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Martin Peretz Supports Barack Obama:

I can't find a proper link right now, but former New Republic owner Martin Peretz is supporting Obama for president. Left-wing bloggers rather frequently accuse Peretz of being a "right-winger," and a "neocon" because he has rather hawkish pro-Israel views. I'm not sure why having such views makes one a "right-winger", but if it does, then I take it that Peretz is the charter and likely only member of "Right-wingers for Obama."

Ari (www):
Peretz, like his magazine, is liberal; just about his only "right-wing" position is his support of Israel. He wrote an article awhile back dismissing fears that Obama wasn't pro-Israel enough, so this "endorsement" of sorts comes as no surprise.
2.13.2008 8:46am
DavidBernstein (mail):
Yes, he is liberal, so why is it that among left-wing bloggers if you're liberal and pro-Israel, you're a "right-winger"?
2.13.2008 8:54am
The River Temoc (mail):
A (Democrat) friend of mine once said he considered Obama a neo-con on the grounds that Obama allegedly favors the application of American power for ends such as genocide prevention, democratization, etc. I don't agree with this point, but I can see how you can make the argument with a straight face, given that Samantha Power is one of his advisers. And I would note that Obama has sponsored legislation to make it *easier* to apply sanctions against Iran.
2.13.2008 9:08am
DavidBernstein (mail):
That makes Bill Clinton and JFK "neocons."
2.13.2008 9:28am
Justin (mail):
DB either has incomplete knowledge or is being deceptive. Attacks on Peretz for being a neocon began in earnest when he wrote multiple editorials supporting the war in Iraq on what appeared to be neoconservative principles. He's Joe Lieberman - who has also been accused of being a neocon - in that he's liberal(ish) on domestic issues but his differences with the Bush administration on foreign policy seems to be more technique than type.*

Hillary Clinton also has strong ties to Israel and yet nobody calls her a neoconservative. To think being pro-Israel gets you that label is fancy.


* There is nothing neoconservative about torture.
2.13.2008 9:33am
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Peretz is a liberal, and TNR is essentialy a liberal magazine, but from the point of view of, say, readers of The Nation, that's insufficiently left. I've been reading it since 1985, and they have taken many positions which drive the left nuts - besides supporting Israel, which really annoys the left, they supported the contras, on the grounds that they were an essentially democratic resistance to communism (the left sees this as fascist); they take a free-trade, anti-protectionist line (the left sees this as anti-union); they have been harsh on afrocenrtric anthropolgy, political correctness in academia, and ebonics (all "unprogressive"); they are critical of UN double-standards when it comes to third-world oppressive regimes (seen as insufficiently supportive of oppressed peoples); the list goes on. They have been critical of communitarianism and have had conservative editors. If one is conservative or libertarian, it's plain as day that TNR is a liberal magazine, but from the hard left POV, I guess they look conservative. That's silly, of course, but it explains the bloggy hate you're seeing.
2.13.2008 9:34am
Anderson (mail):
People who refer to Palestinians as something less than fully human are much closer to the Nazi side of the spectrum than the liberal side ... recent confusion as to the difference between "liberal" and "fascism" notwithstanding.

A yellow-dog Democrat myself, I am all for supporting Israel, but not for supporting everything that Israel does.
2.13.2008 9:46am
Passing By:
I think Bernstein's point is that once you get past the non-stop, insane barrage of racist commentary Peretz directs at Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians, and all of the implications of that commentary, he's a liberal.

Bernstein himself, quite obviously, is "so past that".
2.13.2008 10:06am
Kevin! (mail):
I'm 25, I read TNR Online and buy the magazine on occasion, and I'm fairly media-savvy.

If I have ever seen a Peretz column or opinion not about a) Israel or b) Iraq and how Iraq affects Israel, I cannot remember it.

I'm not sure it's fair to equate Peretz's anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian views to the neocons. Quite a few of that crowd are buddy-buddy with the various Middle East regime, and the pursuit of Democracy in the region depends on at least a somewhat optimistic view of the culture.

