Transcript: Peter Reinart - Why U.S. Should Return To Its Liberal Roots. | Jun 26, 2006

Alan Gregg appears sitting in a small room with a guest, Peter Reinart.
The walls are orange and decorated with framed photographs.
Alan is in his late forties, with short white hair and a trimmed goatee. He’s wearing a gray suit and a black polo shirt.
Peter is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short brown hair. He’s wearing a gray suit, checkered shirt, and silver tie.

He says CONVENTIONAL POLITICAL WISDOM
HAS IT THAT SECURITY ISSUES,
PARTICULARLY TERRORISM,
PLAYS INTO THE HANDS
OF REPUBLICANS.
IT'S A RIGHT-OF-CENTRE ISSUE.
YOU'VE TURNED THAT
RIGHT ON ITS HEAD.
YOU'VE SAID THE GOOD FIGHT
BELONGS TO LIBERALS.
AND THAT, IN FACT, IT'S
ONLY
LIBERALS WHO CAN WIN
THE WAR ON TERRORISM.
STATE YOUR CASE.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Peter Reinart. Author, ‘The good fight.’"

Peter says THE HEART OF THE BOOK IS THE
ARGUMENT THAT THE ONLY WAY
AMERICA CAN DEFEAT AMERICA
CAN DEFEAT TERRORISM IS TO
PROMOTE FREEDOM
AROUND THE WORLD.
GEORGE W. BUSH IS
RIGHT ABOUT THAT.
THE ROOTS OF TERRORISM,
JIHADISM, LIE IN LACK OF
FREEDOM AND
OPPORTUNITY FOR PEOPLE.
BUT WHAT CONSERVATIVES HAVE
NOT UNDERSTOOD, AND WHAT
GEORGE W. BUSH HAS
NOT UNDERSTOOD,
WHICH I THINK IS AT THE HEART
OF THE LIBERAL TRADITION,
IS THAT AMERICA, ITSELF,
HAS TO LIVE UP TO
THE IDEALS IT PREACHES.
IT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR
THE UNITED STATES SIMPLY TO
SERMONIZE TO OTHER COUNTRIES
ABOUT HOW THEY NEED TO BECOME
MORE DEMOCRATIC.
WHAT INSPIRES THE WORLD,
WHAT HAS INSPIRED THE WORLD
HISTORICALLY ABOUT THE UNITED
STATES IS WHEN PEOPLE HAVE
SEEN THE UNITED STATES
STRUGGLING INTERNALLY TO
BECOME A BETTER, MORE
DEMOCRATIC STRONGER NATION,
AS WE DID WITH THE CIVIL RIGHTS'
MOVEMENT, FOR INSTANCE,
WHICH WAS INTIMATELY CONNECTED
TO ANTI-COMMUNISM FOR THE
LIBERALS OF THE
1940s, '50s, AND '60s.
AND THAT'S THE TRADITION I TRY
TO ARGUE WE NEED TO GET BACK TO.

Alan says AND YOU WRITE ABOUT HOW
EVERYONE FROM, YOU KNOW,
TRUMAN TO KENNEDY, TO SOME
RESPECTS EVEN CLINTON, WERE
ABLE TO LINK A VISION OF THE
NATION TO A FOREIGN POLICY.
HOW DID WE GET TO THE STATE
WHERE TODAY LIBERALS, SMALL L
LIBERALS ARE ASSOCIATED WITH
WEAKNESS, MORAL RELATIVISM,
EVEN ANTI-AMERICANISM
IN SOME INSTANCES.
WHAT HAPPENED ALONG THE WAY?

