The second in a continuing series…
1. The Weekly Standard features an outstanding article by William Stuntz entitled “Will We Choose to Win in Iraq?” that I think captures a critical missing piece in the debate over the Iraq war. Perhaps the public is not tiring of the war so much as tiring of the perception that we are fighting it inneffectively:
A large portion, maybe a large majority [of voters], might believe that Americans should fight only wars that are worth winning, that we should do all in our power to win them, and that the Iraq war meets the first standard but fails the second. The real political problem with Iraq may be not that we’re fighting an unwinnable or less-than-worthwhile war, but that our forces are at serious risk of avoidable defeat.
I think that is exactly right, and another reason why I think there is room in the race for a candidate with a clear reputation for turnarounds. “We can win this war” is the best, most truthful, and wisest message for 2008.
2. There’s another piece to the war puzzle. I also think (especially after the endless atrocities and unfathomable depravity that has been on display to the American people since 9/11) that we are growing increasingly weary of the vague and silly political correctness that seems to dominate discussions of the war. Of course we all know that we are not fighting a war against terror, but a war against jihadists. We need to name the enemy and then have the political courage to take the necessary steps to protect ourselves.
3. In today’s National Review Online, Marvin Olasky again states what should be the obvious, common sense, default position regarding the relevance of Governor Romney’s religious beliefs: It’s his political values that matter, not his theology. Here he is in an interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Lopez: Since we’re dancing around 2008 now–will evangelicals vote for a Mormon?
Olasky: Depends who he’s running against. I’d vote for a Mormon if he’s running against someone who seems less able to deal with national-security issues, appoint good judges, and promote compassionate conservatism.
4. As item 3 suggests, we may be (at least amongst the chattering classes) moving into a new stage of debate over the Governor’s political fortunes. Rather than raising questions about his faith, critics are now diving straight into policy arguments. As you can see from my post regarding abortion, Nancy’s post regarding judicial activism, and the machine-gun toting Charles Mitchell on guns, the focus is exactly where the race should be run: on the issues.