Friday, August 04, 2006

Grazing Moose

The Moose offers some summer thoughts before taking a brief break from the blog.

A few years back the Moose broke with the Republican Party on a range of issues dealing with economic justice. His reasons for leaving the GOP are explained here.

As the Moose indicated, just because he became a heretic on the right, he certainly did not join the left. At another time he would be in the mainstream of the Democratic Party. Alas, that Scoop Jackson wing today is miniscule.

Almost a decade ago, the Moose witnessed the seeds of corruption being planted on Republican soil. And now the GOP is paying the price - its grip on power is tenuous .

In contrast, while the Democratic political prospects are good for '06, the party is increasingly coming under the influence of a left-wing element. The MoveOn.org crowd and their blogosphere buddies are intimidating even the saner centrist leaders in the party. Dean lost the nomination, but the Deaniacs are gaining control over the party.

The problem for the Democrats is not on the domestic front. Besides the old reliable of tax cuts, the GOP is largely devoid of new domestic ideas. It is an exhausted volcano. As E.J Dionne pointed out, the Republican Congress engaged in an orgy of opportunism this week in its pathetic exercise of attempting to both raise the minimum wage and kill the estate tax,

"Rarely has our system produced a more naked exercise in opportunism than this measure. Most conservatives oppose the minimum wage on principle as a form of government meddling in the marketplace. But moderate Republicans in jeopardy this fall desperately wanted an increase in the minimum wage.

"So the seemingly ingenious Republican leadership, which dearly wants deep cuts in the estate tax, proposed offering nickels and dimes to the working class to secure billions for the rich. Fortunately, though not surprisingly, the bill failed."

And Democrats have shown progress in addressing such cultural issues as abortion, guns and faith. Several Democratic Governors are impressive and are governing from the vital center. Innovative ideas are being produced with an important forthcoming policy book by Bruce Reed and Rahm Emanuel.

However, on national security issues the party is regressing back to the glory days of the early seventies. In their reflexive opposition to everything Bush, Democrats too often appear weak on fighting the war against Jihadist terror. The left has a knee-jerk negative reaction to every assertion of Presidential prerogative in using surveillance against our enemies. Some lefties want to censure or even impeach the President for being overly aggressive in defending the country. And many lefties in the party reject even the notion of a war against terror.

The only jihad many in the left-wing in the party are interested in is the one against the party's former vice presidential standard bearer. The reason that the Moose devotes so much attention to the Connecticut Senate race is that it is the main battleground for the soul of the party. A national, litmus test purge is underway, and it's unambiguous purpose is to intimidate centrists in the party.

The sole good news for the Republicans has been the rise of the nutroots blogosphere which is intent on moving the Democrats to the left. If the Democrats have no room for a left-center hawk who cares about values issues, it will won't be a majority party absent a complete collapse of the Republicans.

Even if Democrats gain control over one or both chambers this fall, the White House will be unattainable in '08 if the left alienates the vital center. Only hawks win Presidential elections. Unfortunately, even some of the best in the party either haven't figured this out, are nutroots collaborationists or have declared neutrality.

Sometimes there is a higher calling than partisanship. The country desperately needs the type of centrist leadership that Joe Lieberman has provided throughout his career. Unlike the Liliputians, Joe puts country first. While other notable politicians have flipped-flopped for political expediency, Joe has bravely sailed against the wind .

As some have noted, the Moose has directed much of his ire lately toward the lefties. There is a need for a serious, centrist Democratic Party. However, just as some on the right corrupted the GOP back in the nineties, some on the left are now driving the Democrats to the extreme on national security.

It is particularly disgusting witnessing the left's ambiguity or hostility toward's Israel's war of self defense. However, their attitude toward Israel should not be surprising - their discomfort with a nation fighting a war of self defense is obvious. The reaction to this conflict reveals one of the great myths of the left - that they are only opposed to the Iraq war but they are otherwise tough on the war against terror. Their attitude toward the use of force mirrors that of the French Foreign Ministry.

So where does this situation leave the Moose? He is an economic progressive, cultural tradionalist and a hawk - a mammal without a party who continues to graze in the political center.

Note - The Moose will be recharging his antlers and will return to this space in a couple of weeks.

-- Posted at 6:33 AM | Link to this post | Email this post