It may seem as if the Middle East is spinning out of control, the president is in way over his head and the Republicans are intent on shooting themselves in the foot. That’s all true, come to think of it. But that doesn’t mean it is all gloom and doom.
Let’s look on the bright side:
The members of the shutdown squad are so busy flogging the horrible idea to shut down the government that they haven’t been going after pro-immigration Republicans. Instead, the pro-reform evangelicals are appealing to religious voters and making a big ad buy.
Reactionary Republicans like Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.), Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Sen. Mike Lee (Utah) want to disable the National Security Agency surveillance program. But pro-defense conservatives still have those notorious
warmongers liberal Democrats Sens. Carl Levin (Mich.) and Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) to rely on.
The complete incompetence of Obama’s foreign policy team raises the importance of foreign policy in 2016. Unlike 2012, pro-defense Republicans may want to actually talk about national security.
The chaos in Egypt and the ongoing mass murder and chemical weapons use in Syria should convince everyone (except Secretary of State John Kerry) that “linkage” is nonsense and that a Palestinian state, even if attainable now, can’t begin to resolve the other problems in the region.
Sure, there is a dangerous streak of anti-military, anti-engagement foreign policy thinking on the right and, yes, the old guard of pro-defense lawmakers is either retiring or less effective, but Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) may get to the Senate. (Unlike Heritage, he’s focused on unseating a Democrat, not other Republicans.)
The job market is tepid and growth is sluggish, but, hey, there’s no sign of inflation.
It is true that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) infuriated the hard right on immigration, but he’s now disgusted mainstream conservatives with his support for the suicidal government shutdown strategy.
I know Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is out there in la-la land when it comes to shutting down the government and seems unduly occupied with his own citizenship (not to mention preventing others from obtaining theirs), but he has concluded that impeachment is not viable.
Maybe Heritage and other right-wing groups want to sweep out every Republican who doesn’t buy into the suicidal mission of shutting down the government, but that really doesn’t make any difference. They already declared war on anyone entertaining immigration reform. (So does Rubio, who backs both, stay or go? You can only kill a pol once.)
I jest, but despondent Americans should keep in mind that in disarray, despair and disorganization, a new crop of leaders (one or two would be good enough) can distinguish themselves. In the cacophony of extreme voices and confusion, a calm and balanced voice may stand out. We can only hope there are such people out there.