July 12, 2007

This round, it's not defeatists we are fighting, but fantasists...

Rick Richman was at the California Dinner of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The speakers were Natan Scharansky, and Hugh Hewitt, who he quotes:

...In 1978, when Mr. Sharansky was convicted wrongfully by an illegal regime, I was a graduating senior from Harvard, driving across the country to go to work for Richard Nixon in San Clemente. . . There are so many parallels between the election of 2008 and the election of 1980 that I observed from San Clemente, the Elba of America at the time.

I had gone out to ghostwrite a book for President Nixon . . . called “The Real War.” ...It was, perhaps, in 1978-1979 the lowest point of the Cold War -- the point at which America seemed least likely to even win a stalemate.

If you will recall, Cubans were throughout Africa and on the march; the Shah had fallen; shortly thereafter the Soviets would occupy Afghanistan; Americans were held hostage in Teheran; Mr. Sharansky was in the most infamous prison in the most dictatorial country in the world, on his way to exile eventually in Siberia. The future looked very, very bleak indeed... I had sat at my commencement, in the rain, listening to Alexander Solzhenitsyn tell us about A World Split Apart, and predicting that in fact the West would not survive. . .

Ronald Reagan’s candidacy was also in trouble. . . . Reagan was flaying [flailing?] around through early 1980 and it did not look, even though Carter was in trouble, that the Republicans could pull it together. . . . A lot of people think 1980 [was easy]. It was such a close thing if you go back and revisit it. . . . It did not in fact break until October 28 of that year. . .

I bring that up because I believe we are in for the same kind of election. I believe that 2008 is going to be as closely run and as difficult . . . but for a very different reason. In 1980 Ronald Reagan presented optimism . . . against Jimmy Carter’s resigned defeatism . . . a belief that we could not rally ourselves and perhaps we could get to some sort of separate peace. This time it’s not defeatists . . .

This [election] . . . is really against fantasists -- against people who do not believe that the threat is what it is. . . . Our fellow citizens and our friends also felt as badly as we did about the events of [9/11]. But increasingly they have come to believe that it was a lucky one-off, a fluke, a tragedy, as opposed to the first massive expression of a very sinister and very powerful will . . . intent not on peaceful coexistence . . . but on the relentless expansion of their radical vision of Islam.

The Republicans are going to be saying a very hard thing to hear -- that we are locked in an existential struggle . . . and that indeed it is going to be a long and difficult and often bloody 20-30 years ahead of us. That’s a very tough hard message to sell in 60 seconds . . . especially when Democrats insist on saying it’s not so, and that we can retreat from Iraq without the carnage following us home, and that we can pretend that the radicalization of the Islamic population in Europe is neither far advanced nor continuing....

Question is, can a nation long endure, when a large portion of its population is living in a rubbishing hippie dream-world where you "visualize" things to make them happen? And now we have a double-whammy, with many of our leaders in Congress "visualizing" failure in Iraq at the very moment when the tactics of General Petraeus (who they voted unanimously to confirm) are starting to take effect, and when all our people actually on the ground in Iraq are reporting very positive developments?

Posted by John Weidner at July 12, 2007 6:30 AM
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