November 3, 2013

Our Constitution was designed to prevent "lightning victories."

HealthCare.gov: How political fear was pitted against technical needs - The Washington Post:

There's a reason why every "big" piece of legislation in our history (outside the Civil War) was passed with bipartisan support. Except Obamacare. The constitution was explicitly designed to prevent radical change, unless there is broad support for it. For instance the different parts of government have different lengths of their terms: Representatives two years, senators six years, Presidents four years, judges life. This was intended to stop things happening in a sudden wave of enthusiasm.

And our constitution normally forces compromise. A group gets something they want by giving other groups things they want. But the oddity of the electoral situation in 2009 enabled Dems to ram through their bill alone. In American politics, this is simply a "dirty trick." It guarantees that the bill will never have legitimacy.

BH Liddell Hart wrote that in war there is a terrible danger inherent in "lightning victories." This is because the defeated don't feel they were beaten honestly. So they never accept their defeat, and will come back and extract terrible revenge in the future. Americans never considered that Pearl Harbor was a legitimate victory. It was and is considered a dirty trick. So there was never a possibility that we would negotiate a peace, as the Japanese leaders hoped. And we had no qualms about killing them by the millions.

..."They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn't have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business," said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama's 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. "It's very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills."

The White House's leadership of the immense project -- building new health insurance marketplaces for an estimated 24 million Americans without coverage -- is one of several key reasons that the president's signature domestic policy achievement has become a self-inflicted injury for the administration.

Based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former administration officials and outsiders who worked alongside them, the project was hampered by the White House's political sensitivity to Republican hatred of the law -- sensitivity so intense that the president's aides ordered that some work be slowed down or remain secret for fear of feeding the opposition. Inside the Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the main agency responsible for the exchanges, there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project. Republicans also made clear they would block funding, while some outside IT companies that were hired to build the Web site, HealthCare.gov, performed poorly.

These interwoven strands ultimately caused the exchange not to be ready by its Oct. 1 start date. It was not ready even though, on the balmy Sunday evening of March 21, 2010, hours after the bill had been enacted, the president had stood on the Truman Balcony for a champagne toast with his weary staff and put them on notice: They needed to get started on carrying out the law the very next morning. It was not ready even though, for months beginning last spring, the president emphasized the exchange's central importance during regular staff meetings to monitor progress. No matter which aspects of the sprawling law had been that day's focus, the official said, Obama invariably ended the meeting the same way: "All of that is well and good, but if the Web site doesn't work, nothing else matters."...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

December 23, 2012

He shoulda stuck to what he knows about...

The Gateway Pundit, Rick Warren on Obama: “Biggest Disappointment Is the Disunity… Our Nation Is More Divided Than Any Time Since Civil War” :

Pastor Rick Warren was a guest this morning on FOX News Sunday. The popular evangelical weighed in on the Obama presidency:
“I don’t know what his (Obama) biggest accomplishment would be. I really don’t know that. My biggest disappointment is the disunity. President Obama ran saying “I’m going to be a unifier” and our nation is more divided than ever before. I think our nation is more divided than any time since the Civil War. That’s disheartening.”

I'm a big fan of Rick Warren in his own field, as a planter of churches. His book The Purpose Driven Church is the book to start with. But like so many clergy, he has this idea that Christianity means being a soft-headed liberal. Any number of us conservatives could have told him Obama was a phony, and was neck-deep in the corruption of Chicago politics.

Look, Rick. Here's a tip for you. People don't change much when they are 46 years old. They are pretty much exactly what they are going to be for the rest of their lives. So if a fast-talker tells you he's "going to be a unifier,” all you need to check is whether he's done any "unifying" in the past. If, like Barry Obama, he never has in his whole life, then, guess what...... he ain't gonna change now. You got conned big time. And you should have known better.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:11 PM | Comments (0)

November 8, 2012

Or maybe not over...

The stats don't really say Obama won. This is the first time in American history that a president has been re-elected with fewer votes than he got for his first term. And in Obama's case, fewer by 10 million! Gadzooks!

It's more like he lost catastrophically, but Romney was a bit of a catastrophe too, and couldn't quite make up a baker's dozen.

Shoulda been Sarah Palin. Just kidding. I love her, and she was a top-notch mayor and governor. But she didn't quite grow to presidential size after her VP run.

The trouble is, we Republicans aren't producing any candidates of presidential caliber. Maybe Ryan. We have lots more good men than the Dems do, but we need some titans.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM | Comments (20)

October 24, 2012

This post is very clear and concise on Benghazi...

Recommended by Charlene...

J O S H U A P U N D I T:

...It gets even worse. The men in the consulate contacted the White House by phone at 10 PM Libya time, 4 PM Washington time when the attack began, and the White House was able to communicate with them and watch the attack in real time while it was occurring, thanks to a drone overhead.

The president could have ordered F-18s to fly overhead on afterburners and even fire into the mob, something that's worked in the past when it comes to dispersing attackers. They could have been there in an hour. He could have immediately ordered a full contingent of Special Operations Forces to fly in from the U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily. They could have been on the ground in less than three hours.

The president did nothing except to belatedly order a 22 man force to proceed from our embassy in Tripoli, about the same distance away as Sigonella. They did not arrive at Benghazi airport until 4 AM Libya time, six hours after the attack began.

By that time, Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans were dead.

They died because they were not treated as American personnel under attack who needed to be rescued, but as a situation to be managed so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities. And after their deaths, they became a political problem to be handled so as not to embarrass this president. So a scenario was concocted about a spontaneous protest aggravated over a video.It was a scenario that everyone directly from President Obama on down knew was false.

These e-mails and other information about the Benghazi debacle would likely not have surfaced if it hadn't been for President Obama's insistence that the White House was 'not informed', and his blaming the entire fiasco on the State Department and the intelligence community. Apparently some of the people involved in this didn't take kindly to that.

For President Obama, there's no cover, no spin and no excuses possible any more, although I'm sure the attempt will be made. What happened in Benghazi was the culmination of his failed foreign policy in the Middle East,and his reacting as he did a perfect example of his weakness and lack of character.

It was the ultimate appeasement in a failed presidency....

Yeah. And they were probably calculating what effect action would have on those cowardly hermaphrodites, the "undecided voters," may they have a special circle in hell allotted to them. Which is also presumably why Romney didn't blast Obama over this in the last debate.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:05 PM

September 20, 2012

"If your principles are clear you don’t need focus groups"

Roger’s Rules -- Newton’s first Law of Motion Applied to Political Strategy (with a brief excursus on Gaffes):

...Finally, let me observe that there is often a lot to be said for shooting before you take aim.  If your principles are correct, if your vision is clear, you are already aiming in the right direction. Just pull the trigger.  In fact, this is something Obama understands perfectly well. His administration has unleashed a continuous barrage since January 2009. I happen to think he is aiming in exactly the wrong direction. But his instincts about when (if not what) to shoot at are correct. If your principles are clear you don’t need focus groups and the abundance of caution they instill. You need a simple, clear, and (I’ll use the dread word again) manly policy for the country. I think that, deep down, Mitt Romney has such a vision. Hitherto, he has allowed it to be obscured by too diligent adherence to the false wisdom of focus groups. The path to victory is cleared by the candidate that has momentum. Inertia in the positive, irresistible sense is within Romney’s grasp. He needs but seize it....

The general point is dead on. You need to know what you believe, and then express it. One can't be making constant calculations, there just isn't the time. I have my doubts though about Romney being able to project any vision. He's a problem-solver, a technocrat. He's spent a lifetime thinking about what "works." And just assuming that the world has already worked out where it wants to go.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:47 AM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2012

Flukish...

Peggy is good on Fluke and the DNC, The Democrats' Soft Extremism:

...The sheer strangeness of all the talk about abortion, abortion, contraception, contraception. I am old enough to know a wedge issue when I see one, but I've never seen a great party build its entire public persona around one. Big speeches from the heads of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, HHS Secretary and abortion enthusiast Kathleen Sebelius and, of course, Sandra Fluke.

"Republicans shut me out of a hearing on contraception," Ms. Fluke said. But why would anyone have included a Georgetown law student who never worked her way onto the national stage until she was plucked, by the left, as a personable victim?

What a fabulously confident and ingenuous-seeming political narcissist Ms. Fluke is. She really does think--and her party apparently thinks--that in a spending crisis with trillions in debt and many in need, in a nation in existential doubt as to its standing and purpose, in a time when parents struggle to buy the good sneakers for the kids so they're not embarrassed at school . . . that in that nation the great issue of the day, and the appropriate focus of our concern, is making other people pay for her birth-control pills. That's not a stand, it's a non sequitur. She is not, as Rush Limbaugh oafishly, bullyingly said, a slut. She is a ninny, a narcissist and a fool.

And she was one of the great faces of the party in Charlotte. That is extreme. Childish, too....

Well, Rush was just telling what is probably the truth. Not quite gentlemanly of him, but frankly Miss Slutsky has much the same effect on me. Yeech. And all the fake outrage served to allow Dems to avoid the real question, which is why, exactly, my hard-earned tax dollars should pay for a middle-aged coed's sex life?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 PM

September 3, 2012

70-Year Cycle, going much as predicted...

Republicans outnumbering Dems. By my 70-Year Cycle theory this should have happened abut 2000. But close enough. It was clear enough then where the wind was blowing...

Paul Rahe, Another Straw in the Wind:

...A few days ago, I drew attention to a Gallup poll indicating that, for the first time in the last twenty years, Americans thought better of the Republican Party than of the Democrats. Later that same day, I pointed to a Pew Foundation poll reaffirming the drift towards the Republicans. Today, I came across further evidence pointing even more emphatically at the same conclusion.

For ten years now, Rasmussen has been studying partisan trends. Its latest survey indicates that, for the first time in that period, more Americans self-identify as Republicans than as Democrats. To be precise, 37.6% now think of themselves as Republicans -- more than in September, 2004 -- and only 33.3% self-identify as Democrats. What makes this especially interesting is that two years ago -- on the eve of the Republican blowout in the 2010 midterm elections -- 35% self-identified as Democrats and only 33.8% self-identified as Republicans...


...A landslide is what you are going to see in November. And if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan emphasize political principles (as well as managerial competence), they will have coattails, and the Senate will be ours...

A landslide would be what the theory expects, since pressure will have built up due to the delay of the Obama interregnum. If it had not been for the trickery of running Obama as the first "black President," (he's really the first Alinskyite president) the Dems would have had nothing to offer in 2008. Or I guess they would have had the "first female president" gimmick. But those "firsts" are just a fig leaf to cover their nakedness.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 AM

August 21, 2012

"Comparative asymmetries "

I'm too busy to blog much, and this is one of last week's thoughts, from Richard Fernandez, Boom and Zoom Vs Turn and Burn:

Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast says that Mitt Romney had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to prove he wasn't an intellectually dead, boring white guy by standing up, just once, for his inner bipartisan self. Instead he blew it by caving in to the radical right. He could have come out and been cool for once; instead he stayed in the closet, clenched and constipated. "Think of it: The candidate will be running on his vice president's ideas! It's a staggering thought. Ryan might as well debate Obama this October, and Romney can square off against Biden."...

Of course the real leader is one who attracts and uses smart people with ideas. The job of the President is not to have ideas, it is to lead. And to show wisdom and sagacity in choosing which ideas to give scarce resources to. All that garbage in 2008 about how brilliant Obama was was in fact indicating that he is a poor leader. As we have in fact seen.

...The counterargument is that by picking Paul Ryan, Romney has decisively broken from Obama's policy path. The selection of Ryan means Romney is no longer running as Obama-lite. He's bet that the guys in no-man's-land don't want Government Cheese. They want a real job. They want a real future. They want to be citizens of the greatest country on earth again.

But that Tomasky even thought Romney would seriously consider running as a watered-down version of Obama should worry him.  Romney "broke" the unexpected way. He confounded Tomasky's conventional -- or pretended -- wisdom, which indicates that the Republican presidential candidate fully understands the comparative asymmetries in their respective platforms even if the liberals don't.

Romney won't play Obama's game. He will play to his strengths: the economy and the deficit. Romney calculates that this will have more potential energy than Obama's coalition, characterized by Cost as "dominated by racial and ethnic minorities, upscale white liberals (especially activist groups like the environmentalists and feminists), government workers, and young voters."

He won't fight the turning game, where the media throws out the talking point of the week and the seminar speakers go out and beat up on Mitt on all the TV shows. He's going to fight at the service station and the grocery story; and at every cash register where the sad truth is largely outside the power of the press to misrepresent.

Was that a mistake? Should Romney have chosen an ethnic candidate to play the ethnic game? Or a woman to play the gender game? Even though they might be qualified for the job? Or has Mitt Romney understood the essentials and showed up with an F6F Hellcat where Tomasky was expecting an F4F Wildcat to emerge from the clouds? The outcome of the choice will be revealed in November....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

July 24, 2012

Realignments?

The possibility that American Jews will drop their suicidal "religion" of liberalism still seems remote to me. But this is very interesting...

Lawrence Solomon: Losing the anti-Semite card | FP Comment | Financial Post:

...But today the politics is realigning. Anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli venom is on the rise, and it is coming mostly from the left. Anti-Semitism on U.S. college campuses is a "serious problem," concluded the 2006 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. "There is more sympathy for Hamas [on U.S. campuses] than there is in Ramallah," wrote award-winning Palestinian journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who found during a 2009 speaking tour of the U.S. that it "is not about supporting the Palestinians as much as it is about promoting hatred for the Jewish state."

Surveys by Jewish organizations confirm that anti-Semitism is on the rise, as does a 2009 survey by researchers at Stanford and Columbia University, designed to find explicit prejudice toward Jews as a result of the financial meltdown. To the researchers' surprise, they found that "Democrats were especially prone to blaming Jews: while 32% of Democrats accorded at least moderate blame, only 18.4% of Republicans did so," a difference that jars "given the presumed higher degree of racial tolerance among liberals and the fact that Jews are a central part of the Democratic Party's electoral coalition." Warning that "we must take heed of prejudice and bigotry that have already started to sink roots in the United States," the authors noted that "Crises often have the potential to stoke fears and resentment, and the current economic collapse is likely no exception."

Almost as if on cue, the Occupy Wall Street movement arose, with Jews often crudely singled out for blame, and with prominent Democrats, Obama and Pelosi among them, stoking the anti-1% sentiment. Anti-Semitism is coming close to home for many of America's Jews, who see themselves in the 1% and who see their children -- students at American campuses -- too intimidated to speak out against the anti-Semitic or anti-Israeli activities that confront them.

As Jews are reassessing their support for Obama and other Democratic candidates, they are also beginning to warm to Republicans. Much of the credit here belongs to Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, who made it unacceptable for evangelicals to be anti-Semitic. Evangelicals and the American right are now unabashedly in the Jewish and Israeli corner, leading many Jews to end their reflexive opposition to anything labelled right-wing.

In Canada, Jewish alarm at Liberal tolerance of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli policies, coupled with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's unequivocal stance against terrorism -- "[There's no] moral equivalence between a pyromaniac and a firefighter" -- persuaded Jewish captains of industry who were also Liberal funders and fundraisers to tear up their Liberal membership cards and throw their support behind the Conservatives. In the U.S., where the Democrats are losing their ability to play the anti-Semite card, a similar phenomenon could be underway....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:33 PM

June 30, 2012

Latest anti-Romney talking point--projection...

Shiny object of the week - Jennifer Rubin - The Washington Post:

...The newest talking point: Mitt Romney is vague or has no ideas. When he gives an answer they don’t like (he’s opposed to gay marriage), he’s accused of ducking the issue. The most egregious variation is insisting Romney doesn’t have anything with which to replace Obamacare. He certainly does.

Let’s remind everyone: Romney has a tax plan with specified corporate and individual rates, a commitment to keep current progressivity, and territoriality for international businesses. On health care, he wants a premium-support Medicare plan, block-granting Medicaid, uniform tax treatment for individual- and employer-purchased insurance plans, interstate insurance sales, permission for small businesses to group together for insurance purchases, greater transparency and disclosure by insurance companies, and tort reform. On immigration, he has plans for family unification, legalization for those who serve in the military, expansion of visas for highly educated foreign students, employer verification and increased border control. He’s got tons of other policies — an outline for Social Security reform, expanded domestic energy development, reduction in the federal workforce and removal of Big Labor giveaways.

I could go on and on. So what accounts for the blatantly false assertion that has become the latest anti-Romney talking point?

It is a simple game of distraction or, if you prefer, a classic case of projection....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:40 AM | Comments (14)

June 27, 2012

What's the matter with Kansas?

Jonathan V. Last, Sore losers:

...But not surprising. Democrats and Republicans respond very differently to defeat. When Republicans lose — either at the ballot box or in the courts — they tend to have one of two reactions. Sometimes they set their teeth and moan about how the stars are aligned against them as the world rockets toward ruin and they stand athwart history shouting, “Stop!”  

Other times, they just blame each other. Republicans will tell you that John McCain, Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush all would have won if they had just been more conservative. Or more moderate. Or stronger on abortion. Or not as tied to the evangelical nuts. You get the idea: Republicans are happy to pin their failures on other parts of their coalition.  

When Democrats lose, however, they tend to place the blame a little higher. The Supreme Court is rigged. The election was stolen by Diebold voting machines. After John Kerry lost in 2004, Democrats snickered about an electoral map showing the “real America” being composed of the West Coast and Northeast. The rest of the map — the red states Bush carried — was dubbed “Jesusland.” The inference being that the real problem was with the American people.

All of which is why, facing the prospect of losing the Obamacare case, the left’s first instinct hasn’t been to blame a bad law. Or bad lawyering. Or even just bad luck. No, to the liberal mind there are no bad outcomes; only broken systems. (In the Washington Post, Jonathan Turley claimed the very possibility Obamacare might be struck down suggested we should rethink the structure of the high court. He proposes we start by installing 10 more justices.)

And so, later this week liberal Democrats will condemn the high court as a body no longer fit to adjudicate our nation’s laws. It will have to be reformed and remade before any American, anywhere, can sleep soundly.

Unless, of course, the court gives them the verdict they want. In that case, as Gilda Radner’s classic “Saturday Night Live” character Emily Litella used to say, “Never mind.”...

We are already seeing the return of the Carter-days line, "Is America Ungovernable?"

Posted by John Weidner at 1:33 PM | Comments (3)

April 10, 2012

Old and moldy...

By Michael Barone, RealClearPolitics - Can Romney Show Voters That Obama Is Out of Date?:

...There is a huge tension between the personalize-your-own-world ethos of the iPod/Facebook generation and the command-and-control, mid-20th-century welfare state programs of the Obama Democrats.

The young are stuck with disproportionate insurance premiums by Obamacare and with student loan debt that can't be discharged in bankruptcy. Some hope. Some change.

Romney needs to make the case that current policy -- what Obama has fallen back on -- is leading to a crash in which government will fail to keep its promises.

He needs to argue that his "opportunity society" means vibrant economic growth that can provide, in ways that can't be precisely predicted, opportunities in which young people can find work that draws on their special talents and interests.

Obama's policies, in contrast, treat individuals as just one cog in a very large machine, designed by supposed experts who don't seem to know what they're doing (see Obamacare, Solyndra). Their supposedly cutting-edge technology (electric cars, passenger rail) is more than a century old.

Romney, potentially strong with the affluent, needs to figure out how to get through to the young. ...

The whole idea of "design by experts" is SO Industrial Age. As is having government acting as the ringmaster of the circus. Did you ever see the movie Dumbo? Remember the Ringmaster cracking his whip while the parade of elephants marches along in a stately line? That's what the Industrial Age was like.

For our time, try to imagine the Ringmaster trying to discipline 10,000 cats...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:20 PM | Comments (10)

April 1, 2012

Traversing a minefield...

Spengler, What do Republicans Want?:

...We've already had an extensive discussion of the problem at this blog. With more Americans than ever dependent on the federal government (18% of all personal income now comes from transfer payments, and 50 million Americans are on food stamps, Republicans face a dilemma: If we state boldly that spending must be slashed, a lot of people will think that it means tightening their own belt. In the short run, they will be right, although in the long run, everyone will be poorer if we fail to do so. The danger is that the entitlements system will reduce too many Americans to feeling like state dependents.

It's not 1980, when the budget had been in balance (along with the foreign account), and the world hungered for more American debt, and Americans had built up a cushion of home equity due to the home price run-up of the 1970s. Inflation was terrible, but homeowners' equity was rising faster than inflation.

That may explain why Romney is restricting his economic discussion to generalities, and why people who are treading water with barely a nostril above the waterline don't seem convinced. Romney's saying the three magic words: Cut taxes across the board, roll back regulation, and keep America the world's unchallenged military power. There's nothing wrong with his message. But he has to traverse a minefield.

That's why all Republicans need to stop playing games and united behind Romney and get him elected in November. I love Rick Santorum, but he has to understand that he's not on a mission from God, and that no miracle will make him president. Santorum needs to use his rapport with the religious right (that includes people like me) to rally support for Romney and ensure a maximum turnout in November. If Santorum can accomplish this, all the effort and passion he invested into his campaign will accrue to the common good.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:02 PM

It's our work, not the Bishop's...

Father Z:

....Let's keep something clear.  My role as a priest, and the bishops' role as bishops, is to form and support the laity for their proper role in the public square.  It is the role of lay people to shape the world around them according to their vocations. I (or, even more, the bishops) will teach, give you the sacraments, and support you.  The work of the public square is really your work, lay people, not mine. Remember that when you think bishops aren't being strong enough in the public square.  We clerics know that you lay people often face in your daily lives challenges that would make many of us roll up in a ball and hide under the covers. On the other hand, the Enemy of your soul hates priests and bishops with surpassing malice. We live every day knowing that we go to our judgment with Holy Orders upon our souls and to those to whom God has given much, more will be expected. As Augustine said, "I am a bishop for you, but I am a Christian with you." Neither portion of God's poor little servants should fall into the trap of thinking that the other has anything easy in life.

If you are p.o.'d that a bishop isn't jumping around with his hair on fire in front of the White House, waving his arms, and telling you whom to vote for, then maybe you should be doing that according to what Holy Church has taught you and in keeping with your vocation. And if the priests and bishops in your life have not been stellar in their roles of teaching (read = they are human, they are sinners, they are ... x, y, z....), then put on your own big-boy underwear and get to work anyway.  Things will improve.  Priests and bishops will find their way to the spines they need, or in some cases abandoned. And they will do it faster if you are with them rather than against them. Believe me: carping at priests doesn't generally make them do things either faster or better. I know this by experiential knowledge and not merely by theoretical. Help them out by prayers and encouragement and example.

There is only so much the bishops can accomplish in the public square on their own: the rest is your job. Don't shirk your role even if you think bishops and priests are being lazy or craven. Stand up and get to work right now, even if you are disappointed that bishops aren't beaming lasers out of their eyes or issuing decrees of excommunication while they levitate to the strains of Verdi's Dies Irae...

Thus endeth my rant....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 AM

March 8, 2012

One of our regular readers...

It was kind of cool just now to notice the name of an old friend on Instapundit:

...UPDATE: Reader Robert Ethan Hahn emails:
I credit the Tea Partiers on the Clermont County Republican Central Committee, who got Jean Schmidt un-endorsed this cycle:
http://www.gopclermont.org/endorsed-candidates-2012.html

Note:

Races where candidates requested endorsement but where none was granted were the following:

2nd Congressional District
...those central committees are where the action is – that's where you go to take the party back....

Yep. Them Tea Parties are fading away into oblivion...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:07 PM

January 31, 2012

Toughness....

Mitt Romney gets rough—John Podhoretz - NYPOST.com:

...Wanting your party's candidate to demonstrate an instinct for the jugular is a leadership quality that would never turn up in polling data or in focus-group discussions. People know better than to say they want to know their guy can be an SOB when necessary, just as most politicians know it's a problem if they come across as an unmitigated SOB.

But the plain truth is that the willingness to confront a rival directly while looking him straight in the eye and saying some pretty harsh things, and the ability to withstand the counterattack and keep on with the assault, are qualities of toughness and perseverance every successful major politician must demonstrate.

After all, if Romney isn't tough enough to take Gingrich down, how can he hope to do the same to Barack Obama, who will have somewhere between $500 million and $1 billion to use to blacken the name and reputation of the eventual Republican nominee?

Gingrich's problem is that to widen his appeal, he had to tone down his nastiness (except when it came to the news media). Thus, he had no useful countermeasures against Romney's attacks in the two Florida debates — and the Boy from Bain saw the weakness and would not let up.

In the 17 preceding debates, Romney had shown fluency, a command of the issues, an ability to spin words like cotton candy to obscure his problematic flip-flopping . . . and absolutely no spine whatsoever.

By making it clear he would do what he had to do to win — by demonstrating to Republicans he was not only made of money but that there was some steel there too — Romney almost certainly clinched his nomination....

Well I want my guy to be an SOB when necessary. Because it's necessary. Like, duh, obviously. So Romney has gone up a notch in my estimation. Pleas God, let him be tough and tenacious against the Chicago Machine that's hijacked American government....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 PM

January 28, 2012

I've criticized Gov. Romney for not having a good answer...

...to attacks on his wealth and his career at Bain. Well, this is a good one, from last night's debate...

A Good Night for Conservative Principles — Commentary Magazine:

...And I know that there may be some who try to make a deal of that [Romney's wealth and investments], as you have publicly. But look, I think it's important for people to make sure that we don't castigate individuals who have been successful and try and, by innuendo, suggest there's something wrong with being successful and having investments and having a return on those investments. Speaker, you've indicated that somehow I don't earn that money. I have earned the money that I have.

I didn't inherit it. I take risks. I make investments. Those investments lead to jobs being created in America. I'm proud of being successful. I'm proud of being in the free enterprise system that creates jobs for other people. I'm not going to run from that. I'm proud of the taxes I pay. My taxes, plus my charitable contributions, this year, 2011, will be about 40 percent. So, look, let's put behind this idea of attacking me because of my investments or my money, and let's get Republicans to say, you know what? What you've accomplished in your life shouldn't be seen as a detriment, it should be seen as an asset to help America....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 PM

January 24, 2012

Problem is, with Newt you just don't know...

From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt e-mail...

...While I'm sure the advisers think the gut-punch style will move votes, this argument glides over what's really disturbing about Gingrich's work for Freddie Mac. I'm willing to take Gingrich at his word. I think he honestly believes his work had nothing to do with lobbying. I think he could take a lie detector test and declare that he was hired for his wisdom, public policy, and historical knowledge, and the needle wouldn't budge. The biggest problem here isn't the lie he's telling to us; it's the lie he's telling to himself.

What did Freddie Mac really want from Gingrich? Cynics (waving my hand) will suspect that the organization, full of lifelong professional Democrats such as Franklin Raines and with close ties to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Christopher Dodd, wanted a prominent Republican name around to stick up for them. He was the fig-leaf/token Republican who enabled them to argue that they had bipartisan support.

But even aside from that angle, Gingrich isn't being honest with himself about what he was doing. The Washington Examiner's Tim Carney notes that legally, Gingrich was lobbying.
Specifically, the Freddie Mac executive who hired Gingrich was not the CEO, nor the VP for operations, nor the VP for communications, but Craig Thomas, the VP for Public Policy -- that is, the head of Freddie Mac's lobbying operations. Thomas was a registered lobbyist at the time.

So, Gingrich may or may not have made lobbying contacts on Freddie's behalf, but it appears he was being paid to aid Freddie Mac's lobbying agenda. Say Gingrich was providing memos to Thomas on how to lobby (and given Thomas's job as top lobbyist, what else would he be helping Thomas with?), that counts as "Lobbying Activity" according to the law.
The Romney campaign will argue that Gingrich's defenses on Freddie Mac are cynical lies, while ignoring the much, much more disturbing and damaging interpretation: Gingrich actually believes them.

It is all-too-believable that a guy like Gingrich would actually believe that Dems were showering moolah on him because they were hungry for his deep wisdom. He's a perfect example of intellectual brilliance untempered by wisdom or humility.

The Weidners are not happy with our choices...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

January 21, 2012

Good sense...

This suggestion would surely improve things...

Hugh Hewitt : Calling Chairman Preibus:

...There are six "scheduled" debates left.  If the campaign goes beyond February, there will be more proposed.  CNN's John King showed again last night, as ABC and NBC did in New Hampshire, that MSM cannot be trusted to run a serious debate.  Entertaining, yes, but not serious.  Not even remotely 9/11 serious.

Not a single question about Iran which, the day before the debate, John King had told me was the one issue he guaranteed would come up because of its importance.  None of the issues that lead to necessary and blistering criticisms of President Obama --the presidents hostility to Israel, the failed stimulus, Solynrda and other green failures, massive defense cuts, Boeing and the NLRB, the out-of-control EPA, the recess appointments, fast-and-furious etc etc etc-- are brought up by the legacy media because they hate to be the ones to tee up the GOP's rightful criticism of the president.

So strip the legacy media of the power to distort the discussion.  The RNC should announce it will hold debates on the dates already selected and in the cities scheduled, but that it will invite CSPAN, not a network, to air them, that Preibus will do the intros and then turn the proceedings over to a panel of four questioners, one each selected by the four candidates from a long list of journalists/commentators/public intellectuals approved by the RNC as professional and mainstream.  There may be some familiar faces from the nets like Bret Baire and Candy Crowley, Megyn Kelly and Jake Tapper, and obvious potential questioners include Rush, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Bennett, John Podhoretz, Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, Rich Lowry, etc but no Trumps and no more MSMers in effect defending the president by steering the conversation away from the big issues and especially those on which the president has manifestly failed. 

Then perhaps the GOP electorate can, after 17 tries, get a sustained, serious conversation about what is wrong with the country, how to fix it, and who is the best nominee to beat the president and carry the Senate while maintaining the House majority.

That's what GOP voters want to know and that's not what the MSM wants them to learn....
Posted by John Weidner at 2:11 PM

January 19, 2012

Forever 1960....

NOTE: This post was accidentally deleted, then re-posted. So the comments are lost! Sorry. Feel free to comment again.

Huntsman, Trapped In 2009, Never Had A Chance:

...There was, though, another argument: Republicans should hold firm, and wait for the Obama delusion to subside. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the Congressional "Party of No" made this bet, big, in February of 2009, when they voted en masse against the stimulus. Huntsman found himself immediately isolated inside his party, as opposition trumped modernization. And the Tea Party rose up to cheer the most strident reaction against Obama.

Huntsman wasn't alone in his fantasy though. The White House, too, feared a Republican Party that reacted against Obama by moving to the middle, and saw Huntsman as the logical future of the GOP. That May, Obama named him Ambassador to Beijing, taking a threat out of the picture.

That didn't actually take Huntsman out of the picture. And, in retrospect, it was absurd to think that Obama needed to worry about a man so wildly out of step with his party. Huntsman's campaign has been, from the beginning, a fantasy driven by a fundamental misunderstanding of his own party. ("I still don't understand why [White House Chief of Staff] Rahm [Emanuel] was so obsessed with him," a top Democratic official marveled Sunday night.)

The party Huntsman imagined -- modernizing, reforming, and youthful -- could still be born. That might be the reaction to a second smashing defeat at Obama's hands, or that might be where President Romney takes his re-election campaign. But it's now hard to see Huntsman leading that change. He bet, too early, on a fantasy, and ran for the nomination of a party that doesn't exist, at least not yet. His decision tonight to drop out just marks his recognition of that fact....

"a fantasy driven by a fundamental misunderstanding of his own party." I'd say, no, it was a fantasy driven by the fantasy worldview promoted by leftists and the "press." A crazy dreamworld where the Democrats are forever nominating young modern JFK to dazzle us with exciting new government programs, while Republicans remain mired in the Depression era. Of course the truth is it is Dems who are stuck in the 1930's. They had a burst of ideas back then, and have coasted on them ever since. And now they've run through their inheritance, and can only pretend we are still in the Industrial Age, or the Civil Rights Era.

"The party Huntsman imagined -- modernizing, reforming, and youthful -- could still be born." Well, it is already born, or starting to be born, and it clearly terrifies the stuffed-shirt "insiders" of both parties.... or we would be looking at Palin/West 2012!

Posted by John Weidner at 2:53 PM | Comments (3)

January 14, 2012

"the American economy runs from the bottom up"

Spengler — Private Equity and Creative Destruction:

...There are plenty of things about which I disagree with Mitt Romney; I entirely agree with Governor Huntsman's warning that Romney's rhetorical blasts against China would lead to a trade war, and I also agree with Newt Gingrich's sensible views on immigration against Romney's hard line. In both cases, it seems to me that Romney is pandering to prejudice. But there is no question that his record at Bain Capital qualifies him to make better economic policy. Obama's economic advisers, by contrast, think in terms of such abstractions as "aggregate demand," and blundered into a stimulus program that failed to stimulate. Romney understands that the American economy runs from the bottom up — that risk-taking and innovation and the stubborn desire to win are what make companies succeed.

One wonders at the pettiness of Romney's opponents. One of the problems that Republicans have in the primary is that the Reagan consensus — cut taxes and roll back regulation — holds sway over all the contenders, except, of course, for Ron Paul, who is a throwback to an ugly era of American isolationism — Charles Lindbergh without the airplane. In 1980, the differences between Reagan and the establishment candidates were enormous — "voodoo economics" against conservative Keynesianism. Now that supply-side has become the mainstream Republican doctrine, the practical differences between Romney and a Gingrich or Perry are small in economic policy. Perhaps the reliance on personal attacks stems from lack of substantive differences. If that is true, there is hope that once Gingrich and Perry come to understand that they are not going to be the Republican candidate, then the party will unite behind its candidate and this whole miserable discussion will be forgotten....

Good stuff. But why do we have to get this from Spengler, and not from Romney himself? This just mystifies me. He's been running for President for six or eight years, maybe more. And the OBVIOUS criticism to make of him is that he's a heartless capitalist who fires the little people (preferably on Christmas Eve) and then returns to the 42nd Floor to mingle with light his cigars with hundred-dollar bills. So why is he not ready with a good answer? I could write better answers than he's giving. With one hand tied behind my back.

And why can't our people understand and express it, that jobs too come from the bottom up? From a million decisions, like... "Should we hire another person? Or invest in a better machine? Or just muddle along the way we are?"

Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 AM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2011

The Blue Model

I've referred often to Walter Russell Mead's concept of the Blue Model. But I don't think I've ever blogged his original post wherein he explains it. So I'm putting the link and an excerpt here, just so I can easily find it when I need it. It's definitely worth reading; its explanatory power is great.

American Challenges: The Blue Model Breaks Down:

...it is sometimes hard to believe, but out there in the workaday world the long and graceful decay of the American social model is accelerating into a more rapid and dangerous decline.  The core institutions, ideas and expectations that shaped American life for the sixty years after the New Deal don’t work anymore, and the gaps between the social system we’ve inherited and the system we need today are becoming so wide that we can no longer paper them over or ignore them.

In the old system, both blue collar and white collar workers hold stable jobs, a professional career civil service administers a growing state, with living standards for all social classes steadily rising while the gaps between the classes remain fairly stable, and with an increasing ‘social dividend’ being paid out in various forms: longer vacations, more and cheaper state-supported education, earlier retirement, shorter work weeks and so on.  Graduate from high school and you were pretty much guaranteed lifetime employment in a job that gave you a comfortable lower middle class lifestyle; graduate from college and you would be better paid and equally secure.

Life would just go on getting better.  From generation to generation we would live a life of incremental improvements — the details of life would keep getting better but the broad outlines of our society would stay the same.  The advanced industrial democracies of had in fact reached the ‘end of history’: this is what ‘developed’ human society looked like and there would be no more radical changes because the picture had fully developed.

Call this the blue model, and the chief division in American politics today is between those who think the blue model is the only possible or at least the best feasible way to organize a modern society and want to shore it up and defend it, and those who think the blue model, whatever benefits it had in the past, is no longer sustainable. That division is going to begin to erode in the next few years because the blue model is breaking down so fast and so far that not even its supporters can ignore the disintegration and disaster that it entails....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 PM | Comments (6)

Jonah Goldberg asks the right question...

Jonah Goldberg: Conservatives wonder whether Gingrich can be stopped - latimes.com:

...As to whether he can beat Obama, opinions vary. But many feel that a Gingrich victory might be scarier than a GOP defeat. Gingrich's defenders say such fear is a compliment because it shows that he's a "change agent" threatening the status quo.

They have a point. Inside D.C., it sounds very strange to say that Gingrich is an "outsider." Gingrich has eaten from just about every trough imaginable inside the Beltway. And yet, he's always been very clear that he wants to ("fundamentally," "historically," "categorically" and "radically") overturn the existing order. Some critics always thought, plausibly, that such pronouncements were part of his act or a sign of his megalomania.

But there's another possibility: It's true. Moreover, the times may be ripe for precisely the sort of vexing, vainglorious and all-too-human revolutionary Gingrich claims to be. That's the argument a few people have been wrestling with. Gingrich, after all, is the only candidate to actually move the government rightward. While getting wealthy off the old order, he's been plotting for decades how to get rid of it. To paraphrase Lenin, perhaps the K Streeters paid Gingrich to build the gallows he will hang them on?

That remains a stretch. Mitt Romney is still the sensible choice if you believe these are rough, but generally sensible, times. If, however, you think these are crazy and extraordinary times, then perhaps they call for a crazy, extraordinary — very high-risk, very high-reward — figure like Gingrich.

This helps explain why Newtzilla is so formidable. In order to stop him, you need to explain to very anxious GOP voters that the times don't require him....

(My emphasis.) I'm in a hard spot, because I am not a fan of Mr Gingrich. His antics have offended me deeply. On the other hand I think we are definitely in "crazy and extraordinary times," and we need some crazy medicine.

Also, as Jonah puts it, "Moreover, conservative voters distrust the conservative establishment — variously defined — almost as much as they distrust the liberal establishment." That's me these days. The Jennifer Rubins have just sat in the same place too long. Sat as a sort of "loyal opposition" to the Blue Model. Phooey. Send 'em home.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:11 PM

November 28, 2011

Time's up...

Professor Jacobson, » Barney Frank retires, Democratic self-decapitation continues :

I was in the car this morning when I heard on the news that Barney Frank was retiring and would not run for re-election.

Obviously there is a lot of snark which could be thrown around, but this represents a bigger deal than Barney.  As more and more senior Democrats retire, the realization is sinking in that there is no next generation of Democrats.

The younger generation of Democrats in Congress was wiped out in 2010 (along with some senior Democrats as well).  On the eve of the 2010 elections I wrote:
The Democrats face a political decapitation tomorrow.

Dozens of senior Democratic Party leaders in the House and Senate, and in Statehouses around the country, are likely to lose.  Unlike Republicans in 2008, there is no next generation of Democratic leaders.

Who are the Democratic Party equivalents of Marco Rubio, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, Bobby Jindal, Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor?

The Republican Party has numerous rising stars.  I cannot think of a single Democratic Party rising star. Can you?
The Democratic congressional problem remains the same.  Democrats in Congress have lost both their past and their future. Barney Frank's retirement is just another example.

The model of the world and politics and economics that Dems are using—what Walter Mead calls the "Blue Model" (or "the blue beast") —is no longer workable. It's an Industrial Age model that no longer fits with reality. They don't have a future until they find a new model. And all the senior people are too old and stiff to change.

Actually it may not be age that's the problem, but success. Sometimes that worst thing that can happen to people, or organizations, is to be successful. When people find something that works, they cling to it. Whereas the person who is more-or-less a failure is open to new possibilities. That's one reason why you should read Random Jottings. I've never been accounted a success at all. Rose petals have never been strewn in my path. So I'm totally open to the possibility that everything I know is wrong. And therefore if a new idea comes along, there is at least a fighting chance that I will be able to SEE it. Unlike people who already feel they have things under control.

That's the Dem's big problem right now. They were successful in the past, and now they are stuck. This also, by the way, fits with the theory of the 70-Year Cycle. Dems were hugely successful in the 1930's. But that generation grew up in a Republican-dominated world, and so they had a lot of humility. They knew darned well that there was another model of the world. The problem in the 70-year cycle comes with the second generation. They grow up in a world whee their model is pretty much unquestioned. A person like Frank can't even imagine that his model could be dysfunctional, because he grew up among those who thought that the Blue Model it was the end-point of all human endeavor.

Some time around 2030 we will start to see significant numbers of Dems who have something new to say, and the start of a new model.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:24 PM

October 24, 2011

If I were starting over again... Texas.

The Red State in Your Future — Forbes:

Voters around the country are concluding it's better to be red than dead—applying a whole meaning to an old phrase.  If you do not currently live in a red state, there's a good chance you will be in the near future.  Either you will flee to a red state or a red state will come to you—because voters fed up with blue-state fiscal irresponsibility will elect candidates who promise to pass red-state policies.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 25 state legislatures are controlled by Republicans and 16 by Democrats, with eight split (i.e., each party controlling one house).  There are 29 Republican governors and 20 Democrats, with one independent.  And there are 20 states where Republicans control both the legislature and governor's mansion vs. 11 Democratic, with 18 split (one party controls the governor's office and the other the legislature).

And though we are a year away from the 2012 election, generic Republican vs. Democratic polls have given Republicans the edge for more than a year.  If that pattern holds—and if blue-state leaders refuse to learn from their policy mistakes, just like their true-blue leader in the White House—it likely means there will be even more red states in 2013...

And when the Blue States and cities are going bankrupt, and come begging a Red congress for bailouts... I hope we are compassionate. I'd suggest we give 'em a helping hand. Including ridding them of burdensome public employee unions, cutting public employee pensions and benefits back to private-sector norms, setting limits on the ratio of supervisors to actual workers, ending gerrymandering... We could help them out by privatizing education, and a lot of other things.

It would be the kind-hearted thing to do...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:30 PM | Comments (1)

October 17, 2011

We needed a giant, and are getting a pygmy...

Klavan:

...So far, Romney is, in fact, the best candidate actually in the race. I'm sorry, but there is something to be said for realism when you're dealing with, you know, reality.

But he's still not the guy. And just for the record, just to explain, the problem is not that he's a moderate per se.  It's not that he has changed his mind from time to time.  It's not even his failure to renounce Romneycare, so similar to the disastrous Obamacare.  (After all, what's Obama's argument going to be on that?  "His plan stinks as much as mine?")  The problem is that Romney doesn't understand that we — America — the west — are in crisis:  a crisis of debt, a crisis of confidence, a crisis of identity and ignorance wherein journalists, professors, politicians, and priests have become one with the moral idiots occupying Wall Street.

Go on Romney's website.  Look at his proposals.  There's nothing wrong with them, for the most part.  They seem intended to repeal the Obama administration and set us back on the path we were on before.  That would be fine if Obama were the cause of the crisis, but he's the symptom of the crisis, its incarnation as it were.  Obama and his ideas are the creation of 40 years of moral error and political failure drip-drip-dripped into the consciousness of the country through our schools, news media, and culture.  He could never have won our highest office if the electorate had not been bred by that error to foolishness, and then spurred to an act of panicked stupidity by a crisis that had already come. It's not Obama's presidency that needs to be repealed — not just Obama's presidency — but all the ideas that made Obama's presidency possible.

To do that, we need a man not just of policies but of vision, not just of proposals but of high ideals. A mere Romney might — might — take us back from the brink to which Obama has sped us, but that would only delay the fatal catastrophe. Worse, it would perforce recreate the exact same set of circumstances that got us into this mess in the first place....

I don't want to "set us back on the path we were on before." Because that puts the train-wreck back in our future.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:26 PM | Comments (11)

October 10, 2011

Has there been anything quite like this since... Watergate?

Michelle Malkin » Issa to Holder: "You OWN Fast and Furious;" resignation calls grow:

...WASHINGTON, D.C. -- House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa today sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder responding to his letter of October 7. The text of Chairman Issa's letter to Attorney General Holder is below:...

You need to read the whole thing to get the effect of accumulating outrages...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2011

Those dwarfs are just marking time. This opera doesn't start 'till Snow White sings...

Star Parker, Why the presidential debates aren't serious | -- Washington Examiner:

The presidential debates are looking more like symptoms of our problems than they do like part of the solution.

Maximum style, minimum substance. Focus on sizzle, forget about the steak.

These events are supposed to be about quality information, raising the bar, and producing a thoughtful, informed electorate. But they are being produced to provide entertainment, and we are barely getting that.

Technology doesn't take the place of substance. YouTube and real-time polling are not substitutes for thoughtful, provocative questioning.

Can it really be, after all the heat he has taken on Social Security, that Rick Perry was not pushed on how specifically how he would reform it?

Can it be, as expert after expert has laid out the long list of failures of Romneycare in Massachusetts and its unquestionable similarities to Obamacare, that Mitt Romney was not called out on his sidestepping and denials?

Can it be that, on a day where the stock market in our country dropped 3.5 percent and in China by 5 percent, that candidates were not asked what they think is wrong with the global economy?

Can it be that, when many experts agree that government meddling in housing and mortgages was central to the recent financial collapse, there has not been a single question on why Fannie and Freddie are still standing, propped up by government, and untouched?...

Sara Palin with dead caribou

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM | Comments (0)

September 22, 2011

I have to agree with Mr Drum on this one...

The Great $16 Muffin Myth | Mother Jones:

...So did DOJ really pay $16 for muffins? Of course not. In fact, it's obvious that someone quite carefully calculated the amount they were allowed to spend and then gave the hotel a budget. The hotel agreed, but for some reason decided to divide up the charges into just a few categories instead of writing a detailed invoice for every single piece of food they provided. 

This is unremarkable. In fact, I'm here to tell you that this happens All. The. Time. I've been involved in what feels like a thousand conferences of this kind, and I'd be shocked if it happened any other way. Hell, I'm surprised DOJ even got that much of a breakdown. Far more commonly, your event person negotiates what kind of refreshments you'll get, and the invoice ends up looking something like this:

Refreshment table (bev/morn/aft) — 5 days....................$39,500...

Yeah. I never go to conferences, but I know enough to know how it works. If you ask the hotel to provide refreshments, they don't just bring out a bowl of muffins. There's a sort of buffet, with coffee and tea and OJ and cream cheese and fruit and cookies and bagels... etc etc. And there's at least one staff person refilling the coffee urns. And extra work done in the kitchen putting it together. And people have to clean up the mess. And supervisors drop in to check up, and also spend time talking to the conference organizers. And you are using hotel equipment, the cost of which you are partly paying.

That's all paid for in the "cost of refreshments."

Posted by John Weidner at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2011

I'd say this is a positive for Perry...

Trial lawyers prep for war on Perry - POLITICO:

America's trial lawyers are getting ready to make the case against one of their biggest targets in years: Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Among litigators, there is no presidential candidate who inspires the same level of hatred — and fear — as Perry, an avowed opponent of the plaintiffs' bar who has presided over several rounds of tort reform as governor.

And if Perry ends up as the Republican nominee for president, deep-pocketed trial lawyers intend to play a central role in the campaign to defeat him.

That's a potential financial boon to a president who has unsettled trial lawyers with his own rhetorical gestures in the direction of tort reform. A general election pitting Barack Obama and Perry could turn otherwise apathetic trial lawyers into a phalanx of pro-Obama bundlers and super PAC donors.

"If this guy emerges, if he's a serious candidate, if he doesn't blow up in the next couple weeks, it's going to motivate many in the plaintiffs' bar to dig deeper to support President Obama," said Sean Coffey, a former securities litigator who ran for attorney general of New York last year. "That will end up driving a lot of money to the Democratic side."...

Bloodsuckers. I know a lot about those creeps, because Charlene's on the other side, and does battle with them daily, and often fills me in on her current adventure. Or asks me to think as if I'm on a jury, and see how her arguments strike me.

Word Note logoWORD NOTE: You can't think about things unless they have names. And often in life an inaccurate name is used, and becomes part of the language, and we are stuck with it. Like calling the indigenous American peoples 'Indians."

The term "trial lawyers" is often used, as it is in this piece, as a name for the plaintiff's bar, that is, for the lawyers who specialize in the lawsuits of "victims." But the term really should be used for any lawyer who is equipped to take cases to trial. My wife is a trial lawyer; she tries cases... and usually wins them. The Brits make "trial lawyer" a separate group, called Barristers. They are the only ones who can actually try cases in court.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 PM

August 16, 2011

Palin/West 2012?

What do you think? Alan West seems to me like a guy with his feet on the ground and his head in the clouds... I like his style a lot. Common sense...

Here he is, speaking to some disappointed Tea Partiers after the debt deal...

Listen to this guy. He speaks pearls.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 AM

August 15, 2011

Pawlentyism...

James Poulos seems to hit the nail, The real reason Pawlenty failed:

...Pawlenty is out, and out first, for one reason and one reason only.

It's not Pawlenty. It's Pawlentyism.

Tim Pawlenty is the canary in the establishment coal mine. His message — that the Republican Party doesn't need to rethink any of its main policy propositions — no longer computes with a critical mass of Republican voters: not just in Ames, Iowa, but nationwide.

Paul and his (growing) army of faithful are no longer the lone data point. Michele Bachmann has built her campaign around a radical alternative to Republican spending orthodoxy. Sarah Palin fuels hopes of an even broader renunciation of the Republican establishment....

My preference for Palin is based on logic, by the way. I think our situation is worse than most people realize, and demands more radical changes than the CW admits. What he said above, "Sarah Palin fuels hopes of an even broader renunciation of the Republican establishment," well, them's my hopes too. I'd be happier if she were more explicitly on my wavelength. (I'm available as a consultant.) But she's a fighter, and not afraid to go against the establishment and "elite" groupthink.. I'll settle for that.

A little more of Mr Poulos' piece...

...It's not that Pawlenty's brand of mainstream, fusionist conservatism is wrong. It's that it misses the point. The principles are necessary, but the policies Pawlentyism derives from them are inadequate to the daunting task that Americans have — let's face it — set before themselves.

Given how grievously we've undercalculated the real debt burdens at the state, local, and federal levels, an "ambitious goal" of 5% economic growth is not just absurd but dangerously so. (Perhaps real growth is in reach with a massive and open-ended influx of immigrants who are ready to work cheap and stay off entitlements. Good luck with that.)

Given how weary America has become of its network of military actions, a bear-any-burden approach to muscular interventionism sweeps all our serious strategic questions under the rug. (Note: We Americans are fine with wars. It's the massive and open-ended imperial mission of garrisoning "restive tribal areas" that we rightly lose patience for.)

And given how deeply all economic classes have been penetrated by dependency on perpetual federal wealth transfers, the "Sam's Club Republicanism" that anointed Pawlenty its poster boy cannot be taken seriously when it proposes to "reform" the country and the GOP by replacing our system of targeted tax credits with one of out-and-out wage subsidies.
Posted by John Weidner at 5:46 PM

August 14, 2011

The spotlight shines on... Rick Perry

And I don't think he's looking quite so good as one was led to believe.

A couple of things...

Charles Dameron: Rick Perry's Crony Capitalism Problem - WSJ.com:

and Charlene recommends this...

Alex Jones' Infowars: 14 Reasons Why Rick Perry Would Be A Really, Really Bad President :

and...

Mark America, Desolate and Dry, Texas Awaits Relief From Obama and Perry:

Well, we'll see what develops. But it looks to me like Governor Palin has been one smart cookie in not declaring too soon. Once she's thrown her hat in the ring, the glare will be almost entirely on her, and those way-too-cute other candidates won't get the vetting and exposure that can show their weak points.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:01 PM

July 19, 2011

The new Gorbachev...

Charlene recommends this, and mentions that it actually fits rather well with my 70-Year Cycle theory...

Why The Democratic Party Is Doomed - Richard Miniter - National Security - Forbes:

...But it doesn't matter. The long-term trends are almost all bad news for the left wing of the party.

This week's fight over raising the federal debt limit exposes a key weakness in the warfare-welfare state that has bestowed power onto the Democratic Party: Without an ever-growing share of the economy, it dies. Every vital element of the Democrats' coalition — unions, government workers, government contractors, "entitlement" consumers — requires constant increases in payments, grants and consulting contracts. Without those payments, they don't sign checks to re-elect Democrats.

Like it or not, Obama is not the new FDR, but the new Gorbachev: a man forced to preside over the demise of a political system he desperately wants to save.

Democrat champions in the punditocracy confidently predict that the future of the world's oldest political party is bright. But in fact, the coalition that is the modern Democratic Party is doomed. Every pillar upholding its heavy roof is crumbling.

The Democratic and Republican parties are structurally different.

The Democrats are a coalition, forged in the New Deal, of diverse interests that do not get along well. Imagine the deer-hunting union member sitting down with the vegetarian college professor and the lesbian lawyer and you will begin to see the trouble party leaders have holding the horde together. So far, money and government preferences have been essential. It is largely a party of unions, government workers and retirees, "green" industries, "entitlement" payees, professors, teachers and social-change activists — all of whom require government payments in one form or another. The only major element of the Democratic base that doesn't receive government payments is the professional class (lawyers, engineers, stock brokers and so on). These high-earners amount to less than 5% of the population and are not reliable Democrat donors.

On the other hand, the Republicans are a consensus party. Activists and leaders fight like hell — leading Democrats to periodically predict the Republicans' demise — only to settle on some principle that is then adopted by the majority. Tax cuts and preemptive invasions were once battlegrounds, now they are cornerstones. Significantly, very few of its supporters receive government payments. Yes, defense firms, farmers and small-business owners get contracts, subsidies or loans. Yet the overwhelming majority of Republicans pay more than they receive. They want to pay less, not get more....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

June 27, 2011

What can we learn from CafePress...

From Illinois Review...
If T-shirt and presidential product sales predict the future in American politics, 2012 will be a Palin vs. Obama race. CafePress writes:
The people have spoken and they want to see a Sarah Palin vs. Barack Obama showdown in the 2012 election. Although Palin's Republican peers Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, and now Jon Huntsman have officially declared their candidacy, the American public is throwing their support behind Mama Grizzly" for the 2012 Election -- on T-shirts that is.
It may be 503 days away, but politically-minded citizens have already designed over 500,000 presidential election products on CafePress, the go-to site for customizable merchandise (think "royal wedding crasher"� and "Weinergate" tees).
-- Sarah Palin has yet to declare her candidacy, but Palin-themed merchandise already makes up a whopping 66 percent of Obama challenger sales and 34 percent of all 2012 election product sales.
-- Mitt Romney made it official several weeks ago but his product sales make up a small percentage of Obama's challengers at 3 percent of election product sales.
-- Michele Bachmann is also in Palin's shadow, with products contributing to only 1 percent of election product sales.

I don't know much about Bachman, but it seems to me significant that I've yet to hear anything that would endear her to me, or make me trust her. Whereas it took me about 30 seconds to see that Sarah Palin was the vrai. And I've yet to see anything to make me change my mind. That's not meant to say she's perfect, just that she's "the real McCoy." She's genuinely herself, without calculation and reserve. (Her failure to profit from reading and pondering RJ is a lapse, but an understandable one.)

But wait a moment. Think back to Palin Day, August 28, 2008..... It also took the Lefty crowd about 30 seconds to ...turn venomously anti-Palin. The hatred was almost instantaneous. And has been "on" ever since. I'm guessing they saw just what I did.

One can partly judge people by the kind of enemies they have. Palin scores near 100% on that measure.


Posted by John Weidner at 6:35 AM

May 11, 2011

The guy's really clueless...

Wall Street Journal editorial pretty much eliminates Mr Romney... from ever riding on the Cluetrain. Review & Outlook: Obama's Running Mate - WSJ.com:

...Like Mr. Obama's reform, RomneyCare was predicated on the illusion that insurance would be less expensive if everyone were covered. Even if this theory were plausible, it is not true in Massachusetts today. So as costs continue to climb, Mr. Romney's Democratic successor now wants to create a central board of political appointees to decide how much doctors and hospitals should be paid for thousands of services.

The Romney camp blames all this on a failure of execution, not of design. But by this cause-and-effect standard, Mr. Romney could push someone out of an airplane and blame the ground for killing him. Once government takes on the direct or implicit liability of paying for health care for everyone, the only way to afford it is through raw political control of all medical decisions.

Mr. Romney's refusal to appreciate this, then and now, reveals a troubling failure of political understanding and principle. The raucous national debate over health care isn't about this or that technocratic detail, but about basic differences over the role of government. In the current debate over Medicare, Paul Ryan wants to reduce costs by encouraging private competition while Mr. Obama wants the cost-cutting done by a body of unelected experts like the one emerging in Massachusetts.

Mr. Romney's fundamental error was assuming that such differences could be parsed by his own group of experts, as if government can be run by management consultants. He still seems to believe he somehow squared the views of Jonathan Gruber, the MIT evangelist for ObamaCare, with those of the Heritage Foundation.

In reality, his ostensible liberal allies like the late Ted Kennedy saw an opening to advance their own priorities, and in Mr. Romney they took advantage of a politician who still doesn't seem to understand how government works. It's no accident that RomneyCare's most vociferous defenders now are in the White House and left-wing media and think tanks. They know what happened, even if he doesn't.

For a potential President whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw. Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on "data." Mr. Romney's highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise....

In the Information Age almost everything will need to be self-regulating, simply because almost everything will be too complex for "experts" to parse. Anything that follows the phrase "a central board of political appointees to decide..." will be doomed to failure.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 PM

May 5, 2011

I find this flabbergasting...

Gov. Daniels on the Verge - By Ramesh Ponnuru - The Corner - National Review Online:

...His foreign-policy details are TBD. Daniels said that "it cannot be illegitimate to ask"� if some of the country's military commitments should be unwound, but he has not yet reached any conclusions about which should be—or, at least, any he is willing to share. On Afghanistan he refuses to second-guess the decisions of the president, to whose greater access to information he defers. On Libya he says only that he has not seen the case for intervention made. One gets the impression of someone who is much more cautious about foreign intervention than Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, but also cautious about saying so. He was asked if he were ready to debate President Obama on foreign policy. "Probably not." (He is candid.)...

This guy Mitch Daniels is apparently seriously considering running for the Republican nomination. Yet is just AWOL on foreign policy. He can't even fake it! How absurd is that?

I guess it's some weirdness about the personalities of politicians. They get in these situations that a little bit of foresight could have avoided. A few hours of prep could have given Daniels some good foreign policy talking points. (Plus, how can such an obviously intelligent man have simply not thought about these things? Bizarre.)

Similarly, how can Romney have spent gazillions trying for the Republican nomination, yet not bothered to do a little hunting, just to show he can? How can Obama have run without doing a bit of research on what ordinary American people are like? Crazy.

And can you imagine what all the Republican elite types would be saying if Sarah Palin confessed to having no thoughts on foreign policy! Wow!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:45 AM

February 21, 2011

Bargaining with themselves...

Roger Roger's Rules — Watershed Moment in Wisconsin:

...Obama is so keen to preserve and nurture public sector unions because they are the lifeblood of the contemporary Democratic Party. To an astonishing extent, the unions are the government in many locales.� They elect officials and then sit down to bargain with them over their salaries and benefits. Since they are essentially bargaining with themselves, they generally make out quite nicely. It's a corrupt and ultimately unsustainable practice. Sooner or later, as Margaret Thatcher observed about socialism, they will run out of other people's money. Many of us believe that day is nigh, but the unions and their enablers apparently have calculated that there is at least a little more ruin they can inflict....

The analogy to draw is if, say, the managers of the Ford Motor company were elected. And if the UAW provided many of them with the necessary campaign funds. That would be a preposterous state of affairs and it would not be tolerated.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:21 PM

February 11, 2011

This tops everything since John Kerry...

Mitt Flips Again - By Deroy Murdock - The Corner - National Review Online:

As Andy Warhol once said, "That's not fake. It's real plastic." Warhol's immortal words came to mind as I learned about Willard Mitt Romney's latest flip flop. The 2011 paperback version of his book No Apology is at war with last year's hardback edition. The fairly accommodating Romney who said nice things about President Obama has been hauled off and replaced with an angrier, more combative Romney — perfect for the GOP presidential primary season, which will heat up as Romney addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this morning at 10:30....

I can't believe how stupid this is. He's just handed every political enemy the perfect metaphor. If he sounds soft it will be described as the "hardcover Mitt." If he tries to seem tough then Sarah can raise her eyebrow and suggest that we're getting "the Paperback Mitt."

Mitt Romney is not politically astute. He makes these dumb ass mistakes frequently. Therefore he would not be a good President, since the President's job is political leadership above all else. It's not like being a CEO, who rarely has to win the political support of the public.

What kind of fool would run for the Republican nomination without ever having had a hunting license! He could easily have arranged to spend a single weekend hunting with friends, and having a few pictures taken of himself with a gun, to put on his website.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:52 PM

January 3, 2011

So, it's a "grass-roots" organization...

...But it has staff, who can be laid-off by the central office? Which is a political party? What a joke!

The Recession Hits Organizing for America - By Daniel Foster - The Corner - National Review Online:

...President Obama's grassroots org is starting off 2011 with a round of layoffs:

The Democratic National Committee's Organizing for America has started laying off staff in multiple states as the first phase of a restructuring before the official kickoff of President Barack Obama's re-election bid....

