I visited over at Marc Cooper’s blog after reading that he is a friend of GM Roper, who is on my regular wheel of blogs to read. Marc is a contributing editor at The Nation, a liberal news and social commentary magazine that has been a major playor for decades. I threw in comments on several threads – but I doubt I’ll be back to visit much.
I keep hoping to stumble upon a liberal blog where issues are discussed without rancor or snark, and are more interesting than the simple repetition of campaignish talking points. There must be some.
The common premise, of blogger and especially commenters, seems to be that the Bush Administration predicted and has continued to maintain that the GWOT would go well, even rosily. Anger at that seems to take up all the oxygen. I think that is answerable, but more importantly, that’s a separate issue from the question of how well things are going.
The appearance there is that what Bush says about the GWOT is more important than the GWOT itself. That’s the stereotypical accusation that the right makes of the left, that it cares more about getting Bush than about how America is doing, and I wonder that they would hand me that stereotype so readily. And they do. To me, what the administration says has always been of secondary importance. Each public statement has many audiences, and what each of us would like to hear for our own questions may not be the point of every statement.
Look, reverse the situation. Whether John Kerry or Marc Cooper or Frank Rich ever admits that they’re wrong is of little interest to me. When we intervened in Bosnia, I gave no thought to whether Bill Clinton was ever going to say “We shoulda gone later; we shoulda gone earlier; we had too many cooks; we shoulda started with more elephants” or whatever. That sort of analysis comes much later. I wanted to know whether we were gaining or losing ground military and diplomatically from each piece of the strategy.
I didn’t mention it there, believing that what I did write would be confrontive enough, but there’s projection leaking out everywhere. Because their only goal is to trash Bush, they believe that mine must be to defend him. Whatever else I’ve written is seen through that prism. If I say something mildly positive, then I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid and have a dozen unrelated views attributed to me. If I write something mildly negative, there is this immediate assumption that conservatives are finally admitting what a terrible president he’s been.
It is responses like this that keep giving me evidence that for many liberals, there is this enormous importance that their world-view be consistently resupported. There seems this constant wriggling on the hook, with enormous energy invested in what should be simple disagreements. Something more is at stake for them.
In fairness, I did have a pleasant back-and-forth disagreement with one commenter there. Maybe I should specifically invite him over.