THE SPINE FEBRUARY 5, 2008
The Democrats cannot imagine losing in November. The Republicans have been depressed, very depressed, since 2006. But the Republican depression is about to be lifted, and it will be lifted by John McCain. He will put up a good fight against either of the plausible Democratic nominees. And both of the plausible Democratic nominees have a chink in their armor: Hillary Clinton, in some measure because she would carry the burden of retroactively inserting herself as a big player in her husband's utterly incomprehensible foreign policy, the "ready on day one" nonsense, etc; Barack Obama, because some (much?) of the enthusiasm for his campaign comes from people who think that the U.S. hasn't done a good thing in the world since the Marshall Plan, and the older "movement" folk who worried whether Harry Truman didn't scare the Russians into belligerence.Lawrence J. Haas was Vice President Al Gore's communications director, and he is now vice president of the Committee on the Present Danger. What! The present danger! What present danger? There is no present danger, except for the environmental danger. As a hassid of Al Gore myself, I yield to no one in my conviction that the present course of weather change leads only to catastrophe. But there are other present dangers against which the United States and its tight group of largely Western allies -- plus Japan and India -are the only real defense. This does not mean military response, although there are times -- as -- then military response will be indispensable. But it means being tough with both Russia and China which want to restore the brutal aspects of the Cold War.In any case, Haas has written an article in Democratiya which argues persuasively that the U.S. is not the present danger and the assumption that you can always "get to yes" with your adversaries is simply false. If the Democrats run a campaign targeting America they will lose. Now, of course, neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton are personally inclined towards doing so. I support Obama precisely because he grasps and sings the poetry of America and of a forward American enmeshment with the world.One more thing: the Democrats cannot win by running against George Bush.