In response to the request for renewing my membership in the Nebraska Republican Party, I politely voiced my displeasure with Chuck Hagel’s stand on the war on terror. I wasn’t rude to the nice young lady on the other end of the line, no need to shoot the messenger, nor was I going to dismiss myself from the GOP. But it was an opportune time to share my views.
The young lady, likely armed with provided talking points, replied that no other Senator was more conservative than Senator Hagel. She pointed to his voting with the President 98% of the time last year as proof. No other Senator could boast such a thing.
I had to pause and quickly recall what I had just told her moments earlier. Nope, I hadn’t said anything about voting with or against the President, but that’s where the talking points trained her to go.
I had only shared my disappointment with Senator Hagel’s unwillingness to fight for victory, nothing more. But a nearly irrelevant response was given from an errantly based set of talking points.
I should have started back in, Marine Corps style, with a “What in the wide, wide world of sports does that have to do with the Senator accepting defeat in Iraq? I wasn’t talking about every other issue….”
But I let her off the hook and simply restated “that on the most important issue of our time, he’s on the wrong side of the argument.” I didn’t have the heart to shoot the messenger.
Not only was her response off-base, but its validity was questionable depending upon how one defines “conservative.” Anyone who received that response could have asked her how conservative it’s been to let federal spending spiral out of control with the approval of the Senate and no veto from the President. There could have been arguments about illegal immigration or “No Child Left Behind” which some on the right are fanatically opposed to. A neo-conservative would have argued that we should have bombed Iran and North Korea quite some time ago and that both George Bush and Chuck Hagel were not “conservative” in that regard.
But none of those topics implied in her answer were relevant to my point. I hadn’t shared disappointment in him not voting with the President 100% of the time, I don’t expect him, or any other Senator to. I was stating my disappointment with our state’s Republican Senator not arguing for victory.
Because, when laid bare, that’s what the argument is. Are you willing to fight for victory against terrorists or not? The question is not “do you vote or agree with the President, how often, and on what issues?” It is whether or not you are willing to accept, or even argue for defeat, and then be willing to face the guaranteed consequences of doing so.
What’s at stake here is much more important than how often one agrees with George W. Bush on all the issues. The same would hold true for any other President during war-time. At stake here is the long-term security of our country which directly affects our freedoms, thus it supersedes the argument about any one man because it affects all of us.
This President, and every other President, is only a temporary care-taker, charged with preserving the freedoms endowed upon us by our Creator to which we are all obligated to defend.
But somehow this argument about the challenge to those rights posed by terrorists has become focused on supporting or not supporting George W. Bush, the man. It has mutated into a debate about him personally. It should be about leading our country to victory over Islamic extremists intent on destroying our nation, but sadly it is not.
Take a stroll through leftist websites and you’ll find the argument is a personal one about George W. Bush, first, foremost, and quite often the only one made. Read the comments on discussion boards intended for debate on the war, and you’ll find many comments that are not actually about the war, but are personal attacks against George Bush. You’ll be hard pressed to find arguments for our nation, but find no shortage of arguments against that one man.
The debates in the House and Senate last week noticeably lacked rhetoric reflecting a desire for victory in Iraq and the rest of the war on terror. They represented the path our country has taken. We have lost our way, searching for personal answers about a man instead of our nation, its security or its future.
Many on the left lost their way and gave up the cause for victory over terrorists quite some time ago. They’ve since then made their stand, arguing against Bush, not for American victory.
But now it seems that some on the right have become confused about what the argument should be. It should be about the security and future of the nation, not whether you vote with this President on pork barrel spending.
Young party workers armed with talking points about the congruency of a politician’s voting record with that of George W. Bush’s indicates political leadership which has missed the point.
It’s time for all of us to get back on track and then focus on what this is truly about.