But his views certainly aren't liberal, whatever they are.
2.13.2008 10:18am
Allen Asch (mail) (www):
Prof. Bernstein wrote:

Peretz is the charter and likely only member of "Right-wingers for Obama."
Actually, this mistaken claim misses an important part of Barack Obama's appeal. Obama has the ability to break down the old labels and the old politics, no matter how much some people may want to cling to them. For more details, see my 3 minute 54 second YouTube video at:

Obama Claim to Be Bit Conservative Shows Uniter Not Divider?
2.13.2008 10:18am
gregh (mail):
I don't think Hitchens has endorsed Obama yet, but once he does, I suppose he'll be in the Trotskyite wing of the right-wingers
2.13.2008 10:21am
Ferry Pellwock (mail):
Unless Obama is trying to hide something, perhaps Peretz has good enough connections with the Obama camp to find out whether Obama published anything of his own during his 2 years on the Harvard Law Review (during which, according to the citation statistics, Obama apparently turned in the worse performance of any Review president during the past 20 years).

For details, and my question to the Obama staffers, see my comments here and here.
2.13.2008 10:27am
sbron:
Jews always fare worst when caught between competing racial and ethnic groups fighting for government spoils. Obama supports such division in the form of

1. Racial preferences, which besides dividing a
society effectively discriminate against Jews.

2. Opposition to English as a unifying language.

3. Large scale immigration without assimilation. In particular large-scale immigration by groups which themselves are highly anti-semitic.

Given the above, why would Jewish voters favor Obama?
In all fairness however, McCain's views on items 1-3
above are identical to Obama's.
2.13.2008 10:30am
Ferry Pellwock (mail):
Further as to the comment I just posted on Obama and his work (or lack thereof) on the Harvard Law Review, more -- actually, much more -- addressing the subject can be found on the blog of Steve Sailer (who, as I've earlier noted, was recently linked to by John Derbyshire on The Corner), here.
2.13.2008 10:35am
srg:
Anderson, you said, "People who refer to Palestinians as something less than fully human are much closer to the Nazi side of the spectrum than the liberal side."

For God's sake. I always have found you very sharp even when I disagreed with you, but this is really off the wall. Who on earth are you referring to? I have never seen the Palestinians referred to like that, certainly not by Peretz.

As for Peretz, he is a Gore supporter who has always disliked the Clintons. I don't think TNR has ever endorsed a Republican for President, though they did endorse John Anderson.
2.13.2008 10:49am
right winger i suppose (mail):
If I were to describe my political and economic views, I would probably be considered a "right-winger" by most people. That's certainly true of people who actually know what I believe (which I usually keep discreet).
And I am 100% for Obama. I want this man to be President, even if I disagree with his political ideology. I honestly think the country needs someone like him, and policy issues are not the most important thing. I also think his election would change the image of the U.S. around the world overnight (and yes, fellow conservatives, that would be a good and necessary thing; we should care about our international standing).
So add me to the list of "right-wingers for Obama." It's the least I can do as penance for voting for GWBush twice.
2.13.2008 11:04am
ejo:
what are Obama's positions on issues? he's for "change"-I get that. what are we signing up to change to with him? it's nice that the world could love us again-does that mean our enemies would stop killing us or plotting against us-if that's the argument, silliness is triumphing over sense.
2.13.2008 11:08am
PLR:
I don't know all that much about Peretz, but my impression is that his background is mostly to the left, similar to Paul Wolfowitz and some of the other cabal members. Many have made the point that the neocons can trace their lineage back to the left.
2.13.2008 11:10am
Libertarians for Obama (www):
Do I count as "right-wingers for Obama"?
2.13.2008 11:12am
dearieme:
RWIS: anyone can be forgiven for voting for W when the alternative was Kerry.
2.13.2008 11:15am
ejo:
As has been pointed out ad nauseum, Cabal members included Cheney, Powell, Bush, Rice and others-Not to be insensitive or attribute motives to others but don't they mean "jews" when they make statements about members of a cabal. I suspect, when you get right down to it, that Obama's actual views more closely align with the Berkeley nuts who hate the marines and the campaign staffers who hang the Che posters.
2.13.2008 11:17am
Justin (mail):
Wow, Ferry - you really are digging deep into the barrel there.

