Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Scoop Democrat

The Moose celebrates that a great man's legacy is remembered.

If the Moose was a Democrat, he would be a Scoop Jackson donkey. Scoop was a hero of the young Moose. He represented a tradition that hardly exists in American politics - a domestic liberal who is tough on security.

In the aftermath of the Viet Nam war when many Democrats became blind peacenicks, Scoop upheld the Truman-JFK line of toughness toward the Soviet evil empire. At the same time, he was a labor liberal with a stellar environmental record.

Unfortunately, there are not too many Scoop types in the Democratic Party these days. One is Joe Lieberman, and incredibly some on the loony left would like to run him out of the party. (More ominously, the Lieberman discussion on some left wing web sites quickly descends into anti-Semitism - the hosts of these sites may not be responsible for comments but imagine if this took place on conservative venues).

You would think that a minority party would want to expand its ranks rather than expel those who express heterodoxal thoughts. Perhaps it is true that conservatives seek converts and liberals excommunicate heretics. If Scoop Jackson types are unwelcome in the party, the donkey may spend many more years in the roaming in the wilderness.

The Moose's own experience has been instructive over the past few years. The Moose broke with the GOP over their preference for plutocracy. It is his belief that it is impossible to build national unity for a war against terror when an Administration is committed to redistribute wealth to the most comfortable in society. However, the Moose continues to maintain his rather hawkish foreign policy and social conservative views. That position, however, is blasphemy or worse in certain quarters of the lefty universe.

In truth, it is entirely consistent to argue for progressive policies at home and for democratic internationalism abroad. That used to be a central feature of Democratic Party principles.

At the moment, the war is not going well and the anti-war forces are emboldened. However, even if the war is unpopular, the American people are unwilling to accept defeat. The Democrats' weaknesses on national security have certainly not vanished - and the National Chairman's breathtakingly ill-advised, unwise and inappropriate statement on winning in Iraq made the party's challenge to improve its image that much more difficult.

Only days before an democratic election in Iraq where people will be risking their lives to vote, the leader of the American opposition should certainly not be suggesting that victory is impossible. What kind of message does that send to Iraqi democrats and our troops? Democrats should be arguing for a success strategy in Iraq, not conceding defeat.

Can anyone imagine FDR, Truman or JFK uttering defeatist language?

The Moose concurs with Rick Perlstein's assessment that the GOP has become a corrupt throwback to the days of Tricky Dick. However, Democrats, embodied by their National Chairman, are McGovern retro. And we know who won that confrontation.

While the Democratic Party has largely turned its back on the Scoop legacy, some friends across the pond have not. A bi-partisan group of Laborites and Tories have formed the Henry Jackson Society. They describe themselves as internationalists in the tradition of Scoop and that,

"seeks to promote the following principles: that liberal democracy should be spread across the world; that as the world's most powerful democracies, the United States and the European Union -under British leadership -must shape the world more actively by intervention and example; that such leadership requires political will, a commitment to universal human rights and the maintenance of a strong military with global expeditionary reach; and that too few of our leaders in Britain and the rest of Europe today are ready to play a role in the world that matches our strength and responsibilities."

Of course, the primary "Scoop Jackson Democrat" in Great Britain is Prime Minister Tony Blair. Needless to say, Blair is reviled by the international brethren of those who excoriate Joe Lieberman in this country. Tony and Joe should be proud of their scorn.

But, it is critical not to cede the banner of democratic internationalism to the right. One should not have do join the party of plutocracy to defend progressive principles and values against the forces of international reaction.

Scoop lives!
-- Posted at 7:47 AM | Link to this post | Email this post