DEMOCRATS AND TERROR….Matt Yglesias suggests a few ways in which Democrats can gain more credibility on national security issues:
One good place to start, ironically enough, would be where the Kerry campaign left off: by picking up some proposals that his political team inexplicably failed to emphasize. Expanding the size of the regular Army by adding new special forces and civil affairs personnel is good policy, strong politics, and even something that might pick up Republican support. More special forces are precisely what the country needs if it wants to retain a capacity to use military power against terrorist groups without committing to a massive, Iraq-style operation every time we do so. Iraq has also taught us that as the military is currently configured, so-called post-conflict reconstruction operations place an intolerable burden on Reserve and National Guard units, where almost all the civil affairs troops are located.
There are plenty of other concrete proposals Democrats could make too, primarily in the areas of homeland security and democracy promotion. Some of them would be serious proposals, while others might be little more than populist wedge issues. But Republicans use both kinds of proposals to their advantage, so why not Democrats?
And as Matt says, the kinds of things we’re talking about are perfectly consistent with liberal principles. There’s no compromise with our conscience required here, and no appeasement of Christian extremist intolerance. Just a combination of smart proposals and smart politics.