Saletan Fisks Schwarzenegger

Money quote:
Bush is your employee. You don’t have to vote for him just because he’s in charge and represents the spirit of the nation. That’s Communist talk.

Unable to defend the policy, Schwarzenegger defends Bush as “a man of inner strength. He is a leader who doesn’t flinch, who doesn’t waver, who does not back down.” But “inner strength” is exactly the kind of New Age pap no hard-headed Republican should fall for. Accountability means judging a president by visible results. Schwarzenegger says leadership is “about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions.” Fine. But standing behind your decisions means taking responsibility at election time. This is election time, and Bush’s decisions have turned out to be disastrously wrong.

and

Schwarzenegger applauds Bush for taking a hard line on terrorism. So do I. Bush’s clarity on this subject is his finest quality. But it doesn’t make his foreign policy wise, any more than liberal piety about compassion makes liberal social programs effective. In Iraq, Bush has confused a mortal enemy with a less urgent one, and he has botched the worthy idea of American military leadership by biting off more than we can chew. The hatred manifested by terrorists “is no match for America’s decency,” Schwarzenegger opines. Decency? Do you think we’re going to defeat Osama Bin Laden with decency? That’s liberal talk. What we need is smart allocation of our resources. At this, Bush has utterly failed.

Brad DeLong was right: Saletan, a moderate Republican, has been fully initiated as a member of the Ancient and Hermetic Order of the Shrill.

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Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com