OPINION: Die-hard Bush supporters have a death grip on their party

Fighting words

As the tide goes out on President Bush’s foreign policy, the mass of flotsam left behind includes a Republican Party that no longer knows how to be reasonable. Whenever its leading Presidential candidates appear before partisan audiences, they try to outdo one another in pledging loyalty oaths to the use of force, pandering to the war lobby as if they were Democrats addressing the teachers’ union. Giuliani has surrounded himself with a group of advisers—from Norman Podhoretz to the former Pentagon official Michael Rubin—who, having got Iraq spectacularly wrong, seem determined to make up for it by doing the same thing in Iran. Giuliani approaches foreign policy in the same mood of barely restrained eagerness for confrontation with which, as mayor of New York, he went after criminals. He has essentially promised to go to war with Iran in order to prevent it from acquiring nuclear weapons, and he recently suggested that waterboarding is only torture when the wrong people are doing it, and blamed the “liberal media” for giving it a bad name. He has said that he would improve America’s miserable image around the world by threatening State Department diplomats with unnamed consequences unless they defend United States foreign policy more aggressively. “The era of cost-free anti-Americanism must end,” Giuliani snarled in the polite pages of Foreign Affairs, which had invited candidates to lay out their views. [complete article]

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