Mr. McGovern's trouncing by Richard Nixon, a reprobate president if we ever had one, augured the recessional--if not quite the collapse--of such Democratic politics, which insisted our enemy in the Cold War was not the Soviets but us.
It was then that people like Joe Lieberman emerged, muscular on defense, assertive in foreign policy, genuinely liberal on social and economic matters, but not doctrinaire on regulatory issues. He had marched for civil rights and is committed to an equal opportunity agenda with equal opportunity results. He has qualms about affirmative action. But who, in his hearts of hearts, does not? He is appalled by the abysmal standards of our popular culture and our public discourse. Who really loves our popular culture--or, at least, which parent? He is thoroughly a Democrat. But Mr. Lieberman believes that, in an age of communal and global stress, one would do well to speak with the president (even, on rare occasion, speak well of him) and compromise with him on urgent matters of practical law.
Peretz is correct, and history is rhyming as today's Democratic Party once again takes up the mantle of "peace", passionately convinced that the real enemy is not the Islamic fanatics who attacked us on 9/11, but America--particularly under Bush.
Thwarted in their constant attempts to find a way to impeach the President; and not satisfied with simply and constantly undermining American foreign policy during war, the Democrats, egged on by their lunatic left, seem to have lately focused the animosity and bile overflowing from their BDS on an object once removed from Bush and the Republicans--but somewhat easier to impeach.
In addition, it's probably also convenient that he happens to be Jewish. That way they can also symbolically get in a hit on those dreaded neocons, as well as Israel.
Lieberman, once the party's candidate for vice president because of his staunch support of national defense, has sinned. Though his fault, through his fault; through his most grievous fault.
And, his sins--in word and deed-- are unforgivable.
It boils down to this:
No, Lieberman's sin is of a different order. Lieberman stands condemned today because he didn't recant. He didn't say he was wrong. He didn't turn on his former allies and condemn them. He didn't claim to be the victim of a hoax. He didn't try to pretend that he never supported the war in the first place. He didn't claim to be led into support for the war by a group of writers and intellectuals whom he can now denounce. He didn't go through a public show of agonizing and phony soul-baring and apologizing in the hopes of resuscitating his reputation, as have some noted "public intellectuals."
These have been the chosen tactics of self-preservation ever since events in Iraq started to go badly and the war became unpopular. Prominent intellectuals, both liberal and conservative, have turned on their friends and allies in an effort to avoid opprobrium for a war they publicly supported. Journalists have turned on their fellow journalists in an effort to make them scapegoats for the whole profession. Politicians have twisted themselves into pretzels to explain away their support for the war or, better still, to blame someone else for persuading them to support it.
Al Gore, the one-time Clinton administration hawk, airbrushed that history from his record. He turned on all those with whom he once agreed about Iraq and about many other foreign policy questions. And for this astonishing reversal he has been applauded by his fellow Democrats and may even get the party's nomination.
Apparently, amazingly, dispiritingly, it all works. At least in the short run, dishonesty pays. Dissembling pays. Forgetting your past writings and statements pays. Condemning those with whom you once agreed pays. Phony self-flagellation followed by self-righteous self-congratulation pays. The only thing that doesn't pay is honesty. If Joe Lieberman loses, it will not be because he supported the war or even because he still supports it. It will be because he refused to choose one of the many dishonorable paths open to him to salvage his political career.
Many people mistakenly assume that I am a hard-core Republican; but except for Ronald Reagan and GWBush, I have been pretty uninterested in political races. When I was growing up, my family was in fact, pure, straight party ticket Democrat and true blue.
The truth is that since I reached adulthood, I have almost always wasted my votes on Libertarians--in local and national politics; because I believed both political parties were basically corrupt and useless ,and that there was not much of a difference between them.
I have no illusions about the Republicans, I can assure you. For the most part, they are as hypocritical, opportunistic, and unprincipled a bunch as you will ever find. But, even as I contemplate the perfidy of many Republicans, I cannot fail to notice that the Democrats en masse have totally gone off the deep end of the political pool. And the stakes for America and the rest of the world are far too high to waste a vote on their nonsense.
I never doubted for a moment that the US would win the Cold War against communism. But that old defeated enemy has taken form again and allied itself with an even a deadlier and more brutal threat to peace and freedom.
No matter how ridiculous, hypocritical and obnoxious the Republicans are, the Democrats have them trumped and doubled down.
While it is always amusing to watch how much lower the 21st century Democratic Party can sink in its quest to regain power, the root cause of their behavior has been summed up by Victor Davis Hanson :
Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.
It is now nearly five years since jihadists from the Arab world left a crater in Manhattan and ignited the Pentagon. Apart from the frontline in Iraq , the United States and NATO have troops battling the Islamic fascists in Afghanistan . European police scramble daily to avoid another London or Madrid train bombing. The French, Dutch, and Danish governments are worried that a sizable number of Muslim immigrants inside their countries are not assimilating, and, more worrisome, are starting to demand that their hosts alter their liberal values to accommodate radical Islam. It is apparently not safe for Australians in Bali, and a Jew alone in any Arab nation would have to be discreet — and perhaps now in France or Sweden as well. Canadians’ past opposition to the Iraq war, and their empathy for the Palestinians, earned no reprieve, if we can believe that Islamists were caught plotting to behead their prime minister. Russians have been blown up by Muslim Chechnyans from Moscow to Beslan. India is routinely attacked by Islamic terrorists. An elected Lebanese minister must keep in mind that a Hezbollah or Syrian terrorist — not an Israeli bomb — might kill him if he utters a wrong word. The only mystery here in the United States is which target the jihadists want to destroy first: the Holland Tunnel in New York or the Sears Tower in Chicago .
In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around.
If we wish to understand what is happening in the Democratic Party, we need look no further than Hanson's analysis. The Democrats have been infected by a virulent strain of the same bug that was going around in 1938. It first infected the socialists and communists --but sadly, it didn't kill them, it just made them the most opportunistic carriers of the disease. Joe Lieberman is just one casualty of that illness.
"Moral insanity" as Hanson terms the process, seems to be a relatively permanent disorder of the soul, which, due to the ideological purity of the infecting agent causes the sufferer to become detached from reality; and to re-attach to a delusional or distorted reproduction of the real world consistent with the ideology.
Moral insanity results when the malignant narcissism of an individual or group causes them to be so attached to the "ideal" that they are no longer capable of seeing other people as distinct individuals with needs and desires of their own, but only see them as fodder or pawns for the ultimate expression of their precious IDEAL.
This type of insanity is frequently found in the throngs of mindlessly malignant "do-gooders" -- peace activists and the like; who are so immersed in the morass of moral equivalence and political correctness that they are completely blind to the difference between good and evil. In fact, they have become so morally naiive and numbed by their ideology that they regularly confuse the one for the other. See here and here for example.
In this rarified state of living in the fantasy world of their "ideal", appearance and symbol are more important than actually reality--how they feel is more important than the consequences of what they do. Hence, if they deeply, passionately believe they are supporting "peace", then it is irrelevant (to them) that their behavior in reality encourages, enables, and supports those whose goal is war and death.
The end stage of the disease is characterized by the eruption of this kind of psychotic thinking. Frankly, by the time this symptom appears, there is not much that can be done to save the individual or group, as they have wholly, irreversibly committed themselves to the delusion.
The prodromal aura for the end stage is the ruthless elimination and purging of any individual who questions the delusion.
Joe Lieberman is actually morally sane, and that's why he no longer has a place in today's Democratic Party.