Jewish World Review April 24, 2002 / 13 Iyar, 5762
The Washington Post goes front page Monday with an article titled "Bush Faces Sustained Dissension on the Right." The article describes "a sense of disappointment" spreading across the GOP after President Bush seemed to undercut his own moral clarity in the war against terror by coming down hard on Israel for trying to beat back its own problems with terror.
Similar pieces chronicling a growing divide between Bush and conservatives on this and other issues (immigration, steel industry protections) have popped up elsewhere. Political reporters are positively gleeful, of course, since they've had precious little anti-Bush sustenance to feed on since 9/11.
What the press is missing here is this: the mere fact that there ARE some real policy differences within the GOP is a sign of life, of political vitality--which is something the Daschle Democrats desperately need.
Unlike Democrats, today's Republicans aren't crouching in a defensive position, muffling their internal debates merely for the sake of winning the next election. They're engaged in a serious discussion of serious issues, and sometimes the exchanges at this political dinner table can get pretty testy. No such interesting debates are taking place within the other party's ranks.
Listening to some of the clips from the Democratic leadership meeting in Florida a few weeks back, I found the views of the 2004 presidential prospects largely indistinguishable from each other. John Edwards or John Kerry? Who can really tell the difference?
Perhaps the reason for all this homogeneity is simple: the once-proud Democratic Party is out of gas, intellectually bankrupt. They're telling Katherine Harris jokes, for goodness sakes! Lately, the best they've been able to come up with is scaremongering on Social Security and railing against tax cuts. It's so bad that liberal writers are suggesting that the Democrats only hope in 2004 is to draft Republican John McCain to run against Bush.
So while there may be some near-term political costs from the fire the
Administration is catching from the right, long-term it's a healthy thing
because it forces the Bush Administration to stay on its toes. And it's
working -- more Americans see the GOP as the party of ideas. Meanwhile,
the unified Democrats parrot the same tired
04/17/02: While the cat's away....