Peter says IT'S REALLY A PRODUCT OF THE
1960s AND '70s, ABOVE ALL.
THERE WERE MASSIVE CONVULSIONS
IN THE UNITED STATES.
FIRST THE LOSS OF THE VIETNAM
WAR, WHICH PEOPLE DECIDED TO
BLAME ON LIBERALS.
PARTLY CONSERVATIVES WERE
MAKING THAT ARGUMENT.
IT WASN'T THAT AMERICANS
WEREN'T HAPPY TO GET OUT OF
VIETNAM BY THE '70s, THEY
WERE, BUT THERE WAS THIS SENSE
THAT THE LIBERALISM THAT EMERGED
IN THE WAKE OF VIETNAM WAS A
LIBERALISM THAT DIDN'T REALLY
BELIEVE AMERICA WAS CAPABLE
OF ANYTHING GREAT
IN THE WORLD.
THEY DIDN'T REALLY BELIEVE IN
AMERICA'S PURPOSE IN THE WORLD.
AND IT IS VERY INGRAINED IN
THE AMERICAN DNA THAT, IN FACT,
WE DO HAVE A PURPOSE
IN THE WORLD.
THAT, IN FACT, WE WERE NOT
GIVEN ALL THIS POWER FOR NO
REASON AT ALL, BUT TO, IN
FACT, TRANSFORM THE WORLD
AND TO MAKE IT BETTER.
AND THERE WAS A SENSE THAT
LIBERALS LOST SIGHT OF THAT.
ALSO, THE SENSE THAT
LIBERALISM STARTED TO MEAN
LICENSE IN DOMESTIC POLICY.
THAT LIBERALS LOST ANY ABILITY
TO MAKE MORAL DISTINCTIONS
BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG,
WHETHER IT WAS ON CRIME,
FOR INSTANCE, OR WELFARE
DEPENDENCY, OR PATHOLOGICAL
BEHAVIOUR BY VARIOUS
DIFFERENT GROUPS.
THAT LIBERALS WERE UNWILLING
TO DRAW LINES IN THE SAND AND
SAY, THIS IS RIGHT,
THIS IS WRONG.

Alan says YOU SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON
THE TRUMAN ADMINISTRATION
AND WHAT YOU CALL THE
'COLD WAR LIBERALS'.
AND YOU SEE THIS AS A LESSON
FOR LIBERALS TODAY TO LEARN.
TELL US ABOUT TRUMAN AND
HIS BASIC PHILOSOPHY.

Peter says WHAT TRUMAN UNDERSTOOD, WHICH
WAS DIFFERENT FROM BOTH THE
PEOPLE TO HIS LEFT AND TO HIS
RIGHT WAS, FIRST OF ALL,
THAT LIBERALISM WAS NOT
ONLY AN IDEOLOGY WHICH HAD
AN ARGUMENT WITH CONSERVATIVES.
THAT LIBERALISM WAS WHAT
ARTHUR SCHLESINGER FAMOUSLY
CALLED THE VITAL CENTRE.
WHICH MEANT THERE WAS AN
ARGUMENT WITH CONSERVATIVES,
NO DOUBT, A VERY DIFFERENT
VISION OF SOCIETY AND OF THE
WORLD, BUT ALSO AN ARGUMENT
AGAINST TOTALITARIANISM.
AGAINST THIS VISION OF THE
STATE THAT CRUSHES ALL
INDEPENDENT CIVIL SOCIETY WITH
A VIEW TOWARDS ULTIMATELY
PURIFYING HUMAN NATURE SO YOU
CAN USHER IN SOME MESSIANIC
UTOPIAN VISION.

Alan says RIGHT OR LEFT, REGARDLESS.

