Punditry and reality

When the opposition gives you advice, do the opposite of what he says. That ought to be a maxim. On that note, Charles Krauthammer, snarling and unapologetic hawk, has joined the chorus of those who have criticized the defeat of George Bush’s favorite Republican, Joe Lieberman, another unapologetic hawk. His argument goes like this: just as the peacenik democrats undermined their party in the Cold War after Vietnam, so it will happen again. Americans will not “trust a democrat with the presidency.”

For this crazy analogy to work–read here and here for substantial rebuttals–we must step outside reality and into punditry. Yes, reality and punditry are different.

The reality question–the one asked by Lamont, his supporters and much of the American people but ignored by Lieberman–is what we should do about the unmitigated disaster that is the war in Iraq.

The pundit question–the one Krauthammer asks–is whether our asking the reality question will cause us to be characterized by the political opposition as weak on terrorism.

They are two separate questions, however often they are conflated.

Here’s the rub: asking the pundit question in place of the reality question will not bring back the dead, it will not bring back American credibility, or strengthen our military, or help us win the war on terror. It will only bring more ugly reality, reality that just won’t go away, no matter how often we ignore it.

One thought on “Punditry and reality”

  1. to be fair, i don’t know if asking the reality question really meets any of those goals, either. moreover, both questions attempt to mask reality. the pundit question masks the horrific reality of a war gone terrifically wrong, while the reality question masks the fact that the democratic party has yet to develop any platform solid enough for their candidates to run on, so they seize upon an increasingly violent, unpopular, and unorganized war and run a one issue campaign. suppose we do bring the troops home on the Kerry-Feingold timeline, then what? what about the country? what about the outrageous influx of veterans? i want to hear mpore from the democrats than “we didn’t want this war.” tell me something i don’t know, that i haven’t thought about. i applaude lamont for unseating a waffling, pseudo-centrist, incumbent, but one issues races are easily won. What about a plan for the future past the ending of American involvement in an Iraqi civil war?

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