Carol Platt Liebau: January 2007

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The "Surging" Flip-Flop Coalition

The Washington Times piece details the flip-flopping that members of the Craven Caucus (mostly Democrats, but also Chuck Hagel) have done when it comes to the Iraq troop surge.

Some are justifying their change of heart on the grounds that the war has become "bloody and unpopular." Bloody? With between 3 and 4 thousand troops dead? Of course, every single one of those lives was precious, but let's not forget that, in over four years, it's about the same number as the lives snuffed out in the space of moments on 9/11.

The real key is the word "unpopular." The war has, indeed, become unpopular, and politicians' shifting stances reveal more plainly than ever who are the finger-in-the-wind people, who care more about their own popularity than they do about national security and American victory in Iraq.

Republicans' War Worries

So some Republicans are worried that the Iraq war could damage their electoral prospects for a generation.

Hello? The damage will only be done if America loses the war. Amazingly, some Republican senators seem willing to turn on the Administration for its failure to run an error-free war -- rather than treating the American people like grownups and explaining that, unfortunately, mistakes occur in every war, and the proper response is to fix them, rather than to fix blame and then retreat.

Not only are the senators like Hagel, Graham, McCain, Brownback and the rest fatally injuring their own hopes for national office -- they're poisoning the well for many, many Republicans to come. That would be fine if anyone seriously believed that the Democratic alternatives will be better equipped to protect the country . . . but, of course, everyone knows the truth about that.

Slow Joe Does It Again

Perhaps there's a reason that Senator Joe Biden resorted to plagiarism in his last run for the presidency. That's because -- when he speaks in his own words -- they're revealing, often offensive, and almost always dumb.

Here's Slow Joe's most recent bon mot about Barack Obama:

I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy.

Wow. I'll just step aside and allow the allegedly non-mainstream, inarticulate, dim, dirty and unattractive African Americans to whom Biden was comparing Obama to comment.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Crisis of Courage, Indeed

Here is a wonderful piece from one of the remaining brave Republicans in the Senate, Jon Kyl. Senator Kyl points out that "A little practical wisdom, confidence in our cause, and more courage are sorely needed in the war against radical Islamists."

How right he is. In truth, the West is facing not just a crisis of courage; underneath it is a similarly pernicious crisis of confidence. Decades of multiculturalist, left-wing claptrap have left too many in the West unable to distinguish right from wrong -- or basically decent, civilized people from remorseless, barbaric terrorists.

Without the confidence to rally behind our own cause, it's not surprising that a crisis of courage -- which can sorely handicap people of conscience who are battling those with none -- is alive and well.

Congress' "War" Powers

This article from Reuters only spells out what is already obvious: Congress has the power to stop the war.

But its powers are limited by the Constitution, and it can only use the powers vested in it in order to do so. Congress can defund the war, because it's vested with appropriation power (i.e. the power of the purse). It can refuse to confirm generals to fight the war, because it's given confirmation powers.

But the management of the war is a province restricted to the Commander-in-Chief (i.e. the President). Congress has no business setting benchmarks (or strategy, for that matter). Nor can it retroactively "revoke" the authorization it offered President Bush to fight a war.

Congress' powers to "stop" the war are, in other words, limited to its constitutional prerogatives. Should be simple.

Interesting, though, that some in Congress would be interested. Who, exactly, in Congress would like bragging rights that they, singlehandedly, made us lose the war?

Not So Brave

Mickey Kaus takes issue with the new favorite media meme characterizing Chuck Hagel as "courageous."

As I recall, someone else has, too.
Mickey Kaus takes issue with the new favorite media meme characterizing Chuck Hagel as "courageous."

As I recall, someone else has, too.

Hillary's Revealing Resentment

John Podhoretz rightly takes Hillary to task for her comment that she "really resent[s]" the fact that troops may be tied up in Iraq until 2009.

To set aside the frivolous stuff first, her choice of words is interesting, as Podhoretz points out. I'd add that -- if she were as brilliant as she's talked up to be -- she'd know that it's particularly dangerous for women to discuss policy in terms of emotions. What next: The dreaded "I feel" formulation ("I feel this is the right thing to do" or "I feel taxes should be raised")?

More generally, however, her attitude is revealing of the Democratic attitude toward the war on terror generally. We all may regret the fact that Al Qaeda is in Iraq, and that it will take a steady effort, combined with blood and treasure, to defeat it. But Democrats do, indeed, "resent" the necessities occasioned by the war on terror, as it gets in the way of national health care and a host of other liberal initiatives. It also forces the Democrats onto military ground, where they are most uncomfortable.

That's something the electorate should keep in mind as 2008 rolls around. Can people who "resent" the efforts both to stop the spread of Islamofascist terror and to plan seeds of democracy in the Middle East really be trusted to do the job?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Boehner's Benchmarks

Hugh Hewitt's interview with House Minority Leader John Boehner was revealing, if not encouraging.

For some inexplicable reason, Boehner appears to be willing to join in on "resolution-mania" when it comes to the war -- without so much as responding to valid concerns that such resolutions will constitute encouragement to the enemy.

Minority Leader Boehner's phone number is (202) 225-6205. He needs to understand that the only acceptable resolution is one that calls unequivocally for victory in Iraq.

Those Bubble-Headed Female Voters

Outspoken left-wing feminist Linda Hirshman (whose ridiculous work has been commented upon on this blog in the past) simply outdoes herself with an op/ed that sounds like little more than a parody of old-time sexist claptrap.

Anyone care to guess why, in Hirshman's view, women may not rise up as one to embrace Hillary Clinton?

In every election, there's a chance that women will be the decisive force that will elect someone who embraces their views. Yet they seem never to have done so . . . My own theory is that women don't decide elections because they're not rational political actors -- they don't make firm policy commitments and back the candidates who will move society in the direction they want it to go. Instead, they vote on impulse, and on elusive factors such as personality. (emphasis added).

Little fuzzy-headed dears, they just pull the lever for the "nicest" candidate with the cutest neckties -- at least in Hirshman's world.

Can you imagine how profoundly insulting such commentary would be if it emanated from a man? One can argue that women are (like men) occasionally misled by some candidates, but it's the height of arrogance and condescension to insist that they either aren't aware of their own "true" interests or are too stupid to vote on that basis.

Given the feminists' history of supporting liberal men over conservative women, this is simply another iteration of the same old left-wing argument: That too much of the hoi polloi are just too dumb to vote for Democrats.

Ponder this: Many women may not support Hillary because they don't believe in a stronger government, a weaker military, more taxes and abortion.

A Catalog of Hillary's Fallacies

Senator Clinton is entitled to her own opinions, but she isn't entitled to her own reality. Here the New York Sun chronicles some of the more preposterous misstatements she's been peddling in her rather one-sided "conversation" with voters.

Restraining the Craven Caucus

It looks like weak-kneed Democrats (and Republicans, too) may have a bit more difficulty passing an anti-surge resolution than they had originally anticipated.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be sounding a new, more resolute tone -- perhaps he and his fellow Republican senators are beginning to understand the depth of outrage that a defeatist resolution would engender within the GOP.

For the Slow Kids

In undermining our chances of success in Iraq, Democrats have repeated charged that there is "nothing new" about President Bush's "surge" plan. Contrary to the Dems' claims, National security advisor Stephen Hadley lays out the new elements of the President's plan.

The new plan for Baghdad specifically corrects the problems that plagued previous efforts. First, it is an Iraqi-initiated plan for taking control of their capital. Second, there will be adequate forces (Iraqi and American) to hold neighborhoods cleared of terrorists and extremists. Third, there is a new operational concept -- one devised not just to pursue terrorists and extremists but to secure the population. Fourth, new rules of engagement will ensure that Iraqi and U.S. forces can pursue lawbreakers regardless of their community or sect. Fifth, security operations will be followed by economic assistance and reconstruction aid -- including billions of dollars in Iraqi funds -- offering jobs and the prospect of better lives.

These are meaningful changes. But don't be fooled; the Democrats won't listen. Facts can get in the way of political advantage -- and the Dem attack is about nothing if not politics.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Earth to Hill Republicans

If Republicans think they can sign on to resolutions that signal weakness and defeatism on the Iraq war, they had better consider the opinions of those who work, contribute and vote for them.

The poll numbers are laid out here, and they make it clear beyond a shadow of a doubt that Republicans generally (not just the conservatives, not just the "base") unequivocally support victory -- not weakness -- when it comes to the Iraq war.

These are clear indications of voter conviction that the Republican politicians will ignore at their great, great peril.

