The Corner

America on a Diet

I learned from the New York Times today that Rep. Allen West is apparently an “isolationist.” Likewise, George Will seems to have come out of the closet Sunday as a “Kucinich Republican”.

Look, I understand that conservatives disagree on Libya, and more generally over how expansive our foreign policy should be. But this name-calling is inappropriate, especially coming from lawmakers and respected writers and media outlets (though I was pleased to see this week’s open letter to House Republicans urging continued Libya war funding — signed by many current, former, and occasional NROniks — took the high road and avoided the slurs). Conservatives should know better, since we’re routinely branded as “xenophobic” for wanting to protect our borders, “anti-child” for wanting to return education policy to the states and localities, “racist” for wanting to uphold the integrity of the ballot, “anti-elderly” for wanting to transition Medicare and Social Security to more sustainable models.

The name-callers might consider that the grassroots uneasiness over our interventionist foreign policy is part of a larger trend — many Americans want the body politic to go on a diet. An immigration diet, certainly, but also a military diet, a foreign-policy diet, a government-spending diet, a debt diet (not to mention a diet from telling Americans what to eat). We are a middle-aged country now and, to continue the metaphor, the debt crisis and our over-extended overseas commitments are our warning heart attack — it’s up to us as a people to decide how we’ll respond. Will we cut back on the salt of immigration, the sugar of Wilsonian foreign policy, the fat of massive government debt? (Okay, I’m stretching the metaphor to the breaking point.) Or will we keep gorging ourselves and just hope that we’ll survive the next heart attack?

Push away from the table, America.


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