Sunday, January 18, 2009

An Important Message to Young Democrats

A few days ago, I found some very important remarks embedded in a Washington Post essay arguing that liberals should finally give George W. Bush credit for the surge.

The argument was somewhat compelling although I think fully exploring the issue requires closer to a thousand pages than a thousand words.

The surge and George W. Bush's role aside, the author, Peter Beinart, made a very important argument halfway through the essay that I felt important to quote here: entire generation of Democrats now takes it for granted that on the big questions, the right is always wrong. Older liberals remember the Persian Gulf War, which most congressional Democrats opposed and most congressional Republicans supported -- and the Republicans were proven right. They also remember the welfare reform debate of the mid-1990s, when prominent liberals predicted disaster, and disaster didn't happen.

Younger liberals, by contrast, have had no such chastening experiences. Watching the Bush administration flit from disaster to disaster, they have grown increasingly dismissive of conservatives in the process..... They have never had the ideologically humbling experience of watching the people whose politics they loathe be proven right.

In this way, they are a little like the Bushies themselves. One reason the Bush administration fell prey to such monumental hubris was that it didn't take its critics seriously.

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