One more time again, Republican wobblies: What exactly is the upside of a resolution that will encourage our enemies and make our soldiers' job more difficult?

Ginsburg "Isolated" on Court?

According to this piece from The Washington Post, Justice Ginsburg feels isolated as the lone woman on the Supreme Court.

Discussing Justice O'Connor, Justice Ginsburg said:

We divide on a lot of important questions, but we have had the experience of growing up women and we have certain sensitivities that our male colleagues lack.

To me, this is a particularly pernicious argument for a judge -- any judge -- to make. It suggests that one's position on legal questions is properly affected by one's own personal experience, rather than by what the law requires. If women have "certain sensitivities" that render them differently qualified for the bench than men, then wouldn't those who have had abortions (or who were nearly killed by them) be vested with "certain sensitivities" that other people lack? How about crime victims? Or any other host of special classifications?

Obviously, it's probably impossible to divorce one's own experience completely from one's judging in every case -- but that should be the goal. By legitimizing the idea that different people are going to come to different decisions based on their own life experiences, Justice Ginsburg undermines the important idea that justice should be completely color- (and gender-!) blind.

A Telling Omission?

Here is another glowing article -- this time in The NY Times -- about Barack Obama's leadership of the Harvard Law Review.

What's worth noting is that there is a Review member from Barack's year (the one before mine) who spoke to the Times for this piece, and gave a significantly less flattering account of his leadership than the one that appears.

Usually, the Times seems quite willing to publish dissenting views, especially ones that may raise questions about a presidential candidate, and especially when they came from a reputable source (these did).

Wonder why such dissenting views were conveniently omitted this time?

Clarence Thomas: The True Story

There's been plenty of hand-wringing and angst over reportedly innacurate reports that Barack Obama attended a madrassah.

For some reason, there's been considerably less concern about the much greater and uglier lies that have been told about Justice Clarence Thomas, but finally, the record is being set straight.

Contrary to the racist myth that he followed Justice Scalia's votes, for example, Jan Crawford Greenberg cites at least one instance where "After [Justice Thomas] sent his dissenting opinion to the other justices, as is custom, Justices Rehnquist, Scalia and Kennedy changed their votes. The case ended up 5-4."

Having had the privilege to know Justice Thomas personally, at least in a small way, I have been impressed by the force of his intellect, and the inherent kindness and decency of his character. His law clerks can tell wonderful stories about his (and Mrs. Thomas') acts of remarkable kindness. For anyone spending any small amount of time with the Justice, it is eminently clear that Anita Hill's allegations were nothing more than bald-faced lies.

And it's about time the truth was told about a fine man and remarkable justice.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Academic Free Riders

Harvard Professor Ruth Wisse points out the hypocrisy and what she labels "gliberalism" of the modern elite academy -- which is all too happy to be able to avail themselves of "civil liberties" but discourages students from doing what needs to be done to protect them.

The Vietnam/Iraq Comparison

This blog noted yesterday that Jim Webb discouraged comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq, lest it undermine his efforts to drive down support for the Iraq mission.

Here's a piece by Fred Barnes that describes in more detail why Webb is right to shun the Vietnam comparisons.

The Softening Effects of Time

Imagine my surprise when my father-in-law informed me that my picture is in the LA Times today. In fact, there's a picture of the entire Harvard Law Review staff from Vol. 104 of the Review (1990-91) attached to this story covering Barack Obama's tenure as President of the Harvard Law Review. Although we were there together for only one of his two years, it strikes me that, once again, the passage of time has had the salutary effect of softening memories. As a conservative in an overwhelmingly liberal institution, my recollection was that the presidential race always came down to a calculation about the lesser of two evils.

I Like Dick Cheney

This is what's passing for commentary in an American newspaper?

Please. Dick Cheney's unapologetic style may trouble those who are cowards, or who want Republicans in a perpetual defensive crouch. The rest of us like him just fine, thank you.

Poking at Hillary

David Broder, usually little more than a barometer of conventional Beltway wisdom, takes some unexpected pokes at Hillary Clinton's questioning (or, more accurately, non-questioning) of General Petraeus last week.

He winds up by raising the

possibility . . . that Clinton is reverting to the mode of her ill-fated 1993-94 health-care initiative, when she gave members of Congress and other interested folks the impression that she thought she had all the answers -- so please just do as I say.

Is Broder simply intoxicated by Obamamania, or is Hillary significantly less popular inside the Beltway than we've been led to believe?

Friday, January 26, 2007

More from the Craven Caucus

This piece summarizes the ridiculous posturing taking place in the US Senate, as senators confirm General Petraeus, even as they ignore his judgment that a non-binding resolution expressing doubt about the troop surge will encourage the enemy (Secretary of Defense Gates has also echoed that assessment).

Note that Jim Webb is resisting comparisons between Vietnam and Iraq -- because they might undermine opposition to the Iraq war from those who supported Vietnam! Please. Of course, he's got a point -- it's not smart to remind people of the bloodbath, the years of perceived American weakness, and the encouragement to America's adversaries that resulted from the Vietnam retreat . . . the same kind of retreat the Dems want to force in Iraq.

CNN has reported that Mitch McConnell might sign onto John McCain's resolution. My question to all the Republican senators is this: What's the hurry? Why not give the President's plan a chance to work? All it takes is a simple explanation:

The Republicans -- unlike the Dems -- support a victory in Iraq. General Petraeus has told us that it will make his mission more difficult if the Senate passes non-binding resolutions signalling equivocal support for his troops' mission, because such resolutions will embolden the enemy. Whatever our private concerns, we simply won't support anything that can be construed as helpful to the enemy, or dangerous to our troops. Period.

If the Republicans think Americans can't understand that reasoning, then they need to resign and go home, because they have lost touch wtih the heart of this country. The 2006 election results weren't a cry for defeat -- they were an expression of frustration at the apparent lack of progress in achieving one goal: Victory.

Why don't the Republicans get it?

No More Iranian "Catch 'n Release"

Sometimes one has the feeling that if normal Americans understood the constraints under which American soldiers in Iraq have been operating, they'd be surprised -- and appalled.

Here's another example. Under a new policy, soldiers will be able to kill and capture Iranians who are inside Iraq to try to harm Americans and innocent Iraqis. The fact that the policy is "new" means that up to now, our soldiers have been prohibited from doing so; rather, they've been captured and then released after a few days to fight again.


What's likewise amazing:

[S]everal influential skeptics in the intelligence community, at the State Department and at the Defense Department . . .said that they worry it could push the growing conflict between Tehran and Washington into the center of a chaotic Iraq war.

How revealing of the left-wing mentality. Better to let our soldiers be victimized, lest defending ourselves and eliminating terrorist Iranians in Iraq upsets Mahmoud Ahmadinejad!

The way those people reason, one would think that we were the rogue state building nuclear weapons in defiance of world opinion -- and that we were the ones trying to destablize a neighboring country. How completely backwards, how utterly obtuse.

If they were doing their jobs properly, Ahmadinejad would be worried about upsetting us -- not vice versa.

Hagel Has "Guts"?

Peggy Noonan thinks that Chuck Hagel has "guts" because he was willing to say unfavorable things about the war long before it was fashionable to do so.

It doesn't strike me that was particularly "gutsy" on Hagel's part. As he's learned from the example of John McCain, whenever a Republican senator steps forward to criticize a president of his own party, he'll always find a receptive audience among the MSM, and he can be confident of favorable coverage. That's particularly true when it's a Vietnam war vet criticizing a Republican president about the war. And as he's learned from the example of Lincoln Chafee, no matter what he does, it's practically impossible to lose the support of the Republican party apparatus and fundraising machine.

If the war had gone well, his criticism would have been nothing more than proof of his "maverick" status, and forgotten quickly. If things went poorly, he looked prescient. So what, exactly, was the downside -- unless one counts the military equivalent of "talking down the market" as a downside, of course?

Mrs. Noonan sees the debate on non-binding resolutions as senators becoming "serious" and "taking a stand." With all due respect, only in politics could passing statements of sentiment -- with no force whatsoever behind them -- count as "taking a stand." How heroic is it to do so when the general entrusted with the Iraq mission has pointed out that it will embolden America's enemies, thereby making victory more difficult?

If the senators want to "take a stand," let them stand behind some action. Let them propose an action plan for victory, or defund the war. Otherwise, in this craven and poisonous political environment, the only really courageous non-binding resolution would be the one that calls for victory -- and nothing but.

Hollywood's Ingratitude

If Islamofascist terrorists ever took control of this country, one of the first places they'd clean out is Hollywood -- as they see it, nothing but a cesspool of sexual immorality and homosexuals (and, oh yes, don't forget the Jewish people).

