Mom, apple pie, and ammunition

Today’s New York Times has a full-page ad from the “Partnership for Secure America” with a smorgasbord of political names from appetizers to desserts: Lee Hamilton, Warren Rudman, Howard Baker, Sandy Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Warren Christopher, John Danforth, Lawrence Eagleburger, Gary Hart, Richard Holbrooke, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Tom Kean , Sam Nunn, Thomas Pickering, Theodore Sorensen…

They have a petition to sign — a manifesto, if they were being more aggressive — that, like the list of names, has a little of this and a little of that, with a generous serving of “but” clauses (my emphases):

* “America must be strong to be secure. Our government must work tirelessly to bring terrorists to justice and break up and destroy terrorist networks. But while our strength and security are measured partly by our military might and the courage of our men and women in uniform, they are also enhanced by our unfailing commitment to democracy, justice, and civil liberties both at home and abroad.”

* “America must always be ready to act alone when its security interests are threatened. But building strong alliances based on mutual respect and shared challenges, including working to renew and reform the United Nations, will make us more able to protect America’s interests.”

They’re also all for alternative energy to break the oil addiction and they’re all against the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. They want more money for emergency responders but they don’t like the federal debt. And they’re against “global poverty, disease, and under-development.”

I love moderation. We need more moderation and less fringe. But the problem with moderation born of committees and coalitions is that are often neutered of strategic vision and political resolve. I can’t argue with anything in this list. I applaud its moderation. I celebrate bipartisanship. But I wonder what happens from this.