Saturday, August 26, 2006

"Covert Enemies" and the Denethor Democrats.

Michael Barone is a great political analyst. He lives and breaths the stuff and as the longtime author or coauthor of the Almanac of American Politics knows all there is to know about American politics over the last 40 years. He appears to have moved Right over the years from a youthful liberalism to a middle aged moderate conservatism.

I met him in person at the Republican Convention in 2004 after some correspondence and always see what he has to say on his blog.

Anyway he quoted me (anonymously) there and I link to it here. I also reprint the letter (ok email), leaving out his kind reply as I don't publish emails without consent. I have also cleaned up some of my prose. I like the term Denethor Democrats a whole lot and am going to Google to see if I coined it.

Dear Michael:

I woke up early this morning before dawn and read your piece on "Covert Enemies." I was stunned. So I read it again just now. It seems to me that calling those who take the Ned Lamont/college professor line on the Iraq war and the War on Terror generally "covert enemies" is going to cause a furor for you. Putting aside the Ward Churchill's of that contingent, I think it overstates the case and makes you sound a little Ann Coultery. I think they are more enemies of Bush and the Republicans, who if a Democrat was in office, would support most of these moves. Others are simply foolish and think that terrorism will never cause as many deaths as war, and so determine that we should not fight a war that will cause such deaths. Others believe that terrorism is a small law enforcement problem. Some simply calculate that leaving Iraq will hurt the Republicans a lot, the U.S. very little or be a net gain, or think its necessary. These people are to paraphrase Orwell "objectively pro-terrorist" in my view but I don't think they are "Covert Enemies."

I think the majority are "Denethor Democrats." (and in Nebraska, Republicans). That is, like the fellow in the Lord of the Rings who felt entitled to Power and was jealous and fearful of anyone, no matter how well intentioned who would take it away from him, they are likely to see malevolent plots to deny them power behind the Republican's "strong defense" positions. Moreover, they see the problem as so overwhelming and "unwinnable" that a certain measure of despair, and anger at anyone seeing a way to victory, creeps into their world view. Unfortunately, their suicidal tendencies endanger us all.

The piece was accurate for a certain contingent I suppose, but I don't think a tired, old fool like John Murtha is a "covert enemy" I think he's worn, weary and afraid (and loves the attention). Nancy Pelosi is not a "covert enemy" she just has no idea how to deal with an existential threat to everything that San Francisco stands for. John Kerry is not a "covert enemy" he is simply a vain man who believes that he and those like him, would get better results because the are "smarter" and more wonderful than the Republicans, and that no Republican-run operation is worth dying for. Judge Taylor is not a "covert enemy" she is a woman with no understanding of the lawless interstices of international life and of war and the men who would wage it. Cindy Sheehan.....well you have me there. But of the main opposition to the Iraq War and the measures needed to take out the terrorists, and to frame an ideological struggle against Islamicism, is not "covert enemies" of America, but people who are either foolish or tired or do not believe there is a way to win (and indeed have abandoned the very concept of Victory as out moded.

Also, I think we need a new word for moral relativists. Since America is always bad in their estimation they must have a yardstick for moral action that somehow always has the U.S. coming out on the short end.



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

For the love of God, don't you have a new law practice to nourish, or twins to raise, or a computer game to play? This post is nothing more than self-gratification, and confirms my low opinion of Michael Barrone.

I do appreciate the thought you've put into improving Barrone's analysis, though, by not ascribing the worst possible motives to your strawmen, but determining them to be merely weak, cowardly, venal and power-hungry. Very generous.