No is Not a Policy

November 12th, 2009 at 8:29 am | 28 Comments |

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Now that the official unemployment rate has crested to 10.2%, its highest rate in more than a quarter-century, and now that the “effective unemployment rate” is an astounding 19.2%, what are Republican lawmakers going to do? Who knows?

One thing Republicans should not do is follow conventional conservative opinion into the political abyss. National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, for instance, urges the GOP to be the proud party of  “No!” and to oppose any new stimulus package.

“A second (really a third, if you count Bush’s) stimulus won’t have any more effect than Obama’s first one,” Goldberg argues. Moreover, he adds, “the additional debt-fueled spending will only further enrage the independents and moderates who fueled GOP victories in Virginia and New Jersey.”

The Heritage Foundation, meanwhile, forthrightly acknowledges (on its website) that unemployment is a real problem, but doesn’t offer much in the way of corrective policy proposals.  In fact, Heritage doesn’t even list unemployment (or employment or jobs) as one of its key issues or research areas.

“Fortunately, the economy’s natural recuperative powers may be ending the recession,” writes Heritage blogger Conn Carroll. If this recovery is going to include job growth along with GDP growth,” he notes, “then job killing initiatives like Obamacare and cap and trade will have to be abandoned.”

Agreed, but crying “No!” isn’t an effective governing strategy. That’s what the GOP did for nearly half-a-century after the New Deal and it consigned them to permanent minority status.

Indeed, it wasn’t until Jack Kemp and Ronald Reagan came along (in the late 1970s) that the GOP emerged from its self-imposed minority cocoon. Reagan and Kemp offered up a positive reform agenda — marginal rate tax cuts, military rearmament, cultural conservation et al. — which enabled the GOP to take the reins of power from an intellectually inert and brain-dead Democratic Party.

The GOP needs a similar intellectual and policy renaissance today: to break through its current political impasse and attract new voters eager for thoughtful solutions to vexing problems. This November’s gubernatorial wins in Virginia and New Jersey marked a promising start for Republicans; however, conservatives still have much intellectual and policy spadework left to do.

Contra Goldberg and other status-quo conservatives, the American people are not opposed to spending money — whether on stimulus packages, healthcare, or on other things. The American people are opposed, though, to wasting money. And that’s why they are so thoroughly disgusted with the profligate stimulus package (a pork package really) that was pushed through by Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and the Democratic Party. The American people know full well that most of stimulus money has been directed to wasteful boondoggles which will do no good for the economy while running up a huge mountain of debt.

This doesn’t mean, though, that voters are enthused with the GOP; they’re not. It also doesn’t mean voters are opposed to an economic stimulus package; they’re not. The American people, in fact, want their elected representatives to do something tangible to promote economic growth and job creation.

That’s why, as a practical political matter, a second economic stimulus package — which congressional Democrats already are cooking up — likely will be enacted into law. Thus, it behooves Republicans to be practical and to consider how a second economic stimulus package, properly crafted and designed, might help to advance conservative and free-market policy objectives.

One idea, which I have proposed, is a defense stimulus. President Obama, after all, has made much political hay out of canceling so-called Cold War-era weapon systems. This has caused him to enact some of the most significant weapon systems cuts since Jimmy Carter was president more than 30 years ago.

This is unconscionable at a time of war. This is unconscionable at a time when our soldiers and marines are fighting and dying overseas. This is unconscionable at a time when our enemies are acquiring new capabilities through which to stymie and defeat us militarily and kill our troops. That’s why the Army has been trying to develop an advanced electronic network for soldiers and new combat vehicles that can accommodate this network.

“Information [-- i.e., battlefield intelligence --] is power,” explains Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter W. Chiarelli. “We need to make sure we are pushing power down to the lowest levels on the battlefield, where it is most needed.

“It is no longer realistic,” Chiarelli points out “to assume [that] all or even the majority of game-changing decisions will be made at senior levels of command. To the contrary,” says Chiarelli, “those decisions are more often made by the individual Soldier on the ground. [That’s why] we are committed to the network and to networking every Soldier.”

