Attack poodle Brooks loyally regurgitates the talking points


Kerry’s third attack is the whole Mary Cheney thing. That’s been hashed over enough. But remarkably, Kerry has not apologized. You use somebody’s daughter to attack the father and his running mate. The parents are upset. The only decent thing is to apologize. If anything, an apology would make Kerry look admirable. But Kerry, in his permanent attack dog mode, can’t do the decent and politically advantageous thing.

Okay, deep breath. Reality check time. Here’s that horrible “attack” in which John Kerry so ruthlessly attempted to use the daughter against the father, thereby upsetting decent godfearing folk everywhere:

“We’re all God’s children, Bob. And I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was, she’s being who she was born as.”

For the last time: that’s only an insult if you think that being a lesbian is something to be ashamed of. Or if you are an achingly banal New York Times columnist in way, way over your head.

* * *

In that same column, Brooks pooh-poohs talk of a draft.

The administration, which hasn’t even asked for trivial public sacrifices in a time of war, does not want to bring back the draft. The Pentagon does not want to bring back the draft. The Republican Party does not want to bring back the draft. Given the nature of military technology, it doesn’t make sense to bring back the draft. There may be some in the bureaucracy taking precautions, but it is hard to imagine an attack with less basis in fact.

And that’s the extent of the argument: there won’t be a draft, shut up, don’t worry about it.

Happily across the page, Paul Krugman looks at the issue from a reality-based perspective:

Those who are worrying about a revived draft are in the same position as those who worried about a return to budget deficits four years ago, when President Bush began pushing through his program of tax cuts. Back then he insisted that he wouldn’t drive the budget into deficit – but those who looked at the facts strongly suspected otherwise. Now he insists that he won’t revive the draft. But the facts suggest that he will.

There were two reasons some of us never believed Mr. Bush’s budget promises. First, his claims that his tax cuts were affordable rested on patently unrealistic budget projections. Second, his broader policy goals, including the partial privatization of Social Security – which is clearly on his agenda for a second term – would involve large costs that were not included even in those unrealistic projections. This led to the justified suspicion that his election-year promises notwithstanding, Mr. Bush would preside over a return to budget deficits.

It’s exactly the same when it comes to the draft. Mr. Bush’s claim that we don’t need any expansion in our military is patently unrealistic; it ignores the severe stress our Army is already under. And the experience in Iraq shows that pursuing his broader foreign policy doctrine – the “Bush doctrine” of pre-emptive war – would require much larger military forces than we now have.

All I know is, if I were twenty five, I’d be damned nervous.