Friday, March 03, 2006

Take the Pledge?

Michael Tomasky writes:
I’ll make the following promises: If a future Democratic administration takes us into a war of volition, and we later learn that its case was bogus, I will denounce it for lying us into war and urge every liberal writer I know to do so. If a future Democratic administration betrays core liberal principles -- by, say, offering a large tax cut without at least working toward universal health care -- I will deplore it and encourage other liberals to do so. If a future Democratic administration circumvents process and leases our port operations to a nation that boycotts Israel, I will not make hypocritical noises about racism but will instead encourage all liberals to agree it’s a really bad idea. And, if a future Democratic administration lets a major American city die out of malign neglect, I shall calumniate it to the heavens -- and insist that every other liberal writer I know to do the same.
My only problem with this "pledge" is the implication that liberals wouldn't do this without the quid pro quo of conservatives (the real ones, not the Bushland Uber Alles rationalizing loyalists or religious radicals or Fukuyama's former friends) living up to their stated principles. Frankly, looking at the last few decades, the liberal wing has been, I think, consistently much more self-critical and honest about its disagreements and more willing to separate policy from politics. It's what we do.

So, I'll take the pledge, but only because it's who I am. Now, I'd like to see a few more conservatives (like these guys) taking up the call.


ArticulateDad said...

I do so pledge. Yeah, me too.

Pooh said...

Well said. Though I reserve the right to disagree re: the port aspect (I don't know enough on the merits, though the Israel aspect is one of the best principled arguments against.)

Ahistoricality said...

Actually, I think the procedural questions are, in the short term, stronger: the attempt to sidestep the legal requirement for a 45-day security review and the unresolved conflict-of-interest issues.