That's why it's so ironic that, as Andrew Klavan writes, Hollywood quails at depicting the central struggle of our time.

He writes:

We've become uncomfortable to the point of paralysis when reality draws the limits of tolerance and survival demands pride in our traditions and ferocity in their defense. We can show homegrown terrorists in, say, "Déjà Vu" or real-life ones, as in "United 93," but we can't bring ourselves to fictionalize the larger idea: Islamo-fascism is an evil and American liberty a good.

Which is a shame. It's a shame for so powerful an art form to become irrelevant because we can't find a way to dramatize the central event of our time. It's a shame that we live under the tireless protection of lawmen and warriors and don't pay tribute to them. And purely in artistic terms, it's a shame that so many great stories are just waiting to be told and we're not telling them.

Heaven help Hollywood if YouTube and similar devices would ever allow the masses greater access to the means of film production (how's that for a little Marxist lingo?). Look what the internet is doing to the newspapers . . . that's a foretaste of what would happen to the movies.

"America's Lady MacBeth"

Gerard Baker offers a scathing assessment of Hillary Clinton's character -- but it's one that has the essential ring of truth.

When one examines all that Senator Clinton has compromised, all that she's done, and all that she's said -- most obviously in pursuit of the presidency -- it is, indeed, "rather terrifying." How big a drive to have power -- to rule over people -- can one person possess? It takes ego for anyone to run for the presidency; how much ego must one have to have planned and pursued such a plan with such relentless efficiency for so many years?

During my days in college and law school, Senator Clinton's "type" became very familiar to me. There are tons of people like her at every Ivy League school in the country. Some of them may be well-intentioned, but their relentless ambitions aren't really about "helping" other people, no matter what they say. Instead, they're about filling some gaping emptiness within -- validating their existence, their entitlement to an assortment of privileges, their "smartness," and (in their own minds, at least) their status as top dogs in a "natural" meritocracy.

Even the well-intentioned people of this type genuinely believe that they are destined, by virtue of their (supposedly) superior brainpower, to command society, and to lead those less intellectually endowed. They believe that they are right to do it -- and that they are entitled to do it -- whether "the (common) people" agree with them or not.

It's impossible to know what internal forces drive Mrs. Clinton. But rest assured she's not running for President with such indefatigable ruthlessness and lack of principle simply because of a driving desire to serve her country and help her fellow men.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Way to Lose, McCain

I have had little use for John McCain's presidential candidacy, because of his stance on judicial nominations, immigration "reform," campaign finance "reform," some of the President's tax cuts, and his showboating on the alleged "torture" of terrorist detainnes.

One reason I would nonetheless have supported him -- really, the only reason -- had he been the nominee was because of his strong and principled support for victory in Iraq up to now. Now, he's trying to strike up a "compromise" on the pernicious Warner resolution.

What a mistake. One would have thought that Senator McCain would understand that -- just like one can't be a little bit pregnant -- one can't be a little bit defeatist.

Either he is serious about victory in Iraq, and helping to secure the conditions that will facilitate it, or he's serious about playing footsie with the Craven Caucus in the Senate.

If it's the former, I could support him for President if he won the nomination, despite my other disagreements with him. If it's the latter, then I've got nothing but contempt for the whole undertaking. And I doubt I'm alone.

It's worth asking: Why are the Republicans so eager to accommodate the Democrats and defeatists? It's fully 22 months before the next election. How 'bout giving the President's plan time to work (or not) before heading for the political tall grass like a pack of scared bunnies?

How To Help

Here's the best way to defeat the craven caucus and the chorus of defeatists who -- in contravention of General Petraeus' expressed wishes and best judgment -- are considering a non-binding resolution opposing the troop surge.

Below is the list of wobblies. Please call them and tell them that if they support this defeatist measure -- or any measure that indicates a lack of confidence in the possibility of a US victory in Iraq -- there will be no more support, either for them or for the National Republican Senatorial Committee:

Senator Alexander’s (TN) phone: (202) 224-4944; e-mail.

Senator Brownback’s (KS) phone: (202) 224-6521; e-mail.

Senator Coleman’s (MN) phone: (202) 224-5641; e-mail.

Senator Collins’ (ME) phone: (202) 224-2523; e-mail.

Senator Smith’s (OR) phone: (202) 224-3753; e-mail.

Senator Voinovich's (OH) phone: (202) 224-3353; e-mail.

Below is the GOP leadership, which needs to understand that no resolution that will give comfort to the enemy should be passed -- and that the Warner resolution should be filibustered if necessary:

Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (KY) phone is (202) 224-2541; e-mail.

Minority Whip Trent Lott’s (MS) phone is (202) 224-6253; e-mail is here.

Senator Jon Kyl’s (AZ) phone is (202) 224-4521; e-mail is here.

Senator John Ensign’s phone is (202) 224-6244; email.

(HT: Hugh Hewitt).

The Most Conservative Viable Contender?

Steven Malanga lays out a comprehensive argument that Rudy Giuliani is the most conservative candidate in the Republication presidential race who actually has a chance of winning.

The Politics of Pessimism

Daniel Henninger quite rightly points out that many in the US seem as determined as possible to talk us into defeat in Iraq.

How insane. What they're suggesting is that, through the use of improvised explosive devices, some terrorist insurgents are capable of vanquishing the mighty US military -- the greatest in the history of man -- and sending the world's preeminent superpower home with its tail between its legs.

Put that way, the narrative is patently ridiculous, but it's propagated because almost every Democrat has decided that it's in his (or her!) political interests to see President Bush's efforts fail. What's more, they're willing to drive down the country's morale, the military's spirit, and the US's standing in the world in order to do so.

Henninger writes:

As a political strategy, unremitting opposition has worked. Approval for the president and the war is low. The GOP lost sight of its ideological lodestars and so control of Congress. But the U.S. still occupies a unique position of power in the world, and we are putting that status at risk by playing politics without a net.

The Democrats are pursuing a very risky strategy. Pessmism may work in the short term, but it isn't a defining characteristic of the American personality. Heaven help them if they succeed in driving us to defeat in Iraq, and that defeat is followed by new, bolder terrorist incursions. Or if any other evidence emerges that would show that they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

What's more, to the extent that we are squandering our influence and power in the world by coming across like a glass-jawed warrior, we're running the risk of creating a power vacuum. Some of the hard leftists don't mind that, at all . . . they like almost any other nation that would rise to fill it more than they love America. But that doesn't go for the rest of us.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Take the Pledge

I have taken the pledge.

Have you?

Americans Aren't Defeatist

In contrast to the Democrats, Americans in general aren't defeatist. It's worth noting that they liked the President's speech.

But the most revealing number was this:

Among the speech viewers, 51 percent said they were very or somewhat confident that the United States will achieve its goals in Iraq. After Bush's 2004 speech, the number was 71 percent.

Americans aren't craven -- they want to win, they want to be told we can win, and they want policies that represent an effort to win. If the MSM and Democrats would actually support the troops and the war -- or at least refrain from trying to dampen support for what's being done in Iraq -- there's a good bet that public morale would be high, and America's enemies would figure that they were facing a stern and resolute adversary. And that, of course, would help our soldiers win.

Unfit to Be President

Sorry for the light posting today -- Blogger has not been operating properly.

With his sponsorship and support of a resolution against the troop surge (a/k/a the best hope of victory) in Iraq, Joe Biden has shown why he -- and every Democrat except Joe Lieberman -- is manifestly unfit to be President.

Don't believe his specious drivel about wanting to "save the President from making a significant mistake." He knows that the troops are going, no matter what the non-binding resolution says, and so do the rest of the Democrats (as Hillary Clinton noted yesterday in a different context, "The president is going forward with the policy, the debate is academic.")

And given what General Petraeus said -- that more troops is the only way we can succeed in Iraq, and passing the resolution would embolden our enemies -- it's amazing that anyone would ever believe that there's anything BUT domestic political calculation behind this pathetic stunt.

At least Norm Coleman is a person of honor, and he voted against the motion.

If there's any good resulting from any of this, at least the record will be clear for the American people: They will know who was willing to try anything to succeed in Iraq -- and who wanted only to admit defeat.

Speaking of politics, after this, the Democrats had better hope the surge won't work -- which, of course, they do already.

"A New Political Voice"

John Podhoretz offers an insightful assessment of the President's speech.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

State of the Union & Response

Text is here. For a State of the Union address, it was actually very strong.

