War as stimulus

Oh my:

Here is where Obama is likely to prevail. With strong Republican support in Congress for challenging Iran’s ambition to become a nuclear power, he can spend much of 2011 and 2012 orchestrating a showdown with the mullahs. This will help him politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.

I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected. But the nation will rally around Obama because Iran is the greatest threat to the world in the young century. If he can confront this threat and contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions, he will have made the world safer and may be regarded as one of the most successful presidents in history.

David Broder is an idiot.

First of all, how can he possibly not be suggesting “that the president incite a war to get reelected”? I can’t square his sentiments here. Maybe that’s the point of David Broder.

Second, if war can spur on the economy, any other public spending could just as easily. Why go to all the effort of slaughtering thousands of Iranian civilians, sending our own young men and women to their deaths, and upsetting the global oil supply when we could just as easily mail out $2,000 dollar checks to every American adult? I’m not sure what a war with Iran would cost – but let’s say it cost $3 trillion dollars. Well, we could mail that $2,000 dollar check out once a year for five years without killing anybody in the process for that much money.

Of course, for reasons I cannot explain, war is always more popular than any other sort of public spending. And that may be the only logic to Broder’s exceedingly horrible proposal. Beyond that, it is simply the arrogance of a man with no risk, no chance of himself paying the price for this hideous, immoral, incoherent hawkish nonsense, no chance he’ll take a bullet for his stupidity. Other men would, but not Broder.

Furthermore, as Larison rightly points out, far from making Obama one of the “most successful presidents in history” a war with Iran would neither help Obama with Republicans (who would support his foreign policy while decrying his domestic secular-socialist agenda) or with his own base. Nor would it deter the Iranian nuclear program

For more on war spending and such, see Paul Krugman – who also gets a hat tip for this Broder madness.

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26 thoughts on “War as stimulus

  1. for reasons I cannot explain, war is always more popular than any other sort of public spending.

    I’m inclined to think that, since the Southern Strategy capitalized on anti-government resentment over desegregation, “populism” has come to hold that government action is unserious and counterproductive, unless the government is targeting out groups by bombing them or building prisons.

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  2. I think the worst part of this is I’m not even outraged at Broder, heck I’m not even surprised.

    I mean it is horrible and I can only hope that no one listens to him but I am so used to hearing this style of poo that it just doesn’t register anymore.

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  3. This is example #3928374 of how if you are a beltway insider/ serious person you can say something as dumb as bag full of hammers and have it be printed in a major paper.

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  4. Beyond that, it is simply the arrogance of a man with no risk, no chance of himself paying the price for this hideous, immoral, incoherent hawkish nonsense, no chance he’ll take a bullet for his stupidity.

    B-b-but, “chickenhawk” is a childish slander. i know this because Dick Cheney and Richard Perle said so.

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  5. Why is war more popular than other kinds of public spending? If I may venture a guess, I’d say it has something to do with the narratives underlying our spending practices. Depending on who you talk to, domestic spending is characterized as a benevolent service we provide the less fortunate, as sinister plot to redistribute wealth through government thievery, or as something in between. We find several prominent narratives at play here. With “defense” spending, though, there’s really just one dominant underlying narrative, and it depicts spending as a good, patriotic, and necessary service that we, the sole superpower of the world, must provide for our safety. Yes, there are critics of war, but they are for the most part not the ones writing the checks. Before becoming president, Obama was safe criticizing the Iraq War, but only because he also fashioned himself as a reliable warrior president in the public imagination. He campaigned on increasing American military presence in the world, even though he considered Iraq a bad allocation of resources. A Republican can win as a critic of domestic spending, and a Democrat can win as a supporter of domestic spending, but neither can win as a critic of defense spending itself. Criticizing defense spending criticizes an image of the U.S. that’s well established and shared among the establishment and the population.

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    • @Kyle Cupp, I’d say it has more to do with political market failure and the lack of a willingness to try to correct it.

      Many people and politicians who want far lower levels of military spending are afraid to get behind this cause because, despite it’s sanity, it is a major political loser. Like being “soft on drugs”, or “soft on crime”, being labeled “soft on terror” is something from which a politician could never recover; as long as politicians want to be reelected and people remain uncritical and only passively involved in politics, the wars on drugs, crime, and terror will continue.

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