Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gingrich Agrees? No Debate?

This is what Newt Gingrich had to say last night on Hannity and Colmes:

The fact is right now what you have is people giving patently political speeches in patently political settings. You don't get the kind of sense you got from Ronald Reagan of a historic effort to define America's future in a way that takes on Washington.

Back in the May/June issue of TNI, Dimitri Simes noted:

Lou Dobbs has asked rhetorically, "Is there not one decent, honest man or woman in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, in either party’s leadership, who possesses the courage and the honesty to say, ‘Enough. The people who elected us deserve better’? So far the answer is no." I assume that even Mr. Dobbs himself would admit to rhetorical exaggeration in this sweeping indictment, but it is no exaggeration to say that unless we do better—much better—as a body politic, the United States will not be able to develop an effective foreign policy.

In the forthcoming issue, Grover Norquist will develop points he made at a recent symposium held at The Nixon Center, where he observed that each party uses foreign policy as a means to address grievances over domestic policies that directly affect their constituencies and noted that there is no lobby or major constituency scrutinizing the direction of U.S. policy abroad to produce a coherent grand strategy on either side of the aisle.

On a side note, the invocation of Reagan again confirms Jacob Heilbrunn's thesis about how Reagan has become the central iconic principle for the GOP but also indicates that, as of yet, Republicans are not willing to heed his advice:

His followers might do well to let Reagan be Reagan, as the famous phrase had it in the early 1980s. While turning back to Reagan may be emotionally satisfying for the GOP, it will not serve as a magic elixir that allows conservatives to recoup their sagging fortunes. Conservatives need to get over their Reagan fixation.

No one wants to take risks and flame out. Mistakes will be punished, courage will not be rewarded.
"No lobby or major constituency scrutinizing the direction of U.S. policy abroad to produce a coherent grand strategy on either side of the aisle."

That was the role that CFR used to play.

There seems to be some sort of systemic decay here.
CFR responds to its sponsors now. THey don't want original thinking.
Hm. Grover Norquist. Don't him and Abramoff go way back to the College Rethuglicans, where they both acquired a taste for cuthroat political warfare? Seems he's the wrong guy to see about what to do about political parties that care only about winning domestic political fights and don't care about national interests.
No, he seems to be the right guy, if he says in print what he said at that event which I was at--about how foreign policy issues are just a tool for cutthroat political warfare and why you can't expect a serious policy debate. He just tells it as it is. I think Simes has been a quite bit idealistic in assuming that we can have a more highbrow conversation.
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