Friday's lead story in America's largest newspaper must have made for sober reading at AEI and the Council on Foreign Relations, the twin dorms that house the Wilsonian wings of our national parties.
Americans, it appears, have had a bellyful of interventionism and globaloney. Reporters Susan Page and David Jackson merit quoting at length:
"In a USA Today/Gallup Poll, nearly half of those surveyed said the United States 'should mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along as best they can on their own.' ...
"The leave-us-alone mood is apparent not only in the proportion of Americans, 64 percent, who want all or some of the U.S. troops in Iraq to come home now. It's also reflected in concern about illegal immigration -- eight of 10 said it was 'out of control' -- and in the furious public reaction to reports last month that a Dubai-owned firm was poised to take over cargo operations at ports in six states.
"Attitudes have soured toward trade, as well. Two-thirds said increased trade with other countries mostly hurts U.S. workers. By 50 percent-39 percent, respondents also said it mostly hurts American companies."
What do the polls mean? Bush and The Wall Street Journal may say America is trudging backward to the dark days of "isolationism and protectionism," of "Fordney-McCumber and Smoot-Hawley that gave us the Hoovervilles, Hitler and World War II."
But the truth is less dramatic.
What the polls are saying is that America, having tasted the fruits of Bush's foreign, immigration and trade policies, rejects them. Why? All three, of dubious conservative parentage, have failed.
Three in five Americans now believe the Iraq war -- whether we invaded to oust Saddam, strip him of WMD, turn Iraq into Vermont or establish our "benevolent global hegemony" -- was and is not worth the cost in blood and money.
They are saying that a NAFTA-GATT trade policy that results in $800 billion trade deficits and the loss of 3 million manufacturing jobs -- one in every six in just five years -- should be jettisoned.
When they read of China growing at 10 percent a year, as factories close in the United States and GM and Ford, once the two greatest companies on earth, are lingering outside bankruptcy court, they think we can do better. And, we can.
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