This is long overdue. With his cell phone, digital camera, iPod, and global positioning system (GPS), the typical civilian teenager has more technology at his disposal than a young soldier or Marine.

For these reasons, the GOP would do well to push an economic stimulus package that includes increased defense spending — and specifically increased defense spending to accelerate the networking of U.S. ground forces and the development of new combat vehicles.

This would help our troops in the field while strengthening the U.S. economy. High-tech weapon systems, after all, play to the central strength of America’s economy in the 21st Century: our ability to harness computer processing power and other information technologies to create new and unprecedented opportunities for individuals, even individual soldiers.

Spending more money on modern weapon systems for our troops is the right thing to do as a matter of public policy. Politically too, it could send a message to a young generation: The young soldiers and Marines who need new equipment and more modern capabilities will learn again which party supports them and which does not.

Republicans need to develop a more politically competitive attitude. They must do more than simply wait for the other team to lose; they must actively seek to win. Winning politically, as in sports, means putting points on the board. Right now, though, the GOP acts more like an over-confident sports team which all too often snatches defeat from the jaws of victory through sloppy play and mental errors.

The Republicans need more self-discipline, more innovative and sophisticated play calling, a more aggressive and opportunistic defense, and a more open and venturesome offense. Virginia’s newly elected governor, Republican Bob McDonnell, certainly seems to understand this. That’s why he didn’t panic when the Left blitzed him for a thesis he had written as a graduate student at Regent University. McDonnell instead stayed calm in the pocket and looked for open receivers — i.e., legitimate issues — downfield.

And, in so doing, McDonnell connected with the voters. And in the end, he buried his Democratic opponent, Creigh Deeds, in a landslide. Indeed, McDonnell captured nearly 60% of the overall vote and a healthy majority of young voters under age thirty.

By contrast, the “just say no” conservatives hope instead to be handed a victory through Democratic default. It could happen; but it’s unwise to count on it.

Recent Posts by John Guardiano



28 Comments so far ↓

  • DFL

    McDonnell won the Virginia governor’s race mostly due to the fact that the sitting president is a Democrat and Virginia has elected the out party to the governor’s offfice since 1977. As for McDonnell’s positive agenda, who knows what that means. He plans to solve northern Virginia’s traffic woes which is caused by northern Virginia’s developers who have overbuilt northern Virginia. More roads will lead to more building; McDonnell doesn’t have the guts to tell developers to take a hike and put a moratorium on building. As for tax cuts and budget cuts, what Republican governor has achieved either in recent memory. Bob McDonnell is a modest man with a modest agenda which will succeed very modestly.

  • ditka

    What if you agree with Austrian economists that any stimulus is a bad idea because it only prolongs the misery of the recession, and is only propping up a bad situation?

  • sinz54

    Let me say this as bluntly as I can:

    NO FURTHER STIMULUS IS REQUIRED.

    The unemployment rate is a lagging indicator of economic performance. Even Obama said so at one point.

    In 1983, Reagan’s second year in office, the unemployment rate hit 9.7%. Did we conservatives get hysterical about that! No! We knew that Reagan had a sound economic program in place, that a major economic mess cannot be turned around overnight–and so we counseled patience.

    That’s exactly what should happen now. The Obama Administration had said that their stimulus package and other reforms were just what the doctor ordered. So be it. It’s now time to sit back and wait at least another year to see if it all works.

    In the meantime, the price of gold is soaring, the dollar is collapsing, and the world is gradually losing faith in the dollar because the Federal Government is printing so many of them. A second stimulus would basically destroy the dollar’s value.

    We can’t afford a second stimulus. Not with the tax-and-spend policies of the Obama administration on just about everything except defense. Do you want to see double-digit inflation???