President Bush's health care proposal was intriguing. By allowing standard tax deductions for health insurane provided by employers up to $15,000, health care could be made more affordable, and it would be done through the private system, rather than the kind of single-payer (government) system favored by many Dems. Unfortunately, it's unlikely to go anywhere (Pete Stark, who favors a single payer system, controls one of the relevant House committees and has refused even to hold a hearing). In large part, the bill's predictable Democratic opposition stems from the fact that many in the Democrats' union constituency receive gold-plated health care packages in excess of $15,000, and they aren't willing to pay any taxes on 'em. (One has to wonder what's become of the usual liberal thirst for "sacrifice.")

But the heart and soul of the speech -- and its finest moments -- came in the part about the war on terror and Iraq. Placing Iraq in the context of the larger war on terror, reviewing the progress and the setbacks, outlining the consequences of defeat and, in particular, listing some of the thwarted terrorist attacks were extremely effective.

Even so, there's something a bit sad about a President -- in wartime -- being forced to ask for the opposition party's support for the troops, isn't there? Perhaps the most powerful passage in the entire address was this:

We went into this largely united – in our assumptions, and in our convictions. And whatever you voted for, you did not vote for failure. Our country is pursuing a new strategy in Iraq – and I ask you to give it a chance to work. And I ask you to support our troops in the field – and those on their way.

Such imploring should be unnecessary. Sadly, it's not, as attested to by the Dems' stony faces when the topic of "success" came up. It seems hard to deny that they are, ideologically, personally and politically, as committed to defeat as they should be to victory.

On the other side, new Virginia senator Jim Webb offered the Democratic response. Not surprisingly, it was the usual Democratic mishmash of class warfare and defeatism.

It's not surprising that Webb was chosen to give the response. Aside from the fact that he's a veteran, it would also be hard for many of the Democratic senators to criticize the war as he did, especially given that most of them voted for it. And so, when Webb charges that the President took us into war "recklessly," I wonder what he thinks of Senators Clinton and Kerry's (and Edwards') vote to authorize it? Does he not recall the months of dithering with "allies," the talks with the UN, the endless resolutions, and the international consensus that Saddam possessed WMD? Or is he simply willing to try to rewrite history for crass, politically expedient purposes?

Reportedly, Webb wrote his speech himself, and it showed. First -- and significantly -- there wasn't any call for victory or success in Iraq, just an insistence that the war be brought to (an unspecified) "proper conclusion." Second, he alleged that a "majority of the military" no longer supports the war. What, exactly, is his evidence for that?

Finally, even as he asserted that Democrats were not for a "precipitous withdrawal," he said that the troops "should come home in short order." There was also the usual talk of "phased redeployment."

It doesn't take a genius to understand what the euphemisms mean. The war has gotten tough, so the Dems want to give up and quit . . . the consequences be damned.

The Republican Craven Caucus

Everyone knows that there are craven Democrats among us -- who want nothing more than domestic political victory, even at the cost of success in the war on terror, and are therefore working and even hoping for our defeat in Iraq.

What's heartbreaking is to realize that the Craven Caucus extends to the right side of the aisle, with Republican senators opposing the President's effort to win the Iraq war. The following are threatening to join with the Democrats in passing a resolution opposing the troop surge:

John Warner - Virginia
Gordon Smith - Oregon
Susan Collins - Maine
Chuck Hagel - Nebraska
Olympia Snowe - Maine
Norm Coleman - Minnesota
Sam Brownback - Kansas

Here is the bottom line. This morning, in testimony, General Petraeus made two points:

(1)He cannot fulfill his mission without the additional troops that the resolution backed by the Craven Caucus would oppose; in other words, without it, victory is impossible.

(2) The Senate resolution backed by the Craven Caucus would encourage the enemy by highlighting divisions among the American people.

Given this testimony -- from the General charged with trying to secure victory in Iraq -- it is incomprehensible that any conscientious senator, from any party, would insist on pushing through such a resolution. Doing so in effect means that one stands opposed to the best chance of victory in Iraq, and in order to make a symbolic statement to that effect, he is willing to risk encouraging America's enemies.

Through collaborating with the Democrat effort to undermine a viable strategy for success in Iraq, the Craven Caucus is sapping the morale of our fighting men and women; they are also discouraging our allies -- including brave people seeking a free and religiously moderate Middle East.

Most of all, by emboldening our enemies with the hope that American will and resolution is weak and crumbling, they are painting bulls-eyes on the back of every soldier serving in Iraq -- because our enemies will conclude that more carnage will help them prevail.

What can you do to stop this outrageous, disgusting and reprehensible behavior? Call Minority Leader McConnell, and the senators listed above at (202) 225-3121.

And take the pledge. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Following the Carter Money Trail

Claudia Rosett raises some troubling questions about the identity of Carter Center donors.

What's more, she lays her figure on what is, perhaps, the most offensive element of Carter's public activities:

[F]or years [Carter] has run his own mini-presidency — complete with a series of attempts to outflank or shape the policies of sitting presidents. These have included — to name just two examples — his letter-writing campaign in 1990 to members of the United Nations Security Council, in an effort to thwart the Bush I coalition that fought the first Gulf War against Saddam Hussein; and his 1994 trip to North Korea, where he proposed to the dying tyrant Kim Il Sung a deeply flawed nuclear-freeze deal that may well have helped Kim’s son consolidate power and develop ICBMs and atomic bombs.

Jimmy Carter's efforts to "run his own mini-presidency" would be inappropriate in any case. They are particularly ridiculous and unwelcome -- as well as indicative of a certain lack of humility -- given his record of abject failure, particularly in the area of foreign policy and handling America's enemies.

The Global Warming Bullies

This piece highlights the continuing efforts of some who believe global warming is human-caused to shut out dissenting voices, at the expense of open debat and scientific veracity.

That's not the kind of behavior that's characteristic of those who have the facts on their side. Rather than trying to stifle debate, why don't the man-made global warming enthusiasts rebut it -- with facts?

I'm open to being convinced about the reality of man made global warming, but it's hard not to be suspicious of people who are eager to impose drastic controls on the way Americans live . . . and don't even want to have to prove the necessarity of such measures to the satisfaction of normal people.

Update: Here's more about who the Union of Concerned Scientists -- one of the most prominent bully groups -- actually is. Hint: Its members fought President Reagan and agitated for a nuclear freeze during the '80's.

The Surge: Already Helping

Jack Kelly points out three significant ways that the President's "surge" may already be helping events in Iraq:

(1) Al Qaeda is retreating from Baghdad.

(2) The radical clerick Al Sadr, whose Mahdi army has been fueling many of the attacks on Sunnis, has calmed his rhetoric.

(3) Prime Minister Maliki is putting some much-needed distance between himself and Al Sadr.

Even if things begin to improve, however, don't expect to hear it from the Democrats or the press. Having staked so much of their hearts and reputations on the promise of failure, they're not going to want to have their doomsaying and defeatism gainsayed now.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bottom-Feeding Prose

If it's true that one can "support the troops" without supporting the cause for which they're giving (or have given) their lives, someone ought to alert Paul Whitefield, the author of a repugnant piece in Sunday's LA Times, which played into every insulting and ugly stereotype about Vietnam War veterans. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Whitefield may not have agreed with the Vietnam War, but that doesn't mean that its veterans aren't entitled to his gratitude and respect. His piece was a disgrace.

What does it say about the Times' mentality that such a piece of garbage would be published -- is that what passes for humor down on Spring Street? Perhaps it's revealing of the mentality at the Times that a person like Whiteside has actually found gainful employment supervising the Times' editorial copy desk.

No Madrassa for Obama

Contrary to a report run by Insight magazine last week, CNN insists that Barack Obama attended a Muslim school, but it was not a madrassa.

Thought Experiment

If Al Qaeda in Iraq had actually succeeded in their plans to attack the U.S. here at home, would the liberals agree that we should stay, fight and try to win the war?

Or would it just become another reason they believe we should turn tail and run?

Hillary's Woes

This piece points out that many Democrats have very real concerns about Hillary Clinton.

Honestly, it seems clear that most actually oppose her for her vote to authorize the war in Iraq; happily for them, the "she can't win" mantra provides another rationale for their opposition.

Keeping the Democrats Liberal

Now, here's a group to love. "They Work for Us" is a collection of liberal groups, trial lawyers and labor, who intend to make sure that those elected as Democrats hew to the lefty line.

I wish 'em luck. They're the Republicans' best friends in their efforts to retake the House.

Finally, Our Side of the Story

After a weekend in which the MSM ran endlessly pessimistic accounts of the American servicemen who were killed in Iraq, the military is disclosing that, in fact, even more Al Qaeda were eliminated.

