Rudy Giuliani’s Foreign Affairs piece was a hanging slider, and lots of people knocked it out of the park. But in the course of his 450-foot homer, Jim Henley makes an important structural point:
Rudy Giuliani presents a splendid plan for spending the nation into bankruptcy in a futile pursuit of continued dominance. Lucky for Rudy, since he’s demanding to blow absurd amounts of money on defense rather than tax cuts or domestic programs, no approved pundit or established journalist will ask him “How are you going to pay for all that?” Because those are the rules: military spending is free!
Absolutely right. Nowadays, you can be a “small government conservative” or “libertarian” and still want to spend infinite amounts of money on killing people and getting ready to. Spending much smaller amounts of money resolving conflicts without war is, of course, fiscally irresponsible. And Henley is right, it’s not just the wingers: no reporter would let a candidate get away with a multi-hundred-billion dollar domestic program with asking how it’s going to get paid for. But that question is considered rude when it comes to Supporting the Troops.
h/t Hilzoy, who points out a different structural advantage the Republicans have: insanely hawkish foreign policy pronouncements go uncriticized in the mainstream press, while anyone who supports a prompt withdrawal from Iraq is accused of being “unserious” or “pandering to the netroots.”