Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How far is too far?

The umpire throws his flag, play is stopped, and we must ask that the referees confer on this question:
How often can the Kossacks play footsie with anti-Semitism before being asked to explain themselves?
I begin this discussion with a personal disclaimer:
I have met and shaken hands with Patrick J. Buchanan, who is a gentleman. I have written freelance for The American Conservative magazine and for Chronicles. I understand that one may question U.S. policy in the Middle East without being guilty of anti-Semitism. I have long regretted the bitterness and rancor of the paleo/neo feud among conservatives, since I have friends on both sides of the dispute.
That said, if any leading conservative had -- as Markos Moultisas Zuniga of DailyKos has -- applied the phrase "Lieberman-worshipping neocon" to Marty Peretz, a liberal mentor to Al Gore and editor-in-chief of the New Republic, he'd certainly have been called to account. Would Al Franken have ignored such a remark by any important Republican operative? Could Karl Rove talk that way and get a free pass?

Remember, Markos was a Dean '04 consultant and, as Newsweek reported on Monday, he "chats with Senate leadership aides several times a week and has brainstormed with Democratic operatives about the fall campaign." It's not like he's some fringe figure blogging in his pajamas: YearlyKos was attended by Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mark Warner, Barbara Boxer ...

So in an angry moment, in a private e-mail, Markos vents his spleen against The New Republic, and personalizes the invective. That doesn't make him an anti-Semite. But then Tuesday, Markos made a point of quoting Bill "Whiskey Bar" Montague:
The Lieberman Dems don't hate and fear Kos and the Daily Kos "community" because they are too far to the left. They hate them because they represent an emerging power center within the Democratic Party that they don't control -- what's more, one that is now much closer to the public mainstream on the central issue of our time (the Iraq War) than they are.
OK, that's a bit paranoid. Montague's lengthy rant had caused me to hastily post a response -- resulting in an exchange of private e-mails in which he pointed out that I had overlooked part of his argument. My bad: I'd skimmed down and saw something that caught my attention, promptly opened fire, striking my own foot. Bad habit, but I digress ....

Dan Riehl had linked that Kos post quoting Montague, suggesting it as evidence of anti-Semitism. I didn't really see that in the passage excerpted by Kos, and so thinking I might have missed something, I kept reading down the thread until I came to a comment by "London Yankee" quoting from yet another part of Montague's rant that I'd (also) previously overlooked:

Interesting threat to the Israel lobby of DLC (8+ / 0-)

The overriding concern for the neolibs, I think, is not that Kos and the netroot activists will lead the party off to the far-left fringes, but rather that they are willing, even eager, to form alliances with conservative nationalists like Jim Webb (the Va. Senate candidate) who've been forced out of the GOP because of their opposition to the neocons and their insane schemes. From Marty Peretz's point of view, this is very bad. Left unchecked, it could even pose a threat to the sacred alliance with Israel.

It's not that Kos (or Webb, for that matter) are outspoken critics of the special relationship. Far from it. But it is clear that the constituencies they represent, or hope to represent, are much more skeptical about U.S. intervention in the Middle East than the Democratic old guard -- which, let's face it, is practically welded to the Israel lobby. Even worse, this is all happening at a time when the Iraq quagmire is making the costs of our imperial role in the region painfully clear.

For a time it was suggested that the Israel lobby would resurrect the DLC and back the Democrats as a means of ensuring continuous control and uninterrupted policies. If we are a threat to that, we will have a very ugly fight on our hands.

-------------------

I have friends who were fired from their jobs at conservative institutions for less than that. And if anyone cares to poke around the DailyKos comment fields a bit, you'll find more of that sort of stuff. Not too much, but enough to be disturbing to anyone who has read Phyllis Chesler's The New Anti-Semitism.

Going back to the disclaimer with which I began, I am not -- repeat, not -- saying that Markos or Montague or "London Yank" or anyone else in the "people-powered movement" is a Nazi.

Back in the day, when Buckley rather regretfully condemned Pat Buchanan for having gone too far in this particular direction, many people thought Buckley was unfair and hasty. Yet we now face the question of a partisan double standard: If a respected mentor like Buchanan -- a trusted adviser to presidents -- had to suffer harsh rebuke for writing about "the Israel lobby," can a Democratic strategist like Markos Moulitsas be given a free pass?

Will Democrats not at least privately ask Moulitsas to refrain from conspiratorial talk about the "Lieberman-worshipping neocon" Marty Peretz? Won't Kos or some of his "front-pagers" initiate a discussion about the implications for their "people-powered movement" if such talk is left unchallenged?

Given that the Million Moonbat March has suffered two weeks of uninterrupted setbacks -- the last Ohio Senate poll I saw showed a net 10-point gain for Dewine from May to June -- and the hits just keep coming, one might expect to see much more of the bitterness and frustration that prompts such defensive fear-mongering among his followers. Guys, I can't blame you for being bitter and frustrated, since you're 0-for-eternity with no real hope in sight.

But if this drift toward ranting about neocon conspiracies continues, dear Kossacks, you're going to cause permanent damage to your own reputation, inflict collateral damage on the Democratic Party, and discredit all the various causes that you claim to be pursuing. All your labor then will have been wasted -- and worse than wasted, since you will have left the Democratic Party's prospects in much worse shape than when you began your crusade five years ago.

Given the obvious evidence of the onset of a bunker mentality on your part, I suppose you will ignore this advice, and demonize me for having offered it. So just keep going the way you're going, and we'll see you on Nov. 8, losers.

-- McCAIN

Previously:
6/27: JeromeGate update
6/26: Dooming Democrats in '06
6/25: MSM notices Kosola
6/24: JeromeGate: Star Chart
6/23: Bad Moon(bat) rising

6/22: Chait '08
6/22: Mullah Moulitsas: JIHAD!
6/22: Lying about lies
6/21: Ko$ola/JeromeGate: Pandemic
6/21: Kosola or JeromeGate?
6/20: Kosola: The story so far
6/20: Kosola scandal goes viral
6/19: Will blog for $$$
6/19: Kos pay-for-play scam
6/12: Tin foil: The new fur
6/11: How not to win (Kos video)
6/9: The ultimate losers hit Vegas