Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 21, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

REPUBLICANS AND NATIONAL SECURITY....Now here's a funny thing. Over at MoJo, Brad Plumer chastises lefties for being AWOL on national security since the election:

Liberals and Democrats especially have said nary a word about the future of the military lately. John Kerry may have been the first to suggest expanding our active-duty forces, but no one's said anything since. So the Democrats not only have fed the perception that they make national security proposals only when they need to look "tough" on the campaign trail, but they've also absented themselves entirely from an important debate.

And Matt Yglesias agrees:

To make people take your stances on these things seriously, you need to maintain them with a reasonable degree of consistency. Right now, the Democrats seem to be going through one of their periodic episodes where they abandon the field on national security and hope that the GOP will destroy itself in an orgy of self-immolation. It could happen, but relying on the moderate Republicans to stand up for themselves in the final analysis has never been a good plan. Better to join the battle.

I don't really disagree with this. Dems don't talk about national security much unless they're forced to, and it's a problem.

But the reason this struck as an odd complaint right now was that just last night I was reading through various news articles about the upcoming legislative session, and here's what the Republican agenda appears to be: privatizing Social Security, enacting tort reform, restricting immigration, getting started on tax reform, and cutting the Pentagon budget. As near as I can tell, with the election over and the intelligence bill successfully neutered and shoved under the carpet, Republicans have as good as forgotten that the war on terror even exists anymore.

So sure, maybe Democrats should speak up more about this stuff, but Republicans seem to have lost interest themselves now that it's no longer a winning campaign issue. Funny how that works.

Kevin Drum 12:09 AM Permalink | Trackbacks

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