I have written three books in the past three years that deal in whole or part with the differences between the Republican and democratic parties: If It’s Not Close, They Can’t Cheat, Painting The Map Red, and A Mormon In The White House.
I believe in party politics, and the silly folks arguing for “non-partisan” or “bipartisan” approaches to politics distinguish themselves chiefly as ignorant of American political history or thoroughly deceptive in their appeals to the public.
What, I wonder, was the non-partisan approach to slavery? In 1860, the Democrats were for it, and the newly created Republicans against it. There wasn’t a lot of “common ground” on which to meet and confer.
Now we are engaged in another great debate about in which there is almost no middle ground, because the parties are –by and large, with some rare exceptions—approaching the issue from wholly different points of view: the war.
Democrats look at the world and see a necessary policing action against the Taliban that has been bungled and allowed to metastasize into a global conflict that has destroyed America’s standing in the world while crippling its ability to pursue the al Qaeda remnants hidden in the caves of Waziristan.
Republicans see a global jihadist crusade made up of two distinct but equally deadly branches of Islamist radicalism –the al Qaeda-led Sunni radicals, and the Iran-led Shia radicals. These branches hate each other but sometimes cooperate, and their deep desire for and attachment to violence and chaos is not rooted in poverty or powerlessness, but an understanding of religious mission.
Democrats see Iran’s nuclear program as a problem to be accommodated; Republicans as an existential threat not just to Israel but to the world because of the obvious consequences that would follow from a WMD attack on the Jewish state.
Democrats see the invasion of Iraq as a tragedy, a profligate expenditure of American blood and treasure in a horrific exercise of filial piety. Republicans see the invasion as the absolutely necessary second expression of a doctrine that holds that no maniac regime will be permitted to possess or appear to possess WMD that used against the West, either directly or through proxies.
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