  • sdspringy

    This certainly was a “I have a dream” column. First no matter what happens in 2010, Dems will still control the House and Senate. They and only they will craft any stimulus package, just like the last one.
    Which makes this statement, “Thus, it behooves Republicans to be practical and to consider how a second economic stimulus package, properly crafted and designed, might help to advance conservative and free-market policy objectives.” ABSURD.
    There will be no “properly crafted”. The Reps will not have any seat at the table. Only those such a Chao, LA, will vote to provide money for votes politics.
    The American people realize that stimulus comes out of OUR pocket, or to be more specific OUR children’s pockets.
    The Republicans only have to point to the last Dem stimulus package, which resulted in increased debt and increased unemployment to find a reason to abandon and avoid any attempt at further pork barrel spending.

  • MI-GOPer

    I’m not sure, John, with all respect, you can reduce the numerous GOP policy alternatives promoted by various leaders within the Party and office holders as “Just Say No”. And you sure as Hell can’t do that with defense… let alone other domestic issues.

    I also don’t think an economic stimulus plan of greater defense spending –even if it is on the premise of “new technology, new weapons systems” –is a winning strategy with voters. Defense spending should be for a single purpose: help make and keep our military the strongest, most viable, most assured force in the world. Not for nation building. Not for humanitarian missions. For kicking serious butt and natl defense/security. Period.

    To mask that primary military mission under the guise of another stimulus plan only aids those who want to argue the first Stimulus Spending Spree was a worthy exercise. It wasn’t; it isn’t. More spending to “stimulate” military establishment jobs is no more worthy than spending to encourage Americans to buy a new energy efficient washer, dryer or iron.

    Americans aren’t opposed to spending money –you’re right– if they were, Congress would have been tossed out on its overly-large plump rumps a long time ago. And you miss the issue when you say “it’s wasteful spending they’re against”. They aren’t; Americans know that waste and govt spending go hand in hand… remember the $200 toilet seats and $90 hammers in the defense budget? Cost overruns on the B-2? If you ask the man on the street if govt is spending tax money wisely, they’ll tell you “no” or, the better informed, will tell you “Hell no”.

    What Americans are against is paying for the waste… when the cost of spending is translated into program cuts (ha ha ha) or tax hikes (ha ha ha), that’s when Americans get angry… and vocal. Cut MediCare, watch out. Cut physician reimbursement, watch out. Cut Social Security COLAs or benefits, watch out. Turn any issue into one of self-interest and Americans quickly man-up the barricades –as the Tea Parties and Townhalls prove.

    I’d like to suggest you go back and re-work your opinion piece here. The road to success doesn’t lay with the GOP advancing some new Stimulus Spending Spree for the Military Establishment. Our greatest GOP leaders knew/know that spending for the natl defense should be all about preparedness, waging wars, natl security and defense… not creating jobs.

    Let’s not lose the clear edge we have over the Democrats with the public on issues of natl defense, military security, internl affairs, protecting American interests abroad. And that didn’t come from “Just Say No” as the operative policy of the GOP, either. It came about because we mean what we say and we follow through… without dithering.

  • rbottoms

    This is unconscionable at a time of war. This is unconscionable at a time when our soldiers and marines are fighting and dying overseas. This is unconscionable at a time when our enemies are acquiring new capabilities through which to stymie and defeat us militarily and kill our troops. That’s why the Army has been trying to develop an advanced electronic network for soldiers and new combat vehicles that can accommodate this network.

    Yeah, building a replacement for the president’s helicopter is a vital national imperative. Bollocks. Obama cut military and defense pork, gadgets that the trigger pullers on the ground don’t need or use. Prepping for war with the Soviets long after the Cold War has ended may make Raytheon richer ,it won’t help the average Joe out of a job in any way, shape or form.

    Republicans can’t be serious even when they claim o be trying.

