A BAD CHOICE. Since Mike brought it up, I have to say I was really disappointed by Matt Santos's choice for secretary of state. Bill Clinton gave a key national security job to the GOP when he made Bill Cohen his secretary of defense, there was talk of John Kerry trying to give a foreign policy job to someone in the Lugar/Hagel/McCain axis (this was especially odd since Hagel and McCain have diametrically opposed views), and now it's taking over The West Wing. This business just sends a horrible message: Democrats aren't up to the job, while impeding the party's ability to build its own cadre of leaders on security issues.

What's more, the view that one ought to try and put foreign policy somehow above party politics doesn't make real sense to me. FDR's conduct during World War II was admirable, but total mobilization against a challenge on the scale of that conflict is obviously the exception rather than the rule. Ordinarily, things aren't going to work like that and they shouldn't. National security policy, after all, is very important so America's major political parties should put forward different ideas about it, engage in the give-and-take of politics, and try to sell their competing visions to the public. Democrats have sort of engaged in unilateral disarmament on this front, engaging in a lot of whining about how the mean ol' Republicans beat them up on the politics of national security when they ought to be trying to raise their own game and win these fights instead of ducking them.

--Matthew Yglesias

You may also like