Friday, August 24, 2007

Neocons, Interests, Ideals and American Hegemony

It's become both amusing and maddening to watch the spread of the moniker "neoconservative" over the past 6 years. It started with a cabal of select members of the Bush administration - none of whom were in Cabinet-level positions. It has since come to mean anyone that is, or ever was, part of the Bush administration, with the possible exception of everyone at the State Department. That includes everyone from the President himself all the way down to the lowest political appointee at the most obscure government agency. The term no longer has any meaning other than "Republican" or "someone who thinks war is sometimes necessary" (The latter definition is used to rope in people like Joe Lieberman), and it is a monolithic entity with every member marching in lockstep.

To show the degree to which the actual meaning of neoconservatism has been lost to history, take a look at Matt Yglesias' attempt to rebut Jonathan Chait's argument that neoconservatives were ever idealistic (in the good way).
Now, of course, the original neoconservative foreign policy doctrine was to oppose Jimmy Carter's injection of a larger dose of human rights into US foreign policy and to argue in favor of more vigorous American support for anti-Communist dictators.
That is, of course, absurd. What would later be pejoratively labeled neoconservativism began to coalesce as a set of ideas long before Carter ran for president. Focusing solely on foreign policy, neoconservatives looked around them and found both the left and the right willing to make concessions to the Soviet Union under the mistaken belief that it was "here to stay." Democrats were trending towards the McGovernite wing, while Republicans were pushing detente hard. Neoconservatives generally backed Hubert Humphrey in 1968 and Henry "Scoop" Jackson in 1972. By the 1976 election, many were beginning to make their way to the Republican Party, but the GOP nominee that year was Ford who, together with Henry Kissinger, had continued the policy of detente after Nixon left the White House. As a result, many neoconservatives once again supported Jackson in the primaries. Once Carter won the nomination, many still continued to support him, even if that support was less enthusiastic than the support for Jackson had been. The neoconservative movement to the GOP didn't begin in full force until 1980, after four years of Carter.

Then there's this notion that Carter "injected a larger dose of human rights into US foreign policy." What bothered many neoconservatives about Carter was his utter hypocrisy. He made a big show of opposing dictators and injecting human rights, and publicly opposed a few right-wing bogeymen like Pinochet and Somoza to show he meant it. But then he continued on supporting dictators, both right and left-wing, in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Indonesia, Philippines, Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, China, Panama and elsewhere, including throughout the Middle East.

Carters made a number of mistakes in implementing his "idealism." Until he promulgated the Carter Doctrine, which came far too late into his term to make much of a difference, he made no attempt to link idealism to any concept of American strategic interests. He saw idealism as the polar opposite of force projection - two concepts that could never work together. As a result, his foreign policy was rudderless. He made the common mistake made by American presidents at least as far back as Wilson of believing that "human rights" meant "freedom from imperialism," but gave little connection between the actual type of self-government and human rights - to Carter, if it was self-government, it was inherently "good." What we wound up with was far from ideal - instead we had our president running around making nice with every tin-pot dictator other than the ones the left really didn't like, like Pinochet.