Lesson I learned, once the hole gets bigger than you, stop digging. :)
2.13.2008 11:26am
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
I think that Peretz is a progressive liberal, as that might have been understood 100 years ago. That makes him a conservative Democrat or liberal Republican in todays lexicon. Think Teddy Roosevelt or Harry Truman.

And Anderson - I have found that lack of "support for everything Israel does" is usually a result of either historical ignorance or double standards. That Peretz articulates a position that seems extereme against the backdrop of the current discourse does not mean that it is in any way outside the usual standards of liberal thought.
2.13.2008 11:42am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
As for Peretz, he is a Gore supporter who has always disliked the Clintons. I don't think TNR has ever endorsed a Republican for President, though they did endorse John Anderson.


They endorsed John McCain in the 2000 primary.
2.13.2008 11:44am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):

Peretz is the charter and likely only member of "Right-wingers for Obama."


I didn't know Peretz's middle name was "Moby."
2.13.2008 11:48am
ejo:
does not being a drooling jew hater count as "right wing" with the progressive left of today? I realize you have to hate the military and think the United States is the fountain of all evil in the world but is support for the throwback nations of the Islamic world also a requirement?
2.13.2008 11:48am
srg:
Thorley Winston:

supporting McCain in the primary is not the same as supporting him in an election. There is zero chance that TNR and Peretz would have supported McCain against Gore in the 2000 election. Gore and Peretz are friends, Gore was once Peretz's student at Harvard, and, as I said, TNR has never supported a Republican for President.
2.13.2008 11:51am
PLR:
ejo, two things:

(1) There is an invaluable resource on Obama's positions, which you can find right here:

http://obama.senate.gov/votes/

I doubt you'll agree with 100% of his positions, I don't myself and I like the guy.

(2) None of the people you named (Cheney, Powell, Bush, Rice) was part of the cabal. Furthermore, those that were in "the cabal" are the ones who gave it that name as an ironic, self-mocking statement.
2.13.2008 11:55am
Tony Tutins (mail):
To merit consideration as a left-winger these days, Peretz would have to have been a member of Jews for the PLO. Left-wingers see Palestine as a giant Bantustan, and Jews are the Boer settlers, Arafat being Mandela of course.
2.13.2008 12:53pm
Observer:
There are three main political arenas with respect to which commenters can be categorized on a liberal-conservative line: economic issues, social issues and foreign policy. From the perspective of the liberal blogosphere, a "conservative" or "right-winger" is anyone who is right-of-center on any of the three political arenas. Peretz qualifies under this definition.

Interestingly, the conservative blogosphere does not attempt to make the equivalent categorizations from the right. David Bernstein may be conservative on economics and foreign policy, but he is very much a liberal on social issues. Yet no one at Powerline or Little Green Footballs would categorize Bernstein as a "left-winger" on that basis (which would be the equivalent of categorizing Peretz as a "right-winger").
2.13.2008 1:10pm
Dave N (mail):
Observer,

I am not quite sure I agree--there are plenty of people in the right wing blogosphere who accuse John McCain of being a "liberal."
2.13.2008 1:15pm
ejo:
look to his voting record-I live in Illinois and can look to his undistinguished record as a state senator as well. far from being an agent of "change", whatever that means, he simply was a follow Emil Jones' orders machine politician. "community organizer"-what does that mean in an essentially one party city? absolutely nothing.

what is BO's response, position or goal in regard to Islamic terror? I realize, from another thread, that people don't think he is going to surrender-however, I would say there is no basis to be so confident in his positions. he says nothing. he has done nothing. to infer from nothing that he will be a great leader is simply wishful thinking overwhelming reason.
2.13.2008 1:44pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
ejo -- you never heard of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, The Woodlawn Organization, United Power for Action and Justice, etc.? A partial list of Chicago community organizations can be found here.
2.13.2008 2:03pm
ejo:
there isn't a one of them that isn't part of the Democratic power structure in Chicago. what is a community organizer in a one party city? it's a meaningless term-like calling the connected law firm he was an associate in a "civil rights" firm.

what did he do in the State Senate other than follow the direction of Emil Jones? what independent thought did he have? the answer, quite simply, is nothing and none.
2.13.2008 2:24pm
TGGP (mail) (www):
Andrew Sullivan seems to have caught Obamamania. He was a righty hired by Peretz. Jamie Kirchick is a Giuliani supporter and self-described "homocon" also hired by Peretz. It's not that odd people think of him as a neocon.
2.13.2008 2:34pm
srg:
TGGP,
Peretz ran the only magazine that made a point of having both liberal and conservative viewpoints represented.
2.13.2008 2:43pm
Disgusted:
ejo, maybe try visiting Obama's website? What was its name again, hmm... oh right, "barackobama.com." Darn, that was tough--it's only his name followed by dot-com. I'm guessing you actually don't care what his positions are, though, right?

