(1) On Thursday, David Brooks wrote a perfectly reasonable column explaining why real conservatives -- meaning those who actually believe in the underlying principles conservatism has long claimed to embrace -- have become so disenchanted with the Republican Party and the Bush administration. But as Henry Farrell documents, Brooks -- when the administration was riding high -- was long one of its most boisterous advocates. As Farrell says (h/t Blue Texan): "I don't think that there is any other reasonable explanation of Brooks' reticence in 2005 (and indeed before and after) than a willingness to shut up for the cause."
For a far clearer, more accurate, and more candid explanation of the real reasons the Republican Party is collapsing, see this superb analysis from John Cole, a long-time Republican and Bush voter in 2000 and 2004 who has become one of the clearest-eyed critics of the political movement that now dominates that party.
(2) Via email, Matt Stoller, who worked tirelessly to oust Joe Lieberman from the Senate last year, reminds me that the extremely apolitical, nonpartisan ADL -- in addition to loudly condemning MoveOn in the middle of the 2004 presidential election -- also intervened in the 2006 Connecticut Senate race on behalf of Lieberman by condemning MoveOn for anonymous anti-semitic comments posted on a MoveOn message board. Accusing Lamont supporters, including those in the liberal blogosphere, of anti-semitism was a staple of the Lieberman campaign, and the ADL helpfully bolstered it by trolling around in some obscure MoveOn comment section in order to link that group (which was supporting Lamont) to anti-semitism.
It is nakedly political and pro-neoconservative behavior like this that makes the ADL's refusal to condemn what they themselves agree are "repugnant" and "offensive" comments made regularly by the highest-rated cable news program and other prominent neoconservative commentators so noteworthy. To send e-mail demanding that the ADL merely issue their standard condemnations of Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, Mark Levin, Tammy Bruce and Jonah Goldberg -- for their "offensive" comments documented in yesterday's post -- you can click here.
(3) In the course of explaining why Iran is the Ultimate, All-Threatening Evil, David Frum of National Review and the American Enterprise Institute makes this claim:
You want realism? It's this: The emerging US-Iranian confrontation is a confrontation of Iran's choice and Iran's making. It is Iran that has determined to seek nuclear weapons, Iran that has declared it will use those weapons aggressively against its neighbors . . . .
Is that even arguably true? Even leaving aside the manipulative mis-translations by neoconservatives of Ahamdinejad's statements -- even if one accepted their mis-translations -- when has Iran ever "declared it will use [nuclear] weapons aggressively against its neighbors"? It seems Frum uses the plural phrase "neighbors" as a euphemism for Israel, but even allowing him that license, is there any argument that Frum's claim is at all accurate?
It is true that Rudy Giuliani has openly discussed his willingness to order a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran. And Joe Klein suggested the same thing on national television. And some reports (of less than total credibility) have indicated that Israel has considered a first-strike nuclear attack on Iran. And John McCain has merrily sung fun songs about bombing Iran, while Giuliani's top foreign policy advisor runs around literally "praying" that we will bomb Iran.
All of those things are true. But it appears to be false that Iran, as Frum claimed, "declared" that it will use nuclear weapons "aggressively against its neighbors."
(4) Speaking of Iran, the blogger Nezua takes a photographic look at the country which Bill Kristol and John Bolton and Joe Lieberman and Norm Podhoretz are so eager to start bombing.
(5) Steve Benen reviews some of the Beltway-wisdom-defying statements this week from Barack Obama and says: "Whatever it was, I think Barack Obama is having a really good week. He's starting to act like the candidate that a lot of us expected him to be all along." There are a lot of people who want this to be true. It would be very good if it were true. But it is, I think, still unclear if it is.
(6) Barbara O'Brien finds the definitive proof that, as she puts it, "Irony is Dead."