Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lessons for Dems and the rest of us

Sen. Joe Lieberman provided them this week in a WSJ op-ed. Here are extracts followed by my comments below the star line.

Lieberman began - - -

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided. …

This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party.

Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and "inordinate fear of communism" represented the real threat to world peace.

It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemies not because they were inspired by a totalitarian ideology fundamentally hostile to our way of life, or because they nursed ambitions of global conquest. Rather, the Soviets were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved. In other words, the Cold War was mostly America's fault. …

[After 9/11] I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made.

When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves. By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign. (emphasis added)

In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it.

John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies.

There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.

If a president ever embraced our worst enemies in this way, he would strengthen them and undermine our most steadfast allies.

A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned "no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." This is a lesson that today's Democratic Party leaders need to relearn. . . .

Lieberman’s entire op-ed is here.



If anyone thinks Lieberman is overstating the leftward, appeasing, and anti-American drift of the Democratic Party just consider a few things:

The Democratic Party would never give its presidential nomination to a man who for twenty years was an admirer and close friend of a pastor who shouted “God damn gays,” ridiculed “gay America” and claimed gays were deliberately spreading the AIDS/HIV virus.

But its about to nominate Sen. Barack Obama whose close friend and pastor Jeremiah Wright …(do I need to finish the sentence?.

Wear a Confederate flag lapel pin to a Democratic rally. Not so good.

Wear a Che or Bush=Hitler tee shirt to the rally. That's OK.

It’s routine for pundits – including those who favor the Dems – to say something like: “Well, if things are going better in Iraq by the election that will be bad for the Democrats.”

Charles Krauthammer had it right when he said the Democratic Party has gotten to a point where it’s invested in our defeat in Iraq.

Strong words but they're true.

Yes, Dems will say they don’t want defeat; it’s withdrawal they seek.

But surely in their honest moments Dems know in war it’s the losers who withdraw.

That’s why the terrorists in Iraq are doing anything – from killing our troops to deliberately killing children – to get us to withdraw.


Danvers said...

Vice President Joe Lieberman ????

Archer05 said...

I saw this story today, this sort of thing can’t be good for the “Uniter.”

For Sale in N.Y.: 'Jews Against Obama' T-Shirt

New York Sun ^ | May 23, 2008 | Elizibeth Green

Anonymous said...

John -

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Of course, one can ask, why did Lieberman agree to run as Al Gore's VP? Unfortunately, Lieberman, as I have said before, talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. He does not seem to have the courage of his convictions.(So, to danvers, I would say, I would be very disappointed if McCain picked Lieberman. My personal choice is Michael Steele of Maryland.)

Jack in Silver Spring

PS to Archer05 - were that it were so.

Anonymous said...

If one wishes to read what is really in a democrats heart, just listen to what Rep. Maxine Waters said to America about the oil companies and who she wants to control them.

Archer05 said...

I have seen Michael Steele of Maryland on Fox News. I agree with you that he could be a possible VP for McCain. He seems sensible and honest, and that is refreshing to me. I did not pay any attention that he is black, but you can bet blacks did, because he is a conservative GOP.

Joe L. is still a Democrat at heart. I like him, but he is liberal to the core except for one issue. He could hold a cabinet position, but never VP in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous at 8:32 AM via JnC -

Ask Ms. Waters how she voted on all those environmental bills that prevent us from drilling in most of the US? If she's upset at the high price of oil, let her blame the US Congress and even the current Administration. Of course, we elected those representatives, so it we want to play the blame game, let's start with ourselves.

BTW - the government takes 49 cents from every gallon vs. 9 cents for private industry profits. Maybe we should have private industry run the government.

Jack in Silver Spring

PS archer05 at 2:08 PM - I don't disagree.