Yglesias does generally get the argument of the "second-wave" neoconservatives (Bill Kristol's generation) correct. This argument, roughly summarized by Yglesias, is two-fold. First:
Thus, standing up for our principles around the world will do good. They also believe that standing up for our principles around the world were enhance our predominant geopolitical position. We'll be doing well by doing good. "American foreign policy, should be informed with a clear moral purpose," they write, "based on the understanding that its moral goals and its fundamental national interests are almost always in harmony."
But not only are the interests of American hegemony identical to the pursuit of American values, but the pursuit of American global domination is what the rest of the world wants, too: "Most of the world's major powers welcome U.S. global involvement and prefer America's benevolent hegemony to the alternatives." And it's also good for the Republican Party, since "Over the long term, victory for American conservatives depends on recapturing the spirit of Reagan's foreign policy as well."
Naturally, Yglesias expresses disbelief at both of these arguments, calling the first "mighty convenient" and the second "confusion." He doesn't really do much to rebut these arguments though. The first argument brings me back to the review I posted last month of Michael Oren's Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East 1776-Present. He argues that American success in the Middle East came when it "responsibly wield[ed] its strength and consistently up[held] its principles." Conversely, America's most spectacular policy failures came when decisions were made either on the strict basis of national interest with no acknowledgment of American ideals or when decisions were made based solely on idealism with little attention paid to strategic interests or power projection. For the most part, Oren argues that each president since Franklin Roosevelt has had successes and failures, but he is especially critical of the Middle East policy of five presidents, who were either too focused on narrow strategic interests, or too naive with regards to their "idealism." From my review:
[Oren argues that] US policy toward the Middle East cannot be based solely on a cold, detached realpolitik, but must also include recognition of American "idealist" values. At the same time, however, power and focus on strategic interests is a necessary component, otherwise American policy becomes aimless and consists of seeking peace at all costs. Oren argues that this (mistaken) approach was followed by presidents like Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. Let me add now, that lest you think this is some partisan screed, Oren is equally as critical of Republican administrations and saves some of his harshest criticism for Nixon and Reagan, the latter of which he argues (and I would tend to agree) pursued the very realpolitik policies in the Middle East that he denounced in US policy toward the Soviet Union.
I add:
There seem to me to be two additional lessons to learn from Oren's history, that he doesn't get into, beyond the appropriate balance between power and ideals. The first, which I've already touched on, is that many of the headaches America experienced in the region came not from a failure to apply "ideals" to foreign policy, but a mistaken notion of what those ideals were. This goes back at least as far as Wilson, who argued for self determination and an end to colonialism, but failed to take into account the nature of the regimes that would replace the colonial administration. As I've mentioned, independence is a necessary ideal, but not sufficient on its own. It must also be accompanied by some sort of legitimate rule whereby the needs and desires of the people are appropriately addressed by the government. From Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy in Egypt, through to Carter throughout the Middle East, Reagan in the Palestinian Territories and Bush 41 in Kuwait after the Gulf War, American policy has addressed "ideals," but has done so incorrectly. As a result, the outcome is often worse, both for the people of the country and for US strategic interests, than what came before.

The second lesson one could draw from Oren's history is that when American policymakers have pursued strategic interests with little regard to American values, they mistakenly assumed that the dictators had the same interests as the United States, and that they would act in good faith. Time and again this proved to be false, as Nasser turned against the US after we had sided with him against our traditional allies; as continued attempts to negotiate with Arafat proved fruitless as he continued to support terrorism, whether covertly or overtly; as Iran failed to uphold its end of the bargain it reached with the Reagan administration to secure the release of American hostages in Lebanon; and as Saudi Arabia continued to fund anti-Western Wahabbist propaganda that would eventually inspire terrorist attacks that killed thousands of Americans.
It really is remarkable how cleanly American foreign policy in the Middle East fits into these three paradigms - strategic interests, rudderless idealism, or linking interests with ideals - and how few of the policies based on the first two were successful compared to policies based on the last one. Neoconservatives do not disavow policy based on strategic interest - but they see American ideals as some of the most valuable tools for formulating policy to achieve those strategic interests.

As for Yglesias' incredulity at the idea that the world might welcome American leadership, or at least not actively oppose, there really isn't much empirical evidence to lend credence to that disbelief. Let's start with history and basic IR theory. Realists argue, and the historical record does tend to support this, that anytime a single state gains too much power at the expense of the rest of the international system, a coalition will form that will balance against the hegemon. Realists face an unfortunate problem, however, when forced to explain why no such coalition has formed to balance American hegemony. To some degree this is because of barriers intrinsic to the relationship between other powers, such as the numerous obstacles - historical, demographic, geopolitical and military - keeping Russia and China from forming some kind of military coalition to balance against the United States.

As many have argued, however, this lack of a balancing power or coalition is also due to the nature of American hegemony that makes it different from past hegemons. The United States provides public goods that offer economic, security and political reasons not to actively try to balance against the United States. Even if they are not thrilled with a hegemonic America, even if they wish , say, that France or Germany or India held equal or greater power than the United States, when faced with reality and forced to consider a world with a hegemon other than the United States or a bipolar/multipolar world with Russia, China or some other country holding the same amount of power as the United States, many reach the conclusion that a hegemonic America is the best alternative. They recognize that the international system with the US as a hegemon is far more conducive to their interests than any of the likely alternatives.

