Skip to comments.Victor Davis Hanson: Partisanship, Then and Now
Posted on 02/08/2010 7:29:10 PM PST by neverdem
One of the stranger behaviors of the ever-stranger Obama administration is its sudden adoption of the "wounded fawn" posture.
No opposition was more stridently critical of a sitting president than was the anti-Bush Left. Barack Obama, as candidate and president, could not start a speech without saying "Bush did it." And have we forgotten the 2006–08 canonization of Michael Moore, the silence about the Nazi slurs, the award-winning assassination docudramas, the Knopf novel about killing George Bush, the "General Betray Us" ad, Al Gore's vein-bulging "brownshirts"outburst, and on and on?
But suddenly, pundits and politicians have embraced a new gospel about conciliation and the need to restrain harsh discourse — which is fine, but many of these advocates for a gentler, kinder dialogue were bomb-throwers just a few years ago.
And now we hear from none other than John Brennan, the Obama-administration counterterrorism expert, who soberly sermonizes on the lamentable politicization of the war on terror, and particularly the popular derision of the decision to treat the Christmas-day airliner plot as a normal criminal-justice matter.
But isn't Brennan the same official who used to give loud political speeches, heralding not only the superior new Obama anti-terrorism methodology but also the failings of the Bush approach (which kept us safe for seven consecutive years)?
I seem to recall that Brennan recently characterized the former vice president as "ignorant." And in August 2009, Brennan's first official speech lambasted the Bush administation ad nauseam (e.g., "The fight against terrorists and violent extremists has been returned to its right and proper place: no longer defining — indeed, distorting — our entire national security and foreign policy"; "President Obama has made it clear that the United States will not be defined simply by what we are against, but by what we are for — the opportunity, liberties, prosperity, and common aspirations we share with the world"; "Rather than looking at allies and other nations through the narrow prism of terrorism — whether they are with us or against us — the administration is now engaging other countries and peoples across a broader range of areas. Rather than treating so many of our foreign affairs programs — foreign assistance, development, democracy promotion — as simply extensions of the fight against terrorists"; "We see this new approach most vividly in the president's personal engagement with the world — his trips, his speeches, his town halls with foreign audiences"; "As many have noted, the president does not describe this as a 'war on terrorism'"; "Likewise, the president does not describe this as a 'global war'"; "Nor does President Obama see this challenge as a fight against 'jihadists.' Describing terrorists in this way — using a legitimate term, 'jihad,' meaning to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal — risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve"; and so on).
In other words, Brennan himself was not content simply to continue America's anti-terrorism protocols, or to modify them in relative silence; instead, he chose to grandstand, often in obsequious fashion, about the superiority of Obama's revisionist approach. And when Obama's approach proved "problematic" — with the KSM trial, the Abdulmutallab mess, the Fort Hood massacre, the continuation of tribunals and renditions, and failed promises on Guantanamo — Brennan suddenly went from hyper-partisan to nonpartisan.
Then there is the strange case of Richard Clarke. He too has deplored "the partisan rhetoric" about the Obama administration's anti-terrorism policies: "Recent months have seen the party out of power picking fights over the conduct of our efforts against al-Qaeda, often with total disregard to the facts and frequently blowing issues totally out of proportion, while ignoring the more important challenges we face in defeating terrorists." This surely cannot be the same Richard Clarke who in the election year 2004 came out with his partisan exposé Against All Odds, which damned the Bush administration, after earlier delighting the D.C. press corps with wild charges that George Bush had "undermined the war on terrorism."
(Brennan and Clarke should read the third book of Thucydides on the folly of arrogantly destroying protocol and tradition, and then in dire straits seeking refuge in both.)
There is a rule of thumb with the Obama administration and its most vocal supporters: Those who loudly deplore the new partisanship and acrimony are typically those who in the past were the most partisan and acrimonious.
Help them join the Whigs. We need a new, loyal opposition.
Your loss. Bad for you.
I'm repeatedly astonished that many posters here don't have a clue about the nature of the Opposition. Civility isn't in the Left's vocabulary as you point out! Its motto is "By any means necessary."
I'm re-reading Horowitz's "Radical Son" and came across a relevant quote from "New Left Notes" published by the Students for a Democratic Society (a title that vies with People for the American Way for a Nobel in cynicism).
"You have to realize that the issue didn't matter. The issues were never the issues. You could have been involved with the Panthers, the Weatherpeople, SLATE, SNCC, SDS. It really didn't matter what. It was the revolution that was everything...That's why dope was good. Anything that undermined the system contributed to the revolution and was therefore good."
Today's Democrat Party is just a continuation of the Marxist revolution that began in the 60s. Its goal -- as embodied by Obama and his co-conspirators in Congress -- is to undermine and destroy the American system.
Read articles by Thomas Sowell instead. Sowell will say the same thing in half the words that anyone can understand.
I understand the written word of Victor Hansen but much prefer the words written by Mr. Thomas Sowell.
