Jonah Goldberg writes on NRO:
Daily Kos posted this excerpt from a 1967 New York Times article:
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote :
Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times (9/4/1967: p. 2)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3– United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.
According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong.
The size of the popular vote and the inability of the Vietcong to destroy the election machinery were the two salient facts in a preliminary assessment of the nation election based on the incomplete returns reaching here.
Me: And the guy’s point is….what, exactly? That we were right to abandon our Vietnamese allies? That we should do the same to Iraqis? That the left wing of his party hasn’t been moved by the democratic aspirations of those facing totalitarianism for four decades? Or maybe his point is to illustrate that the only foreign policy prism he and his kind can see through is Vietnam, even though the two conflicts have exactly nothing in common — save their ability to elicit incoherent rage and bad historical analogies from the left.
This is just willful blindness. The guy’s point – OBVIOUSLY – is that getting caught up in voter turnouts and drawing massive, long-term conclusions from them is likely to be wildly erroneous. The fact that the 83 percent reported then is even higher than the almost surely exaggerated 72 percent figure that was bandied about two days ago makes the democratic triumphalism look even more silly.
A willingness to show up at the polls says precisely nothing about whether a people are willing to fight and defend their own freedom. The Iraqis aside, I’m not even sure that’s true of the American people any more.