National defense as a values issue

Posted: Jul 25, 2006 9:52 PM

It's now official: There is nothing that can't be magically transmuted into a "values issue."

The chief characteristic of a values issue, and its inestimable advantage from a politician's point of view, is that values do not need to be enacted; they can simply be enunciated. Policies must be fought for and won. But turn something into a values issue, and that messy bit about actually accomplishing something? It can be transformed into merely "standing for something." Something voters like. Values speak for themselves: From their lips to our ears, values issues resonate frantically, and the politician is outta there.

By now, we voters are used to domestic politics being reduced to values. It appears to me that the Democrats, in a stroke of political genius, now realize that there is no reason for values politics to stop at our borders. Why can't foreign policy too become a values issue?

The Middle East is burning. Hezbollah starts a war. Democratic Lebanon is helpless to contain the terrorist army on its southern borders. Israel bombs, invades. Children die. Rumors fly that Hezbollah will unleash sleeper cells on Jewish and U.S. targets around the world.

The United Nations is apparently as helpless to enforce the last U.N agreement as the next one. Yes, last but not least (politically), gas prices threaten to rise to new heights.

How do the Democrats respond? Elect us, Democrats are saying, and bad stuff like this won't happen. Because Democrats value dialogue, diplomacy and other fearsome "d" words that, if you don't listen too closely, add up to a stronger national defense. (Another "d" word!)

So last week Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean sounded the main theme: "If you think what's going on in the Middle East today would be going on if the Democrats were in control, it wouldn't, because we would have worked day after day after day to make sure we didn't get where we are today. We would have had the moral authority that Bill Clinton had when he brought together the Northern Irish and the IRA, when he brought together the Israelis and the Palestinians."

At Honest John's bar in Detroit, Sen. John Kerry picked up the same narcissistic note. "If I was president, this wouldn't have happened," Kerry said, according to the Detroit News. Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said. "The president has been so absent on diplomacy when it comes to issues affecting the Middle East. We're going to have a lot of ground to make up (in 2008) because of it."

Trickling down to Fox News, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, explained the Democrats' Mideast strategy: Get people talking. "We have the power to bring people together," Rep. Kucinich intoned. Bring them together to do what? the reporter pressed. To talk to each other. Come up with a solution. "We cannot stand on the sidelines," he told Fox News bravely.

How will the Dems resolve this Middle East crisis? Work harder at talking more. Get some moral authority. Stand for something.

Gee, why didn't Condi think of that?

Sen. Kerry, our Super Almost President, deploys his magic tongue to the Middle East, and Islamic fascism will lie down with Israeli democracy.

If you believe that, I have a bridge to nowhere you might want to buy.