Tuesday, December 23, 2003

This is a good piece on the Dems reaction to Dean. I'm fascinated by the sheer impotency of their attacks, and this article partly explains why. Democrats have a reputation for being a bit gutless, and I'm not sure Dean is wrong when he says it's time for a wake up call for Democrats, even moderate ones such as myself. There are certain broad points of view that progressives and conservatives differ on -- role of government, how taxes are used, corporate regulation, environmental protections, etc. Obviously within those areas differences pop up within each party (e.g. how far does welfare reform go, how much $$ and where, do you actually raise taxes, etc.) But as a whole - I'm a bit struck by the other Democrats being so willing to embrace the GOP approach to Iraq and lambaste Dean for his positions. Strangely enough, it is n the area of foreign policy (Iraq) where this is occurring - an area where the differences between the parties are arguably much fewer. I don't think anyone can honestly say Dean would rather have Saddam in power. Rather - his difference is a manner of approach and the role of government and the U.S. with its allies. Instead of kicking Dean's stance as "anti-war" and becoming more "pro-war", the group should communicate core values of progressive policy -- coalition building, non-unilateralism, bringing a core and open focus to military goals (such as fighting Al-Queda), focusing appropriate pressure on Mid-East talks. The GOP has done none of this. Saddam is out - which is great - but we've alienated our allies, pulled resources from fighting Al-Queda, essentially are ignoring the "road map" and so on.

I could be wrong about the approach - if Iraq is stabilized, we move towards progress and peace in the Mid East (which must happen with our help), snare Al-Queda, and it doesn't impact our economic standing in the world, than maybe unilateralism and force alone is sufficient. However, that just doesn't feel right and (as evidenced by the need for James Baker) we've got a lot of diplomacy left to do.

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