June 24, 2011

Not a Very Republican Thing to Say

Justin Katz

Ed Fitzpatrick quotes Brendan Doherty as follows, from the Congressional candidate's initial fundraiser:

Doherty said his campaign theme will be "America First" (which is going out on a limb given the strength of the "Liechtenstein First" lobby).

In emphasizing that theme, he said, "We need to reassess the billions we are spending on other countries — other countries you'd have to find a map to find out where they are." As a caveat, he said, "I understand our special relationship with Israel" and "I understand what is going on in the Arab Spring and the tenets of soft power and smart power and diplomacy." But, he said, "Some of these countries, folks, you may not have ever heard of them, and we are spending billions of dollars there. What about spending that money here in Rhode Island, here in America?"

Or how about not spending the money at all? The federal government spends billions of dollars per day that it does not have. It seems to me that any policy that reduces the government's expenditures in one area should just, well, reduce the government's expenditures.

Obviously, I don't have enough information to know whether Doherty will run on a plank of bringing home the bacon for Rhode Island or he just hasn't spent enough time tracing individual policies and slogans through to his political philosophy (whatever it is). Either way, I'd be more comfortable with his candidacy if he displayed more-Republican instincts.

It doesn't help that he apparently cited Froma Harrop approvingly...

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This candidacy is brought to us by the same people who tried to bring Frank Caprio to the RIGOP. Just look at some of the RINO's on the host committee of his last fund raiser.

When John Loughlin was tilting at the Kennedy windmill and later Mayor Liar it was fine, they thought he had no chance. Now that Representative Liar has approval ratings approaching ring around the tub and the demorats don't dare primary him, suddenly we have a ringer for the GOP primary.

Posted by: Northern RI GOP at June 24, 2011 10:34 AM

I was thinking the same thing when I watched the news last night and they covered a couple protesters in Providence who wanted the troops brought home now and then spend the savings in the US. My thought was why not pay down the deficit? It's not "free money"!

Posted by: Patrick at June 24, 2011 1:22 PM

"Some of these countries, folks, you may not have ever heard of them,"

And, in 1949, how many Americans could locate Korea on a map? How about Viet Nam in 1959?

These may look foolish in retrospect, but "Communist Expansion" and the "Domino Effect" were realties then. Communism was not yet a "failed philosphy".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at June 24, 2011 1:25 PM

While I agree that it's better to spend locally than globally and that the federal budget needs to be gutted rather than trimmed, consider how far a few greenbacks, boxes of ammo, Peace Corps or Red Cross volunteers can go in securing us favor with other countries.

Just a few decades ago, Europeans were slaughtering each other by thousands every day in trenches... This isn't happening anymore because of open diplomacy. Diplomacy only has value if there's something tangible backing it up.

The fact is that you can't close the deficit by cutting foreign aid. It would barely make a dent, and the programs pay dividends in peace, goodwill (read: not having to engage in war), and trade partnerships. Instead, perhaps we should be asking what business the federal government should have in education, healthcare, road construction, housing, and a rapidly-souring national pension program. Those are all things I think the founders wanted handled on a more local basis, and I think we'd all be better off if they were. There's no 'economy of scale' to be gained by going larger than the organizational size of any given state, in my opinion.

Posted by: mangeek at June 24, 2011 2:51 PM

I wonder if Brendan Doherty uses the term "America First" in ignorance or with an understanding of the name's historic significance. The America First Committee was probably the largest anti-war group in US history. Its aims were to keep the US out of WWII- deeming it a European war. America First was an isolationist group mostly Republican that opposed FDR's foreign policies. There is a modern America First party - www.americafirstparty.org.

Posted by: David S at June 24, 2011 5:42 PM

Doherty's a dapper spit-and-polish guy. Man after Froma's heart - explains their affinity.

Posted by: bella at June 24, 2011 7:49 PM

David S-I think the term "America First"today is generally used without reference or perhaps even knowledge,of the group active around 1940-41.
Doherty isn't the first public figure to use it.
Pat Buchanan is perhaps the only one who uses it in the context you mentioned.

Posted by: joe bernstein at June 25, 2011 4:01 AM

Rumor has it Doherty was so disapointed by his lack of Republican support at his fundraiser (I guess there were plenty of Caprio Dems there) that he was going to drop out of the race. He was talked out of quitting by a top Carcieri appointment secretary. Enough already!

Posted by: Roger at June 25, 2011 10:39 AM
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