If you want grass-roots, it's called "Tea Party!"

Posted by John Weidner at 2:07 PM

December 18, 2010

Just having a bit of fun...

...fisking lefty absurdities. Feel free to ignore this...

Nothing like a Republican yarn:

As David M. Ricci shows in Why Conservatives Tell Stories and Liberals Don't: Rhetoric, Faith, and Vision on the American Right recently released by Paradigm, the Republicans have a knack for storytelling that seems to elude Democrats. Here, Ricci, a professor of political science and American studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explains that the cause may lie in the different political philosophies of the left and the right. [I've been blogging since November-2001, and waiting that long for a liberal to say what his political philosophy actually is. Will this be my lucky day?]

Democrats lost heavily in the midterm elections partly because they told no shared story. [So that means they had a story in 2006 and 2008? Ha.] Before the debacle, Thomas Friedman of The New York Times complained: "The thing that baffles me about Mr. Obama is how a politician who speaks so well, and is trying to do so many worthy things, can't come up with a clear, simple, repeatable narrative to explain his politics." [Cuz Alynsky-ism consists of living a lie, and not revealing your Marxist politics.] On Election Day, Roger Cohen was similarly annoyed: "Like many at midterm," he wrote, "I'm struggling with my disappointment... Back and forth go the voices... There's no narrative to the presidency." [There is a narrative, but alas for Dems it's pro-American. It goes: President of USA loves our country and is humbly proud to be a servant of the greatest nation on Earth.]

The missing story was crucial because narratives help citizens to decide what is or isn't important while Digital Age sources flood everyone with information and images. [When Dems are losing then you discover the people are bewildered.] Consequently, if one party campaigns with a narrative and the other does not, it is as if the two are running a horse race in which one side has no nag. [You Dems gotta great story: America weak, government strong. Say it proudly, baby.]

Right-wing talk about poverty, taxes, race, ecology, feminism, families, crime, education, multiculturalism – you name it – leads to a storytelling gap between Republicans and Democrats. Right-wing grievances, which Republicans assert repeatedly, add up to a grand narrative about, say, Judeo-Christian ethics, capitalist efficiency and governmental tyranny. [So Dems, put forthr your counter-narrative. You're anti-Christian, anti-Capitalist, pro big gov. Sounds snappy to me!]
Meanwhile, Democrats may tell small stories that illuminate various policy issues. But left-wing people do not all tell the same tales, and the ones they do tell neither reinforce one another nor project a shared vision of where America is and what they propose to do about it. [The secret to being liars is to coordinate your story ahead of time]

The result, according to psychologist Drew Westen in "The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation " (2007), is that "every Democrat who even talks with friends at the water cooler, has to reinvent what it means to be a Democrat, using his or her own words and concepts." [Just say you're doing it for the children.]

Democrats aren't necessarily incompetent because they fail to compose a signature narrative. Rather, liberalism is intrinsically opposed to storytelling, and there's the rub. [Because liberalism has become nihilism, and you have nothing to say.]

Since the Enlightenment, liberals have -- in the largest sense -- evoked science, theory, and facts to release citizens from many traditional restraints, whereas conservatives have -- generally speaking -- promoted traditional truths they regard as fostering decency and stability in American life. [Then why do you get upset when Republicans point out that you want to "release citizens from many traditional restraints?" Is there something wrong with being hippies?]

In this division of labor, science seeks not stories but data and experiments, [If you really seek "data and experiments," why do you get upset when we point out that your economic experiments have uniformly failed?] whereas traditions are affirmed in familiar tales such as those retold by conservative think-tanker William Bennett in "The book of Virtues: A Treasury of Great Moral Stories" (1993). [So get busy and write The Book of Immoral Stories.]

These points are not merely academic. America's leading liberal today is Barack Obama, a president described by historian James Kloppenberg in "Reading Obama: Dreams, Hope, and the American Political Tradition " (2010) as inherently "pragmatic" and therefore, in Ricci's terms, so flexible that his national health law meanders over 2,300 pages and cannot be summed up intelligibly in Democratic stump speeches. [That's stupid. Obama had nothing to do with writing the law. It was written by lobbyists for Nancy Pelosi.]

This while conservatives over the years, such as Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, and Sarah Palin, collaborate on a rousing narrative that exalts American life via stirring tales such as "Creationism" and "The Free Market," neither of which can be verified decisively. [The Free Market can't be verified? Who knew? Maybe it's really weather balloons.]

An electoral payoff can emerge when storytelling mobilizes civic enthusiasm. [You do mobilize civic enthusiasm.. In Paris.] But some political stories have led people astray ever since Alcibiades in 415 B. C. persuaded the Athenian Assembly to launch a disastrous military expedition against Syracuse. [That's totally irrelevant. But I guess it gives you some fake academic-superiority glitz.] Similarly, Republicans would like everyone to forget, about how Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and their accomplices -- in pursuit of a "War on Terror" -- inspired America to invade Iraq to destroy WMDs that weren't there and bring democracy to Arabs who didn't want it. [On the contrary, we are PROUD of it. We overthrew a cruel fascist tyrant and brought freedom and democracy to his oppressed subjects. But... but...wait a minute. Isn't that a traditional liberal story?]

The country is still paying dearly for that story. [NO. we won a splendid victory over the terrorist slime-animals and the even-slimier liberal Democrats who are allied with them.]

      

Posted by John Weidner at 4:34 PM

December 7, 2010

Proxy war...

Assuming you are not sick of the whole subject of Sarah Palin, I recommend this piece by Timothy Dalrymple, Palin Enragement Syndrome.

...And this is enough to illustrate the point: much of the opposition to Palin is not political. It is deeply and thoroughly cultural. Sarah Palin is Miss Jesusland, the living emblem and foremost representative of an America that progressive elites had hoped had been swept into the dustbin of history. One definition of culture is "the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group." Palin represents the values, tastes, and institutions, the attitudes and behaviors, that are shared by one American sub-culture and despised by another. Hugh Hewitt had it right over a year ago, when he said that Palin is "the opposite of every choice that lefty elites have ever made . . . the antithesis of everything that liberal urban elites are."...

We hear a lot about how Sarah can't win in 2012 because she is "too polarizing" and doesn't appeal to independents and moderates. There's a lot of truth in that, and if this were 1996 and the Dem was a Bill Clinton, I'd tend to agree. But people seem to forget that the Republican in 2012 is going to be running against an equally polarizing figure. Obama faked being moderate in 2008, but that won't work twice.

Obama already stands revealed as very much a man of the Left. And Sarah won't be pulling her punches like McCain did. She's a fighter. She would force reluctant Americans to face the implications of Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers.

The choices below will be stark on both sides, if Palin runs. You could substitute "Barak Obama" for Palin in this paragraph and it would be just as accurate....

...In a very peculiar sort of way, then, Sarah Palin herself has become the latest contested territory in America's ongoing culture war. The fight over Sarah Palin is a proxy battle over cultural issues and over the meaning of America: not only Democrats and Republicans but low culture versus high culture, conservative Christianity versus progressive religion, pro-life versus pro-choice, traditional family versus modern family, rural versus urban, the wisdom and goodness of the people versus the technocracy of the elite. It's a proxy battle over which culture -- which set of values, attitudes, and behaviors -- ought to pervade and guide our nation and its government...

So, if it's a matter of clear choices between the above possibilities, well, who's got the numbers? Who wins?

* Update: Of course the above is probably a good argument for a non-threatening moderate Republican candidate. At least in purely horse-race terms. But it would be a mistake. From the moment she walked onstage in 2008, that race was really between Palin and Obama. But there was no way they could come to grips with each other during the campaign.

The shootout at the OK Corral has got to happen. In 2012. Anything else would be like reading a thriller, and finding that the last chapter has been ripped out, and we will never know how the story ends.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

November 16, 2010

Dodged a bullet, we did...

William A. Jacobson, The Murkowski-Castle Senate Would Have Been A Disaster:

...If Republicans had taken control of the Senate in the mid-term elections, that long-shot win would have been razor thin, probably only by one seat.

The Senate would be controlled by those who were willing to sell their votes to the highest bidder or those with their own agenda. In the last Democratic controlled Senate, the votes on the cusp (Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, Joe Lieberman) were able to use that leverage to their advantage.

In Republican terms, we would be witnessing in the upcoming Senate two years of the Lisa Murkowski or Mike Castle Senate, a time of bitter sniping by bruised egos with personal vendettas. (I don't put Susan Collins or Olympia Snowe in the same category.)

Murkowski, the likely winner when the counting is done in Alaska, is chomping at the bit to divide the party by gratuitously attacking Sarah Palin.

Two years of such a Senate controlled by Republicans would have destroyed all of the gains of the mid-terms, and would have demoralized the Republican Party heading into 2012, much as the gamesmanship needed to win over Nelson, Landrieu and Lieberman were a disaster for Democrats...

Amen, brother. I would have preferred that that poisonous insect Murkowski had been stripped of committee seats and refused admittance to the Republican caucus the instant she decided to run against the winner of the primary. Give her to the Dems. I supppose that's impractical, but how often must we be stabbed in the back by Rinos? Quamdieu Domine?

Posted by John Weidner at 11:01 AM

November 3, 2010

The word's on the tip of my tongue...

Reader Ethan Hahn e-mails...

This morning's NY Times editorial discusses the lessons to be learned from the Republicans picking up 60ish seats in the House - that Obama has to explain his vision better, pander to his base, and stiffen the spines of his party leadership.

Seriously. They wrote that.

Through my local library I have access to the historical NY Times database, so I pulled up their editorial from the 1982 election, where Democrats picked up just 27 seats (see the enclosed pdf) - the lesson for Reagan? He has no choice but to move to the center.

Funniest thing I've read in a LONG time...

Oh, and my condolences on the debacle your state has become...

Debacle. Gee, that's precisely the word that I was groping for.

I could fisk the piece, but everyone can guess what I'd say. I particularly like that to the NYT, opposing ObamaCare is not "substance," only obstructionism. "Progress" is a juggernaut, that no man may stand against....

Posted by John Weidner at 10:18 AM

November 1, 2010

Time of transition...

Obama's economists missed what voters plainly saw | Washington Examiner:

...In post-World War II America, voters regularly moved toward the Democrats in recession years.

There's a difference, however, that has escaped Obama Democrats but perhaps not ordinary voters.

In recessions caused by oscillations in the business cycle from the 1940s to 1970s, voters were confident that the private-sector economy could support the burden of countercyclical spending on things like unemployment insurance and public works projects.

That spending would stimulate consumer demand, the thinking went, and once inventories were drawn down manufacturers would call workers back to the assembly line. The recession would be over.

But it's been a long time since we've had a major business cycle recession. The recession from which we've technically emerged, but which seems to most voters to be lingering on, is something different, the result of a financial crisis.

And financial crisis recessions tend to be a lot deeper and more prolonged than business cycle recessions, as economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff argue in their 2009 book "This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly." "The aftermath of systemic banking crises," they write,"involves a protracted and pronounced contraction in economic activity and puts significant strains on government resources."

The very able economists in the incoming Obama administration seem to have ignored the difference between these two kinds of recessions. Council of Economic Advisors head Christina Romer was surely sincere when she promised that passage of the stimulus package would hold unemployment under 8 percent.

Similarly, administration economists evidently thought the private-sector economy could bear the burden of a national debt that doubled over a decade. It would bounce back like it usually does in a business cycle recession.

Tea Partiers took a different view -- and before long so did most voters. They seem to believe that permanent increases in government's share of GDP will inflict permanent damage on the private-sector economy -- and won't do much if anything to move us out of this prolonged financial crisis recession. The evidence so far seems to support them....

My belief is that the cause of the recession is deeper than just the financial crisis. That crisis is itself a symptom of deeper problem, which is that part of our world has made a transition to the Information Age, and part—government and quasi-governmental organizations —have not.

and one part of the transition that needs to be made is the realization that government regulation of financial institutions doesn't really work anymore. The complexity and wierdness of financial instruments that it is possible to create when computers can manipulate millions of variable is beyond the power of man to even understand, much less regulate.

The better way to regulate finance is just to require that financial institutions and their top employees themselves invest in whatever they sell, and hold the investments. Then the system would become self-regulating.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:26 PM

October 29, 2010

Reptiles in sheep's clothing...

Jim Geraghty, So the DCCC Is Effectively Endorsing the Tea Party Movement, Huh?:

I had to shrink it down a bit to get it to fit on the page, but I think you can see the disclosure information on this mailer that appears to tout little-known "Tea Party" candidate Roly Arrojo in Florida's 25th congressional district: "Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. . . . Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."...

You can see the mailer at the link. It's pretty funny. A steaming teacup, teabags, and it says, "Roly Arrojo fits the conservative small-government movement to a tea."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:20 PM

October 28, 2010

Going after Leviathan...

By Andy McCarthy - The Corner - National Review Online:

... I've said similar things in several other contexts, but the basic gist is this: Obamacare is a good bet for the Dems because, even if they lose the next two or three election cycles (which I think their hard Left base has factored in), they figure the GOP is more interested in controlling big government than in rolling it back; therefore, Obama's gains will be consolidated and, eventually, the Dems will be back in control of the hyper-intrusive, central-planning state of their dreams.

I desperately want the Republicans to prove me wrong. I certainly don't want a campaign against NPR. What is that snide shot Obama took at Clinton? "I didn't come here to do school uniforms." That's how I want the GOP to think. I don't want them to go after NPR/CPB as a target. I want them to go after Leviathan such that cutting off NPR/CPB — and about a zillion other things the government shouldn't be doing — is the inevitable fall-out. I'm on the Goldwater plan: "My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden."

FWIW, I think that's the plan the Tea Party movement is on, too. Consequently, I think Republicans are in for a rude awakening. So far, other than the handful of RINOs who've been taken out in primaries, the GOP has gotten to ride a wave that is not of their own making. Democrats have been the primary target, and they've had no choice but to come to grips with the Tea Party movement. But while D-Day for the Dems is November 2, D-Day for the GOP is November 3. The dynamic movement in the country couldn't care less about who is running what committee. They want this monstrosity stripped down. They understand that this is a long-term project, it's not going to be accomplished in a single election, and Obama is going to veto all efforts at roll-back. But the movement wants the efforts made, and it is not going to want to hear about how it wasn't worth fighting this or that battle because we didn't have the numbers to override, etc....

The underlying structural political problem for conservatives in America is that we want to shrink government, but the process requires electing (and appointing) people to government. And somehow—is is very mysterious—people who spend their lives trying to get into government for some reason lack the keen desire to shrink government that we desire.

It has seemed all my life to be an impossible dream. but the opportunity be here now, because government has, since roughly the 1980's, not just grown, but grown cancerously. It's become a cancer that is killing the body. Lots of places, including my California, are truly bankrupt. So maybe we will be forced to take a knife to the problem of government...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 PM

October 27, 2010

Mitt's giving finger-to-the-wind politicians a bad name...

Almost certain presidential candidate Mitt Romney gives nod to Allen West:

Like every other potential candidate for high office, Mitt Romney is trying to accumulate chits for his next campaign.

On Monday, Romney's Free & Strong America PAC added Republican candidate Allen West to its list of 30 critical House races to watch (and donate to) in the coming midterm election....

Wow, so risky, Mitt! So bold, so decisive. So presidential.

Somebody, somebody..... endorsed Allen West six months ago, before it was cool...

Somebody, somebody, who could it be?

small b-w image of Sara Palin
Posted by John Weidner at 5:11 PM

October 24, 2010

United in futility..

Jes' talking back to silly stuff... Boot the Blue Dog Democrats - NYTimes.com:

...Ms. Johnson is right: Democrats would be in better shape, and would accomplish more, with a smaller and more ideologically cohesive caucus. It's a sentiment that even Mr. Dean now echoes. "Having a big, open-tent Democratic Party is great, but not at the cost of getting nothing done," he said. Since the passage of health care reform, few major bills have passed the Senate. [You'd never guess from reading this that we are a democracy, and that the wishes of voters ultimately decide.] Although the Democrats have a 59-vote majority, party leaders can barely find the votes for something as benign as extending unemployment benefits. [Ignoring the fact that this is not "benign" at all, but is a job-killer, especially for the young]

A smaller majority, minus the intraparty feuding, could benefit Democrats in two ways: first, it could enable them to devise cleaner pieces of legislation, without blatantly trading pork for votes as they did with the deals that helped sour the public on the health care bill. [Please do. I'm sure if you make your collectivism more overt you will win LOTS of support. In Ann Arbor.] (As a corollary, the narrative of "Democratic infighting" would also diminish.)

Second, in the Senate, having a majority of 52 rather than 59 or 60 would force Democrats to confront the Republicans' incessant misuse of the filibuster to require that any piece of legislation garner a minimum of 60 votes to become law. [why, precisely, is this "misuse?"] Since President Obama's election, more than 420 bills have cleared the House but have sat dormant in the Senate. It's easy to forget that George W. Bush passed his controversial 2003 tax cut legislation with only 50 votes, plus Vice President Dick Cheney's. Eternal gridlock is not inevitable unless Democrats allow it to be. [If Republicans are blocking things, why is gridlock something Dems are "allowing?"]

Republicans have become obsessed with ideological purity, [Not true; you're projecting] and as a consequence they will likely squander a few winnable races in places like Delaware. But Democrats aren't ideological enough. Their conservative contingent has so blurred what it means to be a Democrat that the party itself can barely find its way. [So what, precisely, does it "mean" to be a Democrat?] Polls show that, despite their best efforts to distance themselves from Speaker Pelosi and President Obama, a number of Blue Dog Democrats are likely to be defeated this November. Their conservative voting records have deflated Democratic activists but have done nothing to win Republican support. [Republican support of WHAT, precisely? Blue Dogs are not writing legislation or leading in anything. What's to support?]

Far from hastening the dawn of a post-partisan utopia, President Obama's election has led to near-absolute polarization. If Democrats alter their political strategy accordingly, they'll be more united and more productive. [United does not imply productive. You will be no more likely to get votes for boondoggles that the American people hate. And your brief period of power has exposed your statist agenda totally.]...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 PM

October 22, 2010

Good one...

It's hard to blog this close to the election. D-Day is at hand; the troops are moving; there's not much more to do but wait and pray.

But this is good for a laugh...



Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 AM

October 9, 2010

When shall we descry this new republic struggling to be born?

Glenn Reynolds just re-linked to this excellent 2009 article by James V. DeLong, The Coming of the Fourth American Republic. I initially noticed this...

...Shift the angle of vision and the continuity is less clear, because we have had two upheavals so sweeping that the institutional arrangements under which we now operate can fairly be classified as the Third American Republic. Furthermore, this Third Republic is teetering (these things seem to run in cycles of about 70 years) and is on the edge of giving way to a revised Fourth Republic with arrangements as yet murky to our present-bound perceptions....[my emphasis]

At one point I was writing about how the dominance of political parties in our country seems to last just about 70 years. (Link.) As I recall most of my readers pooh-poohed the idea, but I still think what I wrote was pretty good.

DeLong's point is broader. The parties become dominant because they embody new institutional arrangements. The Republicans created and were the second republic, after the Civil War...

...The later historians of the New Deal and the Great Society sneered that the idea of "laissez faire" was an abdication of governmental responsibility, but this was propaganda. The best translation of the term is the activist "let us do," not the passive "let us be," and the societal quid pro quo was dynamic economic expansion, not the easy life of the rentier. To a large degree, the ideology of laissez faire was designed to protect interstate commerce from rentiers in the form of government officials extorting payments...

And the third, which we are in now. Begun with the New Deal, and embodied by the Dems...

...It is this combination of plenary government power combined with the seizure of its levers by special interests that constitutes the polity of the current Third American Republic. The influence of "faction" and its control had been a concern since the founding of the nation, but it took the New Deal and its acolytes to decide that control of governmental turf by special interests was a feature, not a bug, a supposedly healthy part of democratic pluralism.

And so the Special Interest State expanded, blessed by the intelligentsia. And it feeds on itself; the larger and more complex the government becomes, the higher the costs of monitoring it. This means that no one without a strong interest in a particular area can afford to keep track, which leaves the turf to the beneficiaries. And as existing interests dig in to defend their turf, new interests require continuing expansions of governmental activity to stake a claim on...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:43 AM

September 21, 2010

Witch of the West...

Quoted by Rand Simberg...

Glenn Beck:

"In Delaware, we have an avowed Marxist against a witch. The only question: is she a good witch or a bad witch, because there's no such thing as a good Marxist."

(Just because I occasionally have readers from faraway places, I hasten to add that Ms. O'Donnell is not a witch; she merely fooled around with the idea in high school. Now people are using the issue to distract from the real issues.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 AM

September 19, 2010

A political heresy?

I thought this piece, It's not about the Tea: Catholic Christine O'Donnell Rejects Political Heresy — Catholic Online, was very interesting for the way it mingles politics and religion (Which I think is just common sense. Ones core philosophy is reflected in both.):

...As a Catholic I contend Christine's win was not only about the tea party. Do not get me wrong, I truly admire the movement. However, Christine O'Donnell is simply trying to be a faithful Catholic Christian. She may not remember me, but I met her many years ago. I was involved in one of several efforts I have undertaken in my life (none of which have "succeeded".. yet) of attempting to organize Catholics to inform their political participation in fidelity to the authentic teaching of the Catholic Church and a hierarchy of values - NOT based upon Partisan political labels. She espoused then what she espouses today....


...However, there is a "political dualism" emerging in Republican circles which MUST be exposed and rejected. The argument is that there are "social" and "economic" issues and they must be kept "separate". Proponents claim we can "only win if we stay focused on the economic issues". Mitch Daniel and Haley Barbour are the most recent examples. WE MUST SAY NO!

For example, the reason we care about expanding economic opportunity is because we respect the dignity of every human person. The reason we want to ensure the application of the principle of subsidiarity and keep government at the lowest level is because we respect the primacy of the first government, the family. Social and political issue cannot be separated, just as the soul and the body cannot be separated.

Catholics must reject the efforts to divide the "economic" and "social" spheres. Like the earliest heresies in the Church which separated body and soul, the separation of economic and social issues is a political heresy. I encourage Christine O'Donnell to run based upon this important truth. I will be watching her race with great interest....

Actually I'd add that the separation of economic, social, and national defense issues is political sickness. The health of the body politic flows from the health of all our souls. and part of the sickness of our time is the spreading belief that nothing is worth fighting for.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 AM

September 15, 2010

"Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum."

A few thoughts on the Christine O'Donnell nomination...

Conservatives4Palin.com: Governor Palin: It's Time to Unite:

...It's pretty simple: when the shoe is on the other foot and the more moderate candidate defeats the more conservative candidate in the primary, what always happens is that the more conservative candidate gets behind the more moderate candidate. It's time for moderates to act in defeat the same way conservatives act in defeat and that is to support the winner....

Ain't that the truth. Those who keep telling us to support moderate Republicans should include in their calculus what the "moderates" do when they lose. Specter, Crist, Murkowski. Anybody think Castle will lift a finger for his fellow Republican?

A Long-Overdue Overhaul for Delaware Republicans? - The Campaign Spot - National Review Online:

...Both parties in Delaware have been led by blue-blood patrician types for eons. That probably isn't unusual in most states, but in a small state it plays out in a very interesting way. The big donors and loyalists of both parties are members of the same bar association, members of the same country clubs, do business together and send their kids to the same private schools. They live in the same neighborhoods, too. This co-mingling created a genteel centrist quality in Delaware politics that has not been challenged in any significant way, until now. All these folks live in Wilmington's old money neighborhood and its upscale suburbs. The rural southern counties (long the base for conservative Democrats) never counted for much politically — except for producing a few powerful codgers in the legislature. Now, the only voters the state GOP has left in any concentration are the rural conservatives, yet the party blue-bloods have ignored them (the 2006 Senate nominee was so pathetically liberal, he was to the left of the Dem — Tom Carper).

Remember Dede?

Upset over the Upset in Delaware - The Corner - National Review Online:

...What this really should communicate, I think, is that the Right needs a lot more Club for Growth–style candidate-recruiting efforts. If conservatives do not like O'Donnell, then they should be out identifying better candidates to run against vulnerable RINOs — because somebody is going to run. These incumbent takedowns are going to inspire a lot of new people to get into electoral politics, many of them without the sort of experience or backgrounds that Establishment types are comfortable with. Power, like nature, abhors a vacuum....

* Update: And this:

Response to Jonah - The Corner - National Review Online:

...What I think is a little rich is for folks who declare war on the party establishment to expect that same establishment to bankroll them.

That would be a good point, except that Republican establishment groups all ask the little folk for donations. When they come asking me to contribute, you would never guess that they are up in the elite stratosphere, nor do they mention their preference for moderates.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:02 AM

September 12, 2010

Desperation...

This post is not important; it's just a piece on Sarah Palin that seemed very silly to me, so I'm fisking a bit...

Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune, Sarah Palin would face a losing battle running for president:

...What is overlooked is that she would have big handicaps in a Republican presidential contest as well. Palin has made her name railing against Obama, congressional Democrats, mosque-builders, the news media and other conservative targets. In a GOP primary, those positions would make her stand out about like one Cheerio stands out from the others. So other considerations — competence, experience, temperament, electability — would dominate. [Actually, the other possible candidates have been conspicuously flabby in attacking those targets. Can you name one thing they've done comparable to "death panels," Mr Chapman? Have you noticed the White House reacting to any of them the way they do with Sarah?]

[And perhaps you haven't been paying attention, but lately she's been making a name supporting or attacking REPUBLICANS. You might want to look into that, if the busy life of a "journalist" lets you find time.]

Instead of making the case that she would be an improvement on Obama, she'd have to explain why she would be preferable to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among other possible contenders. [Oh yeah, those guys are perfect. How could anyone POSSIBLY make a case against them??]

It's one thing to tweet your thoughts about Obama and Nancy Pelosi or endorse candidates on Facebook while hiding from skeptical reporters. It's another to match wits on issues with smart, well-informed, politically savvy conservative opponents who are determined to expose your shortcomings. [If they are so savvy, why is everyone obsessing over Sarah? Why are you so eager to demolish her, Chapman? Why do you care?]
If Palin couldn't handle an interview with Katie Couric, how would she handle debates? [People keep going back to the Couric interview, like it's some sort of security blanket. But Sarah is interviewed on TV frequently now, and can you show one time she's flubbed up? If that interview was such a "defining moment," how come we haven't seen the un-edited tapes? How come people like Mr Chapman aren't pressing to see them?] Those come fast and furious in the primaries — and both Romney and Huckabee can draw on their 2008 experience. [So can you remember one single debate moment by those guys? I can't.]

In that kind of setting, winks and one-liners won't take you far. Her opponents will ask her questions she would rather not answer, such as "Why were you for the Bridge to Nowhere until you were against it?" [That's easy to answer. She learned more, and realized it wan't a routine highway project. Lots of things look good before investigation.] and "If you walked away from the governorship, how can we count on you not to quit the presidency?" [Also easy to answer. She continued to be the effective and engaged conservative leader she has been since 1992.] They will also display a grasp of substance that Palin doesn't have and shows no interest in acquiring. [Anyone who's actually READ some of her substantive speeches knows what desperate nonsense that is. Here's a link. If any of your boring white-bread guys gave this speech, you would be hailing them as "smart, well-informed, politically savvy conservative opponents."]

[Oh, and Chapman, do you think Sarah's the only one who will get hard Q's? How's your boy Mitt going to answer questions about RomneyCare? How's Huckabee going to explain raising taxes and releasing cop-killers?]

This last reality is a clue that those who want her to run will be disappointed. If she were serious about a White House bid, she would have spent the past two years making herself plausible as president. [With a blandness implant?] All Palin has done is make herself a major media phenomenon, as well as a wealthy woman.

Right now, she's a hot commodity that has soared in value and seems destined to get even hotter. But the same was once true of housing. Palin is another bubble, which a race for president would soon burst. [Did you not write similar stuff when she was running for VICE-President? And when she resigned as governor? I'll bet you said, "Whew. The bubble has burst, and I'm safe in my comfortable nihilism."]
Posted by John Weidner at 10:42 AM

September 6, 2010

Separation of church and state is not the same as separation of church and politics...

This piece, The Palin Puzzle, is interesting, but I want to quibble with something...

...Moreover, he continues, Palin's mixing of state and religion goes against the grains of American institutions, such as the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League, while her anti-intellectualism has "never been good for Jews, who are over-represented in holders of advanced degrees." ...

Sarah Palin is mixing religion and politics, not religion and the state. And Americans have always mixed religion and politics. Thomas Jefferson on the campaign trail was blatantly Christian.

The idea that Palin or Glenn Beck or the "religious right" are imposing some sort of shocking innovation by invoking God in a political context is silly. This is as American as apple pie. What IS a shocking innovation is that the Democrat Party has become the natural home of atheism. Leftists are scrambling for cover by promoting the myth that religion has not been part of normal American politics in the past...

and the charge that Sarah is "anti-intellectual" is silly. What she, and most people who fit the label of "common sense conservative" are opposed to is the giving of inappropriate weight to intellectuals, or to intellectual knowledge.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:16 PM

August 30, 2010

No middle ground...

Hugh Hewitt is dead right on the need for Republicans to move with decisive speed when (we hope) we win the House

...But it will be uniquely John Boehner's job to general the effort, and John Boehner's moment. If he can impress upon his House colleagues the absolute need for speed and for firm but civil insistence on the key priorities --huge spending cuts, extending the Bush tax cuts and the suspension of key Obamacare mandates as a prelude to comprehensive repeal and replacement-- then he will have done his job even if the Senate and/or the president's veto frustrates the agenda in whole or part.

The key will be to move expeditiously to pass out of the House a budget, all of the appropriations bills and the tax cut legislation that embodies the agenda. The GOP must be seen to be implementing quickly --in a matter of weeks actually-- what the fall campaign ahead is premised on.

If this happens, there will be a mighty collision with the president and his party. That collision cannot be avoided and it should not be postponed. If the country delivers a rebuke to the Democrats in November and a mandate to the Republicans, that statement cannot be frittered away with a long, drawn-out dance around the illusion that there is some middle ground to be found on any of these issues...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 AM

August 26, 2010

Listen to a wise man...

Listen to the Maha Rushi, brothers and sisters. He speaks pearls.



Leftists use embarrassment as a weapon. They paint those they fear as embarrassingly stupid or "not polished," or crap like that, and in our desire to appear "sophisticated" people buy it. They did it to Palin from the instant she walked onstage, and they are doing it to Sharron Angle right this minute.

(Here's a transcript of Rush's remarks.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 PM

August 13, 2010

The WaPo takes pity on us Republicans...

Seem to be a lot of that lately. Liberals trying to help us poor confused Republicans get on the high road to electoral success. Mighty kindly I take it, their giving us some helpful advice. And I thought they didn't like us.

But it's a funny thing. They all seem to have the same advice... Have you noticed?

A Washington Post editorial, Sarah Palin endorsements help push GOP farther from the center:

...Still, the particulars of Mr. Murphy's background are not the most interesting aspect of this tale. In fact, the endorsement reveals much more about Ms. Palin than about Mr. Murphy.

It shows, first of all, that the former Republican vice presidential nominee does not really care much about winning. [She's a loser. My heart's abroken.] After all, Mr. Murphy stands virtually zero chance of stealing the Republican nomination away from former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who maintained relatively high approval ratings statewide even as he was defeated in his bid for reelection four years ago. Maryland is one of the most liberal states in the nation; if any Republican stands a chance at winning statewide office, it will be a moderate like Mr. Ehrlich, not a conservative like Mr. Murphy. [That's the CW. Lather, rinse, repeat.]

It also suggests that Ms. Palin's political worldview, if you can call it that, consists mainly of a short checklist of slogan-ready, litmus-test issues on which Mr. Murphy ranks higher in the conservative canon than Mr. Ehrlich does. Opposed to raising taxes? Check! [How marginal can you get? Only six people in the country oppose raising taxes.] In favor of Second Amendment gun rights? Check! [a few kooks!] Opposed to abortion? Check! [The guv would never endorse someone like, say, Carly Fiorina.] Dislike illegal immigrants? Check! [We marginal Republicans not only dislike them, we string them up from the lampposts.]

To the extent that Republicans follow Ms. Palin down this path, they will find it leads to a very snug tent, just big enough for the hard-core partisans [You have to "make your bones" to get in the club] who refuse to deviate from checklist politics for the sake of character, pragmatism or victory. You could call that principled. You could also call it a political strategy so narrow that it amounts to self-marginalization. [Guns? Check! Ammo? Check! A year's supply of food? Check!—we're ready, Sarah!]

I really don't deserve such bliss, sinner that I am, but the pleasure I would have watching those worms writhe and squirm and yelp through the eight years of the Palin presidency.... I shouldn't even think about it...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:17 PM

July 19, 2010

A too-easy out..

I don't have time to do it justice, but this comment on Romney's religion speech is very much in tune with my thoughts. I felt something similar recently when Nikki Haley indignantly rejected comments on her Sikh upbringing. What she should have said is that she's proud of her parents, and that their religion has many virtues that are very compatible with Christianity. And that she welcomed scrutiny!

It's from a good piece by Kenneth Anderson at The Volokh Conspiracy, Mormons in the Financial Times.

...What Romney's religion speech did was to take the tack adopted by some Muslim intellectuals and their defenders, but it has lots of antecedents among minority religions in American debates over politics and the public square — to challenge any demand to have a reasoned discussion of tenets of the faith as racism. Romney put his religion out of bounds — all of it — on roughly the same grounds. That can't possibly be right, and anyone in Romney's camp who thinks that it is should ask themselves whether they would accept that for a moment when, say, a Muslim says that this or that is required by God — honor killing, for example, or stoning an adulterous woman — end of discussion. Obviously it could be any religion or really any belief system; my point is to pick one where a conservative Republican is unlikely to agree on the grounds of moral relativism that, however, Romney's speech at a couple of crucial junctures demands. However inconvenient for Romney having to answer at least some questions as to the demands of his faith, that is what an engagement with reasoned toleration — rather than multiculturalism or relativism — demands in a liberal society. The rest of the article sets out criteria for what should be available for question and what not....

...It is a crucial mechanism that the United States has to get right(er), and avoid the ways in which Europe has got it wrong, if it seeks to have the traditional American resolution of religion and public life as Muslims, Mormons, and other faiths seek a place within the demos and the polis. For this reason, I would certainly urge Romney's advisors to do a fundamental re-think of his too-easy out last time around. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 AM

July 11, 2010

Non-Rovian political horse sense...

This piece captures something I hadn't clearly focused on. She's not aiming for a "coalition that is created by pitting American against American." Her point is that any commonsensical American should agree with her, and all are welcome on the bandwagon. Dave Gaultier on Sarah Palin's video, Mama Grizzlies:

...The strategy was as simple as it was effective. Rove calculated that by pitting Southerners against Northerners, rural Americans against urban Americans, and churchgoers against non-churchgoers, basic math would put his man on top. And he was right. But a clearinghouse of interest groups only lasts so long, as does a coalition that is created by pitting American against American. Such a coalition is bound to collapse, and it did.

Ironically, the woman who was selected by McCain to be a voiceless cultural icon in service to the Rove strategy is becoming the candidate who may have found her voice and is using it to move the Republican Party forward. There is nothing Rovian about "Mama Grizzlies." Look closely at the women that are represented as Palin's fellow Grizzlies. These women don't represent some single niche of America. There is no subtle hint that these women are from the South, or are evangelical Christians, or are blue collar gals who hang with Joe the Plumber on the weekends. To the contrary, they represent the Everywoman. Some may live in the cities, others in the suburbs, others in rural areas. Some may be from Alabama, and others from New York. Some may be religious and others, non-religious. They aren't pigeonholed by race or class or any other factor. The only thing that all of these women have in common is that they're all Americans, and they're all mad about the direction in which our country is headed...

... Given that she comes from a modest background and is pretty much entirely self-made, we can infer that her political skills come naturally to her and are not the consequence of, say, being a member of a political dynasty. In fact, Palin's combination of charisma, charm, and political horse sense remind me a lot of another self-made politician that no one could seem to take down, Bill Clinton....

...It now becomes clear why Palin insisted that the McCain campaign attempt to win Michigan back in 2008, instead of ceding it to Obama in favor of the red states, a strategy that epitomized the hopeless, hapless Republican establishment in the waning Bush years. My guess is that Nominee Palin would run a national campaign, aimed at turning states like Wisconsin and Michigan from blue to red...

...There's still a long way to go but I'm beginning to wonder if anyone in the Republican field can truly stop a fully operational Palin campaign. Her political skills at first glance appear to be eons beyond most of her competitors. That's something money can't buy. And she's up against a series of retreads, none of whom seemed particularly interesting the last time around. Democrats may be presently gleeful at the prospect of facing her. They shouldn't be. The last time a self-made political natural went up against a cerebral, embattled, sitting president was in 1992. And we all remember how that turned out....

Here's the video itself...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:50 PM

July 7, 2010

Mitt's Hope n' Change in action...

I doubt if any RJ readers are believers in Obamacare, but but this piece is well worth reading...

Joseph Rago: The Massachusetts Health-Care 'Train Wreck' - WSJ.com:

...President Obama said earlier this year that the health-care bill that Congress passed three months ago is "essentially identical" to the Massachusetts universal coverage plan that then-Gov. Mitt Romney signed into law in 2006. No one but Mr. Romney disagrees.

As events are now unfolding, the Massachusetts plan couldn't be a more damning indictment of ObamaCare. The state's universal health-care prototype is growing more dysfunctional by the day, which is the inevitable result of a health system dominated by politics...
[...]
...An entitlement sold as a way to reduce costs was bound to fundamentally change the system. The larger question—for Massachusetts, and now for the nation—is whether that was really the plan all along.

"If you're going to do health-care cost containment, it has to be stealth," said Jon Kingsdale, speaking at a conference sponsored by the New Republic magazine last October. "It has to be unsuspected by any of the key players to actually have an effect." Mr. Kingsdale is the former director of the Massachusetts "connector," the beta version of ObamaCare's insurance "exchanges," and is now widely expected to serve as an ObamaCare regulator.

He went on to explain that universal coverage was "fundamentally a political strategy question"—a way of finding a "significant systematic way of pushing back on the health-care system and saying, 'No, you have to do with less.' And that's the challenge, how to do it. It's like we're waiting for a chain reaction but there's no catalyst, there's nothing to start it."

In other words, health reform was a classic bait and switch: Sell a virtually unrepealable entitlement on utterly unrealistic premises and then the political class will eventually be forced to control spending. The likes of Mr. Kingsdale would say cost control is only a matter of technocratic judgement, but the raw dirigisme of Mr. Patrick's price controls is a better indicator of what happens when health care is in the custody of elected officials rather than a market.

Naturally, Mr. Patrick wants to export the rate review beyond the insurers to hospitals, physician groups and specialty providers—presumably to set medical prices as well as insurance prices. Last month, his administration also announced it would use the existing state "determination of need" process [Why does this ring a bell? Din't somebody use the term "death panels?"] to restrict the diffusion of expensive medical technologies like MRI machines and linear accelerator radiation therapy.

Meanwhile, Richard Moore, a state senator from Uxbridge and an architect of the 2006 plan, has introduced a new bill that will make physician participation in government health programs a condition of medical licensure. This would essentially convert all Massachusetts doctors into public employees. [Would Lenin have disapproved?]

All of this is merely a prelude to far more aggressive restructuring of the state's health-care markets—and a preview of what awaits the rest of the country....

Anyone with half a brain can see that Romneycare and Obamacare are intended for the expansion of government into the most vulnerable points of our lives. Who will want to publicly fight against big government when their mother or their child is "under review" for some life-saving procedure? Review by government employees, who are always highly politicized? Ugh! Remember what happened to Joe the Plumber...

I'm the oddball here because I think the real goal is the destruction of souls. The real goal is to have people living in a world where tough choices are made for them, where they are encouraged to be passive and let others think for them. This advances the goal of socialism, obviously, but the goal of that is to make the world a place where it is comfortable to be a nihilist. Which is what increasing numbers of people are.

If you believe in nothing but yourself, you are in a perilous position —your "self" is a bloodthirsty god. You will not want to think about the implications. Unconsciously your every decision will tend towards not thinking clearly about your situation. So, you will tend to eliminate anything that points to or symbolizes belief in things higher than the self. You will hate the the Pope, the Church, America, Israel, Jews, and Sarah Palin.

.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

June 17, 2010

Leaders lead...

Flash: Mitt Romney Endorses Sarah Palin For President — A Time For Choosing:

By Gary P Jackson

A couple of days ago noted "Profile in Courage" Mitt Romney came out of hiding, basically copied the last couple of Sarah Palin�s Facebook posts on Obama, leadership, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, then submitted them to USA Today in the form of an op-ed.

In this stellar piece of writing Romney reveals to a shocked nation that Barack Obama is not a leader.

I know! I for one, was like totally and completely blown away by this monumental revelation.

Romney also proclaimed that America needed a leader, not a politician. Mitt you are so right about that, and I am sure that Sarah Palin will proudly accept your endorsement for President of these United States.

Mitt doesn�t go away empty handed though, as he�s been awarded the prestigious Captain Louis Renault Award for those who are shocked �. shocked at the obvious....

What a scrub Mitt Romney turned out to be. But I predict Sarah will be a sport, and offer him Treasury.

Look, Mitt. It's really simple. A leader leads, and people follow. The algorithm is NOT "The leader runs for Leader, and people follow."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

May 28, 2010

Pistachios...



Bishop Hill:

P Gosselin notes the rise in environmentalists demanding a suspension of democracy so that the wise ones in the green movement can put their ideas into practice. The BBC has apparently given them an episode of the Analysis programme to promote their views.

This idea raises a whole new concept of the environmentalists. No longer are they watermelons - green on the outside and red on the inside - they are something else - green on the outside and brown on the inside.

Gosselin wonders what kind of fruit this might be and can't come up with anything much. I think perhaps the word he is after is "pistachio".

It's a kind of nut.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

May 21, 2010

To be a Democrat is to swim in a sea of lies...

Hugh Hewitt, The True Costs and Consequences of Obamacare:

Today's Politico carries word that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid will soon try to rush through the "doctors' fix"--the long anticipated reversal of the pay cut for doctors on which the budget of Obamacare was balanced.

The price tag of the "fix" is $20 billion a year --which will no doubt grow in future years, so the cost of Obamcare is already $200 billion out of whack over ten years despite all the claims made when the bill was jammed through the House.

But that is not all. There's another $2.4 billion per year for hospitals in the new bill --another $24 billion to be added to the tab for Obamacare.

All of this was known --and denied by Obamacare boosters-- at the time of the jam down. And this is just the first wave of the costs of reality catching up with the rhetoric of "bending the cost curve" nonsense that was on the lips of every Obamacare proponent.

Other consequences loom. John Goodman writes in today's Wall Street Journal about the calculations now being done in every corporate office in America:...
Posted by John Weidner at 3:53 PM

May 19, 2010

Sounds about right to me...

American Thinker: Another Very Bad Night for Obama, Democrats, and the Media:

...You know it's bad night when a win is actually a loss. Perhaps the worst news of the night for Team Obama was the Democrat win in the special election in Pennsylvania for Jack Murtha's seat.

Huh? Yep, Mark Critz is a "Rush Limbaugh Democrat" who campaigned against almost everything Obama and Murtha support. Frankly, he was more conservative than the McCain campaign of 2008 and more apt to criticize Obama than is, say, Lindsay Graham. Republican Tim Burns had no one to run against, and the district is heavily Democrat by registration. This was hardly a race that can be celebrated by the Democrat leadership today. Critz is the type of Democrat that Nancy Pelosi was hoping to lose in November....

I read somewhere that Mark Critz is pro-life, pro-gun, opposes Cap n' Trade, and opposes ScrewtapeCare. It tickles me to think of all the lefties who are gritting their teeth and pretending to be pleased with their "victory" in PA-12. And the "journalists" who are writing stories about how the Republicans are in trouble, or have lost momentum. Dream on, dweebs.

A "Rush Limbaugh Democrat." Ha ha, there will be more. But of course a lot of them are fake "Rush Limbaugh Democrats." They are allowed to play that game to get elected, but it's understood that when the crunch comes, they vote with Nancy.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

May 13, 2010

I like this guy, I ike him very much...

Blunt is good in my book. It's been a long time since I've heard such straight talk. Ladies and gentlemen, Governor Chris Christie...

Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 PM

May 6, 2010

Clueless...

Mark Tapscott, Who's Who of GOP Establishment mimics Dems' resurgence strategy:

...Politico's Mike Allen and Kenneth Vogel have an interesting story today on an effort that has been in the works for about a year in which an all-star list of Establishment Republican operatives are seeking to duplicate what the Democrats did in the past decade in order to regain congressional majorities and put somebody in the White House.

"The network, which doesn't have a name, attempts to replicate the Democracy Alliance, an umbrella group — founded in 2005 and funded by George Soros and other billionaires — and to borrow tactics from liberal groups established to help Democrats regain power after eight years of the Bush administration...


...Notably absent from the new GOP conspiracy – at least as described by Allen and Vogel – is evidence of an understanding that the Internet represents a paradigm shift in the essential context of national politics. There is also no evidence from the Politico piece that the Tea Party movement represents an "Army of Davids" uprising that is, frankly, fed up with establishment Republicans.

Instead, fund-raising, organizing and advertising are described as the main priorities of the group. There's nothing new in those priorities.

Establishment GOPers have always preferred to talk about money, organizing, and advertising rather than focusing on the substance of what the party's office-holders and candidates propose and actually accomplish....
Top down. Futile. Stupid. Borrring. Rove--ugh!—He should quit while he's behind. Sarah, save us from these Industrial Age dolts...



Posted by John Weidner at 5:34 PM

May 1, 2010

I hesitate to post this... For fear of jinxing things...

Patrick Ruffini, Why 2010 Won't Be Like 1994. (It'll Be Bigger.):

...Bailouts, stimulus, health care not baked in yet. Voters have not had a chance to render their judgment on the 50% expansion of government power and influence since September 2008. Both candidates for President in 2008 supported the TARP bailout. The stimulus was slipped in after the election, and Obama never campaigned on a package of that magnitude. 

Voters now strongly disapprove of the three great government expansions of the last two years -- TARP, the stimulus, and the health care bill. The political impact of these events has not yet been reflected in the partisan makeup of Congress in any competitive race except one -- the Massachusetts Senate special election.

The case for a tidal wave can be summed up as follows. There have been great changes in the country since the last election that voters resoundingly reject, and combined with still high unemployment and voter anxiety, the conditions are there for a much greater than usual counter-response. (In 1993-94, Bill Clinton was only able to trim marginally around the edges compared to the last months of Bush and then Obama, and the economy was much stronger than it is today.)... 

...The fact that Democrats were able to pad their majority in 2008 would not have happened but for the fact that Obama changed the electorate. As I noted right after the election, Republicans in Congress were killed by the fact that young people voted straight ticket -- for Obama and then for Democrats in Congress. ...

...Even if I'm being optimistic, there is a certain logic (that the netroots have employed in a few election cycles now) of more traditional "smart money" going into the most winnable seats, and the online grassroots playing to expand the map. This year the perfect opportunity to put such a plan in action. If it's true that no Democrat is safe, we need to be looking at the seats that aren't even on the Cook and Rothenberg reports, or at best, on the very edges, for potential pickup opportunities to invest in. In the 30 to 45 days of the cycle, there should be a moneybomb every day to one of these targeted districts designed to drag them into contention and create a "terrorism effect" for every Democrat on the ballot.

This first starts with good information. Earlier tonight on Twitter, I started a conversation about building a target list that would rank ALL 253 Democrat seats by likelihood of a Republican takeover, similar to what exists in Britain right now. Let's start thinking of where we can knock the Dems off balance and extend what are sure to be considerable gains...
Posted by John Weidner at 10:54 AM

April 19, 2010

Planning for a future that isn't there...

Richard Fernandez (Thanks to Tex)

...The point Bill Clinton is missing is that the danger doesn't come from right wing 'anger.' The anger is just a byproduct. The voices he hears from the Tea Party crowds aren't threats; they're warnings. The real peril is coming from somewhere else: the demographic decline in industrial world working populations, the increasing cost of energy and the international movement in the factors of production. A whole generation of failed policy from both parties is coming to a head and it probably means that the welfare state, the European Union and by consequence the Chinese economy are heading for a cliff.

What's driving the Tea Parties isn't amorphous hate. It is concrete fear: worry that pensions have been devalued; medical care will become unaffordable; taxes are too high and jobs are gone, never to return. And a look around the world shows there's no place to hide. When the wave hits it will be global. In the UK membership in political parties is at near historic lows. In America Congress's popularity is lower than whales**t. The Eurozone is cracking up under its weight of debt. First Greece, now Portugal are being ripped off the cliff face like a zipper – and all the climbers are roped together. Japan is like a kamikaze sub heading for the depths and tapping out a sayonara. Russia was history long ago. And China, when it has used up its flowering moment, will face the consequences of its one-child policy. And Middle Eastern potentates, stuck in the same old, same old, are warning about a Summer War. The Tea Parties aren't about putting some country club Republican in the White House, though Bill can't help hearing it like that.

The cheese-paring scene at the White House Press Corps is just as indicative of the coming storm as the Tea Parties. It is yet one more sign that the old institutions are making plans for a future that isn't there; moving trillions of dollars in projected revenues around a five year plan like Hitler's fictive armies were moved around a map in 1945. When you hear Gordon Brown describe the billions he's going to spend to save the world and heal the planet; when you read news about the proposed legislation on "cap and trade"– the issue isn't the "right wing hate" but where's the money going to come from? The most telling fact about Bill Clinton's speech is that 2010 reminds him of 1994. If he – or the political establishment – can't tell the difference between the decades, that's your problem right there.

But the average Joe can. His pocketbook talks to him as loud as his cell phone; he has to live in a world where five bucks is a lot of money. So the man in the street can see things that are invisible from Olympian Washington....

My suspicion is that the money is in existence, but that it is fleeing from the "large stable entities" that were the building blocks of the Industrial Age. (I wrote about this here.) What's happening to governments (and unions, universities, newspapers, TV networks) is what happened to big "blue chip" businesses a couple of decades ago. Pan Am, GM, AT&T, IBM, NCR, DEC, GE.... They've all had to morph, change, downsize, become more nimble... or die. No one even talks about "safe investments in blue chips" anymore. The idea has become absurd.

The "large stable entities" that have not been forced by the market to become nimble are now deprived of their Industrial Age "ecosystem," of a world where they made sense to everyone, and were held in check by the common sense of that age. Now they have grown cancerous, and are killing their hosts. (See for example: How public-sector unions broke California, by Steven Malanga)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 PM

April 16, 2010

Ticking time-bombs...

Those Party-Flippers Almost Always Disappear, Don't They? - Jim Geraghty:

... bit by bit, Crist seems to be caught in the same gravitational pull that summoned Jim Jeffords, Arlen Specter, Dede Scozzafava, the phenomenon that makes the "RINO" label mean not just a wishy-washy high-maintenance pain, but a ticking time-bomb ready to pull a Benedict Arnold.

The moment a not-quite-conservative-enough Republican starts losing to a more-conservative one, they start hearing the siren's call from the Democratic-media industrial complex about how they can suddenly transform from just another guy who lost a primary to a tragic symbol of conservative intolerance, a beloved open-minded moderate who was martyred by a closed-minded party. The Newsweek cover, book deal, Sunday morning show interview, and semester teaching at Harvard are all pretty much assured....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:01 PM

April 13, 2010

What are the Romney types DOING now when we need them?

I agree totally with this piece, Despite Latest Narrative, Governor Palin is Presidential Now.

It mentions a certain "prominent Republican strategist" who declared that Sara Palin "has not yet transitioned herself into a presidential candidate." Poppycock. What we want in a presidential candidate is not cleverness or big egos, what we want is wisdom. And as far as I can see, the only Republican on the talked-about list for presidential runs who is doing what wisdom would command right now is... Sarah. What is she doing? She focusing on 2010, and doing what will help Republicans take back Congress and make a start on de-Obamafying America.

She's a true leader, not worrying about herself, but what's best for the country.

Sorry Karl, but you are 'transitioning yourself" into a washed-up has-been who does not deserve to be called a strategist. Get out in the trenches and fight for Republican candidates if you want to earn your supposed "senior statesman" status.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:01 PM

March 31, 2010

Ciao, baby..

This is pretty funny...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:21 AM

March 27, 2010

Thought for today...

James Taranto:

...One sign that ObamaCare is both bad and unpopular is that since its enactment--indeed, since just before its enactment--its supporters have been laboring mightily to change the subject. They're eager to talk not about their great legislative and social achievement, but about how violent, racist and all-around crazy ObamaCare opponents are....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:55 AM

March 26, 2010

Nice knowin' ya...

I think this is right on. Bill Pascoe, Say Goodbye to Mitt Romney:

Mitt Romney had his chance, and he blew it.

He was given the opportunity to establish himself as the Leader of the Republican Party on what has become the defining issue between the nation's two major political parties, and, in the process, solidify his position as the front-running candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination; but rather than showing the intelligence, cunning, and courage necessary to take ownership of the issue, he showed none, and blew it.

All he had to do was say six simple words, words Americans love to hear: "I was wrong. I am sorry."...

I would certainly like him a lot more if he would just admit the "Romneycare" is a turkey. But I doubt if he would be heading to the White House even so. He's boring. I can't remember anything he's said that jazzed me. In fact, I can't remember anything he has said period.

He looked good compared to McCain, but after Sarah appeared we were able to see what a non-zombie Republican looked like. My guess is that Mitt's hopes ended on 8-29-08.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 PM

March 21, 2010

Off the cliff....

Hugh Hewitt : A Defining Weekend for Democrats:

...This is a dramatic moment in American politics, because if Obamacare passes the House, the Democratic Party is defining itself for a generation and probably two as the agent of American decline. It may be that the 1.6 trillion dollar deficit and the "stimulus"-that-wasn't has already done so, but Democrats could always blame the panic of 2008 for those incredibly harmful interventions.

Not so with Obamacare and the assault on the Constitution required to get even this far. They are breaking the American health care system and using extraordinary levels of taxation to cripple the economy at the same time. They are assaulting seniors and they are funding abortion directly with tax dollars. The president and the Speaker have redefined the party to the far left in 15 short months. The country's reaction will be entered in six more. Then the repair of the damage will have to begin.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer provides a glimpse of what House back benchers are feeling in terms of political pressure. Good. They all know that what they are being urged to do is profoundly against the will of their voters. When they are turned out in massive numbers in the fall, they will have no one to blame but themselves. The Boccieris and the Spaces and the Altmires should never have been elected in the first place and they are simply signaling their constituents their inability to genuinely represent them as opposed to the coastal elites and Chicago operators in charge of the party....

This has got to be the strangest political moment I've ever seen. I'd say that on the surface level of rational thought this mad drive off the political cliff is only explained by the expectation that putting the government in control of health care will lead to permanent political dominance by the Left. So much of our lives, especially at our most vulnerable moments, will be controlled by the state that no serious rebellion will be possible.

But my guess is that the real action is on a deeper level. Symbolically America is God. God the Father. America has authority, handed down from the forefathers, and ultimately from God. She demands that we consider her greater than our individual selves, and, when necessary, that we even pay the ultimate price to preserve her.

The Leftists of old often wanted to replace this "god" with a different god, such as socialist or fascist revolution. Or with liberalism's socialism-light, or Progressivism's managerial utopias.

The leadership of the Dem Party is far-left, because they are the ones who get elected to the safe seats in "blue" places like San Francisco or Chicago or New York, and thereafter stay in office long enough to build up massive seniority and influence. And also, I'd guess, because a lot of moderate and "blue dog" Dems are faking it, and are secretly more left-leaning than they admit.

But today's Leftists are not like their grandparents at all. There is no secret program to which they dedicate themselves; nothing they consider bigger than the individual. They worship only themselves; everything else has drained away. Their only goal is to create a world where they can feel comfortable putting themselves at the center of all. This world is very socialistic, with everything wrapped in blankets of government bureaucracy. But it isn't really socialist at all. Obama is an Obama-ist; Pelosi's only program is Pelosi-ism.

Actually, if you think about the old-time Leftists and socialists who went off to fight in the Spanish Civil War, you can see that what the Left is peddling is just as much anti-socialist as it is anti-capitalist. San Fran Nan would be just as repelled by a demand that she risk her life for some socialist program as she is by the demands of America and American liberty (and God, and Western Civilization, and Israel).

People don't see this because most people are stupefyingly ignorant of history. They have never "seen" the old Leftists who often lived lives that were almost "saint-like" in their poverty, obedience to the cause. Even chastity sometimes! Martyrdom often. There's nothing like it today. Lefty politics is just another affectation of the self-indulgent, fitting in with organic foods and expensive "green" automobiles...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:04 AM

March 13, 2010

Something practical we can do...

We just sent a little something... to try to keep us outside the barbed wire for another generation...

Hugh Hewitt:

Stopping Obamacare: Contribute To Tim Burns This Weekend

Tim Burns has been nominated to run in the special election to fill the Congressional seat vacated by the death of John Murtha.

Burns' homepage is here, but we need to raise him a lot of money this weekend.

If lots of contributions roll into Burns' coffers this weekend from voters trying to send a message to fence-sitting Democrats about the national support for replacing Democrats with Republicans because of Obamacare, there's a good chance that those Democrats will think twice about throwing in with Nancy Pelosi next week. Please dig deep and send Burns some money and many Democrats that message....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:11 AM

March 8, 2010

St Augustine, Tea Partier...

From a good talk by Archbishop Chaput:

...Robert Dodaro, the Augustinian priest and scholar, wrote a wonderful book a few years ago called Christ and the Just Society in the Thought of Augustine. In his book and elsewhere, Dodaro makes four key points about Augustine's view of Christianity and politics.

First, Augustine never really offers a political theory, and there's a reason. He doesn't believe human beings can know or create perfect justice in this world. Our judgment is always flawed by our sinfulness. Therefore, the right starting point for any Christian politics is humility, modesty and a very sober realism.

Second, no political order, no matter how seemingly good, can ever constitute a just society. Errors in moral judgment can't be avoided. These errors also grow exponentially in their complexity as they move from lower to higher levels of society and governance. Therefore the Christian needs to be loyal to her nation and obedient to its legitimate rulers. But she also needs to cultivate a critical vigilance about both.

Third, despite these concerns, Christians still have a duty to take part in public life according to their God-given abilities, even when their faith brings them into conflict with public authority.  We can't simply ignore or withdraw from civic affairs. The reason is simple. The classic civic virtues named by Cicero – prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance – can be renewed and elevated, to the benefit of all citizens, by the Christian virtues of faith, hope and charity. Therefore, political engagement is a worthy Christian task, and public office is an honorable Christian vocation.

Fourth, in governing as best they can, while conforming their lives and their judgment to the content of the Gospel, Christian leaders in public life can accomplish real good, and they can make a difference. Their success will always be limited and mixed. It will never be ideal. But with the help of God they can improve the moral quality of society, which makes the effort invaluable....

 

Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

February 20, 2010

Silly stuff...

small b-w image of Sara Palin

Can Sarah Palin translate celebrity into real political power?:

Well, it's kind of silly to call her a "celebrity." Just imagine that she was somehow removed from the realm of politics, and could give no political speeches, or do anything political. Would people still be interested in her? Would paparazzi be following her to get shots for People Magazine? Of course not.

By Dan Balz, Washington Post Staff Writer
Sarah Palin has proved that she can draw a crowd. What she has yet to demonstrate is that she can translate the appeal of a phenomenon into a political force that can attract or mobilize sizable numbers of voters....

Rick Perry's typical rally was 200 people; with Palin by his side he attracted over 9,000. It's a pretty dubious notion to say that she's not going to affect votes. I'd say the burden-of-proof is on the nay-sayers.

..."Sarah Palin will have to choose to be either the leader of a movement or the leader of a nation. She can't be both," said Republican strategist Alex Castellanos. "Right now, she is a figure like [George] McGovern or [Barry] Goldwater, two candidates who led the most intense movements in our country's political history, but who couldn't win the middle."...

Totally silly. McGovern was leader of a movement that America didn't want. If America had favored his movement, then he could easily have been both. And Goldwater never tried to be a movement leader. Cliff White organized the movement, seizing upon Goldwater as its rather-reluctant figurehead.

...Democrats regard Palin as mostly a Republican problem, someone capable of throwing the Washington political community into a lather with a Facebook posting or a tweet, but not yet a credible potential presidential candidate or leader of a broad-based opposition...

What a lie. Whistlin' past the graveyard. As Rush says, "They always let us know who they are afraid of." And it is obviously Palin. No other Republican draws one tenth the attacks she does.

...Palin has many detractors, even within the GOP. They deride the content of her tea party speech as being long on grievance but short on substance. They mock her for the notes scribbled on her palm during that appearance and what they see as inconsistencies in her statements...

