Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
November 15, 2002
WAR/POLITICS: The Democrats' Blind Spot
Instapundit had the link to this devastating critique of Democratic apathy about military and defense policy, from Washington Monthly:
"[T]here's been plenty of hand-wringing among the leadership and rank-and-file Democrats about how politically inept the party appeared in the face of Bush's saber rattling. But that's the problem. Democrats are in this position precisely because we respond to matters of war politically, tactically. We worry about how to position ourselves so as not to look weak, rather than thinking through realistic, sensible Democratic principles on how and when to employ military force, and arguing particular cases, such as Iraq, from those principles."
Among the problems: Democrats don't have think tanks and opinion magazines devoted to serious thought on these issues (although the omission of the New Republic from the list is curious). Telling detail:
"When it comes to military service, Democratic lawmakers have nothing to be embarrassed about; of the Senate's 38 veterans, 17 are Democrats (including Daschle). Still, one indication that Democratic lawmakers spend relatively less time focused on military affairs is the people they hire: Two-thirds of veterans on the Senate Armed Services Committee staff are Republicans."
I'm less convinced than the author about whether there is or can be a military policy that Democrats can line up behind (remember the "peace dividend"?), but at least she's trying.
The comparison to Republican approaches to race and inner-city issues is a bit off, I think - a better comparison would be health care or the environment, both of which are complex issues that many Republicans (myself included) have tended to treat as an annoyance or worse. The GOP has grown much savvier on health care over the last 5 or 6 years, and Republicans from Western states often bring a zeal to land-use issues that carries with it a comprehensive outlook on the environment. But the enthusiasm gap is still there. (Incidentally, that's one reason I think the GOP will benefit so greatly from enacting a prescription drug plan for Medicare, along its own reformist model, with little help from the Democrats - it will establish credibility and start to burrow the conservative imprint into the functioning of government on healthcare policy).
Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:23 AM | Politics 2002-03 | War 2002-03 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)