The Spectacle Blog

Return of the McGovernites

By on 8.7.06 | 11:45AM

Over at Opinion Journal, Martin Peretz reflects on the ascendance of Ned Lamont, who represents the return of the "peace" Democrats and an early Christmas present for Republicans.

Since Sept. 11, and especially since the Iraq War, the Democratic Party has faced a dilemma. Should it appeal to the vehemently anti-War Left at the risk of alienating moderates? Or should it target moderates at the risk of alienating the base of the party? While John Kerry did seem to have a special knack for flip-flopping, his need to do so was rooted in the intra-party warfare among Democrats. He had to criticize the Iraq War as a big mistake to satisfy Howard Dean voters while still sounding hawkish enough to attract moderates. As a result he had no discernable position on the war.

Over at the headquarters of the modern anti-war left, Daily Kos, they believe that the idea of the Angry Left is a myth. To them, polls showing waning support for the war indicate that opposition is now a moderate, rather than a fringe position.

There are two ways I'd respond to that. First, as we all know, poll results largely depend on how the question is asked. For instance, when asked in a recent CBS/NY Times poll, "Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?" only 30 percent thought it was worth it compared with 63 percent who answered that it wasn't. But when the same poll asked, "Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?" there was a much more even split: 47 percent said "did the right thing" and 48 percent said "should have stayed out."

But there is something else that the anti-war left is missing. When those of us on the right use the term "Angry Left," we aren't using it to mean anybody who opposes the war (and certainly there are many reasonable conservative arguments against the war). The term "Angry Left" refers to those liberals whose lives revolve around opposition to the war and hatred for President Bush.

As Peretz puts it, "Ned Lamont is Karl Rove's dream come true. If he, and others of his stripe, carry the day, the Democratic party will lose the future, and deservedly."

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