Not wanting to give up on balancing, many realists tried to work their way around this predicament. Kenneth Waltz has been arguing for years that multipolarity is just around the corner. A more feasible argument has been that other countries have turned to this idea of "soft balancing," whereby they might not be able to balance against the US militarily, but would utilize other forms of economic and political power to inhibit America's ability to carry out its foreign policy and counter its hegemony. This concept hadn't been around for very long before academics of varying ideological stripes began expressing their skepticism. It appeared all the examples used by the soft-balancing advocates of how countries were trying to make life hard for America either never occurred or failed miserably in preventing the United States from implementing the parts of its foreign policy with which they disagreed.

Maybe Yglesias has a better answer, I don't know. But he has to come up with something more than writing it off as "confusion." For all the protests from Europe about President Bush, for all the insistence of former Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov - long before Iraq, and under a different American President - that we already lived in a multipolar world, for all the claims that Iraq was a watershed moment in US hegemony - after which everything would change, and for all the claims that the EU is poised to become the new superpower, you simply can't explain away the fact that the few attempts there have been to counter American hegemony have been infrequent, half-hearted and entirely ineffective. Furthermore, these infrequent and weak attempts at balancing American hegemony are far outnumbered by the countless times the United States has been expect to act to counter genocide, tyranny, the effects of natural disasters and just about every other kind of human suffering in one corner of the globe or another.

What possible explanation is there for this reality other than that, while the world might not always agree with the United States, and may sometimes strongly disagree with it, nevertheless sees the alternative(s) to American hegemony, and have no care for them even less.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Conservative by Any Other Name...

Remember this moment; this is when many on the left, especially the nutroots, reached the sad realization that many of the "Democrats" elected to Congress last year aren't really Democrats at all. Exhibit one: Pennsylvania Congressman Chris Carney, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve and a former Pentagon adviser, announced this weekend that he would back Chuck Hagel for president and criticized Hillary Clinton. The nutroots are not happy; one blog calls Carney "A Democrat gone bad, really bad" and asks whether he is worse than Joe Lieberman.

The blogger points out what Republicans were saying about the freshman congressmen since the 2006 election: "On substantive matters Hagel and Carney have very similar voting records: extreme right." He quotes a news story with Carney's reaction to the nutroots:
The group's Blue America PAC that raised $545,000 for progressive candidates wants Carney to refund $8,210 raised for him.

Carney denied misleading the group and said it was naïve on their part to think he would vote 100 percent in sync with their views.
Let's be clear. Many of the Congressional candidates who won in 2006 as Democrats entered the race as Democrats for one reason: Iraq. Once in, some lifelong Republicans (like Jim Webb) also picked up on some economic populism issues that they may have believed strongly in, but which alone would never have convinced them to switch parties. (Once in though, they weren't really elected because of Iraq, which only came in fourth in the exit polls as the issue most influencing public votes, behind corruption, terrorism and economic issues and only one point ahead of moral values. So when these candidates entered the race as Democrats based on their opposition to the war, they were swept to power based on opposition to Republicans on a range of issues, from corruption to spending to Iraq.) They weren't Democrats, and that the nutroots actually believed they were was always somewhat amusing. Now the honeymoon is over, and they realized they don't have much in common - divorce is imminent.

Part of the brilliance of Rahm Emmanuel, Chuck Schumer and Howard Dean's 2006 victory was supposedly that Democrats wanted someone who could win, and didn't make them pass a litmus test. The nutroots signed on to this strategy with enthusiasm, as Jim Webb was one of the most fortunate recipients of the nutroots' love. Suddenly, as Democrats begin admitting that the surge is making progress and other Democrats start endorsing conservative Republicans for president (and let's be honest, Hagel is a conservative, no matter how much we may disagree with his foreign policy and positions on Iraq), the idea of a litmus test is suddenly looking good to the nutroots.

The Best Defense....

