TNR has another round-up of what various Vichy liberal pro-war toadies say about Operation Iraqi Freedom now. They’re almost all pretty bad (though in fairness, TNR did mix in a few actual anti-war people, who wrote intelligent things about why they were right), but Michael Ignatieff’s might be the worst; he mostly discusses how even though Iraq didn’t go perfectly…..SYRIA MOTHERFUCKERS.
It amazes me that Canada’s Liberal party put this guy up as their leader in the last election. I certainly wasn’t surprised that the party did 8 points worse than they had in the previous election.
I feel the same way about what’s happening to the Lib Dems in UK politics. If you watch the polls and compare them with the last election (here’s a great chart of UK election results over the years), you’ll see that the combined Labor/Lib Dem percentage has remained roughly constant since the last election; the Lib Dems have lost about ten percent and Labor has gained about ten percent. (Meanwhile, the Conservative percentage has gone down as the far right UKIP party has gained, but that’s a different discussion.) No one seems to dispute that this is because Nick Clegg went along with Cameron’s crazy, unpopular economic policies.
I’m always wary of comparing politics from different countries, but I do think there’s a lesson here and it’s the same lesson Democrats who supported the Iraq War (out of fear of being mocked as unserious) should have learned: Don’t lose your nerve and start going along with right-wing policies. Don’t make neocons and crypto-conservatives the leaders of your party if you’re a party on the left.
It’s easy for people on the left to be paranoid, especially in the US, after the last 40 years of craziness. But right-wing policies — stupid wars, austerity, cuts to entitlements — are unpopular in the long run, so stay the fuck away from them if you want to win elections.