Friday, May 11, 2012

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting editorial proclaiming that the right has officially captured the mantle of human-rights from the left:
Liberals and Democrats who work on human-rights issues won't like to hear this, but with the Obama presidency, human rights has completed its passage away from the political left, across the center and into its home mainly on the right—among neoconservatives and evangelical Christian activists.

Conservatives didn't capture the issue. The left gave it away.

The official formulation of the left's revision of human rights came two months into the Obama presidency, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's widely noted comment in Beijing that the new administration would be going in a different direction: "Our pressing on those issues [human rights] can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis."

Human-rights groups went ballistic, perhaps on hearing their cause would compete for the president's time with the "global climate change crisis." Whether Iran, Libya or China, human rights as understood for a generation was on the back burner, with the heat off.
Most on the left would deny it, but the trend is very real. The editorial does perpetuate one myth though:
Mr. Obama is a man of the left. His interests are local. The Democratic left can only be understood on any subject if placed inside one, unchanging context: the level of public money available for their domestic policy goals.

It's never enough. And standing between them and Utopia is a five-sided monument to American power across the Potomac... The Obama White House put a bull's-eye on the defense budget from the start.
The implication is that there is a significant amount of money for domestic spending to be found in the Defense budget. The problem is that the numbers don't back up this impulse. Even if we completely shuttered the Defense Department, we wouldn't close the budget deficit--in 2011, the total deficit was $1.3 Trillion when DoD spending was $712 Billion. We also live in a federal system. In the aggregate, state and local governments spend nearly as much as the feds. Keeping this in mind, defense accounts for only 14% of all spending. This is not to say that there aren't cuts to be made in DoD, only that the pie isn't as large as some think.
Copyright © Swing Right Rudie
A notebook to myself