  • MSheridan

    Just thought I’d weigh in with some words from my all-time favorite conservative, Edmund Burke:

    Mere parsimony is not economy. It is separable in theory from it; and in fact it may, or it may not, be a part of economy, according to circumstances. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy. If parsimony were to be considered as one of the kinds of that virtue, there is, however, another and a higher economy. Economy is a distributive virtue, and consists not in saving, but in selection. Parsimony requires no providence, no sagacity, no powers of combination, no comparison, no judgment. Mere instinct, and that not an instinct of the noblest kind, may produce this false economy in perfection. The other economy has larger views. It demands a discriminating judgment, and a firm, sagacious mind. It shuts one door to impudent importunity, only to open another, and a wider, to unpresuming merit.

  • MI-GOPer

    rbottoms, the far Left troll who has been bounced off more GOP and conservative and moderate sites than even our Village Idiot, AutomaticBS, says: “Yeah, building a replacement for the president’s helicopter is a vital national imperative.”

    I thinking you’d be better off using that straw-man for sipping your milk at lunchtime, rbottoms.

  • indyreader

    I’ve read several comments bout the GOP’s position and I’m wonder what effect a platform of “No” has on the actual legislation itself. Also, I’m wondering what your (author and readers) thoughts are on the same. Now, I’m making some assumptions you may not agree with, including those in my example, but assuming they represent a potential scenario, what of the question:

    What effect does an opposition, build on obstruction or other non-meritorious arguments, have on the legislation itself?

    So, for example, is it reasonable to suggest that where the opposition party merely rests on false assertions the party proposing legislation must necessarily amend and include items to counter those same assertions – none of which has anything to do with the underlying legislation?

    To put this in context, let’s examine the stimulus package. Dems propose a stimulus package and Repbs oppose the same as socialism/fascism, etc. There are obviously Dem reps in districts and locations that lean Repb. If they are to vote with their party and yet retain their constituents, what avenue do they have? I would argue that they choose a middle ground that is somewhat beneficial to their own party (in that they legislation passes), but only if they can also benefit their constituents – mostly likely through something other than the actual legislation (pork).

    When the GOP talks about death panels (which have no merit), what is the counter argument (other than, there is no merit)? Clearly, shifting the debate from the merits of proposed legislation has an effect, but it seems more likely that rather than actually attacking real weakness , those weaknesses are bypassed for something less meaningful. So, as a result, we get a healthcare package which has some effect, but to appease specific folks worried about the effect of the death panels it also includes a lot of crap that had nothing to do with the original intent and is marginal in benefit, if at all.

    Looking at our political history in the last twenty years, the more partisan the climate the more earmarks we get. I don’t know if this is a cause and effect relationship, what do you think?

  • tdawg11870

    Defense spending is deficit spending.

    We have pretended for years that increasing defense spending, often on projects chosen for the districts where they are to be produced, can’t be overspending or pork because they’re for the troops. What pablum. Conservatives should have learned from the Great Society that blindly plowing money into programs doesn’t solve problems. Considering the size of our military compared to every other one on earth, it’s clear that our biggest national security problems will not be solved by yet more fiscally irresponsible spending, even if it is dressed up in fatigues.

    The DoD budget, just like that of any other agency, must have no sacred cows and dumping money into projects of dubious worth is just trading one kind of conservative red meat (defense spending) for another (fiscal responsibility) with no net gain.

  • Reason60

    Defense spending is deficit spending.Defense spending is deficit spending.Defense spending is deficit spending.Defense spending is deficit spending.Defense spending is deficit spending.Defense spending is deficit spending.

    God, if I had one wish to make, I would tattoo that on the forehead of every conservative in Washington, every conservative blogger, every conservative wonk who sits at the Heritage Foundation.

    Where do we get this notion that spending a bazillion dollars on bombers and satellites is somehow a good spending, but spending a bazillion dollars on roads and bridges is pork?

    Defense spending, even at best, is an evil; a necessary evil sometimes, but always, always, an evil. Instead of building things that people can actually use like refrigerators and houses, instead of building things that can make us more efficient and productive like bridges and rail lines, bombers and tanks only sit idle and rusting- if we are lucky.