Thank you. It's about time. No wonder Americans haven't felt as though any progress was being made -- for too long, the sad stories about American casualties haven't been balanced with the accounts of enemy deaths, in large part because of a failure of communication on the part of the armed services.

This is a welcome start.

Maverick McCain

My Townhall column on John McCain -- and how he's caught in a "big squeeze" -- is here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

An Interesting Argument About Romney

Jonathan Last makes an interesting -- and hitherto unheard -- argument about Mitt Romney. The idea is that he may not be an ideological conservative, but he's willing to promise to govern as one . . . and when Romney's made such promises in the past, he's stuck to them.

Oh, and Last also thinks that Romney is a "seriously great politician."

Can You Hear the Derisive Laughter?

It's hard to imagine who in the world Chuck Hagel thinks would vote for him, as he muses running for President as an indepenent.

Clearly the most dislikable nominal Republican in the Senate since the departure of Lincoln Chafee, there's hardly a member of the GOP who would even consider a Hagel candidacy.

Then again, he has also said that he won't leave the party -- that it should simply change to conform more closely with his own beliefs (it's a testament to the power of self-delusion for Hagel to think he has enough of a constituency to convince anyone of anything . . .)

Ultimately, there's no way Hagel will fly the GOP coop -- probably because he realizes that his talk of being an independent might, actually, alienate the long-suffering Nebraska Republicans who have foisted this senatorial mistake on us all. Well, we can hope. Primary challenge, anyone?

Now Mondale Is a Crank, Too

Serious questions are being raised about Jimmy Carter's judgment -- and it's long been clear that he's turned into something of a crank.

How disappointing to find that Mondale may be going down the same path. Today, on "Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer" he had this to say:

One of the things I'm proudest of of our four years together is that we told the truth, we obeyed the law, and we kept the peace . . . I think we're seeing evidence of what happens when you stray from these fundamental principles."

He went on to talk about the dangers posed by Dick Cheney having established a (I kid you not) "parallel government." Paging Art Bell.

Of course, given the four year long train wreck that the Carter administration was, it's understandable that both Carter and Mondale would be busily trying to help everyone forget that the flame of radical Islam was ignited on his watch -- as he stood by impotently.

Given that Gerald Ford (and Nixon for that matter) could have had a lot to say about the breathtakingly inept performance of Carter/Mondale when they were in office, it's remarkable that the former President and Vice president would be so graceless, so crass, and so partisan.

Perhaps it's just another sign of how fall the Democratic Party has fallen.

Time on Their Hands

As Debra Saunders points out, one needn't be a proponent of spanking to be absolutely appalled at an effort on the part of California Assemblywoman Sally Lieber to pass a law, under which a single swat to the bottom of a child under three would be punishable by a year in prison or a $1,000 fine.

Ms. Lieber is entirely entitled to her views on child rearing. What, it seems, she should not be entitled to do is to impose that view -- using the heavy hand of an authoritarian state -- to impose her beliefs on others (and one would think that, as someone who has never been a mother, she'd have a bit more humility about trying to do so).

If the legislation prevented parents from abusing or hurting children, that would be one thing. But this is just another example of an overintrusive government -- that isn't even performing its core functions all that well -- looking to extend its authority more and more over individual families.

What's more, let's not even pretend this is "for the children." Help me understand why it would be in a 2 year old's best interest to have her mother -- who might have swatted her behind once -- in prison for a year. Heaven preserve the children from such state "protection."

Inconvenient Questions

Al Gore is apparently unwilling to answer questions that challenge many of his cataclysmic pronouncements about global warming. In fact, as the linked article points out, he refuses to do so.

This tendency -- which many of the more radical environmentalists seem to share -- is profoundly counterproductive to their cause. All of us have a shared interest in making sure that the planet remains habitable. But the whole mass of global warming controversy is continually discredited by bully boy tactics and the unwillingness of its proponents to debate the skeptics, fair and square.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Where's the "Vision Thing"?

Real Clear Politics' Tom Bevan notes the absence of "the vision thing" in Barack Obama's pitch for the presidency.

But it's not just vision that's lacking: As the old lady in the Wendy's commercial asked, circa 1984, "Where's the beef?"

For a while, lots of vision can obscure a lack of substance, and vice-versa. But when there's neither vision nor substance, it can mean trouble.

No doubt Barack is surrounded by legions of advisors, and they're working on these problems. It will be interesting to see how far, how long the adulation of the MSM can carry him.

The Hypocritical Democrats

Democrats are faulting President Bush for failing to secure energy independence.

It's remarkable, from the group of people who have filibustered every attempt to drill in the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve -- and what's more, they want to make the ban permanent.

The Cost of Failure

Victor Davis Hansen offers a sober appraisal of what defeat in Iraq would really mean, and concludes with one crowning irony:

Leaving Iraq prematurely will also damage the credibility of the Democratic party, the reputation of American ground forces, and the idealism of American foreign policy — just those principles that the critics of the war oddly claim they will be saving by fleeing.

She's In

In what has been the preeminently predictable political story of 2007, Hillary Clinton has finally declared her candidacy for President.

One gets the sense that she's declaring a bit earlier than she'd have liked to, in part because of Barack Obama's decision to throw his hat in the ring. Even so, it's obvious that she's decided that she can't afford to have him suck up all the political oxygen, along with potential donors and supporters, and so decided to get with it.

It will be interesting to see how Hillary does as the first woman to make a truly viable run at The White House. There are certain marked disadvantages that come with being a female candidate for president; for one, fairly or not, it's easier to sound shrewish and strident when levelling criticism at the other side. What's more, Mrs. Clinton herself projects an air of "know-it-all-ism" that (again, fairly or not) is particularly annoying when it emanates from a woman. What may seem simply like projecting a commanding leadership potential when Barack Obama does it may end up coming across as bossiness when Hillary tries the same thing.

Her toughest task will be to convince people that she's tough enough for the job, without likewise convincing them that she's so tough that the electorate decides it can't bear to see her on television every day for the next four years. And that's even leaving aside the multitude of questions that have been left unanswered about everything from her cattle shares killing to the Clinton Administration's inaction on Islamofascist terrorism.

Finally, is America ready to see Bill Clinton once again roaming the halls of The Whit House -- this time, with time on his hands?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Underestimate Barack Obama?

Don't do it, warns one Chicago journalist who has known Barack since he entered the US Senate race in 2003 (and he's right).

Looks like that's one mistake Hillary's team members won't make -- they're already raising some ugly questions about Obama's honesty (and religious heritage). No doubt it's because they can identify a potential threat when they see one.

Even Jesse Jackson may be climbing on the Obama bandwagon, albeit reluctantly -- given that it would mean he can no longer style himself as the nation's preeminent "black leader." And that burgeoning support, if nothing else, is a testament to Obama's liberalism . . . because Heaven knows that Jackson cares more about left-wing politics than racial solidarity, as Clarence Thomas and Condoleezza Rice could no doubt testify.

First Amendment "Flexibility"

How ridiculous. All the legal academics who are so quick to laud the exercise of First Amendment rights when it comes time to trash America are discussing the question of whether it's possible to use the "discipline" of California Bar rules to penalize the much-maligned Charles Stimson for criticizing the white-shoe law firms who rush to represent terrorist "detainees" pro bono.

It's always the same story for the liberals: The First Amendment applies only to the causes they like.

No Retreat

For the slow kids in the class, Henry Kissinger explains why, in Iraq, failure is not an option (sorry, Dems & Chuck Hagel):

American forces are indispensable. They are in Iraq not as a favor to its government or as a reward for its conduct. They are there as an expression of the American national interest to prevent the Iranian combination of imperialism and fundamentalist ideology from dominating a region on which the energy supplies of the industrial democracies depend.

An abrupt American departure will greatly complicate efforts to help stem the terrorist tide far beyond Iraq; fragile governments from Lebanon to the Gulf will be tempted into pre-emptive concessions. It might drive the sectarian conflict within Iraq to genocidal dimensions.

I haven't always been a fan of all Kissinger's detente and realpolitik, but he's dead right about this one.

Barbara Boxer Was Right?

This piece in today's New York Sun essentially argues that Barbara Boxer "got it right" in linking Condi Rice's childless state to her position on the war. Why? Because "Most mothers are paranoid nut jobs constantly freaking out about death."

Give me a break. This is a profoundly dangerous argument -- for women, especially -- on several levels. First, it plays into the age-old stereotype that women can't be trusted with questions of war, because they are just soft, nurturing creatures who would rather see all of us in burqas than call out the army.

