December 2, 2004

Beinart Gets It -- Will the Dems?

New Republic editor Peter Beinart understands the basic contradiction of the Kerry campaign:

"On national security, Kerry's nomination was a compromise between a party elite desperate to neutralize the terrorism issue and a liberal base unwilling to redefine itself for the post-September 11 world."

The activist base is anti-anti-Islamist, as the left at the start of the Cold War was mostly anti-anti-Communist. The change to anti-communism among many liberals had to be fought for. Will anyone fight for the analogous change today?

The contradiction between the hawkish Kerry (we should have been tougher at Tora Bora) and the dovish Kerry (wrong war, wrong place, wrong time), papered over with silly Vietnam talk and symbolism (the convention salute), was obvious, although attacked superficially (flip-flop). The ruse didn't sell.

That's why people like me concluded Bush, warts and all, was the only option.

Beinart calls for an anti-Islamist liberalism. My guess is that the most likely vehicle for this, if it materializes is, of all people, Hillary. She's a smart enough politician, who campaigned tirelessly in upstate New York, and may have learned something in the White House.

We shall see.

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