It has quite literally become impossible to have a sustained conversation with Liberal Americans on the issue of National Security. And that bothers me. So I took some time to think about when and how this all came about, and I have isolated a few of the factors which are causing this disorder. And make no mistake, whatever one wants to call this situation, it is not healthy for America to go on this way.
Let me start with what should be obvious to any reasonable person; there is a place, indeed a need, for both Conservative and Liberal points of view, opinions, and ideals in the United States of America. And eventually we will, I believe, restore a balance of sorts. The problem, however, has not come because the Conservatives - for the most part, anyway - caused it to be, but because the Liberals in the United States have refused to accept Reality.
OK, I know how that sounds, especially how convenient it is for a Conservative to start throwing rhetorical darts at the other side of the aisle. But in my own lifetime, I have seen the Conservative Movement find its identity reborn in the rise and success of Ronald Reagan, while the Liberals have abandoned every value which brought them support and victory in the past. Even as a Conservative, I can salute aspects of the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, and I can admire the character and courage of men like Harry Truman and Grover Cleveland. I can even observe elements worth praise in Franklin Roosevelt, though the man was plain wrong in many of his policies, and I can even say that Jimmy Carter meant well for most of his efforts while President. But the modern Liberal has abandoned most of what Liberalism used to mean. Where the old Liberal wanted all people to be treated as equals, the modern Progressive (to use the word they stole from Teddy Roosevelt to pretend to respectable intention) demands preferential treatment and advantages for a select minority. Where the old Liberal fought against Racism and Sexism, the modern Progressive is happy to take up those very causes, in order to advance their agenda. Even where the Conservative outrage about CBS's "The Reagans" is matched in the media with Liberal anger about "The Path to 9/11", methods differ sharply, as Democrats have even threatened to attack ABC's very broadcast license if they do not get what they demand. The Progressive Method is Hypocrisy in action, and eschews the Constitution by design.
Before going further, I would explain the basic difference between Liberals and Democrats also, in the manner of how Democrats and Republicans have become accustomed to power. In the United States, our Constitution makes clear that the authority for all political power resides, originally and ultimately, in the hands of the people, the consent of the governed being necessary for any government to function effectively. That said, it must be noted just how fantastically powerful the United States has become. Quite literally, there is no nation to match it. No single military force exists which could hope to defeat the United States militarily, and that has been proven over and over again for more than a century. To be sure, some fool will likely bring up Vietnam, oblivious to the fact that the U.S. military never lost battle in that war, and indeed accomplished every mission set up for it by the government. It was, in fact, the government decision to give up and abandon South Vietnam, which of itself caused the forces fighting Communism there to be overwhelmed. It speaks clearly of the darkness of men's souls, that some who claim to be Americans can celebrate the cowardice and betrayal of Southeast Asia by the Democrat-led government in 1975. Returning to the point, though, no military force can hope to defeat an American military, especially the sort we have today.
The United States is also an unmatched economic master of the world. Other nations may enjoy an advantage in one respect or another, but when taken in total, no nation has the resources, the effective system, and the innovative mind of the American businessman. More business patents and copyrights are created in the United States than anywhere else, a fact acknowledged by the many nations which pirate American products rather than develop their own. Added to the military might of the U.S., the economic dimension takes on even greater significance. But I am not done.
Despite the many claims to the contrary, usually by communists, fascists, and other enemies of America, the United States has a well-established credibility as a fair dealer, relative to other nations. That is not to say that we do not have some problems and blunders in the past, but that we are understood to be a nation which makes its deals and treaties in good faith, and which keeps them once ratified. America backs its agreements in force, whether that force is economic, diplomatic, military, or some other means.
I could go on for a length of time about the wonderful qualities and authority of America, and yes I admit it is tempting to preach it loud and long, in this age of doubt and cynicism. But for this essay, the point I make from all of America's power and might, is that those elected leaders, be they President or Justice or Senator, wield might and power and influence far beyond anything known anywhere else. A leader in one of the national political parties of America, and especially a leader in the House or Senate, holds more power than most heads of state. And they know it. No matter the party, the old adage about power corrupting should be reminded to everyone, loud and clear.
But if I am warning about the general corruptibility of Man, why then should I be discussing Liberals? Because the Liberals, these present day Progressives, are unhinged - as Michelle Malkin aptly phrased it - because of what they have lost: Near-absolute control of the most powerful nation on earth, in fact the most powerful nation in history.
