I am currently in the midst of a semi-irregular semi-annual disgust with politics. I have spent what little time I have had recently clicking through a bunch of site, many written by people I respect and read daily, only to find myself rendered (mostly) silent, not from a lack of opinion, but from a realization that positions are ossifying rapidly and it doesn't do to point that out.
The Bull Moose hasn't thrown in the terry cloth just yet; in fact he seems a bit delighted at being labeled Hillary Clinton's "unofficial Rasputin." Still, the frustration is evident in these paragraphs:
Today, there is a moronic convergence of the Buchananite paleo-conservative right and the left on the notion that we went to war at the direction of a cabal of neo-conservatives who seized the brain of the President. Even though Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are hardly neo-cons, the right-left conspiracy has it that the forces of the Project for the New American Century distributed letters signed by the likes of Wolfowitz and Feith and that led us to war.
In the interests of full disclosure, the Moose once signed a PNAC letter. Suffice it to say, his signature probably had little impact on the President. But, the Moose proudly stands by his association with the neo-cons conspiracists , who, by the way, were the most vociferous supporters of the Clinton Administration in stopping the slaughter in Kosovo. Liberal internationalism is something with which the Moose has no quarrel.
I was making this point to a friend the other day. This friend was among those who, during Kosovo, repeated the meme of the time that the US was not to be "the world's policeman" while he supported Iraq on the "democratization" of the Middle East was good policy for the US and that, after all we were liberating 25 million people.
When I mentioned this to another friend who had supported Clinton, but now was against "being the world's policeman," I realized that the sides had simply changed while arguments stayed static.
In other words, it depends on who is running things. Clinton was accused of "wagging the dog" in Kosovo to change the subject from Monica, even though his administration waited far too long to commit troops. If he had been wagging, he would have jumped at the chance to take his affair off the front pages.
Okay. The left and right have changed places. That is, I suppose, not very surprising. However, while there have been efforts to legitimize the so-called moderate, middle, independent voter, the middle isn't doing a very good job of holding itself together. Maybe it's because the middle by definition can be cohesive. But it is discouraging that even those for whom inquiry is more important than dogma, the time seems near when positions become hardened and independent thinking becomes unthinkable.