2004-12-09

Answers to Questions for Conservatives


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Over at Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum, the Political Animal has some questions for Conservatives. It seems he'd like us to "have a brutally honest conversation," and he poses 8 questions, a few of them quite contrived, which I'm sure he feels are some real "gotcha's" for Conservatives. The thing is, the questions aren't that tough. The fact that Drum thinks these are real sticklers, reveals a shallow thought process on his part.

Anyway. I firmly believe that a person needs to know what they believe and why. In that spirit, here are my replies to Drum.

1. Considering how Iraq has gone so far, do you still think that American military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East? Has your position on this changed in any way over the past two years?

A sleazy abuse of cause and effect. No, I don't think military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy. But, I also don't think that falling asleep is a good way to promote the cause of Christ in this world. Still, there I am, night after night, in bed. Turns out, if I don't get a decent night of sleep I'm no good the next day. Likewise, the use of military power is instrumental in creating a climate and bringing about situations that will breed tolerance and democracy.

Do I think that removing an opressive dictator from power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy? Absolutely. Keeping deadly weapons out of the hands of maniacs? Yes. Checking and removing evil men who think nothing of destroying innocent women and children? Yes. And do I think military power is a good way to accomplish these things? In many cases it is the only way.

As far as the second part, has my position changed? Hard to tell. I would never have thought to ask myself such a twisted question without Drum's help. But as far as the basis for my answer, nothing has changed.

2. Shortly after 9/11, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said publicly that they thought the attacks were well-deserved retribution from God in response to moral decay — as personified by gays, feminists, the ACLU, and NOW. Do you worry that Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party? Do you think President Bush has sufficiently distanced himself from them and their followers?

No, I don't worry that Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party. These guys are both yesterday's news, although I guess that sometimes those on the left enjoy dropping their names to create a little stir. I personally haven't heard anything from either of the two in quite a while, and I've certainly never seen or heard anythng to suggest that they are intrinsically linked to the President.

As for the Bush distancing himself ... it's irrelevant. I don't feel the President has gone out of his way to embrace or withdraw from the two which is reasonable and acceptable. Now, had either been given a place of honor at the Republican Convention ( a la Michael Moore at the DNC), or something of that sort, things would be different.

Clearly this is an attempt to take advantage of Bush's appeal to people of faith. Drum could have just as easily referenced Billy Graham and the Pope, but Robertson and Falwell were calculated choices for dramatic effect.

3. Is democracy promotion really one of your core concerns? Just how far are you willing to go to demonstrate your credibility on this subject? Note: President Bush's policy toward either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would be excellent case studies to bring this question to life.

Ummm ... no, it is not one of my core concerns. Being a living example of Christ in this world is a core concern. Promoting an environment in which men are free to contemplate and serve God and their fellow man is a core concern.

That said, there are other things that are important, though not core. Promoting democracy is one of these.

4. On a related note, which do you think is more important to the Bush administration in the short term: preservation of a stable oil supply from the Middle East or spreading freedom and liberty throughout the region? Would you be interested in seeing the records of Dick Cheney's 2001 energy task force to verify this? Please be extra honest with this question.

Of course, the supply of oil. I've never been able to figure out why we're supposed to feel bad about this. The volatile Middle East sits atop a significant portion of the world's oil. We are extremely vulnerable in this respect. This is like asking, "What's more important: breathing or desert?" The President didn't choose for us to be dependent. He's simply stuck dealing with the reality.

This never ceases to amaze me. Liberals will strain to find some reason to blame GWB for not being vigilant in protecting us on 9/11, then turn around and criticize him for defending this lifeline, and complain when they have to pay too much for a gallon of gas. "No blood for oil?" People spout this platitude like they've unearthed some dirty little secret. What do you think is done with that oil? Unless you rode your bicycle to work today, and are burning wood to heat your home, and don't use electricity, etc., you don't have to look very far. It's not blood for oil. It's blood for life. Blood for freedom.

You've got him dead to rights, Mr. Drum. Oil is important for this nation's survival - George W Bush understands that and acts accordingly.

5. A substantial part of the Christian right opposes any compromise with Palestinians because they believe that Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming. Is this a reasonable belief? Or do you think these people qualify as loons who should be purged from the Republican party?