Right. They mocked Reagan for telling cornball stories he read in The Readers Digest. How did that work out, huh experts? I'd bet you a hundred bucks she did that writing-on-the-hand thing deliberately, just to pull their chains.

...But as one GOP strategist, who declined to be identified in order to speak more freely about her, put it, "Palin has a following that is thoroughly uninterested in experiences on issues and instead is completely motivated by attributes. They'll take her authenticity over her ideas every day of the week."...
Rubbish. I've been to a Tea Party, flab-wit. Tea-partiers and Sarah Palin are both very much about ideas, and they have no need to make a big song-and-dance about them because they are the same ideas. Elitists of both Left and Right think of ideas as something that involves putting experts (like themselves) in charge. When conservatives say, "Let's let ordinary citizens make their own choices," they say we have no ideas. They can't "see" ideas that involve putting experts out to pasture.
...But the others should be paying close attention, Castellanos said. "Mitt Romney, Pawlenty and every other Republican contender ought to be worried," he said. "An authentic, populist voice has emerged as the anti-Obama and that voice doesn't belong to the Republican establishment. It belongs to Sarah Palin."...

So why didn't you put that quote at the top of the story, Mr Genius Political Reporter? "Burying the lede" is the common term I think.

...Those in Palin's circle said there is no single person to whom she turns most often for advice. There is no Karl Rove to George W. Bush, or Lee Atwater to Bush's father. "It's not like there's this last person she talks to before she goes to bed to get her marching orders," said one person knowledgeable about her operation who declined to be identified in order to share information. "It's her instincts and her thinking that's driving this."...

They sneered at Bush for supposedly being a lightweight led by Karl Rove. "Bush's Brain" they called Rove. Now they give Palin no credit for NOT having a Rove. Stupid. In fact both of them are smart politicians who win elections by courting the derision of elitists.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:29 PM

Devastating critique...

Andy McCarthy, on the malicious attack by the Justice Dept's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)

...For whatever reason, when the Justice Department released its report to Congress, inevitably ensuring that it would be made public, it did not release a crucial letter to OPR written by the Bush Justice Department's two highest officials, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip. That letter, dated January 19, 2009 (the last full day of the Bush administration), shredded OPR's initial Draft Report and the process by which OPR's preliminary conclusions about ethical misconduct were reached.

I have obtained a copy of that letter and I am releasing it here on NRO this morning. It can be found here.

Messrs. Mukasey and Filip are both distinguished former federal judges, and their 14-page analysis of OPR's shoddy work is withering. The letter ought to be read in full, but here are some highlights:...

I'm posting the highlights below. Man, just read a few paragraphs. This has been a truly ugly persecution of good Americans.

[Highlights] After taking nearly five years to complete a nearly 200-page, single-space report, OPR withheld it's work from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General until December 23, 2008 – right before the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and four weeks before the conclusion of the Bush administration, so that DOJ was then busy with transition to the new Obama administration. OPR did this with an eye toward releasing the report on January 12, 2009. This schedule would have ensured no meaningful review by top DOJ officials, and no meaningful opportunity for comment on the report from counsel for the Bush OLC attorneys whose work was criticized (even though OPR had made a commitment that there would be an opportunity for review and comment).

The original OPR draft report proceeded, as Mukasey and Filip put it, "seemingly without any consideration of the context in which the OLC opinions were prepared"—namely, in the aftermath of a catastrophic attack on the United States in which almost 3000 Americans were killed, and under circumstances where the OLC lawyers were under "virtually incomparable and extended pressure" to provide guidance to the intelligence community.

The OPR draft report, after taking nearly five years to review the law, derided the Bush OLC lawyers for failing to cite Khanuja v. I.N.S., a Ninth Circuit case interpreting the UN Convention Against Torture. However, Khanuja is an unpublished opinion, and under Ninth Circuit rules (which are well known to Justice Department lawyers), the citation of unpublished opinions is prohibited and lawyers who disregard this rule may be sanctioned for ethical misconduct.

Despite having had nearly five years to do its own legal analysis, OPR relied heavily on the work of academic critics of the Bush administration without (a) any explanation of why their work was somehow authoritative, and (b) balance in the form of views of other academics and commentators who had defended the professionalism of the OLC lawyers. For example, in critiquing the work of Bush OLC lawyers John Yoo (a legal scholar and tenured professor of law at the prestigious University of California Bolt School of Law) and Jay Bybee (an accomplished lawyer and now a federal appellate judge), OPR relied extensively on Professor David Luban. As Mukasey and Filip noted, though obviously a thoughtful and prolific scholar, Prof. Luban is not an attorney, has never practiced law (he is a trained philosopher), and is a vigorous critic of the Bush administration and the War on Terror generally. There was no mention of this background and Prof. Luban's patent potential bias in OPR's Ddraft Rreport.

The OPR draft report claimed it was "unreasonable" for the Bush OLC lawyers, in construing the concept of "severe pain" for purposes of the federal torture statute, to rely on Congress's use of the term "severe pain" in a health care statute. But there was no direct precedent for the meaning of "severe pain" in the torture statute, and, as Mukasey and Filip observed, "it is a common practice for lawyers to look to other sources for guidance in interpretation when there is no direct precedent" – and that is exactly what the OLC lawyers explained that they were doing, in addition to turning to dictionary definitions, another common practice.

The OPR draft report, on the basis of no evidence, questions not only the methods but the motives of the Bush OLC lawyers, claiming that they attempted to reverse a refusal by DOJ's Criminal Division to decline prosecution for future violations of the torture statute. As Mukasey and Filip recount, "Notably, the Draft Report presents no evidence that the OLC attorneys even opposed the Department's decision to decline prosecution; to the contrary, OLC was tasked with drafting the written notice refusing to decline prosecution of future statutory violations."

OPR privately acknowledged to Mukasey and Filip that there was no direct evidence that the OLC opinions reflected anything other than the OLC lawyers' "best legal judgment at the time." Yet, astoundingly, that fact was not mentioned a single time in OPR's draft report – a report that was centrally about whether the OLC lawyers had provided their best legal judgment.

It was the OPR Draft Report that recommended the re-examination by DOJ of various declinations to prosecute incidents of detainee abuse. Those declinations were reviewed "independently by two sets of prosecutors, first in the Counterterrorism Section ... and later in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia"; they were arrived at based on case-related considerations that had nothing to do with the information examined in OPR's Draft Report; and, indeed, the review by the career prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia occurred in 2005 – long after the 2002 OLC memos had been withdrawn by DOJ. (ACM note: Attorney General Holder ordered a review of these declinations anyway, just as OPR recommended.)

OPR's draft report recommended that later OLC memos be reviewed, alleging that there was "pressure ... to complete legal opinions which would allow the CIA interrogation program to go forward." As Mukasey and Filip recount, this allegation "misinterprets the only evidence it cites." In fact, Stephen Bradbury, the well-regarded OLC chief behind those memos, stated repeatedly – both in sworn testimony and in interviews with OPR – that "he was never pressured to reach any particular result in his evaluation of the CIA's interrogation program."

The OPR report urged that the Bradbury memos be reviewed by the Justice Department despite the fact that they had already been personally reviewed by Attorney General Mukasey, pursuant to a request by Congress.

The OPR faulted OLC for failing "to consider and address the moral and policy considerations triggered by the issues." Yet the precise job of OLC is to provide strict legal advice, shorn of policy and other considerations. Moreover, as Mukasey and Filip concluded, OPR's suggestion would run afoul of the D.C. Bar's ethical rules, which counsel that a lawyer is to provide technical legal advice when asked for purely technical legal advice – only where a client is "inexperienced in legal matters" should guidance go beyond "strictly legal considerations." Nothing in the profession of lawyering makes one expert in matters of morality and policy, and the point is to avoid a situation in which the lawyer's personal predilections are masqueraded as legal requirements.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

The Blue Beast...

Jim Geraghty, History Is Calling, but the Phone Keeps Ringing at 3 a.m.:

...It's not sustainable. Of course, as I said earlier this month, "unsustainable is the new normal." We're having a reckoning, but President Obama isn't all that interested in it; he wants to believe that a full, thriving economic recovery, along with rejuvenated tax revenues, is just around the corner.

I'm willing to bet that Walter Russell Mead's grocery list is full of fascinating historical allusions, but he's hit some similar notes in a few lengthy posts about what he calls "the blue beast" — a social model that defined our country for much of the last century, based upon large, stable entities — unionized oligarchies, big corporations, an ever-growing civil service, lifetime employment, etc. But that era has come to an end, and much of our political debate in the past decades is about trying to artificially extend the lifespan of the blue system by taking from the non-blue parts, or moving on to some other way of doing things:
Democratic policy is increasingly limited to one goal: feeding the blue beast. The great public-service providing institutions of our society — schools, universities, the health system, and above all government at municipal, state and federal levels — are built blue and think blue. The Democratic wing of the Democratic Party thinks its job is to make them bigger and keep them blue. Bringing the long green to Big Blue: that's what it's all about...

(There's more. I recommend reading it.)

"Based upon large, stable entities." That was the model of the Industrial Age. The reason was to have an organization that could transmit information reliably. Industrial Age organizations all worked vertically. Information was gathered at the bottom, and passed to the next layer to be organized and consolidated into reports, which were then passed up to the next layer. The retail level reported to the district, which reported to the region, which reported to headquarters, which reported to the top brass. Then instructions went back in the other direction.

In the old days the people on the sales floor might discover something important. Perhaps "Housewives are bored with pastels this Spring; they are asking for bright solid colors." But it could take a month for the news to pass up the levels. And then months for instructions to be pondered and then passed down to buyers and designers and the advertising agency. And months more before that resulted in finished goods and ads.

Today the top brass may be scanning blogs and forums, and noticing the new trends quickly. Designers can send CAD files to factories, which may be able to shift production immediately. And the factory can be anywhere. The designer might be in San Francisco, the ad agency in London, the factory in Indonesia. UPS might contract for warehousing and fulfillment. And if the company is a lively one, every part of it will be able to simply vibrate with the moods of the market, and change instantaneously if needed.

But that's only where competition forces people to move quickly. Few of us act that way naturally. In the public and quasi-public sectors of our world the Industrial Age model still prevails. And as the pubic sector has become cut-off from the spirit of the age, it has become cancerous. [link]

If you are aware of these changes you start to see them everywhere. For instance in the way David Brooks or Peggy Noonan whine about the loss of respect for elites and grand old institutions. But the "blue-blood establishment" of old was just another of those "large, stable entities." It was like GM, but the product was not cars, it was the "top brass." Its product, in the form of Ivy League grads, could be slotted into leadership positions in government, or industry, or the academy, or the press, or the "mainline" churches. Even unions! Those were all among the "large, stable entities" of the Industrial Age, and their leadership style was much the same.

One of the biggest problems of our age is to somehow transform all the public and quasi-public institutions into Information Age organizations.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 AM

January 20, 2010

Take a moment...

Congratulations - Michael Graham - The Corner on National Review Online:

It wasn't Scott Brown, or Martha Coakley or even Dick Cheney's Vote-Stealing-And-Weather-Control Machine.

It was you. You won this election

Not to take anything away from Sen.-elect Brown (the phrase just rolls off the tongue, doesn't it?), or to lessen the value of those 200,000 miles he put on the Truck Heard 'Round The World. He has real political talent, and he's going to need it to survive 2012 with Barack Obama at the top of the Democratic ticket.

But yesterday's once-in-a-generation, never-saw-it-coming, dance-in-the-streets victory for democracy is all yours.


Posted by John Weidner at 6:50 AM

January 19, 2010

Dream on, Romney boy...

The winner and the loser — Don Surber:

In the end, it was a blowout for Republican Scott Brown as he will become the first Republican senator from Massachusetts in 37 years. Looks like a 52%/47% win. Good job. Good hustle.

The big loser was not Martha "Marcia" Coakley — she still has her gig as attorney general — or even President Obama, who also still has a job. [Neither of them will ever smile again.]

The big loser tonight is Sarah Palin. [So, let's think about this. The spirit of Tea Parties and grassroots conservative rebellion explodes in Mass., and the name Palin isn't going to spring to mind? Hmm?]

She still doesnt have a job. [she's working for Fox News, and pulling down big bucks as a speaker. More importantly, she doesn't NEED a job. She's not needy--she's the center of attention whenever she wants to be.]

Brown won without her. [So?]

Doug Hoffman lost with her. [Perhaps you weren't concentrating, but Hoffman was a third-party candidate who wasn't even expected to make a showing. And he raised over 100k the day Palin took notice of him.]

Brown won a seat that Republicans could only dream about even a week ago. [Which gives credibility to all those Republicans who are NOT establishment pooh-bahs.]

Hoffman lost a seat that belonged to Republicans. [He was running for the Conservative Party, not the Republicans. Perhaps you didn't hear about that.]

Which presidential candidate is most like Scott Brown. [See picture below]

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. [Ha ha and ha. Romney campaigning in a pickup truck would be like Dukakis in a tank.]

And who was at the Brown headquarters tonight? ['cause he's the needy one. Sarah needs no shared luster.]...

Hey, Mr Surber. Look at this picture. Who's it remind you of?

The funny thing is that his piece conveys the opposite of what Surber intends. Nobody says, "Hey, Look! So-and-so won without Romney!" No one cares. But even in a race that Palin had no connection with at all, no involvement in, people are still trying to say "Palin lost." What a joke.

You be nice to Governor Palin, I advise, because she may let your fellow be Secretary of Treasury. But his hopes of being president ended on August 28, 2008. When the Sun rises into the sky, the moons and planetoids become like mere shadows.


Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 PM

January 18, 2010

Maybe I should run against Nancy?

Kathryn Jean Lopez quotes an e-mail from Massachusetts:

...On Tuesday, for the first time since I was old enough to vote, I will take part in a US Senate election whose outcome is not known to everyone in advance. I believe this is what most Americans call "democracy," and I'm looking forward to the experience!...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:54 AM

January 17, 2010

Today's giggle...

After Obama Rally, Dems Pin Blame On Bush - Hotline On Call (This is funnier if you know that Obam and what's-her-name couldn't fill a 3,000 person hall. And that The Brown campaign just had to turn people away from an appearance in a similar-sized hall. See below)...

By Felicia Sonmez. As audience members streamed out of Pres. Obama's rally on behalf of AG Martha Coakley (D) here tonight, the consensus was that the fault for Coakley's now-floundering MA SEN bid lies with one person -- George W. Bush.

"People are upset because there's so many problems," Rosemary Kverek, 70, a retired Charleston schoolteacher said as tonight's rally wrapped up. "But the problems came from the previous administration. So we're blaming poor Obama, who's working 36 hours a day ... to solve these problems that he inherited."

Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), speaking with a gaggle of reporters after the event, said that while state Sen. Scott Brown (R) offers voters a quick fix, in reality, the problems created by "George Bush and his cronies" are not so easily solved.

"If you think there's magic out there and things can be turned around overnight, then you would vote for someone who could promise you that, like Scott Brown," Kennedy said. "If you don't, if you know that it takes eight years for George Bush and his cronies to put our country into this hole ... then you know we have a lot of digging to do, but some work needs to be done and this president's in the process of doing it and we need to get Marcia Coakley to help him to do that."

(Curiously, Kennedy mentioned Coakley repeatedly during his remarks to reporters, each time referring to her as "Marcia," not "Martha.")

More Kennedy: "One thing the Democrats have done wrong? We haven't kept the focus on this disaster on the Republicans who brought it upon us. We've tried too hard to do that right thing, and that's to fix it, as opposed to spend more of our time and energy pointing the finger at who got us [here] in the first place."

Blaming their problems on Bush does carry a risk for Dems, however -- with their sights so firmly focused on the past, Brown's campaign has managed to wrest the "change" mantle from them....

They're just jealous. Little pipsqueaks who know they can never dare to do great things....

Barbara, Laura and Jenna Bush

From a Friend at the Brown Rally in Worcester:

"It's an absolute mob scene. The police have closed off the streets. It's mind blowing. The hall is already full, and it holds 3,000 people. There may be another 1,000 people outside."...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:08 PM

January 14, 2010

Pretty funny...

This is a spoof on the attack ads being run against Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 PM

December 26, 2009

Thought for the day...

Hugh Hewitt:

...We are 45 weeks from the chance to begin to repair the damage that has flowed from marrying high school rhetoric and plans with power. We had another close call yesterday. Pray we keep being lucky for a while longer until we can start to be smart again.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

December 19, 2009

I haven't blogged much about the "health-care" bills...

...Because just thinking about them makes me want to vomit.

I did today make a donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee's ReverseTheVote.org fund which is aimed at the 24 House Democrats who voted for Screwtapecare but who are vulnerable to well-funded GOP challengers in 2010.

If a few of those people see the light because they see donations piling up against them, this monstrosity might be stopped...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:46 PM

December 17, 2009

She was right all along...

Senator Tom Coburn, The Health Bill Is Scary - WSJ.com:


I recently suggested that seniors will die sooner if Congress actually implements the Medicare cuts in the health-care bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. My colleagues who defend the bill—none of whom have practiced medicine—predictably dismissed my concern as a scare tactic. They are wrong. Every American, not just seniors, should know that the rationing provisions in the Reid bill will not only reduce their quality of life, but their life spans as well.

My 25 years as a practicing physician have shown me what happens when government attempts to practice medicine: Doctors respond to government coercion instead of patient cues, and patients die prematurely. Even if the public option is eliminated from the bill, these onerous rationing provisions will remain intact....

Read it if you still have a hankering for government health care--it's plenty ugly. And remember who was first onto the front lines when most Republicans were quivering with fear that attacking the Obam might damage their precious careers. Who coined the term—dare I mention it?—"death panels"...

small b-w image of Sara Palin

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM

December 3, 2009

Cheer up...

Jim Geraghty, Tough Year, Mr. President, Tough Year:

If you think you've had a rough year, think of how our friends on the left must feel. On January 1 of this year, they probably thought...

A stimulus bill would create jobs and lower the unemployment rate.

ACORN was a noble and trustworthy organization.

The data proving climate change was reliable (and could be found!).

Reaching out to Iran could yield dividends.

Less than 115,000 U.S. troops would be in Iraq, ten months after Obama took office.

An executive order requiring the closure of Guantanamo Bay within one year couldn't just be ignored.

The Republican party was dead in places like Virginia, and was long since irrelevant in places like New Jersey.

Gay marriage would be voted into law in New York and Maine....

You could add: "Sarah Palin is a washed-up has-been." And, "We can just ignore those promises about Afghanistan."

And how about, "The Cheney family won't be bothering us any more." Ha ha...

Obama poster


Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM

December 1, 2009

It's because of what America IS...

You've probably already seen this piece by Byron York, Obama keeps his Afghan promise, but Dems crumble. It's worth a read.

The dilemma the Democrats are in is exquisite. Not just because they are now stuck with campaign promises that were in fact lies. On a deeper level, America simply does not abandon allies. We believe we should be trustworthy. The one occasion when we did abandon an ally, South Vietnam, is still a point of extreme sensitivity. And that wasn't "America's" action, it was the Democrat Party which had suddenly been handed power ofter a Republican scandal. And which immediately used that power for evil, handing an ally who had trusted us over to communist tyranny and mass-murder.

Now the electoral fluke of 2008 has again handed them great power, and the chance to express the nothingness in their hearts. But they gained that power by promising to do what America has always believed in, keeping faith with our friends! (Although the promise was packaged as an excuse to betray another ally, the democratically elected government of Iraq—ironies within ironies!.)

...And yet, in the 2008 presidential season, from the Democratic primaries to the general election, Democrats felt required to promise to step up the war in Afghanistan. Was it because the Democratic base that now opposes escalation supported it back then? No. A Gallup poll in August 2007 — in the midst of the Democratic primary race — found that just 41 percent of Democrats supported sending more U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan.

If the base didn't support it, then why did candidates promise it? Because Democratic voters and candidates were playing a complex game. Nearly all of them hated the war in Iraq and wanted to pull Americans out of that country. But they were afraid to appear soft on national security, so they pronounced the smaller conflict in Afghanistan one they could support. Many of them didn't, really, but for political expediency they supported candidates who said they did. Thus the party base signed on to a good war-bad war strategy.

"One of the things that I think is critical, as the next president, is to make absolutely certain that we not only phase out the Iraq war but we also focus on the critical battle that we have in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda," Obama said at a Democratic candidates' debate in New Hampshire in June 2007. The war in Iraq, Obama continued, "is an enormous distraction from the battle that does have to be waged in Afghanistan."

"There isn't any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected," said chief Obama rival — and now Secretary of State — Hillary Clinton at a debate in April 2008. "It has not gotten the resources that it needs."
. Other top Democrats adopted the get-tough approach, at least when it came time to campaign.  In September 2006, as she was leading the effort that would result in Democrats taking over the House and her becoming speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said George W. Bush "took his eye off the ball" in Afghanistan. "We had a presence over there the past few years, but not to the extent that we needed to get the job done," Pelosi said. The phrase "took his eye off the ball" became a Democratic mantra about the supposed neglect of Afghanistan — a situation that would be remedied by electing ready-to-fight Democrats.

But now, with Democrats in charge of the entire U.S. government and George Bush nowhere to be found, Pelosi and others in her party are suddenly very, very worried about U.S. escalation in Afghanistan.  "There is serious unrest in our caucus," the speaker said recently.  There is so much unrest that Democrats who show little concern about the tripling of already-large budget deficits say they're worried about the rising cost of the war.

It is in that atmosphere that Obama makes his West Point speech.  He had to make certain promises to get elected.  Unlike some of his supporters, he has to remember those promises now that he is in office.  So he is sending more troops.  But he still can't tell the truth about so many Democratic pledges to support the war in Afghanistan: They didn't mean it....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

November 25, 2009

Remember this when people chirp about Palin's RNC campaign clothing expenses...

The Associated Press: First lady wears Naeem Khan gown to state dinner:

...Designer Khan is no stranger to helping women make a grand entrance; he has become a fixture on the Hollywood red-carpet circuit, dressing Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Katherine Heigl and even Queen Noor of Jordan. Mrs. Obama's gown took three weeks at the designer's family workshop in India — with 40 people working on it — to complete, Khan said....

40 people, working three weeks. I struggle with complex math, but that looks to me like 120 man-weeks. Which is, ummm, a bit over 2 man-years. (I suppose I should say "person-years.) For one dress.

But it would be racist of me to criticize...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:13 PM

November 22, 2009

Just in case you were wondering WHY...

Just in case you were wondering why "scientists" at the CRU have been fabricating global-warming science, let Mr Steyn fill you in on the intoxicating levels of POWER environmental scientists and politicians are trying to get their hands on...

Gullible eager-beaver planet savers:

I'm always appreciative when a fellow says what he really means. Tim Flannery, the jet-setting doomsaying global warm-monger from down under, was in Ottawa the other day promoting his latest eco-tract, and offered a few thoughts on "Copenhagen"—which is transnational-speak for December's UN Convention on Climate Change. "We all too often mistake the nature of those negotiations in Copenhagen," remarked professor Flannery. "We think of them as being concerned with some sort of environmental treaty. That is far from the case. The negotiations now ongoing toward the Copenhagen agreement are in effect diplomacy at the most profound global level. They deal with every aspect of our life and they will influence every aspect of our life, our economy, our society."

Hold that thought: "They deal with every aspect of our life." Did you know every aspect of your life was being negotiated at Copenhagen? But in a good way! So no need to worry. After all, we all care about the environment, don't we? So we ought to do something about it, right? And, since "the environment" isn't just in your town or county but spreads across the entire planet, we can only really do something at the planetary level. But what to do? According to paragraph 38 on page 18 of the latest negotiating text, the convention will set up a "government" to manage the "new funds" and the "related facilitative processes."...

Do read it all.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

November 21, 2009

Today's laugh...

The GOP's New Hope? - Page 2 - The Daily Beast:

...Pawlenty's greatest advantage is that the Republican field in 2012 looks fairly thin. Mitch Daniels has the strongest credentials, but he doesn't have an obvious base. Mitt Romney has formidable financial resources and he gained crucial experience during his 2008 presidential bid, but, as the former governor of Massachusetts and a newly minted pro-lifer, he has a number of liabilities. Mike Huckabee has won the loyalty of evangelical voters, yet economic conservatives are allergic to his brand of populism and it's not clear that he has much appeal beyond his base. Rather depressingly, Tim Pawlenty could win the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 simply by being the least offensive candidate. Even if enthusiasm for Obama dies down in a few years time, that doesn't bode well for the general election....

Dream on, Frumster boy....

* Update: I'm just shaking my head in wonderment over all the people obsessing over how Sarah is not worth obsessing over. Here's another...Why Sarah Palin is unlikely to be the future of the Republican Party. - By John Dickerson - Slate Magazine. SO, if she's not the future, WHY are you going on and on about her?

* Update: Then there's this, about how SF bookstores won't carry the book. "...There are no copies of the book at Cover to Cover Booksellers in Noe Valley, either. "Anything like that we wouldn't carry," said clerk Emily Stackhouse. "We're a small store and it would probably gross us all out. Some things you carry because of freedom of speech, but a book like that is just gross."..."

That's funny to me, because years ago I built a great many bookshelves for Cover to Cover. (VERY nice folks, by the way. I have fond memories of them.) And I used to live in the Noe Valley neighborhood. But what's missing in the article is that SF independent bookstores have already told people like me that we are not welcome, by stocking only books that appeal to people on the Left/hippie axis.... AND by an attitude that just assumes that book readers are all liberals. (That's actually more offensive than the obvious fact that these people would consider me "gross.") I bet quite a few copies of Sarah's book are selling to San Franciscans... via amazon.com.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:34 PM

November 18, 2009

I'd say this graph alone...

...Could constitute a large part of Republican campaigns in 2010.

Massive Obama deficits in 2009

Thanks to Gateway Pundit. And notice the trend of the Bush years. The deficits were bigger than most of us preferred, but despite wars and hurricanes and starting with a recession the trend is towards smaller deficits...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

November 12, 2009

"A House majority that is caught in amber circa October 2008"

Rich Lowry has a great piece on how our Constitution is designed to prevent demagogues from ramming through legislation in the heat of the moment:

...The Democrats enjoy such a large House majority thanks partly to an accident of timing. The election was held in uniquely disastrous circumstances for the Republicans, in the immediate wake of the collapse of Lehman and the ensuing financial panic. Piled on top of the other causes of Republican woe (some of them quite well-deserved), the crisis allowed Democrats to run up the score. But in a matter of months public opinion began snapping back to its center-right state. So we have a House majority that is caught in amber circa October 2008 when the nation's mood has already moved on.

Hey, you might say, such is the dumb luck of timing in elections. True. But in their wisdom our Founders devised a check to keep a majority augmented by temporary circumstances from running amok. It's called the Senate.

The House stands for election all at once, capturing public opinion at one moment in time. In contrast, only one-third of the Senate stands for election at once. Originally, its members were selected by state legislatures, further shielding it from public opinion (a feature done away with by the Seventeenth Amendment, of course)....

Seventeenth Amendment, bad move....

...If Obamacare is so necessary and wise, there's no true need to hurry. If it fails to pass the Senate, Democrats should campaign on it around the country. They should keep talking of its wonders, and build up public support for it, turning around the polls. They should enhance their majority in the House and the Senate, bringing new Obamacare Democrats to Washington. That's how you build toward passing historic legislation in a system such as ours naturally resistant to large-scale change...

The Dems know it's a steaming pile of you-know-what. If you have a clean conscience, you don't rush bills through before anyone has had time to read them.

My personal opinion is that their consciences are a lot muckier that most people guess, and a more honest nickname for this legislation would be "Screwtapecare."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

November 5, 2009

Thanks again, Sarah...

NRSC Won't Spend Money In Contested Primaries:

...On the heels of the NY-23 special House election, in which Conservative Party insurgent Doug Hoffman overtook moderate GOP nominee Dede Scozzafava, only to lose to Democrat Bill Owens, NRSC chairman John Cornyn (R-TX) has announced that the GOP's national Senate committee will not be spending money in contested primaries.

"There's no incentive for us to weigh in," Cornyn told ABC News. "We have to look at our resources."

This could have huge ramifications in the Florida Senate race, where moderate Gov. Charlie Crist has been endorsed by the NRSC, and faces the more conservative former state House Speaker Marco Rubio. Crist has already emerged as a new top target for the same right-wing activists who went after Scozzafava....

Us "right-wing activists" just want to have a fair debate. The NRSC has no business "anointing" candidates, and giving them our money. The purpose of primaries is to let the people decide. Of course it makes short-term tactical sense to agree on a candidate without the bloodshed of a primary battle. But in the long run it's a mistake, and leads to the Scozzafava Effect....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

November 4, 2009

Today's good line...

Stephen Spruiell:

...Scozzafava also failed a single-issue litmus test: There wasn't a single issue on which she held a conservative position....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:14 PM

2.4 million GOP votes to 1.9 million for the Democrats...

American Thinker: Forget the 2-1 spin; it was a rout:

...What we did not know was just how overwhelming the anti-Democrat tide would be among voters. In the three talked about races, it was a blow out of something like 55-42% overall in precincts that voted for Obama 56-44 just a year ago. The raw totals will end up a tad under 2.4 million GOP votes to 1.9 million for the Democrats in round numbers.

So don't buy into any 2-1 split decision analysis. It was a stunning reversal of a full quarter of the electorate in one year's time.

For the record, Barack Obama "voted present" by not even watching the election returns — let alone commenting -- as his party suffered the massive 25% reversal. (OK, I don't believe White House reports that he didn't watch, but who could blame him a little fib considering the magnitude of the actual loss.)

The stunning stat of the night might be this: that McDonnell beat Creigh Deeds by 1000 times the margin he did in 2005. Or it might be that Christie overcame a 700 thousand party voter disadvantage to win a race with about two million total voters. Or it may be that all this happened with zero references about "reaching across the aisle" or mavericks. So what does this mean?

It means Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and "big tent" politics just suffered a huge electoral defeat. Likely the same can be said of whatever this week's Obama-Baucus-Bogus-Consumer-Ponzi-Care bill is being called these days. To quote CNBC's politically minded financial analyst Jerry Bowyer, the 1900 page health care bill is "now pulp." He made that call before 8 p.m. eastern...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

November 3, 2009

Long march to nowhere...

Belmont Club:

...Although Barack Obama has often been described as an "Alinsky organizer", the calumny was on Alinsky. Barack Obama is the very antithesis of the kind of organizer that Saul Alinsky envisioned: a man who permanently eschewed the limelight; who developed leaders and never became a leader himself and who always lived by the axiom, "let the people decide". In Obama we see a man who purposefully mobilized supporters in order to control them from the outset. Then when Obama attained the White House, he reconfirmed his earlier decision. Organizing For America became Organizing for President Obama.

To the question, "Where are the Tea Parties of the Left?" the simple answer is: they were led from the top. The crucial question which every man of the left must wrestle with is whether Tea Parties of the Left will ever be led from the bottom. George Orwell always assumed the answer to be "yes" until he learned differently in Catalonia. Most people on the Left think that rebellion is a permanent condition of "their" side. When out of power maybe. When in power things are different. Conservatives operate on a different model from that of the Left. They band together at need but tend to form no permanent organizations. By contrast, the Left is a standing political army. It never sleeps. It never disbands. It is always on the march, in season and out of season. And even when it isn't doing anything — it is doing something. And when it is in power, it must do even more....

The problem is that if people are allowed to do what they want, well, another name for that is Capitalism. The underlying philosophy of Leftist thought is what Peter Drucker called "salvation by society." Which means that individuals have to fall in line. Or, oft-times, fall in line and march towards the boxcars. The will never be a leftish version of the Tea Party Movement, at least not for very long....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 PM

October 31, 2009

Weighed in the balance and found wanting...

In Key New York Race, Barracuda Chews Up Mitt:

What do you find most often in the middle of the road? Road kill. Mitt Romney, who hopes to be the GOP's next presidential nominee, couldn't bring himself to endorse anyone in New York state's�contentious 23rd congressional� district special election.

The contest, which features a liberal Republican, Dede Scozzafava, and a conservative one, Doug Hoffman, has been a flashpoint for a party in search of its identity. An all-star lineup of national party leaders has weighed in, allowing themselves to be defined by whose side they're on. But not Romney. The former Massachusetts governor passed, and this could have serious ramifications down the road.

The cliche about the two parties and their presidential selection process is that Democrats "want to fall in love" — and the GOP "falls in line."� The donkeys have emotion-filled knock-down-drag-out affairs involving passionate characters who — win or lose — leave a dramatic mark for decades. The GOP dutifully takes note of who came in second the last time and, well,�the odds are that he'll be the candidate in the next go-round.

Based on that tradition, Romney should be the favorite for the 2012 nomination...

Sorry Mit. I've always liked you, but "defining moment" and all that. You'll make a great Secretary of Treasury. Be nice to Sarah!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

October 15, 2009

Lies, Damn lies, and Democrat lies...

Karl Rove on the grotesque accounting tricks—well, LIES is a better term—behind the claim that the Baucus health-care bill will not raise the deficit...

Obama Hasn't Closed the Health-Care Sale:

...One trick is easily explained. The bill imposes tax hikes and benefit cuts right away, including $121 billion of Medicare reductions between 2011 and 2015. But new spending really doesn't start until five years out (2015) and isn't fully operational until 2017. The bill uses 10 years worth of tax hikes and benefit cuts to fund a few years worth of benefits.

And that's just the start. For example, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report last week claiming the bill won't add to the deficit. But this assumes that employers who dump employee coverage under the Baucus bill will then increase worker paychecks by an amount equal to what they had spent on health care. This replaces a nontaxable event (providing health insurance) with a taxable one (increasing worker paychecks), magically producing $83 billion in revenues. Without this windfall, the Baucus bill adds billions of dollars to the federal deficit in the first decade.

Of course, why would a company drop employee coverage just so it could pay more (in fines, taxes and wages) than it did before?

The CBO report also estimates that receipts from the 40% excise tax the Baucus bill would levy on "Cadillac" insurance policies "would grow by roughly 10 percent to 15 percent" a year after 2019.

That's nonsense. If you tax something heavily you'll get less of it. If this tax is enacted, there will be fewer Cadillac plans�and hence less revenue.

Under questioning at a Senate hearing Tuesday, CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf admitted that the $500 billion in tax hikes in the Baucus bill would be passed onto consumers, jacking up insurance premiums. That undercuts the argument that Democratic reforms will make health care more affordable....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 AM

October 14, 2009

Elections matter...

You probably already agree with this, but "hate-crimes" legislation is a horribly bad idea. Bad in theory, because it is punishment for thoughts. And in practice, because what is "hate" tends to be defined by a shifting climate of opinion, rather than clear law. In current fashion, if I hit a black guy that's a "hate crime," if he hits me it's not. If you criticize a Muslim or a liberal, that's "hate." If you criticize a Christian or a conservative, that's "free speech."

And the fashions are set mostly by Leftists, because that's where they put their energy. And since there's usually no clear legal standard for what is a "hate crime," in practice they become guilty-until-you-can-prove-yourself-innocent crimes.

Dems undermine free speech in hate crimes ploy | Washington Examiner:

...First, the committee -- controlled by majority Democrats, of course -- inserted the hate crimes measure into the House bill, where it had not been before. Then lawmakers made some crucial changes to Brownback's amendment. Where Brownback had insisted, and the full Senate had agreed, that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights, the conference changed the wording to read that the bill could not burden the exercise of First Amendment rights "unless the government demonstrates ... a compelling governmental interest" to do otherwise.

That means your First Amendment rights are protected -- unless they're not. The bill was finished. When it was returned to the House last week for final passage, there was just one vote; lawmakers could either vote for the whole package or against it. They could vote to fund the troops, which would also mean voting for the hate crimes bill, or they could vote against the hate crimes provision, which would also mean voting against funding the troops.

At decision time, 131 of the Republicans most opposed to the hate crimes measure voted against the whole bill. Their vote "against the troops" will no doubt be used against them in next year's campaign, which was of course the Democratic plan all along. The bill passed anyway, with overwhelming Democratic support....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

October 10, 2009

Eight more years....

Charlene suggests that the ideal Republican ticket for 2012 would be Jeb Bush and Liz Cheney.

Just, you understand, for the exquisite pleasure of making lefty nihilists endure eight more years of Bush/Cheney! It makes me feel all warm and happy inside to contemplate...

Dick Cheney on a Segway

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 PM

September 29, 2009

Who they really fear...

Mark Steyn :

....But, if we're talking about letting the left "set the rules", Mr Marcus' column reminded me of a larger point: Don't take your opponents at face value; listen to what they're really saying. What does the frenzy unleashed on Sarah Palin last fall tell us? What does Newsweek's "Mad Man" cover on Glenn Beck mean? Why have "civility" drones like Joe Klein so eagerly adopted Anderson Cooper's scrotal "teabagging" slur and characterized as "racists" and "terrorists" what are (certainly by comparison with the anti-G20 crowd) the best behaved and tidiest street agitators in modern history?

They're telling you who they really fear. Whom the media gods would destroy they first make into "mad men". Liz Cheney should be due for the treatment any day now.

Sad to say, many who should know better go along with it. Our old comrade David Frum wrote a piece called "Whose Side Is Glenn Beck On?" Well, in the space of a week Beck claimed the scalps of Van Jones, Acorn and that Yosi Sergant guy at the NEA, none of whom should ever have been anywhere near the corridors of power but who'd still be there if it weren't for Beck. So whoever's side he is on, it seems pretty clear he's not on the Obama Administration's. Hence, Media Matters' sudden obsession with such pressing concerns as Glenn's mom's three decade-old suicide.

The media would like the American right to be represented by the likes of Bob Dole and John McCain, decent old sticks who know how to give dignified concession speeches. Last time round, we went along with their recommendation. If you want to get rave reviews for losing gracefully, that's the way to go. If you want to win, look at whom the Democrats and their media chums are so frantic to destroy: That's the better guide to what they're really worried about.

I'll bet he's right about Liz Cheney being next to get slammed. But this NYT piece on her is quite good. Here's an old shot of the amazing Cheney family. That's Liz on the right.

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters
Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 AM

September 15, 2009

This kind of faux-objective* snippiness sure angers me...

*I call this style "faux-objective" because the terms of the debate are always Leftish. For instance, "bi-partisanship" never means Democrats seriously considering Republican ideas such as CDHC's, or tort reform. And "even-handed" debate on climate change starts with assuming that the theory of anthropogenic Global Warming is settled science (it's not) and then even-handedly debating how much more power to give to leftists to get rid of Capitalism and surplus human beings.

The Palin Republicans - John Parisella - Macleans.ca:

...Ever since Obama's inauguration, the Republicans have struggled to gain any traction as a viable alternative. [Actually that's normal in American politics. Dems were just a "party of protest" during the Bush years.] Since then, Obama's approval numbers have gone down sharply, but the Republicans have not benefited in any noticeable way. [Sure they have, but it takes an election to make this manifest.] Last week's silly outburst by Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, may have made him a hero to Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the rest of the lunatic right. But it did little to make his party seem like legitimate counterweight to the Democrats. [Maybe in the Maclean's newsroom it doesn't. But you don't vote here.]

Similarly, this Saturday's Tea Party protests seem grassroots enough, but the rhetoric emerging from its spokespersons leaves the impression that the Republican party is now just a party of protest. It is no longer playing the role of the guardian of conservatism. Consider, for instance, how Sarah Palin's false [You Canadians frequently send premature babies to the US for care because bureaucrats decided not to spend on facilities to save their (worthless) little lives. Your whole medical system is a @#$%&* Death Panel! ] charges of death panels did little other than derail [start] a legitimate debate on health care reform. [In July Obama was insisting that the bill MUST be passed before August. And you accuse Sarah of derailing debate?] As a result, the battle over health care is now an intra-party contest within the Democratic party. [95% (at least) of Republicans DON'T WANT government health care. We don't have ANY responsibility to debate this issue. Zero. None. Nada.]
What is astonishing is how the Republican leadership seems oblivious to all this. It is now obvious the Democrats have given [they never really tried]up on getting any bipartisan support regarding healthcare reform [SO, how much space has Maclean's given to reporting on Republican health-care proposals and bills, Mr Bi-Partisan? Yeah, I thought so. Frauds.] or on climate change legislation. [Your definition of "bi-partisan" is that Republicans must support Left-wing policies they hate. I've been hearing that malarky from "journalists" all my life.] You would expect more support from the GOP on the economy considering that many of the initiatives were started by George Bush, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, a Republican nominee. Same goes for Sonia Sotomayor's nomination to the Supreme Court. Even John McCain, a moderate Republican and the co-author of an immigration reform bill with Ted Kennedy, voted against her. Sotomayor was not a controversial choice [Assuming that you believe that people should be judged differently depending on skin color] and represented an opportunity for the GOP to make inroads with Hispanics. On health care, according to many observers, some of the GOP's ideas will make their way into the final package and there is a real possibility that the dreaded public option will be dropped. At the end of the day, the image conveyed at Obama's speech last week was that of a bunch of grumpy white men [Republicans are ALWAYS portrayed as grumpy white men. Condi Rice and Clarence Thomas are grumpy white men.] sitting on their hands and contributing very little to the debate. [The image conveyed to me was Obama's desperation. Mr Journalist somehow didn't notice this.]

Is it too late for the Republicans? No, not if the Senate Finance committee comes up with a proposal that has potential to garner some bipartisan support down the road. [This guy is SO blinkered. He just assumes that political success means going along with death-panel liberalism. And if Republicans crush the Dems in 2010...which is becoming a real possibility...he WON'T LEARN! He'll just write another article on how Republicans must now start moderating their positions and accommodating to the Culture of Death.] Still, Sarah Palin's missive I referenced above has come to symbolize the shallow, oppose-at-all-costs approach to public policy that has dominated the public discourse since last January. Quite frankly, Palin energizes a base that talk radio hosts like Limbaugh and Beck use to exploit fear and misinformation. Even McCain, who keeps defending Palin, sometimes with apparent discomfort, contradicts her view on the death panels. And yet, Palin leads many polls for the 2012 Republican nomination and will draw huge crowds once she hits the speech circuit this fall—this, despite how pathetic she was in interviews with Katie Couric of CBS and Charles Gibson of ABC when tasked with explaining policy. [CLING to that hope.] As long as her views drive the debate away from any reasonable proposals coming from Republicans in Congress, [Republicans have made MANY proposals. Why don't you report on them, Mr Fake-journalist?] the GOP will remain marginal in the debate over any policy direction...

* Update: Funny how so many Lefty pundits are writing with concern and sympathy about the imminent demise of Republicans and conservatives...... unless...... and somehow it is always the same unless...... unless we get rid of PALIN! Perhaps it is too negative of me to suspect that perhaps these kind and helpful creatures are not being quite sincere? To suspect they may be urging us to do the opposite of what frightens them? I guess such thoughts mean I'm just a Republican hate-monger.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

September 9, 2009

A pet peeve of mine...

Thanks to Joshua Livestro for this:

...One more thing before I chuck his sorry behind into my spamfilter: cut the cr*p about Palin's use of speechwriters somehow being evidence that the ideas in her pieces aren't truly hers. As a former speechwriter (a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away) I think I'm reasonably qualified to tell him that this is total baloney. Any speechwriter worth his salt will have read every scrap of paper ever produced by his boss, as well as every biographical sketch ever written about him/her. That way, he is able to write with confidence from the politician's perspective, using their ideas and - where possible - even their language. Any speech writer that doesn't do this, will be an ex speech writer before he knows it....

Every major public figure uses speechwriters. Even if they are quite capable of writing a great speech themselves. Why? Because an important speech might take days or weeks of work, that's why. Important people have all sorts of things done for them that they could do themselves. Because their time is very valuable, and needs to be used for their essential business. Somebody washes their socks, too, and fills out their tax-returns. doesn't mean they are incapable.

I've heard the "uses-a-speechwriter" criticism leveled against Republicans all my life. Stupid. And it is actually a sure sign of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Left. The cowards can't fight us with facts or logic, so they snipe at trivial issues.

I long ago read a memoir by William Safire of his time as a speechwriter for Nixon. President Nixon had three speechwriters, and he would review speeches, annotate them, and pass them on to a different writer for whatever that man's particular strength was. I remember that Pat Buchanan was his go-to guy for toughening up a speech, and making it more pugnacious! Nixon was using them as tools, to get the speech he wanted.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

September 4, 2009

Sarah one year ago today...

Can she call 'em, or can she call 'em? (Thanks to C4P)

"This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting and never use the word 'victory' except when he's talking about his own campaign...........

"But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed.....when the roar of the crowd fades away.....when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot.....When that happens, what is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet?
  • "The answer is to make government bigger.......
  • "And take more of your money..........
  • "To give you more orders from Washington...........
  • "And reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world...........
  • "America needs more energy...........our opponent is against producing it.
  • "Victory in Iraq is finally in sight.........he wants to forfeit.
  • "Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay..........he wants to meet them without preconditions.
  • "Al-Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America........he's worried that someone won't read them their rights?
  • "Government is too big........he wants to grow it.
  • "Congress spends too much money.......he promises more.
  • "Taxes are too high........he wants to raise them. His taxes are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific: The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes.......and raise payroll taxes........and raise investment income taxes.......and raise the death tax.......and raise business taxes.......and increase the tax burden on American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

Toldja. And remember, Obama ran as a sort of moderate. Orrin Judd has a great post on how Bush as President worked to pass the very things he campaigned on. And how Obama in office is not at all like Obama on the campaign trail.

Here's an ad from the lying Obama presidential campaign:

Can we say "bait and switch?" Tooooo bad, all you "independents" and "moderates" who voted for hopey changey. You were suckered. You were played for fools. You should have been reading Random Jottings. [Link, link, link, link.] But NOOOOO. That would be tacky. Fad and fashion and wishful thinking are much more important than truth.

And all you "Progressives" and far leftists who assumed that Obama was a vicious liar who would say anything to get elected, but would then come home to his real self, taught by Ayers and Wright? You were right! You win! Your prize will be big "Democrat" Party losses in 2010! And maybe a President Palin in 2012. Ha ha ha. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of commie creeps.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:11 AM

August 22, 2009

Just another one of my imaginary conversations...

Pay it no mind. Just fisking some person named Eleanor Clift in some web-site called Newsweek.com:

The first duty of a political party in retreat is to find something its people can rally around, and saying no to Obamacare is working nicely for the Republicans. [Lots of independents and even Dems are not liking it either.] They've managed to hold together in the House and Senate with no real leadership and no real message except to block Obama. [Fairly true. We need Sarah!] Despite all the advantages Democrats enjoyed at the start of this year, the responsibility of being in the majority and actually legislating is causing fissures between the party's dominant wing of progressives and the much smaller group of conservative, self-described blue dogs from the swing districts that gave Democrats control of the House. [So you admit it's NOT the Republicans who are blocking Pelosi-Care.]

Republicans are united, but that shouldn't be confused with victory. Republicans stood together against Social Security and Medicare, [This is a flat-out LIE. Both those had large Republican support.] and when those programs proved popular, opposing them left a residue of distrust for the GOP. President Obama has pushed his bipartisan shtik about as far as it will go, [shtik is the word. It was never sincere.] and if Republican recalcitrance means the Democrats have to go it alone on health care, Obama should embrace the new reality and cry all the way to the signing ceremony. [So DO IT! Shut up and do it. I double-dog dare you.]

Getting Republicans to support health-care reform is a lost cause. [Well, duh. A far-Left massive expansion of government, and she's surprised Republicans aren't on board? How stupid is that?] Other than the two women senators from Maine, there aren't any moderates left for the president to partner with in the GOP. Obama campaigned on his fabled ability to bring people together. [Something he's never actually DONE in his political life. It's just gas.] Voters loved the idea of everybody getting along in Washington, but seven months into the Obama presidency, we know it's a mirage.

The White House needs to find ways to leverage the huge tactical and strategic advantages Democrats had coming out of the 2008 election to advance legislation in Congress. [Hey, I gotta wild and crazy idea. How about legislation that ordinary Americans would approve of? You know, those untermensch who shop at Walmart. I know that's not the Dem tradition, but why not give it a try?] Instead, Obama has played the same old inside game of currying favor with power brokers on Capitol Hill who for the most part, like Senate Finance chair Max Baucus of Montana, represent sparsely populated rural states and respond more to their corporate benefactors than to White House pressure.
Obama won the election because his campaign had a great ground game and they had him, a super communicator who made the media swoon. [How about: "Obama won the election because he made the media swoon."] In the White House, the once crack team was slow to organize while opponents of health-care reform ran roughshod over the message and dominated the debate. All the White House has to counter the opposition is Obama, ['cause the TRUTH is really ugly. You can't use that.] and he's not enough. The magic has waned. People don't line up for miles to see him the way they did in the campaign. And judging by the anxiety showing up in the polls, voters don't trust Obama enough on health-care reform to set aside their historic distrust of government. [This may be too advanced for a journalist to understand, but trust in Obama is irrelevant! He's not writing the legislation, and he's not going to be administering it. (Unless there's a secret cloning project we don't know about. Maybe 100,000 mini-Obamas will run things and sit on the Death Panels, and reproduce themselves forever. In that case "trust in Obama" would have some point here.)]

The '08 campaign was such a searing experience that Obama and his key aides tend to view everything through that prism. [Why was it more "searing" than any other Presidential campaign? It was a picnic compared to 2000, but Bush calmly started achieving real things from his first day in office. With no snivelling about being "seared."] There were the early days when Obama seemed bored and his interest in the campaign lagged, along with his standing in the polls. Then came his heady win in Iowa followed by a humbling loss in New Hampshire, then the period when it all could have slipped away, when Rev. Jeremiah Wright taunted white America and Obama was torn between defending his minister and recovering his candidacy. If there's a campaign analogy to where Obama is now, this is the Reverend Wright period, when the prize hangs in the balance. [This is a very odd analogy. Obama should cynically toss something under the bus? But what? Or who? Or does Wright = health care reform? What joy, we can not only get rid of useless people, we can be JUDENREIN!] Opponents of reform won the first part of summer. Now it's up to Obama to regain the momentum. He prides himself on being a good clutch player, someone who can perform when the pressure's on. [I haven't seen it.] "Just give me the ball," he said to David Axelrod as he stood waiting to go onstage for his first presidential debate with John McCain.

Republican strategist Karl Rove was known for zeroing in on an opponent's strength, destroying John Kerry, a war hero, by portraying him as weak. [He's a weakling and a cad. And only a "war hero" in the descriptions of the press. His fellow vets made it clear they know he's a total jerk.] ....
Posted by John Weidner at 3:52 PM

August 20, 2009

Why "bi-partisan" doesn't work any more...

Post-Partisan Promise Fizzles - WSJ.com:

WASHINGTON -- Barack Obama campaigned last year on a pledge to end the angry partisanship in Washington. He wasn't the first to promise a post-partisan presidency: Both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton offered a similar change, only to see the mutual hostility between Republicans and Democrats increase while they were in the White House.

Now, just as his predecessors did, Mr. Obama is seeing that promise turn to ashes. Angry town-hall meetings, slumping presidential approval poll numbers and rising opposition to his signature health-care proposals suggest an early resumption of politics as usual....

But why? Only Random Jottings can explain!

If your read this blog, you will understand! (And it won't do you a speck of good; if you try to tell someone they will just consider you a weirdo.)

Mr Random Jottings knows, because his mind was formed first by reading Peter Drucker. And Drucker pointed out something that was true, back then, but which I don't think is true any longer.

He often told truths in the form of stories, and one of them—I don't remember where I read it—was about his receiving a European visitor, who complained about the numbing sameness of America. Of a lack of variety. Drucker pointed out, as a counter-example, the astonishing variety of institutions of higher learning within a twenty mile radius of where they sat. Public, private, religious, ethnic, technical, tiny, huge...scores of them, all wildly different.

But the visitor was not in the least impressed. And Drucker finally winkled out of him that what he called "sameness" was the lack of ideological variety. The visitor came from a world of intense and clear-cut political world-views ranging from fascists to Christian Democrats to Social Democrats to socialists to communists.

The thing was, we Americans (back then) shared a common ideology. 90% at least of Americans shared a belief in "the American Dream," American exceptionalism, limited government, free-market economics, and in a sort of generic Christianity as the "public religion." It was only a small fringe who disagreed with this. (Commies, basically. And most Americans saw nothing wrong with purging them from public life. Well, they deserved it, since they were either secret agents of a totalitarian enemy, or aiders and abetters.)

Drucker wryly pointed out that most Americans would deny they had any kind of ideology whatsoever!

And in that situation bi-partisanship was fairly common. Why? Because both parties were variations on the same themes. When I was growing up there were lots of conservative Dems and lots of liberal Republicans! And the very-Catholic Dems were the party of traditional morality!

But the situation Drucker described, and which I grew up with, has changed. Now we have maybe only 60 or 70% of Americans sharing that set of traditional social-political beliefs. And now we have 20% or 30% with a clearly different ideology. One that is hard to pin down, because its proponents are slippery and deceptious. "Progressive" is the current nom de guerre.

And people like me refer to this ideaology as "anti-American," which is not quite accurate. It is really "anti" that traditional American ideology, and the institutions that embody it. The "Progressive" loves American in those aspects that fit his ideology.... He or she loves Berkeley or Ann Arbor or Boston or Manhattan. And loves to see victms standing in line to be processed by government bureaucrats.

And while "Progressive" by no means describes all Democrats, it does describe the people who hold the levers of power in the party.

It is a very interesting thing that both George W Bush and Sarah Palin were very successfully bi-partisan in their roles as state governors. Both worked with Dems in their state legislatures in just getting practical things done. And in both cases their bi-partisanship became impossible the instant they stepped on to the national stage.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 AM

August 9, 2009

Just some facts..

Sarah Palin has been getting a lot of criticism for suggesting that ObamaCare will include "death panels" to decide when people should die. Such as this "...Except, there is nothing in any proposal by any Democrat, Republican, Greenie, Communist, New Nazi, or a Flat Earther on health care that even hints about a "death panel." You're just making stuff up. In fact, it's hard to know just what the hell you're referring to..."

From Dr. Betsey McCaughey's rebuttal. (Link from a long post full of good info at Conservatives4palin.)

End of Life Counseling

There have been flawed criticisms of my reading of a section of H.R. 3200. The critics have hastily read page 425 of the HR 3200, rather than reading the full relevant text (425-443) or considering the reality of being a frail elderly patient. Here are four facts frequently overlooked:
1. The counseling includes not only living wills and durable powers of attorney, but specific methods to end life. On page 430, the bill prescribes counseling on whether or not to forego nutrition, hydration, and antibiotics, in states where such counseling is permitted.

2. There is an inherent conflict of interest in this counseling. Medicare funding is going to be cut 10% over the next decade ($500 billion in cuts) to pay for the health reform legislation, at the same ti e that Medicare enrollment is projected to increase 30%. More people to care for and fewer dollars will necessitate rationing. It is understandable that the government wants to curtail spending on end of life care. But the use of specific "patient decision aids" (p.443) discussed in the legislation such as scripts, videos, and brochures is problematic. If United Healthcare provided end of life counseling with a script prepared by the insurance company, there would be up uproar over the obvious conflict of interest.

The author of "Pants on Fire" should read on to pages 443 to see that patients will participate in "shared decision making." Shared with whom? The government certified counselors. No where is it stated that the patient unilaterally has the final say. The bill merely says the patient's views will be "incorporated" into the decision making...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

August 8, 2009

Interesting stats...

"Respice post te! Hominem te memento!" - Peter Wehner - The Corner on National Review Online:

...Over at the outstanding American Enterprise Institute blog, Karlyn Bowman reports that among the "millennial generation" (18- to 29-year-olds), President Obama's job approval rating has, according to the latest Gallup poll, fallen from 75 percent in January to 58 percent today — a staggering 17-percentage-point drop. Among those 65 and older, Obama's support has dropped by 12 points, from 61 percent in January to 49 percent today.

This is significant for several reasons. First, the huge numbers Obama amassed among young voters in November — he carried the millennial cohort by a margin of 66 percent to 32 percent — were among the most important signs of the GOP's difficulties. If young voters lock in on a particular party early on, they often form a (voting) habit that is difficult to undo. If Obama had maintained anything like the initial support he had among young voters, it would have made the GOP's challenge far more difficult. For the president to have lost so much support among young voters, so quickly, has to be unsettling to the White House and the Democratic party more broadly....

There may be hope. One can but pray that the Dems continue on the present course of folly and wickedness. It seems impossible—surely they will wake up at any moment and switch to a Clintonian style of triangulation and slipperyness! I'm biting my knuckles...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 AM

July 21, 2009

commenting on commentings...

Hale Adams wrote, in a comment on the previous post,

I've said it before, John, and I'll say it again: You're mixing religion with politics.

If the Church wants to insist, for its own purposes, that homosexual or multiple unions are not marriages, that's fine. Far be it from me (and it should be far from anyone else) to dictate to the Church how it deals with parishoners who break its rules.

As far as the State is concerned, however, marriages are simply contractual arrangements voluntarily entered into by the parties concerned. Yes, traditionally, such arrangements have been between one man and one woman, but if two men or two women (or any permutation of one or multiple men and/or women) want to enter into such a contract-- I say, "Let them." Maybe their arrangements will work, maybe they won't. And if (when?) the arrangements don't work, then they should suffer the messiness inherent in the dissolution of the contract. (It just might discourage others from following their example, and your position carries the day, John.)

Actually, even if marriage is just a contractual arrangement, what I wrote is still valid—that the argument made by Boies is fallacious, since it sneaks past the point that people are really divided about. (And any state regulation of contracts involves defining things, and people will always have a valid gripe if someone moves goalposts by slipping in a re-definition of terms. I myself have a valid gripe on a purely contractual level, since I'm a party in a marriage contract, and now people are trying to change what my contract says!)

But I don't think that people will ever consider marriage just part of the realm of contract, nor will they want the state, which reflects our wishes, to do so. (Nor do I think you really believe that, Hale.)

In California we already have a domestic partners law which is close to a marriage contract, and hardly anyone notices it. WHY?

People sometimes understand things without being able to think clearly about them. They drift along with what they are told by "experts," (like, say, materialists who think life can be just regulated by contract and majority vote) not realizing where the small steps are leading. Until they crash against something like the marriage issue. Then suddenly they are howling in pain, and the experts say, "Tsk tsk, how irrational the little people are. Democracy is a poor system of government. Decisions should be left to the experts."

In fact the experts usually know where they are heading all along, and carefully conceal the truth, just because democracy works pretty damn well when people have enough information. And boy do they heap contumely upon anyone who says that such-and-such a small step is leading to some big step that people will hate. The people who said that overturning state sodomy laws would lead to gay marriage were called crazy, and bigots!

Politics and religion are always going to intersect, because they are both about what human beings really are. They both define us, although politics is much less explicit about this. In America we hope to use politics to merely create a neutral space for personal decisions to be made. But that is pretty much impossible, because even the smallest political decision tends to define us. If the small town of Mudville puts up the first traffic light on Main Street, that says something about the people who go along with it. A little bit of customary law has been replaced by explicit law, and that changes the definition of citizens of that town.

It seems silly to say it about such a small matter, but it is a religious decision. A tiny bit of life has been removed from the realm of conscience and morality and personal responsibility. After that when the preacher gets up in the pulpit and says that our moral choices have big consequences, and that even tiny sins can lead to bigger ones and get us into trouble, the government has also preached a tiny but different sermon.

Everyone has a religion. That is, everyone has beliefs about the universe and existence that are not based on logic or science. Hale Adams has a religion. He is making a political proposal based on his personal faith; he has no formal or scientific proof that his view of what people are is true.

* Update: Actually, Hale's sentence: "If the Church wants to insist, for its own purposes, that homosexual or multiple unions are not marriages, that's fine..." is, itself, a religious position. One which the Catholic Church rejects. We think that our view of marriage is part of Natural Law, and is just as valid—and real—in the Cannibal Isles as it is among Christians.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:11 AM

July 11, 2009

Tell half your readers to just go away...

Highly recommended: Carl M. Cannon, Sarah 'Barracuda' Palin and the Piranhas of the Press

...Meanwhile, an unrelated development put journalism on the firing line.

That event was the decline of conservative, mostly Southern, Democrats (and, eventually, liberal Republicans as well). A patchwork quilt of ideology and regionalism gave way to a U.S. political system more closely resembling that of Great Britain. Today, an American who is liberal tends to be a Democrat, a conservative is almost always a Republican. This may help clarify things for voters, but it created a little-understood crisis for journalists. If being "liberal" now meant sympathy for the Democratic Party, and being conservative implied sympathy for Republicans, all those liberal newsrooms across the country were gradually going to alienate themselves from about half their readers.

That this might pose a problem never dawned on the men and women who controlled the media — even as it drove their right-of-center readers and viewers away in droves. When I tell my friends working in places like The New York Times that they created Rush Limbaugh, they respond with shock and disbelief. But it's obvious to me that it's true, even as the anointed sages of the Old Media solemnly denied that an animal such as "liberal bias" existed at all....

