Friday, December 15, 2006

Jim Webb and Wes Clark: The Return of the Warrior/Scholar

- upcoming diary on Daily Kos, 12/15/2006. Tags: Jim Webb, Wesley Clark, Tammy Duckworth, Fighting Dems.

Those of old who were good at being knight-scholars (ancient masters) were subtle, were possessed of ineffable efficacy, and were in dark and mysterious confluence, so profound that they could not be percieved. Lao Tsu, The Tao Te Ching, #15

I just received polling information yesterday from Des Moines, Iowa, putting John Edwards way ahead at 36%; Senator Clinton at 16% and Senator Obama 13% - Obama appears to be pulling from Senator Clinton. It could be that the country just wants peace and sees John and Elizabeth as a kind of benign Babar and Celeste in Celesteville - would be nice. But my point of view has always been that there are two crises in America today: The secondary crisis is the Iraq disaster.

But the primary crisis is leadership in America. It has been growing for 15 years and that is what caused the Iraq crisis. The leadership crisis has not yet been solved or dealt with by the ISG report or the removal of Rumsfeld. Robert Gates is a great improvement, but incompetence and malicious intention pervade the Republican rank and file and even their mild-mannered coat-carriers and fellow travelers up here in New England - the folkloric and anomalous Maine and New Hampshire Republicans (who in no way resemble conservative Yanks of yore) – share in the dirty deeds and their consequences. It is the nature of unchecked power to spiral to its furthest chaos until someone stops it.

John McCain is taking a bad turn. He is revealing himself to be a proponent of valor for the sake of valor, which is exactly how Bush sees it. It is the idea of valor rather than the thing itself. It is dangerously misguided. McCain bravely faced down the Christian Right in Virginia when he first ran; now he toadies up to the same people who called him a coward. His positions now are growing worse than Bush's.

Some of his advisors are among the most egregious neocons, Kagan and Kristol in particular, whose vision of “jump starting” the Second American Century as an Israeli-based society virtually brought a seed a madness to American public policy. But it is the congenital condition of incompetence and personal expedience growing in politics since the ‘90s, marked up and down the Administration by an inability to think strategically, that was the Petrie dish for this ridiculously tragic and absurd idea. (When did so very, very few ever commandeer the will of so very, very many?)

This is how it could go: McCain will try to rally the same "war fever" which brought on the war in Iraq in the first place; his distinguished and brave Vietnam history could rally the people and advance it again - such power surges historically have gone in waves after a decent breather.

My claim is that this crazed right-wing movement originally came about because the Democrats let it. They looked away and didn't face it down when it first appeared; when the Gingrich Who Stole Congress shut it down in the first wave of Republican nihilism and anarchy. Then when the Republicans virtually stole the election in Florida, the Democrats only pouted fiercely; then escaped to "alternative issues" like gay marriage instead - it was classic transference.

The Dems thought you could wait it out, but you can't - it will grow stronger if you sit patiently and count the days. These people won't go away until the Democrats find the leader with the cajones to drive them out. I see that exclusively today in Wesley Clark.

This leadership crisis has been growing since at least 1994; it pervades the body politic. Tom DeLay was not an anomaly; he was the standard bearer for all Republicans & he still lurks on his new web site. Now McCain is embracing and reanimating this same core constituency. Greater crises will be ahead - internally and externally - if the Democrats don't drive these people out. Peace is not enough; an entirely new leadership class has to be rebuilt in this country in both political parties; in the military; and especially in the gutless miasma of the everyday press. How did virtual apparatchiks like Charles Krauthammer and his WaPost enablers and the sidewalk-and-desk-bound Dungeons & Dragons Warriors; the boy wonders at the Weekly Standard, come to commandeer the airwaves? Prior to the invasion of Iraq it was impossible to flip by C Span without seeing one or another of this very small, malevolent and insidious group in tux and tie, being awarded for visionary journalism by an errant ethical society gone amok, a feral press organization or other misguided lot.

But the Democrats have put forth candidates in ’04, ‘06 and will again in ‘08, particularly here in the Northeast, who did nothing to present themselves to Congress and the Senate but marry a lawyer very, very rich and influential. The rich and influential billionaire Democrats send their wives discreetly to office to govern behind their skirts and to increase their reach when and where they are out of power. While Tammy Duckworth, whose uncommon valor brought her from the fire of a burning Blackhawk with half her body missing, to the campaign trail with humor and kindness intact, is virtually ignored. Likewise, the Fighting Dems received little support from the traditional Democratic party and the mainstream press channels. It presents a crisis of character & one the Democrats must awaken too before ‘08

Many of the most prominent Democrats who voted for the war on Iraq seem to be trying to wait it out on the fair sands of places like Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, hoping, when it is over, to bring back the Sixties. They are like the Priest who accompanies the Conquistador - coat-carriers as well; fellow travelers, enablers, accommodators and appeasers. These Democrats should be heavily scrutinized in ’08 and in all future elections as the fourth post-war generation grows into power (“What did you do in the war, Daddy [Mommy]?)

Their day in the sun has passed. The generation has turned. And instead I see Jim Webb, warrior/scholar of Virginia, of whom his new constituents in the Old Dominion today sport bumper stickers which read, “My Senator is Fearless.” He is the "monkey god" awakening an entirely new paradigm; a new generation and a new Democratic culture of leadership, professionalism, valor and excellence in all areas of governance and its attendant industries like press and public relations. And he is prelude to Wesley Clark.


markg8 said...

That IA poll was taken in October. I like Edwards but I'm guessing it was skewed by the months he spent there campaigning for local Dems and frankly it's almost become his adopted state since '04. Obama was still naysaying a run in '08 at that point too.

Clark's going to have to buff up his poltical skills if he's going to win. He didn't show a whole lot in '04.

Anonymous said...

Duckworth is not the best example to argue that the Fighting Dem's were ignored. She had tons of press coverage and quite bit of cash from the DCCC. She was the exception that proved the rule: while she was getting tons of establishment cash and media attention, other Democratic veterans (like Eric Massa and Congressman-elect Murphy) were virtually ignored.

Anonymous said...