Liberals were "right" about Vietnam, but they have paid a price ever since because they were so obnoxious about their correctness.I have never seen a better, more concise explanation of the struggles I've had to be a true, full-fledged liberal.
Because, in my heart of hearts, I found a lot of liberals to be very irritating. Berkeley cemented this. I met a lot of Progressives who are snotty, humorless, intolerant of dissenting opinions, love to needle, quick to badger. And so forth. In sum, do not pass the Beer Test. Would I have a beer with this guy? At Berkeley I read a lot of self-haters like kausfiles and actual-conservatives like Instapundit because I was so tired of going through the Daily Planet's letter page. They seemed more fun!
Thankfully for my Liberalism, I moved to LA. Where people are more friendly. It's a lot easier here to understand the difference between the occasional moonbats espousing certain causes, and the underlying correctness of those causes. The war in Iraq IS stupid. National Health Insurance IS a good idea. Now I feel sad for those beknighted sorta-Democrats like Klein who cannot divorce their personal revulsion of the people behind Liberalism and the policies about it. What a crappy way to live! Intellectually convinced in your position but unable to party with your fellow adherents. So angry at Liberals that you morally equate the slaughter and torture of Vietnam with... being snotty about it afterwards! How many Cambodian bombings equal one Michael Moore documentary?
Nationally, the Democrats and Republicans have made the distinction easier. Mostly because the Democrats have increasingly understood the importance of presentability. 2004 was certainly a nadir. Michael Moore is even unpleasant to look at. Kerry was such a dour, pompous ass I have no idea what we were thinking. Now we've got Obama. Even Hillary has worked hard to cement a friendly image. Meanwhile, Republicans, urged on by the blogs and talk radio, have become so unhinged and wide-eyed they just come off as giant dicks.
This could explain the accession of Jonah Goldberg to the upper ranks of Republican commentariat. He's not the deepest thinker, nor does he make much sense. But he's NICE. He makes JOKES. Stuff like that is a positive.