Second, it buys into Barbara Boxer's pernicious mindset -- that someone can't truly understand or care about something unless she is personally involved or has personal experience with it. That's an amazingly short-sighted argument for anyone who loves a democratic-republic form of government, because it effectively insists that credible decisions can't be made by everyone on behalf of the public good, but instead must be handed over to those who have a personal stake (who, one could argue, are the ones too blinded by personal interest to make good decisions on behalf of everyone else).

For someone who extols the "knee buckling empathy" that supposedly comes with motherhood, this author certainly has all too little for Dr. Rice -- as did "mother" Barbara Boxer.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Profiles in Cowardice

As the editors at National Review Online point out, Senators Biden, Levin and Hagel should be ashamed.

What is the purpose of a resolution of disapproval about the war? It has no effect besides to demoralize the troops, embolden our enemies, and dispirit our allies.

If the Democrats believe that our troops are truly being asked to die in a mistaken cause, they have the obligation to de-fund the war (which Nancy Pelosi has declined to do). But if the cause is worth allowing soldiers to continue to die for it (which it is), then surely the President's plan to try to win the war merits senatorial silence -- if support for victory from these craven defeat-mongers is too much to ask.

Obamamania and Its Detractors

"You're no JFK,", the Boston Globe's Joan Vennochi tells Barack Obama.

Nah, he's Abraham Lincoln, suggests the AP.

Pulling No Punches

Dinesh D'Souza lays the responsibility for 9/11 squarely at the feet of Presidents Carter and Clinton -- and argues that the Democrats are about to make the same mistakes again, by insisting on a policy of retreat 'n defeat in Iraq.

Girls Going Wild is Just Fine?

Here is, frankly, an unbelievably stupid article from ABC News, titled "Some Say It's OK for Girls to Go Wild: Though Teens are Expressing Their Sexuality More Than Ever, Some Say It's Just Part of Growing Up, Not Cause For Alarm."

In other words, the article insists, don't worry about streetwalker-inspired clothes, "freak" dancing (where young people simulate sex on the dance floor) or any other inappropriate behavior. Just because girls are engaging in them, we're told, doesn't mean that they're having sex.

What a ridiculous argument. Whether or not the girls are actually having sex isn't, at some point, the issue. For example, every girl that's wearing revealing clothes isn't necessarily having sex -- but she's sending a message that she's indiscriminate about whom she permits to ogle her body. And the fact that such clothes are readily available sends a message that society thinks that's A-OK.

Taken together, the behaviors referenced in this story are pernicious -- not necessarily because they all ineluctably lead to sex, but because they send a message that sexual modesty is for losers, and that "sexiness" is the most important quality a girl can have. Such attitudes, whether overt or implicit, are hardly conducive to healthy attitudes toward sexual relationships later in life, and they hardly contribute to girls' self-respect or the valuing of young women for something other than their sex appeal.

As the article points out, rebellion has always, to some extent, been a characteristic of adolescence. The problem is that when ever more risque behavior is tolerated, teens have to go father and farther in order to rebel. The attitudes reflected in the linked piece demonstrate just how difficult it can be for young girls to find adults who are willing, unequivocally, to call for limits on their behavior.

ABC News and Sheila Marikar (the author of this sorry piece) should know better. Perhaps, even, Marikar needs to read my forthcoming book: Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!) due out this summer.

The NY Times' Implicit Elitism

This piece, from the Columbia Journalism Review, actually makes a pretty good case about the implicit elitism -- and the left-leaning world view -- reflected in the recent NY Times story about more women living without spouses than with them.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Feminism Begins at Home, Katie

On her blog, Katie Couric laments the absence of any women (besides herself, of course) "at the table" during a high-level White House briefing before the President's "surge" speech.

Writing in the faux-naif tone that's no doubt calibrated to appeal to what she perceives as Middle American dimwits, Couric confides:

George Stephanopoulos, Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Bob Schieffer, Wolf Blitzer, and Brit Hume—I couldn’t help but notice, despite how far we’ve come, that I was still the only woman there. Well, there was some female support staff near the door. But of the people at the table, the “principals” in the meeting, I was the only one wearing a skirt.

Hm. Of course, there are very few women who have seniority or experience equivalent to that of Schieffer, Blitzer, Hume, Russert, and even Williams -- and that includes Katie Couric (whose ascent to the anchor chair could be attributed more to perkiness and high q ratings than to hard core journalistic experience). It would be instructive if Couric could point out some of the women who had put in the hours, days and years of reporting of, say, Schieffer and Hume, and who were still unjustifiably excluded. After all, Judy Woodruff has retired, and Christiane Amanpour isn't into domestic reporting.

Of course, as more women advance through the ranks, more women will be eligible to be invited to these very senior meetings. That is, of course, if the senior women in positions of power -- like Katie Couric -- are willing to advance them.

How remarkably revealing it was, then, to read that since Katie took over at CBS News, female reporters at the network have received 40% fewer assignments than they did under her predecessor, Bob Schieffer.

Feminism begins at home, Katie.

"Unexpected Hope and Resolve"

The intrepid Michelle Malkin has returned from Iraq. She writes:

I came to Iraq a darkening pessimist about the war, due in large part to my doubts about the compatibility of Islam and Western-style democracy, but also as a result of the steady, sensational diet of "grim milestone" and "daily IED count" media coverage that aids the insurgency.

I left Iraq with unexpected hope and resolve.

Read her whole column here.

The Cult of "Jaw-Jaw"

Ralph Peters explains why, despite the fondest wishes of the politicians and other members of the chattering classes, "diplomacy" alone isn't going to fix Iraq.

Certainly, Al Qaeda understands the power of military force, even if liberal politicians don't -- Richard Miniter is reporting that Al Qaeda in Iraq is trying to flee Baghdad in advance of the American "surge" (HT: Powerline).

Oh, Please

So Keith Olbermann is now foaming at the mouth with fear that "24" is nothing more than "fearmongering" that's "brainwashing" the public.

This would be funny if it weren't so pathetic. First, it's worth asking the liberals: Didn't we learn -- back in the days of Dan Quayle and Murphy Brown -- that television was television, and life was life, and never the twain shall meet? Isn't that the way that left-leaning showbusiness types routinely justify putting all kinds of disgusting sex and violence on the screen, and then arguing that it has no impact on the people that watch it? And if that's true, then what's the problem with "24"?

Second, how amazing that Olbermann would choose to pick on the one show on television that could, arguably, be characterized as having a conservative bent (only, mind you, insofar as it doesn't try to soft-peddle the consequences of ignoring the terrorist threat). This is after years of silence as liberal television fare has dominated the airwaves, including the older stuff like "All in the Family" and "Maude," up to and including overtly political propaganda like "West Wing" and "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." And that's ignoring the really ridiculous stuff, like the anti-nuke television propaganda film "The Day After."

Olbermann has no problem with political entertainment programming. He just has a problem with it dissenting from liberal orthodoxy.

Update: Hugh Hewitt opines on whether "24" went too far in his column.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


That would be Benon Savan, the incredibly corrupt head of the UN's incredibly corrupt Oil-For-Food program (you know, the one that the liberals believed would keep Saddam "in his box"). He's charged with bribery and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Wholesome, no?

For more, check out the blog of Claudia Rosett, the Wall Street Journal columnist (and and journalist-in-residence the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies), who's been dogged in reporting on the layers of corruption and slime at the UN.

Barack is In

It seems that Barack Obama intends to run for president after all, despite the fact that he's served in the Senate only two years.

It will be interesting to see how the MSM treats him. In conservative circles, there are sometimes confident assertions that eventually the press will turn on Obama, as it does on everyone else -- comments to the effect of "the media loves to build people up, and then tear them down."

My prediction? That day -- that the media turns on Barack Obama -- will never come. And that's for two reasons: First, Barack won't hand them anything to work with, a la Bill Clinton. There's won't be any womanizing or draft dodging or anything else. Barack is far too disciplined and far too determined to get to The White House -- and, in my view, has been for quite some time -- to permit personal appetites or cheap scandal to get in his way.

Second, the press won't turn because it is invested in what it obviously sees as an historic opportunity to redress age-old racial grievances and effect racial reconciliation. To turn on an indisputably intelligent, charismatic liberal with widespread appeal, who's running the first truly credible presidential campaign on the part of an African-American . . . it just won't happen. In my view, the press sees it as almost its obligation to help Barack win.

None of the foregoing, of course, is a comment (positive or negative) on Obama and his qualifications for office. Rather, it's merely an observation about the political and ideological predilections of the MSM.

Certainly, there's no sign of any "turning" with press like this continuing to emanate from the AP:

Obama's soft-spoken appeal on the stump, his unique background, his opposition to the Iraq war and his fresh face set him apart . . .

