Neocon A-Team: Bush, Lieberman, McCain and Rove

Now here comes Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who opposes the greater support for veterans offered by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and advocated by Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), shamefully attacking Obama for not serving in the military.

Like Bush, like Lieberman, like Rove, McCain has chosen the way of the neoconservative policy and tactics. What makes a neocon a neocon is that their policies are doomed to fail because they are rigid, reactionary and extreme. What makes a neocon a neocon is that when their policies fail, they resort to name-calling and personal attacks against those who have been far wiser than they.

Whatever his many shortcomings, during his moments of greatness, such as negotiating with Gorbachev, Ronald Reagan was wise in rejecting the way of the neocon. On the great issue of nuclear arms control, Reagan was virtually the anti-neocon, which is why so many neoconservatives attacked Reagan so personally and aggressively for seeking major arms control with Mikhail Gorbachev.

The neocons and many leading conservatives called Reagan an appeaser; they called him Neville Chamberlain; they called him naive, like a child. From George Will to Jesse Helms, they lined up with the same demeaning attacks on Reagan they make against anyone opposing their rigid, reactionary, failed policies.

Reagan believed in building up arms to negotiate down arms. One can read the books by Lou Cannon, Richard Reeves and Paul Lettow and Reagan's now-public diaries to understand why he seized the moment with Gorbachev and how so many arch-rigid neoconservatives attacked him so personally for doing so.

George Bush is one of the great failed presidents in American history because he is not under the influence of neocons, he IS a neocon with the same rigidity, the same extremism, the same quasi-religious refusal to compromise, the same blindness to reality, and the same propensity to resort to personal attacks against opponents when his policies fail.

George Bush learns nothing from mistakes; Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John McCain learn nothing from mistakes. The speeches they give today are indistinguishable from the speeches they gave advocating the Iraq war when it was still avoidable. Their logic, their personal attacks, their demeaning of alternative views and their demeaning of opponents come from the same policies and the same instincts, with the same results.

Of course they resort to Karl Rove tactics; that is all they have left when they can no longer defend their policies. It is no coincidence that even the losing candidate for the Democratic nomination approvingly quotes Rove. At least Hillary realized her mistake in year five of the Iraq war. Late is better than never.

John McCain is no Reagan, he is a neocon instead, complete with their rigidity, their policy extremism, their inability to learn from mistakes, and their name-calling as their last refuge to try hide from their failures.

So: McCain says those who were far wiser than he about Iraq want to wave white flags of surrender. He says those who support diplomacy as Reagan did are appeasers, as Reagan's opponents on the right said about him. When others favor far greater support for veterans than McCain and Bush, he carries the torch of Rove, attacking them personally and using the argument that they never served in the military, the last refuge of McCain's bad policy in refusing to advocate greater support for vets.

Even after losing three major House elections in states that should have brought major victory for Republicans, neither his party nor McCain have learned anything from their failures.

This is the way of the neocon, and as John McCain becomes the leading torch-bearer for the neocon vision, he sows the seeds for his defeat because America wants to turn this terrible page and leave this past behind us.

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