Emmett Tyrrell

Washington, D.C. -- James Taranto, the very clever Wall Street Journal writer and editor of OpinionJournal.com, has a thesis regarding our political culture. He believes the liberals are victims of their own cultural hegemony. They say things that are quite inaccurate. Their inaccuracies are repeated by their intellectual look-alikes throughout the culture. They reread their inaccuracies and are roundly confirmed in their ignorance. Conservatives think the liberal opposition is composed of liars or suave deceivers. Actually, our liberals are sincere in their ignorant beliefs. Grant them at least this much.

If our liberals were not so ubiquitously dominant in our political culture, they might be confronted occasionally by disagreement. It would smarten them up. It might even cheer them up, for they have a very gloomy view of the world. Today they are profoundly convinced, as one of their very brightest has put it, that the war in Iraq is "lost." The very bright fellow is that rumpled, loveable old curmudgeon from Nevada, Sen. Harry Reid. He is not the only one. As far as I can tell, almost all the Democratic presidential candidates think the war is lost. Congress abounds with solons who are calling for retreat. Just the other day, I watched Rep. John Conyers intoning this defeatist line to Wolf Blitzer, and Blitzer, too, seemed to agree this war is lost.

Rather heroically, Bill Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, submitted a Washington Post piece two weeks ago arguing victory is still attainable in Iraq and history would view President George W. Bush benignly. The hoots and the ha-has from the liberals are still to be heard. Of course, he had a point. The new strategy of Gen. David Petraeus seems to be working. Casualties among civilians in Iraq are perceptibly lower. Sheiks in once hostile provinces such as Anbar and Diyala are joining forces with us against the savages of al Qaeda, the Iraqi military is gaining strength, and wider areas of the country are assuming a semblance of law and order.

Now, two critics of the Bush administration's policies in Iraq have returned from an eight-day visit there and published a piece in The New York Times that sounds very much as if the writers have come to Kristol's point of view. What will happen to our liberal friends if they read it? Perhaps Rep. Conyers will perceive it as satire. It is hard to imagine anything shaking his conviction that Iraq is a lost cause.

Emmett Tyrrell

R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator and co-author of Madame Hillary: The Dark Road to the White House.
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