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15 Aug, 2020 09:41

‘Muscular liberalism’: Washington Post columnist roasted after using strange label to describe Biden/Harris strategy

‘Muscular liberalism’: Washington Post columnist roasted after using strange label to describe Biden/Harris strategy

A piece on how the Biden and Harris ticket sticks it to the progressive Democrats has drawn an outpouring of mockery after describing the duo’s foreign policy platform as ‘muscular liberalism’.

A Washington Post column penned by political commentator Josh Rogin heaped praise on Joe Biden’s Vice President pick, Kamala Harris. Together they would usher a “return to the way world politics used to work, with a strong America leading a strong multilateral system,” he argued. Once they take the White House, the centrist dream team would firmly oppose the vision of the likes of Bernie Sanders, who want “smaller defense budgets, less foreign intervention, more respect for sovereignty in other countries and the withdrawal of US troops abroad,” Rogin wrote.

Rogin went further, explaining how as Vice President Harris would be a tough cookie for America’s enemies. She used her prosecutorial skills to investigate Russia as a member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and pledged to stand up to Vladimir Putin. She voted against slashing Pentagon funding. She is an Israel ally.

And during the primary campaign she “famously called” rival candidate Tulsi Gabbard “an apologist” for Syria’s Bashar Assad “who has murdered the people of his country like cockroaches.” For some reason Rogin didn’t mention that this rebuke came after Gabbard demolished Harris during a debate over her record as California Attorney General.

One might call the foreign policies that Harris is likely to pursue “downright hawkish”, but “those close to her say she is trying to adapt a traditional approach to a quickly changing environment,” Rogin wrote.

Biden and Harris, if they are elected, will have a chance to prove that Democratic muscular liberalism is still the right approach. The party’s progressive wing will have to watch from the sidelines, for now.

The term “muscular liberalism” brought plenty of strong reactions online. Journalist Aaron Mate came up with a laundry list of things that this “right” approach has brought in recent years, such as bringing slave markets to Libya or perpetrating a humanitarian disaster in Yemen.

Many commenters on Twitter wondered why Rogin looked for a new way to describe neoconservatism. Others asked if a foreign policy virtually indistinguishable from the one offered by the Republicans would really matter to voters in an election held amid the worst economic crisis the US has seen in decades.

Politics aside, there is also a very mundane issue with Rogin’s invention - it’s not original. “Muscular liberalism” is how former British Prime Minister David Cameron described his domestic policy aimed at preventing self-isolation and radicalization of national and religious communities living in the UK. So it remains an open question, would the Biden campaign find it fit to be used.

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