Answering 8 Questions From Kevin Drum

Kevin Drum over at Political Animal posed questions for conservatives and I thought it would be fun to answer them. Here goes…

1) Considering how Iraq has gone so far, do you still think that American military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East? Has your position on this changed in any way over the past two years?

Yes to question #1, and no it hasn’t to question #2. Helping Iraq become a democracy is essential to helping freedom spread across the region, keeping Iraq from once again becoming a threat to our country, striking a blow against radical Islam and terrorism, and improving our reputation in the region long-term. We did the right thing by invading and we’re doing the right thing by helping them to become a free people. Nobody ever promised it would be easy.

2) Shortly after 9/11, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said publicly that they thought the attacks were well-deserved retribution from God in response to moral decay — as personified by gays, feminists, the ACLU, and NOW. Do you worry that Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party? Do you think President Bush has sufficiently distanced himself from them and their followers?

No, I don’t worry that, “Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party” simply because they aren’t identified as the “face of the..party”. There are 50 people from Bush 43, Bush 41, Cheney, Delay, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Goldberg, Coulter, Krauthammer, who people would think of when they said “Republican,” before Falwell or Robertson, which is how it should be.

Furthermore, I don’t think Bush needs to “distance himself” from their “followers” although keeping a distance from two guys with “foot in mouth disease” like Robertson and Falwell is always a good idea.

3) Is democracy promotion really one of your core concerns? Just how far are you willing to go to demonstrate your credibility on this subject? Note: President Bush’s policy toward either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would be excellent case studies to bring this question to life.

Reading a liberal imply that conservatives aren’t really concerned about Democracy is like listening to an atheist complain that a Christian doesn’t pray enough. Where were the liberals when conservatives like Reagan were fighting to bring down the Soviet Union? Now we’re in a war on terrorism that has freed 50 million people so far and the left has again been about as useless as an apron on a pig.

As to Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, I do support helping Democracy along in both those countries (and happily, Pakistan seems to be slowly but surely moving in that direction), but we can’t make Democracy viable through magic. Instead we have to support Democracy when we can, where we can, with what we have. If Mr. Drum has a viable suggestion for how we could speed Democracy along in both of those countries, I would likely support it. It would be nice if most liberals had the same attitude about Iraq.

4) On a related note, which do you think is more important to the Bush administration in the short term: preservation of a stable oil supply from the Middle East or spreading freedom and liberty throughout the region? Would you be interested in seeing the records of Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force to verify this? Please be extra honest with this question.

A stable oil supply. And what about it? Is the implication supposed to be because we value oil that we can’t think Democracy is important at the same time? That’s a bizarre sort of thinking isn’t it? I can just imagine Kevin Drum screaming at the TV set during the commercials,

“No, you can’t like Miller Lite because it tastes great and is less filling. It has to be one or the other! ONE OR THE OTHER I SAY!!!”

5) A substantial part of the Christian right opposes any compromise with Palestinians because they believe that Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming. Is this a reasonable belief? Or do you think these people qualify as loons who should be purged from the Republican party?

Actually, to the best of my knowledge, a relatively small number of evangelical Christians believe this, not a “substantial part of the Christian right”. Is it a reasonable belief? It’s not something I believe in, but hey, each to his own and I certainly don’t consider people who think that to be “loons”. Should they be purged from the party? No way, I’ll let the left continue to be the party for people who are hostile to people who live in “Jesusland”.

6) Yes or no: do you think we should invade Iran if it becomes clear — despite our best efforts — that they are continuing to build nuclear weapons? If this requires a military draft, would you be in favor?

I favor bombing them, not invading them, if there’s no other way to stop them from building nukes. As to a draft, we might as well ask what the political implications would be of 20 million martian libertarians immigrating to the US since they’re both about equally likely to happen. Those are theoretical questions I’ll tackle when and much more importantly IF, they happen.

7) If President Bush decides to substantially draw down our troop presence in Iraq after the January 30 elections, will you support that decision? Please answer this question prior to January 30.

I’m not sure exactly what the meaning of the question is because of the wording.

If the question is would I support Bush arbitrarily withdrawing let’s say a majority of our troops, regardless of the security situation in Iraq, no matter what the position of the government is, no I would not.

My goal for the next year (and I expect them to meet it, ideally, but not definitely, within the next six months) is to see the Iraqi people take over their own security from Coalition forces and for us to build permanent bases in Iraq. The sooner that happens, the better, but the timetable depends on how quickly we can get the Iraqis ready.

8) Would you agree that people who accept Laurie Mylroie’s crackpot theories about Saddam Hussein’s involvement in 9/11 might be taking the threat of terrorism a little too seriously? What do you think should be done with them?

I’m unfamiliar with Laurie Mylroie’s theories. However, to the best of my knowledge, Saddam Hussein was not involved with 9/11 although he certainly had ties to Al-Qaeda. As to people who think that Saddam was tied in to the attack, I think they’re probably wrong given what we know, but no more so than people who believe that Iraq was a “war for oil” for example. So what’s to “be done with them”? Say we disagree with them? Sounds good to me…

Outside the Beltway & Citizen Smash also took shots at it and I thought their answers were worth reading as well.

*** Update #1 ***: Frank J. over at IMAO beats Drum like he was a rabid monkey in his responses to these questions…

Here’s a sample,

4) On a related note, which do you think is more important to the Bush administration in the short term: preservation of a stable oil supply from the Middle East or spreading freedom and liberty throughout the region? Would you be interested in seeing the records of Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force to verify this? Please be extra honest with this question.

I’m starting to not like this “spreading freedom” phrase. It makes it seem like freedom is a virus or peanut butter. That also raises the question that, if freedom were peanut butter, would it be smooth or chunky? I say chunky.

But I digress. I say oil is more important to the Bush administration… or at least I hope it is. Ever try running your car on a democratic Middle East?

5) A substantial part of the Christian right opposes any compromise with Palestinians because they believe that Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming. Is this a reasonable belief? Or do you think these people qualify as loons who should be purged from the Republican party?

Who is doing what now?

I’m a Christian (well, a Catholic, which is pretty close) and I’ve talked to lots of Christians, and I’ve never heard of this before. Which cheaply printed conspiracy newsletters are you getting this from?

And what’s this talk of “purging.” You’re starting to sound like a Nazi, Drum.

Quick! Behind you! A Christian!

I’m just kidding, Drum. Sorry I made you soil your pants. Seriously, though, I’m more scared of the joooos. I have it on good authority they control everything. It’s in one of the same newsletters you’re reading.

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