Most people today don't even realize that there used to be conservative Democrats and liberal Republicans! When I was a boy the most important liberal vs conservative wars were within the two parties. The rise of Goldwater conservatism was a revolt within the Republican party against "eastern establishment liberals" such as Nelson Rockefeller. And the Democrats back then were the (very Catholic) party of traditional morality. Also the party of Southern white racists.

If you are still not sure that the press was grossly unfair to Palin, Cannon lays out the facts in great detail. It was absurd, insane, and utterly vile and dishonest!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

July 7, 2009

The real coin...

Angelo M. Codevilla, Who the Hell Do They Think They Are? - - The Corner on National Review Online:

....But as the nation celebrates the anniversary of the revolution of 1776, every presidential hopeful should realize that in the next election Sarah Palin — or someone like her — could be the vehicle for another revolution. The distinctions between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, are being overshadowed by that between what we might call the "Court party" — made up of the well-connected, the people who feel represented by mainstream politicians who argue over how many trillions should be spent on reforming American society, who see themselves as potters of the great American clay — and the "Country party" — the many more who are tired of being treated as clay.

As of July 4, 2009, Sarah Palin is the leader of the Country party. The fact that she did almost nothing to earn that position underlines that party’s nature and power. Neither did Ross Perot, who led that party in 1992. Perot, recall, never identified himself with any sector of American opinion or society. His appeal was simple and powerful: The U.S. government and the top rungs of American society, he argued, are filled with incompetents at best, corrupt losers at worst — people who make no sense and don't like the rest of us. Unlike the rulers, he spoke ordinary English, like one of the ruled who had had enough. He sounded like Ronald Reagan without the conservatism. Until his eccentricities disqualified him, tens of millions were ready to vote for him simply as the representative of the "outs."� Just as in 2008, when Barack Obama won by adding a few Country-party votes to his liberal ones, Sarah Palin could win in 2012 by adding a potentially huge number of Country votes to conservative ones.

We can see the nature and power of today's Country party by noting how little Sarah Palin did to become its head. The person whom candidate John McCain introduced on August 29, 2008, struck the nation like James Stewart in the 1939 movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington: somebody like you, who speaks your language, unlike the politicians and bureaucrats who talk, act, and live as if they were better than you. To confirm that impression, Palin hardly had to do anything. The Court party did it for her, and she leads the Country party because highly placed people have demeaned her and everything she stands for more than they have anybody else. They heaped contempt on her for the unpardonable sin of being an ordinary American....

Codevilla's statement that Sarah "didn't do anything" to become head of the "Country Party" is true, since a large part of the people who warmed to her just looked at a few symbolic items—Moose-hunting, Trig, big family, heartland style—and were satisfied. But the statement is also factually ridiculous.

She's no Perot. Unlike a Ross Perot, who jumped into the role more or less on the spur of the moment, Palin has been living that role, and turning it into solid accomplishments, for many years. She's the PTA mom who decided to run for city council. And then for mayor. An office where she didn't just posture, but rolled up her sleeves and did stuff. (And made mistakes. That's GOOD! A person who never makes mistakes isn't trying anything difficult.)

And then did real work at the state level, and fought against the Republican entrenched elites. And, as governor, focused on one big difficult thing, and did it. (The natural gas pipeline, which had been deadlocked for decades.) That showed real managerial wisdom—the leaders who make a difference always focus their energy on a few key points, rather than try to fix everything.

Sarah Palin is the real coin. That's why I'm a fan. Not because she's being attacked by frightened elites. I never wased a minute on Ross Perot. And I've always thought that Mr. Smith Goes to Washington stuff is STUPID. Working in government is a skill, won over years of hard mucky toil. The built-in weakness of the Republican Party is that it is anti-big government in its genes, but needs to use as tools politicians...that is, people who want to be part of government! (The Dems have their own structural weakness—they are socialist in their genes, and socialism never works.)

The most precious asset the Republican Party can have is effective politicians who are not seduced by power and elitism.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 AM

June 6, 2009

All those who harshly criticized Bush for issuing "signing statements..."

You are, are you not, going to criticize Obama now that he's doing the same thing?

Hmmm? I'm waiting..........

(And Clinton too, of course. Somehow people never got around to that one.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:12 PM

June 3, 2009

Go John...

Boehner keeps up the pressure on that horrid lying harridan Nancy Pelosi. Of course the press will ignore this, but it is still an honorable effort, deserving of our support....

House Minority Leader John Boehner:

"Ten days ago, Speaker Pelosi not only refused to back up her accusations against our intelligence professionals, but she actually stood by her comments that they have repeatedly lied to her and lied to Congress. "Now, the Speaker gets regular briefings from our intelligence professionals today. Does she still believe that they're lying to her?

"I made this request of the Speaker more than two weeks ago: Either offer proof that our intelligence professionals lied to her or she should retract that statement and offer an apology. And to date she's done neither. She's done nothing to address the damage that she's left by her unsupported accusations.

"This is a matter — I think it's serious and requires a bipartisan investigation to determine the facts. Republicans have requested that the — that a bipartisan select committee of the Intelligence Committee be established to look at the issues that the speaker has raised.

"Unfortunately, ten days ago, House Democrats blocked this request for a bipartisan investigation.

"Let's be clear, these are serious allegations. Not providing proof to back them up is an affront to our intelligence professionals. And I'm disappointed that House Democrats continue to stonewall this investigation. And my hope is that the Speaker will step up and bring this issue to rest once and for all.

"My colleagues and I are prepared to continue to press this issue until it is resolved."
Posted by John Weidner at 6:31 PM

May 30, 2009

Cheney on the high ground....

Jonah Goldberg: Cheney an Unlikely Beacon for Conservatives....

...It's a lovely thing when the conventional wisdom proves to be so spectacularly wrong. The entire Democratic party, not to mention the media establishment, simply took as a given that suave, charming, effulgent, numinous president Barack Obama would mop the floor with grumpy, truculent, sardonic former vice-president Dick Cheney. And yet, on almost every issue he has championed since he left office, Cheney has won the debate or at least put the White House on the defensive. From the closing of Gitmo and the placement of terrorists in domestic prisons, to the release of the torture memos and the aborted release of prisoner-abuse photos, Cheney holds the higher ground politically, or in the polls, or both.

Many liberals who take it on faith that Cheney represents all that is evil, cruel, and unhip about the Republican party, not to mention carbon-based life forms, are loath to give him even an ounce of credit for his success. That Obama is backpedaling or off-balance on so many fronts, they say, is at best circumstantial evidence that Cheney is having any effect. Well, you know, Thoreau was right: "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in the milk." The trout in Obama's milk is the trout fisherman from Casper, Wyo.....

There are profound lessons to be learned here. An easy one is that the Bush policies Democrats relentlessly demonized were hardly as extreme, politically or morally, as they alleged. If Bush's anti-terror policies were half as bad as Obama & Co. claimed, the American people and Congress would reject them all wholesale, and Cheney's arguments would sound like the ravings of a madman. That hasn't happened.

But the more important lesson, at least for conservatives and Republicans, is that arguments matter. If personalities and politics alone drove the issues, then of course flannel Cheney would lose against silky Obama. But it turns out that substance is a good counterpunch to style.

"Evil, cruel, and unhip Republican"—hey wait, that's me! Cool. No wonder I like the guy. Thank you, Mr Cheney, for expressing what I feel!

(The picture is of Vice-President Cheney at the American Enterprise Institute's World Forum, in 2004. Originally posted here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 3:22 PM

May 18, 2009

Finally... Thank you, Mr Cheney!

Stephen F. Hayes: Cheney's War on the Democrats:

...Cheney is making arguments that the Bush administration largely avoided throughout the second term. Aside from an occasional, defensive speech about its war on terror policies, the Bush White House allowed its opponents to level harsh attacks with little or no response. Only in the final months of the administration did the White House offer a consistent, unapologetic argument that Bush administration policies, however controversial, were responsible for keeping the country safe in the seven years after the 9/11 attacks.

Equally important is that the views of the American public on national security are much closer to Cheney's than Maureen Dowd's. Democrats have made the assumption that because Cheney is personally unpopular, the policies he has advocated are, too. Obama did not become president because voters supported his positions on national security and the war on terror. They don't....

I would make a broader argument, but Dick Cheney is dead right. I'd argue that George W Bush did not just keep the US safe, he made the WORLD a much safer place. Remember, most of the suffering inflicted by al-Qaeda and the Taliban and other terror groups is inflicted on people in the Third World. We are very safe compared with the poor wretches in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

(That's why I despise pacifists. Especially "Christian" pacifists. They always turn someone else's cheek. They say "Jesus said we mustn't oppose evil with force." Then they toddle off to dinner and a safe bed, protected by armed cops and the world's strongest military. The animals know full well that massive slaughter will be inflicted on anyone who threatens them. And their icy little hearts are unmoved when niggers in far places are shredded by suicide bombers. They pass on the other side of the road.)

That's part of what drove me nuts about the passivity in debate of the Bush Administration. If you are doing something morally wrong, then stop. If you think you are morally in the right, you have the obligation to say so loud and clear. You must be willing to debate. To stand up against false arguments. Bush was wrong to not fight for his ideas in the ring.

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters

Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 AM

May 8, 2009

Steyn...

I was busily running errands yesterday morning, and caught a bit of Mark Steyn, filling in for Rush.

A couple of lines I remember:

"I don't want to talk about Edwards. I didn't like him when he was just an ordinary oleaginous creep, and now he's an adulterous oleaginous creep..."

and on Colin Powell:

[Powell's attack on Rush Limbaugh] "was like being head-butted by a butterscotch pudding."

And that Powell believes in "moderation as an end in itself." Ugh. And Mark mentioned his "moderate ending" to the first Gulf War. Ugh.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 AM

May 5, 2009

Please don't trow me in dat briar patch, Br'er Bear...

Obama's campaign manager fears Jon Huntsman the most in 2012:

...SALT LAKE CITY - (ABC 4 News) - There is one republican presidential candidate that President Barack Obama's campaign manager fears the most in 2012...and his name is Jon Huntsman Jr....

....While no republican presidential candidate yet makes Obama's team "shake in {their} shoes...," President Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, now says Governor Jon Huntsman makes him, a "wee bit queasy...I think he's really out there speaking a lot of truth about the direction of the party."

To which Kirk Jowers of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics says, "Huntsman has positioned himself in a great place right now because he is the only presidential candidate really running in the middle right now." [My emphasis]

Uh huh. The Obama administration, straight shooters that they are, have given us a glimpse, a glimpse right into their hearts! Hearts quivering in fear of The Man From SLC! Wow. I guess we better nominate Mr Huntsman, whoever the hell he is, right away.

It would be shocking bigotry for me to to suggest that this is any deceptiousness in their souls. Or that they might be nervous about, oh, um, you know, somebody else......

Sara Palin with ski plane


Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

May 4, 2009

Noonarians and Frumarians...

Beldar has a couple of posts Charlene and I liked...

OMG! Like, before he was 30, Obama was a law review editor! ZOMG-OMG!!1!

And...

Another well-crafted but foolish paragraph of Peggy Noonan's with which I disagree
...Oh, Ms. Noonan, you're far more out of touch than even Arlen Specter is! We don't know yet — we must have patience to learn, but aggressively prepare to seize the opportunities to affect — whether Pennsylvania voters will send a Republican or a Democrat to the U.S. Senate in 2010. But dear Ms. Noonan, bless your heart and your woefully myopic east-coastal blue-state-infected viewpoints, the "side [which] is winning" for sure, the side which for sure caused Arlen Specter to betray his vows and defect to the Democratic Party, is the side of the true conservatives whom Arlen Specter recognized were certain to oust him in the GOP primary. He doesn't know, and no one yet knows, whether he can win the Democratic Primary, or the general election if he gets the Dems' nomination. But he knew — we all know, Ms. Noonan! why don't you? — that he was going to lose the next race in which he was scheduled to run, that being the GOP primary.

Can you not tell the difference, Ms. Noonan, between fleeing from a battle one is certain to lose, and instead fleeing to a side that is certain to win? No one yet knows which side will win, which is to say, no side is certain to win. But Arlen Specter was certain to lose if he accepted the verdict of his own party on his performance. How could you miss that? How can you expect us to take seriously any of your other advice for the GOP when you're that blind?

There is a certain breed of Republican which is convinced that to become more competitive, GOP candidates must become even "more moderate" than John McCain or Arlen Specter. We could call them Noonarians; we could call them Frumarians; we could call them Parkersonians. Or we could call them RINOs. I will continue to voice my objections to their blather and oppose their ideas, but I will not call them apostates, and if they return to the Reaganite Big Tent, I will welcome them upon their return. Some day, perhaps we will all laugh together when we re-read the ridiculous things they wrote while they were in the thrall of Obamamania, things like "The task for conservatives is not so much to oppose the president, but to help him see." They'll blush, I hope, but feel no greater pain...

My impression is that the Specter case is sui generis, and doesn't reveal much about where Republican politics is heading. My guess is that Pennsylvania Republican voters are not rejecting a senator who "votes Republican 70% of the time," they are rejecting a capricious and erratic man who bestows his votes by personal whim. Who can't be trusted or relied on. I bet they would have stuck with him if he were a principled moderate.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:04 AM

April 29, 2009

It would be like us still having the Whig Party...

I'm pretty sure this historical analogy by Michael Barone, Specter's party switch is all about winning, does not really work...

...When Churchill left the Liberals, they had led governments for 16 of the preceding 18 years. They never did so again. A party in decline should adapt its basic philosophy to new policies and positions in order to win over voters, rather than stand on principle and expel heretics.

Arlen Specter will never rise to Churchillian heights and will probably be, as Churchill was after 1924, as uncomfortable in his new party as in the old. But he also seems likely to have, as Churchill did, the last laugh....

Parliamentary democracies tend to have many small parties, and in fact the Liberals were sliding back then into being a permanently small also-ran party. Our system makes having two parties almost obligatory.

Why? Imagine a third party that got 20% of the vote in each and evey district in the country. How many people would it send to congress and to state-houses? Quite possibly none! That gets discouraging in a hurry.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:19 AM

April 28, 2009

What have you done for me lately?

David Freddoso:

...If we take Specter's word, then the GOP has become intolerant of moderate politicians like himself. On this score, Specter appears to have a severe case of amnesia. Exactly five years ago, the national Republican Party swooped into Pennsylvania and saved him from certain defeat at the hands of Rep. Pat Toomey (R). Valuable presidential time was sacrificed on his behalf. Also sacrificed for Arlen Specter was the reputation of his conservative colleague, Rick Santorum (R), who never recovered. From that moment forward, he lost his core constituency, and was easily defeated two years later by a pro-life Democrat.

Without essential help from the party that is so intolerant of people like him, Arlen Specter would already be a former senator today. It is not the party but the voters who have stopped tolerating Specter.

If we take Specter's word, then conservatives act in bad faith when they become involved in the political process and try to elect the candidates of their choice. Conservatives should become less involved in the political process and stop challenging people like Arlen Specter. They should not organize — whether through groups like the Club for Growth or otherwise — nor should they participate in the political process, nor donate to nor vote for candidates whom they prefer...

Generally, when someone describes themselves as "moderate," it means they have no character. (Moderate measures may be called for, but if so, if they are the Good, and one should support them passionately.) What a scrub this guy is. Next thing you know, he'll declare he's a pacifist.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 PM

April 23, 2009

Just for the record...

You might keep in mind this article from the Washington Post, December 9, 2007, Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002. (From a good piece by Hugh Hewitt.)

This is similar to the abu Ghraib scandal, in which members of Congress knew of the problem months before it hit the news, knew it was being corrected and the guilty were due to be punished...then, when those pictures surfaced, they suddenly discovered that betraying their country with fake outrage would be a big partisan winner.

Same with "torture." Democrat leaders never gave a damn about waterboarding. Not until America was in difficulties. Then the dirty turncoats jumped-ship to what looked like the winning side—al Qaeda.. Leftist fake outrage about torture is treason pure and simple.

And any talk or action now about prosecuting Bush administration officials for things Congress was in agreement with at the time, and declined to make illegal....is not only vile injustice, but treason.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort. ...


...Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 AM

March 27, 2009

"Obama's question deserves an answer"

As Schiller's saying goes, "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." One example that especially bugs me is the refusal of my young liberal friends to SEE Social Security. They are working hard at low-paying jobs, and giving a lot of their paychecks to the government in exchange for a promise of some crummy future payments by the government. They are just clueless about what the same money could do if we had private SS accounts. They are being robbed of millions of dollars, but don't have the education and the imagination to see it. They can't see the lines extending on the graph to, say, the year 2050.

[That's just ignorance. What's vile and evil are the older liberals who are putting their own money in 401-k's and IRA's while doing all they can to deprive the little people of similar benefits.]

Now the current economic crisis will give lefties a chance to say, "See, we told you private accounts wouldn't work." But that's just wrong. (My guess is that they would have made sense even during the Great Depression.) Here's someone who has actually run the numbers...

Andrew G. Biggs, Retirement Math - Forbes.com: (Thanks to Orrin )

During the election campaign Barack Obama told prospective voters, "If my opponent had his way, millions of Americans would have had their Social Security tied to [the] stock market this week. Millions would have watched as the market tumbled and their nest egg disappeared before their eyes. ... Imagine if you had some of your Social Security money in the stock market right now. How would you be feeling about the prospects for your retirement?"

Obama's question deserves an answer. How would personal Social Security accounts have fared in the current market? Surprisingly, careful analysis shows that even individuals retiring today would have increased their total Social Security benefits by holding a personal account. Here's why...
It's the last simulation that's the kicker...
...Of course, not every worker would hold an account his whole life. If President Bush's 2005 reform plan had passed, many workers would enter the markets precisely as they began to decline. Surely these workers would see big benefit reductions? Under the Bush plan, only workers under age 55 as of 2005 would have been eligible for accounts, so no current retirees would have held accounts. Nevertheless, I ran a third simulation: workers would retire today but begin accounts at different ages. What would have happened to the worker who started an account at age 62, then retired only three years later? At last, we find someone who lost money: Total benefits for such an individual would have declined by 0.1%.

The point here isn't that stocks are a free lunch. In an efficient market the higher returns paid to stocks are nothing more than compensation for their higher risk, and we don't know that future market returns will be as good as those in the past. But accounts do provide a valuable tool to prefund future retirement income and reduce cost burdens on tomorrow's workers. And these numbers put the lie to President Obama's exaggerations of the risks of investing retirement savings in the market....


Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

March 24, 2009

Two Obamas...

neo-neocon: What's behind Obama's Teleprompter addiction? (thanks to Rand):

...The late great Dean Barnett was one of the first to not only notice this but to understand what it might signify besides a simple desire for fluency. Writing in February 2008 about a speech Obama had made a few days earlier, Barnett shrewdly observed [emphasis mine]:
....But...[w]ith no Teleprompter signaling the prepared text, Obama failed to deliver the speech in his characteristically flawless fashion. He had to rely on notes. And his memory. And he improvised...

Virtually every time Obama deviated from the text, he expressed the partisan anger that has so poisoned the Democratic party. His spontaneous comments eschewed the conciliatory and optimistic tone that has made the Obama campaign such a phenomenon...[T]his different Obama was a far less attractive one...
Barnett noticed—as many had, even at the time—the enormous difference in articulateness between Teleprompter-Obama and Obama unplugged (the latter is the title of Barnett’s article). That was the easy part. The more discriminating observation Barnett made was between the message of Teleprompter Obama and the message of ad-lib Obama. The two were not just different in degree—they were profoundly opposite in tone and essence. Ad-lib Obama was far more angry and more radical—indeed, although Barnett doesn't mention it, this Obama resembled the angrier and more radical Michelle Obama, in her earlier campaign remarks that drew so much controversy.

Obama is addicted to his Teleprompter not only because he knows he sounds better—smoother and smarter—with it than without. The deeper reason for his reliance on it may just be that he differs so profoundly from the persona he wishes to convey that he quite literally cannot trust himself to speak without it....

Until recently it was a given that the Dems could not elect a Northern liberal president. They've only succeeded with Southerners since JFK (who wasn't very liberal by today's standards). And Obama was only elected by sneakiness—if America had known what he was really like he wouldn't have stood a chance.

It's not just being liberal that's the problem, it's that most liberals don't interact with conservatives. They stay in their lefty comfort-zones and talk to each other. And get their comfort-news from the NYT. But if you are going to be a Democrat governor of Arkansas or Georgia, then you need to be able to work with conservatives and Christians. You need to know what they are thinking, even if you don't agree.

Poor Barack is just clueless. He's spent his entire life in big-city Lefty cocoons. He doesn't know stuff.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:24 AM

March 18, 2009

We're a "vast and broken-hearted thing." Why wasn't I told?

I liked this piece by Noemie Emery, Palinphobes and the audacity of type:

Now that the Obama presidency is nearing the 60-day mark, it's time to thank those fastidious scribes on the left and the right who worked so hard to warn us against Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, and the dire things that would surely occur if she ever got close to executive power.

How right they were to insist that she was unfit for high office. Let's just imagine what she might have done:

As president, she might have caused the stock market to plunge over 2,000 points in the six weeks after she assumed office, left important posts in the Treasury unfilled for two months, been described by insiders as 'overwhelmed' by the office, and then gone on to diss the British Prime Minister on his first state visit, giving him, as one head of state to another, a set of DVDs plucked from the aisles of Wal Mart, a tasteful gift, even if they can't be played on a TV in Britain. (Note, the Prime Minister, who is losing his eyesight, may even be blind in one eye).

As vice president, she might have told Katie Couric that when the stock market crashed in 1929, President Franklin D. Roosevelt went on TV to reassure a terrified nation. Or on her first trip abroad as Secretary of State, she might have, as the AP reported, "raised eyebrows on her first visit to Europe...when she mispronounced her "EU counterparts names and claimed U.S. democracy was older than Europe's," then gave the Russian minister a gag "reset" button, on which the word "reset" was translated incorrectly.

What a good thing that Palin, whom Christopher Buckley called "an embarrassment, and a dangerous one," wasn't in office to cause such debacles, and that we have Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Hillary Clinton instead.

"This is not a leader, this is a follower," wrote ex-Reagan muse Peggy Noonan. "She follows what she imagines is the base, which is in fact a vast and broken-hearted thing whose pain she cannot, actually, imagine...she doesn't seem to understand the implications of her own thoughts."...

Poor Peggy. Sad case.

Alaska, by the way, seems to be weathering the financial crisis better than many places. I saw this headline: Alaska Dodges Banking Collapse, and thought it referred to some scary almost-disaster narrowly averted. But the article is merely about how Alaska financial institutions are in good health because they've mostly avoided risky loans and toxic assets. This has probably got nothing to do with Palin personally, but perhaps a lot to do with AK being the sort of place that produces people like her. I'd not be surprised if Wall Street hot-shots (yuppie Democrats most of them) feel the same contempt towards back-wood bankers that Beltway pundits feel about Sarah. So who's looking good now?

And I didn't know about the PM's vision problems. Way t'go, Barack. Give a blind man DVD's, to make him feel good.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

March 8, 2009

Same now as the year I was born.

From a piece by Thomas Sowell, "Not One of Us":

...Governor Palin's candidacy for the vice presidency was what galvanized grass roots Republicans in a way that John McCain never did. But there was something about her that turned even some conservative intellectuals against her and provoked visceral anger and hatred from liberal intellectuals.

Perhaps the best way to try to understand these reactions is to recall what Eleanor Roosevelt said when she first saw Whittaker Chambers, who had accused Alger Hiss of being a spy for the Soviet Union. Upon seeing the slouching, overweight and disheveled Chambers, she said, "He's not one of us."

The trim, erect and impeccably dressed Alger Hiss, with his Ivy League and New Deal pedigree, clearly was "one of us." As it turned out, he was also a liar and a spy for the Soviet Union. Not only did a jury decide that at the time, the opening of the secret files of the Soviet Union in its last days added more evidence of his guilt.

The Hiss-Chambers confrontation of more than half a century ago produced the same kind of visceral polarization that Governor Sarah Palin provokes today.

Before the first trial of Alger Hiss began, reporters who gathered at the courthouse informally sounded each other out as to which of them they believed, before any evidence had been presented. Most believed that Hiss was telling the truth and that it was Chambers who was lying.

More important, those reporters who believed that Chambers was telling the truth were immediately ostracized. None of this could have been based on the evidence for either side, for that evidence had not yet been presented in court....

The causes and people morph and change, but lefties are still working for Stalin. Same as the year I was born, when the guilty verdict was handed down in the Hiss trial. And I used to think that Whittaker Chambers' book Witness was sort of a period piece. Now I think of it in conjunction with Tolkien's words: "...and together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat."

Witness remains one of the great American books.


Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 PM

March 7, 2009

Me, I align with the trogs...

Peter Robinson, Neither Moderate Nor Centrist - Forbes.com:

...A couple of implications here are worth noting. The first is that a deep, recurring pattern of American life has asserted itself yet again: the cluelessness of the elite.

Buckley, Gergen and Brooks all attended expensive private universities, then spent their careers moving among the wealthy and powerful who inhabit the seaboard corridor running from Washington to Boston. If any of the three strolled uninvited into a cocktail party in Georgetown, Cambridge or New Haven, the hostess would emit yelps of delight. Yet all three originally got Obama wrong.

Contrast Buckley, Gergen and Brooks with, let us say, Rush Limbaugh, whose appearance at any chic cocktail party would cause the hostess to faint dead away, or with Thomas Sowell, who occupies probably the most unfashionable position in the country, that of a black conservative.

Limbaugh and Sowell both got Obama right from the very get-go. "Just what evidence do you have," Sowell replied when I asked, shortly before the election, whether he considered Obama a centrist, "that he's anything but a hard-left ideologue?"

The elite journalists, I repeat, got Obama wrong. The troglodytes got him right. As our national drama continues to unfold, bear that in mind....
The fascinating flip-side of this is that the very same elite cuties all hated Sarah Palin.

<armchair psychologist mode> My guess is that Sarah, symbolically, is a pie-in-the-face to many peoples' hidden gnostic fantasy that their uber-coolness or crunchy-granola-ness show that they are shedding the dross of the material world and ascending to a higher spiritual state. To a sort of transcendental oneness that is glowing... golden... almost.... dare I say it? European! (Or, if not that good, at least not tacky!) Everything about her is the down-to-earth opposite of that sort of airy-fairy crap. </armchair psychologist mode>

I'd extend this and say that, on a symbolic level, the Palins' decision to not abort a Downs syndrome child was an extreme affront to our elites, and was more important than anything she actually said or did. (She's actually never been an anti-abortion crusader.) Sort of a declaration of war. Trig Palin symbolizes the utter intractableness of the fallen and broken nature of our material universe. Gnosticism in all its slippery and protean forms is an attempt to escape from this. To slough it off!

For the Palins to embrace, symbolically, the gritty ugly realness of things is to reject the deep underlying assumptions of almost every leftist or elitist worldview.

It is also exceedingly Catholic. Not in being anti-abortion (Catholics consider that natural law, not something Catholic) but in embracing the world and reality in the way it is, and not trying to squirm away from the pain and ugliness at the cost of distancing God's creation.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:43 PM

March 3, 2009

Another sucker wakes up.... sort of.

David Brooks, in the NYT, A Moderate Manifesto:

....Those of us who consider ourselves moderates -- moderate-conservative, in my case -- are forced to confront the reality that Barack Obama is not who we thought he was. [It was not thought, it was wishful thinking.] His words are responsible; his character is inspiring [Bet you can't name ONE thing he's done that shows exceptional character.]. But his actions betray a transformational liberalism that should put every centrist on notice. ["on notice!" Don't be rash and hasty now.] As Clive Crook, an Obama admirer, wrote in The Financial Times, the Obama budget "contains no trace of compromise. It makes no gesture, however small, however costless to its larger agenda, of a bipartisan approach to the great questions it addresses. It is a liberal's dream of a new New Deal."

Moderates now find themselves betwixt and between. On the left, there is a president who appears to be, as Crook says, "a conviction politician, a bold progressive liberal." [He's a corrupt Chicago pol, and it's all about boodle and power for Dems.] On the right, there are the Rush Limbaugh brigades. The only thing more scary than Obama's experiment is the thought that it might fail and the political power will swing over to a Republican Party that is currently unfit to wield it. ["unfit" only because it's got too many guys who think like Brooks, and too few who think like the excerpt from Limbaugh's speech which I've pasted below the fold.]

Those of us in the moderate tradition -- the Hamiltonian tradition that believes in limited but energetic government -- [Hamilton would despise you bloated cream puffs] thus find ourselves facing a void. [the void is in your souls.] We moderates are going to have to assert ourselves. [Yeah, right. Settle your spectacles firmly on the ears and bridge of the nose. Look grave. Very grave.] We're going to have to take a centrist tendency that has been politically feckless and intellectually vapid and turn it into an influential force. [You are a "centrists" precisely BECAUSE you are feckless and vapid. Perhaps you might try furling your umbrellas more tightly.]

The first task will be to block the excesses of unchecked liberalism. [Can't fight something with nothing.] In the past weeks, Democrats have legislated provisions to dilute welfare reform, restrict the inflow of skilled immigrants and gut a voucher program designed for poor students. It will be up to moderates to raise the alarms against these ideological outrages. [Conservatives have already raised the alarms. It's time for you to put up or shut up.]

But beyond that, moderates will have to sketch out an alternative vision.... ["Sketch out." Doesn't that tell us all we need to know.]
Here's a bit of Rush's speech. Of course Republicans are "unfit" for office, if they believe this kind of rabid partisan hate-mongering. How embarrassing it must be for Mr Brooks in Manhattan to be even tenuously connected with such bigoted madness...
....Let me tell you who we conservatives are: We love people. When we look out over the United States of America, when we are anywhere, when we see a group of people, such as this or anywhere, we see Americans. We see human beings. We don't see groups. We don't see victims. We don't see people we want to exploit. What we see -- what we see is potential. We do not look out across the country and see the average American, the person that makes this country work. We do not see that person with contempt. We don't think that person doesn't have what it takes. We believe that person can be the best he or she wants to be if certain things are just removed from their path like onerous taxes, regulations and too much government.

We want every American to be the best he or she chooses to be. We recognize that we are all individuals. We love and revere our founding documents, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. We believe that the preamble to the Constitution contains an inarguable truth that we are all endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights, among them life. Liberty, Freedom. And the pursuit of happiness. Those of you watching at home may wonder why this is being applauded. We conservatives think all three are under assault. Thank you. Thank you.

We don't want to tell anybody how to live. That's up to you. If you want to make the best of yourself, feel free. If you want to ruin your life, we'll try to stop it, but it's a waste. We look over the country as it is today, we see so much waste, human potential that's been destroyed by 50 years of a welfare state. By a failed war on poverty. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

February 25, 2009

The vision thing...


Orrin Judd
...The President has been handed a great gift, an economic contraction that's unusual enough these days that he could use it to enact to some big legislative changes. But, instead, all he offered was: the McCain-Lieberman-style cap-and-trade program, despite the collapse of Europe's; a promise to reduce health care spending while pumping money into the industry; a promise to reduce the cost of education while pumping more money into that system; and tax increases on the tiny fraction of the population that already pays 60%+ of them? We've been pretty disparaging of the notion that this guy has any vision of what he wants to do with the presidency, but even so, this is laughably small potatoes for a "day of reckoning."

Obama is the extremest example of that common problem, the politician who just wants office. He "wants" it to fill some void in his soul, or some hunger for public validation of his importance. Unfortunately that "want" squeezes out out of a tiny soul other wants, like wanting to build a better world or dreaming of solving some great problem or undertaking some important reform.

Bush senior was a similar figure, and I still gnash my teeth in frustration thinking of how, after the Gulf War, he had 90% approval ratings and political capital to burn......and had nothing in mind to accomplish with them! What a tragic waste. He was a very competent administrator, but should never have been given a leadership position. His son is a hundred times more a man.


Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 AM

February 21, 2009

The cool kids swim TOWARD the sinking ship...

Plan of Steele. How Mr Steele became the Chairman:

...By Brad Todd

In 1977, David Norcross began his career in national politics as New Jersey's representative on the Republican National Committee. That same year, Reince Preibus was preparing for kindergarten.

For a full generation, Norcross has been part of the�RNC's cadre of kingmakers. But on Jan. 30, the Preibus generation took over, as the young Wisconsin GOP Chair�along with a new guard of young Republican leaders�helped Michael Steele score an upset victory to become the new face of the RNC.

That Steele won the chairman's race didn't surprise many Republican activists across the country. The telegenic former Maryland Lieutenant Governor has developed a national following with his Fox News commentary. And those of us who had seen Steele behind-the-scenes of his 2006 Senate race knew him as a free spirit whose first instinct is to rethink campaign conventions. An insurgent campaign in a time of internal party unrest fit his personality well.

But Steele's Jan. 30 win did shock the old bulls of the Republican establishment. Unlike most�if not all�of his predecessors at the RNC, Steele's war counsel wasn't stocked with the old guard. Norcross�like Bush consigliore Ron Kaufman, legendary Ohio party boss Bob Bennett and Karl Rove prot�g� Terry Nelson�was working the floor of the Capital Hilton for another candidate. Rove's hand-picked incumbent Mike Duncan and South Carolina Chair Katon Dawson were more conventional men, more comfortable to the lobby-law wing of the GOP hierarchy.

The core of Steele's winning coalition were the RNC's newer members�people like Preibus and mostly-unknown state party chairs like Jim Greer of Florida and Bob Tiernan of Oregon. Half of Steele's 21-person "whip team" on the committee rose to their current Party leadership roles after the disastrous election of 2006. They're the brave ones who swam toward the sinking ship....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:06 PM

February 13, 2009

Knowing Dems, it could be true....

Good suggestion from Mr Judd:

Republicans ought to just start claiming there's all kinds of sensational stuff in the bill�sex change money for death row inmates; grants to study alien abductions; etc.�and watch Democrats scramble around trying to read the bill.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:43 AM

January 25, 2009

The biggest "youth protests" of our time...

...but it's a funny thing. The people who usually want "youts" to march and protest and shake-up the stodgy sclerotic establishment seem oddly unamused. I can't imagine why.

Well, Charlene and I and our daughter Betsy had a great hike on the Walk for Life. I'd guess there were 20k of us. (another estimate says 30k) Lots of families and kids. And I kept thinking of Mark Steyn's phrase, "The future belongs to those who show up for it."

Walk For Life, San Francisco, 2009

Photo by Elizabeth Weidner

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 PM

December 18, 2008

What's that definition of insanity? Something about doing the same thing over and over?

William Katz:

....Oh, by the way, having bashed a sitting governor, Sarah Palin, as unqualified to be vice president, how will Democrats defend the qualifications of Caroline Kennedy for the U.S. Senate?� Just asking.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:02 AM

December 2, 2008

Just another deception to be aware of...

Katherine Lopez on the oft-repeated myth that Saxby Chambliss ran a despicable commercial against Max Cleland. The myth is being brought up again because Palin is campaigning for Chambliss...

...Now, in Anchorage -- and no doubt all over MSNBC's talking-heads shows today -- the myth lives on. The ADN item accused: "In the best Karl Rove fashion, Chambliss the draft-evader attacked Cleland the war hero for being soft on terrorism. Distorting Cleland's votes about workplace rules for the new Homeland Security Department employees, Chambliss portrayed him as a tool of terrorists like Osama bin Laden."

Saxby Chambliss, of course, did not question Cleland's patriotism. He ran an ad that, yes, included images of Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, as well as images of the American military. They were reminders we're at war. The ad attacked Cleland for voting 11 times against a homeland-security bill that would have freed the president from some union mandates in setting up the new department. Agree or disagree with the bill (which was co-sponsored by then-senator Zell Miller of Georgia, a Democrat), the non-union employee measure, or the establishment of the department itself (National Review wasn't a fan of the idea), but it was absolutely fair game for Chambliss to bring it up during the course of his campaign for Cleland's Senate seat.

As NR editor Rich Lowry has written of the incident, "If you can't criticize the Senate votes of a senator in a Senate race, what can you criticize?"...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:00 AM

November 24, 2008

Heavyweights vs. Lightweights?

Orrin Judd:

...and it may be unfair to compare his cabinet to the best since George Washington's, it's nonetheless embarrassing to see what lightweights they are alongside W's:

VP: former Chief of Staff and Defense Secretary vs. Senator

Secretary of State: former General, Chairman of Joint Chiefs, and National Security Advisor vs. Senator

Secretary of Defense: former Chief of Staff and Secretary of Defense vs. well, he got the double Bush holdover right

Secretary of Treasury: former CEO of Alcoa and chairman of Rand vs. well, another Bush holdover but promoted.

Attorney General: former governor, senator and US attorney vs. US attorney

Secretary of HHS: former governor vs. former senator

I'm not one of those who thinks executive experience is the most important thing, but there are going to be a lot of mistakes that will trip up all these former senators, because they've never run anything. And it is interesting , just the whole lightweight/heavyweight thing. Bill Clinton had 8 years as president. Where are the "seasoned executives" that he brought up through the ranks, so to speak?

Maybe they are there, and I just don't follow these things closely enough to know them. And also, where are the guys like Cheney or Rumsfeld, who, when their party is out of power, go run big companies? And then take huge pay-cuts to come back and serve thir country?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

November 8, 2008

Drives me nuts...

This is from a good piece by Dafydd....

..But let's broaden this out a bit. It doesn't matter even if a candidate has a comprehensive economic policy, if he's unable to communicate it effectively to voters. And everything said about McCain's inability to communicate a comprehensive economic policy (whether or not he had one) can also be said about his inability to communicate a comprehensive policy on energy (drill everywhere -- except ANWR), on climate change (his "drill, baby, drill" motto conflicts with his insistance that globaloney is real and the most urgent problem we face), on the war against the Iran/al-Qaeda axis (fight the war with everything we have -- but don't harshly interrogate captured terrorists, don't hold military tribunals, close Guantanamo Bay, and release the prisoners), on immigration (he argued for a process to allow eventual legalization of illegal aliens but never explained how that helps the American economy or national security)...

I remain filled with scorn and disgust at the ability of Obama to remain a cypher, and the stupidity of the American people in going along with it. But McCain is only good in comparison.

We still don't know what McCain would have been like as President. Not because he is hiding stuff like Obama is, but because his past positions don't give much clue to what his future ones would be. They don't reveal any guiding principles that organize and predict his positions. In fact they seem pretty random...

I sure hope Sarah turns to to be better in this regard. I'm pretty sure she will. But she ought to hire me as her official armchair theorist....

* Update: And there's this, by Andrew McCarthy...

Sen. McCain did not allow a nanosecond to go buy without issuing a sanctimonius, full-throated condemnation of any Republican who dared use Sen. Obama's middle name, mention Jeremiah Wright, or otherwise trash The One.

So where is the vigorous defense of his running-mate?
Posted by John Weidner at 1:28 PM

November 6, 2008

Chew on this morsel of hope-n-change, chomskies....

TheHill.com:

Democratic leaders are tamping down on expectations for rapid change and trying to signal they will place a calm hand on the nation's tiller.

"The country must be governed from the middle," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Wednesday. Repeating themes from election night, she said she plans to emphasize "civility" and "fiscal responsibility."

Her comments emphasized that after an election consistently referred to as "historic," Democrats face the daunting task of dealing with the plunging economy and two wars.

Yet, they face massive expectations for change and deep-seated fears of overreaching. But senior aides say they've learned from the mistakes of the past. Nearly every member of the current Democratic leadership in the House served through the 1992 election, when Bill Clinton was elected president. Two years later, the GOP gained control of Congress.

More recently, they've watched Republicans go from complete dominance to minority status in the space of two elections.

"The difference is we have the benefit of experience in seeing what happens when you gain control," said a senior Democratic aide. "I do not envision a scenario where we'd go off on an ideological mission in an undisciplined way."...

I guess this means FOCA and Card Check are on hold. Maybe the courts can discover that they are "rights" enshrined on the Constitution...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:45 AM

November 4, 2008

So let's wait and see who apologizes...

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A report has cleared Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of ethics violations in the firing of her public safety commissioner. Released Monday, the report says there is no probable cause to believe Palin or any other state official violated the Alaska Executive Ethics Act in connection with the firing. The report was prepared by Timothy Petumenos, an independent counsel for the Alaska Personnel Board.

The previous "report" was an obvious smear. It was by the hired investigator alone, and had no official imprimatur. Now the official report comes out, timed to be too late to effect the election.

I expect no apologies from you cowardly fake-progressives who have been claiming that Governor Palin has "serious ethical problems" in Alaska. And seeing-no-evil in Chicago politics...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:37 AM

November 3, 2008

Dead fish floating up....

Baseball Crank:

I will make now a prediction about one thing we will see in the event of an Obama Presidency, and stick by it: Obama will never be free of his past.

During the 8 years of the Bush presidency, we have heard relatively little new information about his pre-presidential career, with the exception of the 2004 effort to dig further into his Texas Air National Guard service to contrast him with John Kerry. There's a reason for this: when Bush ran for President in 2000, the media crawled all over whatever they could find, most famously culminating in the story of his 1976 DUI arrest that broke the week of the election.

Much the same was true of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. The press dealt mostly with their tenure in office, having already fully vetted them prior to their elections. We have seen in recent months the same process for Sarah Palin, with every aspect of her life being turned over by investigative reporters. And of course, John McCain as well.

Contrast the Clinton Administration - during the Clinton years, we had a steady stream of stories, often starting either with legal processes or with reportage by conservative media outlets, bringing us new information about the Clintons' past, ranging from Hillary's 1978 commodities investment (which was fully concealed during the 1992 campaign by concealment of f the Clintons' tax returns) to the ins and outs of the Whitewater investigation to Paula Jones and Juanita Broaddrick to things like the Mena airport saga that came out gradually....

Me, I would not want to be a chomsky right now, and be facing four years of subliminal nervousness, wondering about the dead fish that will be floating to the surface from time to time. It's much smarter to be open and honest, than to try to pull a fast one...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:46 PM

Disinformation....

I'm sure no RJ reader needs this sort of reminder, but it is quite possible that a lot of the polls are disinformation, for the purpose of vote suppression... To persuade Republicans to just give up in discouragement.

VOTE ANYWAY.

And I'm sure the vile "news" media will be announcing early on that Obama has an overwhelming lead, whether he does or not. To persuade us westerners to just say, "The heck with it."

VOTE ANYWAY.
My guess is that Obama will be elected. And when he is it will be claimed immediately that he has a MANDATE for all the leftist schemes that he hasn't had the guts and honesty to actually run on. Things that he has done his best to hide during the election.

VOTE ANYWAY. That will make it slightly harder for lying Dems to say the voters really want them to bankrupt the coal industry and raise electricity prices. (They will say it even if he wins by one vote, but it will be a harder sell...)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 AM

October 29, 2008

"Opposed to Western/Judeo-Christian civilization"

From Orrin, in a post with the splendid title (I envy him this sort of cleverness) Inherit the Windbags, about "conservatives" who support Obama...

....In fact, the only real difference [in Obama's policies compared to McCain] is precisely that he's the most extreme supporter of aggressive social experimentation to be nominated for president during this era. On matters of abortion, infanticide, gay "rights," infant stem cells, euthanasia, etc. he is consistently and radically Pro-Death and opposed to Western/Judeo-Christian civilization. Edmund Burke would have no trouble recognizing the Jacobin in at least this aspect of Mr. Obama's politics

When we consider then what sorts of Republicans are supporting Mr. Obama we would, as Mr. Powers says, expect to find the old Eastern Establishment, secular Darwinist Right. Contrary to Mr. Powers, these issues are pretty much the same and Rockefeller money funded the more openly eugenic experimentation of the early/mid 20th Century. That's not, of course, to say that every "conservative" backing Mr. Obama is doing so because he'd increase abortion and fund it for "the poor," but it is fair to say that they are at least unbothered by the prospect. In fact, even the ostensibly pro-life Doug Kmiec was willing to forgo Communion in order to back Barack Obama.

This is why so many of the converts cite the choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate. The choice drove home the reality that the GOP is and is going to stay the party of the religious. They were hoping for a Joe Lieberman, Colin Powell, Mitt Romney, or Tom Ridge who are indifferent to or supportive of abortion.

Over time this is likely to be a more permanent divide and is certain to impact the Democratic Party more heavily than the Republican. After all, Darwinism is a marginal belief in America while Christianity is central. Eventually one would expect to see the parties divide along more clearly secular vs religious lines and the Democratic hold on entire tribes loosen, a process that will be accelerated by the recognition that intellectual elites support the Democrats in no small part because of "population control."...

It just fascinates me the people who hate Sarah. It's so revealing. The "feminists" who fantasize about seeing her raped or murdered, for example. (Ladies, your guilt is showing.) Or the Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley types on the right.

And this is all extra interesting because traditionally the V-P is someone who can give red meat to the base, allowing the presidential candidate to act "presidential," and move to the center. This is normal in our politics. So why should Republican "centrists" and libertarians hate Sarah? Why?

The real battle is increasingly about who we are. What is America and who are Americans. This is because old habits have worn off. Habits of religion, yes, but also patriotic faith, and faith in those things, including morality, that ancestors and founders have handed down to us---faith that those traditions should be revered. And just---faith in America. When I was growing up, everybody was patriotic.

Sara Palin with ski plane I'd say that when Orrin writes: "...the GOP is and is going to stay the party of the religious," we should think of "the religious" in a broad-brush sort of way. It could include those who cherish the Great Books of Western Civ., and those who get a lump in their throats when they hear the Star Spangled Banner at the ball game. That is, those who think there are things bigger than the almighty self, things which demand an attitude of humility and willingness to sacrifice.

And the irreligious should include many people who still go to church, but recite their creed in the spirit of participating in a charming old folk-ritual. Or who call themselves people of the Right, but recoil from moral responsibility and personal humility.

The battle-lines are shifting, and as they do various people are going to find themselves suddenly stranded in no-man's-land, wondering which way to scurry. A few decades ago we had the neo-cons; Democrats who noticed that the Democrat Party had drawn away from them like the tide going out...and awkwardly found a new home on the right. Perhaps now we will have a bunch of neo-libs!

I'm thinking of Sager especially. The libertarian creep of the world. I should fisk this piece, The Rove Realignment, Have libertarians been driven out of the GOP? But what's the use? He'll never get it. Better he should just head over to the Party of Death where he belongs...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 PM

October 28, 2008

We are all so GOOD!!!

Ron comments on the previous post:

You know, I've been thinking about this Obama phenomenon for some time, and it just doesn't make any sense. Where did he come from and how in the world did he get such a following in such a short period of time? It's downright spooky. Could someone out there explain this all to me....

You came to the right place, Ron. Random Jottings knows all, tells all. I think this post, with its quote by Shannon Love, gets closest to explaining...

A bit of the quote:

...I think that politics on the Left has become a social process, i.e., a means of group identification and self-validation. Leftists care less about the triumph of ideas and far more about the triumph of a group of people with which they ego-identify. They need their ego-identity candidate to win so that they can feel good about themselves. The character and policies of the actual candidate does not matter....

When I was a wee lad, if a person wanted to be a "non-conformist," they became a Beatnik, or joined some similar artsy subculture. That is, they conformed to the ways of a group that was non-conformist! The idiocy of this sort of thing rarely seems to be noticed, then or now. (I remember it well. People daringly drank French wine and Italian coffee, and ate Moussaka. And looked down on the conformist rabble.)

It's similar now. If you want to be "good," you can't just, like, you know, be good. No way. You have to join a group that is perceived to be good. In popular imagination today that means liberal Democrat. (The fact that they are actually evil is of no consequence.) And then whenever the Democrat candidate wins, you get a sort of "validation." As if the world is giving you an accolade for being "good." Confirming your superiorty, as it were.

Now if the Dem candidate is the usual white middle-aged career pol, this validation is sort of muted. It lacks pizazz. But if the candidate is cool, and handsome, and youngish and well-dressed (all qualities one would like to have rub off on oneself)---wow, the payoff is bigger by an order of magnitude.

AND, if the ego-identity candidate is.....brace yourself for a thrill running down your leg....if he is.....yes......African-American....a magic negro....the coolest thing....the ego-validation is just stratospheric!

The Dems could probably run a cardboard cut-out of Mr Obama and have a good chance of winning....

* Update: As a historical note, I remember reading somewhere about bohemian non-conformist types in New York, around maybe 1910. They would head down to The Village, which was then Italian, and be really artsy and different by eating......Spaghetti! I laugh every time I think of that.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:17 PM

October 27, 2008

"Defending the culture IS a governing philosophy.."

Orrin Judd:
...Not that the GOP doesn't need some re-focusing, but what the Beltway types can never seem to grasp is that defending the culture is a governing philosophy, indeed the philosophy of the majority. And what the Left wants to do is destroy the culture in order to make people dependent on the State...

Exactly. And Sarah embodies this philosophy. That is, she doesn't expound it, she's just the thing itself. And "Palinmania" is a very rational response to her. A matter of having something just on the tip of the tongue for years, and seeing Sarah, and saying: "That's IT! That's what I've been trying to say, and never could quite find the words!" Of course you want to jump up and down and cheer.

Sara Palin with ski planeIt's frustrating, because the attacks on America's traditional culture are mostly in the form of millions of tiny cuts by millions of tiny shit-stupid ant workers. Few of which are big enough to make a fuss about. And if you were to do so, you would at most push them back a few feet, but then see them ooze around you once again.

I was just thinking about the way, when you or someone you know is in the hospital, you get a visit from a "social worker" whether you want it or not. On one hand is a trivial thing, and lots of people may benefit from it. On the other hand, it's a clear message that you are expected to rely on the bureaucracy, not on the support of family or church or such old-fashioned things. It's something that to me has a nasty smell, but if you complained you would just be thought to be a crank.

I don't know if anything can really be done. My guess is we are doomed. But I do know that the National Review types don't quite get it, and Sarah does quite get it. So she's my gal, and I'm sure a lot of other grass-roots Republicans feel the same...

And even if the struggle is hopeless, one should keep fighting anyway. One is either a man, or a horrid vile cowardly collectivist flubber-worm! I've added a quote to the top of the sidebar, to express my deep and bitter feeling on this. (Explanation here.)

Well, it's plenty late. I should be in bed. But I'll post this, pour another glass of Scotch, think of Scotland and Western Civilization on the skids... And I'll say yet another prayer to Our Lady to give Sarah strength and protect her from the hosts of Mordor. And resolve to go down fighting!

j j j
Posted by John Weidner at 10:32 PM

October 20, 2008

I'm proud to be "stupid"

Orrin Judd, on the "stupid party":

[Quoting Joe Knippenberg]....But for me the more interesting reason is the one to which the late William F. Buckley, Jr. alluded. To the degree that intelligence is connected with proud self-assertion, a hubristic belief in one's own capacity to understand and remake the world, it tends not to be conservative or respectful of the lessons and burdens of the past. It looks forward to the change it can effect as it rationalizes and humanizes the world. It does not bow before anyone, least of all a creator God.

Nonetheless, there are some smart and learned people who don't take this view.
[Orrin:] While he objects to the term "stupid," Mr. Knippenberg points to the reason that it is correct to consider conservatism the Stupid Party. If Intellectualism can be said, as seems fair, to be the hubristic belief in remaking the world according to one's own rationalizations, then conservatism is profoundly anti-intellectual.

Conservatism, which accepts Creation as a gift from God and men as beholden to the lessons of the past, can even be said to be "stupid." This is particularly clear in the sphere of morality, where conservatism proceeds from the idea that, as Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn puts it in Leftism, Man is:
A person with an intransferable destiny, unique created in the image of God, responsible to God, endowed with an immortal soul.
or, as Jacques Maritain put it in The Person and the Common Good:
The human person is ordained directly to God as to its absolute ultimate end.
Every variation of Intellectualism, or Leftism as Mr. Kuehnelt-Leddihn would have had it, is just a form of rebellion against this "stupid" recognition that we are Created by and responsible to God, rather than self-created and responsible only to the self. This latter bit of foolishness reaches its apotheosis in Richard Dawkin's delusion of existence being the product of "selfish genes," Mr. Dawkins being, not coincidentally, one of the popularizers of the term "Brights."....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

October 4, 2008

"We watch the wrinkles crawl like snakes, On the new image in our sight..."

The Anchoress: GOP: Get the lawyers ASSEMBLED

... I despise the insertion of lawyers and courts into election processes, but Al Gore did create the precedent, and after reading this, I'm thinking if the GOP has any brains left (and that is debatable) they'll start assembling an 'army of lawyers' for this election day.

And this is why I am fasting [and praying], because this election has been co-opted by something dark that has too many tentacles, and too many mindless ant-workers, in too many places. McCain can never beat it back because he -- like Bush, I'm sorry to say -- is still trying to hold on to what America has always been, instead of dealing with what it has become. And that,s not going to work, this election. If the GOP does not have an army of lawyers ready to challenge state after state, they may as well shut up their shop...

"this election has been co-opted by something dark that has too many tentacles" Well, I say that would describe the whole Western world. Regular readers will perhaps be annoyed by my returning to old themes, but I feel like the guy in some SF movie who's running around desperately, warning that alien shape-shifters are replacing people, and everyone just thinks he's crazy, or maybe stares at him with strange glowing green eyes...

I keep thinking about the curious fact that I've been blogging since 2001, and my blog has annoyed more than a few leftish people, and yet never once has one of them given me a well-reasoned or principled counter-argument. One that really challenged me to answer. And I've personally had, several times, the experience of knowing someone who seems reasonably intelligent -- maybe more intelligent than I -- and then watching them drift into the Leftish camp. And each time I am disappointed, but I think that at least I'll get some good debates going. BUT IT NEVER HAPPENS! And the things they subsequently write or say are, frankly, not very intelligent. It's like they've given themselves some sort of higher-brain-function lobotomy.

I think many people right now are intentionally making themselves stupid. Probably because if you think clearly about life, then you see that life demands that you grow up and discard childish things, and decide that certain things are True. And then act on those truths, to the extant of putting your own self second. (I often write that I think many people today, especially on the Left, are nihilists. The nihilist believes in nothing except himself, but that's just a different way of saying he doesn't want to grow up.) People are making themselves stupid because they want to remain children, without responsibilities.

And the Anchoress's "something dark that has too many tentacles" is just another way of describing this. Millions of people are working to make a world that is congenial to their decision to remain childish. And they are working like children do, not laying a deep plan or taking a broad view, but just scheming to get the next piece of candy. But all those petty little schemes of "mindless ant-workers" keep pushing our world, our country in certain direction, one that they can never clearly describe. Socialism and atheism are a large part of the goal, but there are few Socialists or Atheists anymore. Not in the old sense of those being causes that are bigger than the individual. It's just socialism in the sense of being taken care of from cradle to grave. (I was recently reading about how increasing numbers of Italian men are living with their parents permanently. Take that as a picture of what I have in mind.) And atheism in the sense of just not wanting to think about deep and demanding questions.

And I'm feeling very pessimistic, because it's a plague that is almost impossible to fight. You can't reason or argue little children into seeing things that are above their heads. And if a large portion of the population is basically reasoning at the level of a five-year old, then how do you get a grip in the problem? What can you do?

..Ah, who had known who had not seen
How soft and sudden on the fame
Of my most noble English ships
The sunset light of Carthage came
And the thing I never had dreamed could be
In the house of my fathers came to me
Through the sea-wall cloven, the cloud and dark,
A voice divided, a doubtful sea...

...How swift as with a fall of snow
New things grow hoary with the light.
We watch the wrinkles crawl like snakes
On the new image in our sight.
The lines that sprang up taut and bold
Sag like primordial monsters old,
Sink in the bas-reliers of fossil
And the slow earth swallows them, fold on fold...
      -- GK Chesterton, from The Towers of Time
Of course there is more to the long poem than that. Here are a few lines...
...(The light is bright on the Tower of David,
The evening glows with the morning star
In the skies turned back and the days returning
She walks so near who had wandered far
And in the heart of the swords, the seven times wounded,
Was never wearied as our hearts are.)...

...Thou wilt not break as we have broken
The towers we reared to rival Thee.
More true to England than the English
More just to freedom than the free.
O trumpet of the intolerant truth
Thou art more full of grace and ruth
For the hopes of the world than the world that made them,
The world that murdered the loves of our youth.
Thou art more kind to our dreams, Our Mother,
Than the wise that wove us the dreams for shade...
Posted by John Weidner at 10:32 AM

October 2, 2008

My heart's with the grassroots....

Patrick Ruffini:
...But the fact still remains that if you are thrilled about Palin, you have a grassroots sensibility. If you are not, you have an elite/establishment sensibility. The delegates on the floor are the grassroots. Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan are the elite. The dividing lines have always been there, but Palin provides the ultimate litmus test....

...A major contributing factor to conservative despair these last two weeks is that the fear that the Palin choice would be defined as a warped historical error. Conservative and grassroots leverage over the party would be gone, at least for the foreseeable future. Sarah was our gal, and if she messed it up, it would be a long time before the conservative narrative about the future of the GOP would be trusted again. Meanwhile, conservatives were being asked to depart from principle in supporting the bailout. It was a wrenching and sobering couple of weeks.

Just as with her brilliant RNC speech, Palin did not let us down. And once again, she becomes the hope of the ticket and a standardbearer for the young guns who include Jindal, Portman, Cantor, McCarthy, Ryan, and many more.

Palin can no longer be defined as a liability in any meaningful political or analytical sense. Her claim to leadership in the next Right stands stronger than ever
Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 PM

October 1, 2008

"What kind of woman do you think I am?!"

Johah Goldberg, on the Republicans and the Democrats who voted against the "bailout" deal. ..

...Now, the interesting thing here is how different the motives are here, and how they run counter to the liberal conventional wisdom and the prevailing media narrative. The Mike Pence "ideologues" opposed this bill on principle even though we're always told by the Thomas Frank crowd that those laissez-faire Republicans are merely the willing pawns of America's financial ruling class. Their principles are mere window dressing for grasping, evil capitalists. But the financial ruling class supports this bill. They're begging for it in fact. These right-wing ideologues believe there must be a cheaper and better way to protect the American taxpayer that preserves economic liberty.

Now look at the ideologues of the Democratic party. This crowd voted against the bailout because the government simply didn't meet their price. If the bailout proposal came with a $100 million no-strings-attached earmark for every congressional district, does anyone doubt that Jesse Jackson Jr. would hail this "heroic" legislation? Does anyone doubt that Mike Pence would still have voted against it?

In short, we've already established what kind of party the Democrats are, now we're just haggling about their price...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

September 29, 2008

Grim days, I think...

Today's events have really got me down.

I have been arguing for years that the "Left" in this country, and throughout the developed world, is not just pursuing bad policies, but is in deep psychological and existential trouble. Is suffering from pathologies that have no likely cure.

A crisis is an chance to test the theory. The indication is that I'm right. And this is a case where I would LOVE to have been proved wrong. Because I think we are not just looking at one financial crisis. If a large portion of the country---maybe 25%, maybe 33%? Who knows?---is seriously deranged, then we can only expect things to get worse in the future.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:43 PM

September 22, 2008

Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story

I think this Bloomberg piece by Kevin Hassett, How the Democrats Created the Financial Crisis, explains the bulk of the present situation....(Thanks to John Hinderaker)
....Take away Fannie and Freddie, or regulate them more wisely, and it's hard to imagine how these highly liquid markets would ever have emerged. This whole mess would never have happened.

It is easy to identify the historical turning point that marked the beginning of the end.

Back in 2005, Fannie and Freddie were, after years of dominating Washington, on the ropes. They were enmeshed in accounting scandals that led to turnover at the top. At one telling moment in late 2004, captured in an article by my American Enterprise Institute colleague Peter Wallison, the Securities and Exchange Comiission's chief accountant told disgraced Fannie Mae chief Franklin Raines that Fannie's position on the relevant accounting issue was not even "on the page'' of allowable interpretations.

Then legislative momentum emerged for an attempt to create a "world-class regulator'' that would oversee the pair more like banks, imposing strict requirements on their ability to take excessive risks. Politicians who previously had associated themselves proudly with the two accounting miscreants were less eager to be associated with them. The time was ripe...
Greenspan's Warning

The clear gravity of the situation pushed the legislation forward. Some might say the current mess couldn't be foreseen, yet in 2005 Alan Greenspan told Congress how urgent it was for it to act in the clearest possible terms: If Fannie and Freddie "continue to grow, continue to have the low capital that they have, continue to engage in the dynamic hedging of their portfolios, which they need to do for interest rate risk aversion, they potentially create ever-growing potential systemic risk down the road,'' he said. "We are placing the total financial system of the future at a substantial risk.''

What happened next was extraordinary. For the first time in history, a serious Fannie and Freddie reform bill was passed by the Senate Banking Committee. The bill gave a regulator power to crack down, and would have required the companies to eliminate their investments in risky assets.