Could Barack's press office do any better than that?

Good Job, Gitmo!

Gordon Cucullu offers the real story of what's been happening at Guantanamo Bay.

Notice the Spin

This story in the LA Times spins the retirement of Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) as a "early blow" to GOP hopes of "reclaiming the majority" in the U.S. Senate.

Sorry; wishing doesn't make it so. Actually, Allard's retirement actually increases the chances that the Republicans will retain the seat, given the other popular Republicans who could run for it (paging Gov. Bill Owens) -- coupled with the fact that Allard barely squeaked by in a close reelection race in 2002, a much more hospitable climate for Republicans.

No doubt it's tempting for the MSM to try to paint a portrait of Democratic inevitability, but in truth, it's just too soon to know what's going to happen in Fall of '08 . . . and lots will depend on the complexion of the presidential race.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Sad Story

In the Times of London, here's another sad story of a woman who thought she could have sex like a man.

It's a shame that the culture has attempted to inculcate this attitude into so many young women -- given that it's hardly likelier to leave them healthier or happier, as the linked piece attests. Here's the truth:

I’ve tried [the feminist] philosophy — that a woman can shag like a man — and it doesn’t work. We’re not built like that. Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.

How sad that some women learn this only after years of loss and heartache.

Unsheathing the Claws

It's only January of 2007, but already Hillary Clinton and John Edwards are going at it. Hillary had better not count on getting much quarter from Edwards . . . since he's not a realisitc contender for the #2 spot on anyone's ticket, he's got no reason to be nice.

Sign of the Apocalypse

If anyone didn't believe that Arnold Scharzenegger has totally sold out to the left-wing elements here in California, here's the silver bullet of proof: The LA Times thinks he should be able to run for President.

Oh, and proof #2? He was asked to present the final award at the Golden Globes. What a difference a year makes. How wonderful for him to be accepted back into the bosom of the Hollywood left.

Believing It When I See It

According to this quasi-campaign ad from the New York Times, the Democrats intend to seek "the middle ground" on social issues.

Really? With a party leadership and senior members like Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, Charlie Rangel and others, it's hard to believe that the supposed "middle ground" will be anything but an attempt to recast what's left as what's center.

More Liberal Hypocrisy

Who knew that Barbara Boxer had profited so handsomely from investments in Halliburton -- at the time Dick Cheney was running it?

Now The're Worried

Amazing. After years of ignoring all the clear evidence that graphic images of sex and violence on television can affect the behavior of young people, the press is finally taking notice of the impact that televised violence can have . . . in the context of Saddam Hussein's execution.

Give me a break. There was less explicit violence in what was shown than in 99% of the "action" shows and movies broadcast every day.

The Media's Curious Focus

As Ronald Cass points out, there are plenty of serious, unanswered questions about what documents Sandy Berger took and destroyed, and what they said that would prompt him to risk, literally, everything in order to keep them from investigators' eyes.

Even so, the silence from the MSM is deafening -- they apparently just aren't interested. It seems they're more interested in covering the left wing's "crime" that wasn't than in digging into the most underreported scandal of the past five years.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This Is News?

How surprising is it to read that the self proclaimed "black leadership" has failed to embrace Barack Obama?

Shouldn't be too astonishing. It's become patently clear over the years that their "cause" has little to do with the advancement of African-Americans in general. Rather, it's about their own personal power and a radically left-wing agenda.

That should have been clear from the pointed repudiation of outstanding African American public servants including Condoleezza Rice and Clarence Thomas. Anyone or anything that threatens to undermine the authority of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton to speak for "black America" is deemed a threat by this crowd.

Barack Obama is plenty left-wing. But they don't know it yet . . . and that fact, alone, may not atone for the fact that he's exposing Jackson and Sharpton for the ultimately irrelevant and showboating blowhards that they are.

So Far, Not Bad

The new UN chief, Ban Ki-moon, has come in for a bunch of criticism from the same old left-wing quarters. That's not surprising, given that he's not the reflexive left-wing, anti-American that Kofi Annan was. Rule of thumb: The worse the UN chief's press, the more likely that he's not a jerk.

Hopefully he'll heed John Bolton's advice.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Dobson & McCain

Speaking as a private individual, Christian conservative Dr. James Dobson has announced that there is no way he could support a McCain presidential bid.

No Thanks to the MSM

Of course, Tony Blair is quite right to attribute to the press much of the public's anti-war fervor. As Sydney Freedberg points out, somehow we don't hear about the valorous troops fighting in Iraq . . . instead, we get more than our share of Abu Ghraib and Haditha.

How 'bout a little balance?

Just FYI

For the naive, the ignorant or the dangerous among us who don't recognize the national security implications of retreat from Iraq, this is a healthy reminder of why it's a profoundly bad idea to let Iran gain dominance in the Middle East.

Anyone feel like walking 10 miles to work?

Not Entitled to an Opinion?

Criticism is raining down on the senior Pentagon official in charge of military detainees suspected of terrorism, Charles Stimson, because he criticized some of the white-shoe law firms using their considerable resources to represent detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

'Scuse me, but isn't he entitled to his opinion? It does seem as though Cleary, Gottlieb and Shearman and Sterling (the only two firms mentioned in the story) could find some injustices a little closer to home, without working simply to free people who are likely to be enemies of their country.

Do they have a right to do it? Yes, and neither Mr. Stimson nor anyone else has threatened them with prosecution or any other penalty. If he thinks that corporate clients should think about indirectly subsidizing the defense of America's enemies (which they're doing by paying firms that provide pro bono defense to suspected terrorists), it strikes me that he's a got a point, and he's entitled to make it.

So far, it's not as though these big, important firms have faced any backlash from representing these folks -- like they doubtless would if they represented, say, people accused of bombing abortion clinics. Quite the contrary; as The New York Times puts it, The role of major law firms agreeing to take on the cases of Guantánamo prisoners challenging their detentions in federal courts has hardly been a secret and has been the subject of many news articles that have generally cast their efforts in a favorable light. .

Indeed. That's why it's remarkable that The Times ostentatiously refuses to provide the names of all the law firms engaging in this activity. It's perfectly OK to release information about the warrantless wiretapping and other constitutional secret programs designed to catch terrorists -- but release the names of the firms defending terrorist detainees? Now that apparently would be wrong, in the Times' view.

It's almost enough to make you wonder who they're rooting for.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pelosi's Animal Farm

As the pigs in George Orwell's "Animal Farm," argued, apparently some are simply "more equal" than others.

The "most equal" of all is, apparently, the company in Nancy Pelosi's district -- the one that's gotten a special exemption on the minimum wage increases being imposed on the rest of the country.

Who Defines Centrist?

According to this piece, the National Stonewall Democrats, a homosexual group, opposes Harold Ford taking over the DLC because of his stance on gay rights issues.

Interesting. It seemed that the DLC was always a centrist group -- are the Stonewallers asserting that opposition to gay marriage is no longer a centrist position? They might want to check out the result of a variety of state referenda on the matter.

Even so, pull up a chair and pop up the corn. It's always interesting to watch the Democrats' interest groups argue.

It's About Time

Finally, it looks like America is getting serious about putting a stop to the suspicious, pernicious activities of Iran inside Iraq.

It's tempting to ask: What took so long? It seems elementary that Iraq won't be stabilized as long as a neighboring country is allowed to come in and work against it with impunity.


The invaluable Kate Hymowitz discusses the perils of showing (and telling) too much -- as so many women these days seem to be doing.

Cruel, Tasteless, Crass & Appalling

That's the only way to characterize the ridiculous Barbara Boxer's jibe at Condoleezza Rice for being a childless woman.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."

Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

So much for all the feminist solidarity, where women aren't supposed to be attacked or penalized -- especially by other women -- for making "non-traditional" life choices! And how unkind . . . given that Boxer has no idea whether Rice's single state and childlessness is involuntary or not.

The entire statement reflects an annoying feature of the Democratic mindset, specifically, the idea that one can't really know or care about an issue (or have a credible opinion on it) unless s/he somehow has a personal investment in it or personal experience with it (perhaps it's related to the left's mania for finding "victim advocates" like Cindy Sheehan).

In any case, Boxer owes Condoleezza Rice an apology -- not just for her crass tactlessness, but also for the implication that she wouldn't care about Iraq casualties so long as her own family is safe. Speak for yourself, Senator . . . not all of us think or feel that way . . .

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Don't Count Her Out

Pieces like this, noting that Hillary Clinton seems to be losing political strength in polls across the country, are bound to strike joy into the hearts of Republicans across the country.