Peter says RIGHT OR LEFT.
HE SAW IT AS A KIND OF FASCIST
FORM UNDER NAZIS, KIND OF
LEFT WING FORM
UNDER COMMUNISM.
AND NOW UNDER A KIND OF
THEOCRATIC FORM UNDER JIHADISM.
AT THE CORE OF BEING A LIBERAL
IS NOT ONLY ARGUING AGAINST
THE CONSERVATIVES, BUT ALSO
OPPOSING TOTALITARIANISM.
YOU KNOW, THE RIGHT IN THE
COLD WAR, FAMOUSLY INCARNATED
BY JOSEPH McCARTHY,
BASICALLY ARGUED THAT THE
UNITED STATES WAS INFALLIBLE.
BECAUSE WE WERE BETTER THAN
THE SOVIET UNION, NOTHING WE
COULD EVER DO WAS WRONG.
THAT AMERICA WAS SO INHERENTLY
PURE AND VIRTUOUS THAT
ANYTHING WE DID IN A
JUST CAUSE WAS JUST.
AND IT WAS THAT KIND OF LOGIC
THAT JUSTIFIED THE TERRIBLE
VIOLATIONS OF CIVIL LIBERTIES
IN THE UNITED STATES IN
IN THE McCARTHY PERIOD.
THE OVERTHROWS OF GOVERNMENTS
IN GUATEMALA AND IRAN IN
1953, AND THE LIBERAL
ARGUMENT, THE ARGUMENT BY
TRUMAN AND SOME OF THE
INTELLECTUALS THAT I WRITE
ABOUT, FAMOUSLY REINHOLD
NIEBUHR, THE THEOLOGIAN WAS,
IN FACT, NO, AMERICA
IS CAPABLE OF EVIL.
BUT IT'S PRECISELY OUR
RECOGNITION THAT WE ARE
CAPABLE OF HARM IN THE WORLD
THAT LEADS US TO STRUGGLE
TO ACT BETTER.
IF AMERICA IS AN EXCEPTIONAL
NATION, IT'S AN EXCEPTIONAL
NATION PRECISELY BECAUSE OF THE
RECOGNITION THAT WE ARE FALLIBLE
AND WE STRUGGLE AGAINST OUR
FALLIBILITY TO DO BETTER.

Alan says NOW, I WANT TO TALK ABOUT
KIND OF THE PRACTICAL
IMPLICATIONS OF
THAT PHILOSOPHY.
FIRST, IN THE COLD WAR PERIOD,
I MEAN, YOU WRITE THERE WERE
BASICALLY THREE PILLARS THAT
GUIDED TRUMAN'S FOREIGN POLICY
DURING THE COLD WAR.
TELL ME ABOUT THEM.