In 1929, a long series of poor decisions, negligence, and personal malfeasance finally brought about the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange. The subsequent effects included the collapse of the banking system and massive layoffs from businesses, ushering in what has become known as the Great Depression. Without elaborating over-much on the events between 1929 and 1932, confidence in the Republican Party effectively collapsed completely by 1932, and the Democrats became the governing party of the United States for the next generation and more. Indeed, even though Eisenhower, then Nixon won election as Republican candidates for President, the Congress stayed in Democrat hands in what seemed like a permanent basis, and the Supreme Court justices put in place by FDR not only issued rulings of a clearly Liberal persuasion, they influenced the expectations of later Justices. For almost half a century, while the Republicans were allowed some participation in Congress, even a majority once in a while, along with the White House every so often, the clear context was that America was as much Democrat as it was democratic. The Liberals held the reins of power, and everyone knew it. It was hardly coincidence that academics of significance were Liberals, as were the media moguls and giants like Cronkite, then Rather. Power was Liberal in flavor and allegiance.
Then came Reagan.
To understand the shock of the Reagan Revolution, one has to look at the 1964 campaign of Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater. President Johnson absolutely crushed Goldwater in the voting, both Electorally and in the Popular Vote, which Liberals took for a resounding rejection of Goldwater's unflinching Conservatism. Liberals believed that the way of things to come was the Great Society, the acceptance of an America which considered itself no better than other nations, and the increasing control of everyday life by Big Brother in Washington. They were wrong, more than they ever knew, or could ever bring themselves to accept.
When Ronald Reagan, the former Governor of California, ran for President in the 1976 campaign, the Liberals did not pay him much heed. Too much like Goldwater, they believed, a man so lacking in imagination that all he could do was dredge up a lost cause from the previous decade, pressing abstract virtues because he could not answer real-world challenges. They never considered the soul of Conservatism, nor believed for a moment that it might hold the soul of America in its ideals. The election of Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford only seemed to confirm their beliefs, that the Liberal cause was not only the best and wisest course, but the chosen virtue of the American people.
Many Liberals still, to this day, refuse to accept the reasons for Reagan's landslide victory in 1980. They saw it as an aberration, a one-time glitch. And even if he won the White House, well, Nixon had done as much and the Liberals had cleared him out in good order. Thus, even after Reagan trounced Mondale in 1984, Liberals counted on their control of Congress and the Courts and the Media, and launched a campaign of slander and innuendo, trying vainly to tie Reagan to outrages in Iran, in El Salvador, and about Star Wars. It never occurred to Liberals, that one important reason that the American people never seemed to share their outrage, was that the American people more often than not found themselves on Reagan's side in these issues. Ronald Reagan spoke with an eloquence far beyond natural ability or practiced experience. He spoke in the key of America, touching those things which all of us share who love our country, and calling to the front our best ideals and character. And in those speeches and comments, even down to off-hand quips, it did not matter that the Democrats controlled Congress; Reagan led America, and was clearly its spokesman. And every time the Liberals tried to tear down Reagan, it worked to tear away just a bit more of their own credentials, which slowly moved America in spirit towards the Republican Party.
It is a claim accepted by most Liberals and Conservatives both, that George H.W. Bush rode to the White House in 1988 largely because he was Reagan's Vice-President. And the Liberals made it a special mission to bring him down. They did so in 1992, but in a way which planted seeds that have now borne bitter, bitter fruit. Bush was not like Reagan in many ways, lacking his eloquence and charisma for example, but Bush knew Defense in the same way Reagan did, and when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, Bush wasted no time in deploying his forces to stunning effect. So effective was the American victory in the first Gulf War that in a Politburo meeting shortly afterwards, a stone-faced Gorbachev advised his government that the Soviet Union had no chance at all in any conceivable conflict against the United States. Liberals have worked hard to try to erase memories of the events which quickly followed that U.S. victory, including the sudden flowering of negotiations between representatives of Arab governments and Israel, including the long-stagnant question of the Palestinians; the peaceful yet swift dismemberment of the Warsaw Pact, and the acknowledgment of American world leadership in the aftermath of the Coalition victory in Kuwait. Even as Liberals call up memory of Bush's "New World Order" promise, they hasten to silence reminders that President Bush was speaking about a world where democracies and open republics spoke with the trust of their people, rather than despots and autocracies; the perversion of Bush's phrase to twist its meaning was a forerunner of lies to come, all because the truth was inconvenient to the Liberal political plan.
