Bad, bad Benjamin Schwarz 

In today's Los Angeles Times, Benjamin Schwarz leaps to defend President Bush against the all-but-indisputable charges that he lied to the country - indeed, to the world - about his reasons for invading Iraq. Schwarz doesn't even claim that Bush is innocent; he presents it as a foregone conclusion that the President lied to the American people, and is quite calm about it. Schwarz's defense of the President centers on the proposition that lying when it relates to war "...doesn't matter in the end. All that ultimately matters is getting the threat right and winning the war at a reasonable cost." Thus, I suppose, his article's vague and shifting title, "Bush Fibbed, and That Might Be Okay."

Strangely, the argument that Schwarz uses is a textbook example of what cultural conservatives call "moral relativism." It certainly seems strange for Schwarz to use such a postmodern-sounding argument to defend the prevarications of a president who is supposedly waging a "campaign of moral clarity" against terrorism and the forces of darkness. This stuff is anathema to cultural conservatives! And it's undeniable that this same proposition, if articulated by a Democrat - especially in defense of Bill Clinton's lies about sex in the Oval Office - would spark outrage and denunciations from Trent Lott, Newt Gingrich, Ralph Reed, and the rest of the usual suspects on the right.

Unsettling as his approach is, one at least expects Schwarz to apply it consistently among presidents and their wars. But Schwarz (with Christopher Layne) wrote this for The Nation in 1999 on Clinton's Kosovo campaign:
"President Clinton's address attempting to justify - after the fact - the US-led NATO bombing of Serbia should set off alarms.... [T]he American people have a right to expect their chief executive--even one with Bill Clinton's track record--to avoid distortions and half-truths. Clinton's statement to the nation fell well short of the mark."
There are some other serious inconsistencies between the positions Schwarz outlines in these two op-ed pieces, and the articles are definitely worth reading together. I recommend starting with the 1999 piece so you can see exactly which direction Schwarz's "moral compass" supposedly points. Then try to match that up with the "new and improved" Schwarz worldview in late 2003. It's quite enlightening.

It's sad that conservative pundits don't even bother to pay lip service to the "principles" they railed on about as recently as four years ago. All in all, I suspect that the right's new-found tolerance for untruth is just a convenient switch in moral posture, undertaken cynically and designed for partisan political advantage. It will undoubtedly prove useful, as George W. Bush is proved a bigger liar every day. And if all that matters is whether a given war is won at reasonable cost, all objective observers must agree that Clinton's Kosovo (with zero American casualties) beats W's Iraq hands down.

I'm endorsing Clark for the Dem nomination. 

That said (and I know my influence is great - <\sarcasm>), I'd like to invite you to head on over to the Clark campaign web site, where (if you're not already a true believer) you can learn about General Wesley Clark and get the information that I think will convince you to support him, too.

Then you can head straight for the brand-spanking-new Action Center to contribute, tell a friend about the General, sign up for email updates from the campaign, and much more.

Also, check out the (also brand-spanking-new) Download Center, where you can download .PDF versions of "talking points" type documents, detailing Clark's biography, the details of Clark's economic, service, and health care plans, yard/window signs, and much more. This is a great resource for Clark supporters - you can use the download center to help you inform your friends and family about the General's vision for the country.

Get Your War On. 

Smoking Gun.

(NOTE - This is from 10/21/03, so you may have already seen it. For my money, though, it's worth seeing again, because it made me snort coke through my nose.)

Note to Luskin: 



Donald Luskin is a stalker! 

I say this because Mr. Luskin - by his own admission - stalked economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

Grudging kudos to Glenn at Instapundit for calling Luskin on his most recent case of the crazies. Apparently, Glenn's sent along a letter, asking 'ol Luskie for the truth. I'm betting dollars to donuts, though, that Luskin writes Glenn back saying the whole thing is a frame-up, and that Atrios, in fact, is stalking him...

Prediction: NRO will begin to quietly distance themselves from the Luskinator. He'll start to get fewer and fewer column inches, until he's writing the NRO equivalent of those "eye opener" columns you sometimes still on the front page see in small-market local papers... Definitely more to come.

BTW, how do you break a bottle of champagne over the prow of a new blog? Like this?