Peter says THE FIRST WAS CONTAINMENT.
YOU KNOW, IT'S REMARKABLE TO
THINK ABOUT IT WITH IRAQ AS A
BACKDROP, BUT THERE WERE MANY
PEOPLE, PARTICULARLY ON THE
RIGHT IN THE UNITED STATES,
WHO WANTED A PREEMPTIVE WAR.
WHAT GEORGE W. BUSH WOULD
HAVE CALLED A PREEMPTIVE WAR,
REALLY A PREVENTATIVE WAR,
AGAINST THE SOVIET UNION.
THE SOVIET UNION DIDN'T
HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON.
WE DID IN THE LATE 1940s.
AND PEOPLE SAID,
HERE'S OUR CHANCE.
WE HAVE THIS WINDOW OF
OPPORTUNITY, JUST LIKE THEY
ARGUED ABOUT IRAQ, WE SHOULD
ATTACK FIRST BEFORE THEY CAN
DEVELOP ONE.
AND THAT WAS ACTUALLY ALSO
BASED ON THIS FEAR THAT THE
UNITED STATES DIDN'T HAVE
THE STRENGTH FOR A LONG-TERM
STRUGGLE AGAINST
THE SOVIET UNION.
CONSERVATIVES IN THE '40s
AND '50s, THOUGHT THE UNITED
STATES WAS A WEAK NATION.
BECAUSE WE WERE
PLAGUED BY SELF-DOUBT.
WE DIDN'T BELIEVE IN
OURSELVES STRONGLY ENOUGH
AS THE SOVIET UNION DID.
THE COMMUNISTS KNEW
THEY WERE RIGHT.
THEY HAD THIS ABSOLUTE
FANATICAL SELF-CONFIDENCE.
TRUMAN'S ARGUMENT WAS NO,
AMERICA CAN OUTLAST THE
SOVIET UNION, AS LONG AS
WE CONTINUE TO REGENERATE
OURSELVES AT HOME.
AS A DEMOCRACY, WE CAN SOLVE
INTERNAL PROBLEMS WITHOUT
THE THREAT OF POLITICAL
AND SOCIAL COLLAPSE,
WHICH THE SOVIET
UNION CAN'T DO.
AND IF WE CONTINUE TO DEAL
WITH OUR PROBLEMS AT HOME, AND
BECOME A STRONGER SOCIETY,
THIS WAS PARTICULARLY LINKED
TO CIVIL RIGHTS.
THE SENSE THE UNITED STATES
HAD THIS GREAT CHALLENGE OF
DEALING WITH ITS HISTORY OF
RACISM AND SEGREGATION, IF WE
COULD OVERCOME THAT, WE COULD
ENDURE, OUR SOCIETY COULD
HOLD TOGETHER, AND
THE SOVIETS COULDN'T.
AND ALSO, IF WE DIDN'T BECOME
AN EMPIRE, GEORGE CANNON,
WHO WAS THE ARCHITECT OF
THE CONTAINMENT POLICIES
UNDER TRUMAN, HE SAID, THE
SOVIET UNION IS AN EMPIRE.
IT MAY LOOK DIFFERENT THAN
THE OTHER EMPIRES OF BRITAIN
AND FRANCE, BUT IT'S
REALLY AN EMPIRE.
IT RULES IN EASTERN EUROPE BASED
ON BRUTE FORCE AND COERCION.
AND EMPIRES ALWAYS CRACK
FROM THE PERIPHERY.
PEOPLE ALWAYS RISE UP.
AND IT'S TRUE.
AS EARLY AS 1953, THE POLES
START RISING UP AGAINST
THE SOVIET UNION.
HE SAID, IF YOU UNITED STATES
RESISTS THE TEMPTATION TO BE
AN EMPIRE IN WESTERN EUROPE,
IF WE BUILD IN INSTITUTIONS
THAT MAKE OUR POWER
LEGITIMATE, THAT GIVE US AN
ALLIANCE SYSTEM THAT'S BASED
ON PERSUASION, NOT ON COMMAND,
THEN, IN FACT, OUR ALLIANCES
WILL ENDURE AND OUTLAST THE
SOVIET UNION.
AND, IN FACT, THEY DID.

Alan says THAT'S PILLAR ONE.
PILLAR TWO, ECONOMIC
DEVELOPMENT.
AGAIN, WHAT WAS THE
BASIC THINKING HERE,
AND HOW DID IT
PLAY ITSELF OUT?

Peter says CONSERVATIVES OF THE COLD
WAR TENDED TO ARGUE THAT
COMMUNISM REALLY EMERGED FROM
THE EVIL IN PEOPLE'S HEARTS.
LIBERALS TENDED TO SAY NO.
THERE ARE SOCIAL ROOTS TO THE
REASONS PEOPLE BECOME COMMUNIST.
AND IT OFTEN HAS TO DO WITH
THE STORY OF POVERTY AND
ECONOMIC DESPAIR.
AND, AGAIN, THERE'S AN
IMPORTANT ANALOGY HERE.
YOU'VE SEEN SINCE 9-11, A LOT
OF ATTEMPTS ON THE RIGHT IN
THE UNITED STATES TO ARGUE
THAT THERE IS NO ECONOMIC
STORY BEHIND JIHADISM BECAUSE
THAT WOULD SOMEHOW BE TO
JUSTIFY OR TO APOLOGIZE
FOR THE JIHADISTS.
BUT TRUMAN AND THE COLD
WAR LIBERALS SAID NO.
THAT, IN FACT, THE STRUGGLE
AGAINST COMMUNISM HAS TO BE
ALSO A STRUGGLE AGAINST
ECONOMIC DESPAIR.
TRUMAN CREATED THE MARSHALL
PLAN FOR WESTERN EUROPE IN THE
RECOGNITION THAT IF
DEMOCRACIES OF WESTERN EUROPE
DID NOT PROVIDE FOR THEIR
PEOPLE, IF THEY DIDN'T MAKE
THEIR PEOPLE'S LIVES
BETTER, THEY WOULD FALL.
AND THEN HE TRIED TO BRING THE
MARSHALL PLAN TO THE THIRD
WORLD IN WHAT HE CALLED POINT
FOUR, AN IDEA THAT KENNEDY
PICKED UP AND THE ALLIANCE FOR
PROGRESS IN LATIN AMERICA.
ALWAYS RECOGNIZING THAT THE
FATE OF LIBERTY AND THE FATE
OF ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY ARE
INTERTWINED RATHER THAN SEEING
THEM AS SEPARATE AS
GEORGE W. BUSH DOES.

