Carol Platt Liebau: Conservative Threats

Monday, May 15, 2006

Conservative Threats

It's understandable that some conservatives would want to threaten to withhold support from the Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections. Republicans of almost every stripe have legitimate frustrations with the Bush Administration.

But staying home would be folly. Not only is it -- as Jim Geraghty points out -- that such a maneuver would disproportionately hurt consrvatives, rather than Republican moderates.

Rather, it sends the wrong message to both Democrats and the terrorists. From almost the first days of the Bush administration in 2001 (with a brief respite for a month or so after 9/11) Democrats have criticized President Bush in the starkest, most dramatic terms. Watching his party suffer a calamitous defeat would, to them, justify their tactics and reward their strategy of softness and opposition in the war on terror. And as Milton Friedman is the first to tell us, subsidize (i.e. reward) something, and you'll get more of it.

Finally, handing the Bush Administration a defeat would, worst of all, reward the terrorists. If the President is seen as having suffered a major blow, they will conclude that their insurgency in Iraq and elsewhere is bolstered, which is likely to keep it going and cost more American lives.

I'm never a great fan of party members sitting out elections, even in the best of times. But especially not now -- because we are engaged in a war and these aren't ordinary times. Republicans have rightly criticized Democrats for their hysterical opposition to various national security programs, noting that they seem unaware that the country is engaged in a war.

If the conservatives choose to stay home and hand political victory to the pro-impeachment, anti-war congressional Democrats, there will be no alternative but to suspect that they, likewise, have forgotten that this is wartime -- if they ever really knew.


Blogger jakejacobsen said...

Fair enough, so what DO you suggest to pull this pussilanimous, pork barrel, illegal lovin' party out of the toilet?

Not to mention having gone soft and squishy on terror, I'm genuinely sickened by my party right now, and frankly I think they've stacked the deck and insulated themselves from true voter response.

11:42 AM  

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