Friday, December 03, 2004

Beinart Stands Up

It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Peter Beinart's long call to arms in the New Republic. The proximate effect could be that if Democrats heed Beinart they could legitimately contend for the White House in 2008. But the more crucial, long-term goal, is that Beinart is trying to save liberalism.

Whether you're a Republican or a Democrat, a liberal or conservative, you should be whole-heartedly invested in this project. The health of our republic depends on vigorous, serious intellectual debate. If liberalism were to continue its slide into incoherence, we would all pay the price.

So congratulations to Beinart and the New Republic for taking these hard first steps. It won't be easy. Howard Dean and Michael Moore and will not give up without a fight. But conservatives should do more than chuckle from the sidelines about the divisions on the left: We should root, hard, for Beinart and his compatriots. Their endeavor is critical for us, too.

(In all of this I hate to say a cross word about the New Republic, but Beinart's bracing essay was tainted only slightly by Jonathan Chait's mean-spirited attack on Jeff Rosen. If Beinart is the solution for liberalism, Chait's attitude is part of the problem.)

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