James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

We need some [Gene] McCarthyism

So said Pat Buchanan on Monday:

Gene McCarthy broke Johnson's presidency and converted the anti-war movement into a mass political movement. Four days after New Hampshire, Robert Kennedy leapt into the race. Two weeks later, Johnson announced he would not run.

Nixon's victory in 1968, over a divided Democratic Party, became, with 1932, one of the two seminal elections of the 20th century.

Prediction: A Eugene McCarthy will appear soon to pressure and challenge Hillary Clinton in 2008, if Hillary does not convert herself into an anti-war candidate.

Why? Because

the anti-war constituency has now grown to where it can sustain, and will demand, a national candidate to carry its case to the country.

What about the Republican Party?

There may well be one, but how such a candidate can be nominated by a party that will be forever associated with the Iraq war is impossible to see.

Paging Walter Jones ... paging Ron Paul... paging Chuck Hagel...

Jones, the former hawk and weasel of "Freedom Fries" fame, is angry that we went to war on false pretenses, and is building a "Homeward Bound" coaltion to begin withdrawal from Iraq by Oct 1, 2006 - a month before Congressional elections.

Guys like Jones can be frustrating. He deserves a slap in the face for voting the Iraq resolution in the first place. He's paid a lot of money to be informed. Why did the alternative press, and Pat Buchanan in the mainstream press, predict that Iraq would turn out this way? How could Congress be that wrong? As Buchanan wrote today:

From President Bush's Axis of Evil speech in January 2002 to the invasion in March 2003, some of us argued vehemently and ceaselessly against going to war.

We saw no connection between Saddam Hussein and 9-11. We saw no threat from a nation unable even to shoot down a single U.S. plane during 40,000 sorties in the previous decade. We warned that an occupation of Iraq would create our own Lebanon. And so it has.

But we lost the debate of 2003. The warnings of opponents were brushed aside, and, with the Senate Democratic leadership behind him, Bush took us to war. Two years have now elapsed, and our leaders cannot even agree on whether we are winning or losing the war.

Nevertheless, Jones, Justin Raimondo reports, said he

"felt deceived when he was told that so-called 'neoconservatives' in the Pentagon had wanted to invade Iraq long before Sept. 11," and he recalls how he got "'very, very upset' when he learned there were no weapons of mass destruction 'and that information was manipulated to justify the invasion.'"

Conservatives like Jones have been manipulated, lied to, and led around by the nose, with the neocons playing Lynndie England on the other end of the leash. Now they are rising up, demanding an exit strategy – and an explanation. And it isn't just Jones: Rep. Howard Coble, a fellow Republican in the North Carolina congressional delegation, has met with Jones and is "leaning toward supporting" Jones' resolution. It's red-on-red – and the split in the GOP over the war issue is widening. Senator Chuck Hagel, said to be eyeing a White House run, has joined the chorus of Republican voices calling for a reevaluation, if not a reversal, of our failed policy in Iraq.

"Things aren't getting better," says Senator Hagel, "they're getting worse. The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It's like they're just making it up as they go along. The reality is that we're losing in Iraq."

There is still enough isolationism and realism among Republicans for the party to come to its senses. Let's hope the 2006 election will be a turning point and that there can be a Peace candidate from both parties in 2008.


  1. I would love to see the anti-war caucus in Congress pick up steam. If it can reach a critical mass, we might be surprised at who jumps on the bandwagon.

    I will believe it when I see it, though.

  2. Anonymous3:21 PM PDT

    The level of "normalcy" that political dissent has reached is shown by the fact that we have a "Gene McCarthy" every four years. A 30% vote for Gene in the N.H. primary was enough to destroy LBJ politically. Now, it's almost a dog-bites-man story when a maverick runs in one or both parties and maybe even *wins* a few of the front-loaded primaries. Witness McCain and Bradley in 2000, for example. And it doesn't derail the establishment candidate as it did in 1968; the anointee of the big donors and the establishment pols absorbs the hits, and goes on to take the nomination as a matter of course. The two party system has accomodated itself to massive levels of popular disaffection, and still keeps on going like the Energizer bunny.

    Kevin Carson