Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The New Republic Makes a Joke of Itself

It publishes Joseph Loconte:

Is liberalism synonymous with secularism? A TNR debate, Day 4: Contrary to the eccentric, embittered attack by ex-White House staffer David Kuo, the president's faith-based initiative has delivered on another Bush promise: to confront the government's animus against religious charities in providing social services. You can't measure the success of this initiative in federal dollars... the standard liberal fallacy...

A previous act of pollution of the stream of debate by Joseph Loconte:

Joseph Loconte on Iraq on National Review Online: There is a tenacity, a resolve, a certain moral seriousness about Nouri Al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, that many politicians here must find unsettling. His determination was on full display Wednesday, when he addressed Congress to discuss the future of Iraq. In a 30-minute speech interrupted 27 times by applause, Al-Maliki poignantly described the existential terrorist threat facing his country...

If the White House has sometimes appeared naive about the “terrible” violence in Baghdad... its critics have an opposite problem: an unflappable fatalism.... We’ve seen this mood before. It is reminiscent of the cynicism of progressives in the 1930s, who viewed the struggle against Nazi Germany in the black light of the First World War....

Al-Maliki’s speech to Congress stands as a reproach to the debunkers of our own day. He was sober, yet not cynical, about America’s and the world’s failure to support Iraq’s stirrings toward freedom, particularly after the first Gulf War. “In 1991, when Iraqis tried to capitalize on the regime’s momentary weakness and rose up, we were alone again,” he said....

The heart of Al-Maliki’s message, though, was that Iraq is center stage in the fight against global terrorism. Here is a confrontation, he warned, that demands the engagement of “every liberal democracy that values freedom.” It is this message — delivered by a man trying to govern his nation at ground zero of the struggle — which offends liberal leaders and intellectuals.... A man who once carried a death sentence on his head and lived in exile for over 20 years, Al-Maliki is no utopian. He knows all about the sectarian divisions in his country, the threat of rogue militias, the security problems in Baghdad, the fears that drain away hope. “The journey has been perilous,” he told Congress, “and the future is not guaranteed.” Yet he remains resolved: “I will not allow terrorists to dictate to us our future.”

The cynics in his audience — the Ted Kennedy wing of the Democratic party — are not the ones to lead America into this future. They remain trapped in the past, it seems, an emotional quagmire of their own making.

That Frank Foer feels that this voice is a good one to put in his corner of the public sphere is a good reason to stay far away.


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