Avoiding the Issue

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"Avoiding the Issue"

Writing about Democrats’ tendency to want to shoehorn energy policy issues into discussion of national security, Ezra says he “can’t quite decide if the subject is acting in a complementary way to a straight national security policy, or serving as a substitute for an issue Democrats are still uncomfortable talking about.”

The correct answer is that it’s serving as a substitute for an issue Democrats are still uncomfortable talking about. Global warming is an extremely important issue for the country. It’s potentially a favorable issue for the Democratic Party. But when people say they want to hear from Democrats about foreign policy, they’re saying they want to hear a message about war and peace. The trouble is that you can’t articulate a clear theory about war and peace that doesn’t provide a clear conclusion about Iraq. And reaching a clear conclusion about Iraq would involve confronting the large number of Democratic elites who backed the war.

People on both sides of that divide, however, have been very interested in sort of covering up the breach and having everyone play together nicely. And party unity is a good thing. But you’re never going to have a clear, forceful message on the core foreign policy issues unless you’re willing to take a stand on preventive war, on democratization by invasion, etc.

Photo by Flickr user Exquisitely Bored in Nagodoches used under a Creative Commons license

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