Jonathan Chait has a brilliantly disingenuous piece in The New Republic today, the sole purpose of which is to criticize those who criticized TNR for publishing made-up stories by Scott Beauchamp about the soldiers in Iraq. Making the decision that the best defense is offense, Chait begins attacking Bill Kristol and the Weekly Standard, arguing that their criticism of TNR's decision to publish Beauchamp's stories are indicative of the descent of neoconservatism from "idealism and liberalism" to a "noxious residue of bullying militarism." It starts out thusly:
The topic was The New Republic's decision to publish an essay by Scott Beauchamp, an American soldier serving in Iraq, detailing some repugnant acts he said he and his comrades committed. Legitimate questions have been raised about this essay's veracity. (We've been publishing updates on our continuing efforts to get answers to them at But Kristol rushed past these questions, immediately declaring the piece a "fiction."
Let's be honest - they're more than just "legitimate questions." At least a third of his story has proven to be entirely false - the incident with the disfigured woman occurred - if at all - in Kuwait, before he was even in Iraq. What's more, TNR has been far from forthcoming on their investigation - blaming everyone from the military to conservative bloggers for impeding their own, in-house investigation. In fact, and I admit to not having read everything everyone at TNR has said about this scandal, but Chait's line here is the first I've seen from someone at TNR admitting that the questions have any legitimacy at all. When he admitted that the incident with the disfigured woman occurred in Kuwait and not Iraq, editor Frank Foer simply left it at that, as if all it was was a discrepancy in location - no mention of that fact that this revelation cast doubt on Beauchamp's entire argument.

Chait then levels a number of charges at Kristol to back up this accusation. First, Kristol's response to the Beauchamp scandal "provides a full summary of the decrepit intellectual state of neoconservatism."
First, there is Kristol's curious premise that TNR only published this essay because we have "turned against" the war. If Beauchamp's writings were TNR's attempt to discredit the war, why would his first contribution describe a pro-American Iraqi boy savagely mutilated by insurgents? For that matter, why would we work to undermine the war by publishing a first-person account on the magazine's back page rather than taking the more straightforward step of, say, editorializing for withdrawal?

The notion that TNR published a Diarist merely for the edification of readers, rather than to advance a political agenda, did not occur to Kristol, because he could not imagine doing any such thing himself. He once explained his belief in the philosopher Leo Strauss to journalist Nina Easton thusly: "One of the main teachings is that all politics are limited and none of them is really based on the truth." Whether or to what degree Beauchamp's Diarist is true could not matter less to him.
TNR has Beauchamp's previous stories behind a subscriber firewall, so I can't read the entire story about the Iraqi boy. I would need to know more about the story in order to know what position on the war, if any, the story put forth, but writing about a boy mutilated by terrorists does not a pro-war story make. If we were to assume recognizing the savagery of terrorists equaled support for the war, there would be (almost) no one opposing the war in Iraq. But let's say it was a resolutely pro-war story - a number of questions have been raised by the Weekly Standard, among others, about that story as well. You would think that would mean the Weekly Standard cared more about being accurate than supporting its position on the war. Not according to Chait.
Two years ago, my colleague Lawrence Kaplan--who once co-authored, with Kristol, a book arguing for the war--wrote a poignant cover story describing how the dream of creating a liberal Arab state had died. Kristol, naturally, denounced his inconvenient observation. "The fact remains that it is today more possible than ever before to envision a future in which the Middle East and the Muslim world truly are transformed," he insisted. "For this, no one will deserve more credit than George W. Bush." Of course, this was an opinion, not a "fact." But the failure to distinguish between fact and opinion is typical of his mentality.
Good grief. I guess this is supposed to illustrate how Kristol and the Weekly Standard get fact and opinion muddled and wouldn't care so much if a pro-war story turned out to be fabricated. To back this claim, Chait takes a Kristol quote where he utilizes a figure of speech to make it look like he didn't know the difference between his own opinions and fact. "The fact remains..." is used all the time with opinion statements. And this is Chait's damning evidence of Kristol's alleged distaste for facts?

Of course, I can't tell you the context of this quote. Did Kristol "denounce" Kaplan? Or, as this quote suggests, did he simply disagree with him? The Kristol quote does not appear anywhere else on the internet besides this story from Chait. Was it in a Weekly Standard article that has been taken down? Was it on Fox News or some other program? You'd still think there'd be a transcript. Or was it in private discussion with Chait or another individual who then relayed it to Chait?
Next, there is Kristol's assumption that to concede that troops do terrible things in a war is to denounce the war as a whole. Of course, George Orwell, among many others, has written about the ways that the experience of war--and, especially, foreign occupation-- can blunt moral sensibilities. It should be possible to believe this and still believe in the overall justness of a war. (Certainly Orwell himself was no pacifist.) There is an old leftist belief that, if soldiers have done horrifying things, then the war is evil. This turns out to be the Standard's view as well.
Interesting. Let's go to the tape:
Liberals may want to win a war on terror without fighting, and are shocked that in a war, crimes and abuses occur. But here's the hard, Trumanesque truth: In war, terrible things happen, including crimes and abuses and cover-ups.