Alan says LET'S APPLY THAT
TO IRAQ TODAY.
YOU, INITIALLY, SUPPORTED THE
INVASION OF THE WAR ON IRAQ.
YOU SAY YOU WERE WRONG ON BOTH
COUNTS THAT YOU SUPPORTED IT.

Peter says YES.

Alan says BUT NOW THAT THEY'RE IN
THERE, WHAT WOULD, AGAIN,
DRAWING ON YOUR HISTORY,
WHAT WOULD LIBERALS DO?

Peter says WE'RE IN A VERY, VERY
DIFFICULT SITUATION IN IRAQ,
NEEDLESS TO SAY.
WHAT I WOULD SAY
ABOUT IT IS THIS.
WE WENT IN THERE AND TURNED
THE COUNTRY COMPLETELY
UPSIDE DOWN.
WE WREAKED HAVOC
IN THAT SOCIETY.
SURE, WE GOT RID OF A TERRIBLE,
TERRIBLE DICTATOR, BUT WE'VE
LEFT A GREAT DEAL OF CHAOS
AND BLOODSHED IN OUR WAKE.
AND WHAT AMERICA SAID, AFTER
WE OVERTHREW SADDAM HUSSEIN,
WAS THAT THE IRAQI
PEOPLE HAD TO VOTE.
THEY HAD TO CREATE
A DEMOCRACY.
THEY WENT OUT AND VOTED, VERY
BRAVELY, ACTUALLY, RISKING
THEIR LIVES TO DO SO.
AND THEY ELECTED THIS
GOVERNMENT WE HAVE.
THIS GOVERNMENT, NOW,
IS ALL WE HAVE IN IRAQ.
IF THIS GOVERNMENT
FAILS, IT'S THE DELUGE.
IRAQ WILL GO INTO COMPLETE
CHAOS AND IT WILL BE A
NIGHTMARE FOR THE REGION
AND FOR AMERICAN SECURITY.
MY VIEW ABOUT IRAQ TODAY, IS
THAT GOVERNMENT IN IRAQ WOULD
DESPERATELY LIKE US TO LEAVE.
THEY RECOGNIZE THAT WE
DE-LEGITIMIZE THEM BY OUR
PRESENCE THERE.
AND YET EVEN GIVEN THAT, IF
THAT GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS
TRYING TO BRING THE THREE MAIN
COMMUNITIES IN THAT COUNTRY
TOGETHER, SAYS TO THE UNITED
STATES, WE NEED YOU TO STAY A
WHILE LONGER SO WE CAN HAVE
AN OPPORTUNITY TO TRY AND
CONVINCE THE SUNNIS TO BUY
INTO THE POLITICAL PROCESS, AT
THE SAME TIME WE CAN ACTUALLY
DEFEND OURSELVES BECAUSE
WE'RE NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO DO
THAT WITHOUT YOU RIGHT NOW,
THAT AMERICA AS A QUESTION
OF NATIONAL HONOUR, CANNOT
TURN ITS BACK ON
THAT GOVERNMENT.
THAT, FOR ME, THAT'S NOT THE
KIND OF COUNTRY THAT AMERICA IS.
I JUST THINK IT
WOULD BE WRONG.

