October 19, 2003

A Losing and Immoral Strategy

Because the Democrats want to relegate Iraqis to what Patrick Lasswell calls "indentured servitude" by saddling them with loans, he has decided to change his party affiliation from Independent to Republican.

I do not think all that much of many of the Republicans in control of the local constituency, but on the whole, that is more of a challenge than a matter for despair...The Democrats have embraced isolationism instead of opposing the next holocaust and they are as damned for that position as the Republicans were in 1941.
Way to go, Democrats. Selling your own values up the river is a losing strategy. It alienates the independent center and your life-long adherents.

You will not win respect or elections or power this way.

Liberal blogger Bill Herbert gets it right.

Support democracy in Iraq. And debt forgiveness.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at October 19, 2003 10:46 PM
Comments

Where's Bono when you need him?

Posted by: George at October 20, 2003 06:28 AM

Considering the large measure of support within the Republican caucus for loans rather than grants for Iraqi reconstruction, switching to the Republican party makes no sense at all. Democrats remain much more interested in nationbuilding than republicans.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 20, 2003 06:36 AM

"Considering the large measure of support within the Republican caucus for loans rather than grants for Iraqi reconstruction"

When it came up to a vote, the Democrats in Congress mostly supported amendments that partially converted a grant in the 87B Iraqi bill to a loan: the Republicans mostly opposed it, as did the President. Markus, I'm honestly curious about how you're reconciling your position with that vote.

Posted by: Moe Lane at October 20, 2003 06:39 AM

The partisanship there was so obvious. It was disgusting to see how low the Dem's would go to continue their policy of "the opposite of what Bush says".

Posted by: Court at October 20, 2003 07:03 AM

A lot of Republicans voted for the supplemental only because of Administration/Party Leadership arm twisting. A President has that kind of authority with his own party.

I disagree with Democrats who voted for a loan rather a grant. But opposing the supplemental because it did not include an requirement that non-competitive bids be itemized and reported to Congress, as House Democrats wanted, and because it did not pay for itself with a tax increase -- both of these votes strike me as reasonable positions.

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 20, 2003 07:14 AM

Hmm, didn't work the first time. Anyway, thanks for responding, Markus: I agree with you in disagreeing with the Democrats on the grant/loan issue, disagree with you on most of the rest - but I disagree with you civilly. :)

Posted by: Moe Lane at October 20, 2003 08:02 AM

To me, the $10billion loan idea was an appalling one; the classic case of selling out what is clearly the proper policy in strategic, symbolic, and practical terms for short-term political gain. Craven bandwagon-hopping at its finest.

That said, if another bill for Iraqi reconstruction were to come to debate in 2004, the loan position might well be a defensible position to take. At times, ideas that are ill-advised at one point in time are reasonable to discuss at a later time.

Interesting to see the editorial in today's NYT about the need for the Democrats to articulate a positive and constructive vision for Iraq rather than carping incessantly from the sidelines. Better six months late than never, I guess.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at October 20, 2003 08:09 AM

HEADING INTO 2004...The "liberal" Democrats have embraced paleo-conservative Protectionist Isolationism: a "return to normalcy". And, the "conservative" Republicans have embraced the big-spending bleeding-heart-liberal Wilsonian ideal of "making the world safe for democracy". None of this adds up. None of it. Since when did Liberalism come to mean "A Return to Normalcy" and Conservatism a "Bleeding Heart"?! I'm a Democrat AND a liberal...does this mean I should now vote Republican?

Posted by: gmcentir at October 20, 2003 08:40 AM

Democrats remain much more interested in nationbuilding than republicans.

In principle, yes. In practice, no. The Democrats are acting like stingy isolationist right-wingers. Since I am not a stingy isolationist right-winger, they are pissing me off.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 20, 2003 09:29 AM

"And, the "conservative" Republicans have embraced the big-spending bleeding-heart-liberal Wilsonian ideal of "making the world safe for democracy"."

Because the Republicans are in power, they are percieved to be responsible for the success of our foriegn policy and generally the stability of the world. In this circumstance, nation building and long term international stability are memorable wins for them. That the Democrats would rather achieve the political victory of international instability and grief than accomplish meaningful developments in freedom is both short sighted and despicable. They are going to bed with the devil and not caring that we will all wake up in hell so long as they are in charge.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at October 20, 2003 11:59 AM

I was disgusted when Bush campaigned against nation-building when he ran for president. He changed his mind, to his credit. He adapted rather well to hard new realities. The Democrats were already on the right side of this argument. To change their mind at precisely the moment their long-standing position became more crucial than ever is absolutely contemptible and appalling.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 20, 2003 12:50 PM

In the sewage storm to follow, keep in mind that those defending their perquisites must brand us both as traitors for speaking to each other. Only by blocking reasonable communications can they radicalize the agenda on illusory grounds and maintain their power. So long as we allow ourselves to be driven to incivility can the screaming classes, left and right, stay in power.