Let's be clear: Crimes and cover-ups cannot be excused or tolerated. They must be investigated, and the individuals involved, and their commanders, must be held accountable and punished. As the Marine Corps commandant points out, the Marine Hymn pledges that we "keep our honor clean." This is happening. All nations' soldiers commit crimes, and decent nations punish them.

-- William Kristol, The Weekly Standard, 12 June 2006

In the battle for Muslim hearts and minds--which many on the left and right believe is the only solution to Islamic terrorism aimed at the United States--things have just gone to hell thanks to a perverse, kinky group of American soldiers and their military-intelligence overlords who seem to have mixed the U.S. armed forces' manuals on interrogation with S&M techniques.

-- Reuel Marc Gerecht, The Weekly Standard, 24 May 2004

THE IMAGES OF MISTREATMENT and outright sadism that emerged from the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last year shocked America and the world. The cruel acts illustrated by the photos reflected poorly upon the U.S. military: How, many wondered, could America win support for the war on terrorism--a war that is as much about ideas as it is military objectives--if its soldiers treated the enemy in such a way?

[...] But as "The Torture Question" makes clear, something has been flawed about America's policy toward enemy combatants and interrogations. It's a practice in search of a clear policy to guide it.

-- Christian Lowe, The Weekly Standard, 18 October 2005

Congressman Hunter has wise advice on what we should do as the true story of Haditha unfolds. "We should slow down and let the military justice system work and let the chips fall where they may," he says. "The military system has integrity." Hundreds of Marines and Army soldiers have been punished, many severely, for abusing Iraqis. Eight Marines were charged last week with murdering an Iraqi man.

-- Fred Barnes, The Weekly Standard, 3 July 2006
I think you get the idea. Neither Kristol nor any of his colleagues at The Weekly Standard think that admitting that abuses happen in war mean that you think the war is lost. It's more that they don't think reputable magazines should be publishing false stories of the morally deadening effects of war in order to get the readers to call into question the war itself. Crazy for them to think that! Back to Chait's article:
Then there is Kristol's accusation that critics of the war don't "support the troops." I wonder if, back in his youthful days teaching political philosophy, Kristol ever imagined he would one day find himself mouthing knucklehead slogans like this. I shouldn't need to say this, but apparently I do: I strongly support and respect the troops and would desperately like them to succeed. My respect, unlike Kristol's, extends to soldiers who don't share my politics, and isn't contingent on the fantasy that all of them are saints.
Actually, fully two years after TNR's then-editor Peter Beinart, published an editorial for the magazine regretting its support for the war, claiming that "our strategic rationale for war has collapsed," Kristol made perfectly clear what he thought of Beinart. Putting him in the "pro-American left" camp, Kristol pointed out that Beinart supports "the war against the jihadists." Kristol also distinguished Beinart and the pro-American left from the anti-American left by noting that their decline in support for the war was the result mre of sorrow than anger over incidents like Haditha and Abu Ghraib. I'm not saying Chait falls into one or the other of these categories, but as a general concept, his past words show Kristol does not equate supporting the war in Iraq with supporting the troops - instead, he's able to distinguish between those who do actually support the troops, like Beinart, and those who simply claim to.
The most incredible part of Kristol's diatribe is his accusation that critics of the war really believe that the war is going well: "They sense that history is progressing away from them--that these soldiers, fighting courageously in a just cause, could still win the war." Now, perhaps Kristol truly believes that there is good news in Iraq hidden beneath the surface, but can he possibly believe that this good news is so obvious that even liberals believe it? And that liberals, including liberals who initially supported the war, are now trying to undermine it even though--nay, because--we believe the United States is winning?
So there are no liberals who are so opposed to the war that they're unwilling to accept when progress is made? How about Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), who claimed that, were Gen. Petraeus to come before Congress in September and argue that the surge was suceeding, it would be a "real big problem" for Democrats? One would think success in Iraq would be a good thing for all Americans. Or how about Hillary claiming in a VFW speech that new tactics in Iraq were working, only to have her campaign later clarify that she only meant the new tactics in al-Anbar, not elsewhere in Iraq? Or how about Harry Reid's jubilant prediction that Democrats would pick up Senate seats as a result of the war? Obviously not all opponents of the war/surge are beign disingenuous and looking only at the political effects of the war - but I think one can accurately say many politicians are.

