Thursday, July 13, 2006

# Posted 7:42 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

I AM A TRUMAN DEMOCRAT AND A McCAIN REPUBLICAN: I support John McCain for president. But in a very literal way, I am also a Truman Democrat. Let me explain.

To the left of this post (both literally and figuratively) there is a link to the homepage of the Truman National Security Project. As that page explains, the Truman Project is for
Democrats who believe in a strong foreign policy grounded in the strong values that make us Democrats.
In other words, the Truman Project is about taking the Democratic party back from Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, Michael Moore, Kos and MoveOn.org. (Or to put it more diplomatically, persuading fellow Democrats that the party needs a more assertive and values-based foreign policy.)

Presumably, it is in the short-term interest of the GOP to have Pelosi etc. in control, so that voters must face a clear choice at the polls between the party that is tough on national security and the party that hesitates to act without international approval.

But in the long-term, I believe that America needs two parties with enough confidence in American power and American values to act abroad decisively. No matter who wins at the polls, we shouldn't have to worry about our security. Thus, for the moment I remain a dues-paying Truman Democrat, even though I am not a Democrat. (Anyhow, I assure you that even the Truman Democrats' best effort won't change the party all that much before 2008.)

At some point, in the not so distant future, my formal association with the Truman Project will have to end. Assuming I volunteer on behalf of Sen. McCain, I believe it would be a conflict of interest to belong to a Democratic organization as well. (Although if you consider the vicious things that liberals say and write about Truman Democrats, identifying with them should establish my GOP street cred almost as effectively as my affection for Joe Lieberman.)

But even after any formal association ceases to exist, an intellectual question remains: What is Harry S Truman's legacy from the perspective of our foreign policy and national security? Is is natural for a Democratic organization such as the Truman Project to claim Truman's mantle? Or is there a certain merit to the claim of President Bush and other conservatives that the Truman mantle is theirs? I will attempt to answer those questions in my next post.
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

David: I follow your Truman Democrat thinking, but am mystified at what you can find to like about McCain. Unlike the common rabble, who pick 'their' candidate because of a candidate's position on a single (sometimes two) issue, you've always seemed to be a guy who would want a candidate to reflect your overall philosophy... and McCain has none. He's the Anthony Kennedy of the Senate; he wants to be the player so his position on any given issue is that which will give him the most leverage and/or publicity.
I've read McCain floor speeches from throughout the 1980s as part of my dissertation research. Then, as now, he was an advocate of combining American power and American values to achieve security and justice.
But what exactly does that mean? Can't/doesn't everybody in Congress (ok, maybe not cynthia mckinney) claim to be in favor of 'combining American power and American values to achieve security and justice"? that's no more illuminating than 'compassionate conservatism', kerry's 'fresh start' or edward's 'we can do better' (or whatever it was that they were pushing).
Oh god, McCain? The "brave" McCain? The one who is opposed to abortion rights, gun control, and supports teaching intelligent design in school? Not to mention his fiscal policies, which are dinosaur-like. But I guess he appeals to red-meat masculinity craved by some parts of our population.
Your post is incorrect as McCain is not opposed to gun control and has gone after the NRA on occasion. Anyone who wants the Republican nomination has to be pro-life although McCain at times has indicated he is not that much of a pro-lifer. For example when asked about the possibility of his daughter having an abortion, he said it was her choice.

I quibble with McCain on domestic issues (although I actually don't think he is pro-business enough) but his foreign policy positions then and now are pretty solid and the President is most responsible for foreign policy.
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