The Wehner-Gerson article


Peter Wehner and Michael Gerson have written an interesting article for the Commentary magazine. That article is their recipe for a new Republican majority; that is, their advice on how to make the GOP the majority party again.

I don’t always agree with Wehner and Gerson, but Republicans should heed their advice that

“Any serious attempt to revivify the GOP might begin with a full-throated stand for a strong national defense.

The United States, after all, is engaged in two hot wars—in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Pakistan, the situation is fragile and, if things go badly, potentially catastrophic. North Korea is an already existing nuclear threat; Iran is rapidly becoming one. While Obama has acted impressively in some areas, especially in Afghanistan, his response to crisis has often been timid and tardy and nowhere more delinquent than during the recent spontaneous revolt of Iran’s citizens against the dictatorship of the mullahs.

Obama’s effective freeze of defense spending over the next five years is inconsistent with American global commitments. Republicans would be astute to offer as an alternative an increase in defense spending in the range of 4 percent real growth per year, including support for an ambitious missile-defense program to counter the rising ballistic threats from North Korea and Iran. Obama’s worldwide apology tours radiate a weakness that arouses hope among America’s enemies, dismay among America’s allies, and discomfiture among many American citizens. As for his trust in diplomacy and charm, they have, to say the least, shown themselves to be ineffectual in motivating despots to change their ways. Obama has already been defied, and he will be defied again, and how he responds will go a long way toward determining the safety of the country and the course of his presidency.”

Wehner and Gerson also warned Republicans of so-called “realist” foreign policies:

In response, some Republicans have been tempted to promote their own brand of retreat from global engagement out of the belief that, the cause of democratic internationalism having been severely damaged by the war in Iraq, the GOP should seize the mantle of foreign policy “realism.” Thankfully, the Republicans who nominated John McCain in 2008 did not succumb to this temptation, and it would be disastrous if the party were to yield to it in the future. A durable national consensus holds that American interests are served by the promotion of free trade and classical liberal ideas. With the spread of weapons of mass destruction, it has never been clearer that America and the world have the most to fear from dictatorship and radicalism, the most to gain from liberalization and reform.

A moral component to our foreign policy is, moreover, part of the American DNA. It would have been impossible to maintain the seemingly endless exertions of the Cold War without the American people’s instinctual concern for those held captive and their no less instinctual abhorrence of oppression. The same is true in the conflict with Islamist extremism and other current global challenges. Americans have an interest in liberty and human rights because they are Americans—and because America’s safety is served by the hope and health of others. Republicans can be forthright about the foreign-policy tradition that mixes toughness with generosity, the willingness to confront threats forcefully with the active promotion of development, health, and human rights. Since the midpoint of the last century, this has been the GOP’s watchword. Among younger Americans focused on global issues like genocide, poverty, women’s rights, religious liberty, malaria, and HIV/AIDS, it can resonate loudly.”

Wehner and Gerson also commented on the most controversial question of all American political issues:

“Then there is the key question of immigration. No national party can hope to succeed in the long run without broad support among immigrants and the children of immigrants—particularly, these days, Hispanics and Asian Americans. Immigrants, like other Americans, hold a variety of views on American immigration law and on how it has been applied. But uniformly they resent being made into debating foils. Republican leaders have a positive duty to confront careless rhetoric and to appeal consistently to new Americans, welcoming their overwhelmingly positive contributions to the American economy and American values. During the last presidential primary season, most Republican candidates, to their party’s cost, were no-shows at Hispanic forums.”

Wehner and Gerson are wrong about one issue, though: they claimed that “Republicans would be well advised here to borrow a page from David Cameron and Iain Duncan Smith in their revival of the British Conservative party.” “Revival of the British Conservative Party”? That party is on its knees now! Polls indicate that if a parliamentary election was organized today, the BCP would fail to win even a small majority of seats in the House of Commons, and that the result of the election would be a parliament without a majority party, thus causing a LAB-LIB coalition, with either GB or Nick Clegg as Britain’s PM. So after the socialist UK government drove Britain into the ground, after a 12-year-tenure of the worst British government ever, Cameron cannot win back Downing Street.

The URL of the article: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/the-path-to-republican-revival-15212

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