Your respecting my choices and choosing in turn to respectfully disagree as we both work for change in concert is the end of the world.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at October 20, 2003 02:48 PM

Your respecting my choices and choosing in turn to respectfully disagree as we both work for change in concert is the end of the world.

This makes me laugh. Because it's true. Heaven forfend bipartisanship!

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 21, 2003 01:58 AM

Even though the US mostly chose the CPA, if THEY were given a $10 bil loan, that THEY could spend, it would be better. Better still is to loan money to Iraqi mayors -- this will hugely increase their power, prestige, and ability to good (and corrupt) things. Only by giving Iraqi politicians the money to do good things will we, Iraqis, and the world find out which Iraqi politicians are BEST ABLE to do the good things.

And if a future democratically elected national Iraqi gov't decides not to repay the prior Saddam loans, NOR the CPA loans, that would be a reasonable decision for the US to accept. This could be a tactic unnamed Admin guys could maybe even unofficially support--so as to allow the future Iraqis a chance to stiff the French, AND the Russians, AND the Americans.

Posted by: Tom Grey at October 21, 2003 02:26 AM

http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/260tieiw.asp

The above article in the current issue of the Weekly Standard shows that support for the loan cut across ideological and party lines. So why are mainly Democrats being excoriated for the vote on this blog?

Posted by: Markus Rose at October 21, 2003 07:08 AM

I'm an Oregonian, and whatever the Republican version of a "yellow-dog Democrat" is, I'm it. I cast my first votes in 1988 and have never voted for a Democrat. Yet, I had every intention of voting for Ron Wyden to be reelected in 2004, against any Republican challenger. No more. He has cast party ahead of that which is right. Sadly, I expected much better from the man.

Posted by: Oregon Dan at October 21, 2003 04:01 PM

Markus, take a look at the actual voting results. It was a very partisan vote.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 21, 2003 04:34 PM

Patrick,

So long as we allow ourselves to be driven to incivility can the screaming classes, left and right, stay in power.
...
Your respecting my choices and choosing in turn to respectfully disagree as we both work for change in concert is the end of the world.

God help me, I think I'm gonna puke.

What is so great about "civility" in debates regarding poverty versus prosperity, tyranny versus freedom, war versus peace? As I see it, the policies of appeasement, socialism and subordination of sovereignty advanced by the far left will lead to poverty, tyranny and war rather than prosperity, freedom and peace. In this debate, I want passion, not civility. To be flattered for "civility" in this context is to be damned by faint praise indeed.

Posted by: HA at October 21, 2003 06:26 PM

Whatever you say, you lying, America-hating fascist.

Posted by: Kimmitt at October 21, 2003 10:30 PM

Kimmitt,

You mean little ol' me?

Posted by: HA at October 22, 2003 04:41 AM

Thank you for emphasizing the point, Kimmit and HA. You have managed to attack each other and do nothing to change the situations you despise.
What difference did you make?
What truths did you uncover through dialogue? Which of you is in a position to change your position to accomplish what is needed?
Which of you is in a position to understand the other's position to discover what is needed? What does it really matter what you are screaming, so long as all you are doing is screaming?

Look outward for something to accomplish, not inward for something to despise or stop wasting our time.

Posted by: Patrick Lasswell at October 22, 2003 11:01 AM

Now Kimmett, it should be said, has a sense of humor too. Although time consuming and undoubtedly irritating at times, I actually find many of these comments quite entertaining. It’s a nice tact to try to turn around the “America-hating” slur, but when it isn’t employed arbitrarily, it is actually useful to refer to people who like doing things like murdering Americans and smashing airliners into tall buildings. I’m quite sure HA would never encourage such a thing.

Posted by: d-rod at October 22, 2003 12:37 PM

Patrick,

What difference did you make?

That question works both ways.

Posted by: HA at October 23, 2003 04:12 AM

HA,

It mystifies me that you are actually arguing in favor of incivility. I like my comments section because lots of people with different ideas can discuss controversial issues without (for the most part) flaming each other. I assure you that I will do whatever I need to do to keep it that way.

Posted by: Michael J. Totten at October 23, 2003 11:10 AM

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