Senator Joe Lieberman, the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate only eight years ago, gave an extraordinary speech on national security last week that the mainstream media did not cover. It's a shame. And it's a shame the Democratic Party shunned Lieberman and tried to defeat him in a primary. They made it clear that there is no place for him in the party he's dedicated his life to. I'm a Joe Lieberman Democrat.
JFK reportedly remarked, "sometimes the party asks too much." He was referring to the deal his Democratic Party made with southern segregationists to maintain control of Congress. His words are as true now as they were then. Sometimes the party asks too much.
I count myself firmly in the tradition of Wilson, FDR, Truman and Kennedy…and yes, Reagan and George W. Bush. "Go anywhere, bear any burden," "try to do our best to make a world safe for democracy." Our national mission, a worthy and ennobling one, is to expand freedom where we can. These are revolutionary goals very much in keeping with our Founders' vision. They are hardly conservative, let alone neo-conservative goals.
We cannot fight a war by pretending we're not in one. This requires transformative, upset the apple cart thinking. It requires people who are revolutionary, not reactionary. As much as we might like, we cannot return to a pre-9/11 world.
The President is challenging the world with a new order. There is always passionate opposition to change. Have grievous mistakes been made? Yes. But just as Wilson, FDR, Truman, Kennedy, and Reagan laid the foundations for fighting and prevailing in the Cold War, Bush has responded to 9/11 with a foreign policy revolution of similar magnitude: a reorganization of government institutions and appropriate legislation to meet the emerging threats.
Containment and deterrence are ineffective in this brave new world. There is no containment if you can't see the enemy; there is no deterrence if the enemy desires death.
I believe the President's critics are profoundly mistaken. I believe they misunderstand how he's trying to protect us. I believe they misunderstand the nature of the threat. I believe they misunderstand history. If they succeed in dismantling what President Bush has set in motion, the results may well be catastrophic and history will never forgive them.
George W. Bush: a revolutionary liberal internationalist? History may so decree. Let's wait and see.
I enjoyed Ron Silver's portrayal of the "gun for hire" political strategist Bruno Gianelli on West Wing. His new blog offers evidence that there remain a few sane voices on the left. We need more reasoned discussion from left, right, and center.