    Do I need to quote Dwight Eisenhower? Yes, apparently we need to be reminded once again:

    “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. ”

    Dwight D. Eisenhower, From a speech before the American Society of Newspaper Editors, April 16, 1953
    34th president of US 1953-1961 (1890 – 1969)

  • mlindroo

    MI-GOPer wrote:
    > Let’s not lose the clear edge we have over the Democrats with the public on
    > issues of natl defense, military security, internl affairs, protecting American interests abroad.

    Clear edge…? I have not checked the opinion polls recently, but I thought the “clear edge” went up in smoke with the Bush Administration?

    Anyway, I used to discuss space policy in the past and it always annoyed me when libertarian space activists were decrying NASA cost overruns and incompetence while totally ignoring the much greater cost overruns that take place on the USAF side! Apart from Boeing, the major military industrial contractors tend to be satisfied with their DoD contracts and don’t do much commercial aviation or space. Possibly they would not even be competitive. For example, Department of Defense requirements really tend to drive up the cost of American launch vehicles such as the Delta IV and Atlas V. And in general, you have to wonder if expensive aerospace projects such as the F-22 and B-2 really are of much use against Al Qaeda.

    MARCU$

  • Independent

    just for the record, president eisenhower also said: “Man has no real interest in outer space or some fantasy of travel to a distant moon. We should be building better highways on Earth, not to the moon.” December 3, 1958; Natl Road Builders Assn meeting in NYC.

    yep, that eisenhower was one sage man. the only humanity he saw hanging on a cross of iron were the countless millions he left enslaved to communism in europe, in asia, in the western hemisphere, in cuba. eisenhower left millions hanging on an iron cross, the hypocrite.

    now, back to the thread’s topic…

    saying and voting “no” on any series of democrat and white house intiatives is not a bad public policy stance for republicans. saying and voting “no” on greater govt spending, greater govt deficits, greater intrusion of the federal govt into our lives is not a bad public policy stance for the republicans. it is, likely, good politics. for 8 yrs the democrats and liberals were ceaseless and shamelessly opposing nearly everything the republicans did and, when that didn’t work, making up issues to slam the republicans and mr bush. as a political strategy, it worked. now the democrats are getting it back and screaming like stuck pigs -too bloody bad, you earned it. screw bipartisanship; as an independent, i want the democrats as far away from the levers of power as possible, as quickly as possible.

    loyal opposition doesn’t mean that you make a horrible set of policies, advanced by your political adversaries, a little less horrible. at the end of the day, the democrats are still wrong on nearly every single policy initiative they’ve brought forward in the first year of obama’s only term in office. they’ve lied to us about stopping unemployment from rising if we’d just pass the stimulus. they’ve lied to us about their real intentions in afghanistan. they’ve lied to us about health care reform. they’ve lied to us about the banking and housing problems they helped to create and stopped meaningful reform of the same 5-6-7 yrs ago when it could have mattered most. they’ve lied to us about stopping the corruption and greed of special interests. they’ve lied to us about sharing power and making washington a place all americans could be proud of once again.

    i’m glad the republicans aren’t jumping on the bandwagon and voting for these sad sack and lame excuses for policy grabs by the democrats. at the end of the day, the republicans will be rewarded by a larger, more vocal, more intense set of allied voters who have tasted the bitter pill of democrat reforms.

    adopting a policy of “no” isn’t a bad political strategy nor a bad policy move. it’s refreshingly good for america and has reawakened the sleeping, silent majority. and it has the democrats sweating fear, when just a few months ago, the democrats were telling us the republicans were dead, history, marginalized beyond significance.

    as an independent, i’d like to see the republicans retire ms pelosi and the house democrats and mr reid and the senate democrats as soon as possible, as quickly as possible.

  • Independent

    marcus asks mi-gop “Clear edge…? I have not checked the opinion polls recently, but I thought the “clear edge” went up in smoke with the Bush Administration.”

    you’d be as wrong as balcones and otto and rbottoms and other trolls on this site…

    “Trust on Issues: Voters Trust Republicans More On 10 Top Issues”

    national security as one of those 10 issues? voters think 54-31% republicans over democrats are right on the issue.

