Thursday, October 16, 2008

Part-Issue Voter

I hadn't really been sitting up nights wondering which candidate Christopher Hitchens would endorse for 2008, but thanks to homo superior curates the web, I know now, and I admit, I'm a bit surprised.
I used to call myself a single-issue voter on the essential question of defending civilization against its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors, and on that "issue" I hope I can continue to expose and oppose any ambiguity. Obama is greatly overrated in my opinion, but the Obama-Biden ticket is not a capitulationist one, even if it does accept the support of the surrender faction, and it does show some signs of being able and willing to profit from experience. With McCain, the "experience" is subject to sharply diminishing returns, as is the rest of him, and with Palin the very word itself is a sick joke. One only wishes that the election could be over now and a proper and dignified verdict rendered, so as to spare democracy and civility the degradation to which they look like being subjected in the remaining days of a low, dishonest campaign.
"The surrender faction" -- why yes, everyone who opposed the American invasion of Iraq just wanted to surrender to Saddam Hussein, whose war planes were cruising over the Eastern Seaboard all through 2002, and let him occupy our great nation without firing a shot. It's good to know that Hitchens is still hanging on to the dementia that has served him so well the past eight years. As he well knows, the Bush administration gets along just fine with "its terrorist enemies and their totalitarian protectors," and to invoke "civilization" in connection with a corrupt, murderous regime that has slashed civil liberties, given torture a new prominence, and killed even more innocent people than Clinton did, is to reaffirm triumphantly Hitchens's abandonment of intellectual honesty.

It's interesting to compare this endorsement of Obama (who, it's true, wants to continue killing random ragheads for the foreseeable future, wherever and whenever he can find them) with Hitchens's 2004 "slight" endorsement of Bush.
You don't like "smirking"? What about the endless smirks and smarmy hints about the Administration's difficulties, whether genuine or self-imposed? The all-knowing, stupid smirks about the "secular" Saddam, or the innocuousness of prewar Iraq? The sneers about the astonishing success of our forces in Afghanistan, who are now hypocritically praised by many who opposed their initial deployment? This is to say nothing of the paranoid innuendoes I don't have to name that are now part of pseudo-"radical" rumor-mongering and defamation. Whichever candidate wins, I shall live to see these smirks banished, at least. ...

What slightly disturbs me about most liberals is their hypertense refusal to admit the corollary. "Anybody But Bush"--and this from those who decry simple-mindedness--is now the only glue binding the radical left to the Democratic Party right. The amazing thing is the literalness with which the mantra is chanted. Anybody? Including Muqtada al-Sadr? The chilling answer is, quite often, yes. This is nihilism. Actually, it's nihilism at best. If it isn't treason to the country--let us by all means not go there--it is certainly treason to the principles of the left.
My first reaction as I reread this painful performance was that "the radical left" had not used the slogan "Anybody But Bush" -- that was a line I associated then, and still do, with the Democratic middle, who didn't really mean it anyway except to try to discipline those on the left who supported Kerry/Edwards (or Obama/Biden) with inadequate ardor. If "Anybody But Bush," then why not Ralph Nader? But then I remembered that even a radical leftist like Noam Chomsky argued in 2004 that it was important to vote, and to vote for the lesser evil (that is, Kerry) rather than permit another four years of Bush. If Hitchens really believed that stupid and vicious smear about "including Muqtada al-Sadr," he was at least prudent enough not to name any names, since as he also knows, Chomsky has always been critical of radical Islamists and the American administrations that have supported them for so many years. This is just more "the surrender faction" crap. His disavowal of accusations of "treason" then was as transparently fake as similar disavowals now by Palin and McCain.

Hitchens is right, of course: he can safely endorse Obama, because Obama is no "capitulationist," he's ready to shed a lot more blood if elected. Hitchens may have forgotten how in 2004 he said "with agony" that "the Israel-Palestine dispute ... which stands a very slightly better chance of a decent settlement if an almost uncritically pro-Israeli Democrat is not elected"; Obama is explicit in his uncritical support of Israel. But details, details! What counts is that "the astonishing success of our forces in Afghanistan" (which aren't looking so astonishing or so successful nowadays) and in Iraq, and in Pakistan, continue. Obama will give Hitchens that, which is why Hitchens's endorsement confirms what I and other cynical elitists have been saying about Obama all along. And I have no doubt that if Bush could run for a third term, Hitchens would still be endorsing him.