Tuesday, September 10, 2013


I'm sure I don't have to tell you that the new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reveals that the public opposes an attack on Syria. Every poll shows that. But there's also this:
The NBC/WSJ poll also shows that a whopping 74 percent agree with the statement that it's time for the United States to do less around the world and focus more on domestic problems.

That compares with 22 percent who agree that America must promote democracy and freedom across the globe, because those efforts would make the U.S. more secure.

This is a significant change from the last time this question was asked in 2005, when 54 percent sided with focusing on domestic problems, versus 33 percent who wanted to emphasize democracy and freedom around the world.
The contemptuous response to poll results like this, especially from insider mandarins like Bill Keller, is that Americans are becoming dangerously "isolationist." Politicians who oppose action in Syria or elsewhere on the globe are equally "isolationist."

But what's the contemptuous term for politicians who don't do anything to solve the domestic problems that concern real Americans?

You can't blame three-quarters of Americans for feeling that domestic difficulties are getting short shrift from the political establishment right now -- the economic downturn never seems to end on Main Street, even if Wall Street is thriving. But a majority of Americans felt that domestic problems were getting short shrift even in 2005, when we were allegedly living through good economic times. Except they weren't good economic times for most people -- incomes for ordinary Americans remained flat, and if you weren't borrowing from home equity or a line of credit, you were probably running faster and faster just to stay in place.

And the political establishment didn't seem to care -- then or now.

What do we call politicians who give short shrift to ordinary Americans' real needs? If they want to retreat from the world, we condemn them as "isolationists." What do we say when they want to retreat from Main Street America, treating Americans' problems as something they shouldn't get involved with?

Why don't we have an insulting term for that?


Pops said...

A far as Syria I blame Reagan, Bush and Clinton for not killing the father Hafez Assad. He was the most disgusting POS killing Syrians. Like Father Like Son.

Victor said...

"Why don't we have an insulting term for that?"

We do.
The term you're looking for already exists.

It's either "Conservative," and/or, "Republican."

And it's getting more and more insulting every day.

Hopefully sometime soon, it'll go viral.
And when people say or hear either word, they'll spit three times - and religious ones, will cross themselves while they're expectorating.

John Taylor said...

You can't blame Congress for America's domestic problems. They have been very busy trying to stop millions of people getting healthcare. They do have priorities.

Chris Andersen said...

This is not an either-or proposition. We can work both to make things better domestically *and* across the border.

What I think is dangerous is to think that any energy devoted to making things better in the world necessarily means less will be done domestically. The danger is in thinking that the border is some kind of magical line that actually prevents foreign problems from affecting domestic problems (or domestic problems affecting foreign problems).

Internationalism is not the belief that we should be the world's cops. Internationalism is the belief that we better be concerned about what is going on in Syria because what is going on in Syria *will* affect what is going on in Detroit.

Philo Vaihinger said...

Looks to me like fewer people are buying the bipartisan baloney, is all.

Fewer want to "promote democracy and freedom across the globe, because those efforts would make the U.S. more secure."

Because, uh, they do just the opposite.

Four Bs said...

Seems ironic that McCain's campaign label was "Country First." Which country depends on the day of the week, apparently.


Obsessed with non-American issues
Wayward politician (senator, representative)

Examinator said...

I'm with Victor, Chris, John and Philo collectively on this one.

I'd add Uber c(G)apitalist to Victor's comment.
I'd also add http://www.stonekettle.com/2013/08/red-lines.html to the mix.