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They Don't Call It The "Silly Season" For Nothing

As former President Bill Clinton's appearance on "Fox News Sunday" has helped remind us, there are some pretty hefty issues to talk about down the homestretch of these midterm elections. There's national security and terrorism, energy issues and, oh yeah, the Iraq war. So why do we and our press corps seem more interested in words like "macaca" and the ancestry of our political candidates? Time's Joe Klein asks that question in his latest column and sums it up nicely in an interview with Virginia Democratic Senate nominee Jim Webb. Klein asserts that Webb, whose son is currently serving in Iraq, has something to add to the debate over the war even as the focus of the race has lately been about Senator George Allen's Jewish roots. From Klein's interview with Webb:
"Look, I can't sit in the third row of the bleachers and tell you exactly how we end this thing," he said. "And I'm not saying, Let's just pull 'em out, and who cares if the thing falls apart behind us. But the U.S. military wasn't built to be a police force, and we certainly shouldn't be the referees in a civil war. Iraq's neighbors are better positioned to handle that. We need to get the neighbors—including Syria and Iran—involved in stabilizing Iraq, but the Bush Administration has no interest in diplomacy." Webb's argument is flawed, but what Iraq scenario isn't? It should be the centerpiece of a serious national debate. But we remain a nation befogged by affluence and voyeurism, where the story of George Allen's mother is far more compelling than that of Jim Webb's son.

Shame on us.

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