It appears that we finally have some dissent in the blogosphere regarding the $20 billion reconstruction loan vs. grant issue, and Spoons, Dean Esmay, and the Discountblogger all seem to be either on the fence or in favor of the loans.
First, I will briefly address Spoons and Dean, because both of them seem to be waffling. I am not sure what kind of argument I can create that will push them over the edge in favor of grants only at this point in time. I could redirect them to yesterday’s post, where Max Sawicky and Matt Stinton wrote rather clearly why loans were a hideous idea. I could point to this Morton Kondracke article, or to this piece in the NY Times by David Brooks:
For the roster of the Pelosi Democrats, look at those who voted against the Bremer plan. Some names are obvious: Dennis Kucinich, Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer. But there are some names you wouldn’t expect to see on that list: John Kerry and John Edwards. France, Russia and Syria don’t oppose the Bremer plan, but the Pelosi Democrats are to the left of Bashar al-Assad.
Next we come to the Evan Bayh Democrats, named after the Indiana senator. These Democrats can see past their dislike of the president. They would appropriate some money for Iraqi reconstruction. But siding with the anti-foreign-aid Republicans, they’d turn the rest of the aid into loans. The Iraqi people have been raped, tortured and left bloodied on the floor. The Bayh Democrats say to them: Here’s a credit card. Go buy yourself some treatment, and you can pay us back later.
The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East. They may have read memos from the Democratic pollsters on the unpopularity of the $87 billion plan, but they don’t seem to have read about the Versailles Treaty and what happens when strong nations impose punitive burdens on proud ones.
Finally we come to the Cantwell Democrats. This group could be named after Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt, but Maria Cantwell, the Washington senator, sits at Scoop Jackson’s old desk on the Senate floor. The Cantwell Democrats are dismayed with how the Bush administration has handled the postwar period. They’d like to see the rich pay a bigger share of the reconstruction cost. But they knew yesterday’s vote wasn’t about George Bush. It was about doing what’s right for the Iraqi people and what’s right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future. This week, Gephardt, who has to win over Iowa liberals to have any shot at the White House, is the bravest man in Washington.
Those are the three Democratic visions