Different World

If that bill had become law, then the world today would be different. In 2005, 2006 and 2007, a blizzard of terrible mortgage paper fluttered out of the Fannie and Freddie clouds, burying many of our oldest and most venerable institutions. Without their checkbooks keeping the market liquid and buying up excess supply, the market would likely have not existed.

But the bill didn't become law, for a simple reason: Democrats opposed it on a party-line vote in the committee, signaling that this would be a partisan issue. Republicans, tied in knots by the tight Democratic opposition, couldn't even get the Senate to vote on the matter.

That such a reckless political stand could have been taken by the Democrats was obscene even then. Wallison wrote at the time: "It is a classic case of socializing the risk while privatizing the profit. The Democrats and the few Republicans who oppose portfolio limitations could not possibly do so if their constituents understood what they were doing.''

Mounds of Materials

Now that the collapse has occurred, the roadblock built by Senate Democrats in 2005 is unforgivable. Many who opposed the bill doubtlessly did so for honorable reasons. Fannie and Freddie provided mounds of materials defending their practices. Perhaps some found their propaganda convincing.

But we now know that many of the senators who protected Fannie and Freddie, including Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Christopher Dodd, have received mind-boggling levels of financial support from them over the years.

Throughout his political career, Obama has gotten more than $125,000 in campaign contributions from employees and political action committees of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, second only to Dodd, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, who received more than $165,000.

Clinton, the 12th-ranked recipient of Fannie and Freddie PAC and employee contributions, has received more than $75,000 from the two enterprises and their employees. The private profit found its way back to the senators who killed the fix.

There has been a lot of talk about who is to blame for this crisis. A look back at the story of 2005 makes the answer pretty clear.

Oh, and there is one little footnote to the story that's worth keeping in mind while Democrats point fingers between now and Nov. 4: Senator John McCain was one of the three cosponsors of S.190, the bill that would have averted this mess.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 PM

September 20, 2008

We'll cry all the way to the bank."...

It's getting to be hilarious how freaked-out leftizoids are about our Vice-Presidential pick! I've haven't seen something get under their skin like this since GW Bush suggested to the world's "liberals" that since they are always bloviating about how bad Hitler was---surely they will be glad to help take down a present-day Hitler! Ha ha. Didn't that put the frauds on the hot-spot.

But Palin's better. Her mere existence is like sprinkling salt on Lefty slugs. Pure delight... Like this example:

By Charles M. Blow, NY Times:

Mr. McCain, on Monday you repeated your delusional notion that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. [Grew at a 3.4% rate last quarter--sounds strong to me.] Now, the federal government is working on a deal to save that economy from collapsing. [No retard, it's the financial sector that is a problem, not the economy as a whole. Of course this will damage the economy in the future if not fixed, but right now all the other economic sectors are still strong.] You have admitted that the economy is not your forte, so you could have used a running mate with some financial chops. (Remember Mitt Romney?) [McCain is only a phone call away from Romney's advice. Plus about 10,000 other economic experts. Why this weird obsession about Palin? Since when is the V-P the main economic advisor?]

But no. Who did you pick? SnowJob SquareGlasses whose financial credentials include running Wasilla into debt, [One project got hit with a big lawsuit, and that cost the city millions, but it was otherwise a thrifty administration.] listing (but not selling) a plane on EBay [She got a talking-point that drives you nuts, then she sold the plane the usual way. Sounds pretty smart to me!] and flip-flopping on a bridge to wherever. [Ended up doing the right thing--when has Obama ever?] In fact, when it comes to real issues in general, she may prove to be a liability. [So why aren't you nihilists happy? Hmm? Who are you talking to here? Are you whistling past the graveyard of failed Leftist candidates?]

In what respect, you may ask?

It turns out that the Republican enthusiasm for Sarah Palin is just as superficial as she is. They were so eager for someone to cheer for (because they really don't like you [Actually we like him MUCH more now.]) that they dove face first into the Palin mirage. But, on the issues, even they worry about her. [No, we worry that she may get tripped-up by some Palin-deranged leftist. But she's obviously fundamentally sound and wise.]

In a New York Times/CBS News poll conducted this week 77 percent of Republicans said that they had a favorable opinion of Palin. But when asked what specifically they liked about her, their top five reasons were that she was honest, tough, caring, outspoken and fresh-faced. Sounds like a talk-show host, not a vice president. [Liar. You would KILL for a candidate those words fit. You haven't had one in my lifetime.] (By the way, her intelligence was in a three-way tie for eighth place, right behind "I just like her.") [Oh yeah. Our stupid candidates like Reagan and Bush keep getting rejected by the voters. Not. As my mother says, "I'll cry all the way to the bank."]

When those Republicans were asked what they liked least about her, they started to sound more like everyone else. Aside from those who said that there was nothing they didn't like, [You don't seem to be telling us what percentage said that. I bet it's high.] next on the list were: her lack of experience, her record as governor and her lack of foreign-policy experience.

Also, most Republicans think you only picked her to help with the election, not because she is qualified, and a third said that they would be "concerned" if for some reason she actually had to serve as president. [Concerned about your head exploding and splattering us with brain tissue...]

And Palin is proving to be just as vacant as people suspected. In her interview with Charles Gibson last week, she didn't know what the Bush doctrine was. [I answered that one here. She knows the concept, just not the name. Let me explain. The world is like the Old West. If Jesse James and his gang move in nearby, YOU GUYS want to wait until AFTER he has pillaged the town and raped the women and killed the men to do something (If the UN allows, of course). The dumb cowboy says, "T' hell with that, boys, let's go smoke 'em out!" Would you care to ask ordinary Americans which view they support?]

* Update: I keep laughing about guys like this, who put on a mantle of ponderous seriousness to tell us that Sarah Palin is an insignificant fluff-ball who no one could possibly take seriously! And by the way tell us Republicans what we really think, since we can't figure it out ourselves. Psst. What we really think is that we could kiss Sarah's feet in gratitude, for giving these chomskys indigestion.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:33 PM

September 18, 2008

The biter bit....

Patrick Ruffini has an interesting post, Yes, Obama Turning Down Public Financing is Still an Epic Mistake

...Ambinder writes, "The campaigns are spending about $15m in ads per week; each is spending about $7.8 million." So, with an over 2-to-1 Obama spending advantage, McCain is keeping pace with Obama in ad spending. How does he do it?
most of McCain's ads are paid for with both McCain campaign money and money from the RNC; 97% of Obama's ads are paid for by the candidate.
Therein lies the nub of the problem. McCain's $84 million in public finance is just the tip of the iceberg. The real action is at McCain-Palin Victory 2008, the joint fundraising committee that includes the RNC, state parties in Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennylvania, and McCain's GELAC (or compliance) committee. According to their website, Victory can raise up to $67,800 per donor (and presumably, up to $135,600 per couple). Here is how the money gets divided up, according to their disclaimer:
For Individuals- The first $28,500 will go to the RNC, the next portion will be divided evenly between the Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania state parties' federal accounts up to a maximum of $9,250 for each Committee, and the final $2,300 will go to the Compliance Fund. For Federal Multicandidate PACs- The first $15,000 will go to the RNC, the next portion will be divided evenly between the Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Pennsylvania state parties' federal accounts up to a maximum of $5,000 for each Committee, and the final $5,000 will go to the Compliance Fund.
Yes, Obama is theoretically capturing more money into his committee by going private, but at a massive opportunity cost. All of his fundraising energies from now until the election will be spent fundraising for an account with a $2,300 fundraising limit, vs. McCain and Palin, who will be fundraising for a committee with a $67,800 limit (and presumably, $135,400 for couples). Obama has essentially turned down $84 million in free money in exchange for nothing....

I hope Ruffini has this right. Obama's dropping public financing was disgustingly cynical. He promised to use it, and he courted the support of many people who really believe in it. And then he said, "Tough luck suckers. I can use you and discard you, because you have to vote for me anyway."

Just think about those young people who are really excited by Obama, really care, and are going off with stars in their eyes to help him....and they're just chop suey to that corrupt Chicago pol. That really angers me.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 PM

September 12, 2008

Kooks---fewer than they appear?

I gave my son a ride to SF State this morning, and we were listing to a bit of Rush. And he said that he thought that the kooks who are at the heart of the Democrat Party are really not that great in number, and that their influence is amplified by the Drive-By Media.

I think there's a lot of truth in that. Actually, I hope there's a lot of truth in it. My perspective is probably slanted, living here in SF as an "embedded journalist" within the post-moral Left.

There are surely large numbers of ordinary Americans who vote Democrat because they always have, and because the liberal platitudes seem appealing. But who would recoil in horror if they could eavesdrop on a private conversation between Barack and his pal Bill Ayers.

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flagThe Dem Party is sort of like student government on a college campus. Go to almost any college or university in America, and look at student government, and you would guess that the entire school is a glowing fire-pit of anarchism, Marxism, jihadism, La Raza-ism, and environmentalist-wacko-ism. You would think the guy in the picture is the norm.

Actually, 90% of college students pay no attention to "student government" at all. They just want to get their education, plus have some fun. The Leftizoids can take over the student gov because they are the only ones who care! (It's different in High School, where status is the great disideratum. Thank God my kids are all past that!)

Similarly, Obama was nominated on the strength of the votes of caucus-goers (and the infatuation of the media). If all the states had primaries, he would not be the candidate. It's the extremists who care enough to drag themselves out for the lengthy tedium of a caucus.


Posted by John Weidner at 10:58 AM

September 10, 2008

Please, Br'er 'Bama, pleeeese don't trow me in dat briar patch!

The day McCain's party blew its political advantage By James Carville

In all my years in national politics since 1982 there had been one constant until August 29. It was that the Republican party cornered the national security market. They were willing to give up advantages on healthcare, environment and, in the end, even fiscal responsibility. But never, ever, would they cede that patch of high ground they refer to as "American security". Any time I had a race against a Republican opponent, I respected their operation. And often (I am not afraid to admit), I was scared to run against them because you knew most of the candidates were going to be selected carefully, based on a combination of experience, adherence to tradition, national security or public safety credentials. John McCain fits this profile almost to a T. Strangely, he has chosen to cede this advantage not just for himself but for the Republican party for the foreseeable future...

Please attack us on this! I beg you, Barack. Go for it! Convince America that the soft delicate flower from the sheltered purviews of Wassila is going to crumple when tough men oppose her on the world stage. And that the steely-eyed crisis-tested metrosexual from Hyde Park will never get rattled when things get hairy....McCain/Palin sign with caribou


Posted by John Weidner at 3:49 PM

September 8, 2008

Moose surplus...

(Since I'm sure the lie will be floating around) Mark Steyn: Moose Blarney
Our pal Jay Nordlinger was on Irish radio yesterday, and several callers objected to Sarah Palin on the following grounds:
The woman shoots moose, as did Teddy Roosevelt, a long time ago. Only in TR’s day, there were many more moose — Sarah endangers a species.
Absolutely backwards, but an interesting example of how the progressive mind prefers to obsess on entirely fictional crises. There were far fewer moose in Teddy's day. Today there are more moose than a century ago, in Alaska, Canada, New England. In New Hampshire in the mid-19th century there were fewer than 15 in the whole state. Now NH sees more than 250 killed every year just in highway collisions - before Sarah even has a chance to load. We are awash in moose. We have a moose surplus.

And as you'd expect me to add, being NR's in-house demography bore, on present population trends the Italians, Germans and Spaniards will be extinct long before the moose. But no Irish radio listeners seem to be worried about them.

(More here about the great increases in various North American animal populations, and also of our forests.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:13 PM

Speechwriters...

One of the silliest political criticisms one hears is to say dismissively that so and so's speech was written by a speechwriter.

All major politicians use speechwriters, even if they are capable of writing a great speech on their own. In fact it would be irresponsible not to, since speechwriting, like all writing, takes a lot of time and energy to do right. And a candidate or politician (or business leader or union leader or whoever) have more important work to do.

And any good speechwriter works hard to express what the speaker is intending to say, in the style they would naturally use. And for an important speech it is usually a collaborative process, with drafts going back and for between speaker and writer.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

September 4, 2008

McCain should use his nukes...

Guardian:

...Democratic vice-presidential nominee Joe Biden said yesterday that he and running mate Barack Obama could pursue criminal charges against the Bush administration if they are elected in November. Biden's comments, first reported by ABC news, attracted little notice on a day dominated by the drama surrounding his Republican counterpart, Alaska governor Sarah Palin...

I think this is a great issue for McCain and Palin. "Dirty little lefty animals want to destroy the great men and women who have been leading us in wartime" is what he should say. (Of course putting it in more politic language.) "Who will be willing to serve our country in the future if they have to fear being thrown in prison by commie atheists disguised as Dem politicians?" (Same caveat.)

In fact I'd advise him to ask the President to fly out and speak to the convention tonight, just to publicly spit in the eye of the horrid little traitors in the Appeasement Party.

Thanks to Tigerhawk.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 AM

September 2, 2008

Vetting...

Another thing that's making me smile right now are the Leftists who are, pathetically, suddenly talking about vetting...

Sarah Palin's 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. McCain campaign claims he was aware of this before selecting Palin as his VP, despite evidence and rampant speculation that Palin was not seriously vetted. Governor Palin is a strong supporter of abstinence-only sex education.

Tom Eagleton lasted 18 days before withdrawing from the McGovern ticket in 1972. My money says Palin doesn't last that long.

Turns out, ooops, that Bristol's condition was not even a secret. Everybody in town knew. (Take a look at Nathan Thornburgh's good piece on Wasilla.) The local folks just happen to be decent Americans, and don't blab about people's private lives.

And of course Eagleton had had serious mental health issues, which is a very different sort of thing. But there's a more important point...

...We now know far more about Sarah Palin in just four days than we've learned about Barack Obama in 17 months. That is just sad. It's a pathetic reflection of the mainstream media's unwillingness to do their jobs for fear of finding stories that would hurt the candidate so many of them openly desire to win.

But periodically appearing to read teleprompters isn't vetting, not matter how many months a candidate has done it, and Obama's ability to perform in set-piece debates is both dubious�Hillary once famously took him apart�and irrelevant. Barack Obama really has never been fully vetted. He hasn't even come close...

One of the really cool things about being a conservative is that I don't have to live in fear of people finding out what I really am up to. I can just be open about it...

* Actually, I'd guess that the sicko rumor-mongering about Trig Palin played into the hands of the campaign, and allowed them to get the news out early with an appearance of reluctance, and the sympathy of all decent-minded people. Ha ha.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

August 29, 2008

Palinesques....

Jay Nordlinger writes, at The Corner:

Will Sarah P. be considered a woman — by the media, by the “chattering classes”? That is a question worth pondering. Possibly, she’ll be considered just a conservative Republican. Did anyone ever consider Mrs. Thatcher a woman — in a political-electoral context? Are black conservatives considered black? Are Cuban Americans considered Hispanic?

One of my favorite facts about a recent Supreme Court case had to do with this last question. The case was the University of Michigan Law School case (relating to race preferences). According to documents submitted, an admissions officer questioned whether Cubans should be counted as Hispanic, saying, “Don’t they vote Republican?”....

The feminazis will hate her like poison, and will try to say she's not a "real woman." Good luck with that!

Lexington Green:

....In fact, as I think about it, this is the first moment when I have not been absolutely certain McCain would lose.

McCain is also showing, as he has generally, that he is very aggressive and confident, almost cocky. His congratulation message to Obama was classic. It showed class and it showed fearlessness, and a certain condescension to Obama. It reminds me of David Hackett Fischer’s depiction of the Backcountry selection process for leaders: Tanistry. The Border Scots selected a Thane based on age, strength and cunning, not mere seniority. McCain is a backcountryman by ancestry. They are wily and they are fighters. McCain already seems to be inside Obama’s OODA loop. Making this pick the day after the Donk convention, to steal the buzz, is tactically perfect.

Apparently Palin talks like a hick. She calls herself a “momma” unironically, instead of a mom or a mother. This will cause her to be mocked and jeered at in states the GOP is already going to lose. But it cannot hurt with blue collar voters in WV, OH, PA and MI, which are states Obama could lose....

I don't think Lex quite gets America, if he thinks an old Jacksonian is at a natural disadvantage. Inside his OODA Loop, yeah. Yesterday a graceful congratulation to Barack, then less than 24 hours later, Ker-Whaaap! Ha ha ha. So who do you like, the tough sneaky old fighter or Mr Nuance from Harvard?

And Palin will be mocked as a hick? I can't wait. There are few better indicators of political success in the USA.

Ladyblog: "She has children named “Track”, “Bristol”, and “Willow”. It’s like NASCAR meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer..."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 PM

August 24, 2008

Sacrifices...

David Harsanyi writes:


Biden on Haditha
In June 2006, straight-talking Joe Biden went on Meet the Press and demanded accountability from the administration for the so-called Haditha massacre. Biden spoke about the incident as if the accused marines were guilty (before a trial) and called on the administration to proceed — and to be treated — as if there were a cover-up at the highest levels of government.

Well, it turned out Biden was wrong about Haditha. Eight of the Marines charged for the “massacre” and “coverup” have already been exonerated. (One case is still pending.)...

[Thanks to
Glenn R]

He writes that Biden ought to admit he was wrong and apologize, especially since Biden demanded apologies and admissions of mistakes from the administration. In fact demanded that the Secretary of Defense should be fired immediately!

I completely agree with Harsanyi, but I don't think that's what's most important here.

There are claims made on us by things that are higher and more important than our selves. Of course the highest is our duty to God. But there are also claims on a lower level that work in an analogous way, and are mysteriously tied to each other. One of these is the duty we owe to our country. Especially in a case where ones country is not just a nation or a volk or race, but is based, like the United States, on ideas handed down from our forefathers.

And the claims of our country are strongest in time of war. We have then, all of us, an especial duty to put our selfish interests second to the needs of our land. This will involve for some people putting their lives at risk. Others owe different sacrifices. Politicians have a duty to put their political advantage second to the needs of war. (No, I'm not saying they can't criticize, but any criticism must be constructive, and done with the utmost care.)

This is a duty. There is no evading it.

An example of this is our four great wars of the Twentieth Century. All of these were Democrat wars. Democrat presidents led us into WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. And in each of these wars the Republican Party was a loyal opposition, and gave up many opportunities to criticize. No Republican stood up in the Senate and pointed out that Belleau Wood or Iwo Jima or Slapton Sands or LZ Bitch were blunders that threw away lives needlessly. No Republican demanded that Stimson be fired for the Battle of the Bulge. Why not? Because it would have undermined the war effort and the confidence of our troops.

When Joe Biden condemned the Haditha marines, declared them guilty before the incident had even been investigated, he violated this solemn rule. In fact what he did was to commit treason, just as much as if he had given secrets to the enemy. He voted to send those men into battle in the Iraq Campaign, and then he betrayed them. He sent American men and women to risk death in war, and then he turned around and spit on them.

This is close-to-certain evidence that he is a nihilist. That he puts nothing higher than himself. Why do I say that? Because the claims of higher things are tied to each other. Each one teaches us about the others. I put my children's welfare higher than my own, and this is a very easy thing for a parent to do. But that duty teaches me a lot about how to undertake other solemn duties. (As a Catholic I would say that these things are somehow linked sacramentally. The small things touch on the greater things, and vice versa, in ways that are supernatural and mysterious.)

Mr Biden's casual flouting of a solemn duty is strong evidence that he acknowledges no higher duties of any sort. Of course I could be wrong about this, but I would be surprised to learn that he has some philosophy or cause or set of deep principles that he holds sacred, that he would sacrifice his own interests for. And I think that what he is says a lot about the party and the type of people who have put him forth as a possible Vice-President.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:02 AM

August 14, 2008

Besotted with the candidate...

Walter Shapiro:

...Five days after Edwards flat-lined on "Nightline," I am still embarrassed by how badly I misjudged him both in print and in my personal feelings.

Beginning with a trip to North Carolina in the spring of 2001 to scout this first-term Senate phenom, I chronicled his dogged pursuit of the presidency both as a newspaper columnist and for Salon, as well as making him (and Elizabeth) central figures in my book on the 2004 Democratic primary campaign. My wife (a magazine writer who developed her own friendship with Elizabeth) and I had several off-the-record dinners with the Edwardses, including an emotionally raw evening in Washington two weeks after the 9/11 attacks.

Without overstating these bonds, I naively believed that I knew Edwards as well as I understood anyone in the political center ring. Yet I never saw this sex scandal coming -- partly because I accepted the mythology that surrounded the Edwardses' marriage and partly because I assumed that any hint of a wandering eye would have come out during the 2004 campaign. But then Rielle Hunter and the National Enquirer brought us all into the real world...

What malarky. You were besotted with Edwards because he was (or was pretending to be) a liberal Democrat. And Edwards almost certainly paid flattering attention to the guy who was writing a book about his campaign. You dolt, Edwards and his wife almost certainly coldly planned how to woo you, and knew what your weaknesses are. That's what trial lawyers do with a jury. They study every scrap of information available on each juryman, and, like chameleons, tailor the message, and paint their very selves, to fit them. (I know about this stuff; my dear wife's on the other side, the good side, fighting scoundrels like Edwards every day.)

Everybody who retained any objectivity could see that he was a phony, and were not surprised by this. When a guy talks populism and green-ism while building the biggest mansion in the county, there's a 99% chance that he's a sham. When a guy spends minutes in front of a mirror fluffing his hairdo, there's a 99% chance that he will not resist the sexual temptations available to a celebrity.

And when you make millions as a trial lawyer, it means you are skilled at convincing people of things that just ain't so.

Most importantly, what you are comes out in your life. If you are real, then a presidential campaign will bring lots of stories to the surface, from people who were impressed with the candidate's actions long before they could be helpful in any campaign. If Edwards really cared about that poor little girl supposedly shivering because she could not afford a coat, he would have been spending time working with groups who help the poor. And doing so long ago, before it might gain him any advantage. (And if Shapiro were a real journalist he would have taken note that cheap coats are available at any thrift store, and that people just give old coats away by the ton. The story was always bogus.)

Of course every candidate has to be something of a fake, and present himself in a contrived way. But there should be some congruence between the campaign persona and the real man or woman. Bush wasn't faking his love of sports; he bought, with great difficulty, a team. He wasn't just pretending to be a Texan, he showed it by frequently escaping to the Texas summer heat, to the dismay of reporters. And there have been plenty of stories about him caring for the ordinary people far beyond what the photo-op required. (Read this, for instance.)

* Update: Also, a candidate has an obligation to his party and his supporters. An obligation to campaign in the best way he can, so as not to waste the donations and energy that have been given to him. To not squander the belief that simple people have. Building a mansion while playing the populist card was a betrayal in this sense. He could have just waited a few years, but self-indulgence ruled. He was openly betraying millions of supporters, and that should have been a wake-up for poor Mr Shapiro.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 AM

August 13, 2008

What do these items have in common?

NY Sun:

The Obama campaign's conference call yesterday on Republicans who back the presidential bid of the Democrat from Illinois showcased quite a crew...

What do they have in common? I should be very tactful here, and use diplomatic circumlocutions so as to be politically correct, and not "hateful," as lefties are always claiming about us conservatives. But, oh, the heck with it. They are pro-terrorist Jew-haters. That's the kind of people who are "drawn" to Barack.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 AM

July 25, 2008

Questions for Samantha...

I was thinking of fisking this piece, The Democrats & National Security, by Samantha Power, in New York Review of Books. There's lots to correct, but really, the piece is self-contradictory; there's no point in attacking it. In fact it's kind of comical, in the way it misses the essence of the subject.

It's about the possibility of Democrats reversing the traditional Republican advantage among voters on national security issues and military matters. But all the arguments and assumptions of the article are leftist arguments and assumptions. It amounts to saying that ordinary Americans will trust Dems with national security any minute now---as soon as we start thinking like the people who subscribe to the NY Review of Books.

To be trusted on defense, it's not enough to have a clever policy. There's a certain other quality one must possess...

Samantha, dear, let me ask you a few questions. When was the last time you got a lump in your throat when you heard The Star Spangled Banner? Hmmm? Or when thinking of Pearl Harbor, or the Bataan Death March? When was the last time you were outraged because a hero who was given the Medal of Honor was ignored by the press? Eh? When was the last time you said that the President should be given honor and respect as Commander in Chief, even if one disagrees with his politics?

And your friends. When accusations are made, how often do they give American troops the benefit of the doubt? How often do they suspect that the grunts probably acted correctly, and are being smeared by the press? And is their first instinct to support our leaders in time of war? And what do you kids do on Memorial Day to honor those who have fallen in service of our country? On what days do you fly our flag?

When you hear, Samantha, of someone taking a job in Iraq, or joining the reserves, do you feel envious? Hmmm? Like us ordinary Americans do? And maybe a little bit guilty that you are not also standing on Freedom's Wall?

Is "Freedom's Wall" a phrase you would feel comfortable using? Comfortable among your friends? And your readers at the NY Review of Books? Hmmm? You know, the sort of Democrats who are going to, as you say: "advance a distinct twenty-first-century foreign policy that voters will prefer and trust them to execute?" That doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, does it? Wouldn't it be more poetic to say that you are going to "Stand on Freedom's Wall and defend America?"

Try saying that. Say it out loud. Among your pals. Try it on for size, since you are "auditioning," shall we say, for the part of "trusted with national security."

Or say this:

“We in this country, in this generation, are, by destiny rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago, ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”

It was a Democrat who said that. Can you say it?

Posted by John Weidner at 11:35 PM

July 1, 2008

They all laughed...

..when I suggested that George W Bush was the visionary and that following presidents would have to follow the templates he created...

AP / JENNIFER LOVEN: Obama to Expand Bush's Faith Based Programs
Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans that would expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and — in a move sure to cause controversy — support their ability to hire and fire based on faith...

The grownups lead, the children follow...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

June 29, 2008

The purity-codes of an ersatz religion....

Reading this WSJ article on the absurd contortions of the Dems trying to keep their convention undefiled by the corrupting grossness of the Great Satan, I don't know whether to cry or to hoot with laughter and throw globs of organic waste at the next Prius that drives by....

...To test whether celebratory balloons advertised as biodegradable actually will decompose, Ms. Robinson buried samples in a steaming compost heap. She hired an Official Carbon Adviser, who will measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed. The Democrats hope to pay penance for those emissions by investing in renewable energy projects.

Perhaps Ms. Robinson's most audacious goal is to reuse, recycle or compost at least 85% of all waste generated during the convention.

The Trash Brigade: To police the four-day event Aug. 25-28, she's assembling (via paperless online signup) a trash brigade. Decked out in green shirts, 900 volunteers will hover at waste-disposal stations to make sure delegates put each scrap of trash in the proper bin. Lest a fork slip into the wrong container unnoticed, volunteers will paw through every bag before it is hauled away.

"That's the only way to make sure it's pure," Ms. Robinson says...

They will "hover at waste-disposal stations." To ensure purity! Wow. Wouldn't that make some very funny campaign commercials? I think Republicans should sponsor, in honor of the Dem convention, a national "Laugh at Looney Lefties Day."

....Republicans are pushing conservation, too.....But Matt Burns, a spokesman for the Republican convention, looks on with undisguised glee at some of the Democrats' efforts -- such as the "lean 'n' green" catering guidelines.

Among them: No fried food. And, on the theory that nutritious food is more vibrant, each meal should include "at least three of the following colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple, and white." (Garnishes don't count.) At least 70% of ingredients should be organic or grown locally, to minimize emissions from fuel burned during transportation. "One would think," says Mr. Burns, "that the Democrats in Denver have bigger fish to bake -- they have ruled out frying already -- than mandating color-coordinated pretzel platters."...

Makes me want to have chicherones and Coors beer for dinner....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:05 AM

June 18, 2008

Hilarious...

Beware the Chicago boys: Obama's vow of love for free markets gives reason to fear a replay of Bill Clinton's 1993 U-turn (Naomi Klein, 6/13/08, The Guardian)

Barack Obama waited just three days after Hillary Clinton pulled out of the race to declare, on CNBC: "Look. I am a pro-growth, free-market guy. I love the market." Demonstrating that this is no mere spring fling, he has appointed the 37-year-old Jason Furman, one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, to head his economic team....

Delightful, to think of all the leftizoids who will be sucking on this little lemon!

And they tend to love Obama because they think he's magical. If Obama is elected, then things will just happen. There won't be any hard work and discipline needed, the world will just change. (It's like, who could oppose him? That would be racist!) But reality lurks, ready to pounce on even those who eat in the trendiest restaurants.

There are lot of people whose whole economic philosophy is: "Big corporations are icky." (And the really wierd thing is that they can be people who actually know a lot about economics! I love reading tech writer Daniel Eran Dilger, who is totally lucid in explaining what big corporations like Apple, Microsoft, Adobe, Sun etc are up to. But he recently wrote: "Obama’s campaign is known for its grassroots outreach to individuals, as opposed to the typical political campaigns catering to corporate lobbyists...")

And I guess the "big corporations are icky" crowd are going to have some painful shocks if they think a corrupt Chicago pol will make evil economics just magically disappear. Or maybe they won't; human capacity for self-deception is unlimited, and, at least in the news media, ickyness WILL disappear if a Dem is in the White House.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

June 13, 2008

Great post...

Bookworm writes Say it loud, say it proud: I am a racist!

When I vote against Obama on November 4, 2008:

There's more, plenty more!

Posted by John Weidner at 3:38 PM

June 3, 2008

Tip-toe around a little problem...

Yet another Dem lays the groundwork for blaming Obama's coming defeat on racism. It's got to be racism; a repudiation of Leftism or infanticide or "change" can't possibly happen in a country that is eager for higher taxes, racial quotas, feminism, and more government control of everything! Of course Mr Cohen has to tip-toe around a wee teensy little problem....This is a primary, and no Republicans are involved. (Thanks to Hugh)

....I tell them, for I am wont to please, that this campaign is indeed great when, as history will record, it is not. I have come to loathe the campaign.

I loathe above all the resurgence of racism -- or maybe it is merely my appreciation of the fact that it is wider and deeper than I thought. [And it is all among DEMOCRATS. You Lefties have, for decades, been delighted when you could claim (usually dishonestly) that Republicans are racist.The biter is bit.] I am stunned by the numbers of people who have come out to vote against Barack Obama because he is black. I am even more stunned that many of these people have no compunction about telling a pollster they voted on account of race -- one in five whites in Kentucky, for instance. [You "opinion leaders" have TAUGHT them to think in terms of interest groups, not individual worth. And now you are surprised?] Those voters didn't even know enough to lie, which is what, if you look at the numbers, others probably did in other states. Such honesty ought to be commendable. It is, instead, frightening...

[We've been POUNDED with racialist propaganda for half a century. By people like you, Mr Cohen. Everything must be judged in terms of RACE. Or gender, or sexual orientation. (I know this; I've raised three children in SF. My daughter once said that at her school, "Black History Month comes four times a year!") But a lot of us—mostly Republicans—believe that God values every human being equally, and doesn't give a f*** whether they are black or white. We REJECT your leftist racism. We spit upon it. We judge people by their merits, and would have judged Colin Powell or Condi Rice in exactly the same way we chose between McCain and Romney.]

...I acknowledge that some people can find nonracial reasons to vote against Obama -- his youth, his inexperience, his uber-liberalism and, of course, his willingness to abide his minister's admiration for a racist demagogue (Louis Farrakhan) until it was way, way too late. But for too many people, Obama is first and foremost a black man and is rejected for that reason alone. This is very sad. [It is not "sad," it is evil. And it is your evil. Now you have to face it.]

I loathe what has happened to Hillary Clinton. This person of no mean achievement has been witchified, turned into a shrew, so that almost any remark of hers is instantly interpreted as sinister and ugly. All she had to do, for instance, was note that it took Lyndon Johnson to implement Martin Luther King's dream, and somehow it became a racist statement. The Obama camp has been no help in this regard, expressing insincere regret instead of a sincere "that's not what she meant.".... [I could go on and on here, but I've got to get back to work. You get my drift...]

* Update: Remember when Obama gave his fake-apology speech on race, and said, I think, "We need to have a national dialog on race?" Something like that?

Well, we've had a "national monolog" on race for the last 50 years, with liberals endlessly haranguing us ordinary white Americans, who are supposed to hang our heads and shuffle our feet, and feel guilty about how horrible we are. Well, maybe, just maybe, this Obama campaign may be the catalyst for a true dialog. And some people may at last be able to answer back. Starting with answering back to the claim that liberals are "morally superior beings" because they "wave the bloody shirt" of the Civil Rights Movement all the time.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 AM

June 2, 2008

Sunspots....still waiting....

I'm too busy to blog up my own thoughts, and anyway you've already read them, but...

This, by Alan Sullivan, is worth a look...

Cap and trade is a raw grab of power and wealth — aptly termed the largest redistribution scheme since the income tax. “Redistribution” is too mild a word. This crazy plan must be stopped. But how? The critical mass of idiocy has been reached. The reaction is going nuclear.

There are still no sunspots; oceans and atmosphere are cooling; sea level is steady to falling, measured by 3000 Argo buoys. The greenhouse model is flawed in its basic mathematics. Anthropogenic global warming is a fraud. Yet a bizarre cabal of economic dolts and puritanical ninnies is about to foist ruinous burdens on everyone. This not a climate crisis, but a political one: moonbats and dingbats are taking over the Republic.
Posted by John Weidner at 11:48 AM

May 17, 2008

Fisk du Joor...

There's a certain sort of article where every sentence brings a sarcastic reply to the tip of my tongue. And now, thanks to the magic of the Interweb, I can share my snark with all of you! [Heads nod towards sleep, eyes glaze over, the crowd shuffles away. That's OK, I do this mostly for my own fun. You've read it before, so feel free to skip.]

Harold Meyerson | May 15, 2008 | The American Prospect

If the McCain campaign is still trying out songs, there's one by a couple of Brits, W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, that it should consider. We have to change the words "an Englishman" to "American" to get it to work, but, that done, the song expresses succinctly and entirely the case for John McCain and, by implication, against Barack Obama:

For he himself has said it,
And it's greatly to his credit,
That he is American!
That he is American!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the sum total of the Republican message this year. That is why McCain's first post-primary ad proclaimed him "the American president Americans have been waiting for." Not the "strong" or "experienced" president, though those are contrasts he could seek to draw with Obama. The "American" president -- because that's the only contrast through which McCain has even a chance of prevailing. [Uh, right now, Obama fans are howling because he's being tarred as an appeaser, and pounded for associations with Wright, Rezko, Hamas, etc. If these attacks have no "chance of prevailing," why the fuss?]

Now, I mean to take nothing away from McCain's Americanness by noting that it's Obama's story that represents a triumph of specifically American identity over racial and religious identity. It was the lure of America, the shining city on a hill, that brought his black Kenyan father here, where he met Obama's white Kansan mother. It is because America is uniquely the land of immigrants and has moved beyond a racial caste system that Obama exists, has thrived and stands a good chance of being our next president. [But, curious thing, Barry achieved the "American dream" (Harvard Law, Wall Street, big $, etc.) and then proceeded to SHED that American identity, becoming a "community organizer," joining an "Afro-centric" church, and reinventing himself as a black person. In fact, re-inventing the racial caste system! So why, exactly, should pointing this out be a bad thing?

In fact you are only bothered by this issue because you know that the charge is TRUE. I live among people like you and the Obama's. I know you. I know perfectly well your utter alienation from ordinary Americans who enjoy Christian faith, bowling, Nascar, deer-hunting, suburban life, and the Superbowl. Why, exactly, should they not reject a candidate who rejects THEM, who rejects the very things the ARE? Why should McCain not point these things out?]

That's not the America, though, that the Republicans refer to in proclaiming their own Americanness. For them, "American" is a term to be used as a wedge issue, a way to distinguish their more racially and religiously homogeneous party from the historically more polyglot Democrats. Such separation has a long pedigree: Campaigning for GOP presidential nominee Alf Landon in 1936, Republican leader Frank Knox said that the Democratic Party under President Franklin Roosevelt "has been seized by alien and un-American elements. Next November, you will choose the American way."

Knox meant two things: that the New Deal represented an ideology outside the pale of American thinking and that the New Deal coalition, which represented record numbers of foreign-born, non-Protestant Americans, was therefore un-American.[Well, it was true. Socialism IS outside the "pale of American thinking," and we now know that some of the New-Dealers were secret agents for Stalin.] In more recent elections, Republicans have depicted Democratic presidential candidates as un-American cultural elitists heading up a dangerously diverse party. [Diverse is an interesting word to pick, since it has become a code-word for racial quotas, which are very un-American. So much so that a code-word is necessary. And, come to think, Obama probably favors racial quotas, but will lie like Ananias about the subject, and many other similar subjects. So really, calling him "un-American" is a proxy for real and substantive ISSUES that he would prefer to duck.]

This year, we can expect to see almost nothing but these kinds of assaults as the campaign progresses. The Republican attack against Obama all but ignores the issue differences [Obama is currently under attack on the issues of foreign policy and Federal judicial nominations, to name just a few.] between the candidates to go after what is presumably his inadequately American identity. He is, writes one leading conservative columnist, "out of touch with everyday America." [Obviously.] His reluctance to wear a flag pin, writes another, shows that he "has declared himself superior to an almost universal form of popular patriotism." [It's the simple truth. I live in SF, I know.]

There are good reasons Republicans are focusing on identity rather than issues this year: In poll after poll, there's not a single major issue on which the public agrees with them or their presumptive nominee. [Surrre. Americans are SO ready for higher taxes, abortion, gay marriage, nationalized health care, appeasement, speech-codes and multiculturalism.] Not Iraq, certainly. Not the economy. Should the election turn on the question of "What are you going to do for America?" rather than "Are you a real American?" Republicans are doomed. They offer no solutions for the stagnation (or decline) of American living standards, [So why is building extra storage space for people's stuff a booming business?] or for the weakening of America's economic power. [The EU, China--they're gonna steam-roller us any day 'cause they're so superior!] They offer no resolution to America's war of choice in Iraq. [Except winning--we are providing that one. I know it disgusts you lefties, but Americans go for winning our wars.] Their party leader, the incumbent president, let a great American city drown. [Oh right, he had a little button he could push that would re-build the failed levees, and cause the Democratic leadership of Louisiana to be honest and effective. But he just sat there and didn't push it.] They are the American party, and McCain the American nominee, that hasn't a clue about how to help America in its (prolonged, I fear) moment of need. [We're sinking, we're sinking! We need Big Government and Barack to save us. Glub, glub.......]

What remains for the GOP is a campaign premised more on issues of national identity, aimed largely at that portion of our population for which "American" is synonymous with "white" and "Christian," than any national campaign has been since the American Party (also known as the Know Nothings) based its 1856 campaign chiefly on Protestant bigotry against Irish and German Catholic immigrants. In Appalachian America (the heart of which went to the polls yesterday in West Virginia), as Mark Schmitt notes in the forthcoming issue of the American Prospect (which I edit), a disproportionate number of people write "American" when answering the census question on ethnic origin. [That is so disgusting, "American." Ugh! Horrid rednecks. And they've only been here since the 18th Century! They should think of themselves as an ethnic group oppressed by white Christians, and needing Affirmative Action.] For some, "American" is a race -- white -- no less than a nationality, and it's on this equation that Republican prospects depend. [We get the picture. In fact,the real point of this piece is preparing for defeat. if Obama loses, it means we are RACISTS, not that we are rejecting Obama's leftism. I spit, with the utmost contempt, upon that formula. In fact, we Republicans would be delighted to consider voting for a black person. IF they were also, like Colin Powell or Condi Rice, or Bobby Jindal, or Janet Brown, AMERICANS. Not anti-American leftists.

Which is why Gilbert and Sullivan penned what could be the perfect McCain marching song:

But in spite of all temptations
To belong to other nations,
He remains American!
He remains American!
[Which in itself is good reason to vote for him, rather then Mr Fraudulent.]

PS: I hate to break it to you, Mr Meyerson, but the knuckle-draggers in Appalachia are perfectly aware that "American" is not usually considered an "ethnic origin." They do that because they loath your identity-politics, which are un-American.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:04 PM

May 15, 2008

Want a laugh?

From a post on The New Editor , a blog on John McCain's web-site:

I just saw a clip on MSNBC of Barack Obama criticizing John McCain's campaign: "They want to make this campaign about me!"...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

May 14, 2008

"The emptiest vessel ever..."

Baseball Crank has a worthwhilepiece on the importance of experience in a presidential candidate...

.....And if one must speak of hypocrisy, it is rather amusing that we heard Democrats the past few years arguing that various Bush appointees were underqualified hacks who lacked the basic qualifications for their jobs (e.g., Miers, Mike Brown), but those same Democrats who were outraged at appointing unqualified people to mid-level jobs in the Administration are suddenly unconcerned about picking a guy without adequate experience for the top job, the guy who appoints all the others.

But for the same reasons why I rejected that style of argument when I came out in opposition to Harriet Miers (here and here) and Mitt Romney, Obama's lack of all the relevant types of experience, taken together, are very much a problem and quite arguably disqualifying by themselves, or at least very substantial reasons to be skeptical of his candidacy. Assuming he does hang on to squeeze Hillary out of the race, Obama is the emptiest vessel ever to get a major party nomination, a man who can't be judged on the results he has achieved because he's scarcely left a trace of results anywhere. It's all too easy to say "yes, we can" when you haven't ever had to be the guy people look to to say "yes we did."

He's never run anything at all, not even a small law practice like John Edwards. Besides his campaign, probably the biggest thing he's ever run was the Harvard Law Review.

He has nothing resembling national security experience or even particularly sustained advocacy on the issue before announcing his candidacy in 2007. The man has apparently hardly even traveled to Europe, to pick one example.

He is running in a contested election outside the insular world of Chicago politics for the first time and has never had any sort of responsibility for political leadership.

He's never served in the military and seems to have scarcely any experience even knowing people who served in the military.

His private-sector business background is negligible.

Are any of these things disqualifying from the Presidency? No. But electing a man who is so seriously lacking in all of them is indeed unprecedented. And that is and should be a central issue in this campaign......

I think Obama's lack of experience is central to his appeal to "core Democrats." They prefer it. Why? Because, as I've argued many times before, Liberals aren't "Liberal" any more. They have no belief in anything bigger than themselves. They wear "Liberalism" as a disguise, and to give themselves reasons to feel superior and important.

Their big fear is that they are going to be called on this. That they will be put into a situation where they will have to either fight fight for something, or admit they are frauds. That's why they hate the Iraq Campaign so bitterly, whether it's going well or badly. Overthrowing a fascist dictator and sponsoring democracy and freedom are Liberal ideas, and leftists still preen themselves on their regime-change in Nazi Germany. Iraq called this bluff.

Even the minimal experience Clinton can claim is associated with making choices. The latte-sipping crowd longs to float above all the gritty choices of practical politics, and just feel good about themselves. They want, for instance, to endlessly bask in the warm glow of the Civil Rights Movement, while ignoring the current plight of minority children in dysfunctional inner-city schools. And ignore the fact that black Africans are being enslaved right now, by Moslems in Sudan.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 AM

May 13, 2008

Mommy! Mommy! Johnny McCain said a bad word!

Rich Lowry on the Obama Rules. Which purport to declare all sorts of criticisms of Obama "off-limits" in acceptable political discourse...

....Here are the Obama rules in detail: He can’t be called a “liberal” (“the same names and labels they pin on everyone,” as Obama puts it); his toughness on the war on terror can’t be questioned (“attempts to play on our fears”); his extreme positions on social issues can’t be exposed (“the same efforts to distract us from the issues that affect our lives” and “turn us against each other”); and his Chicago background too is off-limits (“pouncing on every gaffe and association and fake controversy”). Besides that, it should be a freewheeling and spirited campaign.

Democrats always want cultural issues not to matter because they are on the least-popular side of many of them, and want patriotic symbols like the Pledge of Allegiance and flag pins to be irrelevant when they can’t manage to nominate presidential candidates who wholeheartedly embrace them (which shouldn’t be that difficult). As for “fear” and “division,” they are vaporous pejoratives that can be applied to any warning of negative consequences of a given policy or any political position that doesn’t command 100 percent assent....

We've been hearing lots of this poop. We also not supposed to point out that his pastor is a racist jew-hating nut job... "How dare you! He's a prophet!" Or that he's been endorsed by Hamas. (They know a Jimmy Carter when they see one.) Or that he's pals with unrepentant murdering 1960's terrorists.

I'd advise McCain to confront this nonsense directly, and declare that the "rules" are codswallop, and that he's not going to follow any of them. And that he reserves the right to call Obama a white liberal elitist if he wants to!

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 PM

April 21, 2008

They are all snobs...

I just had to fisk this silly thing. I need a bit of fun now and then...

There's real danger to Obama in a cry of 'snob', by Michael Crowley, The Observer, Sunday April 20 2008

....Obama's line was not fatal, but Norquist still has grounds for glee. For a fundamental battle has been joined here - that battle to define the Democratic nominee's character. [The Republican nominee, on the other hand, has always been open and honest about himself. This is a huge advantage for ANY human being.]

One recurring feature of recent presidential campaigns has been the disgraceful effort of the Republican party to compensate for its unpopular positions on major issues, from health care to Iraq, by impugning the character of the Democratic presidential nominee [By telling the truth about them. Notice that Crowley never claims Obama is NOT a person with character flaws. He just wishes the issue would go away.]. Liberals have made this complaint for some time, but I lent it new credence after listening to a senior figure in the Bush political machine. 'You guys never get it,' he said to a group of journalists who'd been debating the politics of some newsworthy issue. 'People don't vote on issues. They vote on character.' [The voters are wise. Issues morph and change; character is forever. And, I hate to break this to you, Mr "Journalist," but "newsworthy" means what people (those horrid little commoners) want to hear about, not what you want to report.]

The man knew whereof he spoke, for character largely explains how Bush won two presidential elections. In 2004, torture and beheadings were the norm in Iraq. [Performed by your al-Qaeda news-generating teams.] Yet Republicans substantially focused the election around John Kerry's persona. He was a flip-flopper, a windsurfer and snowboarder, a Swiss-educated man with a slightly 'foreign' mien. Never mind that Bush was the wealthy son of a former President educated at both Yale and Harvard - he was the 'regular guy'. [Bush IS a regular guy...he oozes Midland Texas from every pore. A fact confirmed by the way Dems heap scorn on all his "regular guy" traits! You can't ridicule someone for mis-pronouncing "nuclear," and then claim he's a rich Ivy-Leaguer]

Amazingly, one poll taken just before the election showed that pro-Bush voters cared more about 'character and strength of leadership than how a candidate stands on the issues' by a nearly three-to-one margin. Is it any wonder American politics is the subject of ridicule and derision around the world? [SO, how's them Italian/German/French/Belgian politics workin' out? Big success, right? Hmmm?]

It had been the same story four years earlier. A long stretch of peace and prosperity had made Al Gore clear favourite to succeed Clinton. But the GOP skilfully caricatured Gore as a pedantic snob [He is], a know-it-all who allegedly claimed to have 'invented' the internet. That defamation campaign, in turn, was modelled after the 1988 ridicule of Michael Dukakis as a product of pointy-headed academic Boston.

In every case, the GOP message to America was the same: the Democratic candidate is too fancy to understand your world. He looks down on you. He is a product of a coastal elite establishment that derides real Americans. [I live among the coastal elites. This is simple truth] Republicans have always known how they would attack Hillary Clinton's character: They've had more than 15 years of trashing her as mean-tempered, ultra-feminist prevaricator. [She is] But Obama's comments, which can at least be construed to deride the legitimate faith, traditions and concerns of small-towners, have opened the GOP door to tarring him with the label of elitist snob. [Notice we are presented with zero evidence showing he is not an elitist snob.] This is how it's going to go. In the derisive commentary of the past two weeks, we can see how Obama is heading for the Kerry-Gore-Dukakis treatment. He will be cast as a 'professor' from the university enclave of Chicago's Hyde Park. [Fits] And just as Kerry was heckled by conservatives for supposedly looking French, the campaign to define Obama as 'foreign', thanks to his Kenyan father and his boyhood years in Indonesia, is already underway. [If the charge is false, it won't stick. So how's that bowling score, Barry? Geeze, I could bowl more convincingly, and I haven't touched a ball for 40 years.]

And just as the elder George Bush used Dukakis's opposition to a constitutional ban on flag burning to impugn his patriotism, so the right is now encouraging the preposterous story that Obama is unpatriotic because he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin and was once photographed without his hand placed over his heart during the national anthem. [I'm "embedded" among lefty elitists. They are NOT patriotic, and their aversion to flag pins reflects their beliefs perfectly] Attacks like these will be particularly convenient for Republicans given McCain's unimpeachably heroic and patriotic background.

Obama's campaign handlers have proven themselves a highly shrewd bunch. They are already working to bolster his regular-guy credibility - see Obama's recent photo-op at a Pennsylvania bowling alley [Must be the same guys that put Dukakis in a tank. Shrewd, shrewd.] and his endorsement by that ultimate salt-of-the-earth tribune [Triple-Word-Score in Pointy-Head Scrabble™] Bruce Springsteen. [To paraphrase Andy Warhol, there's nothing so un-regular as trying to be a regular guy.]

[Also, stupider by an order-of-magnitude is trying to make a girl a into a "regular guy." Hillary tossing back a shot in a bar tops all of this, in my opinion! Puke-worthy.]

That may help against Clinton on Tuesday. But an autumn endorsement by the Boss, alas, wasn't enough to save Kerry. Obama will have to muster a better defence. He can start by choosing his words more carefully. [Ha ha ha. In other words, be more careful about living a lie. Honest people don't have to worry about "choosing their words carefully." What comes out is what they are.] He can also console himself in knowing that the Bush Republicans have left American in such rotten shape that even the GOP's mendacious character politics may not be enough to save them this time around. [Dream on, Lefty losers.]

What always amazes me is that Dems are so insular and anti-American that they never get serious about fixing these big problems. You'd think they would have a "regular guy" summer camp, where effete coastal snob politicians go to learn how to eat cheese steaks, and drink boiler-makers, and talk to ranchers.

The Newman quote on my sidebar says,
"Aim at things and your words will be right without aiming." But most lefties can't do that, because they live in fear. They no longer have any underlying philosophy they can build their lives on. They are not just hiding their souls from ordinary Americans, they are hiding from themselves. Their dishonesty goes to the bone.

* Update: Another odd thing. Imagine the situation were reversed, and McCain was trying to win the votes of lefty trendoid professors by arranging photo-ops at MOMA, or listening to avant-guard poetry in a coffee house. Who would not laugh at such nonsense? Yet no leftist seems to notice that it is just as preposterous to put Baracky-boy in a bowling alley. I mean, who are the stupids here? Republicans are called the "stupid party," but who's cluelix?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:33 AM

April 19, 2008

"Tangential" issues...

Stephen Spruiell, at The Corner:

A bunch of liberal journalists have written an open letter to ABC to whine about its handling of Wednesday night's debate. "We're at a crucial moment in our country's history," they write. "Large majorities of our fellow Americans tell pollsters they're deeply worried about the country's direction... Tough, probing questions on these issues clearly serve the public interest... excessive emphasis on tangential 'character' issues do not."

The signers include at least seven contributors to The Nation, whose editors never saw anything "tangential" about George W. Bush's Air National Guard service and what that said about his character. A Google search of The Nation's website for stories on that topic yields 72 stories — none of which called on the media to stop focusing on such a tangential character issue...

Do I ever remember how self-rightous the press and the Left was about the issue of Bush's service—even while insisting that we should ignore a few hundred vets who wanted to raise the issue of Lt Kerry's service and character back then.

And in both cases it is the Democrat whose character really needs to be scrutinized, simply because neither of them have ever accomplished anything of note. We need to guess at what sort of leaders Obama or Kerry will be, because they've never led. Whereas Bush had run businesses, a baseball team, the State of Texas, and served a term as President. And McCain at least has his name on major legislation, and has been fighting over big issues in the public eye for decades. Not to mention being a very open person, who wears his heart on his sleeve.

And the "journalists" know this perfectly well. Their job is always to slip the Democrat past the electorate. And most of them think the same about small-town Pennsylvanians as Obama does. They are just wishing his character was more adept at faking being American.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

April 16, 2008

Rubes, fools, and hate-mongers for John McCain!

From The Rubes and the Elites, by Michael Lind, in Salon...

....In the act of rushing to Obama's defense, some prominent liberal bloggers reinforced the stereotype of elite liberal snobbery. On Friday, regular DailyKos diarist RKA argued, "This quote and the resulting feeding frenzy are a huge opportunity for Obama to get the attention of low-information small-town voters who are skeptical of him and convince some of them to vote their pocketbooks instead of their culture." On TPM Cafe, Todd Gitlin wrote that "Obama spoke artlessly, forgetting that the first law of American politics is: Flatter the rubes."

Now there's a campaign slogan. Hey, rubes -- I mean low-information voters -- Vote Your Pocketbook, Not Your Culture!

Should anyone doubt that dissing rather than flattering the "rubes" is an aberration, examples of liberal snobbery are not hard to find in progressive publications. Sometimes it's genteel, sometimes it's raw. In an essay titled "The Urban Archipelago" a few years ago, the editors of Seattle's alt-weekly the Stranger wrote: "It's time to state something that we've felt for a long time but have been too polite to say out loud: Liberals, progressives, and Democrats do not live in a country that stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico. We live on a chain of islands. We are citizens of the Urban Archipelago, the United Cities of America. We live on islands of sanity, liberalism, and compassion -- New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Seattle, St. Louis, Minneapolis, San Francisco, and on and on ... And we are the real Americans. They -- rural, red-state voters, the denizens of the exurbs -- are not real Americans. They are rubes, fools, and hate-mongers ... We can secede emotionally ... by turning our backs on the heartland ... We're everywhere any sane person wants to be. Let them have the shitholes, the Oklahomas, Wyomings, and Alabamas. We'll take Manhattan."....

Doesn't that just capture it all...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:07 AM

April 15, 2008

Smart is not the same as wise...

Orrin Judd:

It would be easier to feel sorry for the Democrats if they ever learned anything from their mistake--singular, because it's the same one almost every time. While the Republicans nominate the guy whose turn it is next, a well-known and battle-tested veteran, the Democrats repeatedly serve up a neophyte Northern liberal and then act stunned when he's not ready for primetime and voters dislike him once they get to know his political views.

There's lots one could say to amplify this. One is that being smart is not the same thing as being wise. And since a large part of being wise is having the humility to realize you don't know it all, and the humility to see things as they are, rather then what your theory says they should be, you can almost bet that anyone who people look at and say "he's so smart" is not wise.

"Wise" can't really be defined. It's just one of those things you know when you see it, if you are looking. When it comes to politicians, it's even harder to be sure. But a good bet is that a "well-known and battle-tested veteran" has probably had a chance to reveal any un-wisdom he may have.

Is McCain wise? I have various doubts about him, but I feel confident that he is far wiser than Barry or Hillary. For one thing, there's no doubt that he is a patriotic American, and that in itself is deeply wise. Because this great nation is herself "a well-known and battle-tested veteran," and the results have shown this a thousand times. Betting on America is the smart bet. Betting on Europe is the sucker's bet.

And if you are a liberal reading that previous paragraph, you probably instantly thought of all the reasons you despise this country (without having the guts or conscience to move elsewhere). You thought of all her supposed hideous faults, things that are taken for granted over the Brie and Chardonnay at San Francisco soirées, where guys like Obama go to raise big bucks. If you did, you are not wise. You are a fool.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:50 AM

April 14, 2008

We know these guys...

I think my dear wife just captured Mr Obama's essence perfectly. She said, "He's a white liberal elitist."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 AM

April 12, 2008

"syllogistic string of superciliousness:"

John Podhorertz: (Thanks to Glenn)

Well, it has finally happened. Barack Obama has done what Democratic candidates for president invariably do — he has revealed the profound sense of unearned superiority that is the sad and persistent hallmark of contemporary liberalism. Obama’s statement today that small-town folk “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations” may be the most distilled example of this train of thought I’ve ever seen.

Obama’s astonishing sentence offers a syllogistic string of superciliousness: Gun ownership is equated with religious fanaticism, which is said to accompany hatred of the other in the form of opposition to immigration and support for trade barriers. It drips with an attitude so important to the spiritual well-being of the American liberal — the paternalistic attitude that says, “Oh, well, people only do thing differently from me because they are ignorant and superstitious and backward” — that it has survived and thrived despite the suicidal impact it has had on the achievement of liberal political goals and aims.....

Actually, feeling superior IS the liberal goal. If you don't believe in anything bigger than yourself, then how you feel is the most important thing there is. And if liberals DO believe in something bigger them themselves, well, what is it? Can someone tell me?

* Update: Hmm. Why does this line seem to have a certain similarity... Beijing's second in command in Tibet, Qiangba Puncog: "I believe Tibetans are a good, simple people who know how to be grateful..."

* Update: Rand Simberg is a don't-miss: "By cracky, it's like the man sees into my soul!

"Thirty years ago, I had a good job in the mill in Pittsburgh. I was bringing in a good income, going to jazz clubs, discussing Proust over white wine and brie, with my gay friends of all colors. I was all for free trade, so that we could sell the steel overseas, and I never bothered to go to church, let alone actually believe in God.

"But then, the plant closed down, and I couldn't get another job. I went on unemployment, and found odd jobs here and there, but they barely paid the rent in the loft, and the payment on the Bimmer. I couldn't afford the wine and brie any more, and had to shift over to beer and brats.

"Of course, as a result, I started hanging out with the wrong crowd--the beer drinkers..."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 AM

April 6, 2008

"The liberal message of national improvement"

The Patriotism Problem Thursday, Apr. 03, 2008 By Joe Klein

....But there was still something missing. I noticed it during Obama's response to a young man who remembered how the country had come together after Sept. 11 and lamented "the dangerously low levels of patriotism and pride in our country, the loss of faith in our elected officials." Obama used this, understandably, to go after George W. Bush. "Cynicism has become the hot stock," he said, "the growth industry during the Bush Administration." He talked about the Administration's mendacity, its incompetence during Hurricane Katrina, its lack of transparency. But he never returned to the question of patriotism. He never said, "But hey, look, we're Americans. This is the greatest country on earth. We'll rise to the occasion."

This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what's wrong with America than what's right. When Ronald Reagan touted "Morning in America" in the 1980s, Dick Gephardt famously countered that it was near midnight "and getting darker all the time." This is ironic and weirdly self-defeating, since the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature. Obama's hopemongering is about as American as a message can get — although, in the end, it is mostly about our ability to transcend our imperfections rather than the effortless brilliance of our diversity, informality and freedom-propelled creativity...

"...the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature..." What is wrong with this statement? For one thing, "conservative pessimism" is intrinsic to what America IS. It is woven into our Constitution, whose "checks and balances," and limitations on government power assume the non-perfectibility of human nature.

Also, in practice, that "national improvement" stuff starts with the premise that America is a horrid place, except for its liberal elites, and needs to be bullied and "re-educated" towards goals that ordinary Americans by no means hold. It is the opposite of patriotism.

Am I "questioning somebody's patriotism?" Damn right I am. Is there something wrong with questioning people's patriotism? NO! It's my right as a patriotic American. Do I think Mr Klein, Mr Obama, & Mrs Clinton are unpatriotic? Yes, I do. Their underlying assumptions are those of leftist anti-Americanism. They are unpatriotic.

...Patriotism is, sadly, a crucial challenge for Obama now. His aides believe that the Wright controversy was more about anti-Americanism than it was about race. Michelle Obama's unfortunate comment that the success of the campaign had made her proud of America "for the first time" in her adult life and the Senator's own decision to stow his American-flag lapel pin — plus his Islamic-sounding name — have fed a scurrilous undercurrent of doubt about whether he is "American" enough...

Why is it "scurrilous?" Why is it scurrilous to ask if a candidate for President of the US actually loves the US? Why, Mr Klein? Why exactly? And why did you put "American" in scare quotes?

"The liberal message of national improvement.." I for one do not want to be "improved." I spit upon your "improvements" with the utmost contempt. If anyone needs to be improved, it's you anti-American lefties. Maybe a few years in a Cuban prison camp, along with various Cuban writers who dared to suggest improvements in the much-admired Castro's socialist paradise, would give you a little insight into why us non-elite people proudly wear our American flag pins.

* Update: By the way Mr Klein, you seem to disagree with "conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature." Would you be so kind as to share with us your evidence? Could you give us some example of human nature being "perfected?" Or even just slightly improved? I would be very curious to see this wonder.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:00 PM

April 4, 2008

Excellent...

I still have my disagreements with McCain, but this is VERY cool.

And you can bet that Mr elite-white-liberal-writer here has his own retirement bucks in a 401-K, or IRA....or wishes he did. But he hates the thought of the little people getting the same "risky" opportunity.

Oh how I wish I could be a sort of Robin Hood, and take the retirement $ of every one of these lefty frauds and "invest" them in Social Security. And see how they like the returns.

