Friday, July 28, 2006

Hemming and Hawing, To What End?

Mr. Fellow today pointed out a Peter Beinart column in yesterday's Washington Post that basically called the Democratic leadership to task for a string of cheap, politically minded public stands in recent months. Generally, the column makes some fair points, but I have fairly serious problems with some of its specific contentions.

First off, I'm not sure what else he suggests on the Israel front -- Democrats have to make empty pro-Israel threats like that to make sure Jews know Democrats still think about them. They need to make sure Jews know the ultra-left, which hates Israel, does not represent the Democratic mainstream. On the ports deal, it's important to point out that a sizable number of Republicans also attacked Bush at the time. And it's important to remember that the administration didn't handle the whole thing very well, hastily approving the deal, which would have handed 6 major ports to a company owned by a country that had very recently aided al-Qaida. Again, the column's a bit harsh on the Democratic leadership for that. I agree that Democrats should be more internationalist, in an ode to our modern forefathers, and that the ports deal opposition smacked of nativism, but right now, that's politics.

I'm also not sure what regularly attacking the Democratic Party for being unimaginative and politically expedient really does for us. How long has the Democratic leadership been attacked as such? Minus an eight-year respite (during which a lot of Democrats still attacked the party), we've had unimaginative, much-maligned leadership for about 30 years. It seems to me a problem that ingrained needs more than hemming and hawing if we're going to find a solution.