In the book of Revelation, the BIble lays out some things that will happen in the MIddle East leading up to the end times. And, I must admit, I am often curious how what is happening now, and the peace process, etc., will play into all of that.

But, this I know: God's will will prevail, and I can neither prevent Him from doing something He wants, nor force Him to do something He doesn't want. With or without me, His will will be done. I must be sensitive to finding His will for me and faithful in following His leading so that I won't be an impediment.

Next, it is a gross exaggeration to say this is how a "substantial part" of the Christian right thinks. This is simply Drum playing fast and loose with logic in an attempt to discredit the Christian right and lure the reader into dismissing this group.

Is this a reasonable belief? That's not for me to say. I don't hold any strong feelings on the matter, but how should I know whether or not, or how God is speaking to others? I certainly wouldn't qualify those who do think that way as loons. THEY ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINIONS AND BELEIFS. That last statement is my answer to whether or not someone should be purged from the Republican Party simply because they don't think the same way I do on such a minor matter.

This question was rooted in liberal philosophy. If someone doesn't agree with you on whatever you happen to be discussing at the moment, you call them stupid or loony and give them the boot. This from a party that can ill afford to lose anyone.

6. Yes or no: do you think we should invade Iran if it becomes clear — despite our best efforts — that they are continuing to build nuclear weapons? If this requires a military draft, would you be in favor?

I admit, dealing with the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea concerns me. We must agressively pursue multi-national, diplomatic measures first. However, if this leads to stonewalling, and further examples of UN impotence, we must not let our resolve be questioned. The thing that scares me more than military intervention in Iran or North Korea is the thought of either of these nations possessing nuclear weapons.

Since when is Iran the key to the draft? We certainly do not require a draft to deal with that nation. It isn't that we are outnumbered in Iraq - it's the style of the conflict and sometimes the way our troops are used.

However, if at some point we find that we are unable to field a viable, effective military, I am in favor of the draft. To quote Thomas Jefferson: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." The freedom that allows Drum to whimper before a vast audience comes at a price, and we all know this. I have no problem asking someone to pay for something they've enjoyed.

7. If President Bush decides to substantially draw down our troop presence in Iraq after the January 30 elections, will you support that decision? Please answer this question prior to January 30.

In general, I assume that the President will act in the best interest of this nation and therefore I will support his decisions. I believe it is in our country's interest to establish a self-governing Iraq. I also recognize that there are many who would love to see this venture fail. Their efforts will intensify as the elections draw closer, are held and a new government attempts to take root. We must see this through until the new government can survive on its own, or we will have wasted hundreds of young American lives.

If I feel the President is bowing to political pressure and withdrawing too quickly, I'll have no problem saying so. I'll have no problem disagreeing on that point while still approving of and being thankful for George W Bush as President.

8. Would you agree that people who accept Laurie Mylroie's crackpot theories about Saddam Hussein's involvement in 9/11 might be taking the threat of terrorism a little too seriously? What do you think should be done with them?

Admittedly I am not familiar with Mylroie or that person's theories. But, this is a good chance to discuss a point often abused by the left. While Iraq may not have been directly involved in 9/11, Saddam never even attempted to hide his support for terrorists and terror networks. We know that Iraq provided medical treatment to key Al-Qaida members. President Bush has said, and I completely agree, that we must confront terrorists directly and indirectly by going after their support structure.

Next, is it possible to take terrorism too seriously? I still remember 9/11 and am not likely to lighten up on terrorism any time soon. And, once again, the liberals would dearly love to be able to prove that GWB didn't do enough prior to 9/11, yet they'll turn around and say that we're overdoing it now.

And the very last question of the piece betrays the liberal mindset. "What do you think should be done with them?" What kind of question is that? Like something should be done to or with someone based solely on how they think!

You want an answer ... Fine! What should be done with them is that we should recognize that they are American citizens, and as such they are allowed to think differently than me or you without anything being done with them.


There you have it. And to read the commenst over at Washington Monthly, you'd think that Drum had come up with a masterpiece of checkmate questions. In actuality, none of these should be difficult for anyone with a consistent worldview.

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