Some of the Grownups Speak Out

Brad DeLong has repeatedly asked in dismay “where are the grownups in the Republican party?”

Well, today’s Washington Post is reporting that a group of grownup Republicans and Democrats will be speaking out this week against the Bush administration’s handling of foreign policy:

Angered by President Bush’s conduct of foreign policy and dismayed about America’s diminished reputation abroad, more than two dozen former top diplomats and military leaders will release a statement this week calling for a change in U.S. national security policy.

Members of the group — a mix of Republicans and Democrats — have served in capitals from Moscow to Tel Aviv and Lima to Kinshasa. The list includes a former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a former head of U.S. Central Command, a former CIA director and a decorated array of former ambassadors and assistant secretaries of state and defense.

“We all have this extremely strong feeling that this administration has failed in its responsibilities to the nation,” H. Allen Holmes, former assistant secretary of defense for special operations, said yesterday. “We have never been so isolated in the world, and feared. It’s incredible that the United States should be in that position.”

I’m glad they’re speaking out. Anything that will help to put the grownups back in charge, and thus put an end to the dangerously incompetent foreign policy of George Bush, is a good thing.

One question this raises in my mind: I wonder if it’s generally true that lots of the people who work in the US government and military (which adds up to over 3 million people nationwide) are unhappy about or even disturbed by what they have been asked to do by the Bush administration? It would be interesting to have some specific evidence addressing my hunch that there is a widespread feeling among those who are on the inside of the US government that the Bush administration is dangerous.

If my hunch has merit, then there might be electoral implications. A few hundred thousand people switching their vote from Republican to Democrat probably wouldn’t change the outcome of the election in the places where lots of federal employees reside like DC, Maryland, or Virginia (DC and Maryland are already solidly in the Kerry column, while Virginia is probably too far in Bush column), but if such feelings have been filtering through the US military as well, then could it be that the Republicans’ traditional edge in military absetee ballots will fade somewhat this year? In a close election, that could make a noticeable difference.