And what is a "drooling jew hater"? Who could hate a "drooling jew" like Larry David? I love the guy.
2.13.2008 2:57pm
ejo:
I am sorry but if you only point out jews as people pushing us to war in Iraq and include the word "cabal" in your missive, I think you meet the standard. sorry if it offends you.
2.13.2008 3:40pm
LM (mail):

I'm not sure why having such views makes one a "right-winger",

To left and right wing extremists, conservative and liberal, respectively (and their variants), are as much epithet as they are ideological classification. Say the wrong thing about Iraq or Israel and the far-left labels you a neocon (e.g., Hillary, Joe Lieberman). Piss off the far right on Iraq, immigration or taxes, and you're a liberal (e.g., Hagel, McCain, Huckabee). It confirms only the obvious, that partisan ideologues are not the most reliable sources of empirical analysis and reportage.
2.13.2008 3:42pm
Disgusted:
Did you get the answers you were seeking at barackobama.com, ejo, or are you still going to ramble your silliness about how he doesn't have a position on anything and/or wants to "surrender," whatever that means?

BTW, you were the one to babble on about some kind of Jewish cabal: "Not to be insensitive or attribute motives to others but don't they mean 'jews' when they make statements about members of a cabal." Right, not to be insensitive or anything, you just feel that some people are "drooling jew haters."
2.13.2008 3:53pm
DC Lawyer (mail):
The notion, Ferry, that citations to a volume is the sole determinant of whether one was successful as president of Harvard Law Review is completely bizarre. Who cares? Perhaps he chose more esoteric articles. Perhaps the articles were better footnoted, contained less errors. Were the issues published late or timely? So many things go into this and it seems that the least important measure of success is subsequent citations to articles chosen by a panel of students.
2.13.2008 5:02pm
ejo:
BO.com doesn't even have a separate category for terrorism-that does tell me something. thanks for the pointer. now I know he wants to exercise diplomacy and talk without restrictions. that, of course, tells us absolutely nothing as to where he wants to get to-I am afraid I can't divine that from the platitudes.

as to silliness, do you know anything about BO's rise in Illinois politics or any significant achievements as a legislator-he wasn't a legislative leader of any sort. he was just a standard reliable democratic vote, doing what he was told. as to drooling jew haters, when people start talking about the cabals and mentioning jews only, I have to say they likely don't much care for them.
2.13.2008 5:08pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
David: I don't think I understand what the point of this post is. There are plenty of people who the liberal blogosphere generally dislike who are supporting Obama. It's called coalition politics; it's what naturally happens in systems like ours with SMDP voting, and with a two party system. We could find plenty of examples of the same phenomenon ocurring in the right-wing blogosphere (and right wing politics in general) as well.

More to the point: I think if you actually read some of the things Mr. Peretz has written about Arabs and Palestinians, you would agree that he has crossed the line quite blatantly into racism on several occasions. I am quite confident you would agree actually.
2.13.2008 5:39pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
And Anderson - I have found that lack of "support for everything Israel does" is usually a result of either historical ignorance or double standards.

That is one of the most astonishly stupid things I have read. I am a proud Zionist, and I am also quite familiar with modern Middle Eastern history (I have a minor in it and have lived in Israel for a significant amount of time and speak Hebrew), yet I lack "support for everything Israel does." Although my disagreements with Israeli policies at times have tended to come from the "left" perspective of Zionist politics, I guarantee that there are plenty on the "right" side of Zionist politics who would also vehemently disagree with many things Israel has done. It's called Democracy.
2.13.2008 5:43pm
HipposGoBerserk (mail):
Greedy Clerk,

What you say is fair and not. I didn't contextualize my comment. Claims that Israel repeatedly commits war crimes or is otherwise horrible for oppressing the Palestinians are almost without exception based on ignorance or double standards.