He's 'McSame' on Social Security, Too
By Joe Conason
The most puzzling aspect of John McCain's political persona is his habitual attraction to George W. Bush's bad ideas. Their shared enthusiasm for invading Iraq [and our side's winning--not yours!] and then escalating the war [of course al Qaeda never did any escalating...for leftists, only America is real, only american can "escalate".] is why "McSame" will soon become the new shorthand for the Arizona Republican, replacing "maverick" -- but that isn't the only reason. He doesn't just endorse the disastrous foreign policy initiatives; he loves the failed domestic policy schemes, too.

Specifically, McCain is a longtime supporter of President Bush's Social Security privatization initiative, last seen descending into oblivion only months after its introduction in 2005. He played a cameo role in the promotion of that notion (which never became an actual plan or bill in Congress) when the White House trotted him in for one of the President's staged public "conversations" on the subject. Back then his pleas for everyone to sit down and negotiate the surrender of Social Security to Wall Street were universally ignored, yet that scarcely seems to have discouraged him. [If Wall Street is so bad, I'm sure Mr C puts his own investments in the Cuban market.]

Actually, McCain supported Social Security privatization before it was uncool, when he first ran for president eight years ago. The Wall Street Journal reported recently that a proposal to divert a portion of payroll taxes to finance private accounts, like the Bush scheme, was "a centerpiece of a McCain presidential bid in 2000." Both he and Bush have wanted to dismantle [ie: Make it actually work] Social Security for many years, in fact, and he has indicated that will be an important goal for a McCain presidency....

Notice that, even if you read the whole piece, this lefty does not make a single factual or economic argument against SS reform. It's pure politics, winning or losing, for him. He does not dare argue his case on its merits, nor does he care what's actually the best policy.

And "McSame" won't fly. Not with McCain. Not after the lefty news-media have spent 8 years eagerly pointing out his differences with Bush.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 AM

March 27, 2008

Language abuse....

I'm posting this excerpt, not because of the issues (interesting though they are) but as an interesting example of word use. In fact, as a deliberate assault on our language.

....But while the Democratic campaigns and women's organizations quibbled over which 100 percent pro-choice Senator, Obama or Hillary Clinton, would be the better president for reproductive health, many choice advocates missed what was percolating under the radar: The beginnings of a conservative smear campaign against Obama's very real history of support for reproductive freedom....

It's not a "smear campaign" if you are just telling the simple truth. If conservatives were exaggerating Obama's Pro-death record, if they were taking a few things out-of-context to make him look worse than he is, that would be a "smear campaign."

I recently wrote about Mr Obama's rather curious "spiritual advisor, and had a liberal complain that I was "demonizing" him, and why didn't I write about "substantive issues." I should have replied with Obama's voting record on the "Illinois Born Alive Infant Protection Act," (BAIPA), and seen how much he liked them substantive puppies. (I bet he would have called it a "smear campaign!" And then run away.)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:44 PM

March 25, 2008

Odd behavior...

Puzzling stuff about Mr Obama, from Richard L. Benkin, concerning bipartisan congressional efforts to free a moderate Muslim leader and freedom fighter....

...In fact, I approached about 15 percent of the House and a handful of Senators: Democratic, Republican, left, right, moderate; you name it. And every one of them reacted with support; every one of them, that is, except one. Who was the one lawmaker that took a pass on saving the life of an imprisoned US ally and opponent of Islamist extremism? That's right, my own Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

I first met with his staff in April 2005 in his DC office. Keep in mind this was the same week that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) spent hours learning about the case and then met well after "working hours" in a very difficult meeting with the Bangladeshi ambassador and me to secure Shoaib's release. I brought Obama's staff extensive documentation of the injustice, as well as other evidence of Shoaib's activities; we spoke for quite a long time, but they never called back. In fact, they ignored all my subsequent follow-up contacts. But it was, after all soon after his election; perhaps early disorganization was to blame.

Yet, I spoke personally with Obama 13 months later at a general meeting hosted by Obama and Durbin. To my delight, when my name was mentioned, Durbin responded immediately with praise and support, saying that it was "an important human rights case," and asked to see me privately about the matter. I spoke with to both him and Obama, who at his best moments looked quizzical and confused. While Durbin later sent a formal protest to the Bangladeshis, Obama never responded; nor again did he or his staff reply to my subsequent entreaties.

I spoke with Obama one other time about Shoaib's case, less than six months later. I reminded him or our last encounter, gave him an update on the case, and asked for his support in one of any number of ways. He hesitated a moment then held out his hand and said, "Well, we're sure happy for all the work you are doing." Propriety prevents me from verbalizing what I was thinking then. I offered to send him more information, which he asked me to do. And, guess what, I never heard back despite the reams of evidence I did send.

Barack Obama wants us to think that he has a special sensitivity to injustice and that his entire life has been about combating it. Yet, in this one concrete situation he faced, he failed to act. The fact that not one of the dozens of other lawmakers failed speaks volumes. The fact that support was never contingent on ideology speaks volumes. I often wondered if his refusal to act was strategic, ignorant, or simple cowardice. No matter, the impact on Shoaib Choudhury was the same, as it would be on any freedom fighter...

One has to wonder what was going on his head. It would seem like a no-brainer, to join in something like this...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 AM

March 19, 2008

Obama war speech

Ethan Hahn writes:

Did you see this speech? Man, was I thrilled when I read it. I think he's dead wrong on Iraq, misreading the current situation and married to a foolish policy of withdrawal - but if you look past the gratuitous and inaccurate rips on Bush and McCain, and the Iraq situation, it's a fantastic speech. He's engaging the Bush administration big-picture policy everywhere else. A surge in Afghanistan; strength with Al Qaeda in Pakistan, while supporting the moderate middle and democracy, along with increased engagement; military training missions across the world, supporting failed states, growing the military, standing tough against Iran (using the same ideas McCain used on Hugh's show the other day)...I still support McCain because he's on the same page, but without the artificial deadline in Iraq, and without the crazy economic populism (well...LESS crazy economic populism) - but this was a great speech...

What do you think?

It's a good speech. [You can read it here] And since I've criticized him for lack of substance, I should commend him for putting some real positions on the table.

If I were McCain, I'd thank him for his candor and make a counter-speech, billing it as a debate-at-a-distance, without pesky moderators! That would be interesting.

I don't find it very convincing; there's too many things in the speech that anyone would like to do, including Bush, but that are very hard. Make NATO more nimble? How likely is that? The problems of NATO are just the problems of Europe writ small, and there's not much the President can do about it.

"...Now is the time to meet the goal of cutting extreme poverty in half, in part by doubling our foreign assistance while demanding more from those who receive it.." Well, if you are really interested in cutting poverty you have to do things like allow poor third-world countries to sell their crops in the developed world. Tough stuff, especially if you are a protectionist. I bet McCain could do it better than Obama. But I could be wrong.

And of course I think he's simply wrong to say that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the "central front" in the war. But it's good that he's taken positions. As always with Obama one wonders if he really means it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 PM

March 18, 2008

Their job--slipping the Democrat past the electorate....

You know, it's the press that bugs me, much more than Mr Obama or Ms Clinton. Those two (& McCain) are politicians, they are mostly acting like politicians do. Since I have never for a moment thought that Mr Obama was really a "uniter," or had gone beyond partisanship, I'm only occasionally able to become outraged. The news-media, on the other hand, I despise from year's end to year's end.

Tim Graham at NewsBusters:

....Up until the Brian Ross report, CBS was the only network to do the barest shadow of a report that could make Obama's campaign a little more difficult. Even Reynolds left out a few details. Farrakhan won the "Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award" to a man who "truly epitomized greatness" -- in 2007. Where were the media on that? Doesn't this divisive minister of Obama's cause a serious problem for a candidate who's been sold as a uniter, not a divider?

Why, this late in the primary season, are we still discovering that they haven’t asked any of the hard questions? We are starting to see the same disturbing pattern we saw with John Kerry in 2004. The media didn’t see its job as vetting John Kerry as he told everyone he was the bravest of war heroes. When the men who fought with him on the swift boats told a different story, the media tried to ignore them.

The media was saying "print the legend," and suggested that when opponents try to vet the Democrat, when they try to do the job a supine media blatantly failed to do, it was then the media’s job to vet the opponents and question their sincerity, not vet the Democrat.

The news media doesn’t see its job as informing the electorate. They see their job as getting the Democrat past the electorate.

The real story about the Swift Boat Vets was that they had to pay to communicate with the electorate. Because the "journalists" had never bothered to ask them what they thought about their old comrade. And we are so used to their bias that we hardly notice that a big news story was simply ignored by the news-gatherers....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:57 PM

March 15, 2008

Turning over a rotting log...

OBAMA'S JEREMIAD. By Investor's Business Daily:

Election 2008: Imagine the uproar if John McCain's pastor used the "N"-word and asked God to "damn" blacks. Yet Barack Obama's pastor condemns whites, and liberal pundits bite their lip.

This newspaper was the first to draw attention to Obama's hate-mongering preacher, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright, and his black segregationist church in Chicago. Our January 2007 editorial, "Obama's Real Faith," exposed their preaching of a militantly anti-white and socialist doctrine called the "Black Value System," triggering a major story in the Chicago Tribune, which led to other stories.

Now comes the leaking of recently videotaped sermons by Wright angrily condemning whites as racists and America as evil. If you close your eyes, you'd swear you were listening to the hateful rantings of uber-bigot Louis Farrakhan. Like the Nation of Islam minister, Wright feeds his 8,500-member flock, including Obama and his family, legends about whites keeping blacks down by getting them hooked on crack and then locking them up. He even claims whites invented AIDS to destroy blacks.

Obama is not immune to such myths. Until recently, when he was informed it wasn't true, he repeated a favorite Wright line that "we've got more black men in prison than there are in college."

"The government gives (black men) drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing 'God Bless America.' No, no, no, God damn America, that's in the Bible for killing innocent people," Wright thundered in a 2003 sermon. "God damn America for treating our citizens as less than human. God damn America for as long as she acts like she is God and she is supreme."

Locked in a Jim Crow time warp, he claims America — which he affectionately calls "the US-KKK-A" — is "controlled by and run by rich white people." Never mind that institutionalized racism is a distant memory. Or that the most popular candidate in the country right now, according to some polls, is his top acolyte.

In 2006, Wright said from the pulpit: "Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run. We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. And. And-and! God! Has got! To be sick! Of this sh*t!"....

If Mr Obama has been sitting in the pew for twenty years listening to this foul lying stuff, he not only does not deserve to be President, he does not deserve to be welcomed into the company of decent people. And if Democrats are not anti-American racists, they will repudiate him. Ha ha...I won't hold my breath on that one.

Of course in one sense he wasn't sitting in a pew, since this is not religion. It's politics. Mr Wright's church has been "hollowed-out," its faith replaced by politics, just as much as the many mushy white churches that have replaced salvation through the Lord Jesus with "peace 'n justice 'n the UN Millennium Goals."

And of course this is a perfect example of how the news-media hurts Democrats by trying to help them. Maybe, just maybe, certain Democrat Primary voters would have wanted to know this stuff. Hmmm? D'you think? Too late now, suckers. Maybe you Dems should think about telling the press to just report the damn news honestly, instead of trying to mold the country with their superior elite wisdom.

"When mystery no longer counts for anything, then politics necessarily becomes the religion"
      --Pope Benedict XVI, Truth And Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions, p. 126

Posted by John Weidner at 8:35 AM

March 11, 2008

Young girl traveling...

Tom Maguire:

By way of Ace I am watching this video in which Obama calls for the day that a young girl traveling abroad can say with pride that she is an American - that, we are informed, is the change he is working for.

I know that message lights Democratic fires, but my goodness - is that what he wants to present to the general public?...

It's the usual—casual—anti-Americanism of lefty elitists. How I hate it. I live in the middle of it, and I DESPISE it. "Lights Democratic fires." Oh yeah.

As far as I'm concerned, that one clip should disqualify Mr Obama from being President. If Obama's the nominee, I hope John McCain takes that clip and rubs his face in it!

Elite snivelers from Harvard hate America because she is bigger and greater than we. Because she makes demands on us--demands for loyalty and duty and service. They are nihilists, and want to worship only themselves.

For the American citizen, to love and serve our nation is a requirement. (This is an analog, on a much lower sphere, of the requirement that we love and serve God.) It is not optional. And it has nothing to do with nationalism. America is not a nation, in that sense.

She is an idea, and an authoritative tradition. There are few other nations that can claim this. Maybe none. Actually, you can see which. Just chart which countries leftists really really hate. Ummm....Oh yeah, Israel. And they hate and fear what England used to be, though they've mostly killed her by now. America and the Anglosphere are now England.

He loved his country partly because it was his own country, but mostly because it was a free country; and he burned with a zeal for its advancement, prosperity and glory, because he saw in such, the advancement, prosperity and glory, of human liberty, human right and human nature. He desired the prosperity of his countrymen partly because they were his countrymen, but chiefly to show to the world that freemen could be prosperous.
      -- Abraham Lincoln, Eulogy on Henry Clay , July 6, 1852
Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 AM

March 5, 2008

Vote for me, I'm sparkly...

I was just thinking about the squalid absurdity of Democrat identity politics, and the way both Obama and Clinton are running as representatives of identity groups, whose election will represent "justice" for a group. How I hate that stuff. it's un-American, and quasi-Marxist.

One of the formative moments of my life was when, back in the early 70's, having gone through the university without exposure to much solid intellectual fare, I encountered a quote by Peter Drucker. Alas, I've never found it again, but it went something like this: Christians believe that God values the individual, while socialists believe in the value of society, and are willing to sacrifice individuals—millions of them—to achieve "salvation by society."

Everything I've learned since then has just been filling in the details.

And also it occurs to me that the Republican habit of giving the presidential nomination to the senior man, to the one who's "next in line," is profoundly wise. On the surface it seems foolish, and one thinks of Bob Dole and winces. (But Dole, though a poor campaigner, was a deep old file, and would surely have made a better President than Clinton.)

I suspect there's a lot of gut wisdom involved in this. The wisdom of regular guys and gals, not clever-johnny theorists who write or blog. In the long haul, it's better to nominate seasoned old white guys (or white gals, if they resemble Margaret Thatcher) and avoid "stars" and fast-talkers and people with "charisma," whatever the heck that is. Bleccch.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:54 PM

March 2, 2008

When truth goes chasing lies around the globe...

...It helps to have a bookmark to the facts. So keep this link on hand. (Thanks to Orrin.) Jonathan Last, in the Philly Inquirer...

A Democratic line is emerging about Sen. John McCain that is voiced daily by Sen. Obama (and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton) in the presidential campaign.

"Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for 100 years in Iraq," Obama says, "which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House." Or more directly, as Obama told a Houston audience, McCain "says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq."

Obama's claims are, at best, deliberately misleading. At worst, they are the type of politics-as-usual distortion that the Illinois senator usually decries. No one, in politics or the media, who voices the "100 years" canard is being fair-minded. So let's put it to rest now, once and for all:

On Jan. 3 in Derry, N.H., a voter prefaced a question to McCain by saying, "President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years . . ." Here, McCain cut him off, interjecting, "Make it a hundred."

The voter tried to continue his question, but McCain pressed on: "We've been in . . . Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long
as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It's fine with me, I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, equipping and recruiting and motivating people every single day."

McCain's analysis is, objectively speaking, exactly correct. Throughout history, U.S. troops have remained in the field long after the conclusion of successful wars...

He goes on to list all the many places our troops have remained long after our victories. Philippines, Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea. Iceland, even!

And of course the really important point is, Why? Why are we still in most of those places?

A. It works. We want them to stay democratic and peaceful, so we stick around and keep our eyes on things.
B. It puts our forces close to various bad guys around the globe. Mighty handy, that's been. Mostly because it prevents wars. It is the real pacifism.
C. The whole way of picturing the US as just another nation or empire fighting this war and that is stupid. We are, actually, the cops on this planet. We are not fighting "wars" (in any classical sense of the word) at all. We are cleaning up bad neighborhoods. And if a police station is built right in the middle of gang territory, and the cops start aggressively patrolling and walking the beats--that just makes sense. It's good. It's good that we will have troops sitting right next to Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia. That's one of the many excellent reasons we are in Iraq.
Posted by John Weidner at 2:05 PM

February 29, 2008

Pummel him...

Orrin Judd, on John McCain

...We can argue about whether it's a good or a bad thing, but it pretty undeniably seems to be the case that Maverick dislikes even the usual political back and forth with colleagues he respects, but revels in going after those he holds in contempt. Thus, the gentlemanly tenor of his contest with his main GOP rival, Mike Huckabee, as opposed to the cold-bloodedness with which he dispatched the poseur, Mitt Romney. Because of this dynamic, he'd be fairly unlikely to really pummel Ms Clinton, who he likes, but appears eager to get it on with Senator Obama. The free ride Mr. Obama has received from the press and his fellow Democrats will serve him ill in this regard, as he's utterly unprepared to deal with criticism...

One of the really evil ideas of our time is that it is wrong to criticize someone who is black, or of another favored minority. In fact, this notion is racist.

Most Democrats are racists. That is, they hold blacks to a lower standard, they do not treat them as equals.

And they have institutionalized their racism, so that the entire country tiptoes around any criticism of certain minority groups. I certainly feel it; I would hesitate here to criticize certain minority groups, lest lame-brains pounce on me and say I'm "filled with hatred," or similar garbage.

So McCain will be doing the country a big favor if he really tears into Obama. And then, when he's accused of "racism," he should forthrightly confront the issue, and say that the double standard is the real racism.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:44 AM

February 28, 2008

The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth...

Life.news.com (Thanks to Orrin)

Senator Barack Obama debated his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night and said his biggest mistake was voting with a unanimous Senate to help save Terri Schiavo. Terri is the disabled Florida woman whose husband won the legal right to starve her to death...

...During the Tuesday debate, Obama said he should have stood up against the life-saving legislation...

This seems strange to me. Maybe I missed something, but I haven't heard that Obama is taking any flack for his Schaivo vote. Hillary isn't saying, "You voted to save Schaivo. You've betrayed a woman's right to choose. Of course here it was a man who got to chose, but it's the principle of the thing!" So why bring the issue up? Is it some kind of Left-wing litmus test?

One would think that, politically, he would just want to let the issue slide. Surely he stands to lose votes over this, at least in the general election?

Maybe it comes from the heart. I've rather suspected, that, to the lefty nihilist, abortion and euthanasia are sacraments.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 AM

February 26, 2008

More Republican dirty tricks...

David Freddoso, at The Corner:

Senate Republicans just voted for cloture on the bill to withdraw from Iraq. Cloture was acheived in a 70-24 vote.

Why did they vote that way? So that they could debate it. This is not unlike what happened when Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) attempted to impeach Vice President Cheney. The Republicans there voted to have the debate (although they were stymied by the House Majority).

Majority leader Reid (D-Nev.), who filed for cloture, complains now that the Republicans are engaged in delaying tactics. Why isn't he welcoming a chance to have an up-or-down vote on ending our involvement in Iraq?

It's good to see us Republicans taking advantage of the evil witlessness of Democrats!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:05 PM

February 25, 2008

Risibly lame.....

Diogenes writes:

The Religious Right is what Lefties call believing Christians during an election year. Believers are generally loathed by the glitterati, but there's votes in them thar hills, and every four years, in order to score higher in the southern states, the Democratic leadership makes tardy and risibly lame attempts at church-going. It always backfires. The news footage of Hillary leaving church with her white-gloved hand clutching a prayer-book is as convincing as the famous shot of the senior George Bush tossing back a beer in that Jersey City tavern. To fake an interest, you need a trace of familiarity with your subject....(There's more. Fun.)

Too true. Obama has a huge advantage here, because he can tap into the whole "Christianity equals the Civil Rights Movement equals liberal Democrats" thing. It's a fake, but it always plays well. Blacks have a pass on the derision that liberals heap on Christians. It's allowed, as a sort of charming folk-custom among the colorful simple folk. White liberals can patronize their darkies, much as they might go watch whirling dervishes or Hindoo fakirs. It's understood that this faith stuff has nothing to do with the elites.

Things are much harder for Lefty white guys. I always remember Al Gore saying that we do such-and-such "In my faith tradition." Clang! He gave away the game right there. Fake, fake, got no rhythm. I bet Bush senior gave away his little game of being one of the guys, by politely sipping his schooner of beer, and leaving half of it unconsumed. He should have downed it with a smile, and wiped the foam off his lip with the back of his hand. And maybe asked for a shot to go with it...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:26 AM

February 23, 2008

Here's a train I'd like to ride....

Baghdad's green-domed Central railway station

The green-domed Baghdad Central station. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

Reuters: [Link] The service between Baghdad and Basra resumed with little fanfare in December after a hiatus of 18 months. Few dared use it at first, but word has spread of a safe and cheap journey, and railway officials are scrambling for funds for more carriages.

"There's been a great acceptance of the service ... People do not feel anxious. They're coming with their families," said Abdul-Ameen Mahmoud, the railway company's head of passenger transport.

The Iraqi General Railways Company halted the service in 2006 after killings, bombings and kidnappings intensified in the infamous "Triangle of Death", an area south of the capital through which the line passes.

Built by imperial German and British engineers in the first two decades of the 20th century in a race between Berlin and London to control the region, Iraq's railways were once a vital link between Europe and the Middle East....

I think the President should make another trip to Iraq. Oh, say, maybe in.........October. And ride the train from Baghdad to Basra. Just to show America which party wins wars....

Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

February 22, 2008

It's jam to me, I must confess....

I must admit I'm taking a certain grim satisfaction in the way the NYT and the press are attacking John McCain with innuendo and zero facts. We conservatives have been gritting our teeth for so long watching a certain important Republican senator sucking-up to the Times and the news-media, who have been happy to pretend to like him as long as he attacks our president and his own party.

PowerLine writes:

.... the Times offered zero evidence of either the affair or the favors. That didn't bother the AP, though; if the Times "suggests" something, it's fit to print.

The AP next proceeds to place Cindy McCain in a long line of political wives whose husbands have been accused of sexual misdeeds: Larry Craig's wife Suzanne; Hillary Clinton; Dina McGreevy, whose husband publicly announced an affair with a gay lover; Carlita Kilpatrick, whose husband, the Mayor of Detroit, sent "sexually explicit text messages" to his top aide; Lee Hart, whose husband Gary frolicked with Donna Rice aboard the Monkey Business...you get the picture.

But wait! Those are all women whose husbands actually did something wrong. To put Cindy McCain in that group implies that the "rumor" that the Times "strongly suggested" might be true is actually a fact. I think that John and Cindy McCain belong in another group altogether: innocent people whose reputations have been slimed by irresponsible rags....

It's not only fun, it's going to be very interesting to watch how this works out, and how big John responds to his media pals turning on him. And it's also pleasing to think that McCain will be much harder for the Democrats to beat, since they will have much less ability to say that he's just part of the Bush administration, etc, after having reveled in him being the "maverick."

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

February 20, 2008

Si, se puede!

This makes a lot of sense...(By Scott Ott)

(2008-02-19) — As Cuban President Fidel Castro announced today he would end his half-century of totalitarian rule, sources close to Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama tried to tamp down speculation that they were on “the short list” of potential replacements for the ailing Communist dictator.

Rumors in Cuba carry the currency of mainstream media coverage in the U.S., and many Castro-supporters are eager to find new leadership that combines Castro-like charisma with iron-fisted leadership tactics and revolutionary support for government-run health care, education and industry.

“A Clinton-Obama ticket,” said one unnamed Cuba scholar, “combines the power and the glory that was Fidel Castro, with the unshakable commitment to collectivism, controlled economies, and virulent resistance to the United States as a superpower.”...

Either one would be a good fit for the job...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:43 PM

I mean, the Mahdi's due any day, right?

Dr Weevil writes:

Barack Obama’s weirdly Messianic campaign could conceivably turn out to be useful in the War on Terror. Why not start a rumor that he’s the Twelfth Imam? That should freak out Ahmadinejad and his millennarian terrorist buddies. How better to be a ‘Hidden’ Imam than to arrange to be born in Hawaii, insist that you are not a Muslim, and run for presidency of the Great Satan? An imam can’t get much more hidden than that...

I like it a lot. I'd guess our intelligence agencies are not up to this, but maybe the Brits or the Israelis could do it.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

February 19, 2008

"A good synopsis of the current state of American politics"

When Bill Kristol was offered a spot at the NYT, I mostly just hoped he wouldn't goof-up and disgrace us conservatives. I think this piece, Democrats Should Read Kipling, does us proud...

....Orwell offers a highly qualified appreciation of the then (and still) politically incorrect Kipling. He insists that one must admit that Kipling is “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting.” Still, he says, Kipling “survives while the refined people who have sniggered at him seem to wear so badly.” One reason for this is that Kipling “identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition.”

“In a gifted writer,” Orwell remarks, “this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality.” Kipling “at least tried to imagine what action and responsibility are like.” For, Orwell explains, “The ruling power is always faced with the question, ‘In such and such circumstances, what would you do?’, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions.” Furthermore, “where it is a permanent and pensioned opposition, as in England, the quality of its thought deteriorates accordingly.”

If I may vulgarize the implications of Orwell’s argument a bit: substitute Republicans for Kipling and Democrats for the opposition, and you have a good synopsis of the current state of American politics.

Having controlled the executive branch for 28 of the last 40 years, Republicans tend to think of themselves as the governing party — with some of the arrogance and narrowness that implies, but also with a sense of real-world responsibility. Many Democrats, on the other hand, no longer even try to imagine what action and responsibility are like. They do, however, enjoy the support of many refined people who snigger at the sometimes inept and ungraceful ways of the Republicans....

Well, it's true. Actually, I think that way myself. Of course you will think me a bit absurd, but when I blog I sometimes think of myself as sitting around with George and Condi, puzzling out real-world solutions to problems. And resenting keenly those who propose sweeping solutions or easy generalizations. It does make blogging more fun.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM

February 18, 2008

The actions NOT taken were the policy...

Jim Miller writes on the Africa policies of Clinton and Bush. Guess who I think history will consider a great president. For this and a lonnng list of other reasons...

...The actions taken not taken in Rwanda were the Clinton administration's important African policy. Besides that, he did little, other than to continue the policies of previous administration. Africa did not much interest either of his secretaries of state, Warren Christopher and Madeleine Albright.

In contrast to Clinton, George W. Bush had promised a less activist foreign policy during his initial campaign for office. There were some exceptions. From the beginning, he backed Colin Powell's successful efforts to end the civil war in the southern Sudan, a war that had gone on for decades (or perhaps centuries in some ways of looking at it). (Incidentally, I have thought for some time that Powell has gotten too little credit for that success, and for helping defuse the tension between India and Pakistan, somewhat later.)

But, after the 9/11 attack, that changed, and Bush decided on a more activist foreign policy, in part, I suppose, to get support for the war on terrorism. But the area he chose, and the policies he backed after 9/11 were not inevitable, and show something interesting about the man, and his administration. Bush decided to help the poorest continent, Africa, and decided to help in three principal ways; he provided help for fighting malaria and AIDS, and he set up a new system of foreign aid, which challenges African countries to reform, before they receive the aid.

All three have had successes, some of which you can read about in this article in the Washington Post. It is likely that, in the next decade or so, millions of Africans will live who might have died without these Bush initiatives.

Let's summarize. Bill Clinton could have saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans — but chose not to, in order to preserve his political viability. George W. Bush has saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans, in spite of the political costs.

The political gains for Clinton were not great, and the political costs to Bush were probably small. But the contrast, in which one man does the right thing and the other doesn't tells us more than a little about the two men. And the fact that this contrast has gotten so little coverage tells us more than a little about our "mainstream" journalists.

(I was dubious about the Somalia intervention; I was, to the extent I followed the question, in favor of stopping the genocide in Rwanda. That's because I thought that the first required enormous resources — or exceptionally skillful diplomacy — and that the second required trivial resources. In fact, the UN commander in Rwanda at the time, Roméo Dallaire, thought he could stop the genocide with a mere 4,000 troops. In contrast, to disarm the Somalia clans might have required 400,000 troops, or a very long campaign.)....

Bush is a Christian leader. Clinton is a narcissistic lefty nihilist. The results are plain to see. History will judge.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 PM

February 15, 2008

A low-down dirty trick--campaigning on issues and facts!

I found the tone and style of this piece, AlterNet: What Will Obama Do When There's No Hillary Firewall?, by Earl Ofari Hutchinson utterly fascinating for the way it openly assumes that attacking a candidate on the issues, and the way he has voted in the past, is dirty politics, and in some never-specified way "over the line." (Thanks to Glenn.)

I think this is going to be a major theme in the up-coming election. To campaign on a Democrat's issues will be called "swiftboating." (Which is portrayed as a scoundrel trick when, in fact, the Swifties did nothing wrong, Kerry was never able to refute them, and had to admit to one major lie.) And, psychologically, it's preparation for a defeat to come--"We are going to be stabbed in the back. So there will be no need to re-think."

...If her campaign goes down, so will Obama's Hillary firewall. The gloves will be off and it won't be pretty.

There was an early hint of the dirty stuff that will come his way. The instant that Obama announced his campaign last February, National Rifle Association executive vice-president Wayne LaPierre wasted no words when asked about Obama's strong support for a ban on semi-automatic assault weapons, and severe limits on handgun purchases during his tenure in the Illinois Senate. [Why is this "dirty stuff?" If Obama believed in it and voted for it, shouldn't he and his supporters be proud?]

He called Obama's pro-gun control stance "bad politics." LaPierre's admonition was an ominous warning that the powerful gun-lobby group would oppose Obama, and so would millions of other passionate gun owners that take their cue from the NRA. [Isn't that what's supposed to happen in a democracy?]

That's just the start. His votes and views during his days in the Illinois Senate on taxes, abortion, civil liberties, civil rights, law enforcement and capital punishment have so far drawn little public attention, because of the media and a big chunk of the public's obsession with nailing Hillary. But in a head to head match up with the likely GOP presidential nominee John McCain, Republicans and conservative interest groups will surgically dissect his state Senate votes and they will find much there to pound him on. [And he's going to proudly defend his record, right? Stand up for his beliefs, right? And you too, Mr Hutchinson? You will be wearing your candidate's record like a badge of pride, right?]

The National Taxpayers Union will pound him for voting to impose hundreds of new taxes and fees on businesses in his last year in the state Senate. Though the tax hikes were deemed necessary to help close Illinois's crushing budget deficit, business and taxpayer interest groups screamed foul. ["Were deemed." I love the passive voice. Were "deemed" by who? God? So, if something has been "deemed," it's wrong to oppose?]

Obama's vote to raise taxes and his consistent pro-labor votes marked him as another tax and spend Democrat. This has been the dread label that Republicans have tagged Democratic contenders with in elections past. This always strikes an angry chord with millions of voters who equate higher taxes with government waste, inefficiency and pork barrel favoritism. And even more insidiously, equate high taxes with special interest giveaways to minorities and the poor. ["Dread label." You have not argued that he is NOT a tax-and-spend Democrat, so shouldn't you call it an "honest label?" Next you will object to him being "tagged" as a "Democrat!" Insidious, those Republicans.]

Obama got a perfect rating from the Illinois Planned Parenthood Council. In 2001, he backed legislation that restricted medical support in certain types of abortions where the fetus survives. Pro-life groups interpreted that as a vote to strengthen abortion rights. ["Interpreted?" You mean it's not that? Actually, bad news pal, us insidious right-wingers are going to "interpret" it as INFANTICIDE. Which it is.]
His vote and views on choice will make him a prime target for pro-life groups. He got a zero rating from the National Right to Life Committee for voting for stem cell research, for funding abortions abroad, and against parental notification in the U.S. Senate.

Obama's pro-civil liberties votes on capital punishment and police power and the 100 percent rating he got from the ACLU won't help him dodge the soft-on-crime label on the issue of crime and punishment. [Are you claiming he's NOT soft on crime?]

McCain and the GOP hit squads will go for the political jugular and lambaste him as an anti-police, anti-business, pro abortion, pro labor, pro-gun control, tax and spend liberal Democrat. Conservative interest groups will tar him as a liberal Democrat who will bend way over to pander to labor, minorities, and women. Obama's record on civil liberties, civil rights, abortion, and spending will endear him to millions of voters, but not in the South and the heartland states. ["Obama's record"--exactly. You admit it's his record that will be "lambasted" by "hit squads." So perhaps you ought to call them "GOP TRUTH squads?"]

Then there's the personal dirty stuff. They'll hammer him for his dealings with an indicted Chicago financier, for possible conflicts of interest in other financial dealings and legislative votes, and for his fuzzy, oftentimes contradictory, statements and actions on the Iraq War and terrorism. Then there's the ultimate ploy: the race card. [Uh, Obama's whole campaign is a "race card." He'd be a minor politician if he weren't black.] The GOP hit squads will dig, sift and comb through every inch of his personal life and poke through his voting record to find any hint of personal or political muck.

Actually, what I think is most important here is that there's not a hint that Mr Obama might have a political philosophy, or core values, that he is willing to stand for, or defend openly and unashamedly. Nihilism is just assumed to be the normal human condition.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:16 AM

February 13, 2008

"Oft evil will shall evil mar"

I'm not too happy about the political landscape right now. But since I'm a strong supporter of President Bush, and think he is in fact a far greater leader than he is given credit for, I guess I've had seven fat years, and can't complain too much about fields full of lean kine.

But it is with keen pleasure that I now get to watch a couple of really horrid evil Dems slash at each other with the weapons they have used so unfairly against Republicans all my life.

Here's a treat: Hillary's unhappy about....wait for it.....the press going easy on a Democrat! O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay! Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of...

...The press's failure to closely examine Obama's Iraq record is a source of perpetual frustration for the Clinton camp--and a fair gripe. It has allowed Obama's supporters to mythologize him as a fearless crusader. At the same time, it has enabled the Clintons to mount overzealous attacks on his record....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:16 AM

February 12, 2008

"Shorn of his Teleprompter, we saw a different Obama"

Dean Barnett has a intriguing article on watching Barack Obama giving a speech where he went a bit off-message..

...Regardless, the liberal commentators have gushed their praise nearly every time Obama has opened his mouth before a Teleprompter the past few months

It was thus interesting to see Obama climb to the stage at Virginia's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Saturday night. As he strode to the podium, Obama clutched in his hands a pile of 3 by 5 index cards. The index cards meant only one thing--no Teleprompter.

Shorn of his Teleprompter, we saw a different Obama. His delivery was halting and unsure. He looked down at his obviously copious notes every few seconds throughout the speech. Unlike the typical Obama oration where the words flow with unparalleled fluidity, he stumbled over his phrasing repeatedly....

...What makes Obama's Jefferson-Jackson speech especially relevant is where he went when he went off script. The unifying Obama who has impressed so many people during this campaign season vanished, replaced by just another angry liberal railing against George W. Bush, Karl Rove, Exxon Mobil, and other long standing Democratic piñatas. The pressing question that Obama's decidedly uninspiring Jefferson-Jackson oratory raises is which Obama is the real Obama--the one who read beautifully crafted words from a Teleprompter after his victory in Iowa, or the tediously angry liberal who improvised in Virginia?...

I hope McCain is clever enough to pin this slippery character down, if he ends up being the candidate...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:44 PM

February 11, 2008

Jonah speaks to Nineveh

I suspect that most people just think I'm a bit kooky when I obsess over my theory that most "liberals" aren't liberals at all any more. That they are nihilists, that they've been "hollowed out," that any philosophy or principles that you associate with the term "liberal" are gone. But I see the evidence all around us, and I think it is the real story in our politics, and in the culture war.

You simply won't "get it" if you keep asking why liberals are doing such un-liberal things...It's the wrong question to ask.

Jonah Goldberg has an illustrative piece in NRO (Thanks to Anchoress and Gerald): Taking Issue With the Democratic Race: An Empty Primary...

....But that’s it. The rest of their disagreement boils down to who is a more authentic agent of “change.” In fairness, there’s an interesting debate to be had on that score, as Obama and Hillary’s philosophies of government differ dramatically. Obama believes in a transformative politics where lofty — often gassy — rhetoric is not merely a substitute for action, but actually preferable to the nitty-gritty detail work Hillary prefers.

But that debate is almost entirely theoretical,
[Actually, it's NOT "theoretical"--there's no theory of government ever made explicit] drowned out by the mad scramble to assemble an identity-politics coalition of generic “Hispanics,” “blacks,” “white women,” etc. It’s amazing how complacent the media is in carrying on with this kind of nakedly reductionist analysis. The notion that Hispanics may be voting one way or another for reasons other than their ethnicity seems never to come up.

Meanwhile, on the Republican side, women, blacks and Hispanics vote too, but that’s not how the demographics and coalitions of the right work. GOP candidates actually have to win over people who believe things. (After all, the famed, and tragically frayed, “Reagan coalition” was about different groups of principled people, not a mere hodgepodge of ethnicities and genders.) Exit pollsters ask GOP voters whether they’re committed pro-lifers, whether they think the economy is the most important issue, etc. I’m sure they ask Democratic voters similar questions, but it’s telling how little we hear about that. What Democratic voters actually believe doesn’t seem to be that relevant, in large part because Democrats aren’t voting their beliefs, they’re voting affections.

Obama is “the one” — in Oprah’s words — not because of his policies but because his is a transcendent, unifying, super-nifty-cool personality. Hillary, meanwhile, is staying aloft largely through her ability to guilt-trip female liberals into sticking with her. Her cultivated weepiness and dour lamentations about how she’s been so picked on sometimes make it seem like she’s setting up a political version of one of those “how-does-a-Jewish-mother-change-a-lightbulb?” jokes. Answer: “It’s all right; I’ll just sit in the dark.”...

....The Republican party is a mess, absolutely. Conservatives are sorting out what they believe, what heresies they can tolerate and on which principles they will not bend. At times this argument is loud, ugly and unfortunate. But you know what? At least it’s an argument about something...

Liberalism used to be about liberating oppressed peoples from fascist dictators, and bringing them democracy and opportunity. Too bad no one wants to do that stuff anymore. Oh wait...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:21 AM

February 9, 2008

Send 'em to sensitivity training...

Ponder for a moment the prodigious amounts of energy, money, and human effort lefty Democrats have poured into "healing" discrimination and the divisions of our society. Think of the relentless propaganda that pounds schoolchildren from their tenderest years. Think of the hectoring and bullying of us all; the hearings, the lawsuits, the throngs marched off to "sensitivity training." Think of the pompous self-rightousness with which they wrap themselves in the civil rights movement of ancient history.

Think of the FEAR we all live in, fear of saying or doing something "insensitive," and being branded racist, or sexist, or homophobic, or whatever the current fad. (Well, I'm personally somewhat less afraid, since, as a white male Catholic Republican, I'm by definition racist, sexist and homophobic. An oppressor!)

98% of this stuff is done by Democrats. Right? SO, we would expect Democrats to be the least guilty of discrimination, right? The least divided by sexism, the least polarized by racism. The least plagued by the divisions which, supposedly rend our society.

So, notice some of the the voting breakdowns in the recent California primary. (Thanks to Jayson Javitz) The numbers are Obama/Clinton:

Black men: 81% to 19%. Black women: 75% to 17%! Latino women: 28% to 71%. Latino men: 37% to 62%. White women: 36% to 59%.

Way to "bring us together" Dems!

Of course I'm being sarcastic; the last thing that Democrats want is to end discrimination, it's their stock-in-trade.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:40 AM

February 8, 2008

Lists of reasons...

Over the last few months serious bloggers and pundits have given us lists of reasons why conservatives oppose John McCain. But you would never haver guessed that there were such documents from listening to the mainstream media. Opposition to McCain was invariably portrayed as personal pique, or kooky right-wing extremism.

I caught a bit of Rush Limbaugh this morning, and he was quoting some media lefties who are coming up with........lists of reasons why conservatives oppose John McCain! Gee, I wonder why the shift?

Posted by John Weidner at 10:53 AM

February 7, 2008

Thinking of the Obama campaign...

"Man is a creature who lives not by bread alone, but principally by catchwords."
    -- Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque, 1881
Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 PM

February 6, 2008

Axis of Good...

Orrin Judd:

....President McCain will inherit the Axis of Good that W forged--with the particularly important additions being India, Indonesia, Brazil, France (at least momentarily), Canada, and Germany. It's only Bush Derangement Syndrome that prevents foreign policy experts from seeing that. Formalizing the League would be a useful but unnecessary step...

It probably doesn't matter, as far as the Global War on Terror is concerned, who gets elected. At least for the big picture. Bush is similar to Truman, whose vision crated our template for fighting the Cold War. Truman was enormously unpopular, but there was not a chance that his successors would repudiate his policy.

The Bush Doctrine will be America's doctrine now. All the current candidates appear to be pygmies compared to him, and so not have the capacity to formulate a new strategic doctrine, even if one were possible.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:08 PM

February 3, 2008

"something more raw and instinctual at work here"

The older and cannier among you will remember All in the Family, and its theme song, which contained a line I always thought was totally wrong for Archie Bunker: "...Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again." No way. That one must have come out of the mind of some bookish Hollywood songwriter, not an urban working-class guy like Archie.

A real Archie of that time in the mid-seventies hardly have been able to express what he wanted, because Archie was clearly a "Reagan Democrat" before Reagan was nominated. He had no political philosophy that he could have ever articulated, but he was disgusted with the sickness of the Democrats and the culture of the 60's. And when Ronald Reagan came along, the Archies liked him instantly, without ever thinking much about policies or philosophy. It was mostly gut feeling.

And I suspect something like it is happening for John McCain right now. (NO, I'm not saying McCain is a Reagan, or abating one jot or tittle the reasons why I dislike the man.) And I'm still a Romney supporter. BUT, I can't help noticing how much Romney is like Herbert Hoover. Hoover was a great American, a talented businessman and manager of government programs, and a world-class humanitarian hero in the aftermath of WWI. But he was not a guy the ordinary American warms to.

There's a famous line attributed (falsely) to Admiral King, "When the going gets tough, they send for the sons-of-bitches." I think there's a something similar in the inarticulate soul of America that says, "When leaders turn mushy in times of war or crisis, send for the Jacksonians." (Here's the piece to read on Jacksonians, by Walter Russell Mead.) Patrick Ruffini writes:

....But there is something more raw and instinctual at work here too. Older belligerent men are not afraid of confrontation, either personally or politically. I’ve heard more than one guy mention McCain’s volcanic temper as a positive. They equate this with toughness against our enemies.

A commenter on my previous post also reminded me again of McCain’s family origins: like many Southerners, he’s Scots-Irish and has the temperament to match. If you’re not an ideologically driven activist, and you fit the profile of an older belligerent man, you’ll probably end up choosing the Jacksonian flag & country candidate over the corporate titan....
Well, I can resonate with that. I loathe McCain for the many times he's poked ME, as a conservative Republican, in the eye. BUT, there's a lot of people who deserve a poke in the eye, and I'm not unready to see President McCain pick up his eye-poking stick and do something about it. And something in me hopes that he will take to hunting down and exterminating jihadi animals with the same tenacity that the Scotch-Irish demonstrated in hunting down redskins, a ferocity they learned in Britain as border-reavers and as Protestants transplanted into Catholic Ireland.

And Orrin Judd writes, about this article by Mark Steyn...

...We yield to no one in our regard for Mr. Steyn. He's consistently funny and insightful. He was helpful when I needed a jacket blurb for my book and I keep his book of columns on 9-11 on hand for when I want to stoke the fires of righteous anger. It's always a treat to chat with one of his bevy of personal assistants. Heck, I even pulled a couple strings to get into a Dartmouth student event where he's speaking later this month.

Which all makes it excruciatingly painful not just to read that he actually thought the neocons knew anything about Republican politics, but that little bit about how happy Hillary must be happy about how the election is shaping up. Being a conservative imposes certain obligations, none higher than a respect for the lessons that history teaches us. The notion that, in a contest to lead one's country, being an older straight white male war hero leaves one in an inferior position to a liberal woman or black is so ahistorical that even Bob Herbert knows better: "Those who may think that a woman named Clinton or a black man named Obama will have an easy time winning the White House this year should switch to something less disorienting than whatever it is they’re smoking." It's a sad day on the Connecticut when a Timesman makes more sense than a Hampshireman...

    

Another thought. Hugh Hewitt is worried that McCain will be a candidate like Bob Dole, too old, and uninspiring. But McCain is nothing like Dole, and, more importantly, he misses an important aspect of Jacksonian values. Mead writes:

....Respect is also due age. Those who know Jacksonian America only through its very inexact representations in the media think of the United States as a youth-obsessed, age-neglecting society. In fact, Jacksonian America honors age. Andrew Jackson was sixty-one when he was elected president for the first time; Ronald Reagan was seventy. Most movie stars lose their appeal with age; those whose appeal stems from their ability to portray and embody Jacksonian values—like John Wayne—only become more revered...

And yet another thought. I've hearing reports that lots of lefties are saying how much they like McCain. Doubtless this is because they are deranged with hatred of Bush, and McCain has been a big thorn in Bush's Side. So what happens when Bush is gone, and McCain's the leader of the Republicans? Do you think things will continue to be friendly? My theory is that lefty nihilists hate Bush because he believes in God, and believes in America. To the nihilist, belief is an affront and an irritant. So what happens when they discover that McCain is a patriot? Ha ha. We may be in for some fun.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:31 PM

February 2, 2008

Pull the lever anyway...

Rand expresses it so well...

Someone once said that there are two political parties--the Evil Party (Dems), and the Stupid Party (GOP). Occasionally they will band together and do something both evil and stupid. This is called bi-partisanship.

And in many such instances, it goes by the name of "McCain-SomeDemocrat." As Levin notes, there would have been no "Reagan-Feingold," or "Reagan-Kennedy" bills on restricting free speech or abandoning the borders. And that is why, for many Republicans (or at least for many conservatives), they will need extra strength nose plugs to pull the lever for him this fall, if they can muster the will to do it at all.

Well, I feel like that also, but it will be important to get him elected anyway. Remember, the president appoints thousands of other people, who can do a ton of mischief if they happen to be lefty nihilists. And there will probably be three Supreme Court justices needed soon, plus lots of lower-court judges. So pull the lever for him anyway, and maybe donate some money too.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 PM

Soon, soon, we will stand straight again...

Winston Churchill once wrote that the best argument against democracy was five minutes of conversation with a voter.

If Obama doesn't crash and burn on Tuesday, we are going to be saying "winston didn't know the half of it." Try, for a sample of what's to come, this stupefyingly banal WaPo op-ed by Susan Eisenhower, the grand-daughter of a great man...

....Given the magnitude of these issues and the cost of addressing them, our next president must be able to bring about a sense of national unity and change. As we no longer have the financial resources to address all these problems comprehensively and simultaneously, setting priorities will be essential. With hard work, much can be done.

The biggest barrier to rolling up our sleeves and preparing for a better future is our own apathy, fear or immobility. We have been living in a zero-sum political environment where all heads have been lowered to avert being lopped off by angry, noisy extremists. I am convinced that Barack Obama is the one presidential candidate today who can encourage ordinary Americans to stand straight again; he is a man who can salve our national wounds and both inspire and pursue genuine bipartisan cooperation. Just as important, Obama can assure the world and Americans that this great nation's impulses are still free, open, fair and broad-minded.

No measures to avert the serious, looming consequences can be taken without this sense of renewal. Uncommon political courage will be required. Yet this courage can be summoned only if something profoundly different transpires. Putting America first -- ahead of our own selfish interests -- must be our national priority if we are to retain our capacity to lead....

I am just SO looking forward to having our "national wounds salved."

Posted by John Weidner at 6:16 PM

January 28, 2008

"...By lunchtime of September 11th"

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

A couple of good quotes on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, a man I greatly admire. As usual, the Corgis-of-doom are biting at his ankles...

Mark Steyn, at The Corner....

...Personally I find the idea of [McCain] running explicitly as a "man of honor" rather unseemly, and more than a little reminiscent of Emerson's line that "the louder he proclaimed his honor, the faster we counted the spoons" - the spoons in this case being campaign finance, illegal immigration, global warming, Big Pharma demonization, etc.

But, that aside, there's something extraordinarily petty about the High Horseman's jibes at both Romney and Rummy. Rumsfeld's tenure at Defense is for the historians now, but I know this: he was an unusually far-sighted thinker for a Cabinet official, and his instant strategic clarity by lunchtime of September 11th was critical to this nation's response. The reductive notion peddled by the Senator � that everything that's gone wrong in Iraq is Rumsfeld's fault and everything that's gone right is McCain's � is not only false but weirdly obsessive.

Rumsfeld's (and Bush's) strategic clarity was to realize immediately on 9/11 that we were AT WAR. As opposed to the view that we were dealing with an aberration by a few lunatics. And that we must fight for our civilization and our safety, and the peace of the world. Which instantly earned them the hatred of all the lefty nihilists, who don't think anything worth fighting for.

Another good one, by Hugh Hewitt:

Rumsfeld's life has been defined by public service of the highest sort. His leadership in the war, from the moment he went towards the crash site on 9/11, was defined by a relentless focus on the enemy, a focus so extraordinary that it made him a political liability and a target for every grouser inside the Pentagon and every critic of the war--for whatever reason-- outside of the building. His conflicts with State are still only dimly understood, and the mistakes in Iraq though always assigned to him will be found in time to have had many fathers.

Only small-minded people think Rumsfeld is other than a great American and patriot, though of course a controversial one. He continues to deserve the respect and thanks of the American people.

I thus wonder whenever Senator McCain snarls out "Rumsfeld" as he does in debate after debate if others beside me find it unsettling and off-putting that there is so much venom there?...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

"step left-and-lively"

A quote I saved, by the Anchoress, from 2005...

...Sen. John McCain discovered he could make the press “love” him by criticizing his party and not merely working with the opposition but shoving his metaphorical tongue down their metaphorical throats. He became the media darling of 1999 and 2000, with endless magazine covers, endless gushing interviews with Katie and Diane and Oprah, endless furrowed-brow talks with Ted Koppel. The “Maverick” became the only acceptable sort of GOP candidate and - for many in the press - a palatable alternative to Al Gore, who was becoming problematic, what with Buddhist nuns, controlling legal authorities, Clinton-fatigue and spots of embarrassing exaggerations regarding his personal life and his “inventiveness.”

When the press reluctantly left McCain behind to cover the actual GOP candidate, McCain was smart enough to realize that all he ever had to do to call them back and bask in the warmth of their klieg lights was to step left-and-lively, and he has done it ever since. He cannot stop himself. Those lights, those microphones, those headlines and all that unequivical approval - it’s heady stuff to a guy who crashed 5 planes...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

January 26, 2008

Icky compromises...

Peggy Noonan writes, in the WSJ:

....On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!"

This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues.

Were there other causes? Yes, of course. But there was an immediate and essential cause....

Sorry Peggy, I think you are nuts.

Actually, I think the problems of the party, and of conservatives, are the problems of success.



We spent decades dreaming of getting control of both the White House and Congress. We thought that THEN we would be in the Promised Land!


But each group was assuming that they would then get all those things it especially wanted, and forgetting that the party has become a big tent, and different elements wanted different things. It was never possible for everyone to get all that they wanted. Disappointment was inevitable.


I could write a lonnnnng list of Bush accomplishments. But they still amount to each faction getting half a loaf. And people are not dealing well with that.


Also, many of the objectives conservatives were actually in agreement on have been achieved! Think of Welfare Reform--we did it, and now the issue is no longer uniting us. Or, even bigger, the fall of the Soviet Union. That used to be the biggest blob of glue holding Republicans together.

And even if all Republicans wanted the same things, there would still be disappointments, because we need to gain the support of "independents" to stay in power. That's just the way it is. And those things we've already accomplished are precisely the ones that were easiest to sell to independents!

Now we are facing the more difficult problems, ones that we will have to finesse, and make icky compromises on. I think Bush has done a fairly good job at this sausage-making task. But it's a totally THANKLESS task, because Republicans just hate to admit to themselves that messy incomplete wins are what they are going to have to settle for these days.

Also, we tend to forget the compromises that were made in the past, especially by St Ronnie! He was always being castigated for "betraying the conservative cause."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 AM

January 25, 2008

Well, this clarifies some things...

Can you believe the NYT endorsement of McCain!

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. [Wot a coincidence; "small angry fringe" was what I was going to call the NYT crowd.] With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation [for instance, limiting the citizen's ability to donate money to buy ads for Republicans, while not limiting the media's ability to throw all its weight into electing Democrats. That's called "free speech"] he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field. [Whoopee. A choice between pro-war and anti-war Democrats.]

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right [Thank you for explaining. I had naively imagined he was at least a little bit Republican] because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle. He was an early advocate for battling global warming [Which we are supposed to accept on faith, ignoring the actual science] and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate [Except the fundamental value called "Rule of Law."]. A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country’s treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character. [It does say a lot. McCains' (and the NYT's) position can be summarized in two words. "Free Mumia." That kind of "character" is Lefty nihilism. Me, I favor those who fight for the victims, not the crooks.]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 AM

January 23, 2008

What's not to hate?

Amy Goldstein...

Have you noticed how all of the Republican candidates can barely conceal their contempt for Governor Mitt Romney? It goes way beyond the typical good-natured competition that usually is the hallmark of Republican contests. Senator McCain has snarled at Governor Romney in debates and Gov. Huckabee has tried to paint Romney as cold and uncaring, while Sen. Fred Thompson attacked Governor Romney right out of the box. This display of hatred usually is the hallmark of the Democrats.

So, why do the other candidates hate Mitt Romney? Several reasons:.....

Good stuff, worth reading. Makes me think I'm right to be a Romney supporter.

Actually though, I have to sympathize with the other candidates a wee bit. Romney's like a certain clean-cut square-jawed guy I remember from high school who was handsome AND got A's AND was on the team AND was elected class president.....AND had a cute girlfriend. Jeez, I hate him still.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

Donating to McCain would be......painful

Hugh Hewitt: McCain's "Urgent Dash For Cash"

Genuine front-runners don't have to crisscross the country with a tin cup days before a crucial primary, but the Arizona maverick has no grassroots fund-raising effort like Obama's Romney's or Huckabee's, and no personal wealth to match Romney's. It is a foreshadowing of what the GOP will be up against from now until September if McCain is nominated --a poorly funded, aging, Beltway establishment figure with deep and abiding opposition among conservatives and no real ability to bring in the cash to compete with either Hillary or Obama should he draw the inside straight and gain the nomination.

Even fans of McCain have to admit his candidacy is built on the prayer of converting conservatives and then a second prayer of getting them to open their wallets. Because of the deep disagreements of the past, they won't be converting, and even if they resign themselves to his nomination should it happen, they won't be contributing....

That's the truth, I think. I know I'll vote for McCain if he's the Republican nominee, but will I dig deep in my usually fairly-empty pockets to contribute? Ummm...not sure. And it's important to remember that, contrary to popular lies, the Republican Party gets most of its funds in small contributions, and is much less in symbiosis with millionaires than the Dems.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

January 22, 2008

" waiting for somebody with a bigger megaphone"

Jim Geraghty, postmortem on Fred...

....Thompson more or less “debuted” with the 60 second video responding to Michael Moore, one of the most brilliant media messages we've seen in a long while from a conservative.

I think one of the reasons that video struck a chord with so many righty bloggers was because we're constantly seeing, and confronting, insane political rhetoric from the left. It's maybe even a an obsession of righty bloggers, or perhaps we give it more attention than it deserves. But every time Michael Moore, Rosie O'Donnell or Cindy Sheehan spout off, or Charlie Sheen goes off on his 9/11 conspiracy theories… every time Nancy Pelosi goes to meet with a dictator, or a prominent Democrat refuses to acknowledge progress in Iraq, or somebody on either side of the aisle suggests that wanting immigration law enforced is inherently racist, every time somebody puts out some insane conspiracy theory that suggests President Bush is behind terror attacks…

We on the right hear it, we get driven up the wall by it, we try to push back in our own limited way, and we're waiting for somebody with a bigger megaphone than us to push back. Very few high-profile Republicans give a full-throated pushback because A) they don't see it if they're up to their noses in legislative work on Capitol Hill or in the White House all day and B) they probably see responding to some fat propagandist or screeching antiwar widow-turned-celebrity as beneath them. (I realize this is a separate issue, but this helps explain some of Ann Coulter's appeal even when she goes too far - there is nobody on the left she won't take on).

Along comes Fred, who doesn't act as if rebutting Moore's propaganda is beneath him, and he points out that Moore likes to snuggle with censoring, brutal dictators, he suggests Moore is mentally unstable... and we loved it. We've been looking for this combativeness from a conservative for years, and it makes Giuliani's “I don't need Michael Moore to tell me about 9/11” sound like Marquess de Queensbury rules. To quote Frank J, we've been looking for somebody to “punch the hippies.”

Alas, there was little to none of that from Fred once he became a candidate. It became a fairly ordinary campaign, despite having some good folks around him....

Us old-timers still have sweet sweet memories of the time during the Vietnam War when a bunch of lefty slime animals were protesting in favor of communist tyranny in New York, and some hard hats swarmed out of a construction project and beat them up!

Say I'm weary,
Say I'm sad;
Say that health and wealth have missed me;
Say I'm growing old, but add........
Posted by John Weidner at 1:27 PM

January 21, 2008

Lexus liberals

William Katz:

I doubt if the well-heeled Dems are siding with Obama because they believe in him. They are the modern incarnation of the limousine liberals. (Today they're Lexus liberals, who always opt for the better sound system.) They feel no pain when the policies and leaders they support fail badly. This is no insult to Mr. Obama, who has many worthy qualities, but we've seen this crowd before. Bad schools? They can afford private schools. Crime in the streets? Why, darlings, one moves to the suburbs or into a doorman building. War? Why, of course we're against it. Aren't all the good people?

They side with Obama because it's the stylish thing to do. He's the latest cause, trotted out when the whales are asleep. They can feel good about themselves.
Posted by John Weidner at 1:46 PM

Like '96?

Mark Steyn:

I'm not saying McCain is a "winner" in the Hail-to-the-Chief sense, I'm just saying right now he's most likely to wind up with the nomination. This is beginning to feel like a thriller with tons of wild plot twists but a disappointing finale. Imagine 1996 with exciting car chases round hairpin bends but you still wind up with Bob Dole...

Whoopee. Just what we need...another crankly prickly senator to run for president after a lifetime of never managing any organization bigger than 20 people...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

January 19, 2008

"Every revolution devours its offspring..."

Do NOT miss The Wages of Sensitivity: The Democrats' politically correct chickens come home to roost, by Noemie Emery...

.... Looking ahead to the general election, Democrats were prepared to describe any critique made of Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton as an example of the racism and sexism that they like to believe permeates the Republican universe. But this was before their own race became quite so close, and so spirited. They never seem to have stopped to think what might occur if they turned their sensitivity bludgeons against one another. They are now finding out....

"Sensitivity bludgeons." Yeah, they were getting ready to use them against ME. Against YOU. Since I despise from the bottom of my heart the whole foul devil's-brew of sensitivity and identity-politics, this is all just too sweet. It couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of pompous frauds.

...Now they [Clintons] find themselves unable to criticize a black man for what they think are legitimate reasons, because they helped to teach people that criticism is bias in disguise, and they can't complain that their words have been misinterpreted, because the theory of hate speech maintains that the listener can project on to words uttered by others whatever motives he wants to see in them. If he declares himself offended, the listener has the last word.

Add this to the unforeseen clash of two groups who have been told for years by liberals that they are victims of everyone, and the result is explosive. It is, David Brooks writes, "a Tom Wolfe novel" beyond even Wolfe's imagining. "All the rhetorical devices that have been a staple of identity politics are now being exploited by the Clinton and Obama campaigns," Brooks continues, "competing to play the victim .  .  . accusing each other of insensitivity .  .  . deliberately misinterpreting each other's comments in order to somehow imply that the other is morally retrograde. All the habits of verbal thuggery that have long been used against critics of affirmative action .  .  . and critics of radical feminism .  .  . are now being turned inward by the Democratic front-runners. .  .  . Every revolution devours its offspring, and it seems that the multicultural one does, too."....

And this, sweet, sweet:

...For the Clintons, with their sense of private entitlement running head on into their boomer assertion of moral enlightenment, all this must come as a shock....

Ha ha and ha. How I despise my generation! At least this aspect of it. "Boomer assertion of moral enlightenment." I grew up in the middle of that, and I hate it. I spit upon it.

And on the plausible presidential candidacies of Liddy Dole and Colin Powell, which did not succeed:

Republicans (conservatives especially) more than Democrats define themselves by ideology--the objections to Powell were based on what the right saw as his deviationist liberal tendencies--and regard everything else as an afterthought. Republicans tend to disdain appeals on the basis of victimhood. They are resistant to group-think and allergic to identity politics. And their major donors and interest groups are race and gender neutral--the right to life movement, the Club for Growth, the National Rifle Association. The only ethnic lobbies they court are purely local affairs (like Miami's Cubans). There are no ethnic and gender spokesmen to deal with, no agendas to speak of, no interest groups to appease.

