Wednesday, July 12, 2006



Some on the left (e.g. Yglesias) have called into question the very cult of Harry Truman worship -- the closest thing we liberals have to Reaganolatry. However, it seems to me we need to reclaim Truman as fighting Dem: not above partisanship nor above using containment strategies to deal with even existential threats rather than necessarily resorting to hot wars.

But somehow we need to counteract the argument that Harry Truman was, in today's terms a hawk. He certainly wasn't a dove, nor am I sanguine, unlike some on the left, that a Dem. can run successfully as a dove (which kinda concerns me -- not that I'm a dove, but how militarized is our society? and is that such a good idea? how safe will we be if we are always fighting a war?). But, it is a mistake to consider hawk = being in favor of going into Iraq. This framing is part of the Republican strategy and should be avoided by Dems (which is part of the problem with the Lieberman wing -- they push this framing that ultimately benefits the Republicans who pushed for the Iraq war in the first place): we Dems. need to fight the idea that the only way to be strong on defense is to be reckless in offense. So long as people think this, we will loose as we are considered less reckless than the Republicans: and the lack of success of the Iraq war may very well help the Republicans by making them seem all the more reckless!

Part of the reason why Harry Truman is a good model is that the idea of containment, developed largely by his people and what eventually won the Cold War, was not one of reckless offense. Indeed, like us left-wing moonbats of today, Harry Truman's advisors' dislike of the reckless offense got them branded as sympethizing with the enemy and being against a strong defense. But unlike today, enough people saw through the smoke and mirrors of the Republicans and pro-reckless offense Democrats (with the help of some of them splitting from the Democratic party to form the Dixiecrats) that Truman got re-elected, if only in a squeeker. If us lefty-moonbats on the hawkish side of anti-Iraq-war left-blogistan can reclaim the Truman mantle, perhaps we can us it to remind people that being strong on defense does not entail supporting a reckless offense and indeed a reckless offense can make us less safe, not more safe.

I say let's keep the Trumanolatry -- let's remember that containment is not what failed before WWII, it wasn't tried in the first place and was developed as what we should have tried. Let's remember, as Truman's sage moonbat advisors did, that a reckless offense is not a good defense but quite the opposite. And let's use this popular President's policies as an example of how hawkishness needn't equal "supporting a stupid war".


Pardon the incoherence of my posts -- somehow the caffeine isn't working right: it's just made me jittery but not more lucid.

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