the likes of Ted Kennedy, Russell Feingold, Barney Frank, and the late Paul Wellstone. Those are the people whom everyone at the assembled breakfast understood Klein to be smearing, as he has done repeatedly in Time and elsewhere.
Many long-time Democrats supported Nader in 2000 as a protest against the party's "mainstream" choice of Al Gore. They all came home to the Democrats again in 2004. Moore in particular was sitting front and center at the Democratic National Convention, sharing a box with Jimmy Carter.

Alterman's selection of "leftist" Democrats looks more like my selection of liberals. There are congressmen to the left of his list. Candidates from the far left are seldom elected to the Senate where they have to run a state-wide campaign. They are more likely to be in the House or in local politics where they can develope a constituance among a smaller group. There are also failed candidates even further on the left who never make it to Congress because of their views. Tom Hayden comes to mind here.

Then there are people associated with the Democrats. Cindy Sheehan has hugged anti-American politicians but she was also photographed hugging Democratic presidential candidate Jesse Jackson. Plus, a Democrat got Cindy a ticket to the State of the Union address. Cindy is a high-profile hate-America leftist and the Democrats allow themselves to be associated with her.

Even 2004 standard-bearer John Kerry has some America-hating quotes in his past starting with his Winter Soldier testimony.

The organizers of the immigrant protests learned quickly. The first protests had people waving Maxican flags. Later protests showed a sea of American flags. The message they were sending was that they love America and want to stay.

The Democrats haven't figured this out. They embraced the anti-war crowd in 1972 and can't let go. Never mind that the anti-war people are often appologists for wars that America is not in and dismissive of any wars that the US fights. These are the people who insist that we are only in Afghanistan because of an oil pipeline that was never built.

Bill Clinton won the presidency in 1992 by appealing to the center. After eight years of centrist policies, Democrats wanted a real liberal. when they didn't get one, many defected to Nader as a protest. In early 2004 they supported Dean for the same reason before going with a candidate they thought would run well against Bush.

In 1992, Democrats wanted the White House enough to nominate a moderate candidate. So far they don't seem ready to repeat past sucesses. The first step is admitting that you have a problem. The Democrats (at least the ones replying on Huffington) don't even see their anti-American fellows.

This is good news for the republicans who otherwise can't seem to do anything right.

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