As I listened to this evening’s McLaughlin Group, Tony Blankley was showing all what a bunch of cynical bastards the Bush Republicans really are. I was going to let it all go but then I saw the usually sensible Mark Thoma quibbling with something Robert Reich wrote. First up is Robert:
As long as Dems remain opposed to Bush’s policies and the Democratic leadership offers some semblance of unity in opposition – while at the same time giving Bush the money he wants to carry out his policies – the Dem candidate in 2008 can blame Bush and the Republicans, and no Republican candidate who supports Bush will have a comeback. McCain’s strategy of distancing himself from Bush by arguing for more troops is about to backfire on him, because he’s going to get what he wants – and America will see just how tragically wrong he is (Edwards has already, adeptly, labeled it the “McCain doctrine.”) Yet wouldn’t it be extraordinary if the Dems didn’t play this political game, and refused to fund Bush’s “surge”?
Mark seems bothered by this cynical nature of these political calculations:
With lives at stake, it feels uncomfortable making decisions based upon political calculations. If I had a family member serving in Iraq, I wouldn’t give a damn who was president next or how blame gets apportioned except to the extent that it affected the ultimate outcome of this (literally) ill-advised war and holds people accountable as appropriate.
It is hard to disagree with the sentiments here, but I think Mark is being terribly naïve. Here was my comment to Mark’s post:
Tony Blankley on the McLaughlin Group was laying the rightwing partisan claim that the next two years of the Iraq mess will be the Democrats fault. Why – because they have the power to cut off funding but not the guts – according to the reprehensible former advisor of Newt the Pewt. Something tells me this is the Karl Rove master plan. Continue the Iraq disaster to put the Democrats into the Faustian position of abandoning the troops or owning Bush’s folly.
No – the Bush Administration is the one who is putting our soldiers in harm’s way for the most cynical of political calculations. But he is Commander in Chief (unless someone has the courage and power to impeach him). I hope the morality of those on the left doesn’t let us be so naïve that the Tony Blankley-Newt Gingrich-Karl Rove-Dick Cheney-George Bush wing of the Republican Party play us for fools and further sacrifice the future of our nation.