Friday, May 30, 2008

Lamontian Postmodernism

I'm reading with amazement David Sirota's interpretation of Ned Lamont's defeat to Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's general election to the U.S. Senate in 2006.

Recall that Lamont, the Kos-backed candidate of the hard-left antiwar contingents, failed to upset Lieberman in the November contest. But to Sirota, this was a victory for progressivism:

Recall that two years ago, a little-known businessman named Ned Lamont mounted an anti-war primary challenge to Connecticut's warmongering senator, Joe Lieberman. Lamont's campaign, which I worked for, was controversial. It was just four years after many congressional Democrats voted for the war, and the Washington Post was reporting that Speaker Nancy Pelosi "said that Democrats should not seek a unified position on an exit strategy in Iraq." Though polls showed the public against the conflict, Democratic strategists insisted that opposing the war "could backfire on the party...."

Lamont, though he lost his own general election, showed that representing the public's anti-war sentiment and ignoring Washington's self-appointed gurus wins national elections. And as the current campaign unfolds, the Lamont Lesson is resurfacing.
Read that last sentence again: Although Lamont lost his election, he showed that the public's anti-war sentiment wins elections!

Yep, you read that right: Up is down, black is white, hot is cold, according to Sirota's logic. Talk about win for losing!

Certainly the election of many antiwar candidates in 2006 would provide support to the thesis that candidates can win office on the wave of "the public's antiwar sentiment," but Sirota's rewriting history to suggest that Lamont represents the course of change and progress.

If voters didn't like Joseph Lieberman in 2006 they would have thrown him out on his can.

Perhaps 2008 is the year for the Democratic Party's antiwar campaign agenda, and we'll see because we have a whole slate of candidates committed to an immediate end to the war. Here's Sirota on that:

Today's political landscape has not changed from 2006. America still opposes the conflict, and Democrats not only refuse to use their congressional power to cut off war funding, but have opted to insult the public's intelligence. Indeed, at the same time the party is airing ads attacking John McCain for wanting to continue the war, Democrats in Congress are championing a $165 billion military spending bill that indefinitely prolongs the occupation. The party's leaders are not debating strategies to end the war, but "the kind of pro-war Democrat[s] that we ought to be," as Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., said a few months ago.

Now, instead of one candidate crashing the party, there are more than 50. That's how many are backing A Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq. Initially launched by Darcy Burner, a Seattle-area congressional candidate, this plan has been endorsed by the likes of retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, who served in Iraq, and Lawrence Korb, former assistant defense secretary under President Reagan. It supports an immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

As heady talk of "bottom up" politics fills the air, Democrats face a full-blown anti-war uprising - one that is beginning to act like a mature movement in putting its agenda before party.

Since the Iraq invasion, many anti-war groups inside the Beltway have made polite excuses for pro-war Democratic politicians, insisting that anti-war criticism be aimed primarily at Republicans. This is Washington's unspoken corruption - the kind that sees issue-based groups put their partisan affinity and cocktail party friendships above their stated agendas.

But the anti-war uprising outside of D.C. is done playing nice. Congressional candidates are now giving anti-war orders to their party, rather than taking pro-war orders from the Wise Men of Washington - and the Responsible Plan is just the beginning. Anti-war primaries in Maryland and Iowa have been mounted against pro-war Democratic incumbents. Meanwhile, the uprising is bleeding into the gears of commerce, as dockworkers this month shut down ports to protest the war.
Again, take apart these paragraphs, starting with that first sentence: The truth is not that the political landscape "has not changed."

Americans are tired of the war,
but they have not given up, and it's a stretch to suggest the current environment is unequivocally conducive to the radical agenda of the Darcy Burner-retreatists:

Five years after the start of the Iraq war, American public opinion has solidified around the notion that the war was not worth fighting and that the United States is not making significant progress toward restoring civil order there....

But not everyone has turned on the war, which most Americans supported at the outset. Republicans have remained strongly behind the war since the outset, with more than two-thirds saying the was worth fighting in the most recent Post-ABC poll. Only a third of independents and one in eight Democrats agree.
In other words, support for the war breaks down along partisan lines, and it's in the interest of hard-left Democratic activists to demonize people like Senator Lieberman and John McCain, who are clear about America's stakes in the war and the rightness of our cause.

Note further that's Sirota makes no mention of Iraq's military progress.

It's no surprise. As the U.S. continues to make gains, and Iraq's success in democratic consolidation evolves, the Democrats are left to devise bizarre theories to explain the outcome of events. Who would have thought we would credit the benevolence of Iran for the decline of violence and political progress in Iraq? Well,
Nancy Pelosi does!

All of this reflects the rise of "Lamontian Postmodernism," which can be seeing as an analytically descriptive term for
the utter rejection among today's antiwar left for societal progress and the greater striving for human betterment and meaning, and the attendant political program of denying and distorting reality in the furtherance of today's dreadfully nihilist antiwar.