Saturday, November 26, 2005

John Powers nails it

Trashing the usual suspects, but also Tom Freidman and John Kerry:
The right's political jockeying finds an echo in the bad-faith fiesta thrown by liberal hawks who must deal with the fact that they promoted an invasion that's turned out badly. None has been more egregious than smug, gee-whizish New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who always seems like the sort of high school history teacher who couldn't finish his doctorate but wows 16-year-olds by calling Brazil "" Although he served as the war's most prominent liberal fig leaf, he's still trying to have it both ways, taking credit for his visionary ideals in supporting democracy and a remade Middle East, then faulting other people for their incompetence in executing the master plan. What did he think he'd get from George Bush and Dick Cheney? They didn't exactly turn Afghanistan into the Switzerland of Central Asia (with opiates instead of chocolates); in fact, they mocked the idea of nation-building during the 2000 campaign, and, in the run-up to war, kept claiming that the whole Iraq operation would be a piece of cake.

Democratic politicians have been just as bad. As Rosa Brooks noted in her Los Angeles Times column, November has become "Repudiate Your Iraq Vote Month" -- which is obviously linked to the war's poll numbers. Years after it might have made a difference, Bill Clinton called the war a mistake, a declaration that was immediately viewed through the prism of his wife's presidential ambitions. Was this Willie's slick way of signaling to liberal voters that, despite all Hillary's hawkish talk, she didn't believe in the war?

Meanwhile, both members of last year's Democratic ticket publicly said that they'd been wrong in okaying the war. While John Edwards did this the canny way -- identifying himself with all the ordinary Americans who put their faith in the president to do the right thing -- John Kerry displayed his customary tin ear. He blamed the administration for misleading him into approving an invasion. (Didn't he learn anything in Vietnam?) "Knowing what we know now," he brayed, "I would not have gone to war in Iraq." Now that's leadership. I imagine he also feels strongly that it was a mistake to have booked steerage on the Titanic, failed to defend Pearl Harbor or traded Shaq to Miami.

It is actually possible now, given the arc of events, that "We suck less" will work as a Democratic campaign slogan. That would be an amazingly lucky turn, as I doubt anything short of the complete implosion of the Repugs would be enough to let the lame-ass bunch of morons we call our own succeed.

Oh, and yesterday I rode in a taxi in a foreign land -- doesn't that qualify me to prognositicate on all the world's ills?


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