Right Said Fred

I’m still playing catch-up with the politics of the last two weeks. Of the many neglected commentaries of the last two weeks, Fred Kaplan’s criticism of Bush’s VJ day speech stands out as especially cutting.

If this war's stakes are comparable to World War II's, the entire nation should be enlisted in its cause—not necessarily to fight in it, but at least to pay for it. And if President Bush is not willing to call for some sort of national sacrifice, he cannot expect anyone to believe the stakes are really high.

I’ve been riding the “sacrifice” hobby horse for months, but I’ve yet to see anyone frame the argument as well as Kaplan. For better or for worse, I doubt that Bush has thought much about the Global War on Terror/GWOT/Global Struggle Against Violent Extremism/GSAVE this week. Nonetheless, the criticism still holds. Our government can’t seem to perform its essential functions: national defense or promoting the general welfare. It’s enough to get any red-blooded Republican to stop howling for a repeal of the “death tax.” True conservatives have never wanted to starve the Federal Government of its essential powers. So you have to wonder what happened to our might Fed. Is it starved for funds? Are they being spent incorrectly? Or does incompetence abound in the new Federal world of executive nepotism? Take your pick.


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