It is my theory that Leftizoids use "sensitivity bludgeons" not just because they are useful, but because they do not dare to compete in the arena of ideas. They don't have any. That is, they have no underlying beliefs or principles. They are nihilists. Everything I see going on today tends to confirm this.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 AM

January 17, 2008

A tiny suspicion?

Ann Coulter:

...Dear Republicans: Please do one-tenth as much research before casting a vote in a presidential election as you do before buying a new car.

One clue that Romney is our strongest candidate is the fact that Democrats keep viciously attacking him while expressing their deep respect for Mike Huckabee and John McCain.

This point was already extensively covered in Chapter 1 of "How To Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)": Never take advice from your political enemies.

Turn on any cable news show right now, and you will see Democratic pundits attacking Romney, calling him a "flip-flopper," and heaping praise on McCain and Huckleberry -- almost as if they were reading some sort of "talking points."

Doesn't that raise the tiniest suspicions in any of you? Are you too busy boning up on Consumer Reports' reviews of microwave ovens to spend one day thinking about who should be the next leader of the free world? Are you familiar with our "no exchange/no return" policy on presidential candidates? Voting for McCain because he was a POW a quarter-century ago or Huckabee because he was a Baptist preacher is like buying a new car because you like the color.

The candidate Republicans should be clamoring for is the one liberals are feverishly denouncing. That is Mitt Romney by a landslide....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:15 PM

January 16, 2008

To keep in mind during election season....

Experience shows that if you lack a coherent set of beliefs and principles, you will flounder. You must know already what you want, and why, and broadly how best to attain it, if you are ever to deal effectively with the thousand-and-one crises that face you in government."

      -- Margaret Thatcher
Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

January 15, 2008

Something solid from the other side...

The biggest disappointment of my six years of blogging is that I've NEVER ONCE had a left-leaning opponent engage in principled debate with me. (Lot's of snark and sneers, but not the kind of debate where you rebut each of your opponent's arguments with facts and logic.)

Since I believe in debate (my faith is shaken, but not yet extinct) I like to take note when, rarely, someone on the Leftish or anti-war side actually makes a real argument backed by facts and ideas. And that goes double for for Barak Obama, who I've never once, until this morning, heard a rational argument in favor of. Just stupid mush about how he's dripping with charisma and "hope." And triple, since the argument was made by Phil Carter, who I consider right on many details and very wrong-headed on the big picture. (Note, I don't read him regularly, and so may be being unfair.)

Carter's points about Obama and vets:

....As a veteran, I support Barack Obama because of his deeds, not his words. Up front, I'll agree that he's been absent from Washington and on the campaign trail for a significant part of the last few months. That's no surprise. However, it'd be wrong to leap from that observation to concldue that Sen. Obama has not fought hard for America's veterans. During his time in Washington, and before in the Illinois state legislature, Obama has led the way on a number of important initiatives for veterans, earning my support and the support of many other veterans I know. Here are just a few of his deeds:
Homeless Veterans: As a United States Senator, Obama has authored legislation to extend and expand critically important programs to stop homelessness among American veterans. He's worked with other Senators on the Veterans Affairs committee, ranging from Daniel Akaka (D-HI) to Larry Craig (R-ID), to pass legislation providing comprehensive services and affordable housing options to veterans through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Housing and Urban Development and community organizations.

Fighting for IL Veterans: After learning of reports that Illinois veterans were receiving less in disability than those from other states, Sen. Obama worked with Sen. Dick Durbin to engage with the VA and correct these gross disparities. As a result of his efforts, the VA opened an investigation into the issue and took steps to fix it including the hiring of more claims specialists for the Chicago VA office and the reexamination of vets' claims upon request.

Traumatic Brain Injury: Crossing the aisle once again to help vets, Sen. Obama also worked with Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) to pass an amendment ensuring that all service members returning from Iraq are properly screened for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). And Sen. Obama fought to include a requirement in this year's National Defense Authorization Act that the VA must provide combat veterans with a mental health care screening within 30 days of an appointment request. This provision originated in another Obama bill, the Lane Evans Veterans Health and Benefits Improvement Act, which he introduced in both the 109th and 110th Congress.

And the list goes on — deeds not words. In addition to these accomplishments, Sen. Obama's agenda includes significant proposals totake care of America's sons and daughters whom we send into harm's way. These include, but aren't limited to, proposals to improve post-discharge transition; requiring interoperability between DoD and VA medical records systems; fully funding VA medical care; eliminating the means test which keeps middle class veterans out of the VA medical system; improving mental health care, particularly for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans; continued research and innovation for TBI; fixing the VA benefits bureaucracy and eliminating the VA claims backlog; and continuing the VA medical system's tradition of excellence that's made it one of the nation's leading health care systems. He's also pledged to crack down on discrimination against veterans and to commit significant resources to the enforcement of the SCRA and USERRA statutes to protect active and reserve military personnel and their families.

These are the reasons why I support Sen. Obama, and why I am encouraging my fellow veterans to support him too. Notice that I haven't attacked the Clinton campaign at all; I think quite highly of Sen. Clinton and her work on the Armed Services Committee. However, I support Barack Obama because he inspires me, and because I believe he has the character, judgment and vision to lead this country. Attacking his rivals won't help veterans, nor will it help America. Electing Barack Obama will.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

January 12, 2008

Your duty is to drop dead forthwith!!

Robert Novak:

...The absence of Oprah Winfrey from the frantic four last days of the New Hampshire primary campaign after her heavy schedule in Iowa backing Sen. Barack Obama may be traced to heavy, unaccustomed post-Iowa abuse of the popular entertainment superstar by women.

Winfrey did not publicize it, but her Website was swamped with complaints after she went to Iowa. The principal complaint was that she betrayed women by not supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton. The criticism was described as personal.

Several of these critics identified themselves as African-Americans, indicating that gender is more important than race for many people....

You gotta laugh at the Dems hoist by their own stupid identity politics. Depending on who gets nominated they are either sexist or racist. It's too bad Edwards isn't likely to win; then they could be both! Clinton and Obama are offending lots of people just by campaigning at all. Just by existing! "How dare you stand in the way of the first [black, woman, fill in the blank] president?" Your duty is to drop dead forthwith!!!"

But really, is there any hope for this country when so many of the electorate are just drooling idiots? Have we heard from ANY Dem who wants to vote for the best person to lead the nation, even if it's a white male capitalist?

Actually, I think most people have always been like this. Democracy works not by wisdom, but by lurching away when things get bad enough for people to notice.

* Update: Here's more!

A series of comments from Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her husband and her supporters are spurring a racial backlash and adding a divisive edge to the presidential primary as the candidates head south to heavily African-American South Carolina.

The comments, which ranged from the New York senator appearing to diminish the role of Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement — an aide later said she misspoke — to Bill Clinton dismissing Sen. Barack Obama’s image in the media as a “fairy tale” — generated outrage on black radio, black blogs and cable television. And now they've drawn the attention of prominent African-American politicians.

“A cross-section of voters are alarmed at the tenor of some of these statements,” said Obama spokeswoman Candice Tolliver, who said that Clinton would have to decide whether she owed anyone an apology...

An apology is not enough! It's time for SENSITIVITY TRAINING!!!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 AM

I'm still liking Mitt the most...

We just sent a little donation to the Romney campaign. Now's the time our morsel will have an effect, if ever.

I still think Mitt's the best of the lot. (Here's a good case made.) And I still find him as a person somewhat hard to warm to. That doesn't matter to me personally; I don't make these decisions based on emotions. But, rationally, it's a problem in a candidate or president, both of which jobs depend on persuasion more than on correct decision-making.

My impression is, that if George W. Bush and Mitt Romney were my next-door neighbors, (and not in politics) George would seem like a regular guy who I could chat with as an equal, but Mitt would, while being unfailingly courteous, leave an feeling that he normally dwells on a higher level of existence, one you reach by the special executive elevator that goes only to the top floor. (NOTE: These are just impressions from a distance. No one who actually knows Romney seems to find him like this!)

It is interesting the number of people who just hate him on sight. I would be very curious to know how much that group overlaps with the group that instinctively hated Bush. (There is of course a considerable contingent of Leftists for whom American-successful-white-male-business-executive is the culmination of evil. I spit upon their nihilism. I'd ship them all to Cuba if I could.)

I looked back at this post, from last April, and noticed a good comment by Lyle:

Maybe he'll grow on us.

If choosing a president were the same as choosing a CEO, Romney might be the choice. He's smart, level-headed, and competent. He has presidential temperment and demeanor. He looks the part.

Maybe voice has something to do with it. I've heard Romney several times but his voice didn't leave an impression. In the sense that we're casting a leader as well as choosing a CEO, a commanding voice matters.

Imagine hearing President Hillary! alternately screech and drone for four long years. Or John Goober Edwards. But we've heard Giuliani's pragmatic briskness and Thompson's folksy growl for more than a decade, and both wear well.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

January 8, 2008

Hollow man..

Quoting Orrin Judd:

...Here's an idea to consider: it may be that the Democrats' failure to reconcile themselves to Clintonism--the Third Way--requires them to nominate a hollow man. They don't like the ones who truly are New Democrats and know they can't afford to nominate true believers in the Second Way. So the best option is someone thoroughly insubstantial...

I think that's dead-on. If I were really smart, I would have, given my theories, predicted it. (I'll predict it right now--Obama will get the nomination.) My hypothesis is that the most important fact about the sort of people who are "core Democrats" is that they don't believe in anything, and that they are trying to hide this, mostly from themselves, by wearing leftish ideas as a sort of disguise.

They would prefer "Second Way" policies, but not enough to actually define them and fight for them. Their only hope of electing a President is to find a "New Democrat" southern governor, but they are not about to consciously make that choice, because it would be a tacit admission that their Leftish world-view has failed. (The last time America made a senator president, or made a northern liberal president, was.....1960. And that election was very close. And the senator in question was not very liberal by today's standards.)

I'll predict that candidate Obama will never define himself, or give many specifics about the "change" he is for. And that the Republican candidate will hammer him on this, but core Dems will not mind it at all. The interesting question will be what do the "Independents" make of him?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

January 7, 2008

Opportunist infection in a weakened body...

Mark Steyn writes, about Mr Huckabee:

....In The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan observed of Huck that "his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture."....

...There is a potentially huge segment of the population that thinks homo economicus is missing the point. They're tired of the artificial and, indeed, creepily coercive secular multiculti pseudo-religion imposed on American grade schools. I'm sympathetic to this pitch myself. Unlike Miss Noonan, I think it's actually connected to the jihad, in the sense that radical Islamism is an opportunist enemy that has arisen in the wake of the Western world's one-way multiculturalism.

In the long run, the relativist mush peddled in our grade schools is a national security threat. But, even in the short term, it's a form of child abuse that cuts off America's next generation from the glories of their inheritance.

Where I part company with Huck's supporters is in believing he's any kind of solution. He's friendlier to the teachers' unions than any other so-called "cultural conservative" – which is why in New Hampshire he's the first Republican to be endorsed by the NEA. His health care pitch is Attack Of The Fifty Foot Nanny, beginning with his nationwide smoking ban. This is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, compassionate conservatism on steroids – big paternalistic government that can only enervate even further "our culture."....

"Relativist mush.....is a national security threat." I could not agree more. And homo economicus should realize it's an economic threat as well.

"Relativist mush" is deadly. consider. If we still retained the kind of civilizational morale we had in the days of the Indian wars, we would have slapped down the jihadists 4 or 5 decades ago. Slapped them down brutally and bloodily. A horrible wicked un-Christian thing that would have been. Hundreds of people might have been killed! Oh, and also, guess what? We would not be in a war right now! So HUNDREDS-OF-THOUSANDS of lives would have been saved. (How the "pacifists" would hate that!)

But that's purely a matter of culture, of spirit. Of belief. The strength has been there all along, but we haven't had the will to use it. So we were forced into a very preventable war. Relativist mush kills.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

January 4, 2008

silver linings....

Lovely, just lovely. The nutsroots are not happy today...

....But Obama’s naiveté isn’t their deepest fear. As the Des Moines Register’s pre-caucus poll shows, the majority of Obama’s support comes from independents and Republicans, not registered Democrats. This is the progressive movement’s second worst nightmare: a Democratic President, elected by independents and moderates, who rhetorically rejected progressive elements to get elected. Ezra Klein blogged: “Obama’s comfort attacking liberals from the right is unsettling, and if he does win Iowa, it will not be a victory that either supporters or the media ascribe to the more progressive elements of his candidacy.” Bowers has similar thoughts: “Obama just isn’t using the same arguments or rhetoric that the progressive blogosphere uses about Republicans and Democrats. He is also … building his own, in-house activist movement instead of working with the existing progressive movement. And so, even though he is clearly at least the second favorite in the progressive blogosphere, if he wins, it will be in spite of the progressive blogosphere, rather than because of it.”

And that’s why the progressive movement is wary of an Obama victory. They fear that an Obama win will be remembered as a victory for some kind of fuzzy Obama-ism founded on bipartisan compromise and not the first victory of what they hope will be an enduring progressive coalition.

I sure don't want a President Obama, but if he grieves the net-nihilists, well, things could be worse.

And, Hillary has taken yet another tack. Captain Ed writes:

[quote from Ben Smith] A Clinton supporter forwards the talking points the campaign dispatched to surrogates around the country, which focus on process -- that the race is a "marathon" and that she started behind in Iowa -- and include just one line of substance, a clear signal that the card she has left to play is the one she rolled out in recent weeks: Security and risk.

"We’re going to continue to make the case that in these serious times when America faces big challenges, it will take a leader with Hillary’s strength and experience to deliver real change," the talking points say.


The irony of the once-leading Democrat using "security and risk" is just a little too delicious for those of us who listened to endless complaints about the divisiveness of Karl Rove. When the Bush campaign rightly focused on the threat from terrorism in 2004, Democrats complained about the "politics of fear". Rudy created an ad last week that allowed him to talk about the response of Americans to the 9/11 attack -- and not his own response -- and people began shrieking that Giuliani had exploited 9/11. Hillary's focus on this will probably not even garner a hint of criticism from these usual suspects.

Hillary should wrap herself in the flag and question his patriotism....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:25 PM

December 27, 2007

"Emotional and social vapor"

John Podhoretz: The End of the Primary’s Holiday From History

The past three months have seen an odd turn in the presidential primary process in both parties — a turn away from the key issues confronting the United States and toward emotional and social vapor. The success of the surge in Iraq, coupled with the bizarre “we’re safe” reading of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, drained some of the passion from the anti-war fervor in the Democratic primary electorate and from the hawkish fervor of the Republican primary electorate. In their place came the Christian identity-politics rise of Mike Huckabee on the Republican side and the “we need a nice new politics” rise of Barack Obama on the Democratic side. Republicans squabbled about sanctuary cities and sanctuary mansions. Democrats squabbled about how many uninsured there would be left if their various health-care plans were imposed on the country.

The horrifying assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this morning comes only one week before the Iowa caucuses and 12 days before New Hampshire. It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.

American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us to do so. The murder of Bhutto moves foreign policy, the war on terror, and the threat of Islamofascism back into the center of the 2008 campaign. How candidates respond to it, and issues like it that will come up in the next 10 months, will determine whether they are fit for the presidency.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

December 26, 2007

Ha ha, ha, and ha...

I thought this was just too perfect.

WASHINGTON (CNN) Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Friday rejected lawmakers' demands for information as the Justice Department investigates the destruction of tapes showing CIA interrogations of two al Qaeda suspects.

In letters to the House and Senate Judiciary committees, Mukasey also said he would not appoint a special prosecutor to conduct the investigation, as some lawmakers had requested.

Mukasey said he would not turn over the material key congressional leaders are seeking because doing so might be seen as bowing to "political influence."

"At my confirmation hearing, I testified that I would act independently, resist political pressure and ensure that politics plays no role in cases brought by the Department of Justice," Mukasey said.

"Consistent with that testimony, the facts will be followed wherever they lead in this inquiry and the relevant law applied." (My emphasis. Thanks to Hoystory)

"How dare he call us political! We're Democrats!"

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

December 20, 2007

A quote for today...

Would it kill... Time or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or any on the left to say: "Well done, American soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine?" -- Hugh Hewitt

Ha ha, what a kidder that Hewitt guy is. Of course, actually, it would kill them. Politically at least. And probably psychologically as well. They are on the other side. They are, to put it simply and bluntly, anti-American.

For instance, the obvious person to be Time's "Man of the Year" was General David Petraeus. But who did Time pick? Vladimir Putin!!! Is that sick, or what?

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

December 15, 2007

A pleasing local kerfluffle...

Last week my younger son, who is a student at SF State, was annoyed because a performance he wanted to see was abruptly cancelled in favor of a Sean Penn political event supporting Dennis Kucinch. My son, a member of the college Republicans, told me the College Democrats were outraged that their name was put on the flyers for the event. I didn't understand what the fuss was about, until he forwarded to me a "GatorGOP" e-mail. Here are some excerpts...

...Why did the school need the dems to sponsor this event? Why weren't the Dems given more notice? And why did the school essentially force them to sponsor the speaking engagement?...

...According to the Creative Arts department, no one other than Director Mary Ford had any knowledge of this event prior to 11am on Friday morning, just two hours before the event. Typical events held in Knuth hall are on a calendar for all to see and planned months in advance. The audio techs that ran the sound were informed they would be needed for the event the day of the event. Knuth Hall is the second most difficult room to schedule for events, second only to the very large McKenna hall which is right next to Knuth Hall. It takes student groups MONTHS of advance planning to use the room. The only explanation for an event of this magnitude becoming feasible to accomplish on such short notice is to circumvent normal channels of preparation. The only way to do that is to be, or know someone, very high ranking in the campus administration that can schedule a room with no notice and schedule staff to work the event on such short notice. Conversations between Campus PD and Vice President of Student Affairs Penny Saffold at the event revealed that even Saffold was unaware of the event until the morning of.

The most startling revelation comes from the Campus Police department who asserted that they had no knowledge of the event until 11am on Friday. Having only hours to prepare for security at an event featuring a wildly popular celebrity....

...The "SO WHAT" of it all: Under Federal Election Commission laws, the school is barred from endorsing or sponsoring any candidate for Federal office UNLESS they make an equal offer to every candidate for that office. Meaning that if the school sponsored a Kucinich endorsement event at SFSU, they would have to allow every candidate, Republican, Democrat or otherwise to use the same room for the same amount of time during the election cycle. The only other way it would be legal for only Kucinich to use the room would be if the Kucinich campaign paid FULL PRICE to rent the room and for security which would undoubtedly total in the thousands of dollars. Enter the College Democrats. As a student group, they pay a significantly reduced room renal fee and are not charge for security for events they sponsor. They also are not regulated by the FEC so they can bring just Kucinich if they want to without being forced to make an offer to other candidates.

The school told the Dems to sponsor the event or else, because the knew they'd be in violation of the law if they didn't charge Kucinich full price for room rental and security at event not sponsored by a student group. SFSU would essentially be making a MASSIVE in-kind contribution to a Presidential campaign. And of course with the academic year being over in two weeks (meaning no students will be on campus to come to other events) and the first presidential primary just 3-4 weeks away, it would be impossible to make an equal offer to every candidate for president.

It is very likely that if the College Democrats argue that they were forced to sign paperwork under duresss, the school will face legal proceedings for making a rather sizeable in-kind donation to the Dennis Kucinich campaign. And since the donation was made from a public school funded by tax-payer dollars....ANY tax-payer would be able to file suit against San Francisco State University....

I hope we learn more about this in the future. Preferably in the context of the leftist university administration getting into hot water...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

November 30, 2007

Strongest in the Gulf....

6,000 Sunnis Join Pact With US in Ira
By LAUREN FRAYER (AP) � Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.The new alliance � called the single largest single volunteer mobilization since the war began � covers the "last gateway" for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias � mainly Sunnis � that had turned again al-Qaida and other groups...

Fascinating news. There are lots of stories like this right now. I wonder if any of it gets onto the TV news? I don't watch TV, so I really have no idea.

I hope Republicans campaign next year as the party that brought us victory. A victory in our struggle with al Qaeda. One fears they may fall victim to the leftyist assumption that our country is something to be ashamed of, and that a hard-fought victory is a "mistake." As if only easy fights were worth fighting. Which is the shit-stupid idea that got us into the War on Terror in the first place. Pacifism kills.

I read someone's complaint recently, that the Iraq Campaign was a disaster because it has made Iran the strongest power on the Persian Gulf. I don't think so. First of all, the strongest power on the Gulf is the United States of America. And, regardless of who is President, we will have our forces in Iraq for a long time. Not to provide security within Iraq--that problem is shrinking fast, and is soon going to be handled by the ISF. But we are now negotiating a long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, that will keep American troops on bases in Iraq. (Which tacitly insures that Iraq will not have any military coups.) And one of the many reasons for the Iraq Campaign was to bring this about. We will have an army right next to.........fill in the blanks. Ha ha ha.

But also, Iraq itself is on the path to becoming the strongest power on the Gulf. The Iraqi Army is of course growing steadily, it's up to about 15 divisions now. And with all that American training those divisions will be worth more than those of other ME countries. But MUCH more important, Iraq is a democracy. If it continues to be so, it will be able, in a crisis, to draw on the whole strength of its people. Democracies can be feckless in the short run, but over the long haul they are much stronger and more dangerous than tyrannies.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

October 20, 2007

The other skinny kid...

Patrick Ruffini has a good piece on Bobby Jindal.

....Bobby Jindal is 36 years old. In another year, in another state, the election of a "skinny kid with a funny name" made national headlines. Like Jindal, this precocious young politician was a lock to win. And when he did so in the shadow of the most closely-watched Presidential election in a generation, he made national headlines. The day the papers carried the headlines "Bush defeats Kerry" the next headline was "Obama takes Illinois."

Obama was immediately a national media sensation, and it wasn't because of his track record as a Constitutional Law professor at the University of Chicago. Jindal, the son of Indian immigrants, will make no such headlines on Sunday, or four weeks from now when he finishes the job. But unlike Obama, he has actually accomplished some real things. And he actually has chance to become President someday.

The media may ignore Bobby Jindal because he's a Republican, but the story of his political rise is no less powerful. In 1996, the 24-year old Rhodes Scholar and Congressional staffer got noticed by incoming Governor Mike Foster, and was put in charge of Louisiana's health system with responsibility for 40% of the state's budget. He turned his department's $440 million deficit into a $200 million surplus. In 2001, not even 30 yet, he was made an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services in the incoming Bush Administration. His passion: health care. In his early twenties, he faced the choice between pursuing a joint legal-medical degree at Harvard or Yale, or the path that took him to Oxford and then to public service....

I suspect they like Obama precisely because he hasn't accomplished anything, or stood for anything. And hey, come to think, that could describe the other two Dem front-runners....Hmmm.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:47 AM

October 19, 2007

"It's called putting one's money where one's mouth is"

I think this is SO funny. You probably remember the utterly phony story about Rush Limbaugh "smearing" our troops (which was debunked within hours when Rush posted the video of that radio show on the web.) Democrat leaders paused in their work of undermining our war efforts to—from their position of high moral authority—write a letter of reproof!

Now the tables are turned...This is from Captain Ed:

Government Produces Something Worthwhile
Would you happen to have a couple of million dollars in loose change around the house? If you do, you could own the letter that Harry Reid sent to Rush Limbaugh, accusing the radio host of smearing American troops. Rush has the letter up for auction at e-Bay, and with less than six hours to go, the bid is now topping $2.1 million. Not only that, Rush has pledged the proceeds to the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation -- and has pledged to match the final bid himself.

Once again, Reid's machinations backfired. He and the 40 Senate Democrats who signed the letter set themselves up as defenders of the military, including Dick Durbin, who once compared the troops to Nazis and Soviets. Now Rush has challenged the 41 to do as he will and match the figure to a foundation that offers scholarships to the children of Marines and police killed in the line of duty. It's called putting one's money where one's mouth is, and I suspect that Rush will be the only one who actually does it.

On the other hand, Rush has singlehandedly helped Reid produce the most valuable item in his life. In fact, it's the most valuable article entirely produced by government of its own accord in memory,

Wow. I tuned in briefly yesterday, and was impressed that bidding was up to 1.3k! Hey Democrat senators, step up to the plate. You can certainly afford to match the bid too!

And I like this, from the eBay page...

As winning bidder, you get:
- The original and infamous "Harry Reid Smear" letter, signed by 41 Democat senators
- The Halliburton briefcase in which this letter is secured 24 hours a day
- A personal letter of thanks from the Man Who Runs America, Rush Limbaugh
- A photograph of Rush displaying the letter on stage in Philadelphia on October 11th

I want a Halliburton briefcase!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

October 17, 2007

"technical proficiency."

Jay Cost of the HorseRaceBlog...

....For a while, I have had the suspicion that, while Romney understands the nuts and bolts of politics, he misses many of its subtleties. He reminds me of myself back when I used to play the piano. I'd study up on a piece by Mozart - and eventually I could play it with great technical proficiency. However, I never could play it beautifully. All of the notes hit in the right order - but for some strange reason, they never seemed to sound right. That is the impression I have had of Romney for a while. He's doing everything right, but it just is not sounding good to my ears....

That's sorta my impression too. Of the Republican front-runners I like him best in theory, but there haven't been any moments yet when I wanted to say, "Listen to this guy!"

Posted by John Weidner at 4:50 PM

October 16, 2007

"And then they fall in love—or they try to..."

Busy, busy, but here's a quote, from John Podhoretz:

...The point is that there never is a candidacy that breeds joyous enthusiasm. Politicians are flawed beings. The ones who speak well often seem false. The ones who are substantive bore. The ones who are tough enough for the job seem too mean. The ones who are likable enough seem too soft. Both parties and all ideological camps express the same reservations, regrets and anxieties. Always. And then they fall in love — or they try to, desperately, like a bride in an arranged marriage.

We've seen it before, we're seeing it now, and we will see it again and again until the end of days....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:20 AM

October 10, 2007

Unh huh, right, yeah....

Clinton to propose universal 401K plan - First Read - msnbc.com:

From NBC’s Athena Jones
Clinton will lay out a proposal to provide a universal 401K plan for everyone, at a speech today in Webster City, Iowa. Her staff is calling it the second-biggest policy rollout of the campaign in terms of cost and the number of people it would cover.

Under the plan, everyone would have access to a 401K and would be able to get matching funds from the government. It is part of Clinton's effort to increase retirement security by promoting savings and investment. Clinton's policy advisors will explain the plan in detail after the speech...

SO, the ordinary worker is going to put money in 401-K's. To his or her great advantage, obviously. How, may I ask, is this different from what Bush wanted to have them do with some of their Social Security money? Hmm? I'll just sit here and wait while all the 100%-fake liberals who bombarded me with 100%-fake outrage over how Bush was trying to "destroy Social Security" explain the discrepancy...

But this is a good chance to explain the difference between principled and unprincipled politics. Principled = If Hillary were elected president, and were to propose this, and if seemed like a good plan to me (I don't have any opinion yet) I would say that Republicans should support it. Or if she were to revive Bush's Social Security plan, and call it her own, I would be just as much a supporter of the plan as I was in 2005. (In the same way, Congressional Republicans supported Bill Clinton on NAFTA and Welfare Reform.)

Unprincipled = all those prosperous liberals who have their own retirement funds in IRA's or 401-K's, but who, out of pure partisan venom, did everything they could to block a Republican plan that would give that very same advantage to ordinary Americans. To the workers they claim—filthy liars that they are—to care about so much more than greedy capitalist Republicans.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 PM

September 26, 2007

manipulations...

You should read this, on the things revealed by the 2006 annual report for George Soro's foundations. The reports reveal only a little—the bare legal minimum—since Soros is promoting an "open society" and all. But there are still some eye-openers..

...That's not the only case. Didn't the mainstream media report that 2006's vast immigration rallies across the country began as a spontaneous uprising of 2 million angry Mexican-flag waving illegal immigrants demanding U.S. citizenship in Los Angeles, egged on only by a local Spanish-language radio announcer?

Turns out that wasn't what happened, either. Soros' OSI had money-muscle there, too, through its $17 million Justice Fund. The fund lists 19 projects in 2006. One was vaguely described involvement in the immigration rallies. Another project funded illegal immigrant activist groups for subsequent court cases.

So what looked like a wildfire grassroots movement really was a manipulation from OSI's glassy Manhattan offices. The public had no way of knowing until the release of OSI's 2006 annual report....

I have little doubt that all those Mexican flags were no accident. They (quite properly) outraged conservatives, got people foaming at the mouth, and that was the point. To make us look like racists and haters, and keep the Hispanic vote Democrat.

(Thanks to Anchoress)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

September 21, 2007

Nailed...

Duane R. Patterson, at Hugh Hewitt's blog, on the Senate vote to support General Petraeus:

....Final score? 72-25, with three not voting. There are many interesting things about this vote, such as the fact that Jon Tester, the MoveOn.org candidate from Montana, voted against this bill before he voted for it, as did fellow Montanan, Max Baucus, who voted against it before he changed his vote and voted for it. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, presidential candidate, voted against supporting Petraeus and for MoveOn.org. Joe Biden, presidential candidate, didn't bother to vote.

If any of you have any inkling of what kind of presidential timber Illinois Senate Barack Obama possesses, all you have to do is look at this vote. The Cornyn vote was called, Obama came to the floor, and when he discovered what the vote was for, he left the floor and didn't cast a vote. He literally ran away from merely casting a vote to support our top military general in the field. But that's not even the most telling moment of the vote.

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the next president of the United States, unless Republicans decide to run like Republicans again in 2008 and keep the White House in responsible hands, did cast a vote today, and voted against Petraeus, and for MoveOn.org, a watershed moment in her campaign. If she ever wanted her public image to be that of a moderate, it's gone now with this vote. Hillary is one of three or four people that will be the next president of the United States, and she just tipped her hand that she shows more respect to the radical fringe of her base than she does to the country's top general prosecuting a war that she originally supported...

It's so much fun to see them pinned this way. To be nominated by the Democrats today, you have to be anti-American. It's that simple. And then if you want to be elected you have to lie like crazy and fake being patriotic and vaguely Christian. What a delicious bind they are in.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:35 AM

September 19, 2007

I can't call those "principles"

I found this piece by David Gerlernter, Defeat at Any Price, thought-provoking, but I don't agree with him here...

....The issue isn't tactics--doesn't concern the draw-down that the administration has forecast and General Petraeus has now discussed, or how this draw-down should work, or how specific such talk ought to be. The issue is deeper. It's time for Americans to ask some big questions. Do leading Democrats want America to win this war? Have they ever?

Of course not--and not because they are traitors. To leading Democrats such as Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, Al Gore and John Edwards, America would be better off if she lost. And this has been true from the start.

To rephrase the question: Why did Harry Reid announce months ago that the war was lost when it wasn't, and everyone knew it wasn't? The wish is father to the deed. He was envisioning the world of his dreams.
[I agree to this point.]

The Democrats' embrace of defeat is inspired by no base desire to see Americans killed or American resources wasted. But let's be honest about it, and invite the Democrats to be honest too.

Appeasement, pacifism, globalism: Those are the Big Three principles of the Democratic left. Each one has been defended by serious people; all are philosophically plausible, or at least arguable. But they are unpopular (especially the first two) with the U.S. public, and so the Democrats rarely make their views plain. We must infer their ideas from their (usually) guarded public statements.

Globalism and Euro-envy are explicit, sometimes, in Democratic pronouncements--about the sanctity of the United Nations, the importance of global conferences and "multilateralism" (except in cases like North Korea, where the president already is moving multilaterally), the superiority of the Canadian or German health care system, and so forth. The Democrats are not unpatriotic, but their patriotism is directed at a large abstract entity called The International Community or even (aping Bronze Age paganism) the Earth, not at America.
[whatever term you may apply to such sentiments, this is NOT patriotism.] Benjamin Disraeli anticipated this worldview long ago when he called Liberals the "Philosophical" and Conservatives the "National" party. Liberals are loyal to philosophical abstractions--and seek harmony with the French and Germans. Conservatives are loyal to their own nation, and seek harmony with its Founders and heroes and guiding principles.

The Democrats don't conceal their globalist ideas, but their appeasement and pacifism are positions they can only hint at....

"Liberals are loyal to philosophical abstractions." I would say, NO. No doubt there are a few left who are like that, but I think the really significant fact now is that most "liberals" have been hollowed-out, and they no longer have any philosophy. They have no core principles. It is actually very obviously so, because if they did there would be at least a few examples of them acting according to principle even when it hurts them politically. But we don't ever see that. We have become so accustomed to current "liberal" behavior that we don't notice this obvious thing.

An example is Bush's dealings with North Korea. He has been adamantly multilateral, and in fact has obviously profited by the experiences of the Clinton Administration, whose unilateral initiatives failed. Where are the liberals who openly back up our president in this important work?

Gerlernter writes: "Appeasement, pacifism, globalism: Those are the Big Three principles of the Democratic left." So, my first question is, what happened to those other things we grew up thinking were liberal principles? Anti-fascism? Democracy? Humanitarian interventionism? Hmmm? If something is a principle, you can't just quietly drop it out of the boat when nobody's looking. Right?

And if pacifism and appeasement are principles, then where were the principled protests against military intervention in Bosnia? Or against the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Iraq?

If a group of people have core principles, then those will now and then poke out from the necessarily unprincipled muddle of practical politics. Sort of like sticks in a plastic bag full of trash. For instance, Conservatives like me don't have much of a problem with Bill Clinton stealing the credit for the successes of NAFTA and Welfare Reform. Those were conservative ideas, but if a Democrat wants to push them, then he should have our support. I would harshly criticize any Republican who voted against them just because they would help Democrats.

"But they are unpopular (especially the first two) with the U.S. public, and so the Democrats rarely make their views plain..." Well, there's a limit to how much you can conceal your views and still call them principles. How far can you stretch this? And even if political leaders must keep their views under their hats, where are the others making principled arguments? That is, arguments that start from the core principle and extend it to practical issues?

That's what's been really odd about the various on-line arguments I've been in since I started blogging in 2001. None of my leftish opponents has ever started by expressing and defending core principles. No one, for instance, has stated "I'm a pacifist, and here are my arguments for the pacifistic policy I'm defending." It never happens. Nor, for instance, does anyone defend big government in principle, even when they support every policy that would enlarge government.

I think a better explanation for what we see is that many "liberals," especially the activist types, are really nihilists. They have no ideas that are bigger than they are. And to the nihilist, belief is a reproach and an irritant. So they just hate belief when they see it. And also, they want desperately to avoid being exposed in their inner emptiness. So they wrap themselves in fake liberalism. And loath any situations or institutions that demand a higher allegiance. They just hate anything that says "This cause is worth dying for." Examples are, first of all, The Church and Christianity, then the USA and also Israel, then our military and the residual nationalist loyalties still found in other developed nations.

And most especially, they hate the Iraq Campaign, because it is just the sort of thing a liberal of the past would be for. So it totally puts their fake liberalism in the hot seat...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 AM

September 18, 2007

Another scoundrel Democrat down...

My wife the lawyer was cackling with glee this morning when she read about William Lerach pleading guilty to hiring fake "plaintiffs" for his vile stockholder class action suits, with which he has sucked billions out of the productive economy (and potentially damaged our economy by orders-of-magnitude more than that, by giving huge donations to crypto-socialist politicians with names like Clinton and Edwards.)

It's caterpillars like him that give the legal profession its bad name. He is on the Dark Side, and Charlene does battle against such horrid bloodsuckers every day.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:22 PM

September 13, 2007

Fred: "smoother, rounder yet bolder."

I've yet to experience the appeal of Fred Thompson. I'm open to the suggestion that he can appeal to the common man in a way Mit or Rudy can't. But that's far from making him Reaganesque, as some have suggested he is. Remember, Reagan had been working tirelessly, long before he became a political candidate, writing and speaking and broadcasting, to spread his faith in America and her true ideals. I've yet to hear of anything similar about Fred Thompson.

(Leftists, by the way, labored then and now to portray Reagan as an amiable dunce, but recent publications of his work long before he had speechwriters show this to be a horrid lie.)

This column by George Will is a powerful attack on ol' Fred...

...So he believes, as zealous regulators of political speech do, that political contributions are incipient bribes -- but that bribery begins with contributions larger than $2,300. Which brings us to the financial implausibility of his late-starting campaign.

Suppose he does something unprecedented -- gets 100 people a day, from now until Jan. 1, to contribute the permitted maximum of $2,300. After subtracting normal fundraising costs and campaign overhead, he would still enter 2008 vulnerable to being outspent at least three-to-one by his major rivals.

Is there, however, a huge cash value in the role for which he is auditioning -- darling of religious conservatives? Perhaps. But their aspiring darling recently said in South Carolina, "I attend church when I'm in Tennessee. I'm in McLean right now. I don't attend regularly when I'm up there."

"Right now"? He has been living "up there" in that upscale inside-the-Beltway Washington suburb, honing his "Aw, shucks, I'm just an ol' Washington outsider" act, for years. Long enough to have noticed that McLean is planted thick with churches. Going to church is, of course, optional -- unless you are aiming to fill some supposed piety void in the Republican field.

New Coke was announced on April 23, 1985, with the company's president piling on adjectives usually reserved for Lafite Rothschild -- "smoother, rounder yet bolder." Almost 80 days later, the public having sampled it, the company pulled the product from stores. Perhaps Thompson's candidacy will last longer than New Coke did.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

September 12, 2007

Good question...

Jim Geraghty: So let me get this straight... to Hillary, Norman Hsu gets the benefit of the doubt, but not General David Petraeus?
Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 PM

"The slaying of a beautiful deduction by an ugly fact..."

Peter Wehner on Iraq:

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, testifying before the House and the Senate during the last two days, did what many people thought was impossible: They reset the Washington clock. These good men, by what they have achieved in Iraq and by the force and power of their testimonies, have recast the terms of the debate. They will now have until next summer to build on their successes, which in turn could eventually lead to a decent outcome in Iraq. To appreciate how extraordinary this is, it’s worth recalling how far we have come....

* * * *

...The effort to besmirch the good name of David Petraeus is politically insane. The claim by anti-war critics that they oppose the war but support the troops is a lot harder to make when those in their ranks maliciously attack the commander of the troops, who happens to be succeeding.

And for those of us who have watched much of the hearings on television, one could not help but be struck by this contrast: Petraeus and Crocker in command, unflappable, professional, radiating competence and confidence, respectful but never allowing themselves to be intimidated. Many Democrats, on the other hand, appeared angry, agitated, long-winded, and out of their depth. General David Petraeus is the military analogue of Justice John Roberts, and their critics looked equally foolish going after both men.

* * * *

“If ever (Herbert) Spencer wrote a tragedy, its plot would be the slaying of a beautiful deduction by an ugly fact,” Thomas Huxley wrote. It is an odd situation indeed to find members of America’s political class greeting demonstrable evidence of progress in Iraq as ugly and inconvenient facts. But fortunately we seem to be past the danger point, when Members of Congress can recklessly undo what General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, and the remarkable men and women of our armed forces have achieved. Now Members of the House and Senate are simply left to posture, rage against the wind, and passionately insist, against a growing body of evidence, that a war that might be won is hopelessly lost.

I can understand people opposing the Iraq Campaign because it seems to be going badly, but when certain people clearly hate the thought of getting good news, or hearing that it is going well....I say they are insane. Evil and insane.

(Opposing a military campaign because it seems to be going badly is not insane. It is however really STUPID. If you bother to read history you know that every war we have ever fought has had periods where things are going badly. And most wars and campaigns tend to look their ugliest and most brutal just before the end, just before one side collapses. This is reason #387 why liberals oppose the study of history.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 AM

September 10, 2007

Best thing I've read this morning...

Hugh Hewitt (or Dean Barnett; it's not clear):

....There’s a local TV show that I appear on. Practically every time I’m on, the host, a good egg even though a pronounced lefty even by Boston standards, asks me how Republicans are supposed to stand by this war effort and still prevail in 2008. I always respond the same way: They aren’t. In all likelihood, 2008 will be a disaster for Republicans at the ballot box. But we, the rank and file of the Republican party, expect Republicans to risk their comfortable offices in order to see the war in Iraq through to a satisfactory conclusion and to continue the war against the forces of Jihad. Let the political chips fall where they may.

Whenever I repeat this sentiment, the host and the other two guests who are usually also liberal, look at me like I have two heads. They obviously suspect some ploy is afoot. But I mean it. And so do most other Republicans. A party that won’t see this thing through isn’t worth supporting, not in political defeat and even more so not in political victory.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 AM

September 9, 2007

What's happening Sept. 15?

From Der Spiegel:

....Three suspected Islamist militants who were planning to attack American targets in Germany had orders to act by Sept. 15 and knew police were hot on their trail before their arrest, a magazine said on Saturday.

The plan was foiled on Tuesday when police arrested two German converts to Islam and a Turk in the biggest German police investigation in the last 30 years.

According to surveillance details published in Der Spiegel magazine, the men had been given a two-week deadline for their planned strikes in a late August call from northern Pakistan that was monitored by German police....

September 15th? Gee, I wonder what could be the significance of that day? wasn't there some political party or other that was worried about that day? Trying to deflect attention from something? Crazy the ideas that pop into my head...

....According to Der Spiegel, two of the militants mentioned "a disco filled with American sluts" along with airports, nightclubs or a U.S. military base as targets during a July 20 conversation that was bugged by police...The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began a year ago, when U.S. officials alerted German authorities to e-mails intercepted from Pakistan....

Why, they can't DO that! That's a violation of their civil rights! Call the ACLU! If militants can't receive e-mails from Pakistan in peace, the jackboot of Bush's Christianist fascism is about to descend upon us!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

September 6, 2007

Ignore the facts, just listen to us Dems...

From the Washington Times: Dems already dismissing Iraq war report:

What Dems in Congress are doing is utterly loathsome and disgusting, and against all American tradition....but, on the bright side, think about how they placed their big bet on America losing.....and now....they suffer and squirm and lie....It gives me a keen pleasure similar to that time icky Warren Buffet put his chips on the Euro, against the dollar, and lost a few billion bucks....

Congressional Democrats are trying to undermine U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' credibility before he delivers a report on the Iraq war next week, saying the general is a mouthpiece for President Bush and his findings can't be trusted. [Remember, these dogs criticized Bush for not following the advice of his generals...]

"The Bush report?" Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin said when asked about the upcoming report from Gen. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq.

"We know what is going to be in it. It's clear. I think the president's trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious," the Illinois Democrat said. "I expect the Bush report to say, 'The surge is working. Let's have more of the same.' " [Notice they present no evidence to the contrary. They can't, the surge is obviously working.]

The top Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California — also referred to the general's briefing as the "Bush report." [They think it's clever, calling Gen, Petraeus' report the "Bush Report." Like they call the Iraq Campaign—which they voted for—"Bush's War." But the WOT is America's war, and what they are saying is that they are NOT Americans.]

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Gen. Petraeus' report was potentially compromised by the White House's involvement in drafting it. [The President is also the Commander in Chief. That's his job.]

"If the same people who were so wrong about this war from the start are writing substantial portions of this report, that raises credibility questions," he said. [The bitter pill for the Dems is that it looks more and more like we were right about the Iraq Campaign. American success is their worst nightmare.]

Republicans bristled at the pre-emptive strike against the report.

"Are these leaders asking the American people to believe that the testimony of a commanding four-star general in the U.S. Army should be discarded before it's even delivered?" said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. [Of course they do. They are traitors and nihilists. The most important thing to notice is that they have given any indication that they would be GLAD to hear of American success in battle. None.]

* Update: I keep being amazed by all this. I'm filled with wonder. Congress, including Dems, voted unanimously to confirm Gen. Petraeus, and the strategy and tactics he advocated. And there was to be a report in September.

SO, what the heck were they thinking? Did they imagine September would never come? Like schoolchildren thinking the summer vacation will never end?

Or did they believe their own propaganda about the US military, and our Iraqi allies? That we are incompetent brutes who are bound to fail? I myself am "embedded" in the liberal world, and I'd guess that's what happened. Leftists despise our military, and they only talk to each other, and read the same poison in the NYT. I could have told them a LOT about what's going on in Iraq, but never once has any leftist engaged in honest debate or an exchange of info with me...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:47 AM

September 4, 2007

For your Obama file...

From the WaPo...

....Sen. Barack Obama had hired Pete Rouse for just such a moment.

It was the fall of 2005, and the celebrated young senator -- still new to Capitol Hill but aware of his prospects for higher office -- was thinking about voting to confirm John G. Roberts Jr. as chief justice. Talking with his aides, the Illinois Democrat expressed admiration for Roberts's intellect. Besides, Obama said, if he were president he wouldn't want his judicial nominees opposed simply on ideological grounds.

And then Rouse, his chief of staff, spoke up. This was no Harvard moot-court exercise, he said. If Obama voted for Roberts, Rouse told him, people would remind him of that every time the Supreme Court issued another conservative ruling, something that could cripple a future presidential run. Obama took it in. And when the roll was called, he voted no....

In case you're thinking of voting for a fresh idealistic new face, not part of the cynical of Washington establishment...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

September 1, 2007

Today's BS...

Desperation rules in the appeasement camp! From Weekly Standard:

The Washington Post, working hand-in-glove with Democrats in Congress, has gotten out front in preparing the domestic battlefield for September's fight over the war in Iraq. The Post led today's paper with an account of a leaked draft report from the Congressionally-controlled Government Accountability Office (the GAO's final report is due next Tuesday). The headline: "Report Finds Little Progress on Iraq Goals; GAO Draft at Odds with White House." Here's the good news: If this is the best war opponents have to offer, the administration is in amazingly good shape going into September.

The Post reporters--both strongly anti-Iraq war--characterize the GAO judgments as "strikingly negative." But there's nothing striking about them. The Democratic Congress ensured that the report would deliver negative "grades" for the Iraqi government by asking the GAO to evaluate whether or not the benchmarks have been met now--just two months after the major combat operations of the surge began. For the report from the White House, Congress asked the administration to detail if the Iraqis are making "sufficient progress." But Congress asked the GAO, by contrast, to report if the Iraqis had "completed" the benchmarks. This ridiculous standard was a Congressional trap that forced the GAO to waste time and taxpayer money to come out with a pre-ordained and meaningless judgment, since no one ever promised or expected that the Iraqis would have met the benchmarks by now. And the GAO report doesn't really shed light on the key question: Are the Iraqis making progress?....

This phony report will probably be made much of by the fake anti-war types.

Whether or not Iraq makes domestic political progress (my prediction is that over time it will do better then most expect) we are clearly on the verge of inflicting a huge defeat on AL QAEDA there. They have given Iraq their best shot, butchering thousands of innocent people for the benefit of CBS and the NYT. Their goal has been to (1) defeat the project of democracy and freedom in the heart of the Caliphate, (2) to drive the US to another humiliating withdrawal, giving them enormous prestige in the Muslim world, and (3) aiding the ongoing decline of Western Civilization, by throwing power in the US to nihilists and lefty anti-Americans...

And they are about to lose on all three goals! God speed our peerless troops, and the brave Iraqi Defense Forces.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

August 14, 2007

You've done well, Mr Rove...

I don't really have anything to say about Karl Rove's departure from the White House, except that I feel confident that history will call him a great man. My guess is that his job and passion is winning elections, and the White House is not where it's going to be happening this cycle. He'll be up to tricks somewhere, just wait. What a great time this is to be alive.

I wonder if his dubious line about "wanting to spend more time with his family" is a bit of Rovian deception. The press will smell the scandal they've been drooling for uselessly for the last six years, and the horrid little creatures will waste man-years of time speculating and chasing their tails, leaving them that much less time for other mischief...

Karl Rove

Posted by John Weidner at 11:21 AM

August 4, 2007

Questions about Fred...

I myself know nothing about Fred Thompson's new campaign manager, Spencer Abraham, but Debbie Schlussel has a long post on the guy, and she's not happy. It sounds like maybe ol' Fred is not quite on the same page as the rest of us... She has lots of info; it's a long post. (From last week; I'm running way behind)

He hasn't entered the Presidential race yet, but Fred Thompson, yesterday, showed us why he's the scariest Republican Presidential candidate. And maybe the scariest of both parties.

Don't believe Thompson's claim that he understands the Islamist jihadist threat to America. His announcement, yesterday, of his choice of Spencer Abraham as campaign manager, told us everything we need to know. Although Abraham, of Lebanese descent, is a Christian, he is a career water carrier for Islamists of the most extremist stripe and made that the cornerstone of his failed, one-term Senate career and equally lousy tenure as Energy Secretary...

Even if Abraham's not a "career water carrier for Islamists of the most extremist stripe," this sort of thing makes me think Fred has the flavor of a certain sort of Republican I don't much care for. Old complacent realist-type insiders who know all the other old insiders and pick each other for appointments regardless of talent.

And I still don't have any good answer to my big question about Fred Thompson. What, exactly, has he been doing to aid the war effort over the last 5 years? He talks a good line now, when he's running for office. But before that?

The real frontline of the war is here. Our military can handle anything the terrorists can throw at them. But the terrorists have allies in the "Democratic" Party and the "Progressive" gang who are working day and night here to sabotage our country and bring about our defeat. Right here is the real fight, and it sure looks to me like Fred has been AWOL...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:01 PM

August 2, 2007

"Senator, it’s not that tough"

Here's a good bit by Dean B:

...By DENNIS CONRAD Associated Press Writer, WASHINGTON (AP) _ Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons ''in any circumstance.''

''I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance,'' Obama said, with a pause, ''involving civilians.'' Then he quickly added, ''Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table.''
Gosh, Senator, it’s not that tough. Try this: “As president of the United States, I would do whatever is necessary to defend the American people. We all pray that we’ll never need to use nuclear weapons. But I would do what is necessary in my role as Commander in Chief to protect this country.”

Obama’s lack of seriousness on global affairs is somewhat mystifying. He’s not a dumb guy. This isn’t Joe Biden who keeps saying stupid things. The only conceivable explanation for why Obama is so nave and out if his depth when discussing geo-political matters is that in his many years as a community organizer, he never gave them much thought. You don’t exactly need to be a keen observer of modern power to know America’s nuclear deterrent is somewhat important to our safety. What kind of serious politician would glibly and unilaterally yank that deterrent off the table?...

Stupid, of course. It's the deterrent that keeps the nukes from being used. Nobody wants to start trouble with us and our allies (except terrorist loons) because of the slight possibility that we might give them more trouble in return than they can possibly imagine. In fact it's that deterrent that has made wars between developed countries extinct. Germany will never invade Poland or Czechoslovakia again because either of these countries could cobble together nuclear bombs in a matter of weeks or months... If you believe in peace, you must be pro-nuke.

"...in his many years as a community organizer, he never gave them much thought." Well, they don't. Think, that is. SF has "community organizer" jackasses up to our ears, and none of them think. Why? Because political correctness lowers your effective IQ.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

July 18, 2007

Bluff called...

Captain Ed on the big democrat surrender snooze...

...So what did this accomplish? Nothing. After midnight, most of the Senate disappeared. It turned into nothing more than a huge bluff, and Reid lost.

Here's what Reid wanted. He knew that he didn't have enough votes for a quorum; he only has 49 Democrats available, with Tim Johnson's disability. Reid counted on Republicans forcing an end to the session by having a single member present to challenge for a quorum. No votes could take place without one, including the instruction motion to the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest recalcitrant members and drag them back to the chamber. That would have allowed Reid and the Democrats to accuse Republicans of dodging the debate, calling them cowards to take the spotlight off of their insistence on retreat.

Many expected the Republicans to do just that, but it turns out that Mitch McConnell is a little smarter than Harry Reid. Instead of denying Reid a quorum, the Republicans showed up for the debate, perhaps charged up by John McCain's earlier speech on the floor. Once Reid figured out that the Republicans would not give him the satisfaction of walking out the door, he caved. In fact, Reid didn't even bother to attend his own No Snooze Until We Lose party after the first instruction motion, choosing to hit the sack instead while Republicans took the podium all night long.

The cloture vote has been scheduled for around 11 am this morning. The overnight session has done nothing except to annoy Republicans into a more unified caucus, and to make Harry Reid look like a fool....

Ha ha. Life ain't all bad...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:57 AM

July 17, 2007

run towards, not away...

Thanks to Harold Sutton for pointing this one out to me, from National Review:

GOP Hopefuls Keep Distance From Bush; Republican Candidates Run from Bush; Republicans Backing Away From Bush. These are the headlines we have and will continue to see again and again throughout the remainder of the 2008 primary campaign and after every GOP debate. With approval numbers in the high 20s and low 30s, the president cannot expect the GOP candidates for president to run toward him, and on any number of issues the candidates are well within their rights and judgments to put daylight between the outgoing administration and their hopeful one.

But on one issue, the candidates should not run from the president, in fact they should run toward him and close any distance or doubt between them: the battle of our lifetime, the global war against Islamic terrorism and its battleground Iraq.

We propose they do so as soon as possible, in one press conference where they all stand united in one voice and say: “On this issue, on the war against Islamic terror, in the battle for Iraq, we stand with one voice and one policy: Victory. We support both the troops and the mission and you cannot divide that support. The troops and their generals believe in what they are doing, that they can win if they are given the necessary support. We believe them, we believe in them, and will do everything in our political power to help see them through to victory. On this issue, there is no daylight among the president, our servicemen and women in Iraq, and us. We will not support premature withdrawal or surrender.”

Let the press conference happen soon, as the House has just voted to stop the war in April of next year; the Senate is debating the very same; other politicians are arguing for an even sooner withdrawal; and the media is making heroes of a handful of Senate Republicans who are distancing themselves from the president on Iraq.

Let it take place at Ground Zero in New York. Politicizing the war? Hardly. That has already been done by those who have stampeded to the Senate and House floors, rushing to be the first with a new withdrawal plan for Iraq; or by declaring the war “a failure;” or “a meatgrinder;” or the lives of our soldiers “wasted” or “squandered;” or saying the president lied us into war; or by the attempted rewriting of history from the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act (signed by President Bill Clinton) to what those who voted to authorize the war in 2002 did and did not say — did and did not mean — when they spoke in favor of and voted for the authorization of that force....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:12 PM

A lunatic air...

Hugh Hewitt:

Against the backdrop of stories like this one, Harry Reid's surrender sleep-over takes on an almost lunatic air --a rushing about by the lefties to legislate defeat before the clear facts of progress leading to victory become widely known and lastingly illustrative of the Dems' inability to be trusted with the country's national security.

What pathetic creatures. And our Republicans aren't much better. If they were they'd be having bedspreads PRINTED for the slumber-party with all the recent good news from Iraq which our pathetic news-media don't want you to know about...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

July 14, 2007

This week's sham....

Hearing that the House had voted for a retreat in Iraq was very depressing. BUT, Amanda Carpenter looks at the details, and discovers—this will astonish you—that the Democrats are cowards and frauds, and the bill is yet another meaningless sham...

...Pelosi is publicizing that the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act would force President Bush to dramatically change his Iraq strategy. The fine print, however, states that Bush must first agree to it.

The first few lines of the bill demand that the administration redeploy troops from Iraq within 120 days and “complete the reduction and transition to a limited presence” by April 1, 2008.

Later, the language in the bill weakens. On page three, the bill calls only for a “reduction.” The next page specifies that the Armed Forces’ presence be reduced to “minimum force levels required to protect United States national security interests” by the April deadline.

How many troops would remain after this reduction?

In an email, Pelosi spokeswoman Nadeam Elshami said,
“The bill requires that number and purpose to be justified by the President. It would then be up to Congress to decide whether to fund the deployment.”...

Congress could, of course, stop funding the Iraq Campaign at any moment. but that would require them to take responsibility for the results. The ice-hearted animals could care less if another Cambodia occurs, if millions of brown-skinned foreigners die, as long as the responsibility is diffused. Cowardly dogs, I spit upon you!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:38 AM

July 12, 2007

This round, it's not defeatists we are fighting, but fantasists...

Rick Richman was at the California Dinner of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The speakers were Natan Scharansky, and Hugh Hewitt, who he quotes:

...In 1978, when Mr. Sharansky was convicted wrongfully by an illegal regime, I was a graduating senior from Harvard, driving across the country to go to work for Richard Nixon in San Clemente. . . There are so many parallels between the election of 2008 and the election of 1980 that I observed from San Clemente, the Elba of America at the time.

I had gone out to ghostwrite a book for President Nixon . . . called “The Real War.” ...It was, perhaps, in 1978-1979 the lowest point of the Cold War -- the point at which America seemed least likely to even win a stalemate.

If you will recall, Cubans were throughout Africa and on the march; the Shah had fallen; shortly thereafter the Soviets would occupy Afghanistan; Americans were held hostage in Teheran; Mr. Sharansky was in the most infamous prison in the most dictatorial country in the world, on his way to exile eventually in Siberia. The future looked very, very bleak indeed... I had sat at my commencement, in the rain, listening to Alexander Solzhenitsyn tell us about A World Split Apart, and predicting that in fact the West would not survive. . .

Ronald Reagan’s candidacy was also in trouble. . . . Reagan was flaying [flailing?] around through early 1980 and it did not look, even though Carter was in trouble, that the Republicans could pull it together. . . . A lot of people think 1980 [was easy]. It was such a close thing if you go back and revisit it. . . . It did not in fact break until October 28 of that year. . .

I bring that up because I believe we are in for the same kind of election. I believe that 2008 is going to be as closely run and as difficult . . . but for a very different reason. In 1980 Ronald Reagan presented optimism . . . against Jimmy Carter’s resigned defeatism . . . a belief that we could not rally ourselves and perhaps we could get to some sort of separate peace. This time it’s not defeatists . . .

This [election] . . . is really against fantasists -- against people who do not believe that the threat is what it is. . . . Our fellow citizens and our friends also felt as badly as we did about the events of [9/11]. But increasingly they have come to believe that it was a lucky one-off, a fluke, a tragedy, as opposed to the first massive expression of a very sinister and very powerful will . . . intent not on peaceful coexistence . . . but on the relentless expansion of their radical vision of Islam.

The Republicans are going to be saying a very hard thing to hear -- that we are locked in an existential struggle . . . and that indeed it is going to be a long and difficult and often bloody 20-30 years ahead of us. That’s a very tough hard message to sell in 60 seconds . . . especially when Democrats insist on saying it’s not so, and that we can retreat from Iraq without the carnage following us home, and that we can pretend that the radicalization of the Islamic population in Europe is neither far advanced nor continuing....

Question is, can a nation long endure, when a large portion of its population is living in a rubbishing hippie dream-world where you "visualize" things to make them happen? And now we have a double-whammy, with many of our leaders in Congress "visualizing" failure in Iraq at the very moment when the tactics of General Petraeus (who they voted unanimously to confirm) are starting to take effect, and when all our people actually on the ground in Iraq are reporting very positive developments?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 AM

July 10, 2007

You need to be able to run a rather large organization...

Patrick Ruffini, on McCain...

....Until today, John McCain had four highly capable aides who could have easily vied to be his Karl Rove. That was the problem. No one was really in charge. As a 24 year veteran of Congress, this shows how poor McCain's management instincts really were, and demonstrates why Senators rarely get elected President. Marc Ambinder essentially confirms this in the tick-tock:
The sources said that Nelson's position as campaign manager was precariously positioned from the start because McCain did not endorse a campaign structure that would have given Nelson absolute authority over messaging, finance and strategy. Republicans directly familiar with the negotiations to bring Nelson aboard said that McCain promised Nelson that no one but him would have the ultimate say in making and executing campaign decisions. But McCain did not follow through on those promises, these Republicans said.
Even a perfect campaign couldn't have nominated John McCain, but his reluctance to give one person ultimate responsibility for strategy certainly didn't help...

Even if McCain were not flaky on several important issues, the fact of his apparent lack of management skills ought to disqualify him.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 AM

July 6, 2007

"This situation is dripping with irony!"

Hugh Hewitt posted an e-mail...

Why is the UK importing all these foreign doctors?

One answer is because many of the good ones left when the powers that be decided that nationalized government-run medical care was the way to go.

I’ll give you 2 examples from one specialty, ophthalmology:

S___ was the son and grandson of family physicians in the north of England. When the UK opted for socialized medicine, Stuart decided it was a bad move, so he moved, eventually winding up in Orange County, CA. S____ is the inventor of [a key advance in eye care] and co-founder of [a major company]. The device that allows the recipient thereof to see objects at far, intermediate and near distances. It is under the control of the ciliary muscle in the eye, and mimics the function of the natural lens before birthdays get a hold of it and the arms become too short. It’s a remarkable lens, manufactured right there in Aliso Viejo.

But do you think a Brit can get one of these intraocular marvels? Not likely. He can come here to receive it and pay cash, but if he wants surgery done in the UK, he must sign up, wait for a very long time, then have a German ophthalmic surgeon who flies into England do his surgery since there’s such a shortage of English ophthalmologist. This situation is dripping with irony!

To understand the current situation, you have to turn the clock back 40 years and realize that we are now seeing one of the natural results of lousy policy...

