I turned conservative during the Reagan era, after a visit to the Soviet Union. Will the Democrats take up Peter Beinart's suggestion by purging their Michael Moore's and turning hawkish? The answer is in this morning's Washington Post. Just have a look at E. J. Dionne's response to the president's inaugural address. Dionne is a partisan liberal, but he's also a measured, thoughtful, at times even moderate commentator who represents the Democratic Party mainstream at its best. Yet as far as Dionne is concerned, 9/11 was a tragic but passing event that should not be allowed to redefine American politics, much less America's role in the word. Dionne sees 9/11, not as a world-changing moment, but as a tool misused by Republicans for political advantage. Beinart [editor of The New Republic -- TKM] thinks 9/11 changed the world. That's why Beinart believes the Democratic Party has to change itself in response. Dionne assumes that the Democrats cannot, will not, and should not change. He blames the Republicans for making it seem as though Democrats ought to change. If this is how even a reasonable mainstream Democrat like Dionne sees things, you can bet that Beinart's purge will never happen.
My Soviet visit forced me to confront the reality and danger of the dictatorship we faced. When I got home, I noticed that President Reagan kept talking about the Soviets, while liberals ignored the Soviet Union and were preoccupied instead with Reagan's hawkishness and supposed overreach. The more things change... Anything can happen in politics, but the Democrats seem doomed to be left behind. They cannot change, although the world clearly has.
Friday, January 21, 2005
Stanley Kurtz puts the Left v. Right world view debate in excellent focus today in an excellent post on National Review's The Corner (link in title). He compares two Washington Post columns appearing in today's paper. I've read the E.J. Dionne column, I'll read the Charles Krauthammer one at lunch. Kurtz's analysis of Dionne's column is dead-on. Here's what Kurtz said about Dionne, the Democrats and Kurtz's own political changes: