03 February 2008

Not like 'Scoop' Jackson in my book

Remarks by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz on receiving the Henry M. "Scoop" Jackson distinguished service award in 2002 (JINSA Online -- 2002 Jackson Award Remarks - Defending the 'Ancient Dream of Freedom' ):

In the Middle East, Scoop Jackson saw the evils of terrorism written in blood on streets. Indeed, he could say with justification that he recognized the problem of terrorism long before others. In July 1979 in Jerusalem, Scoop said: "I believe that international terrorism is a modern form of warfare against liberal democracies. I believe that the ultimate but seldom stated goal of these terrorists is to destroy the very fabric of democracy. I believe," Senator Jackson went on, "that it is both wrong and foolhardy for any democratic state to consider international terrorism to be 'someone else's' problem.... Liberal democracies must acknowledge that international terrorism is a 'collective problem.'"


Scoop rejected the labels that people tried to attach to him. I think I know how he feels. [Laughter] "I'm not a hawk or a dove," he once said. "I just don't want my country to be a pigeon." [Laughter]

And Sen. McCain on Henry 'Scoop' Jackson with Larry King on 12 OCT 2002:

KING: Your whole family was military.
MCCAIN: Yes. Sure.
KING: Grandfather, father.
KING: What took you into political realm?
MCCAIN: Well, my injuries from the Vietnam War curtailed my career. I may have, may have been an admiral, but I would not have been able to be eligible for the higher levels...
KING: Because of the injury?
KING: Would your goal have been (UNINTELLIGIBLE) four-star?
MCCAIN: Follow in -- sure, it would have been to follow in my father and grandfather's footsteps. And I worked in the Navy Senate liaison office, a little office in the basement of the Russell building, and I got to be friends with people like Bill Cohen (ph) and Gary Hart, John Towers (ph), Scoop Jackson (ph).
KING: All kinds of political venues.
MCCAIN: Yeah, yeah. They had one thing in common, and that was national security and defense issues. That's how I came in contact -- I traveled with them, I got to know them, and I got to respect and admire them.
KING: Was Scoop Jackson (ph) too?
MCCAIN: Oh, Scoop Jackson (ph) was a genius (ph).
KING: Now, there was a liberal who was a hawk in, militarily, liberal in every other aspect.
MCCAIN: Yeah. I think you could argue that during a period of time when a great self-doubt in America, following the Vietnam War, Scoop Jackson (ph) was a steadfast Cold warrior,
and I mean that in the finest sense. He was also one of the strongest supporters of the state of Israel when they were threatened, and a civil rights advocate. I also admired him because he had a great world view. Scoop Jackson (ph) had a great view of...
KING: Would he have been a good president?
MCCAIN: Yeah, you know
, but Scoop (ph) could never -- his problem was that he had trouble relating. In other words, he was a great thinker, a great man personally, incredibly attractive, but he didn't do well with crowds.

Scoop Jackson would have a large influence on the Republican party via Jeane Kirkpatrick, Bill Bennet and Paul Wolfowitz... what some call 'neocons' of one sort or another. And as some have pointed to Sen. McCain falling into the Scoop Jackson mode one must ask: in what way is that? Sen. Jackson had a moral stance of America at heart, but it was of Americans: he was a backer of Big Labor and Big Government, but only in those ways he thought either could positively benefit Americans. While taking a hard stance against the USSR he would not do so with China, and demonstrate a quixotic understanding of Communist totalitarianism: there were Communists he opposed and those that he would endure. Sen. McCain has voted for Big Government in ways that Sen. Jackson would approve of, also: in the Clean Water Bill, 1984 Civil Rights Act, and support of the Legal Services Corporation. Unlike Sen. Jackson, Sen. McCain had some problems calling a tyrant a tyrant in the form of Manuel Noriega. And while Sen. McCain talks a good game on military affairs, Sen. Jackson understood that Presidents must be limited in the discretionary use of the armed forces, especially in non-vital areas like 'peace keeping' where no US vital interest is at stake. There Sen. McCain differs in seeing no problem with granting a President that use, while Sen. Jackson understood that the military must be backed to the hilt when exposed to danger and when Presidents do that in a way to hurt the military, then there must be accountability by Congress for 'discretionary' deployments. Here the problems in Bosnia and Congress being unwilling to fund that OR hold President Clinton accountable would lead to two US Army Divisions falling to the lowest readiness level ever seen since Vietnam in 1999.

So while Sen. McCain may aspire to the socially liberal areas of Sen. Jackson, those dealing with military affairs fall short. Sen. Jackson was more than willing to see money spent to defend the Nation and, as he died, the existential threat of terrorism would be striking home in Beirut. This would not lead anyone concerned about such a threat to see a 'peace dividend' unlike Sen. McCain who was more than willing to cash in on that. Sen. Jackson, however, a staunch advocate and ally of Big Labor might have had some problems with NAFTA, but would have voted with McCain on the 1983 bill not to limit earmarks, of which he was a fan. On something like the Chemical Weapons Convention, Sen. Jackson had demonstrated that he put sovereignty and defense above treaties, and would likely have voted against that as an unconstitutional constraint on the US while Sen. McCain would vote for it.

It really isn't fair to Sen. Jackson to compare Sen. McCain's liberal views to his: Sen. Jackson took a principled stand for the Nation that, while liberal, is understandable and supporting the Nation and its sovereignty. Sen. McCain obviously does not have those interests at heart, or is willing to vote for things that are unconstitutional so he can show how 'good' he is on those issues, if only the pesky constitution didn't get in the way of them.

My own Jacksonian views hew more to the rough and pioneering ones of Andrew Jackson, moderated by some of those views of Theodore Roosevelt and only on those of defense and sovereignty of 'Scoop' Jackson, though much tougher on China but with equal views on terrorism. Apparently Ronald Reagan was able to make the 'sale' of small government and less intrusion of government so that the population could get equal protection under the law, just as Republicans were ready to demonstrate that they would not govern that way. I can, actually, understand those that would seek to enforce sovereignty, defend the Nation and its workers from the border on outwards against hostile arms and predatory trade, see terrorism as an existential threat and recognize the need to confront *that* across the board. Growing up in the Rust Belt, I got to see, first hand, the problems of Big Labor and reduced industrial production and efficiency and how that hurt the US. So I really can't say that I would support such Big Labor views, although I do understand where they grow from: the time to prune the views down and let Big Labor stand on its own without federal help is long past. Just as it is for Big Business. Just as President Jackson put it in the Bank Veto message of 10 JUL 1832:

It is to be regretted that the rich and powerful too often bend the acts of government to their selfish purposes. Distinctions in society will always exist under every just government. Equality of talents, of education, or of wealth can not be produced by human institutions. In the full enjoyment of the gifts of Heaven and the fruits of superior industry, economy, and virtue, every man is equally entitled to protection by law; but when the laws undertake to add to these natural and just advantages artificial distinctions, to grant titles, gratuities, and exclusive privileges, to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society the farmers, mechanics, and laborers who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their Government. There are no necessary evils in government. Its evils exist only in its abuses. If it would confine itself to equal protection, and, as Heaven does its rains, shower its favors alike on the high and the low, the rich and the poor, it would be an unqualified blessing. In the act before me there seems to be a wide and unnecessary departure from these just principles.

Nor is our Government to be maintained or our Union preserved by invasions of the rights and powers of the several States. In thus attempting to make our General Government strong we make it weak. Its true strength consists in leaving individuals and States as much as possible to themselves in making itself felt, not in its power, but in its beneficence; not in its control, but in its protection; not in binding the States more closely to the center, but leaving each to move unobstructed in its proper orbit.

Experience should teach us wisdom. Most of the difficulties our Government now encounters and most of the dangers which impend over our Union have sprung from an abandonment of the legitimate objects of Government by our national legislation, and the adoption of such principles as are embodied in this act. Many of our rich men have not been content with equal protection and equal benefits, but have besought us to make them richer by act of Congress. By attempting to gratify their desires we have in the results of our legislation arrayed section against section, interest against interest, and man against man, in a fearful commotion which threatens to shake the foundations of our Union. It is time to pause in our career to review our principles, and if possible revive that devoted patriotism and spirit of compromise which distinguished the sages of the Revolution and the fathers of our Union. If we can not at once, in justice to interests vested under improvident legislation, make our Government what it ought to be, we can at least take a stand against all new grants of monopolies and exclusive privileges, against any prostitution of our Government to the advancement of the few at the expense of the many, and in favor of compromise and gradual reform in our code of laws and system of political economy....

Too bad Sen. McCain never sought hard ethics reform in Congress to sideline those taking money from the rich and powerful business and lobbying groups. Because setting rules, there, appears to be harder than removing the right to free speech by the People. It is much easier to secure the vested interests of the rich and powerful and quash the rights of the relatively middle class and poor, apparently.

If you are a reformer.

And that is something that Sen. Jackson never sought to do, going after the rights of the People. Perhaps a bit nasty in the Army-McCarthy hearings, but then that *was* against his fellow Congrescritters Upon the Hill. Something Sen. McCain cannot and will not do.

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