I recall an undergrad professor of mine who once joked that CBS' long-esteemed commentator, Eric Sevareid, fundamentally appreciated the wisdom of Rooseveltian liberalism, however just when his understanding was coming into its greatest focus and clarity, Sevareid would make another of his customary pilgrimages to England, where his old Tory friends would re-rattle his nerves and convince him that Yankee Bolsheviks were swarming over Jefferson's innocent and yeoman-like landscape. Sevareid would then come home, frantic as an A. Mitchell Palmer Red-baiter, and the whole, agonizing process of an intellectual rebirth would begin anew.
David Ignatius has often struck me (and this may be grossly unfair) much the same; he seems to roll along quite reasonably and rationally for a while, but--I guess?--he then schmoozes over heavy drink or light wine with neurotic, hyperaggressive spooks at our intelligence agencies and he goes all Dick Cheney on us. Then comes the sobering process, and calm and reason return--until the next bout of warrior-induced frenzy.
Again, perhaps I'm being unfair. If so, my apologies (not that David Ignatius would know me from a Bradley Personnel Carrier). Nonetheless I maintain that Ignatius emerges entirely from his rational side when he poses--with a dripping implication of his own preference--this question, resurrected from 2008: "Which one [Obama or Romney] would you trust at 3 a.m.?"
The foreign-policy angles of this election are acute--and acutely worrisome. Assuming the worst, Senate Democrats would always be around to frustrate and obstruct the GOP's domestic atrocities. But in the arena of foreign policy, U.S. presidents now virtually rule as absolute monarchs. And even the thought of the pathologically frivolous Mitt Romney being in sovereign charge of the globe's most powerful military is an utterly terrifying one.
Imagine, just imagine a President Romney surrounded by a horde of Dick Cheneys--the "kind of person I'd like to have" around me, said Romney last summer--inside a "national security" cage also inhabited by the chest-beating, knuckle-dragging likes of John Bolton, Dan Senor and Cofer Black, "one of the most brutal figures in CIA history," notes one observer.
This, I think, is what Ignatius imagines. Fortunately, the horror of it doesn't require much imagination--and its prevention requires even less effort: a simple vote against.