Alan says SO THE FAR LEFT WHO JUST
says BRING THE TROOPS HOME,
THAT ISN'T THE ROAD TO
RECOVERY FOR THE LIBERALS.

Peter says I DON'T THINK IT'S THE
HONOURABLE THING FOR THE
UNITED STATES TO DO AT
THIS POINT, IN IRAQ, NO.

Alan says ONE OF THE REASONS THAT
AMERICA'S HAD SOME DIFFICULTY
GETTING OTHER NATIONS TO
FOLLOW THEIR LEAD, AND YOU
MAKE THE CASE VERY STRONGLY IN
THE BOOK, IS THAT IT'S LOST
A LOT OF ITS SOFT POWER.
IT'S LOST A LOT OF
ITS MORAL AUTHORITY.
WHAT DOES AMERICA HAVE TO DO
AT HOME DOMESTICALLY TO REGAIN
THAT SENSE THAT THERE IS
VIRTUE, AS WELL AS MIGHT,
ON THE SIDE OF AMERICA?

Peter says THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION HAS
BEEN VERY INTERESTING CHANGING
HOW OTHER COUNTRIES GOVERN
THEMSELVES SINCE 9-11.
WHAT THEY DO ON TERRORISM,
WHAT THEY DO ON HUMAN RIGHTS,
WHAT THEY DO ON
NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION.
AND YET THERE IS AN ABSOLUTE
UNWILLINGNESS TO DEAL AT ALL
WITH AMERICA'S OWN ACTIONS.
TO SUGGEST PART OF MORAL
PROGRESS IS MORAL RECIPROCITY.
THAT WE HOLD OTHER COUNTRIES
TO A HIGHER STANDARD, WHILE
RECOGNIZING WE CAN BE HELD
TO A HIGHER STANDARD, TOO.
ON HUMAN RIGHTS, THIS
HAS BEEN VERY GLARING.
WHILE WE TALK ABOUT HUMAN
RIGHTS IN THE MUSLIM WORLD,
AND YET WE CREATE THIS
INTERNATIONAL ANTI-TERROR
PRISON SYSTEM THAT WE HAVEN'T
EVEN ALLOWED HUMAN RIGHTS
INSPECTORS TO VISIT.
WE'VE DONE THESE TERRIBLE THINGS
AND THE WORLD KNOWS ABOUT IT.
OR ON THE ENVIRONMENT.
WHERE WE TALK ABOUT OURSELVES
AS A KIND OF GLOBAL STEWARD
FOR THE WORLD.
AMERICA WITH THIS MISSION TO
CREATE A BETTER WORLD, AND YET
WE ARE CONTRIBUTING MIGHTILY
TO THIS TERRIFYING GLOBAL
WARMING PROBLEM, AND NOT BEING
WILLING TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT
IT AT ALL.
WHEN PEOPLE SAY WHAT ABOUT THE
UNITED STATES HOLDING ITSELF
TO A HIGHER STANDARD ON
THINGS LIKE CARBON EMISSIONS?
WE SAY, NO, NO, NO, YOU HAVE
NO RIGHT TO BE INVOLVED
IN ANY CONVERSATION ABOUT
WHAT WE DO AT HOME.
AND THAT'S WHAT PRODUCES, I
THINK, THIS SENSE OF ANGER,
HYPOCRISY, THAT AS UNDERMINED,
AS YOU SAY, WEAKENED
AMERICA'S CAPACITY TO PERSUADE
PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD.

Alan says YOU MAKE THE POINT THAT
PROBABLY THE SINGLE BIGGEST
TACTICAL ERROR THAT LIBERALS,
DEMOCRATS MAKE IS BELIEVING
THERE IS NO ENEMY WHO IS
SCARIER AND MORE ILLIBERAL
THAN GEORGE BUSH.

