"Liberal Idiots"... how to oppose the war
Vietnam Vet Scott Lilly's latest column piggy-backs on the David Obey/"Marine Mom" Youtube phenomenon unfolding over the past couple of weeks, arguing, essentially, that protesters need to educate themselves.
Briefly, Obey (D-WI) was confronted by an antiwar protester on video about his efforts to address the war. It didn't go too well. In trying to explain to Ms. Richards why he didn't believe that cutting off funding was the best (or possible) way to end the war, Obey called her a "liberal idiot" -- ostensibly in response to her apparent misunderstanding of the current possibilities or ramifications to differing approaches.
Lilly does a good job with the tough love, telling those who oppose the war to get savvy and educated about the sausage factory of American Politics before just hopping right in and confronting individual lawmakers -- especially when they're not constituents:
At a very minimum, I would urge my fellow Ozarker, Tina Richards, to refocus her efforts in at least one respect. Your representative in Congress is not Dave Obey; it is Jo Ann Emerson, who is also a member of the Appropriations Committee. Unlike Obey, however, she does not (at least openly) agree with you on the PresidentÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Iraq policy.Where he loses me, however, is in the way he talks about protesters during the Vietnam War; and this, from one who's anything but high on the art of protest.
Defending Obey's "Liberal Idiots" remark, Lilly writes that, in addition to his anger at lawmakers for not stopping the war:
I was almost as frustrated by the mindless antics of many opposing the war who did little more than harden the resolve of the war's supporters and dissuade those who might otherwise have become war opponents. They provided a perfect foil for Richard Nixon, who had run out of explanations to justify the continuation of the conflict. Nixon turned the debate over the "war" into a debate over the "war movement," a bait-and-switch that helped him rally support even among people who had growing reservations about what they witnessed each night on television.He has me with the frustration at the fundamentally selfish aspects of some protesters, more interested in self-expression than policy change (YES YES!) but then this...