Now we’re weary again. And there are many politicians all too willing to seek power and popularity by encouraging weariness rather than point out its perils. Foremost among those politicians is our current president. It’s hard to blame the American people for some degree of war weariness when their president downplays threats and is eager to shirk international responsibilities. The rot of war weariness begins at the top. One can’t, for example, be surprised at the ebbing support of the American public for the war in Afghanistan years after the president stopped trying to mobilize their support, stopped heralding the successes of the troops he’d sent there, and stopped explaining the importance of their mission.

That task of Republicans is to confront Obama on his irresponsibility, not compete with him. The task of a serious opposition party is to rally the nation to its responsibilities and long-term interests. The task of GOP political leaders is to educate the public about the dangers of the world and to inspire people to rise above their weariness. The task of American conservatives is not to let an understandable Obama-weariness turn into weariness in fighting the nation’s enemies or in supporting our troops in the field.

It fell to a freshman congressman, speaking at CPAC on the same day as Rand Paul, to tell some hard truths. “I know there is war weariness among the American people, just like there is war weariness among conservatives, and in this audience, no doubt,” said Tom Cotton from Yell County, Arkansas. “It’s no surprise, though, that the American people are war weary when their commander in chief is the weariest of them all.”