Peter says THAT'S RIGHT.

Alan says EXPLAIN THAT.

Peter says AND I DON'T SAY THIS AS
A FAN OF GEORGE W. BUSH.

Alan says THAT'S CLEAR.

Peter says THIS BOOK IS REPLETE
WITH CRITICISMS OF HIM.
BUT THERE IS A GREAT DANGER,
NOW, I THINK, THAT HAS EMERGED
IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.
BECAUSE THE DEEP ANGER AND
ALIENATION IN THE UNITED STATES
ON THE LEFT TOWARDS
GEORGE W. BUSH, TOWARDS
A PURELY
REACTIVE POSITION.
WHATEVER GEORGE W. BUSH STANDS
FOR, WE ARE AGAINST BECAUSE
HE IS THE SOLE, OVERWHELMING
THREAT TO OUR VALUES.
BUT IT'S NOT REALLY TRUE.
HE IS A THREAT TO OUR VALUES,
BUT THINK ABOUT WHAT WOULD
HAPPEN IF AMERICA WERE HIT WITH
ANOTHER TERRORIST ATTACK --
A DIRTY BOMB, A CONTAGIOUS
TERRORIST ATTACK.
IT WOULDN'T MATTER
WHO WAS PRESIDENT.
JOHN KERRY, HILLARY CLINTON,
CIVIL LIBERTIES WILL SUFFER IN
THE UNITED STATES IF WE ARE
HIT AGAIN BECAUSE AT LEAST IN
THE UNITED STATES, WHEN
AMERICANS FEEL INSECURE,
CIVIL LIBERTIES SUFFER.
THIS STRUGGLE AGAINST JIHADISM
TO PROTECT AMERICA IS ALSO A
STRUGGLE FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES.
IT'S NOT ONLY BUSH WHO
REPRESENTS A THREAT
TO CIVIL LIBERTIES.
AND THIS REACTIVE POSTURE HAS
MOVED DEMOCRATS INTO TAKING
SOME POSITIONS IN THE LAST
YEAR OR SO THAT I THINK ARE
NOT CONSISTENT WITH
OUR PRINCIPLES.
YOU KNOW, THERE WAS THIS
CONTROVERSY ABOUT THE DUBAI
PORTS, WHERE THIS COMPANY
FROM DUBAI WANTED TO BUY IN
TO SEVERAL AMERICAN PORTS.
ALL THE EXPERTS
SAID IT'S FINE.
OUR SECURITY WILL NOT
BE IMPAIRED AT ALL.
AND BUSH, TO HIS
CREDIT, WAS RIGHT.
HE SAID, YOU KNOW WHAT, WE
SHOULDN'T DISCRIMINATE
AGAINST THIS COUNTRY.
THEY HAVE A GOOD RECORD, AND
THE SECURITY EXPERTS SAY
THIS IS NOT A THREAT.
WE SHOULDN'T DISCRIMINATE
AGAINST THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE
A MUSLIM COUNTRIES.
AND DEMOCRATS RUSH INTO THE
VOID AND SAY, NO, NO, NO,
THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS.
WE CAN'T HAVE A
COMPANY FROM DUBAI BEING
INVOLVED IN OUR PORTS.
THAT WAS A VIOLATION, I THINK,
OF OUR LIBERAL PRINCIPLES
BECAUSE BUSH HATRED WAS THE
ONLY PRINCIPLE THAT WAS
GUIDING DEMOCRATS
AND LIBERALS.

Alan says AND IT'S PROBABLY IS WHAT LEADS
PEOPLE TO ASSOCIATE LIBERALS
AS BEING ANTI-AMERICAN AND
ANTI-PATRIOTIC IN MANY RESPECTS.
BECAUSE THEY'VE GOT THE WRONG
ENEMY IN THEIR CROSS HAIRS,
IN THE VIEW OF A LOT
OF MIDDLE AMERICANS.