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/mood_of_america/trust_on_issues

  • tdawg11870

    Independent: “loyal opposition doesn’t mean that you make a horrible set of policies, advanced by your political adversaries, a little less horrible.”

    No, that’s exactly what it means.

    Especially when you’re in opposition to a party with very large majorities. The idea that Republicans want Democrats (and with it, the government and economy) to fail just to prove a point is poisonous. It reeks of cutting off your nose to spite your face and will prove unpopular.

    There are a lot of great reasons to vote against healthcare, cap & trade and other bills, but if there is an opportunity to make bills that are going to pass anyway a little bit better, isn’t it the duty of elected officials to try?

  • balconesfault

    “Trust on Issues: Voters Trust Republicans More On 10 Top Issues”

    For what it’s worth, this is the same Rasumssen polling that last October found McCain more trusted by the voting public on the economy, on Social Security, on social issues (abortion), and on tax policy, and tied with Obama on military policy … while Obama came out on top on education and healthcare and trade agreements.

    So if you believe that the 2008 election hinged on education and healthcare and trade agreements, Rasumssen’s polling was remarkably prescient. If you think the election hinged on the economy, taxes, and the military … Rasmussen seems remarkably unrelated to reality.

  • mlindroo

    > national security as one of those 10 issues?
    > voters think 54-31% republicans over democrats are right on the issue.

    Well, that’s one valid data point. I guess I have to check what the other pollsters are saying.

    MARCU$

  • sinz54

    Independent: eisenhower was one sage man. the only humanity he saw hanging on a cross of iron were the countless millions he left enslaved to communism in europe, in asia, in the western hemisphere, in cuba. eisenhower left millions hanging on an iron cross
    Eisenhower’s Secretary of State was John Foster Dulles.

    If Dulles was too dovish for you, you’re really way out there on the political spectrum.

  • Danny_K

    If you think Obama’s cuts of Cold War-era weapons are unconscionable, you should defend them. He specifically cut weapons that the services themselves are unenthusiastic about, because they’re expensive to build and expensive to maintain and suck up money from other priorities. We can’t have it all, a big military AND lots of new weapons that we may not need AND lots of research into next-generation defense.

    Saying that we need to keep everything we have, and add more on top of it, is unrealistic. Might as well be saying no.

  • Reason60

    Yeah, I am trying to imagine how anyone other than Dr. Strangelove would have “freed” the millions from Communism.

    And without tring to completely hijack this thread re: “I Like Ike”, I will agree with him that in the great scheme of national priorities, he was correct that a moon landing should be less important than a good infrastructure, affodable housing, and a sound economy. And in fairness to Kennedy, we had those things (for the most part) at the time he proposed it.

    And getting back to the topic, even if defense spending seems like a crowd-pleaser, that doesn’t make it good policy.
    Coming up with a realistic plan to balance the budget may not make hearts go pitter pat at Fox News but it is a more principled and courageous stance than “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb-bomb Iran.”
    Right now, even if we had a Palin/Jindal Administration, and Speaker of the House Bachmann, what would they do?
    Every policy I have heard is based on a tissue of platitudes (Fiscal conservatism”), unrealistic expectations (A return to morality) , and monstrously irresponsible goals (War with Iran/ Pakistan/Yemen/ Venezuela/ Enemy to be named later).

    To paraphrase the thread, “A bumpersticker is not a platform”

  • rbottoms

    Republicans believe deficit spending to buy a $100 billion dollar fleet of stealth planes to use against Al Queada’s “Airforce” is a good idea.

    Spending $500 million on a squad of $100,000 drones flown out of Nevada put the rest to use repairing every road and bridge of importance in America is a horrible waste of resources.

    China certainly isn’t going to take us on in dogfights in the skies over Taiwan. They will send 100,000 hackers and a few EMP optimized suitcase nukes at us to crash our financial infrastructure. One Fy-22 or 1,000 won’t stop that or protect us.

