Entry from August 8, 2006

“This Bowman fool is obviously another paid mouthpiece for the right,” writes somebody about a recent movie review of mine in another publication. Then he goes on to say, rather self-contradictorily I think, that “it isn”t about left or right. Never has been. That is how the so-called conspiracies continue to mount up, pointing to a very ‘controlled’ media that ‘refuses’ to acknowledge the ‘obvious’. Keep those blinders on American Spectator. When you folks wonder why your audience is shrinking day by day, it is because the so called main stream media is irrelevant. There is little truth in the main stream media, just ‘approved’ propaganda. America once had a media. Now it has a controlled mouthpiece for the globalists who would usher in the One World Government.” There’s a lot more, but you get the idea. It’s the first time that either the Spectator or yours truly has been accused of being part of the mainstream media — if that’s what the gentleman is accusing us of. So many so-called conspiracies presumably leave him at a bit of a loss to tell which ones we belong to. But the author’s use of quotation marks also suggests someone who is uncomfortable with irony, even his own. He is like a man attempting to use a dagger as a club.

Welcome to the language of politics in our conspiracy-haunted culture. As my critic says, “it isn’t about left or right.” No indeed! It’s about conspiracy-nuts and those who believe that our elected leaders are acting in good faith. We who belong to the latter tendency are a diminishing band, but one that is diminishing a lot faster on the left than it is on the right. Lanny Davis in today’s Wall Street Journal seems to recognize as much with his handsome admission that campaigning for Joe Lieberman has shown him that “the far right does not have a monopoly on bigotry and hatred and sanctimony.” Who knew? He’s not the first to notice that the more decent and honorable a man is, like Senator Lieberman, the more subject he is to hatred and abuse. Yesterday’s Journal had Martin Peretz making a similar point about how the equivocators and prevaricators in his party — this means you, Senator Clinton — get off unscathed while the forthright, like Senator Lieberman, are bludgeoned by their own side. “He does not play for safety, which is why he is now unsafe,” writes Mr Peretz. Robert Kagan in Sunday’s Washington Post goes even further, calling Senator Lieberman “The Last Honest Man”:

Lieberman stands condemned today because he didn’t recant. He didn’t say he was wrong. He didn’t turn on his former allies and condemn them. He didn’t claim to be the victim of a hoax. He didn’t try to pretend that he never supported the war in the first place. He didn’t claim to be led into support for the war by a group of writers and intellectuals whom he can now denounce. He didn’t go through a public show of agonizing and phony soul-baring and apologizing in the hopes of resuscitating his reputation, as have some noted “public intellectuals.” . . . If Joe Lieberman loses, it will not be because he supported the war or even because he still supports it. It will be because he refused to choose one of the many dishonorable paths open to him to salvage his political career.

That, not surprisingly, is not the view of The New York Times, which endorsed his primary opponent, Mr Lamont, on the grounds that the Senator had agreed too often with President Bush on national security matters and not often enough with The New York Times. What is honesty — or honorability — in comparison with that? It looks now as if most Connecticut Democrats take a similar view, preferring to be represented in the senate by a ninny, like Mr Lamont, who agrees with them than by an honorable man who doesn’t. But why do Messrs Davis and Peretz and Kagan act surprised? Hasn’t the post-McGovern Democratic party, including Mr Davis’s old employer, Bill Clinton, and Mr Peretz’s former protégé Al Gore, founded its whole foreign policy on the principle that national honor in our dealings with foreign nations should give way to morality and “multilateralism”? Aren’t the Lieberman-haters just confirming what we already knew, namely that Democrats are institutionally and by design the anti-honor party? If you are pro-honor you have no more business being a Democrat than if you are pro-life. Senator Lieberman probably should have realized that sooner.

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