The reality is, if there are supporters of the war who, at times, have stubbornly refused to see the realities of the situation in Iraq, there have also been opponents of the war who have stubbornly refused to see the changing realities of the war. Interestingly, those who initially supported the war, and now oppose it, often fit in the latter category. I think here of Andrew Sullivan, who continues to deny any and all successes Gen. Petraeus or the surge might have had (usually in posts that come shortly after promising to "consider" the potential success, in an attempt to sound reasonable). His low point came when he attacked Gen. Petraeus for appearing on Hugh Hewitt's radio talk show, then claimed he did no such thing. (He then failed to point out that Petraeus went on to appear on Alan Colmes' radio talk show.) Others who have turned against the war include Rod Dreher (who questions whether we can trust Petraeus and wants troops out now, even if genocide is the result) and Dan Drezner (who is so mad about Iraq that he refuses to acknowledge - for fear of getting trapped into supporting action against Iran - repeated attacks on American soldiers by Iran or Iran-backed terrorists. Instead he cites a report based on a walkabout through a single Afghan town near the border with Iran as proof that Bush is stirring up trouble where there is none to be found).

My point is that it is easy to fall into these traps whereby you have so much staked on a position on a single issue that it no longer matters what the reality is. This was the case for many supporters of the war, although, ironically, the Weekly Standard was not one of them - as Chait points out in an earlier article, neoconservatives (Kristol especially) were early critics of the way the administration was handling the war. What's more - among reasonable commentators - it has often been the converts to the anti-war position who have been most strident in refusing to budge. Perhaps its a "we won't get fooled again" mentality, I don't really know. But like Sullivan, Dreher and Drezner, TNR fits into this category. I don't particularly think they are anti-military - the other three cited above aren't - bud I do think they became so invested in their new position on Iraq that, whether they realized it or not, Beauchamp's fiction just seemed to fit their mold of the Iraq war and how soldiers act in that specific war - as if there is something intrinsic to the Iraq war that makes it more evil and corrupting than other wars. And so we got Scott Thomas, Baghdad Diarist, fabulist.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

A Useful Reminder

Over at The Plank, Jonathan Chait bemoans the sale of the Wall Street Journal to Rupert Murdoch. I don't want to be too critical of Chait and The Plank since they're having one of their better days, but I thought I'd address this part of his lament:
If you want to learn about business lobbying or the details of a tax bill, there's no better source. The commitment of the Journal's newswriters to fair political reporting routinely infuriates the rabid partisans of the editorial page.
Here's a useful reminder, from a 2004 study by researchers at UCLA and University of Missouri (emphasis mine):
One surprise is the Wall Street Journal, which we find as the most liberal of all 20 news outlets. We should first remind readers that this estimate (as well as all other newspaper estimates) refers only to the news of the Wall Street Journal; we omitted all data that came from its editorial page. If we included data from the editorial page, surely it would appear more conservative.

Second, some anecdotal evidence agrees with our result. For instance, Reed Irvine and Cliff Kincaid (2001) note that “The Journal has had a long-standing separation between its conservative editorial pages and its liberal news pages.” Paul Sperry, in an article titled the “Myth of the Conservative Wall Street Journal,” notes that the news division of the Journal sometimes calls the editorial division “Nazis.” “Fact is,” Sperry writes, “the Journal’s news and editorial departments are as politically polarized as North and
South Korea.”

Third, a recent poll from the Pew Research Center indicates that a greater percentage of Democrats, 29%, say they trust the Journal than do Republicans, 23%. Importantly, the question did not say “the news division at the Wall Street Journal.” If it had, Democrats surely would have said they trusted the Journal even more, and Republicans even less.

Finally, and perhaps most important, a scholarly study—by Lott and Hasset (2004)—gives evidence that is consistent with our result. As far as we are aware this is the only other study that examines the political bias of the news pages of the Wall Street Journal. Of the ten major newspapers that it examines, the study estimates the Wall Street Journal as the second-most liberal. Only Newsday is more liberal, and the Journal is substantially more liberal than the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, and USA Today.
Just something to keep in mind. Despite Chait's best attempts to make it seem that way, the Journal's news staff is hardly the centrist, independent, non-ideological newsmen trying to keep the folks at the editorial page in line. No question the editorial page leans conservative, but let's get the rest of the story as well.