The chosen figurehead for the Democrats in 1992 was Bill Clinton. Liberals like to match Clinton against Reagan, but the comparison fails on many levels. Where Reagan achieved his legacy with a grace which was apparently effortless, Clinton's most earnest efforts to matter fell to earth with a dismal futility. Clinton has long claimed credit for the robust economy during his term, but has been unable to point to any specific action which is supposed to have created it; the closest might be Al Gore's suggestion that he was a force in the creation of the Internet, which in turn might be credited for the short-lived but amusing dot-com bubble. Of course, Enron became a big player during the Clinton years, but Liberals would much rather blame the current President Bush for Enron, rather than have anyone look too close at Enron's dealings during the Days of Bubba. Clinton, moving on, was well-known for his efforts to fix healthcare. Well, to have his wife install a socialist plan which would have created a government monster program with vastly increased cost and bureaucracy, with no consideration for the specific needs of patients, doctors, taxpayers, insurance companies, facilities, medical suppliers, or - you get the idea. "Fixed" for the Clintons meant rather the same way one "fixes" a wayward pooch.
With this level of competence in mind, we move on to the question of National Defense. I had thought about documenting the many useless and petty deployments of the military ordered by President Clinton, or the military budgets which lavished funds to pet projects that Clinton liked, but which failed to address basic maintenance and supply needs of the men at arms, but really, all I need to do, I think, is to point to the fact that in 2000, the Democrats' nominee, Al Gore, who was Bill Clinton's Vice-President, worked hard to minimize the military vote, to such a point that in Florida, Gore lawyers fought to deny the ballots of active-duty military serving overseas.
At this point, I reach the focus of the Liberal mind regarding Terrorism. Liberals were not always happy with Bill Clinton, but he carries their banner, just like Jimmy Carter before him. It is difficult to say whether Hillary Clinton will enjoy the support of Liberals, because they see themselves as holding the aces in choosing the course of the Democratic Party, and Hillary's attempts to reach mainstream voters has cost her with Liberals - ironically acknowledging that the Liberals in America are not aligned with the mainstream voters. To their credit, Liberals are just as motivated by their ideals as Conservatives are, so just as it was correct to say that Conservatives who held true to Goldwater and Reagan's values before they became accepted at large, so it is valid to say that those Liberals who refuse to reconsider their ideals are acting out of conviction. Even so, the effects of their ideals must be weighed to determine whether they should hold office along with those ideals. I respect the right of an avowed Communist to believe in his views, though I would not countenance supporting the election of any Communist, anywhere. The same for Nazis; while I would - grudgingly - agree that Nazis have the Constitutional right to exist as a party and speak their bitter, evil minds, there is no possibility at all that I could ever vote for one or support a Nazi candidate. The same perspective is rapidly approaching for Liberal candidates. I stop short, of course, of comparing Liberals directly to Communists or Nazis - Liberals have, for example, done much good in the past, and I do believe that they generally mean well - the present crisis is not the place to trust anyone whose ideals are not functional with winning the war we fight right now.
It has been said before, that Liberals do not comprehend that we are in a war for survival. They act as if we can ignore the terrorists if we choose to do so, that Americans will only die if we provoke the other side in some way, that every act of terrorism is simply a criminal act, which needs policework and strict limits to American influence and aggression. Even terrorists are people, and all people have rights, they insist. And yet they bristle in indignation when their position is fairly compared with Neville Chamberlain. Bill Clinton, lawyer that he is, speaks in public as if he still held some credibility on the matter of counter-terrorism, as if the American people had a responsibility to defy the sitting President and support the disgraced, admitted felon of an ex-President. Somewhere even Lewis Carroll is shaking his head at that scene.
Liberals simply do not comprehend 9/11 in context. They often fall back to playing politics, because the alternative scares the hell out of them. The intelligent Liberal comprehends that after the Pearl Harbor raid, FDR was a leader to be followed no matter what. He could be criticized or challenged, to be sure, but World War II helped cement the Democrats as the governing party. Liberals never thought much about that, because in their mind having Democrats, the more Liberal of the two major parties, govern America was a good thing. Now that a serious conflict may require the nation to support Republican governance, and therefore place the reins more firmly in Conservative hands, Liberals find it necessary to take up any weapon to try to prevent that from happening, unaware that their tactics and disallegiance only prove them unfit to lead in this time. If the Democrats had supported more men like Joe Lieberman, no friend of Conservatism nor even especially fond of Dubya, but a man who saw the threat plainly and voted accordingly, they might have been effective in showing their own competence as leaders. Instead, the Liberals hijacked the Democrat's leadership positions, and ever since have displayed a petulance and immaturity seldom seen in the United States.
