TAC Editor-in-Chief Dan McCarthy and I sat down to talk about the perils of empire with Ralph Nader and Kevin Zeese on Sunday night at Busboys and Poets, located in possibly the most liberal end of DC outside of Dupont Circle and Takoma Park. We not only survived, but I think we had a good time tilling some common ground. There are many differences — especially on domestic economic policy — that are possibly irreconcilable. The urgency both sides feel for ending the permanent war state is obvious, however. Whether they can transcend fundamental differences for a common mission is yet to be seen, but at least the conversation is engaged and from what we saw Sunday, pretty focused on the task at hand, as insurmountable as it might seem today.
Here is my take on the evening published Tuesday on Antiwar.com :
What do you get when you talk Pat Buchanan in a room in which every liberal peace and civil rights icon—from Gandhi to Rosa Parks to the Dalai Lama—is looking down like the immortals in a sort of benign judgment from a giant mural on the wall?
For one, the lightning doesn’t strike and the tables don’t clear with an angry clatter. In fact, the mostly liberal crowd that came to see the a panel about the prospects of a left-right alliance against war seemed ready to try anything to help the peace movement out of the dustbin of wasted energies in time for another drawn out presidential campaign cycle and the election of a new U.S. Congress in 2012.
The place: Busboys and Poets, in the heart of D.C.’s U Street Corridor and the city’s “cultural and activist” scene, which you can bet is not emblematized by bleeding liberty trees or minute men. Who? Ralph Nader, liberal activist, government watchdog and consummate third party provocateur; Dan McCarthy, editor-in-chief of The American Conservative magazine, a Republican Party insurgency, consummate paleo-conservative meets libertarian voice in the wilderness; Kevin Zeese, longtime liberal activist who began his career as an attorney for NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) and a former Green Party Senate candidate; and I, who was seated on the “right” of the stage because of my freelance affiliation with FoxNews.com.
The evening was moderated by Baltimore radio talk show host Marc Steiner, and sponsored by Come Home America, the brainchild of Zeese. He sees a left-right alliance as the natural evolution of a peace movement that’s floundered as the longtime proprietary activity of liberal-Democratic America. Since Obama’s election in 2008, Democrats have conspicuously fallen off the peace train, making the antiwar movement more anemic than ever. According to a recent University of Michigan study, up to 54 percent of antiwar activists had been self-described Democrats during the last presidential election between 2007-2009. Now, less than a quarter of activists call themselves Democrats anymore.