January 20, 2004

Good Faith and Comity

Andrew Sullivan notes the difference today between David Brook's column and Paul Krugman's effort. In this case, 'm entirely with AS (perhaps a step or two beyond him). Brooks showed a level of understanding and recognition of the basic humanity of the other side. Paul Krugman's column appeals to the tinfoil hat left with his sinister warning that Bush wants to "grab enough power that the consequences don't matter".

Without a coup and the overturn of the constitutional order, in 2006 the entire House of Representatives will stand for election as will one third of the Senate. In 2008 a new President will be elected along with an entirely new House and another third of the Senate. The voters can impose consequences then if Bush goes too far as they have imposed them on a great many Presidents since George Washington.

It's a gout of toxic leftist code talk, just as wink and nod slimy as if David Duke had given Krugman lessons. It's stoking up fears of a coup, raising the paranoia level on the far left as high as he can crank it. Unrealistic? It's at least as realistic as Krugman's accusations on race:

The most sinister example was the recess appointment of Charles Pickering Sr., with his segregationist past and questionable record on voting rights, to the federal appeals court the day after Martin Luther King's actual birthday. Was this careless timing? Don't be silly: it was a deliberate, if subtle, gesture of sympathy with a part of the Republican coalition that never gets mentioned in public.

The truth is that we're all nervous. We're engaged in the first non-westphalian war the West has seen in centuries, since before there was a United States. Some things have to change to accommodate that but permanent restrictions of our liberty are not on the list of concessions a majority will tolerate. At the same time, we must win this war. David Brooks has understood that the requirements of bipartisan comity in wartime. There are decent voices on the left who can and do reciprocate that forming the responsible, loyal opposition. Paul Krugman no doubt thinks his ideological arson show is loyalty through dissent and no doubt he's right by his own lights but it's in no way responsible.

Posted by TMLutas at January 20, 2004 07:36 PM