Thursday, July 26, 2007
Gingrich Agrees? No Debate?
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.
That was the role that CFR used to play.
There seems to be some sort of systemic decay here.