Tuesday, March 08, 2005


Let's At Least Try To Root For Our Own Success

Rich Lowry on Iraq on National Review Online: "On his show the other night, comedian Jon Stewart-half-jokingly-expressed a feeling of dread at the changes in the Middle East and the credit President Bush will get for them. "Oh my God!" he said. "He's gonna be a great, pretty soon, Republicans are gonna be like, 'Reagan was nothing compared to this guy.' Like, my kid's gonna go to a high school named after him, I just know it." Stewart is badly in need of the consolation of a yet-to-be-written pop theological tract, 'When Good Things Happen to Bad Presidents.'

The Democratic foreign-policy expert who was Stewart's guest that night, Nancy Soderberg, tried to comfort him, pointing out that the budding democratic revolution in the Middle East still might fail: "There's always hope that this might not work.' There is historical precedent for that, of course. Liberal revolutions failed in Europe in 1848 and Eastern Europe in 1968. What is an entirely new phenomenon is liberals calling such reverses for human freedom-half-jokingly or not-occasions for hope.

Soderberg added: "There's still Iran and North Korea, don't forget. There's hope." The way Bogart and Bergman 'will always have Paris,' liberals now tell themselves they 'will always have Iran and North Korea.' No matter the good news anywhere else, these nuke-hungry rogue states will provide grounds for bad-mouthing Bush foreign policy. But these two intractable problems won't seriously detract from Bush's world-changing accomplishment should he succeed in transforming the Middle East."

The reality was that it wasn't really joking. Soderberg is a hard-core partisan, and she was giving instructions, not entertaining. It is one thing to be against this war, but shouldn't we all be in favor of democracies that develop as a result? Shouldn't we support the spread of democracy because we hope others have the freedoms that we were blessed to be born into? It is fine to dislike this President, but to show callousness to oppressed citizens of other countries just because you don't want this President to 'win' is bordering on a partisan disease.

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