Frivolous politics: Part II

Thomas Sowell

10/11/2006 12:01:00 AM - Thomas Sowell

Some people say that there is no point voting because there is no difference between the two major parties, and the other parties have no chance of winning. However, there is a difference: the Republicans are disappointing and the Democrats are dangerous.

Republican voters have more reason to be bitter than do Democratic voters. The Democrats are in Washington pushing for the kinds of things their supporters want: more spending, more immigration, more liberal judges.

Republicans are also in Washington pushing for more spending and -- in the Senate, at least -- more immigration. But the Republicans have finally stopped nominating liberal judges, after years of putting liberals like David Souter and John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court.

Differences in judicial nominees may seem like a small difference between the two parties. But federal judges serve for life -- and some are a major disservice for life. Crazy decisions are still being made by federal judges appointed by Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter and even Lyndon Johnson.

Allowing these kinds of judges to create new "rights" for captured terrorists out of thin air would be an invitation to disaster. Yet more such judges will be appointed by Democrats.

On immigration, at least the Republicans in the House of Representatives had the sense and the guts to stop the Senate Republicans from creating amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Moreover, on immigration as on spending, where the Republicans are bad, the Democrats are worse. Ted Kennedy and company have fought bitterly against building a fence on the border.

As for spending, both of California's Democratic Senators want the federal government to give the taxpayers' money to agricultural producers who lost money because of the recent recall of contaminated spinach that spread sickness and death to people in a number of states.

Maybe financial losses will help get some of these agricultural producers to clean up their act before their produce sickens and kills more people. But liberal Democrats want to throw the taxpayers' money at irresponsible behavior, whether by farmers, foreign aid recipients or people on welfare.

The most that can be said for the current Republicans is that they want to throw away less money than the Democrats. In general, Democrats are the only real reason to vote for Republicans.

When it comes to national security and the war on terrorism, that is a big reason.

The same liberal unwillingness to get tough with criminals that has marked the Democrats, and the judges they put on the federal courts, for decades on end has now been applied to the captured terrorists for whom they want to create new "rights" that are nowhere in the Constitution or the Geneva convention.

Whatever the Democrats' new-found rhetoric about "supporting the troops," their track record for more than a quarter of a century has been one of consistently voting against military appropriations and appropriations for the intelligence services, as well as hampering the intelligence services with restrictions.

On foreign policy, Democrats continue to argue as if talking with our enemies is the magic formula. We should keep talking with Iran while they keep building a nuclear bomb, just as the western democracies kept negotiating with Hitler while he kept building up his war machine in preparation for starting World War II.

Today, people ignorant of history -- which includes graduates of our most prestigious universities -- have no idea how close the western democracies came to losing that war and what an unending nightmare it would have been for the world if Hitler and his Japanese allies had won.

Nor do most of the liberal Democrats, which is to say, almost all Congressional Democrats, seem to have any sense of what an unending nightmare it will be for western nations if Iran and the international terrorists it sponsors have nuclear weapons.

Against that background, those disappointed Republican voters who plan to stay home on election day to protest their elected officials' failings are seeing politics as a way to vent their personal emotions. That is a frivolous self-indulgence in a deadly serious time for this nation.