Bozell Column: Hiding Behind the 'Anti-War' Label
Over the last five years, the resurgent radical left has found empowerment in the Democratic Party through what the political scribes antiseptically call the "Internet grass roots." When hawkish Sen. Joe Lieberman lost by four points in the Democratic primary in Connecticut to ultraliberal millionaire Ned Lamont, the media credited this hard left with the upset. In truth, however, the liberal media themselves were a major part of the equation.
They refused to label Ned Lamont what he is: a charter member of the far left. They wouldn’t even call him a liberal. They simply called him "anti-war." It was used ad infinitum, as mushy a term as there is, if you think about it.
What exactly does it to mean to be "anti-war"? If liberals cluck in disgust at the label "pro-life" – that it’s a preposterous label because no one’s "anti-life" – then isn’t "anti-war" a equally meaningless label, since no one this side of Attila the Hun is uniformly "pro-war"? If the media are to be consistent, shouldn’t they call the people who favor war in certain circumstances to be "pro-choice" on military action?
Yes, just as you can be universally anti-abortion, you can advocate a pacifist position – universally opposed to war. There are many on the radical left who have made a career out of being against every American military action since the Spanish-American War. In public, they tell us that all war is bad, and that every outbreak of international violence is to be abhorred. But too often, in between the lines, the "anti-war" crowd aren’t opposed to war as much as they’re opposed to America moving a military muscle.
Some in the "anti-war" movement actually aren’t so opposed to military violence, even to include terrorism – if the enemy is America or her allies. During the Vietnam War, some peaceniks openly supported the communist Vietcong. During the Contra war, some peaceniks openly supported the communist Sandinistas. In the current war between Israel and Hezbollah terrorists, some have openly supported Hezbollah, as Hezbollah-flag-waving weekend rallies around the White House and in other cities recently illustrated. Calling them "anti-war" then isn’t as accurate as describing those radicals as the label "anti-American."
Ned Lamont was probably never asked by reporters if being "anti-war" meant being associated with these kooky professional protest groups like Code Pink or International ANSWER. He was probably never asked to name an American military action he supported in the last 50 years. But they used "anti-war" without the slightest negative connotation.
Lamont isn’t merely a predictable withdraw-now liberal on Iraq. National reporters don’t mention he’s a pro-abortion hardliner, a booster of so-called "gay marriage," a socialist preacher for universal health care and universal pre-school, and a staunch Greenpeace-pleasing foe of evil oil and automobile companies.
In one piece, the Washington Post tried to describe Lamont’s online position papers as the views of "a fiscal conservative, a social liberal and a foreign-policy moderate." It’s hard to imagine a "fiscal conservative" favoring all the liberal spending programs Lamont advocates on his website. But it’s even funnier to attempt to describe Lamont’s views on foreign policy – not just the Iraq-quagmire babble, but his explicit online salute to the "wisdom and patriotism" of Congressman John Murtha, who accuses our Marines of civilian massacres before the evidence comes in – as anywhere within miles of a "moderate" point of view.
The other real driver of the Lamont-Lieberman race is simply described as "Bush hatred." The liberal media elite loved denouncing conservatives as "Clinton haters" in the 1990s, but now can’t identify any hate in Lamont or any other liberal today. But just listen to how Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne described Lieberman’s problem on National Public Radio: "I think he misread that for a lot of Democrats, the moral issue of this time is where you stand on George Bush." Offering support for Bush is immoral?
CBS even offered that view, as reporter Trish Regan referred several times to "this now infamous kiss" from Bush to Lieberman at a State of the Union speech. Bush is "infamous"? Isn’t that quite a leap for an "objective" network? Not that CBS is trying to be an objective network, mind you. After Lieberman lost, CBS called the picture the "Kiss of Death."
Pundits are now gaming out whether Lamont can win over Lieberman, now running as an independent. Lamont is too liberal to win over moderates and independents, even in Connecticut, except voters may never learn from the national press who he is. They’ll just hear he’s "anti-war," which is why he could pull this one out.