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The Liberal Tiger by the Tail

‘Tis the season, as well it should be, for introspection and self-criticism among conservatives. But this story, from today’s WSJ, should cause sober liberals to worry:

President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party. … Mr. Obama is being advised largely by a group of intelligence professionals, including some who have supported Republicans, and centrist former officials in the Clinton administration. They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.

If I were a Democrat, I would wonder: What does it say about our movement that a prerequisite for electoral viability is hostility to pragmatic national-security policies? And what does it say about the temperament of our party that our president-elect must quickly repudiate the political aesthetic that originally made him so popular? It seems that, if you’re a Democrat, you have to run far further to the Left to earn your popularity than Republicans have to run to the Right to earn theirs. If I were a Democrat, that would concern me.


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