After a previous post in which I called for the Democratic Party to
walk the pro-firearms walk if it wanted to stop alienating freedom-loving
independents like me, I was asked in comments what I think of Howard Dean
— who, it is alleged, has an A++ rating from the NRA.
OK, I like the fact that Dean is pro-gun. In this, and in other
ways, he’s sane on subjects where Democrats are generally insane. But
it is almost certain I will not vote for him. Because the next
President of the U.S. must have a strategic vision for fighting the
threat of Islamist terror and WMDs, and Dean has no such vision.
Note that I am not saying the next president must have George
Bush’s strategic vision — and don’t bother with the
Bush-is-an-idiot, it’s-all his-handlers routine; Bush has routinely
outsmarted people who underestimated him and as long as they delude
themselves that he’s a moron, it will be easier for him to continue
doing so. But there must be some strategic vision, some
sense of realpolitik. Dean ain’t got it.
In fact, nobody on the list of Democratic presidential hopefuls
appears to have any sense of the strategic stakes or possibilities,
with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman. And supposing there
were, no aspirant with a sane national-security program could make it
through the gauntlet of the primaries to the general election.
And why? Because the Democratic Party apparatus has been captured by
interest groups who are incapable of taking the war we are in seriously.
I’m not actually talking about the inmates of the asylum that is
today’s loony left: the retread Marxists, the po-mo academics, the
anti-globalization crowd — what conservatives call with some
justification the Blame-America-First brigades. Expecting anything
but toxic babble from these people was always doomed. No, the trouble
is that the Democratic interest groups that aren’t outright
insane have no way to fit an anti-terror strategy into their model of
how to do politics.
How can feminists, gays, or the various skin-color cliques in the
racial-problem industry cope? For these groups, politics is all about
identity and grievance and maybe who gets the biggest slice in the
next round of redistributing the domestic wealth — they’ve
actually lost the very *concept* of the ‘national interest’, and are no
more capable of grappling with the implications of 9/11 than they
would be of speaking Sumerian.
Or the people who are *really* calling the shots in the Democratic
Party — trial lawyers and the public-employee unions. (Forget
labor in general. The Democrats stopped listening to the AFL-CIO
about a nanosecond after it became clear that the private-sector
unions could no longer keep most of their people from voting
Republican.) Again, nothing about their relationship to the political
game gives them anywhere to stand in foreign policy.
The Republicans don’t have this problem. All of their major
factions have commitments that don’t stop at the water’s edge. The
so-called “national-greatness conservatives”, the ideological
free-traders, small business, big business, the Christian Right, even
the Buchananite isolationalists — they may disagree violently on
what the national interest is, but at least there is a place in their
normal discourse about politics where they know that concept
Not so most of the the Democrat pressure groups — which means
that the terms of internal Democratic debate about foreign policy are
being set by the loony left, because the people some of my warblogger
colleagues call “barking idiotarian moonbats” are the only ones in the
Democratic Party who actually care! They’re the only Democrats
with a world-view that involves thinking about the rest of the world
as anything other than a passive backdrop for domestic politics.
(I’m actually convinced that the reason most Democratic politicians
suck up to the U.N. and the French so assiduously is that following
“international opinion” relieves them of the intolerable burden of
having to think about foreign policy.)
Thus, Dean. Mostly a mainstream Democrat in that what he really wants to
do is ignore foreign-policy issues — but the only way he’s found
to mobilize the angry-Left cadres who matter so much in the primaries
is to bark like a moonbat.
That won’t get my vote.