Tuesday, March 14

Loaded questions of the day.

The impromptu "Whom would you betray for a shot at Ashley Judd?" debate that popped up as a result of the previous post has been interesting, but I'd like to pose a few perhaps more serious questions to liberal and conservative readers alike:

1. As Kevin Drum asks, what is the Republican national-security strategy these days? Drum correctly points out that while Republicans have spent the last four and a half years assailing the Democrats -- successfully -- for a supposed lack of coherence on the foreign-policy issue, the Republicans don't seem to have much on their side either, unless "Don't pull out of Iraq and don't do anything different while we're there, and talk tough enough to make Iran think they're next, even though there's no way in hell we could back it up with all those troops still trying to secure Baghdad" satisfies you.

2. On a related note, how does President Bush's speech from the other night "show ideology ceding to reality" (as Andrew Sullivan optimistically puts it here)? I'm glad that Bush is paying enough attention to the situation over there in Iraq to be able to quote statistics, I guess, but am I really supposed to give Bush brownie points for having waited nearly three years to figure out that everything isn't hunky-dory (if in fact he's figured that out at all, and I certainly don't share Sullivan's faith that it has)? More to the point, after three years of obduracy with respect to nearly every facet of foreign policy, why should I believe that this revelation of Bush's, if in fact it did happen, will bring about any substantive change in policy? (On a related note, here's another question: When I read a sentence like "Criticizing him is fine; but rooting for him to fail isn't," am I right to recognize a great deal of irony in this, given that Sullivan and his fellow conservatives have been the ones least able -- or willing -- to tell the difference?)

3. If it's wrong for me to oppose something Bush does just because he's doing it, why is it still OK for conservatives to oppose my point of view just because I'm the one who holds it? Time and time again I hear conservatives pooh-poohing liberal criticisms of Bush by saying, "The only reason you don't like X/Y/Z is because Bush is for it, you're a knee-jerk Bush hater." And yes, I do believe it is wrong for a liberal or progresive to issue an automatic condemnation of something Bush does or says just because it's Bush. So why is it apparently still OK for conservatives to automatically dismiss a liberal's argument because they're a "liberal" or "moonbat"?

4. Why do people (on both the liberal and conservative wings) continue to refer to "Brokeback Mountain" as a political movie? What's the political issue there?

5. Why do people keep referring to Bush as a popular president?


Anonymous said...

Defense policy ought to be based on good judgment rather than a set doctrine. That's where Republicans usually go wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think in general you're giving us Repubs way too much credit for organization. We're not this monolithic group that all thinks the same way. :-)

You might be surprised to see the amount of fury vented against the Administration on some of the right-leaning sites I frequent. I personally think that this Administration is one big clusterfuck. The only reason I'm not rushing to join the dems is that I happen to think that they're even bigger fucking morons. Sigh.

So, to answer your questions:
1.) Beats the hell out of me. It's certainly not a consistent message. Though I don't know that I agree with your straw man answer, either.

2.) Listening to Bush speak makes me uncomfortable. Can't comment on this one 'cause I couldn't bear to hear his speach..

3.) I agree with you 100% on that one. In general, when I dismiss your arguments, it's because you are flat wrong.

4.) Good question. Personally I think it was made a political issue because it received so much critical aclaim, even though (by some accounts) it was a mediocre movie. I can't say for sure...I haven't seen it yet to make that call for myself. I hope to rent it when it comes out on DVD, but I didn't want to see in the theater...you know, box office political statements and all.

5.) When has Bush ever been popular? Who is calling him so?

p.s. Ashley J is teh hot.

Anonymous said...

Being a Republican or a Democrat isn't always a tactic, so much as a state of mind. The Republican defense view is "be tough," whereas the Democratic view is "be careful."

Not that Democrats can't lead the country to war (see also Wilson, Woodrow; Roosevelt, Franklin; Kennedy, John; Truman, Harry; Johnson, Lyndon; Clinton, Bill), we just tend to be a bit more careful about it. (except for Johnson)

The Marines have a saying, "It's easy to be hard, but hard to be smart.

Anonymous said...

If I were a Republican, my frustration with Bush would stem from the realization that they can't put a true conservative in the White House. Bush only got in by pretending to be a moderate and vastly increasing social spending. Conservatism did better under Clinton.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to designate some defense policies as Democratic or Republican. When Reagan got tough with the Soviet Union, he was basically reinstating the policy handed down from Truman. And he was overturning a policy of detente originated by Nixon.

But Bush's mistakes have been uniquely Republican. There's a wing of the Republican party that's always attracted to harebrained adventures like this. The people who got us into Iraq are the same ones who had us selling weapons to terrorists, fascists, drug dealers and Saddam Hussein in the 1980s.