Sunday, September 05, 2004

This isn't Willkietime

Max's post calls for some response. One of the reasons Willkie should be admired for not attacking FDR on national security is that FDR's policies during WWII were generally good ones. FDR saw that Hitler and Hirohito were our main enemies, and his foreign policy was focused on defeating them. If FDR's foreign policy had been worse (suppose he had lost focus and decided to open up a new front by attacking Franco's Spain) Willkie ought to have criticized FDR for this and made national security a partisan issue. If the incumbent has a bad war strategy, this is the kind of thing that needs to come up during a campaign.

This is how I and many other people on the left see the Iraq War. While Bush went blundering into Iraq, spending around $200 billion and a thousand lives to eliminate weapons that weren't there, North Korea got a nuclear missile and Osama Bin Laden got away. Sure, Saddam was an evil dictator, but he had no WMD, no allies, no support from al-Qaeda, and a decrepit army. Attacking him was a bad move. Under these circumstances, Kerry would be blameworthy for not pointing up Bush's national security failures. (If things keep going the way they are, he is to be blamed for not making Bush's national security incompetence his central foreign policy issue in the campaign.)


Jason Mulgrew said...


jason mulgrew
internet quasi-celebrity

Rousseau said...

Except FDR's policies were unpopular (or so Zell claimed in the speech, I don't have the polling data at hand). And I think there's no way for us to say Bush's policies are bad and we MUST make political hay out of them, that you couldn't say the same for back then (the only objective truth in politics being that which is derived from majority consensus).

Perhaps if there's an argument that the elites, both Dem and Repub, back then had a specific perspective that made them approve of such policies more so than the populace at large, you can say Wilkie should have been nice on the draft. But otherwise, he and the public get to decide what a policy is that they feel should be challenged.

Neil Sinhababu said...

the only objective truth in politics being that which is derived from majority consensusGaah! Nobody should accept relativism about facts of public policy, least of all you.