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Where Have All the Thatchers Gone?

12:25 PM, Apr 15, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Our pieces on Margaret Thatcher in this week's issue elicited many responses. Among the most eloquent and powerful was this email to the boss from a senior Hill staffer who deals with GOP members on national security issues, written, the staffer says, with "spontaneous passion while I was walking to meet a friend for lunch Saturday." It's reproduced here with the staffer's permission.

Thatcher

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"You are of course correct that Margaret Thatcher provides a remarkable contrast to the present opposition party in Washington.  But a key for an opposition leader is not only being strong and clear, but also picking the right battles and the time for them.  Thatcher was great at that.  The GOP, on the other hand, not only seems weak and muddled, our party is also terrible about knowing when and how to fight.

“Why do we have to spend so many hours explaining to GOP members that Ambassador Stevens was not in Libya to ship arms to Syrian rebels (we could be so lucky) and that his sexual orientation is completely irrelevant?  Why did our Senate leaders focus national attention on whether armed drones will destroy our freedom, when these guys know very well that their use in the United States has not been contemplated?  Why would we think that amending a functional AUMF is good idea when we can't control the outcome of that process and may in fact tie the hands of our war-fighters and future presidents?  In the national security domain, those are the fights our members are picking.

“And yet few seem to care much that we are undermining vital programs because of defense cuts; that our present approach to the world—which seeks to minimize America’s presence—will ensure many more Benghazis; and that what is happening in Syria is literally what our party and our bravest spent a decade trying to stop: al Qaeda taking over one of the most strategically important countries on earth with access to WMDs.

“Anyone care!?  Anyone?!  And I mean really care.  Not care because it sounds good or because they want to look like leaders.  I mean care because our survival depends on it.  I'm not sure many people in office right now feel what Thatcher felt—that a dying America is happening on their watch.”

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