Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Now the neocons are claiming that "neocon" is a liberal invention to mask anti-semiticim.

Thanks to Kevin Drum, Josh Marshall and the Daily Howler for jumping all over David Brooks' absurd assertion that "neocon" is a liberal codeword: "Con is short for 'conservative' and neo is short for 'Jewish,'" he claims.

The shame is people believe this crap and soon you'll be hearing on Fox News that every time a left-winger complains about the influence of the neocons , what he's really complaining about is a right-wing Jewish cabal holding sway over the Bush administration. Such rubbish. Even a cursory glance at the origins of the term reveals that the neocons came up with it themselves. Why here, for example, a Wall Street Journal writer, Max Boot questions the use of the term, but admits the following:
The original neocons were a band of liberal intellectuals who rebelled against the Democratic Party's leftward drift on defense issues in the 1970s. At first the neocons clustered around Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a Democrat, but then they aligned themselves with Ronald Reagan and the Republicans, who promised to confront Soviet expansionism. The neocons, in the famous formulation of one of their leaders, Irving Kristol, were "liberals mugged by reality."

Now, he too asserts that the term is sometimes misused by folks to insinuate some sorta Jewish cabal:
When Buchananites toss around "neoconservative" -- and cite names like Wolfowitz and Cohen -- it sometimes sounds as if what they really mean is "Jewish conservative." This is a malicious slur on two levels. First, many of the leading neocons aren't Jewish; Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennett, Father John Neuhaus and Michael Novak aren't exactly menorah lighters. Second, support for Israel -- a key tenet of neoconservatism -- is hardly confined to Jews; its strongest constituency in America happens to be among evangelical Christians.
Fair enough. At least he has the decency to show the term's used that way by Republicans, too. And he doesn't deny that there truly is a group of neoconservatives who *do* have an influence on the Bush White House:
The most prominent champions of this view inside the administration are Vice President Dick Cheney and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. Their agenda is known as "neoconservatism," though a more accurate term might be "hard Wilsonianism." Advocates of this view embrace Woodrow Wilson's championing of American ideals but reject his reliance on international organizations and treaties to accomplish our objectives. ("Soft Wilsonians," a k a liberals, place their reliance, in Charles Krauthammer's trenchant phrase, on paper, not power.) Like Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, "hard Wilsonians" want to use American might to promote American ideals.
Exactly! Thank you Mr. Boot. Those are *precisely* the neocons I'm referring to when I say "neocon."

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