Why We Fight

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday Morning Jolt:

Why We Fight

Jonah’s always awesome, but this point from yesterday afternoon is really important. He points to some transcripts of ISIS members, cheerfully laughing and appreciating that their rule has re-institated the practice of buying and selling women as sex slaves.

Then Jonah notes:

… the president has done everything he can to claim that his domestic political opponents are engaged in a “war on women.” He won an election largely because he convinced enough women — and pliant journalists — to take this bilge seriously. Just this week the head of his party went on at great length to claim that the Republican governor of Wisconsin has been “giving women the back of his hand.”

Oh, and let us not forget, the president and his supporters work very hard to paint their domestic political opponents as religious extremists because some private businesses and religious groups don’t want to pay for procedures that violate their conscience. 

Now compare this to the people who are celebrating the fact their faith allows them to enslave women. 

Just think about it for a moment. The president surely knows about this. His administration surely knows about this. And yet, the president — this modern incarnation of Lincoln, protector of women and opponent of domestic religious extremism — defines his goal for ISIS as reducing it to a “manageable problem.” Does this mean that if ISIS renounces any designs on attacking the US homeland (an impossibility given the tenets of their faith and ambition for a global caliphate) he will stand by as they continue to barter women as sex slaves and breeders? This is the same man who campaigned in Berlin as a “citizen of the world” and champion of global community. 

Forgive me, but the term, “Lincolnesque” doesn’t immediately spring to mind. 

The disconnect goes beyond mere inconsistency or hypocrisy. It is a moral sickness that is sickening to behold.

Remember President Kennedy’s speech about going to the moon?

We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.

Whatever else you think of President Kennedy, he grasped that a big part of leadership is persuading people to do things that they would rather not do, often because those tasks are difficult. And a good leader gets people to do those things because they’re needed.

Look at what the president insists upon talking about in his fundraiser speeches and other public events this autumn: Hiking the minimum wage. The “gender pay gap” (that shrinks dramatically once you account for interruptions in a woman’s career for child-rearing). Climate change and “carbon pollution.”

Meanwhile, ISIS is planning to murder us.

The quasi-isolationist vibe going through the Democratic Party since, oh, late 2003 or so reflects their desire to avoid doing things that are hard. If we absolutely must intervene in Libya, we’ll “lead from behind.” If we absolutely must kill someone, better for the president to have a personal, secret “kill list” and launch unmanned drone strikes in far-off lands, so the American people don’t have to hear about it and have to think about it.

Are drone strikes enough to contain militant Islam? Look at the evidence around us. Look at Libya. Look at Syria. Look at Iraq. Look at Pakistan. God forbid, look somewhere closer someday soon.

But persuading the American people to accept a more aggressive policy would be hard, particularly after this president spent years assuring them that “the tide of war is receding” and “al-Qaeda is on the run.”

Democrats – and perhaps almost all of Washington – shy away from doing things that are hard.

Stopping Putin? That’s hard. Pushing back against the rising tide of virulent anti-Semitism in Europe? That’s hard. Addressing the insufficient skill-set of the American workforce in a rapidly-changing, globalized economy? Really hard. Creating a culture of opportunity, responsibility and accountability in the worst neighborhoods in the inner cities? Nothing’s worked wonders yet. Ensuring every child is raised in a loving home? That’s hard.

Entitlement reform? Too difficult to even mention. The national debt? Too big and difficult to even think about.

Cleaning out the dead wood from the federal bureaucracy and instituting a new culture of accountability and results? That’s really hard.

It’s much easier to fume at length about Todd Akin and “binders full of women” and what Phil Robertson said on “Duck Dynasty” and sneer at gun owners and religious Christians. Vast swaths of our public debate revolve around metronomic “Can you believe what this person said?” outrages. Any ill-tempered comment from any little-known “GOP lawmaker” anywhere in the country can set off a couple news cycles of ritualistic denunciation.

Driving the guy at Mozilla out of his job is relatively easy. Making a figure so controversial that they’re metaphorically radioactive is easy.

Considering what liberals claim to care about, they have every reason to focus their fury upon militant Islam… but they don’t. Liberals claim to care about underprivileged children and the importance of education, so they have every reason to lash out at status-quo-defending teacher’s unions and demand public school choice for every parent everywhere in the country… but most of them don’t. Liberals claim to care about low-income Americans, so they have every reason to oppose allowing more unskilled or low-skilled workers to enter the country illegally… but they don’t. Liberals claim they want to help the little guy, so they have every reason to want to reduce the amount of red tape and paperwork that a new small business faces… but they don’t.

All of those tasks would require them doing something difficult – oftentimes, confronting a part of their own coalition for the status quo.

Every once in a while, Democrats do try something difficult. “Hey, let’s set up a system that guarantees health insurance to every single American!” Of course, that usually proves to be way, way, way harder than they expected and creating more problems, or worse problems, than when they started.

Remember my “Progressive Aristocracy” series, here and here and here and here and here? The Progressive Aristocracy doesn’t want to do that much, other than tell you how to live your life.

Yes, the Republican Party has its flaws. It often earns its nickname of “the Stupid Party” and it has its weak leaders, its loudmouths too much in love with the sound of their own voices, its craven types eager to find that sweet post-elected office lobbying deal, and its boring old white men with comb-overs, speaking in legislative-ese.

But by and large, the Republicans are worried about the right problems – the big problems: crazy people who want to kill us, a skyrocketing debt, a growing culture of dependency, an avalanche of red tape strangling the entrepreneurial lifeblood of the economy and an unsecure border.

That’s why this November, we’ve got to elect as many of these guys as we can. Not because they’re perfect, or even all that great; not because their ideas are perfect or even have a good chance of getting past an Obama veto… but because they’re at least looking at the real problems, instead of telling us our eyes are deceiving us and it’s not as bad as it looks

A great country deserves great leadership.

The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.