I think that was understood to be the context of the discussion in light of the accusations that Peretz is an anti-Arab racist (possible, but I've never seen evidence of it). If the context was more general (tax policy; criticism of the buses not being allowed to run on Saturday; you name it) you are of course correct. Something tells me that's not what he was talking about, hence my comment.
2.13.2008 6:06pm
James Fulford (mail):
Peretz's support for Obama is caused by the simple fact that Peretz is a lifelong Democrat, and Obama looks like being the Democratic nominee. Peretz wrote this in 2004:


Like many American Jews, I was brought up to believe that if I pulled the Republican lever on the election machine my right hand would wither and, as the Psalmist says, my tongue would cleave to the roof of my mouth.[A President Kerry would be a disaster for Israel, By Martin Peretz, Oct. 18, 2004]


Party loyalty, often related to ethnicity, remains a factor in American life. Last year, Steve King spoke to CPAC and said that that immigrants assimilate into the local politics of wherever they settle, and suggested that anyone who didn't believe that should "go look for an Irish Roman Catholic Republican in Boston."
2.13.2008 8:09pm
LM (mail):
Tony Tutins,

Left-wingers see Palestine as a giant Bantustan, and Jews are the Boer settlers, Arafat being Mandela of course.

Yes, and right-wingers think we should ignore the Geneve Convention, amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage and round up and deport every illegal alien.

Both true, so long as by "left-wingers" and "right-wingers" you mean some left-wingers and some right-wingers.
2.13.2008 8:29pm
James of England:
It may be that McCain will redeem himself with some hard work and an inspired veep selection. Absent that, I'm guessing Coulter's promise to vote for Hillary is transferable. There's a lot of people who agree with her.

Obama doesn't just offer the opportunity to avoid corrupting the Republican brand, but actively goes out and engages in straight talk with those who disagree with him on the right. That's very appealing to a lot of people. As Obama gets more "straight talk express" detours out there, expect the right wingers for Obama bandwagon to, well, not grow (since there's a lot of furious conservatives out there currently vowing to vote against McCain), but not shrink all that fast.
2.13.2008 8:37pm
Mac (mail):
I fail to see how Obama represents change. As many have pointed out by now, he differs not one whit from 75 year old Ted Kennedy. He is the most liberal senator on the Hill. For example, he talks of crumbling schools but his solution is to throw more money at education. If money would solve the problem surely D.C. and K.C., Mo would have the best schools in the nation. They don't. That is exactly what we have done for 40 years. What's new?

Also, I am troubled by his continued association with his Pastor and church. That the Pastor is a strong supporter of Farakhan (sp?), is not a good sign for Jews and that Obama will not distance himself from this church or this man troubles me. How far would McCain get if he went to a church with a pastor who supported David Duke or Fred Phelps? The comparison is fair and you know the answer.

I would add, if we are so hated why did the French elect a very pro American president? Germany did a similar thing but not to the extent of France, but still went from an anti-American leader to pro-American.. I think you get confused in that the Left hates us here and abroad. The others don't.
2.14.2008 2:57pm
SF (mail):
DB is being either ignorant or disingenuous. No one who is liberal could possibly tar an entire ethnic group with racist stereotypes the way that Peretz does with the Arabs.

Here are just a few of the choice descriptions Peretz has had occasion to employ in his magazine about assorted Arabs, whether Palestinian, Iraqi, or of the generic variety: They are "violent, fratricidal, unreliable, primitive and crazed … barbarian"; they have created a "wretched society" and are "cruel, belligerent, intolerant, fearing"; they are "murderous and grotesque" and "can't even run a post office"; their societies "have gone bonkers over jihad" and they are "feigning outrage when they protest what they call American (or Israeli) atrocities"; they "behave like lemmings," and "are not shocked at all by what in truth must seem to them not atrocious at all"; and to top it all off, their rugs are not as "subtle" and are more "glimmery" than those of the Berbers.

Alterman has a good summary here: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?
article=my_marty_peretz_problem_and_ours
2.14.2008 3:20pm