BY LEE ’05
I WRITE TO THANK MR. Giovinazzo (“A plea to non-Religious Right Republicans,” Mar. 11) for deprogramming those who’ve been outwitted by empty rhetoric, superficial slogans, and obsolete epithets. It’s reassuring that enlightened Democrats can rescue naïve libertarian-minded Republicans from our faulty logic and unreasoned stances. (Perhaps the left’s intellectual arrogance helps explain our party selection.)
Giovinazzo’s list of gripes is illustrative of the vacuum in which the left often operates. Ceteris parabis, I’d prefer less federal spending, lower taxes, and small deficits [which are economically/philosophically better than surpluses]. Ceteris parabis, I’d like America to win international popularity contests. But, the world doesn’t “hold all else constant.” Like Kerry, Giovinazzo’s analysis of domestic policy pretends September 11th didn’t happen and his analysis of foreign policy pretends September 11th didn’t fundamentally change our world.
We now know a few terrorists can – and seem willing to – cause unfathomable damage to our nation. Should they obtain WMDs, that damage could be fatal. Libertarian-minded Republicans generally believe government’s first priority is our common defense. The President correctly decided to offensively combat terror and proliferation of WMDs abroad, since we couldn’t possibly protect against all attacks here. No matter what criticism one has about our post-9/11 wars, they obviously sent clear messages to outlaw regimes: do not harbor/finance terrorists and do not experiment with WMDs. Iraq’s liberation will also create a flourishing Arab democracy in the Middle East as a model for moderation and tolerance.
I’m not arrogant enough to speak for all libertarian-minded Republicans regarding specific wars. Unlike Democrats, we enjoy debate on issues of vital national interest (we wouldn’t have repeatedly booed Lieberman for agreeing with Bush’s stance on Iraq). I think, however, most libertarian-minded Republicans believe: (1) the administration has a short-term and long-term vision of fighting the War on Terror using military, intelligence, financial, and ideological tools, while Kerry has not outlined any vision for battling terrorism other than retreating to the Clintonian-style crime-fighting model that did nothing to decrease terror; (2) Bush’s domestic policies are only fairly judged when one acknowledges we are engaged in serious armed struggle.
Why was there grand economic growth under Clinton? Might it have had to do with the relative peace and our sole-superpower status established by the Soviet Union’s fall? And might the Soviet’s implosion have had anything to do with the deficit-creating military buildup President Reagan authorized? Or, did introduction of the Internet and related technologies cause the boom? Could this have had anything to do with companies’ increased capital expenditures and R&D grants stimulated by Reagan’s tax restructuring? While congressional/political considerations stopped Reagan from cutting domestic spending, we should all agree that Reagan’s decisions to rebuild the military and cut taxes had net positive effects. President Bush has made similar compromises, particularly given frequent Democratic filibusters.
Fiscal responsibility doesn’t mean never running deficits. Supporting free trade doesn’t mean never protecting domestic workers in a world that doesn’t yet embrace unencumbered trade. A desire to be friends with other countries doesn’t require letting them veto American foreign policy. Outside the left’s utopian bubble, compromises must be made and less than ideologically pure polices countenanced
Understanding the above, I remain a proud Republican and Bush supporter because:
* We need a decisive leader in the War on Terror, not one who continuously flip-flops on matters of profound importance, votes for war based on political considerations, and believes we face more important issues than terrorism.
* I want a leader who equips our military not just for the War on Terror, but for whatever conflict may arise in the future. Kerry (who has voted to cut intelligence/defense funding more than almost any other Senator and now wonders why intelligence on terrorism is so poor) seems ill suited to predict and prepare for dangers over the horizon.
* I desire the appointment of judges who interpret law, not make it.
* I trust Republicans to rein in deficits when possible more than I trust Democrats to cut unnecessary taxes. A surplus means that the government appropriated more money than needed; I do not believe Democrats will return it.
* I would rather free trade be the rule, not the exception. Does anyone actually believe the Democratic Party of Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, Kucinich, and Sharpton is the free trade party?