The Corner

Dionne: Another View

A reader objects. A portion:

I honestly dont understand your comments on the Corner at times. You are

obviously amazingly bright and you give a notion of sanity to a blog that

too often substitutes political calculation with actual conservative

ideology (see the many defenses of indefensible religious leaders’

comments). Yet for whatever reason, you and others continue to want to

reduce all liberals’ (of which I am one) arguments to absurdity. In your

critique of Ej Dionne today, you wrote that either Dionne thinks Bush is

lying or knows that war critiques are hurting the troops, but wont say it.

Have you ever thought that there is a third possibility? Maybe, shock of

all shocks, Dionne simply DISAGREES with the President on what the effect is

of the criticism.

I grow increasingly weary of Democrats tendency to not have actual debates

about issues, but rather to engage in name-calling. However the Republican

response is no better. Instead of having a legitimate debate about what the

role of dissent is at a time of war (one in which the Republicans have no

moral standing….see Kosovo), you frame the issue in the classic Fox News

way —- The Dems think Bush is lying! As I see it, I think Bush

legitimately believes that dissent is hurting the war effort. I think he is

legitimately wrong. The harms in Iraq have to do with classic overreaching

and a mistaken (in my view) notion that we could, via force, change the

world. But to reduce those ideas, or those of Dionne, to absurdity in order

to make a rhetorical point is something that you are better than….

Me: At first, I was sympathetic to this email. And I do take his point. But he’s basically wrong. The Democrats are accusing Bush of lying. And, the intent of EJ Dionne’s complaint is clear: he thinks it is illegitimate to suggest that denouncing the war and calling Bush a liar is harmful to the war effort. And he doesn’t make any effort to demonstrate a foundation for this view. Moreover, EJ calls Bush’s response “partisan” while those calling Bush a liar are merely “critics.” Come on. As a general proposition there’s merit to some of the reader’s complaints. But this is not the place to stake out the fight.

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