Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Some good news in American politics?
It seems that there is some hope still left for us. According to a piece by David Brooks, politics may be stopping at the water's edge, despite all rhetoric to the contrary. In explaining what he would say to a group of marines he met as they returned from Iraq, he says:

The first thing I'd tell these marines is that when these politicians went abroad to represent the U.S., they didn't take their squabbles with them. There were Democrats and Republicans in this delegation, but you couldn't tell who was who by listening to their speeches.

Instead, what you heard were pretty specific, productive suggestions on winning the war against Islamist extremism. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham lobbied for ways to use NATO troops to protect a larger U.N. presence in Iraq. Democratic Representative Jane Harman was pushing the Europeans to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

Hillary Clinton suggested ways to strengthen the U.N., while also blasting its absurdities. Clinton affirmed that the U.S. preferred to work within the U.N., but she toughened her speech with ad-libs, warning, "Sometimes we have to act with few or no allies."

The second thing I'd tell them is that the politicians were willing to talk bluntly to the tyrants. McCain sat on a panel with officials from Russia, Egypt and Iran. He began his talk with suggestions on how to use NATO troops in the Middle East. Then it was time for a little straight talk. He ripped the Egyptians for arresting opposition leaders.(The Egyptian foreign minister held his brow, as if in grief.) He condemned the Iranians for supporting terror. (The Iranian hunched over like someone in a hailstorm.) He criticized Russia for embracing electoral fraud in Ukraine. In the land of the summiteers, this was in-your-face behavior.
I still wish they'd show this a little more when they are on American soil, particularly on the floor of the Senate, but this is still a positive sign.

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