The books that David Horowitz has written as a conservative fall into three general categories.
The first is analytical. It focuses on the radicalism of the Left, its effects and how to oppose the Left’s agendas. In this category are The Politics of Bad Faith, Left Illusions, and Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left, and several co-authored books, including Destructive Generation (with Peter Collier), Deconstructing the Left (with Peter Collier), The Shadow Party (with Richard Poe) and Party of Defeat (with Ben Johnson). Also in this analytical category are four compilations of articles: Sex, Lies and Vast Conspiracies, Hating Whitey and Other Progressive Causes, The Art of Political War and Other Radical Pursuits and How to Beat the Democrats and Other Subversive Ideas.
The second category is also analytical, but its subject is a very specific dominion of the Left: American universities. There are five books in this category, which represent a comprehensive critique of the radicalized academic campus and its curriculum: Uncivil Wars, The Professors, Indoctrination U., One-Party Classroom (with Jacob Laksin) and the forthcoming Reforming Our Universities: The Campaign for an Academic Bill of Rights, which will be published by Regnery in fall 2010.
The third category is biographical and philosophical. These are Horowitz’s most lyrical writings: Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (1997), The End of Time (2005) and A Cracking of the Heart (2009).
Party of Defeat, co-written with Ben Johnson and published in 2008, is tightly argued, carefully focused, and precisely documented. It is 164 pages of argumentation with more than 20 pages in footnotes. Party of Defeat makes its case in two parts each divided into two chapters.
Part 1 is titled “The War Against America and the West.” The first chapter describes the Path to 9/11. The disastrous Jimmy Carter presidency, Ted Kennedy’s attempts to undermine Ronald Reagan’s successful Cold War strategy, and Bill Clinton’s head-in-the-sand syndrome are all examined. The second chapter focuses on 9/11 itself and the Left’s response. We see a distinction here between the radical, anti-American Left of Tom Hayden and Michael Moore and the more sane liberal Left of mainstream Democrats in congress and the Senate. One group rabidly opposed the Afghanistan war; the other did not. It would not be long before this distinction vaporized.
Part 2 examines Operation Iraqi Freedom specifically. Chapter 3 lays out the justifications for the mission. This is a particularly important segment because Horowitz and Johnson explain the difference between the actual justifications for removing Saddam Hussein and the political task of selling the war to the American public. Understanding this distinction is critical and is something leftists and Democrats completely miss even today in their tunnel vision of WMDs. Chapter 4, the heart of the book, then shows how the Left and the Democrats sought to sabotage that task once America began it. Horowitz and Johnson hit all the bases: Ambassador Joe Wilson, yellowcake uranium, Valerie Plame, the influential slander of “Zionist neo-cons” “distorting” intelligence, Democrats claiming they were misled, Al Gore’s The Assault on Reason, the New York Times printing classified information, “Mother” Cindy Sheehan, and finally MoveOn.Org’s disgusting General “Betray-Us.”
Party of Defeat thus serves as a conclusive defense of the legitimacy of the Bush administration’s push to implement regime change in Iraq — a policy initially proposed by a Democratic president. Further, Horowitz and Johnson meticulously establish that not long after initially supporting the war the Democratic Party adopted the positions of the anti-American Left — while America’s troops were in harm’s way. Considered in the context of the historical information from the first chapter, it’s clear that this shift to the Left is not an aberration but a consistent march that’s proceeded over the last 35 years. (See The Shadow Party by Horowitz and Richard Poe for more on this.)
And how can the Left and Democratic Party apologists respond?
The book itself is only the first part of the Party of Defeat intellectual experience. After Party of Defeat was published Horowitz and Johnson set up the $500 FrontPage Challenge. Noted foreign policy analysts and journalists could debate Horowitz and Johnson’s thesis at FrontPage. These debates are in many ways as enlightening as the book itself. The Left’s attempt to defend itself from the charges is at times stunning, predictable, and ultimately sad. Read all of these debates here:
To read Ethan Porter’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Lawrence Korb’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Andrew Grotto’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Jordan Smith’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Robert Farley’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Michael Isikoff’s exchange with the authors, click here.
To read Ben Johnson’s exchange with William Blum, click here.
See also Nick Cohen’s, Jeffrey Herf’s and Bruce Thornton’s critiques of the book.