November 25, 2003

Body Snatchers: How can you tell the evil party from stupid party?

Tim Cavanaugh on the reversal (?) of roles between the republicans and democrats:

Briefly, the report by Brian M. Riedl reveals that Republicans have managed to increase spending to a level of $20,000 per household, the highest it's been since World War II. Federal spending has increased by $296 billion in the last two years; only 45 percent of that spending has been related to the war on terror - quite an achievement considering that the GOP already gives itself enormous latitude in defining war-related spending. The remaining 55 percent has been taken up with such traditional GOP faves as unemployment (up 85 percent since 2001), education (up 65 percent) and general government costs (up 63 percent, largely thanks to federal bailouts of state governments).

But perhaps this focus on domestic spending tells only part of the story. Certainly a look at foreign policy initiatives should reveal the Republicans and Democrats at their traditional best, with GOP hawks standing up for America's interest while dithering Democrats lay waste their talents with Wilsonian skylarking.

Perhaps not. Since the invasion of Iraq, virtually all the traditionally conservative arguments for the war - threats to national security, protection against expansionist rogues, etc. - have vanished like the gambler's lucky streak. In their place, the war's proponents have fallen back on the very gushiest of neo-liberal wishes about helping unfortunate foreigners get a hand up (and a handout). The role reversal here has been especially stark: Bush Administration allies now expect us to root for the welfare of Iraqis who are driven by societal root causes to mutilate the bodies of American soldiers.