Saturday, July 04, 2009

Maybe Republicans Can Spend Another Half Century Rebuilding Their Foreign Policy Legacy

Peggy Noonan. Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now. New York: HarperCollins, 2008.

The author believes the public feels its public institutions are faltering. We are always headed towards challenging times. She warns there may be a national test of our resolve. We will have to learn to work together to overcome these future tests. Liberals and conservatives will have to learn to join together to handle these challenges.

A problem emerges in the advances of modern communication where people are able to more rapidly post anonymously information that can be read by many more people than in the past. This can allow for more creative voices to rise, and it can lead to more destructive voices being heard.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were a defining moment for our entire country. It united us, yet that unity was a delicate one. The author believes this unity has fallen apart and she attributes it to an overconfident national Republican leadership that did not believe it needed help and support from those outside its inner circles by reaching out to Democrats and to Democrats that became critical of the actions by the Republican leadership. The nation fell into a partisan divide. Noonan believes the Bush Administration make a mistake by encouraging supporters to bash opponents before the press, the Internet, on blogs, etc. This contributed to the widening of the divide of the political divide. She notes that 60 percentage points was the difference between the percent of Republicans who supported the Iraq War and the percent of Democrats who supported the Iraq War.

Noonan, a self-described “Reagan Republican”, believes the Bush Administration destroyed a reputation that Republicans had spent a half century building on foreign policy matters. The author supports the war in Iraq but believes that Bush failed to properly explain the need to go to war. The Bush White House issued its sentiments for their actions but failed to provide the facts needed to convince most of the people. The public lost faith in their leaders.

Noonan warns we need to be better prepared for the challenges facing us. People will need to learn to work together instead of against each other. She argues for a stronger foreign policy and more civil defense preparation. She specifically concludes that the Homeland Security Department should be broken into smaller departments will clearly defined missions and responsibilities.


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