Once upon a time, it was easy for the American Right to smear its opponents on the left--they could simply equate them with the nation's communist enemies. It didn't matter that the American "left" (Democrats) had more in common with the Right than international communism, the smear was useful.
Now, however, our international enemy--Islamic radicalism--is actually the polar opposite of what liberals stand for--their actions on women rights are deplorable, they insist on theocracy, they loooveee torture and the death penalty, they demand to control the culture (TV, movies, music), they rail against rampant sexuality, they seek to spread their ideology via force, and they have a well-defined black-and-white sense of truth.
Remind you of a certain American party?
That's why hysterical assertions by the wingers that liberals hate America and want the terrorists to win are so absurd. As absurd as it would've been to claim that Reagan wanted the Communists to win the Cold War. The Taliban/Al Qaida/Hezbollah/Jihadists of the world are the exact embodiment of evil in the liberal mind. They are everything we are against, and against everything we are for.
In fact, they are exactly what we see in the Republican Party as the GOP continues to consolidate power--creeping theocracy, moralizing, us versus them, embrace of torture, the need to constantly declare jihad on someone, hysterics over football-game nipples, control over "decency" on the airwaves, lyrics censorship, hostility to women freedoms, curtaling of civil liberties, and so on.
So it's pretty obvious--we don't love terrorists. We don't want them to win. For them to win would be to realize our greatest fears. The muslim terrorist is truly the anti-liberal. Like matter and anti-matter.
Republicans, on the other hand, hate the terrorists because they're Muslim. But aside from that, they've got far more in common than they'll ever admit to themselves.
And it's high time we started to make that connection more forcefully.
Two things to note here: First, Kos claims that the connection between liberals and Communists was a "smear." But he now wants liberals to tar Republicans with a similar charge. He doesn't explicitly say so, but one gets the impression that he thinks the Republican = Taliban line is also a smear. And one gets the impression that he's okay with that.
The other point of interest is that the phrase "Taliban-Republicans" has been floating around since at least December 1998, when it was first trotted out by Democrats attempting to smear Republicans during the Clinton impeachment.
The phrase was then picked up by Tony Snow in 1999; he used it to describe the far-right Bob Smith fringe of the party.
After 9/11 the left picked back up on the phrase--perhaps ironically, you never know--and it came back with a vengeance. This prompted Jay Nordlinger to write in the November 11, 2002 National Review:
Been called "Talibanic" lately? If so, you must be a conservative Republican. That's the new trick: We are "Talibanic," or members of the "Taliban wing" of the Republican party. It's kind of an old trick, too. Back in the early 1980s, when Sam Donaldson discovered Hezbollah (as it was hijacking, kidnapping, murdering, and committing other mayhem), he delighted in referring to "the Hezbollah wing of the Republican party"--that meant all those GOP-ers who supported Reagan. Now the Taliban's "in." When Democrats say "Taliban wing," they smile like they're the first to have thought of it. But we have to ask: Who was it who fought, ruined, and banished the Taliban? Bunch of "Taliban Republicans," really, starting with the President of the United States.
The smear didn't work that time, either.
I realize that out here in the blogosphere 2002 might as well be three years ago, but I thought Kos was savvy enough to remember the immediate past.
But none of this need deter him, of course. Perhaps the third time will be the charm for Kos's "new" smear.