FLIP FLOPPING ON NATIONAL SECURITY….Dan Drezner thinks the national security debate has fundamentally changed in the past couple of weeks:
For the past five years, Democrats have been vulnerable on national security issues. Bush and the Republicans projected a clear image of taking the war to the enemy, and never yielding in their drive to defeat radical Islamists. The Democrats, in contrast, projected either an antiwar position or a “yes, but” position. The former looked out of step with the American people, the latter looked like Republican lite. No matter how you sliced it, the Republicans held the upper hand.
The recent rhetorical shift on Iraq, however, has flipped this phenomenon on its head. If Bush acknowledges that “stay the course” is no longer a statisfying status quo, he’s acknowledging that the Republican position for the past few years has not worked out too well. If that’s the case, then Republicans are forced to offer alternatives with benchmarks or timetables or whatever. The administration has had these plans before, but politically, it looks like the GOP is gravitating towards the Democratic position rather than vice versa.
If this is what the political optics look like, then the Republicans will find themselves in the awkward position of being labeled as “Democrat lite” in their positions on Iraq. And in elections, lite never tastes as good as the real thing.
The mainstream media has run plenty of stories about the meltdown in Iraq and the administration’s resultant flip flopping on timelines and blueprints and so forth. But I’ve seen very few pieces acknowledging that, in practice, this means the administration is adopting the Democratic position from last year. Why? Because that would mean that Democrats were actually right about a major national security issue and had a more serious response to it at an earlier date than the Republicans did. And that would cause everyone’s brain to explode. After all, everyone knows that Democrats aren’t serious about national security. Right?