Rally against the war
All across this great nation of ours, there are millions of decent, public-spirited, patriotic citizens who are deeply and sincerely opposed to the U.S.-led war against terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. It's just too bad that none of them spoke at the anti-war rally in Washington today. Thanks to C-SPAN I was able to see and hear what most of the dissenters had to say. (I missed Cindy Sheehan.) See CNN.com. I can't say I was terribly surprised by the wacko rhetoric that prevailed, however. Every conceivable grievance from all four corners of the Earth was voiced on the podium today, but the unifying theme was clear: frank, unmitigated hatred of America and everything it stands for. As fringe kook leftist (and former attorney general) Ramsey Clark and other speakers made clear, the organizers' main goal is to impeach Bush. If you believe that American soldiers are systematically butchering helpless Iraqi civilians, that President Bush and top administration officials are war criminals, and that the deaths in New Orleans amounted to racial genocide, then you would fit right in with this crowd. If you support Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, the Palestinian resistance (i.e., Hamas terrorists), and the Iraqi resistance (i.e., Al Qaeda), then this movement is for you! See answercoalition.org (Act Now to End War and Stop Racism).
Democrat meltdown continues
The rising tide of extreme left-wing politics in this country poses a dilemma for the Democrat leaders: Do they "ride the tiger" and hope to tame it later on, or do they part ways with the fringe groups, forsaking an energized base for an eventual chance to return to power? Tough call. I assume the reason that stalwarts like Senators Biden and Feinstein are making so much noise about Bush's judicial nominees is that they want to retain credibility with the activist base. No matter what they do, however, the tension between currying favor with the zealots and the necessities of political survival will continue to grow inexorably. They day is not far off when a loud (figurative) "snap" will be heard on Capitol Hill. The small remaining cadre of Democrat moderates will shout, "Enough nonsense, already!" Party leaders know what happened last year when the Kerry-Edwards campaign found itself unable to distance itself from the demented vitriol spouted by the Hollywood elitists and all the professional agitators: They lost! The latest example of profane hatred of Bush and the GOP comes from Bette Midler; as new blogger Steve Kijak writes, "Please Let them Talk!!!"
Which party will break up first?
Notwithstanding the suicidal hysteria emanating from some Democrats, recent scandals and policy disputes suggest that the Party of Lincoln may also succumb to internal fractures. Many on the Right have been gloating with overconfidence since last November's election, blind to the rising social tensions in this country and too proud to recognize the latent contradictions between social conservatives and economic conservatives. For example, energy policy! There is a huge difference, however, between honest, open policy disagreements within the GOP and the deep chasm between opposing world views the divides the Democrat Party. Republicans share a strong common objective of substantially reducing the size and power of government in domestic life. Where they differ is over tactics and short-term priorities. According to most observers at the APSA annual meeting earlier this month, the White House has embarked on an explicitly interventionist strategy of reforming American society so as to reduce the demand on government for social services. It's a bold "hegemonic project" (pardon the political science jargon) that risks failure if the party leadership can't keep its rank and file in line. The earmarked spending components of the energy and transportation bills that were passed last month seem to have been payoffs to individual congress persons in exchange for their support of Bush's social conservative agenda. I am not suggesting that the Republicans are as likely to break into factions as the Democrats, but the possibility cannot be discarded entirely. The Weekly Standard recently ran a special issue with articles that focused on what's become of the conservative movement in the ten years since the magazine was founded. There is, shall we say, some angst and disquiet over the direction our Republican government is heading. The Right has been the more innovative part of the ideological spectrum for the last 20-30 years, but the twin (usually alternating) perils of complacency and fear may put the brakes on the bold new thinking that will be required to keep the conservative movement on track.