    Spending a few hundred billion upgrading and hardening out electrical grid and moving out communications to secure wireless 5G networks available anywhere from coast to coast will.

    Hell, even Al Queada is capable of mounting the first part of the attack through a DoS spread across the planet courtesy of North Korea’s military. And it doesn’t take a suitcase nuke to shutdown all the major bridges of our big cities for a few weeks. Dynamite and some stolen radium will do that.

    It won’t be airliners into the Sears Tower next time. It will Cessna’s into Chlorine tanks at water treatment facilities.

    Stop fighting the last war. Harden what can be hit by one man with a stick of dynamite or a hand grenade. That’s the lesson of Major Hasan.

  • Independent

    “Eisenhower’s Secretary of State was John Foster Dulles. If Dulles was too dovish for you, you’re really way out there on the political spectrum.” -sinz54 @18

    well thank you very much for trying to shove those words into my mouth, sinz54… i didn’t say dulles was a dove and I didn’t say eisenhower was a dove either. that’s your selective spinning at full tilt; you want to do that with the vast array of trolls here -go to it. you want to try it with me, no go. better yet, try putting your own words in your own mouth… it’s a better fit.

    recap with me, if you can?

    1) reason60 quoted eisenhower as some great sage in his legendary warning of the military industrial establishment on exiting office. eisenhower’s granddaughter is fond to point out that granddad ike was trying hard to create a legacy where, in ike’s mind, no legacy existed of his two bored-to-tears terms as a lackluster president. l-e-g-a-c-y. great geo washington like exit speech should nail it for ol’ ike, eh? well, at least for a generation of liberals it sure has.

    2) then i noted to reason60′s repeat of about the only famous thing that ike ever said… that ike also thought the future was in road building vast expressways across america –killing more farmland, more habitats, more ancient animal mitgration pathways than who knows what– and not in exploring space, going to the moon, astrophysics. use them highways to land transport planes in case the ruskkies attack! yeah, great planning that ike.

    3) i said that ike didn’t do too much as president and he actually left millions of people behind the iron curtain, harnessed to the great communist empires of his day. he did it as supreme commander of europe. he continued to accomodate communist dictatorships throughout his presidency. he thought containment, not liberation, was the answer. ike’s famous quote ends with a reference to hoisting america onto an iron cross –rhetoric that seems ironic given that he personally was responsible for leaving millions of people on the iron cross of communism.

    4) then you come back with a pure, pulled-out-of-your-ass, made-up accusation that i called dulles and ike doves. wrong. put words in your own mouth for a change and leave the cheap debate tricks for the trolls, ok?

    ike would have been a far better president if he had listened more to dulles. but you see, the problem with generals is that they expect the civvies to follow them like soldiers. ike was the right man for europe. he’d have made a better democrat candidate for president –something he flirted with and mamie advised him to pursue but events intervened for him to follow the republican course to the white house.

    take a look sometime at stephen ambrose’s book on ike and the relationship with the dulles boys. it might help you make some sense out of history instead of reaching the wrong conclusions and infecting others with your misprisioned readings.

    and stop putting your words into my mouth. i write what i want and i say what i mean. you could learn from that.

  • Independent

    “Yeah, I am trying to imagine how anyone other than Dr. Strangelove would have “freed” the millions from Communism” -reason60 @ 20

    good question –maybe a refresher course on margaret thatcher, pope john paul and ronnie reagan might help you answer it, troll. of course, they did it without launching a single nuclear weapon… keep the strangelove in your pants, bub.

  • Independent

    “Republicans believe deficit spending to buy a $100 billion dollar fleet of stealth planes to use against Al Queada’s “Airforce” is a good idea.” -rbottoms at 21

    i thought you were put away nicely with all those straw man arguments here:

    “rbottoms, the far Left troll who has been bounced off more GOP and conservative and moderate sites than even our Village Idiot, AutomaticBS, says: “Yeah, building a replacement for the president’s helicopter is a vital national imperative.” I thinking you’d be better off using that straw-man for sipping your milk at lunchtime, rbottoms. -mi-gop @ 8

    but you keep dragging them out like a queer from the drama closet. can you please give it a rest drama boy and keep your straw men in the closet for once?

