The New York Times, in an editorial today, reminds everyone why they are such pompous asses: democracy means that their side wins. They tell us that it is up to Sharon, Netanyahu, and Mitzna to save democracy in Israel. How is democracy at risk? According to the Times, the latest bombing in Jerusalem could lead to retaliation by the Israelis. Retaliation is what the terrorists want, because it would further radicalize the Palestinians and make peace more difficult. The Times accordingly says that retaliation is a bad idea. Fair enough. They might be right, although I am not persuaded. But what does this have to do with democracy? Because the Israeli public is outraged about the bombing, they may very well insist on retaliation, no matter what the Times thinks. This demand might induce Labor to favor retaliation, even though Mitzna, its new head, is a prominent dove, for fear of losing support. But, says the Times, if both Likud and Labor favored retaliation, then who would the doves vote for. Absent a choice of backing the dovish position, there would be no democracy in Israel, even if the absence of choice is the result of the Israeli public not wanting that choice. I am not, Anna Russell always said, making this up:
The terror strategy is obvious. It aims to drive frightened voters to the extreme wing of the Likud party and then wait for new Israeli reprisals in Gaza and the West Bank that will radicalize more Palestinians. Israelis, including Likud supporters, ought to be able to choose their next government free of such coercion.The Times is perfect beyond words. If Israeli voters will not back a position favored by the Times, then democracy in Israel is destroyed.
. . .
Israelis already know that they want an end to terror. They have a right to hear their two main parties debate their broadly differing strategies for achieving this. Too often in recent elections, that debate has been drowned out by anger, grief and fear. Mr. Sharon, Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Mitzna must show the wisdom and political courage necessary to keep Palestinian terrorists from hijacking Israeli democracy.
This would explain why the anointed ones at the Times say that democracy in America declines when the Republicans win: democracy is when the Times wins.