Peter says THAT'S RIGHT.
AND THE STRUGGLE FOR LIBERALS,
AND THIS WAS A STRUGGLE
DURING THE COLD WAR, AS WELL,
IS TO HAVE THIS TENSION.
WHAT IRVING HOWE, THE GREAT
DEMOCRATIC AMERICAN SOCIALIST
CALLED TWO-SIDED POLITICS.
WHICH IS TO SAY THERE ARE
TWO ARGUMENTS GOING ON.
THERE ARE TWO STRUGGLES.
THERE IS A STRUGGLE AGAINST
THE RIGHT, ABSOLUTELY, BUT
THERE IS ALSO THIS STRUGGLE
AGAINST THIS NEW FORM OF
TOTALITARIANISM.
AND UNLESS YOU ARE STRUGGLING
AGAINST BOTH, YOU ARE NOT
BEING TRUE TO THE
LIBERAL VISION.

Alan says IN A REVIEW OF THE BOOK,
CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS, RATHER
CHEEKILY SAID YOU SHOULD HAVE
TITLED IT, HILLARY IN 2008.
ARE THERE DEMOCRATIC
CANDIDATES OUT THERE THAT YOU
SEE HAVE A HIGHER LIKELIHOOD
OF BRINGING THE PARTY BACK TO
THE VITAL CENTRE AND MAKING
IT AGAIN KIND OF THE CHOICE OF
A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS?

Peter says IT'S HARD TO KNOW ABOUT 2008
BECAUSE THE CANDIDATES HAVE
NOT REALLY LAID OUT THE
THEMES ON WHICH THEY ARE GOING
TO BE RUNNING YET.
IT'S VERY HARD TO KNOW WHAT
HILLARY CLINTON IS GOING
TO MAKE HER MESSAGE TO
THE COUNTRY IN 2008.
I THINK SHE HAS THE
CAPACITY TO DO IT.
I THINK AL GORE, IF HE
DECIDES TO RUN, WHO HAS AN
INTERESTING HISTORY, HAVING
SUPPORTED THE GULF WAR AND
THE BALKAN INTERVENTIONS IN
AFGHANISTAN, BUT RIGHTLY
OPPOSING, I WAS WRONG TO
SUPPORT IT, BUT AL GORE,
ACTUALLY GOT IT RIGHT.
HE OPPOSED THE IRAQ WAR.
AL GORE HAS A HISTORY OF
ACTUALLY BEING RIGHT ABOUT
A LOT OF STUFF.
HE COULD BE AN
INTERESTING CANDIDATE.
AND SOMEONE TO WATCH, MAYBE
NOT IN 2008, BUT MAYBE IN
2012, IS BARACK OBAMA, THE
SENATOR FROM ILLINOIS,
WHO IS WRITING A BOOK --

Alan says HE WON'T RUN THIS
TIME FOR SURE THOUGH?

Peter says I WOULD SAY IT'S UNLIKELY,
ALTHOUGH THEY HAVEN'T
COMPLETELY RULED IT OUT,
INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH.
BARACK OBAMA IS WRITING A
BOOK AND THERE'S GOING
TO BE SOME STUFF ABOUT
FOREIGN POLICY IN THERE.
AND I THINK HE'S GOING TO GET
AT SOME OF THESE THEMES IN
VERY INTERESTING WAYS.
CRITICALLY, THIS THEME ABOUT
HOW AMERICA BECOMES A BETTER,
STRONGER COUNTRY.
BECAUSE IF WE'RE NOT A BETTER
STRONGER COUNTRY AT HOME,
WE WON'T BE ABLE TO DO
ANYTHING FOR THE WORLD.

Alan says PETER REINART, I WANT TO
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR
JOINING ME.
IT'S BEEN A REAL PLEASURE.

Peter says MY PLEASURE.
THANK YOU.

Watch: Peter Reinart - Why U.S. Should Return To Its Liberal Roots.