Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Pink Tea

The folks at CODEPINK want to declare a truce with the rabid right-wingers in the Tea Party, to see if they can find some "common ground". Unsurprisingly, a large part of that "common ground" would entail slashing foreign aid to Israel (and Egypt -- why stop there? Why not foreign aid, in general?). They happily cite such luminaries as Ron Paul and "Conservative commentator" Pat Buchanan to bolster their case that the Tea Party right and the CODEPINK left should be just one big happy family -- at least where foreign policy is concerned.

Of course, nobody who's observed the behavior of former Rep. and Green Party VP candidate Cynthia McKinney should be surprised at this new desire to jump into bed with the racist right. Many folks seem quite enamored with the coloration produced by the green-brown swirl.

All I say is this: You can judge a movement quite well by who it thinks would make for good friends. I have very good reason not to trust a foreign policy agenda led by Pat Buchanan. And, just as well, I have very good reason not to trust a movement that thinks it would be wise to have our foreign policy inspired by Buchanan, either.


joe said...

Two things: first, what is Cynthia McKinney's exact relationship to CODEPINK? All Wikipedia tells me is they published an essay by her... which puts her in the company of Nancy Pelosi (who has not to my knowledge been an advocate of cutting off aid to Israel) and Helen Thomas. This isn't a rhetorical question by the way; I don't really know much at all about CODEPINK beyond them being considered an "out there" protest group, and the extent of my knowldge of McKinney is largely limited to reasonable critiques you've made in the past. So I'm curious as to what links there may be.

Second, political alliances that discuss "common ground" are entirely alliances of convenience. These can be based on no more than agreement on one policy goal. Would you say FDR's foreign policy was led by or inspired by Stalin?

Or to put things in a more modern, less two-steps-away-from-Godwin light, is the American Constitution Society "inspired" by some torture-memo-approving FedSoc poobah if these groups sponsor a joint lecture on the importance of suspects not waiving their Miranda rights?

By the same token it seems wrong to assume that a bunch of leftists really see Pat Buchanan as their leader or friend, as opposed to, say, just the kind of guy Tea Party people might happen to like and whose "America First" philosophy could guide said Tea Partiers to support part of CODEPINK's agenda. (I don't have a dog in this fight as I don't agree with that agenda, btw, but I don't think your thesis here holds water.)

So it seems like there's some tenuous guilt by association going on here, though that depends on what you mean by "happily cite," and there's no link for me to see exactly what you mean. If "A Republic, Not an Empire" has record-breaking sales at CODEPINK rallies, that's different than if some leftist organizer adds a Pat Buchanan quote to an email he sends to some rightist organizer.

David Schraub said...

I'm linking McKinney to CODEPINK through both being Green Party -- globally, the ideological movement CP most represents is the Greens (the founder of CP -- and the author of the letter to the tea partiers -- is a former Green Party candidate for Senate).

Second, I think more extreme groups require more extreme threats to justify working with them. FDR can work with Stalin (and they were both pretty clear they saw it as a devil's bargain) because of what they were working against. If FDR had praised Stalin's insights into farm policy, I'd be more worried.

Third, the tenor of the letter seems very strongly that CP and TP are, in fact, of a kind on foreign policy, and mostly disagree on domestic policy. So this isn't just a single-shot issue -- this is about imagining what "potent brew" could emerge when the far-left and far-right lock arms on a rather substantive cluster of issues.

joe said...

It may not be a single-shot issue, but agreeing to do away with foreign aid (pretty much one of the least popular government programs out there, though it's a drop in the budgetary ocean) and cutting military spending (which would necessarily limit the armed conflict the US can sustain) is hardly some grand alliance. No more than my FedSoc/ACS example. Based on what you've now linked to, it's still a stretch to say the least that Codepink is particularly "inspired" by Pat Buchanan. Frankly the whole thing smells like the old ad hominems of Obama/Ayers/boogeymen-TERRORISM!OMG! It makes for good enough talking points I guess, but it's just not a replacement for substantive criticism.

I mean, let's bring it away from FDR and Stalin and into the present. Don't you consider yourself a Democrat? And don't you think we can dig up some views by important members of the Democratic party that you would find objectionable? How is the standard you're trying articulate even possible to reconcile with the existence of "big tent" parties? Those are certainly a network of closer relationships than various protest groups agreeing on a couple policies.

David Schraub said...

Bigger institutions are more heterogenuous, making that sort of gaming less legitimate. CODEPINK isn't that big. Moreover, it was the founder/leader who wrote the letter. If Tim Kaine decided to reach out to the MEChA ("just on immigration"), that be a BFD.

joe said...

Well it probably would be a BFD because our political culture thrives on gotcha-ism and guilt by association, implication, and innuendo instead of logical discourse. Those are effective tactics, but that doesn't mean they're "right."

And you seem to be giving bigger institutions an out due to heterogenuity without questioning the sorts of arrangements that led them to become big in the first place.

joe said...

Of course, the world is full of fallacies I don't like. I'm mostly on my soapbox here because I think the Tea Party, Codepink, etc. can be eeeeaasily taken down (at least in the blogger sense of the word) on the merits of their arguments without any of this.