And the difference between the neo-cons and Emanuel, Biden, Hilbadwards, and the Do-Nothing Democrat Party would be?
Not a dime's worth.
Tony Smith writes on WaPo's editorial page:
Although they now cast themselves as alternatives to President Bush, the fact is that prevailing Democratic doctrine is not that different from the Bush-Cheney doctrine.
So, with Iraq withdrawal: Can't, or won't?
Without a coherent alternative to the Bush doctrine, with its confidence in America's military preeminence and the global appeal of "free market democracy," the Democrats' midterm victory may not be repeated in November 2008. Or, if the Democrats do win in 2008, they could remain staked to a vision of a Pax Americana strikingly reminiscent of Bush's.
The Washington Consensus again; which is not, not, not the consensus of the country, or the voters who elected what they assumed would be new leadership:
Since 1992, the ascendant Democratic faction in foreign policy debates has been the thinkers [propagandists; hacks] associated with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and its think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). Since 2003, the PPI has issued repeated broadsides damning Bush's handling of the Iraq war, but it has never condemned the invasion. It has criticized Bush's failure to achieve U.S. domination of the Middle East, arguing that Democrats could do it better.
So, these guys are arguing that they can be more effective pushers for America's oil addiction. Splendid.
This is not a fringe group. Many prominent Democrats are PPI stalwarts, including Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Evan Bayh, Thomas R. Carper and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, published a book last year, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America," co-authored by Bruce Reed, editor of the PPI's magazine Blueprint and president of the DLC.
Emanuel and Reed salute Marshall's "outstanding anthology" for its "refreshingly hardnosed and intelligent new approach . . . which breathes new life into the Democratic vision of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John Kennedy." Not a word in their book appears hostile to the idea of invading Iraq. Instead, the authors fault Bush for allowing a "troop gap" to develop (they favor increasing the Army by 100,000 and expanding the Marines and Special Forces) and for failing to "enlist our allies in a common mission." The message once again is that Democrats could do it better.
The DLC is a fringe group--Everywhere except inside the Beltway.
In fact, these neoliberals are nearly indistinguishable from the better-known neoconservatives. The neocons' think tank, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), often salutes individuals within the PPI, and PPI members such as Marshall signed PNAC petitions endorsing the Iraq invasion. Weeks after "With All Our Might" appeared, the Weekly Standard, virtually the PNAC house organ, gave it a thumbs-up review. And why not? The PPI and PNAC are tweedledum and tweedledee.
I'll resist the "tweedledumber" joke, here. Shooting fish in a barrel, and all.
Sources for many of the critical elements of the Bush doctrine can be found in the emergence of neoliberal thought during the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War.
Neolibs such as Larry Diamond at Stanford also posited the "universal appeal of democracy," suggesting that "regime change" leading to "the democratic transition" was a manageable undertaking. Anne-Marie Slaughter at Princeton asserted that "rogue states" guilty of systematic human-rights abuses or that built weapons of mass destruction had only "conditional sovereignty" and were legally open to attack. These views were echoed in the columns of Thomas Friedman of the New York Times. Here was the intellectual substance of much of the Bush doctrine, coming from non-Republicans.
Of course, the Republicans did add their own special sauce to the recipe that the Democrats so carefully prepared for them. But still.
The front-runner, Hillary Clinton, has not moved from her traditional support of the DLC's basic position -- she criticizes the conduct of the war, but not the idea of the war. Former senator John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama are more outspoken; both call the war a serious mistake, but neither has articulated a vision for a more modest U.S. role in the world generally.
It isn't easy to offer a true alternative. The challenges to world order are many, as are the influential special interests in this country that want an aggressive policy: globalizing corporations, the military-industrial complex, the pro-Israel lobbies, those who covet Middle Eastern oil. The nationalist conviction that we are indeed "the indispensable nation" will continue to tempt our leaders to overplay their hand. The danger lies in believing that our power is beyond challenge, that the righteousness of our goals is beyond question and that the real task is not to reformulate our role in the world so much as to assert more effectively a global American peace.
No, not easy, but it has to be done; our greatest challenge will be to keep our Constitutional form of government.
I'm gradually coming to the conclusion that there is no coherent challenge to the destruction of the Constitution and the abuse of executive power from Democrats because that's the way they want it if and when they take power. And no, I don't want that power in Hillary's hands any more than I want it in Bush's hands.
NOTE This is why state movements to impeach are so important. Because we may have to do exactly the same thing against a Democrat chief executive.
UPDATE I cross-posted this over at Kos for shits and grins. What was it we were saying about in-group thinking the other day?
UPDATE MaxSpeak said it better than I did. Writing on the same Op-Ed:
We don't need a critique of the Bush Administration's execution of the invasion, nor of the neo-cons fantasies about democratization of the Middle East. We need a critique of Empire. We need to think differently.