Ross’s explanation of why the GOP is addicted to war:
As in the Cold War, foreign-policy hawkishness has become the glue holding the fragile GOP coalition together, even as Iraq has made foreign policy a general-election liability for the Right, instead of the asset it was in the Reagan years. Which is one way to explain the weird aftermath of the ’06 debacle, in which social conservatives and fiscal conservatives each blamed one another for the defeat, when it was perfectly clear that the Iraq War had more to do the party’s degringolade than the corruption of the small-government movement or the excesses of the religious right.
Maybe. But I’ll say this. I get the sense that Republicans think that while Iraq may now be a bad issue for their party, that things like unconstitutional surveillance, arbitrary and indefinite detention, and routine torture are big-time winning issues for the GOP. So they like the hawkish posture, even if Iraq’s been a problem. That’s how it seems to me.
Beyond that, I can also say for a fact that that’s how it seems to an awful lot of Democrats. Talk to people on the Hill or people involved in messaging, and there’s just no confidence that they could win a big high-profile standoff with Bush on pretty much any issue related to terrorism. There’s a critical margin of members who just won’t back any position that can’t also attract substantial Republican backing to provide “cover.”