Yes, there's much to be admired in your sense of perspective and priority.
Perhaps Nickelodeon.com would be better suited for you, from an intellectual and maturity point of view.
I have no desire for civility toward those in power who hate America and want to see her traditions, values and institutions destroyed and remade along socialist lines.
Francis Ford Coppola used to say: “Never trust a man with three names!”
Just a partial list: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index:
Just a partial list. Much more at the link: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
Civilizations Lies [Victor Davis Hanson on the West embracing noble lies not squaring with reality] America Rides Off into the Sunset. The only people excited about the change in America's foreign policy are the worlds bad actors Mr. President, Words Matter. Obama, the rhetorician, forgot that people might actually take seriously what he said Our Obama Saga [Victor Davis Hanson dissects Obama, painfully, again] The Obamarang. [Victor Davis Hanson dissects, deconstructs, ridicules and demolishes Zeros lies] Trashing the Job Makers. The Obama administrations tax-talking frenzy has left business owners feeling uncertain The Usual Straw Men. Obamas half-hearted pivoting was quite transparent As Predictable as Clockwork the Obama three-step [Victor Davis Hanson continues to ridicule Zero] Obama versus Obama (More classic VDH slapdown of the ONE) Obama in Free Fall Obama And Campaign Financing (Victor Davis Hanson On Obama's Hypocrisy Alert) Post-election Thoughts (Liberals do not understand populist outrage. Bloodletting will Continue) Our Philosopher-King Obama. He doesnt mind pushing noble legislation that most people oppose Why The Great And Growing Backlash? What Scott Browns election portends for the Obama agenda "Let me be perfectly NOT clear" & "Make lots of MISTAKES about it" [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama's lies] Our Sorta, Kinda War on Terror - President Obama has not signed up for a serious effort against radical Islam Truths We Dare Not Speak. Five propositions that simply have become taboo When Conservative Felonies Become Liberal Misdemeanors 2010: Our Year of Decision Beating the Dead Terrorist Horse. September 11 taught us many lessons. To our peril, we have forgotten them Bush Did It! And, Really, Bush Did It! And Bush Really Did It! A Humpty-Dumpty View of the World 2009 Chickens and Their 2010 Roost Where Did These Guys Come From? The Origins of Obamism The War Against the Wannabe Rich. Why attack the productive classes who want to be rich? The Long March From California to Copenhagen [Hanson on debate between capitalism and socialism] The Palin Wonder Why Are We Tiring of Obama? Change, Weakness, Disaster, Obama: Answers from Victor Davis Hanson If Iran Refuses To Cooperate, Block Its Ports Resetting the Reset Button [Victor Davis Hanson dissects 0's pathetic diplomacy] Riding the Back of the Tiger [Victor Davis Hanson on Obama not understanding What Causes Wars...] What Bush Inherited, and What He Left Left Behind Who Are They? To Obama, they are responsible for all our troubles. Problem is, they are most of us Afghan Mythologies. We have everything we need to defeat the Taliban. The Discreet Charm of the Left-wing Plutocracy Truman and the Principles of U.S. Foreign Policy. Jimmy Carter rejected the postwar consensus. President Obama appears to be following a similar path Dr. Barack and Mr. Obama - The backlash is sharp as voters learn that Obama is not the man they thought he was Obama and "Redistributive Change". His real agenda The War Against the Producers President Palins First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obamas record Thoughts About Depressed Americans Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Let me know if you want in or out.
FR Index of his articles: http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index NRO archive: http://author.nationalreview.com/?q=MjI1MQ== Pajamasmedia: http://pajamasmedia.com/victordavishanson/ His website: http://victorhanson.com/
When he chose his own website name, he limited it to just 2 words http://victorhanson.com/ You can read all his articles there, LOL. Or maybe not, because his helpers are using 3 words now there too...
I see the use of complete name as a sign of respect from others. And VDH deserves this respect. But you’d never know...
VDH gets a tad esoteric here ... anyone know which of Thucydides books is the “third”?
>>Donning flame-suit now, lol.
You should. To not read one of the top five commentators writing today because of that reason is extraordinarily weak.
VDH, Krauthammer, Steyn, Sowell, and Goldberg.
It seems to me more an act of respecting the memory of ancestors than pretension.
Thinking about it, I believe VDH was named after an uncle who died as a Marine in the Pacific in WWII. Perhaps his family called him by three names some as a child to distinguish him from his uncle? Just speculation, but I’ve certainly seen that sort of thing.
Thanks, that’s the sort of thing I was looking for when I made my previous post. And that was an uncle, not a cousin.
Oh, and I think I’ve told you this before, but I love your usernames. We should all be knitting.
My father was his first cousin, but the two were more like brothers, given their near-identical ages and lifelong companionship
Thanks, and yes - we should be.
Simply follow politics closely enough for 5 to 10 years and you will be able to understand precisely what he is saying about whom. And understand his tremendous insights and ability to clearly explain them.
Good one from VDH.
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