My network is buzzing about Walt and Mearsheimer’s book. I can’t tell you how excited folks are. They have the feeling that it’s High Noon at last for the Israel lobby–that the issue will be mainstreamed at last. I’m getting emails about possible appearances by W&M (the Cosmos Club in D.C.–great) and about whether they’ll be on 60 Minutes (apparently Nyet!).
This is the most important factor in the campaign against Walt and Mearsheimer: the fear that the issue might be mainstreamed in American politics. It’s one thing for the authors to hold forth in the London Review of Books, or for critics to lambaste AIPAC in the blogosphere; but getting into the American conversation is anathema. The third rail must remain the third rail! This is why neocons fought so hard against Juan Cole going to Yale. It was one thing for him to teach at the University of Michigan, but we don’t want to give these ideas imprimatur, prestige. It’s why the right is now google-bombing Trita Parsi; they don’t want this brilliant young scholar of Iran, whose new book tells people to cool their jets, to be on television. By maligning him on neocon websites, they hope to marginalize him; when a TV producer who’s thinking of scheduling him googles his name, they want her to think twice. (Whereas anyone who called for invading Iraq is perfectly acceptable…)
As a progressive & optimist, I think their side is losing, that W&M’s views are about to go much wider. I wonder who will be the Great Connecter. Who will break the silence in the American mainstream? Who will be the first political candidate to grasp the nettle, and say the words "Israel lobby" in a presidential debate? My bet: Ron Paul.