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Between the Lines

October 14, 2003

A message from the ‘Angry Right’

We’ve been getting a lot of white noise from the knee-jerk Bush defenders lately about the “Angry Left.” The tag seems to apply to pretty much any Democrat or, heaven forbid, admitted liberal, who doesn’t toe the Bush line. Well, duh. Of course many Democrats and liberals are angry at this administration: it doesn’t stand for the things they stand for and, worse, the administration has a hard time sticking to the facts about what it supposedly does stand for -- which is why so many to the left of center who want the U.S. to succeed in Iraq are throwing up their hands at the Bush Bunch. So where’s the news here? It all seems pretty natural to me.

What I want to know is: Why don’t we hear more about the Angry Right? From reading the Bushwhacked you’d never know such a thing exists. But it does, its numbers seem to be increasing, and much of what its practitioners say is at least as vitriolic – and often more passionately argued – than what you get from the left.

The core of the Angry Right is Libertarian, but it is by no means limited to this still fairly small subset of people who usually vote Republican.

Here are a few examples:

Justin Raimondo, a Libertarian and editor of the web site Antiwar.com denounces President Bush, Vice President Cheney and the administration’s top Cabinet members “as lying cretins,” language you’ll have a hard time topping on any Democratic site.

“These people are incapable of telling the truth, even if it is to their advantage. They prefer prevarication. That's why the art of lying has attained cult status among the more exalted neocon intellectuals … ,” Raimondo writes.

Or consider Jacob Hornberger, founder of the Future Freedom Foundation, a Libertarian group.

Hornberger asserts that the “ … Bush’s and Cheney’s use of their so-called war on terrorism to justify their invasion and continued occupation of Iraq is patently ludicrous and manifestly deceptive. It was the U.S. government’s interventionist policies in the Middle East that engendered the terrorism in the first place. And Bush’s and Cheney’s invasion and occupation of Iraq are certain to produce even more of it.”

Futher, he says, the administration is using the fear of Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction (so far undiscovered), to “implement the most massive centralization of federal power and the most dangerous assault on the constitutional guarantees and civil liberties of the American people in our lifetime.”

Harsh words indeed.

Another faction of the Angry Right is represented by such old-line hard-righters as Pat Buchanan, who wonders if “freedom” and “democracy” in Iraq are worth $87 billion and an ever-growing casualty count of dead and wounded Americans.

“If we cannot define victory, our enemy can,” Buchanan says. “And it is a sobering thought that no Arab or Islamic revolution that fought hard to expel a Western power has been defeated in 60 years.

“The French were run out of Algeria after an eight-year war, and the allies they left behind were slaughtered. The Russians were expelled from Afghanistan after an eight-year occupation by an Islamic jihad and nationalist uprising. The Israelis abandoned Lebanon after an 18-year occupation, unwilling to pay the continuing cost in Jewish blood of battling Hezbollah guerrillas.

“Moreover, pro-Western monarchs in that part of the world—King Farouk in Egypt in 1952, King Feisel in Iraq in 1958, King Idris in Libya in 1968, Emperor Haile Selassie in Ethiopia in 1975, the Shah of Iran in 1979—have all been overthrown in anti-Western coups.

“Thus, while there are many models for how a Western power can be driven out of an Arab country, or a Western vassal overthrown, where is the model for an enduring Western victory in the Arab and Islamic world—in the last 50 years?”

His answer: Kuwait, a far more limited goal undertaken under far more favorable circumstances than we now face in Iraq.

This is just a small sample of what’s being said and written daily by conservative and Libertarian opponents of the war, and more broadly, the administration’s foreign policy.

The depth of their animosity evokes memories of fragmentation on the left in years past that has cost Democrats important elections (most recently Al Gore in 2000). You have to wonder where these votes are going to go next fall – which probably explains why you hear so little about the Angry Right from the Bushies.

Posted by tbrown at 02:12 PM




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A message from the ‘Angry Right’

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Blogs to watch

Abu Ardvark
Altercation
Andrew Sullivan
Antiwar.com
Atrios Eschaton
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DailyKOS
Defensetech
Drudge Report
GlobalSecurity.org
Instapundit
Joe Conason (subscription required)
Josh Marshall
Kaus files
No More Mr. Nice Blog
Real Clear Politics
Tapped
The Corner
The Volokh Conspiracy
The Whiskey Bar

Mideast blogs

Salam Pax (Iraq)
G. in Baghdad
L.T. Smash (U.S. military in Iraq)
Lady Sun (Iran)

City blogs

Gawker
L.A. Examiner

Africa blogs

AfricaPundit
Cathy Buckle

Media blogs

Romenesko
Dan Gillmor's eJournal
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International Herald Tribune
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New York Times (free registration required)

Economy blogs

EconoPundit
Brad DeLong

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