Monday, October 02, 2006

Neocons Bid for the Democratic Party

As critics have noted, neoconservatives are a small, numerically insignificant group of intellectuals who move like parasites from one political party to the other, as the sands shift. Their aim is to influence foreign, not domestic, policy, and their interest centers almost exclusively on the Middle East. Need proof of that statement? Simply consider that three leftist governments have recently emerged in Latin America with nary a neocon peep.

In the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, Frank Rich takes aim at former New Republic editor Peter Beinart, who recently published The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals— Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again.

As the former editor of The New Republic (he has since left that post to become a columnist for the magazine), he was a combative, at times shrill, voice of liberal hawkishness before the war. He has since, like many (nearly all) in his camp, had a change of heart. "I supported the war because I considered it the only remaining way to prevent Saddam Hussein from obtaining a nuclear bomb," he writes in his introduction.

But Beinart hasn't really moved on. He still believes removing Saddam was the only viable option, and he believes those who opposed the war were even more wrong than he was. He wrings his hands about Democrats becoming incapable of fighting Islamic extremists due to pressure from, among others, the netroots.

Rich blasts him for his criticism of Democratic blogs:

Beinart's hyperventilating over the threat of a supposedly resurgent left is a reminder of the habits of mind that led him to the mistakes this book wants to apologize for. Once again, worst-case logic has become a filter, preventing him from looking clearly at the evidence. Writing of liberal activists who blog at, he frets that "their idealism, and their outrage, is directed almost exclusively against the right."

In the long-term, the success of the Democratic party will depend, in part, on identifying the neoconservatives in its midst who will attempt to hijack the party to the same misguided and tragic ends the Bush administration has pursued. Just as true conservatives have done, true progressives must identify them, their think tanks and their publications to make sure neoconservatives, however they are next manifested, are never again given access to this nation's halls of power. Yes, radical Muslisms are a threat to America. And so are neoconservatives.

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