But the rejoicing is radically premature. Despite the ups and downs of polls, Hillary is still the most formidable candidate for her party's nomination. She's got money, she's got organization, and she's got her husband. What's more, although her supposedly moderate stance on the war has angered lots of lefty Dems, she's really not facing much competition for the center to moderate chunk of her party, given that former Virginia governor Mark Warner and Indiana senator Birch Bayh have both dropped out.

Note that John Edwards blunts Barack Obama's ability to make inroads in the southern/populist arena -- another plus for Clinton. Northeastern liberals like senators Chris Dodd of Connecticut and Joe Biden of Delaware just clog up the field and take votes from each other, while leaving Hillary -- with her enormous name ID and status as the only credible woman in the race -- pretty much untouched.

Right now, the Dem faithful may be angry at Hillary's stand on the war and fear she's not electable. But if things begin to go better in Iraq, they may change their minds, and decide to go with a credible candidate (like they did with Kerry over Dean) even though she doesn't set their hearts a-fluttering.

24's Moral Absolutes

Here is a pathetic little rationalization that purports to explain why "24" isn't an inherently conservative show.

Please. The best the author can do is to argue that the program eschews "Bushian moral absolutes." Not so much. In "24," the terrorists are bad, and the guys who are trying to prevent them from killing innocent Americans are good.

Sounds pretty morally absolute to me.

"The Gerstein Disclosures"

As this piece in The New York Sun points out, one of the ugliest underreported stories is the extent to which government agencies themselves are resisting much-needed investigations of leaks of national security secrets.

The National Council of Liberals

It's long been obvious that the National Council of Churches is nothing more than a religiously-named front for left-wingers to introduce their policy preferences into houses of worship.

Now, the evidence grows ever clearer.

Perhaps they should just rename themselves, more accurately and honestly, the National Council of Liberals.

The Speech, and the Dems

There's a cornucopia of commentary about last night's address from Hugh Hewitt, Jonah Goldberg, and Ralph Peters, among others.

Not surprisingly, the President's address is being greeted in conservative circles mostly with cautious optimism. But what's also important is to contrast it with the thoroughly dishonorable approach of the Democrats, exemplified by Dick Durbin's remarks in response to the presidential address, basically insisting that we've done enough for the Iraqis and that it's time to leave them to sink or swim on their own. Very inspiring.

As The Wall Street Journal points out, the Democratic approach is not only wrongheaded -- it's deeply cynical, given that party leaders themselves were calling for a troop increase as recently as a month ago. Given that the Democrats now control Congress, it's not enough to snipe from the sidelines; some serious policy prescriptions are in order.

If the press were truly committed to fleshing out the policies on both sides, they would ask the Democrats:

*Does it even matter if the US succeeds in Iraq? Why or why not?

*What, exactly, is your plan for victory?

*How, precisely, does your preferred approach enhance the chances of defeating the terrorists in Iraq?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

"The Decisive Ideological Struggle of Our Time"

Here is the transcript of the President's "surge" speech. Bad news for the terrorists -- and for the Democratic cut 'n run brigade. The President intends for America to stay and fight.

The speech wasn't inspiring, but it was frank, comprehensive, and clearly designed to address some of the most common criticisms levelled at the effort. Ultimately, as a number of commentators have of course pointed out, the quality of the speech doesn't matter. All that matters is whether the plan outlined in the speech works. The speech, however, may serve to reassure people that there is a chance for victory in Iraq, and we're going to try to win it.

The talk contained a number of important elements. One of the most vital was an explanation of why the stakes in the Iraq struggle are so high -- a point that isn't made often enough, and one which highlights the fact that victory shouldn't be a Republican priority, but rather a matter of national interest:

Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America must succeed in Iraq.

It also outlined the elements of the plan, the importance of economic reforms, and the reasons that increasing the number of troops will actually result in the troops coming home sooner, rather than later. It was a solid, candid effort, and one can only wish such an address had been delivered before the election, rather than now.

The Democratic response to the speech was shameful. Presented by troop-slanderer Dick Durbin, it offered nothing but pessism and consisted simply of an emotional call for the withdrawal of troops.

Of course, the very fact that the Democrats have called so loudly for the withdrawal of troops eliminates the rationale for their symbolic resolutions opposing the President's plan, because it puts the Iraqis on notice, as the President also said, that the American commitment isn't open-ended. Given that the effort is going to go forward, the fact that Democrats would step forward before it's even been implemented to try to tear it down is amazing. It shows that the Democratic resolutions are nothing more than a political effort to hurt the President and Republicans -- and that the Democratic desire to do so is greater than their desire to see America succeed in Iraq.

Ultimately, the question comes down to whether the American people want to win in Iraq. I believe they do, and they'll give this plan a chance to see if victory is possible.

The Unbelievable Dennis Kucinich

Hugh Hewitt interviewed leftist congressman Dennis Kucinich on his radio show today, and the result was shocking. Kucinich was unaware of the name of the religious leader of Iran (Ayatollah Khamenei), and completely ignorant of the existence of the Quds Forces (a special command division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Forces).

While all this might not be information at the fingertips of the normal American, one would certainly expect more from a self-appointed spokesman of the defeatist left and former presidential candidate.

Read the whole sorry transcript here. Hearing people like him must be enough to send America's enemies into paroxysms of joy.

Getting the Bad Guys

Ralph Peters applauds the rout of Islamofascist terrorists in Somalia, and rightly so.

It's hard for those who are invested in seeing the U.S. as a pitiful and impotent giant, but the kudos are due to the intelligence and military agencies that make such victories possible. The entire episode demonstrates that there are ways to beat back Al Qaeda -- so long as the country refuses to accept the Democratic approach of hiding one's head in the sand.

The Defeatocrats

The New York Times reports that Democrats are planning symbolic votes against the President's plan for Iraq.

Good. Of course, what that course of action emphasizes is their wimpiness -- they oppose it, but not enough to do anything really radical, like cutting off funds (thankfully).

Most of all, it gives history a clear record of who wanted to win -- and who wanted to retreat and surrender, a la Vietnam. The entire episode raises an important question: If the war wasn't worth trying to win, why did Democrats vote for it in the first place? Next time, maybe there should be a third alternative for the Democrats between "aye" and "nay" -- "aye, unless the going gets tough. Then retreat."

Defeatocrats, indeed.

Rushing to Use Govt. Money to Kill Embryos

This piece points out that a number of pro-life Democrats are going to have a "rough ride" over the Pelosi-backed initiative to rush more government money into embryonic stem cell research.

One has to ask -- what's the hurry to get government money into an area of research that's already being pursued assiduously by the private section . . . especially when new research suggests that the destruction of embryos isn't even necessary to obtain the stem cells?

Especially given that embryonic stem cells so far have yielded little of value -- while the use of adult stem cells have produced much more -- forces one to suspect that the Democratic haste to vote to destroy embryos is less about finding cures to dread diseases, and more about the life/abortion issue.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sandy Burglar

A House investigation has found that Sandy Berger's theft and destruction of classified documents was worse than originally reported -- and may, in fact, have compromised the work of the 9/11 Commission.

Can you even imagine the outcry from the press had Condoleezza Rice or Stephen Hadley -- President Bush's National Security Advisors -- behaved with such rampant and transparent criminality?

Accountability, At Last

As Howard Kurtz points out, The Nation's David Corn and The NY Times' Paul Krugman are complaining about Bill Kristol still being able to command influence after having been "wrong" about Iraq's WMD.

At last, the left is calling for accountability for pundits and commentators -- and not a moment too soon. After all,

Who insisted that Alger Hiss was not a Soviet spy? Who refused to accept the fact that the USSR was making real efforts to infiltrate the US government during the Cold War? Who failed to foresee the mass deaths that accompanied the US withdrawal from Vietnam? Who opined that The Great Society would "end" poverty? Who asserted that Ronald Reagan was a heartless, war-mongering crazy who would bankrupt the country and start a nuclear war with the Soviets? Who ridiculed Dan Quayle for emphasizing the importance of fathers? Who predicted that welfare reform would result in children starving in the streets? Who bemoaned the futility of invading Afghanistan during the fearsome "Afghan winter? Who insisted that taking on Iraq would ensure (1) that Saddam used WMD's against American soldiers; (2) a massive refugee crisis; and (3) that the streets of Baghdad would run red with blood as soldiers engaged in door-to-door fighting to take over the city?

And those are just the tips of the liberal-commentariat iceberg.

Before Corn and Krugman start worrying about the accuracy of conservative opinion leaders, perhaps they should look to their own side.