Peter Beinart’s written some pretty stupid things in his stint as editor of The New Republic, but his November 22 “TRB” column pretty much takes the cake. Here’s why John Kerry didn’t win, in his opinion:
What Clinton recognized–and today’s Democrats don’t–is that, if you’re not making liberals uncomfortable, you’re not going to win.
In my view, John Kerry’s Sister Souljah opportunity was France. Liberals forget that the conflict between Washington and Paris didn’t begin with Dick Cheney; France was actively thwarting American power–and American ideals–throughout the 1990s. Jacques Chirac had the right to oppose the Iraq war, but his virtual campaign to prevent European countries from assisting in the occupation rightly outraged many Americans. Had Kerry stood up to Paris during the campaign, he would have shown he could do so in the Oval Office. And he would have proved that success in the war on terrorism–not multilateralism–was his highest foreign policy principle.
But, while Joe Biden repeatedly criticized European leaders for their complacency in the battle against Islamist barbarism in Iraq, Kerry never did.
If only Kerry had cynically engaged in France-bashing he could have won! Never mind that the French government (along with the Germans and the Russians) was rightfully dubious about the claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction! Never mind that Iraq was one of the more secular countries in the Middle East–it was full of “Islamist barbarism!”
It’s attitudes like Beinart’s that are what’s really killing any attempt to put Democrats back in government. As I mentioned yesterday the DLC’s campaign to move the party to the right is not working to get people elected. At least not Democrats.
Cynical pandering to the current talk-radio mindset isn’t going to win anything for Democrats. Unfortunately for Mr. Beinart, the Europeans were right about Iraq not being a major threat. And considering how the occupation’s been going, if I was a foreign leader, I sure wouldn’t be putting my troops into an American-led war anytime soon.