  • MI-GOPer

    Independent writes: “but you (rbottoms) keep dragging them out like a queer from the drama closet. can you please give it a rest drama boy and keep your straw men in the closet for once?”

    rbottoms is going to take whatever is said by his opponents here and twist the words into pretzels that don’t match reality or the intent of the speaker. He did it so often on so many conservative sites just this year that he’s been kicked off more sites than I even read. It’s amazing. What drives these trolls? Anger? Jealousy? A lack of connection with their own kind? Love of drama –any drama– even artifically created drama with an anonymous person? It’s really pathetic. Like someone else said here lately: bottoms is here to inflame, incite and irritate. That’s all. For him, it’s sport.

  • sinz54

    Independent: good question –maybe a refresher course on margaret thatcher, pope john paul and ronnie reagan might help you answer it, troll. of course, they did it without launching a single nuclear weapon…
    Back in the Eisenhower Administration, NO ONE, not even John Foster Dulles, thought such a thing was possible.

    Dulles had advocated trying to “roll back” Soviet Communism by using the threat of nuclear weapons if they didn’t. (Dulles’ doctrine of Massive Retaliation included the use of nuclear weapons to respond to a non-nuclear demarche by the Soviet bloc.) That would not only have failed to stop the USSR, it would have very likely touched off a regional nuclear war eventually.

    Three things made the collapse of the USSR possible in the 1980s that wouldn’t have been possible in the 1950s:

    1. The West was far outstripping the USSR in micro-electronics. Electronic countermeasures, stealth, Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative, would simply have been impossible in the 1950s.

    2. The only thing the USSR had to sell abroad was raw materials. The fourth “hero” of the Cold War was Volcker. Reagan AND Volcker ended double-digit inflation in the West. That caused the prices of the USSR’s commodities to plummet, leaving them facing bankruptcy.

    3. A rise of new Soviet leaders (e.g. Gorbachev) who were too young to remember World War II, and who were willing to try reforms.

    In short, Eisenhower made the most of the global situation he had. By 1980, the global situation had changed dramatically.

    And today, in 2009, Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System is far more valuable to the U.S. than the manned space program has been. I drive on Interstate highways every week.

  • aDude

    I love how everyone trots out polls. I can remember early 1983 when the unemployment rate was 10.8%, the Dow had crashed from 1000 to 700, and Reagan’s approval rating was in the 30′s. He didn’t read the polls and change his course. He stuck to his principles and 18 months later carried 49 states.

  • Socrates

    John,

    This is the second article that you have written on defense spending in the last few weeks. I agree with your argument that we need to invest more in the troops. You wrote: “That’s why the Army has been trying to develop an advanced electronic network for soldiers and new combat vehicles that can accommodate this network.”

    That said, I disagree with the premise that we need a “defense stimulus.” I don’t see how any reasonable person can argue for a bigger increase in defense spending when we already spend 600B+ on defense, especially when the GOP is screaming about fiscal responsibility. More specifically, except for those directly tied to the defense contractors, very few people would support weapon systems like the F22. Even John McCain wouldn’t support it. With 600B+, the Pentagon still has all of the money to buy all of the weapons and material it needs for the wars. It just have to make better decisions and stop wanting the sky.

    There was an article in the NYT this morning, showing a picture of Sec. Gates observing the Army’s new anti-mine vehicle. We need more of those and other equipments for the troops, such as a better mine-sweeper. We are still using the same mine-sweeper that was used in Vietnam!

    It also occurs to me that in a conflict like Afghanistan, high-tech equipments are not the determining factors. As soon as we roll out the latest and greatest equipment, the opponent will come up with a way to destroy it. For example, the latest Marine armor vehicle can be destroyed with the large anti-tank mines. In the end, “human factors” such as cultural understanding, tribal politics, etc., will determine the result, and that is something that defense money cannot buy.