Liberals talk openly about their hatred for President Bush and his Administration. Impeachment is often mentioned, though when pressed for cause the Liberal plaintiff falls back to reciting vague, non-specific charges, or else claims which were long ago disproven. They sometimes mention the impeachment of Bill Clinton, as if leading a nation in wartime were on the same level as perjuring yourself before a Grand Jury. It's interesting, though, that Clinton is remembered in this way; not for any effective action he ever took which might have addressed Terrorism while he was President, or any standard he established which the Bush Administration has continued in the fight against terrorists, but as a vague icon. Many Liberals parrot the line that Clinton was "effective" against terrorists, while citing not a single specific action taken by President Clinton against a single foreign terrorist threat.
In the interests of full disclosure, I will note a few of Clinton's successes in that effort. Under President Bill Clinton, the computer security infrastructure and financial instrument infrastructure of the United States received long-overdue scrutiny and improvements. Also, the threat of domestic terrorism was directly addressed for the first time since the Palmer Raids. These initiatives were created and emphasized by Richard Clarke, the Liberals' darling in the early blame-Bush days when the 9/11 attacks were discussed. It is noteworthy that Clarke looked in, not out - he made no suggestion to improve CIA-FBI information sharing, made no suggestion to improve surveillance of terrorists using NSA and other extant resources, and made no submission of preparing the military for the much-different conditions of fighting a war against NGO's. Clarke appealed to the Liberal mind, because in his work he thought as a Liberal. To Clarke, to Berger, and to Clinton, terrorism was a crime, nothing else. This is why the sum effect of Clinton's response to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing was to leave it to the police. This is why when Al Qaeda bombed two embassies, Bill Clinton chose not to retaliate. This is why Osama bin Laden's "declaration of war" against the United States received no response at all - in Bill Clinton's mind, only a nation-state could declare war, and so there was no possible response to a non-state group or individual. And so bin Laden and Al Qaeda planned and trained for the 9/11 attacks, to raise the stakes; it never mattered to him who was in office, because Al Qaeda was at war, whether the Liberals ever accepted that fact or not.
The separation between acts against statutory law, and acts of war, has never effectively been addressed by Liberal spokespeople. Liberals are offended by the charge that they have not supported their country, because they see the entire issue as a criminal matter, and so believe - naively, so very wrongly, but fervently - that President Bush has escalated the matter, not the terrorists. This false perception drives Liberals to blame anyone who supports the President or the war, so that they find themselves denouncing people like Lieberman, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and dozens of national leaders of countries which supported the war against Iraq by sending troops, material, or other support. It never occurs to Liberals to observe that even more nations supported the United States when it led the Coalition to remove Saddam Hussein from power, than that Coalition in 1990 which freed Kuwait. Small wonder, because too close a look at either war involving Iraq could reveal facts which undermine every major Liberal charge against the cause of the war.
On the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, it is patently obvious to most people that Al Qaeda represented the vanguard of an Islamofascist movement on that day. They intended to destabilize the American government, wrongly confusing the Bush Administration with the indecisive and preoccupied Clinton Administration. We now know that Al Qaeda and other Islamofascist organizations were and are backed, in some cases out and out created, by the regimes running Iran and Syria; it turns out that President Bush's "Axis of Evil" was just as he claimed. We now know that there were, in fact, caches and stockpiles of WMD; the Liberals will never accept it, because the WMD found so far were not nuclear - they ignore the evidence that Saddam was violating the cease-fire in his direction of the Nuclear program, but they even more hypocritically ignore that Iraq's documented use of Chemical Weapons against enemies and against civilians, in addition to the specific prohibition of CW as WMD, makes that specific claim accurate and valid, even though President Bush articulated many other reasons for the war - but then few people would expect a Liberal to pay attention when a Conservative President speaks.
Monday night, President Bush will address the nation on the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Liberals need to listen to that speech. They have a lot of catching up to do on their real-world education.