Thursday, December 02, 2004

Beefing Up the Democrats

Peter Beinart, editor of the influential progressive magazine The New Republic, has written an impassioned essay that identifies the root cause of the Democrats' election defeat and lays out a roadmap for their re-emergence. Entitled "A Fighting Faith," he reaches back to the legacies of Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy to bolster his thesis.

His prescription? Political steroids. And at doses that would make Jason Giambi blush.

Beinart argues that the new Democratic party must, like the post-WWII labor unions, purge those elements that don't subscribe to an aggressive foreign policy on behalf of those oppressed by totalitarianism in all of its forms, especially Islamic terror. Fighting jihadists should be as central to the party as supporting an increased minimum wage. Those "softs" within the party that reject the War on Terror, like MoveOn.org, and Michael Moore, are his principle targets:

"When Moore opposes the war against the Taliban, he casts doubt upon the sincerity of liberals who say they opposed the Iraq war because they wanted to win in Afghanistan first."

Of MoveOn, Beinart explains that it "sees threats to liberalism only on the right. And thus, it makes common cause with the most deeply illiberal elements on the international left."

What Beinart effectively says is that the Democratic left is entirely opposed to the U.S. projecting its power on behalf of liberal values, freedom, and democracy. They don't want us to win.

So Beinart sums up: "The recognition that liberals face an external enemy (Islamic terrorism) more grave, and more illiberal, than George W. Bush should be the litmus test of a decent left."

It will take a serious cocktail of steroids to develop a muscular approach within today's Democratic party. And when you're starting with physiques like Moore's, the dosage may kill the patient.