Things are connected. When I was a boy there were big battles about "socialized medicine." (I suspect the free-market party won back then just by pinning that name onto the issue. And now the socialists are trying to win by giving their policy the name "single payer.") And the people who opposed said that it was a bad idea that would harm us over time, by eroding the incentives that lead to better medicine.

And those who were for various government interventions in health care took the position that changing the economics of the system would not affect how people act. That doctors, for instance, would still work and compete vigorously without the incentive of yachts and big houses and seats on the board of the museum.

But what fascinates me is that they could not say this explicitly. Because it is crazy. And they still can't. Leftists are still drooling over the possibility of getting health care totally into the government's control, but the plans—HillaryCare, ObamaCare, whatever— still assume that all the little human chess-pieces will continue to act just the same.

To be left-leaning in any way is to be tangle-up in lies. I can argue my positions at any number of levels. There are underlying ideas under the underlying ideas. And you are welcome to take a hammer and pound on any of them. And if they fail, I've learned something. Leftists/democrats/"Progressives"/Liberals...none of them can say the same...

x

Posted by John Weidner at 8:13 AM

June 30, 2007

Not reported...

I highly recommend a piece by Rod Dreher, The Godless Party: Media Bias & Blindness—And the Big Story They Missed

....Indeed, religion has become such a galvanizing issue for both parties that, say the authors, "the religious gap among white voters in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 presidential elections was more important than other demographic and social cleavages in the electorate; it was much larger than the gender gap and more significant than any combination of differences in education, income, occupation, age, marital status and regional groupings." The media have thoroughly reported the key role religious conservatives play in Republican Party politics; what they’ve ignored is the equally important role militant secularists play in setting the agenda of the Democratic Party—as the late pro-life Governor Bob Casey, denied a decent podium at the 1992 Democratic convention, could have attested.

The divide has become so stark that the authors have discerned a new kind of voter: the "anti-fundamentalist." According to the 2000 ANES data, the hatred of religious conservatives long apparent among Democratic convention delegates has found a home among a disproportionate number of Democratic voters. Twenty-five percent of white respondents in the ANES survey expressed serious hostility towards religious conservatives, as opposed to only one percent who felt this strongly against Jews, and 2.5 percent who disliked blacks and Catholics to a strong degree. (Ironically, these are people who say they "‘strongly agree’ that one should be tolerant of persons whose moral standards are different from one’s own.") Eighty percent of these voters picked Bill Clinton in 1996, with 70 percent choosing Al Gore in 2000. Conclude the authors, "One has to reach back to pre-New Deal America, when political divisions between Catholics and Protestants encapsulated local ethno-cultural cleavages over Prohibition, immigration, public education, and blue laws, to find a period when voting behavior was influenced by this degree of antipathy toward a religious group." If Al Smith were to return and run for president today, his enemies wouldn’t be yesterday’s rustic anti-Catholic bigots of the Bible Belt, but today’s urbane anti-Christian bigots of liberal coastal cities dubbed (by the Wall Street Journal ) the Porn Belt...

....But their most striking finding was the near total lack of editorial and news coverage devoted to the increased importance of secularists to the Democratic Party versus the role of traditionalists in the GOP. The numbers are mind-boggling: 43 stories on secularist Democrats, 682 stories on traditionalist Republicans. In 1992, the Times alone published nearly twice the number of stories about Evangelicals in the GOP than both papers did about secularists among the Democrats for the entire decade. The bias is even worse among television journalists, who filled the airwaves with stories about the "Religious Right" and the Republican Party, but who didn’t file a single story—not one—about the Secular Left’s relationship to the Democrats. But their most striking finding was the near total lack of editorial and news coverage devoted to the increased importance of secularists to the Democratic Party versus the role of traditionalists in the GOP. The numbers are mind-boggling: 43 stories on secularist Democrats, 682 stories on traditionalist Republicans. In 1992, the Times alone published nearly twice the number of stories about Evangelicals in the GOP than both papers did about secularists among the Democrats for the entire decade. The bias is even worse among television journalists, who filled the airwaves with stories about the "Religious Right" and the Republican Party, but who didn’t file a single story—not one—about the Secular Left’s relationship to the Democrats....

The numbers would seem to indicate a cover-up, but my guess is that it's mostly a matter of people in the news media considering secularism so normal, that they don't even see it. Sort of like the way you don't hear your own accent, and think you are just speaking "normally."

But I think there is a huge psychological cover-up going on, as liberals try to pretend that they are still the modern mainstream, and anyone who disagrees is kooky or primitive. And that psychology is a subject that utterly fascinates me...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:56 AM

June 25, 2007

Driving us apart...

I can't resist commenting on Mr Obama's latest, Obama Says Some Have `hijacked' Faith...

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right- wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division. [No other motive, I'm sure.]

"Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked," the Democratic presidential candidate said in remarks prepared for delivery before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ. [Faith is not supposed to "bring us together." Faith's loyalty is to Truth, not togetherness.]
"Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us," the Illinois senator said.

"At every opportunity, they've told evangelical Christians that Democrats disrespect their values and dislike their church, [I'm in a city that's about 85% Democrat, and yes, you Democrats DO "disrespect" my values and my church.] while suggesting to the rest of the country that religious Americans care only about issues like abortion and gay marriage, school prayer and intelligent design," according to an advance copy of his speech. [Religious Americans care about those and a LOT of other things. Those issues are in the news because our traditional beliefs there are under attack by nihilists like Obama, and so we fight back.]

"There was even a time when the Christian Coalition determined that its number one legislative priority was tax cuts for the rich," [That's simply a lie] Obama said. "I don't know what Bible they're reading, but it doesn't jibe with my version." [Tax cuts help the poor, as our current very low unemployment rates attest. The welfare state corrupts and destroys the poor, morally and spiritually and economically.]

Obama is a member of the United Church of Christ, a church of about 1.2 million members that is considered one the most liberal of the mainline Protestant groups. [Which have also been corrupted and destroyed by Leftist/Democrat thinking.]

In 1972, the church was the first to ordain an openly gay man. Two years ago, the church endorsed same-sex marriage, the largest Christian denomination to do so. [Oh. And those aren't things that tend to "drive us apart?"] Obama believes that states should decide whether to allow gay marriage, and he opposes a constitutional amendment against it. [Way to take a strong moral stand there, Barak. Real "Profiles In Courage" stuff.]

Conservative Christian bloggers have linked Obama to what they call the "unbiblical" teachings of his church. Theological conservatives believe gay relationships violate Scripture, while more liberal Christians emphasize the Bible's social justice teachings... [Notice the multiple slights-of-hand here by the unbiased reporter. Like the substituting the word "relationships" for "marriage." And the side-stepping into "social justice," without touching on whether liberals say gay marriageor ordinations ARE scriptural. And never a mention of 2,000 years of Christian traditions.]

[End of article. I put a few more thoghts below.]

I'm sorry, but Mr Obama's complaints are pure bullshit. It is a grave error for any Christian group to conflate its politics with its faith. But the Christian Right is in fact far less guilty of this than the "Christian Left." The Christian Right has been driven into politics by massive attacks on things that most Americans have always just believed in, and is always a reluctant partner in the Republican coalition. The Christian Left has been "hollowed out," and has simply jettisoned traditional Christianity for a mush of leftist ideas. Nobody forced them into the Culture of Death, or gay marriage, or being anti-American, or anti-Semitic. They just go along with whatever the current leftist positions are without a qualm. Without a thought. Without giving a damn whether they are "scriptural."

One of the most creepy things I ever read was some writer's account of sitting with a group of Anglican leaders as they discussed one of the "issues." I think it was female clergy, a few years ago. He was shocked, because there was no mention of morality or theology, or even, to put it bluntly, Christianity. Their talk was was pure brute politics: How do we ram this through, how do we smash or sideline the opposition.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 AM

June 18, 2007

Nixon "got it" long ago...

Remember "the silent majority?" [ Huh? what's this old guy talking about? ]

From Ace of Spades HQ:

Ah, well. It's always been my contention that the most important function of blogs was to let people know that, despite the official pronouncements from the media and their supposed representatives, their views were actually, in many cases, the majority view, and so they should not act meekly as if they were a small minority doomed to lose but should rather fight like the mainstream representatives of the majority, destined to win, they really are.

That's how the media and political establishment conspire to push unpopular legislation on the public -- by convincing them their views are marginal and could not possibly win, and, in fact, are "extremist" and therefore things to be kept quiet about in secret shame.

What blogs, talk radio, and other non-establishment media are best at is fighting that dishonest meme and thereby letting people know that not only are they not alone, but in fact are part of the true, real mainstream majority opinion. And could, and should in most cases, prevail.

Without some method of national, rapid, widely disseminated messaging, how could millions of people be alerted to the fact that they were in fact the majority and not just a "small group" of "noisy" "extremists" who "don't want what's best for America," as the MSM and Republican leadership itself is telling them?

The most dramatic proof of this: A schoolteacher in France brought down the EU treaty by well-nigh singlehandedly rebutting the French media's and political class's one-sided, enthusiastic coverage of the treaty, offering no contrary opinion... and little hint there was a contrary opinion in France at all. Everyone's in favor of this treaty, they told everyone, so there is no reason whatsoever to even bother showing up to vote against it. Resistance is futile...(Thanks to Andrea).

Lefties think the history book has been chiseled in stone, as far as ol' Richard M. is concerned, and that the deaths of millions of Cambodians and Vietnamese and Laotians were trifles compared to Waaaaaaatergate. Mere eggs to make their omelets. But I don't think the history of our times has even begun to be written. And when it is, the frenzy and desperation of the elites as us little people are increasingly empowered by technology will be a major theme.

And one of the big moments will be Nixon's discovery that he could use television to bypass the press. (Teddy Kennedy and his foul "Democrat" crew will just be footnotes to the paragraph on Pol Pot.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 AM

June 11, 2007

I recommend...

Hugh Hewitt's A Mormon in the White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know about Mitt Romney

My current estimate is that it is quite likely that Mitt Romney will be the Repubican nominee. And if this is even remotely interesting to you, then Hugh's book is the book to read. It is not too long, very well written, and covers a lot.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:34 PM

May 31, 2007

Various things I've been meaning to blog...

Dean Barnett on Romney:

...The fact that Romney has emerged as the candidate who most irritates the left is an unmistakably good sign for his campaign. Liberals by nature loathe their opponents. (Conservatives, on the other hand, mock their opponents.) The fact that Romney so angers adversaries like Andrew Sullivan, Joe Klein, and the Boston Globe is a good thing; for whatever reason, the only Republicans who ever get into the Oval Office are the ones who really rub lefties the wrong way.

The Klein article also reveals a fundamental divide between the liberal media and a guy like Romney. Romney really does believe in the greatness of America and her people. That’s why, even though we face such enormous challenges, he’s still honestly optimistic. He radiates this optimism, and it drives some people nuts. Shouldn’t he be despondent about Gitmo like everyone else?...

"Believes in the greatness of America and her people!" Ooooh boy, how the chomskies are gonna hate him. I'm already looking forward to it...

Here's a fascinating Art Nouveau synagogue in Hungary.

JD Johannes on stuff he's seen happening in Iraq. You won't get the straight dope on TV, but it exists...

...Professor Fearon's thesis is well thought out, but the facts have changed on him. It is not his fault, but it shows the speed in which the situation on the ground changes.

Very few people know enough about Iraq to make coherent policy pronouncements. Most of what people think they know about Iraq is wrong. When I get home in a few weeks people will ask me, "how's Iraq?"

I will tell them, "I don't know, but I can tell you about the areas that I saw first hand and spent a few weeks living in."

Each area of operation is different. Khalidiyah is only 35 kilometers from Kharma and Kharma is only 33 kilometers from West Rasheed, Baghdad, but they are nothing alike. Anyone who says they can speak with definitive knowledge about all of Iraq is a fool or a liar or both...

A good piece on Clarence Thomas...He's another great man who drives the lefties into crazy hatred.

A good Memorial Day piece on how we no longer remember or celebrate our Medal of Honor holders...

Tony Blair...

...I was stopped by someone the other week who said it was not surprising there was so much terrorism in the world when we invaded their countries (meaning Afghanistan and Iraq). No wonder Muslims felt angry.

I said to him: tell me exactly what they feel angry about. We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a UN-supervised democratic process.

And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims.

Why aren't they angry about the people doing the killing? The odd thing about the conversation is I could tell it was the first time he'd heard this argument...

More ugly scandals from the UN "peacekeepers." It's the Left's "abu Ghraib." And it goes on year after year, and no one is called to account. If you support the corrupt and evil organization called the UN, YOU are responsible.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 PM

May 26, 2007

If they really wanted to fight al Qaeda, they'd be rarin' for a fight...

Andy McCarthy has a good word in The Corner....

...Senator Obama says: " It is time to end this war so that we can redeploy our forces to focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and all those who plan to do us harm."

Senator Obama, are you proposing that we move U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, where you guys keep saying the "real" War on Terror is?

There is also a very good chance that bin Laden and some al Qaeda hierarchy are in Pakistan. When you say "redeploy," are you suggesting that we invade Pakistan?

Folks, let's not let these guys get away with this. By "redeploy," they don't really mean move the troops to where they say al Qaeda is. They don't want to fight al Qaeda. If they wanted to fight al Qaeda, al Qaeda is in Iraq — that is indisputable. Bin Laden has said repeatedly that Iraq is the central battle. You can argue about whether al Qaeda has been in Iraq all along or whether they are there only because we've drawn them there. Reasonable minds differ on that. But however they got there, they're there.

If you really want to fight al Qaeda, you stay in Iraq.

If you really believe al Qaeda is not in Iraq — that the real al Qaeda is only in Afghanistan and its environs — then you're on drugs. But, sure, fine, "redeploy" our troops ... to Afghanistan. But can we please have five seconds of honesty? You guys don't have the slightest intention of doing that. You don't want to go to Afghanistan. You want to go home.

When you say redploy, you mean withdraw. You don't actually want to "focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11." You are content to bring the troops home and leave "the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11" to build a safe-haven in Iraq even as they continue to make mayhem in Afghanistan...

Wars are to fight. That's just what they are. Senator Obama (along with many other Democrats) is a foul and horrid liar when he says he "wants to fight the real War on Terror." If he were telling the truth, he'd be spoiling for a fight! Even without the question of Iraq, al Qaeda is known to be present in a variety of places. (From the WaPo: ...U.S. Gen. Charles Wald, deputy commander of the European Central Command, has been warning Congress and the Pentagon for months that al Qaeda-affiliated groups are active in Mauritania, Mali, Chad and Niger....)

So where's the call to action from Mr Obama about this? Why isn't he urging us to get out the knives and go after these thugs? Why isn't he criticizing the Bush Administration for flinching from action in Mali? Of course he's not going to do that; everyone knows perfectly well that "fight the real War on Terror" is a lying code phrase for "don't fight; appease."

To be a "Democrat" is to live and breath lies. I doubt if Obama is any longer even aware of the boundaries between lies and truth. There is not a single area of policy where Dems do not have to use code words to give a wink and a nudge to convey that they are saying one thing but of course mean another.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:09 AM

May 7, 2007

Not exactly heroic...

John at PowerLine has a good point about the Fred Thompson phenomenon...

...Second, the last five years have been a critical time in our nation's history. From 2002 to the present, men like George Bush, John McCain, and many others have been fighting a very difficult battle on behalf of our country. Not Fred Thompson: he preferred to leave the Senate to live the very sweet life of a minor television celebrity. There's nothing wrong with that, necessarily, but it's not exactly heroic, either...

I really don't know anything about Mr Thompson, and since I don't watch TV I really don't even know what he looks like! But I do know that virtue isn't a matter of what you feel, or think, or believe. It only exists in what you DO. What you do with whatever resources you possess, whatever challenges you happen to be presented with.

Most of us can't be among the heroes who hunt down terrorists. that's a job for the few. But the main front of the War on Terror is right here at home, where nihilists and appeasers wage ceaseless propaganda war against America, and against the whole idea that there's anything worth fighting for. And it would seem like Mr Thompson, as a respected celebrity, has been in a position to render important service to his country over the last five years...

Your country, the best and greatest nation that has ever existed on earth, is under attack, and you fail to rush to her aid. What does that mean? What does that say about a person?

.
Poster: Daddy, What Did You Do In The Great War?
Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 AM

May 5, 2007

Body language...

I was going to send you to the We Win, They Lose petition. But I discovered that they have a widget that allows me to embed it right here...

You no doubt recall the words of Ronald Reagan, who, when asked how the Cold War should be viewed, said: "We win, they lose." Painful words for leftists and fake-pacifists and "realists," who viewed communist slavery as an inalienable right for hundreds of millions of people.

More and more I think that it's the state of our spirits and psyches that really drive the world. And that Reagan changed history less by anything he did, than by his face, his smile, his very body-language...all of which were the very opposite of the nihilism that infects our age.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:46 AM

May 2, 2007

It was a different world...back in 2005

Atlas Shrugs has an interview with Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, who recently quit blogging because of hostile attention from the police...

...SANDMONKEY: "Any kind of democratic reform in the country [Egypt] for the past 3 years has been rolled back specifically because there is no more pressure coming from Washington anymore."

ATLAS: Why? What happened to the pressure in Washington?

SANDMONKEY: You know what happened to the pressure in Washington. The Democrats won the Congress. There is no more pressure coming from Bush because he is not able to push people anymore to do those things. He is not able to push the Egyptian government anymore because the American public is suddenly not interested in reforming the Middle East because of what's going on in the Iraq. So suddenly the Egyptian government is not afraid of the American pressure. They are doing whatever they want to do. They are beating up demonstrators, they are cracking down on activists, they are changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties once and for all and they are using proxies to take down bloggers....

"beating up demonstrators...cracking down on activists...changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties." Gee, sounds like the kind of crap Lefties say about Bush's "fascist" America. Only this example is REAL. It's real, it's brutal, and it's what you get when you vote for "Democrats."

We were, for a while, pressuring Egypt and other Middle East tyrannies towards more freedom and democracy. Go back and read this post of mine from 2005. It was a different world.

Bush's foreign policy is idealistic, it wants to create a better world. BOTH because that's a good thing in itself, and also to make us and the world safer. But he can only do it from a position of strength. These things need to be supported by both parties. They SHOULD be supported by both parties; it is traditional in America that "politics stops at the water's edge." Of course on lots of small issues it doesn't, but when a president, especially in time of war, pushes an important foreign policy initiative, there is absolutely no excuse for the opposition party to undercut him.

Especially when it is an attempt to make a better world in a way that is consistent with our most cherished values.

It is wrong, it is EVIL, it is sick and twisted. Even if they are opposed to the Iraq Campaign, the Democrats should have made it absolutely clear that they are firmly in support of the President on these and other foreign-policy goals. But they are too sick and evil to care.

I'm doubly bitter about this because of the many times I pointed out that the Iraq Campaign, whether right or wrong, was going to lead to huge peaceful diplomatic gains. Why? Because diplomacy is the "good cop" that only works because there is the "bad cop" of war waiting to take over if the good cop can't extract some concessions. The fact that we looked like a country that might unleash crazy violent regime-change at any moment was a huge incentive towards peaceful change.

And the fact that we now look like a country that is paralyzed and won't respond to provocations is exactly why Egypt and Syria and Iran and many other countries can thumb their noses at us and crack down on any glimmers of freedom. And this is creating the seeds of future wars.

Pacifism KILLS. Right now the fake-pacifists and fake-Quakers and fake-Christian "peacemakers" are hugging themselves with glee because Bush and Rice have been forced into retreat. Domestic politics and anti-Americanism are all that's real to them. They care nothing for the realities of peace-making.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

April 30, 2007

Good, by Hitch...

Christopher Hitchins on George Tenet's disgraceful new book...

...A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.
Posted by John Weidner at 1:56 PM

April 28, 2007

What's wrong with this picture...

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) today released the following statement after the Senate approved the supplemental funding bill that sets a target date to remove U.S. combat troops from Iraq:

“We are one signature away from ending the Iraq War. President Bush must listen to the will of the American people and sign this bill so that our troops can come home.”...

"...ending the Iraq War" I hate to break it to you, Mr O-bam, but those funny brown-skinned people you see on the TV are not computer animations, they are real human beings. And if an early departure by us makes things get much more bloody and violent in Iraq, they are not going to look at each other and say, "Well, at least let's thank God the WAR is over!"

I once wrote ...For a lot of people here the world is like a vast darkened hall with small mechanical puppet-theaters scattered about. And the little puppet stages only turn on when an American comes near. Then the lights come on, the music plays, and the little puppets dance and sing...

We see this a lot. Of course the great example was Vietnam. The fake-pacifists were patting themselves on the back for "ending the war," even as 15 North Vietnamese divisions were smashing into South Vietnam, even as millions were being slaughtered in Cambodia, even as millions more were fleeing in any boat they could find.

They called that PEACE! Blessed are the peacemakers, baby!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

April 24, 2007

Good good good....probably won't happen

This is not only a stunningly good idea, but a fascinating psychological test. I bet you could show this to 100 Bush-haters, and not one of them would say, "Hmmm, maybe I'm a bit off about this guy." And you could show it to a hundred NRO-type conservatives, and none would say, "Hmm. This is a profoundly conservative idea." When it comes to Bush, minds are closed!

[IHT]....It was here in Kansas City, at the 2005 food aid conference, that the Bush administration pushed for a fundamental change that would have diminished profits to domestic agribusiness and shipping companies. It proposed allowing a quarter of the Food for Peace budget to be used to buy food in poor countries near hunger crises, rather than buying only U.S.-grown food that had to be shipped across oceans.

And Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns spoke at the conference on Wednesday to make the administration's case for the same idea, contending that such a policy would speed delivery, improve efficiency and save many lives.

Congress in each of the past two years killed the proposal, which was opposed by agribusiness and shipping interests who stood to lose business, even as it won support from liberal Democrats like Representatives Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Earl Blumenauer of Oregon....

Of course a "conservative idea" that appeals to Barney Frank sounds a wee bit paradoxical. That's because the traditional conservative position would be that we should not be giving charity to poor countries or people at all, because it will weaken them and make them dependent. Which is true, and it's likely that one of the reasons Africa needs so much food aid is because it gets so much. [Good read: For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid! by Kenyan economist James Shikwati.]

BUT, we are not going to stop giving food aid as long as there are horrible famines in the world. It ain't gonna happen. So the next best thing is to buy food in Uganda for the famine in Kenya. That makes agriculture in Uganda more profitable, keeps prices up, which leads to investments that make future famines less likely. It rewards productive farmers, rather than penalizing them by dumping cheap food on the market.

By the way, there is no place in the world that suffers famines because it is overpopulated. That is a lie spread by the Culture of Death. The world has enough arable land to feed far more than its present population. If I had more time it would be fun to find the average output of farmland in the US, and then find out the total acreage of farmland on the planet, and extrapolate how many people the world could feed, at present levels of farming technology. I bet it would be surprisingly large.

As for my own feelings about Bush, I just want to scream because he isn't doing more! Especially, asking the American people to realize that we are in an information war, and that they should be making sacrifices in wartime—not in this case material sacrifices, but the psychological sacrifice of swimming against the current of lefty defeatism, and against the torrent of falsehoods that the news media broadcast. BUT, on the other hand, there is hardly a month goes by that I don't see some story like this one, of transformative things being tried by this administration. Ideas that, if they take hold, will bear fruit over generations.

Which is the real reason that brain-dead lefties and Quakers hate Bush. The tectonic plates are shifting under their feet, and Bush is the symbol of change. They have no beliefs that will give them traction when the floor starts tilting, so they turn their angry bewilderment on a symbol...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:08 PM

April 16, 2007

Results of experiment are in...

Case Closed: Tax cuts mean growth. By Fred Thompson

...but there is reason to smile this tax season. The results of the experiment that began when Congress passed a series of tax-rate cuts in 2001 and 2003 are in. Supporters of those cuts said they would stimulate the economy. Opponents predicted ever-increasing budget deficits and national bankruptcy unless tax rates were increased, especially on the wealthy.

In fact, Treasury statistics show that tax revenues have soared and the budget deficit has been shrinking faster than even the optimists projected. Since the first tax cuts were passed, when I was in the Senate, the budget deficit has been cut in half.

Remarkably, this has happened despite the financial trauma of 9/11 and the cost of the War on Terror. The deficit, compared to the entire economy, is well below the average for the last 35 years and, at this rate, the budget will be in surplus by 2010.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about this success story is where the increased revenues are coming from. Critics claimed that across-the-board tax cuts were some sort of gift to the rich but, on the contrary, the wealthy are paying a greater percentage of the national bill than ever before.

The richest 1% of Americans now pays 35% of all income taxes. The top 10% pay more taxes than the bottom 60%....

Tax cuts result in the rich paying a bigger share. And the maddening thing is that it's impossible to 'tell" this to most people. They just can't hear it. Their little brains reject the alien idea.

It was the same thing with the Reagan tax cuts. The percentage of taxes paid by those in the upper brackets increased. But my efforts to communicate this fact to others was hopeless...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:18 PM

April 13, 2007

Somehow not thrilling...

James Lileks writes, about Mitt Romney:

...I should preface this by saying I’m not a Romney guy. It has nothing to do with his creed. I think his accomplishments are impressive, his public persona solid and direct. I think he is what he seems to be...

...I just never found him very fascinating on an immediate level. The difference between Rudy and Mitt’s personality, one suspects, is the difference between wandering around the Louvre with two glasses of red wine under your belt, or being handed a shoebox full of high-res Louvre gift-shop postcards, arranged by artist and date...

That's kinda how I feel. Logically, I think Romney is the best potential President. He's just a very smart and effective guy. But I can't warm to him.

I recently read Romney's memoir about how he took over the scandal-crippled Salt Lake City Olympics, and made it a great success. It's an impressive tale. But I happen to have also read another such memoir, businessman Peter Ueberroth's story of running the 1986 Los Angeles Olympic games. And so it's interesting to me that I remember a number of whimsical personal details and adventures from Ueberroth's book, and was left feeling like a knew him and liked him. But I got no such feeling from Romney's book...

Does anybody feel the same?

Posted by John Weidner at 5:11 PM

April 11, 2007

This is murder, just as much as if you used a gun...

To block reform of the shockingly bad schools in many inner-city urban areas is to destroy children. Sometimes literally. And in the sense of destroyed lives, by the tens-of-thousands, at the least.

This is murder. Remember this, when Democrat politicians and fake-pacifists shed fake tears over our honorable war dead, and claim the loss of lives in defense of freedom is "unacceptable." The blood of our children is dripping from their hands...

....If the recent budget battle in Albany in which the teachers union and its allied lawmakers killed a proposed tax deduction for private or parochial school tuition and imposed mandatory unionization on charter schools that grow larger than 250 students in the first two years wasn't enough for you, consider California. There, the Los Angeles Times reports, the school board rejected an application by a charter school operator, Green Dot, to open eight new schools. The Times quoted a school board member who represents Watts, a poor Los Angeles neighborhood, Mike Lansing, as saying, "It's really disappointing that we keep talking about wanting to do what's best for children first, when without a doubt that vote was about a teachers union and three board members not having the backbone to stand up and do the right thing for kids over their ties to the union." The Times account of the school board meeting goes on to say, "Parents and students from the impoverished, gang-ridden community also implored the board to approve the charters, saying they were desperate for an alternative to the low-performing, often unsafe district middle and high schools in the area."

The blogger Mickey Kaus wrote, "If teachers' unions have lost the liberal LAT, they're in trouble, no?" Not in so much trouble that they lost the vote. Lance Izumi of the free-market Pacific Research Institute summed it up: "Despite Green Dot's promising results, the school board decided to side with the United Teachers of Los Angeles, a vociferous critic of charter schools…The union had contributed a total of $1 million to two anti-Green Dot board members in their recent re-election bids, virtually the entirety of their campaign war chests." The irony is that charter schools were championed by the late president of the American Federation of Teachers, Albert Shanker, who saw them as a way to improve public education while avoiding private school vouchers. What would Shanker think of the AFT affiliates in New York and Los Angeles blocking the expansion of successful charter programs in both New York (with a cap on the number of new charters, notwithstanding that two of the charters were granted to the union itself ) and in the nation's second largest city, Los Angeles?....
[From the NY Sun. Thanks to Orrin. Emphasis mine.].

Every Democrat politician benefits from the enormous contributions of the corrupt "teachers" unions (which are in fact the unions of vast educational bureaucracies in which the concerns of teachers count for little). Every Democrat politician takes this blood money, and everyone who votes Democrat is complicit in murder.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:09 AM

April 10, 2007

Even MORE Un-blankety-blank-believable...

Fak-chekin...

....a herd of Democratic bloggers are criticizing General Petraeus for allegedly having a partisan meeting for Republicans. One blogger even suggests General Petraeus should be “relieved of his command”. The general theme…
I think it is inappropriate for the commanding general in Iraq to meet privately with the Republican caucus to plot a legislative strategy…
Sounds pretty serious. The RS Insider checked with sources on the Hill and in the Defense Department and discovered there are only two problems with the story.

1) General Petraeus did give a Congressional briefing last month – a “video-conference at the Pentagon” – and it was open to Republicans and Democrats.

2) Democrats chose not to attend.

So General Petraeus gave a briefing to the Republican caucus….because Democrats couldn’t be bothered to show up...

And these useless people actually have the gall to claim that they deserve national office.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 PM

April 6, 2007

We are "considering."

Good article in OpinionJournal, by Robert F. Turner, Illegal Diplomacy: Did Nancy Pelosi commit a felony when she went to Syria?

The Logan Act makes it a felony and provides for a prison sentence of up to three years for any American, "without authority of the United States," to communicate with a foreign government in an effort to influence that government's behavior on any "disputes or controversies with the United States." Some background on this statute helps to understand why Ms. Pelosi may be in serious trouble...

Of course nothing will actually be done to Ms Pelosi, and probably nothing should be done. (Though one rather wishes the administration were really the neo-con cowboys they are portrayed as. Then we would have the fun of wondering!)

But the article is very interesting on the important debates that preceded the act, and the Supreme Court decisions after.

....Griswold and Parker were Federalists who believed in strong executive power. But consider this statement by Albert Gallatin, the future Secretary of the Treasury under President Thomas Jefferson, who was wary of centralized government: "it would be extremely improper for a member of this House to enter into any correspondence with the French Republic . . . As we are not at war with France, an offence of this kind would not be high treason, yet it would be as criminal an act, as if we were at war." [France and the US were in a "quasi-war," which included privateering and fights at sea.]

Indeed, the offense is greater when the usurpation of the president's constitutional authority is done by a member of the legislature--all the more so by a Speaker of the House--because it violates not just statutory law but constitutes a usurpation of the powers of a separate branch and a breach of the oath of office Ms. Pelosi took to support the Constitution....

Hmmm. "Quasi-war." Sounds kinda familiar. One wishes the Justice Department would merely announce that it is "considering" the possible applicability of the Logan Act. It might have an educative effect on certain people. Ordinary Americans I mean; I consider the Democratic leadership uneducable. Pelosi of course, because she's just not very bright (I had to laugh when I heard Rush describe her as, "A few french-fries short of a Happy Meal"). But in a more general sense, one can't educate core Democrats because they don't believe the things they currently believe.

There will never be a real debate, because Democrats lack any intellectual framework of beliefs and principles that one might criticize, or that they could base arguments on. Pelosi and company will never make a constitutional case for their actions, because they have never thought that way. They do not have beliefs, they have habits. Leftist and collectivist habits of thought inherited from past generations who actually believed in things like Marxism, and would argue from principle

Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

April 5, 2007

Insanity is when you make the same mistake over and over and.....

Surprise, surprise. Yet another pension-fund-gonna-go-bust story. It's a bore; there are so many of them. States, countries, organizations, companies of all sorts and colors.

The INSANITY is that it just goes on and on. Decade after decade. Although many individual organizations have learned better, we don't learn as a a society.

This Jersey thing is a "defined benefit" plan. That is, you define how much the retirement benefits will be, and then try to keep putting enough money in to make that happen. (Sort of like making a New Years resolution about what your weight will be next Christmas, and promising to eat so as to make that happen.) The alternative is a "defined contribution" plan, which says "We will take X dollars each month and put it in your 401-K, and you will have whatever retirement benefits your investments yield."

In 2005, New Jersey put either $551 million, $56 million or nothing into its pension fund for teachers. All three figures appeared in various state documents — though the state now says that the actual amount was zero.

The phantom contribution is just one indication that New Jersey has been diverting billions of dollars from its pension fund for state and local workers into other government purposes over the last 15 years, using a variety of unorthodox transactions authorized by the Legislature and by governors from both political parties.

The state has long acknowledged that it has been putting less money into the pension fund than it should. But an analysis of its records by The New York Times shows that in many cases, New Jersey has overstated even what it has claimed to be contributing, sometimes by hundreds of millions of dollars.

The discrepancies raise questions about how much money is really in the New Jersey pension fund, which industry statistics show to be the ninth largest in the nation’s public sector, with reported assets of $79 billion.

State officials say the fund is in dire shape, with a serious deficit. It has enough to pay retirees for several years, but without big contributions, paid for by cuts elsewhere in the state’s programs, higher taxes or another source, the fund could soon be caught in a downward spiral that could devastate the state’s fiscal health. Under its Constitution, New Jersey cannot reduce earned pension benefits....
(Link. Thanks to Orrin)

Just read the story, and THINK a bit. (I'm talking to YOU, Mr Democrat loyalist.)

The big lesson of the 20th Century (besides that one about Revolutions that are going to help the Workers and Peasants) is that defined-benefit plans don't work. But the madness goes on and on. And the biggest insane-rip-off of all is called Social Security. And when President Bush proposed a mere small start at ending the insanity, every brain-dead lefty in the country opposed him, and conservatives gave him only tepid support. (And then they have the nerve to say that Bush is betraying conservatism! When the sums he was trying to get out of the hands of government, and into the control of ordinary people make all our recent budget deficits look like pocket change.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 AM

March 31, 2007

Stopwatch time...

Michelle has an e-mail from someone at the SF Chronicle, which has mysteriously not yet reported on the scandal involving Senator Diane Feinstein, (SF resident, and former SF Mayor. And, most importantly, Democrat). The person said he "expects" that the Chron will be reporting on it.

Yeah, sure. I'll bet they report it like the big papers reported on the allegations of the Swift Boat Veterans. That is, they will ignore it as long as possible, and then report it as something that's "already been debunked."

So, do you think I should whip out the old stopwatch and time how fast all those people who made pompous denunciations of the Halliburton Corporation, will jump on what looks like REAL war-profiteering? Hmm? Hey, all you Halliburton bashers out there (I remember you, and you know who you are) here's your chance to show that you are honest....

Remember all the screaming about a couple of no-bid contracts given to a Haliburton subsidiary? Contracts which were, in fact, quite innocent, and were issued by career bureaucrats, not by the Bush Administration, and for perfectly respectable reasons? And similar to ones cut under the Clinton Administration? Well, now we seem to have a LOT of fishy-looking no-bid contracts, to DiFi's husband Richard C. Blum's corporations, while DiFi sat on the MILCON subcommittee that oversees the work.

So I'm expecting you lefties to show that you are honest, and give this the same treatment you gave Halliburton! (Ha ha, ain't I a comic!)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:31 PM

March 30, 2007

Fides punica

I saw yesterday on Best of the Web something that's really disgusting. Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel wrote a Washington Post op-ed in 2002, saying that "we need to disarm Saddam Hussein and set the stage for a stable Iraq..." and that Iraq would be a tough challenge that might last a decade!

Now, out of scoundrel political calculation, they are betraying our troops and our country and our elected leaders in the very time of difficulties they predicted, and that they said it would be necessary to prevail in. And, of course, in the military campaign they voted to commit our forces to.

...Although no one doubts our forces will prevail over Saddam Hussein's, key regional leaders confirm what the Foreign Relations Committee emphasized in its Iraq hearings last summer: The most challenging phase will likely be the day after -- or, more accurately, the decade after -- Saddam Hussein.

Once he is gone, expectations are high that coalition forces will remain in large numbers to stabilize Iraq and support a civilian administration. That presence will be necessary for several years, given the vacuum there, which a divided Iraqi opposition will have trouble filling and which some new Iraqi military strongman must not fill. Various experts have testified that as many as 75,000 troops may be necessary, at a cost of up to $ 20 billion a year. That does not include the cost of the war itself, or the effort to rebuild Iraq.

Americans are largely unprepared for such an undertaking. President Bush must make clear to the American people the scale of the commitment...

I agree with the last two sentences, although I would not quite generalize it to all Americans. My own thoughts chime a bit with this, by Alan:

Military historian William Hawkins provides a precis on why wars are won or lost. I think he’s too hard on Donald Rumsfeld, who surely knew these things, but who was trying to work within political and bureaucratic parameters that he could not alter. Otherwise, I agree with everything Hawkins has to say. The West is in jeopardy for want of will, without which weaponry means nothing. We are wasting vast sums of taxpayer money on military hardware that will never be used, if the nation’s ruling Boomers wet their Depends every time some Third World thug says “boo.” My generation will ruin the nation. It’s a sad thing to contemplate as my own life approaches a premature close.
Posted by John Weidner at 12:37 PM

March 29, 2007

con job

Other people have already pointed out the tortured logic here, but I can't resist...

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday dismissed any comparison between the firing last fall of eight U.S. attorneys with the replacement of 93 U.S. attorneys when her husband became president in 1993.

"That's a traditional prerogative of an incoming president," Clinton said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Once U.S. attorneys are confirmed, they should be given broad latitude to enforce the law as they see fit, she said.

"I think one of the hallmarks of our democracy is we have a devotion to the rule of law," Clinton said.

She conceded that should she win the presidency in 2008, she likely would replace all of the U.S. attorneys appointed by President Bush. She said that's merely following traditions in which presidents appoint prosecutors of their own party.

Clinton argued that the Bush administration's firing of the eight federal prosecutors has caused an uproar because it is seen as a conservative push to shift the balance of power in favor of the executive branch....

When Bill fired 93 US Attorneys, that's "tradition." (He only did it because he loved tradition, because he did not want to look like a Jacobin, tearing down the work of ages.)

On the other hand, when Bush fires eight of his own appointees, that's an illicit power grab! And somehow—I guess I'm too stupid to grasp these subtleties—somehow the Executive Branch's replacing eight Executive Branch people with eight other people will "shift the balance of power in favor of the executive branch." Damn tricky, that man Bush.

Me, I wish Bush were firing people more often. We elected him to run the government, and you don't do that by being a jellyfish.

Of course the very fact that one has to point out these things, which should be obvious, is a kind of victory for the Dems. Republicans are somehow forced onto the defensive for doing what they are in fact supposed to do. That's the bad news. The good news is that, once again, we see that the Democrats have no positive agenda or ideals or program to present. Nothing but complaints. I still have left some shreds of faith that eventually it will dawn on the American people that they are being conned.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:28 PM

March 23, 2007

"Pork and defeat"

Hugh writes:

House Democrats vote for pork and defeat, with the supplemental demanding defeat by March of 2008 passing on a vote of 218 to 212.

It won't get through the Senate. And even if it did, the president will veto it. The Democrats are denying timely funding to troops in the field, troops that in fact winning, and massaging the enemy that half the Congress wants to surrender.

Republican Leader Boehner has wisely decided not to allow any reconsideration motions or other procedural gimmicks that could give the 218 cover. They voted for retreat and defeat plus a mountain of pork. The McGovern-San Francisco Democrats are back....

I've avoided commenting on all this, because everybody else is, and because you all can guess what I think about it. But really, just thinking about Dems running for office on their criticism of Republican pork spending, and then using billions of dollars in pork projects to buy the votes to undermine their own country in time of war....I gotta vent a bit.

Democrats got America into ALL the bloody wars of the 20th Century, and in every one of them the Republicans loyally supported our troops and our war efforts no matter the political cost. And now the Democrats repay us with treason. (You think I'm putting this too strong? Yes, you. I'm talking to you, Mr. Lefty Q. Sap reading this and sneering. I'm happy to debate the issue. Show me I'm wrong.)

One thing that really burns me up is the endless ankle-biting about how the Bush Administration made mistakes in Iraq. Every war we've ever fought has been filled with mistakes!

Including ALL those 20th Century Democrat wars. They all involved calamitous Democrat mistakes that make Iraq look like a picnic for the poor orphan children. Belleau Wood, Peleliu, Anzio, LZ Bitch, Slapton Sands, Chosin. I could go on. Did you know that, right before North Korean Army smashed into South Korea and drove US and ROK forces almost into the sea, our Democrat overlords ordered hundreds of P-38's stored in S Korea to be destroyed? Because they might be "too provocative" in the hands of the ROK?

Sainted Democrat Franklin Roosevelt pissed away 25,000 American casualties to seize a rock called Iwo Jima. Which never yielded any strategic or tactical advantage. And now his pigmy descendants have the nerve to criticize Bush? What a bunch of useless hippie nihilists...

Korean War: 36,516 dead (33,686 combat, 2,830 non-combat), 103,000 wounded, 8,142 MIA. And what exactly was accomplished with these casualties? Hmmm?

Posted by John Weidner at 1:27 PM

"At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter"

Dean Barnett, who suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, has a thoughtful post on Elizabeth and John Edwards.

....Through the years, I’ve come to view serious and progressive illness as an ever constricting circle with oneself at the center. The interior of the circle represents the contents of one’s life. As the circle gets smaller, things that were inside get forced out. Some of these things are dearly missed; other items that were once thought precious get forced to the exterior and turn out to go surprisingly unlamented.

At the innermost point of the circle are the things that really matter: Family, faith, love. These things stay with you until the day that you die. At the very end, because the circle has shrunk down to its center, they’re all you have left.

But as we approach that end, we finally realize that all along they were what mattered most. As a consequence, life often remains beautiful and worthwhile right up until the end. The past several years for me have been a journey to what’s at the center of my life. One of the things I found there that I didn’t expect to was writing. (You lucky people.)

The Edwards have begun their own journey of that sort. Whether they still find presidential politics at the center of their lives a few months from now is an open question. Regardless, the journey is theirs, and one would have a heart of stone to wish them anything other than good luck and Godspeed.

I can't add much to that, except that the smaller crises in life have a similar effect. And life's opportunities too. Imagine being offered the job of your dreams, but in a distant place. Or requiring 60 hours a week. Then you would have to choose what's inside the circle.

And I can tell you that having children does the same thing. I keenly remember some friends of ours, years ago, who had kids about the same age as ours, saying, "We can't wait 'till things get back to normal." Ha. Wrong. Never happens. And that is, of course, a lot of why we have a "Culture of Death." People want to avoid certain painful moments of choosing in their lives.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 AM

March 10, 2007

Then and Now

You have all seen, I'm sure, those lists of what Democrat leaders said then, about Iraq and Saddam, and what they say now, when they see political advantage in betraying their country and stabbing our troops in the back and undercutting a military campaign that they voted for..

But written documents lack a certain punch. A certain sort of impact.

Now there's a splendid YouTube, Democrat Hypocrisy on Iraq, with video clips collected of a LOT of famous Dems saying publicly...well, just take a look and see.

I won't say what I think about them, because I would be tempted to use language such as is not fit for publication.

Thanks To Rand Simberg

Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

February 24, 2007

Recycling...

Orrin writes, concerning Tom Vilsack's withdrawing from the race...

It's at least notable that while Mr. Vilsack's bid was always dubious there's only one thing that changed this week: he participated in the first debate and there proposed a rational reform measure for Social Security and the Left declared him beyond the Pale of their party's ideology. There is no Third Way any longer for the Democrats. It's back to the 70s.

This is very interesting if you view all this through the lens of the 70-Year Cycle. In the 1940 election, the equivalent point in the cycle to 2008, the Republicans nominated Wendell Wilkie, who had until recently been a Democrat, and a New Deal supporter! There's certainly no sign of Democrats doing something like that.

On the other hand, Wilkie was also widely (and incorrectly) perceived to be an isolationist, which matched the mood of many Republicans at that time, and many Democrats today. That fits. Wilkie was also something of a Rorschach candidate, like Obama. People could see him as whatever they were hoping for.

Wilkie and Roosevelt split over the Tennessee Valley Authority, which was one of the most fascinating projects of the US in that period. But that's a whole other topic.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 AM

February 19, 2007

Now this REALLY surprises me....

AP--YahooNews) Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs lambasted teacher unions today, claiming no amount of technology in the classroom would improve public schools until principals could fire bad teachers.

Jobs compared schools to businesses with principals serving as CEOs.

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good?" he asked to loud applause during an education reform conference.

"Not really great ones because if you're really smart you go, 'I can't win.'"

In a rare joint appearance, Jobs shared the stage with competitor Michael Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc. Both spoke to the gathering about the potential for bringing technological advances to classrooms.

"I believe that what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way," Jobs said.

"This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."
[Here's a link to more.]

"off-the-charts crazy." Wow. Not what I was expecting. The blunt truth. And from a company that sells a LOT of machines to schools!

Steve Jobs is, as far as I know, a typical Silicon Valley Democrat type. Pals with Al Gore, etc. On the other hand, he's a cutting-edge kinda guy, a leader in new trends. And broken government schools are the big civil rights issue of our time.

Democrats keep trying desperately to pretend that we are still in "The Era," when civil rights was about Great White Liberals and big fat white government protecting poor darkies from the KKK and NASCAR fans. They've created a sort of "institutionalized revolution," complete with relentless propaganda, especially in the schools, about the glory days of Viva La Revolution, even while the surviving comrades have turned into bloated corrupt old parasites. BUT, those days are long gone, as is the time when government could do much to help minorities. Now government is much of the problem.

And a great many Democrats must know that the corrupt bargain they have struck with the teacher's unions—boodle in exchange for blocking reform—is destroying or blighting the lives of countless inner-city children. But children are expendable when what's at stake is political power.

The problem, actually, is not just that bad teachers can't be fired. The big problem is that schools put their efforts into pleasing the "customer," but the customer is bureaucrats and politicians. NOT the people with the real interest in educational results, parents.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

February 16, 2007

Update...

In my previous post I expressed skepticism about the way leftish people divert attention from their own scandals by claiming to have received threatening or abusive e-mails, and I mentioned Amanda Marcott.

My blogging friend Andrew Cory knows Amanda, and tells me he has seen some of the e-mails she has received, and that they look real and abusive. So, my skepticism was at least partially wrong. My apologies.

I didn't blog about the big Marcott affair itself; it was not interesting to me. But I'd have to say that Andrew, when he blogs about it here, doesn't quite express what the flap was about.

...None of this has anything to do with how she has handled her responsibilities with the Edwards Campaign. You may agree with her opinions. You may not. Agreement or disagreement has nothing to do with her ability to do her job. That job is to say the sorts of things about John Edwards that John Edwards thinks will get John Edwards elected President...

Is she capable of doing that? There is probably no one better capable of doing it. Should she be fired from her current job for things she has said before taking that job? Not if John Edwards believes in Free Speech. Free, in this case, meaning—yes—consequence free...

An American Presidential campaign is about the voters trying to get to know the weaknesses of the candidates, and the candidates trying like mad to prevent this. (Of course we also want to discover their strengths, but that's not really a battle—no one's trying to hide those.)

It's sort of like trench warfare, with everyone under cover. There's not much to shoot at. So if someone sticks his finger up above the edge of the trench, a thousand dollars worth of bullets fly through the air. The pundit-attacks on Marcott were 99% about Edwards. He says he can run the country, so the issue of how well he can run a campaign is very relevant, especially since he's never run anything else in his life, not even a popcorn stand at the County Fair. The controversy is about his judgement, in selecting people for his campaign, although it is expressed in the form of outrage over Ms Marcott's opinions. (Which is why I didn't blog about it; there's too much phoniness about the outrage expressed during such campaign scandals. But that's also why I'll never be a popular blogger—writing about issues and ideas does not attract those delicious thousands of hits.)

Andrew in raising the issue of free speech is simply wrong. Her freedom to speak is unimpaired. Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom from criticism, or freedom from suffering (lawful) consequences due to what you say. When I blog my conservative opinions, I must accept the possible consequences. No Left/Liberal organization would want me for their spokesman. I have no right to complain about that.

I feel somewhat sorry for Ms Marcott; she got hit by bullets that were really aimed at Mr Edwards. But that's what presidential campaigns are like, and have been for 200 years. And Marcott's job was to help conceal from voters things about Edwards they wish to know. She voluntarily went to fight in the trenches, and got caught in a trench raid. (And if McCain or Clinton had made a similar embarrassing hire, she would have been shooting bullets of phony outrage with the best of them!)

An issue that does interest me is how the lines are being drawn more clearly in the war between The Church and the Secularist religion. Ms Marcott's virulently anti-Catholic remarks are, I suspect, an indicator of things to come. I predict that that war is going to keep heating up, and that mushy compromise positions will become harder to hold. To the nihilist, belief is an affront. And it will be more so as it becomes more evident that faith is not a primitive phase that human beings are destined to outgrow. And as it becomes ever more clear that leftist policies have failed to produce the expected felicity.

I predict; we can get together in 20 years and see if I'm right....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 AM

February 7, 2007

compassion for the poor.

You guys probably already know this, but I will post it just to feel smug while thinking about the millions of economic illiterates who claimed (and some still do) that the Bush deficits were going to sink us nose-deep in quicksand. Yeah, right. Just like the Reagan deficits did.

From OpinionJournal, Fiscal Revelation, The federal budget deficit just keeps shrinking...

...The news Mr. Conrad won't broadcast is that over the past three years the federal deficit has shrunk by 58%. The Congressional Budget Office--not the White House--is estimating that the current year's deficit (for fiscal 2007) will fall to $172 billion....

....We don't put much stock in future budget forecasts because they depend on so many variables. But even CBO predicts the deficit should remain near or below 1% of GDP for the rest of the Bush Presidency. That's well below the 40-year average of 2.4% of GDP.

This also means that the federal debt burden will continue to fall. Alarmists point to the $1.4 trillion rise in total federal debt from 2003-2006, but that amount is dwarfed by the $14 trillion in new household wealth created over the same period. And for all the international scolding of an allegedly profligate America, U.S. federal debt as a share of GDP is falling again. At 37% in 2006 and heading south, the U.S. figure compares to 52% in Germany, 43% in France, and 79% in Japan. Once again rising total "debt" is a scare word used to justify higher taxes....

As I've explained before, adding debt is good, if you are investing in something that will increase your wealth. Primarily by cutting taxes, which puts money in the hands of those best motivated to make the economy grow---us ordinary Americans. And keeps it out of the hands of those who want to squander it unproductively---politicians. This helps the poor, by creating jobs. The number of jobs has been growing strongly for several years now, although the press does not mention it.

The really painful fact is that the best thing we can do for the poor is give tax cuts to the rich. George W Bush has consistently shown compassion for the poor. The Democrat frauds who want to raise taxes hate the poor. (Or rather, they love them so much they want to keep them the way they are forever.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:29 AM

February 3, 2007

Big tent, but not infinitely extensible...

I agree with this, by Hugh Hewitt. It's from a great post, Republican Senators and The Choice Before Them: Get It Right Or Get Out...

....I have always been willing to support moderate and even liberal Republican incumbents over conservative challengers because of the benefits of being a majority party in Congress. I wrote at length about this in Painting the Map Red, and it still is a bedrock principle of mine: We need majorities in order to pass legislation and, crucially, confirm judges.

But my tolerance and even encouragement of "big tent" differences ends at the war and the Supreme Court. Abandoning the party on either issue isn't at all like rejecting drilling in ANWR, indifference to abolition of the death tax, or contrarian votes on trade policy. Getting the war wrong means the death of thousands and thousands of civilians, just as getting the Supreme Court wrong means the carving up up the bedrock understandings of how the country should function....

I wish I had a ton of money, because then I could NOT give it to the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Our goal is peace. If we run from the terrorists another time, run from difficulties another time, the result will be future wars much worse than this one. Pacifism kills.

This is also good:

...Kristol mentions the need for new Republican candidates committed to victory in the war. Not only is he right, but he points up another failing of the current GOP leadership. It has been three months since the GOP last both houses, and not a single candidate has been recruited in either the House or Senate who brings with them experience in the war. There are thousands of men and women who have actually fought this enemy, and who ought to be standing for the House and Senate as able and experienced representatives of Americans committed to victory, not retreat. Neither the NRSC or the NRCC has brought forward even one such candidate yet, and instead we see the reappearance of GOP losers from 2006, suggesting that they want a rematch....

Goooood point. If the appeasers can manage to dredge up nihilist soldiers to run for office, how much easier it would be for us to find soldier-candidates who believe in the mission! Especially since almost all of them do believe in it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM

February 2, 2007

More shibbuwichee?

Bill Kristol has a good piece, How the Democrats Have Lost Their Cool...

...When last seen before election day 2006, the Democratic Party seemed the very soul of moderation....

...But in the past few weeks, the Democrats have gone wild. The mushy domestic agenda is quickly disappearing beneath a tide of antiwar agitation in Congress. Joe Biden is leading the way, seeking to have as one of the first acts of the new Democratic Senate a nonbinding resolution condemning a troop increase in Iraq. Others want action, not just words. On the presidential side of the party, Hillary Clinton has gone at breakneck speed from being a mild critic of the war to calling for a legislated troop cap and threatening to cut off funds for the Iraqi army. Obama and John Edwards are cheerfully one-upping her by demanding a firm schedule for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq. What happened?

In part, an accelerated presidential race, with its own dynamic. In part, the fact of congressional majority status, which has its own dynamic too. But in largest part, Bush. He crossed up the Democrats. They expected him to stay the Rumsfeld-Abizaid-Casey course in Iraq. Or, they thought, he might accede to the Iraq Study Group, admit errors and lead us to gradual defeat. Neither would have required Democrats to do anything much except lament the lamentable situation into which Bush had got us. Instead, Bush replaced Rumsfeld, rejected the Iraq Study Group's slow-motion-withdrawal option and chose to try a new strategy for victory, backed by a troop surge. The Democrats were genuinely shocked that Bush wouldn't behave as if the war was lost....

"Genuinely shocked." Ha ha. They are acting pretty asinine. Makes me feel good about 2008. I'm guessing treason won't have all that long a shelf-life.

I wonder if Karl did this deliberately? It leads me to think of Stalky: "...Did you ever read a book about Japanese wrestlers? ... These wrestler-chaps have got some sort of trick that lets the other chap do all the work. Then they give a little wriggle, and he upsets himself. It’s called shibbuwichee or tokonoma, or somethin’."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 PM

January 26, 2007

clear message...

Charlene remarked, when I got up this morning, that nothing much encouraging is going on, but that it's good to read people like Hugh Hewitt. He writes today...

....Time and again the Republican caucus has gone wobbly, and yet it seems to wonder why the roof fell in.

Republicans like their elected men to act like Reagan and their elected women to act like Thatcher: Principled, firm, sunny and full of resolve. "We win. They lose," was Reagan's prescription for the Soviets, and it ought to be the GOP's prescription for Iraq and the far greater war beyond. That is the clear message of the rightroots, and it isn't hard to hear, even for senators wearing Beltway earmuffs.

Please print off some Pledge Cards and pass them around. if you are headed to the National Review summit, take a stack. Be sure to hand them to passing senators. Tell them the lefties are outraged --a very good sign....

We are the good guys. They are the bad guys. We win. They lose. Once you get that, then you can and should consider the nuances and shades of grey, and criticize our own side when we make, as flawed humans always do, mistakes.

We are chips tossed in a nihilist sea. Without that sort of basic moral clarity, we are simply lost. And no amount of "seeking" will ever find anything. (And the situation in the religious sphere is precisely analogous.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:05 AM

January 18, 2007

Online politics...

Fascinatin' stuff from Micah L. Sifry...(Thanks to Glenn)

The Pew Internet & American Life Project is releasing another of its ongoing reports tracking Americans' use of the internet today (and someone leaked us an advance copy), and this report contains some really important news:

* More than 60 million people (31% of all Americans online) say they were online during the 2006 campaign to get information about candidates and/or exchange views via email. They call this growing group "campaign internet users." This group trends young (duh); wealthy; well-educated; and somewhat more white than of color (33% of white Americans vs 23% of blacks and Hispanics).

* People with broadband connections at home (now 45% of the overall adult population, compared to 3% in 2000) are far more likely to use the net for political news. In particular, people under 36 are twice as likely to cite the net as their main source of political news, compared to newspapers.

* By far the most interesting discovery from their survey: 23% of campaign internet users has either posted their own political commentary to the web via a blog, site or newsgroup (8%); forwarded or posted someone else's commentary (13%); created political audio or video (1%); forwarded someone else's audio or video (8%). "That translates into about 14 million people who were using the 'read-write Web' to contribute to political discussion and activity," the study's authors Lee Rainie and John Horrigan write.

*This group, which Pew labels "online political activists," is disproportionately liberal. "Some 15% of internet users who describe themselves as liberals are such online activists, compared with 9% of online conservatives," Rainie and Horrigan note....

Cool. What does it mean? Maybe when I've had another cuppa coffee, I'll think of the grand insight...(As usual, my customers put off finalizing plans until "after the holidays." Which is now, so I'm plenty busy...

The liberal slant doesn't surprise me too much. It's sort of like the way you find most of the bookstores in the liberal neighborhoods. Doesn't necessarily mean much, if what's selling is the equivalent, in in intellectual terms, of "empty calories." Think memoirs by someone like Barak Obama. It's better to have a few solid ideas, and cling to them stubbornly, even stupidly, than to enlist in the zeitgeist. “I had rather have a plain, russet-coated Captain, that knows what he fights for, and loves what he knows, than that which you call a Gentle-man and is nothing else”

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

January 12, 2007

The party of the little guy...

From PowerLine:

...The conglomorate that owns Starkist, Delmonte, is headquartered in Speaker Pelosi's district in San Francisco. Starkist processes large amounts of tuna in American Samoa. Apparently, 75 percent of the island's workforce is employed by Starkist.

It happens that American Samoa is the one territory exempted from legislation passed by the the House that will raise the minimum wage over time from $5.15 hour to $7.25. The reach of that law extends even to the islands of the Northern Marinas, but not to American Samoa, where Nancy Pelosi's giant constituent will be able to keep paying its workers $5.15 an hour...

There are still some lackwits who think that the Republicans are the party of big business, and the Dems represent the "little guy." Actually, both parties do what they can to get elected, and that means juggling the wishes of both voters and interest-groups. Democrats happen to be snug with a lot of anti-business interest groups, and this make them virtuous in the eyes of those who dwell in the alternate universe where capitalism is evil (and even worse, not cool).

This is an interesting example of a policy that satisfies anti-business groups being modified to help a particular business. One of the big reasons for any government regulation is that somebody ends up giving campaign contributions to politicians to modify the regulation.

Also, I know nothing about the islands of the Northern Marinas, but I'd guess this law is being applied to them with not the slightest thought about whether it's good for the people of those distant shores. An example, I'd guess, of why the US should NOT have colonies. We are simply not going to give them the sustained individual attention they need.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 AM

January 10, 2007

Good idea...

Charlene found this at Gates of Vienna. (It's also on many other blogs) A proposal to put pressure on our first Muslim congressman to speak out about the plight of women in Islamic countries.

To: Congressman Keith Ellison, Fifth District, Minnesota
From: Interested Americans
Re: Your great opportunity

You have been elected to serve the Fifth District of Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives. This is a crucially important opportunity, not only for all of your district’s constituents, but also for Muslims in America — even Muslims worldwide, who watch American politics with close attention.

You are in an unprecedented position: the political point man for Islam in this country. As our only elected Muslim in national office, you have the heavy burden and the unique responsibility to aid the cause of Islam in its endeavor to become the religion of conciliation.

There is no doubt that you, as our sole Muslim member of Congress, could bring to bear a high level of influence on Iran and other Muslim countries, in order to make the situation for women in these countries more humane.

If you were to use your bully pulpit to speak out about the plight of women under sharia law — especially in Iran and Pakistan — you would be a powerful influence for good....

There's more, with address and phone/fax/e-mail addresses.

Sounds like a good idea to me. From what I know of Ellison, he will wriggle and squirm away from this without giving the world much satisfaction. BUT, it is always a good practice to force the Left to acknowledge that their hatred of America and their coziness with Islam and Islamic terrorists is in blatant contradiction with their espousal of democracy, and of rights for women and gays. They want very much to fudge these issues. They should be forced to declare themselves.

The War on Terror is, above all, an information war. Something I wish our government were more openly aggressive about fighting. There are a lot of possible places where wedges can be inserted. ..

Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

December 24, 2006

Back to the ridiculous for a moment...

Hugh writes:

....What the paper's [the Boston Globe] staff doesn't seem to understand is the incredible lift they are giving the Romney campaign. There is no surer signal to the GOP base of a candidate's conservative principles, competence and electability than an early and sustained attempt to damage him by the MSM [mainstream media]. One of the reasons that Senator McCain is viewed with such distrust by the Republican base is the fawning coverage he receives from the Beltway-Manahttan media elites. One of the reasons Rudy Giuliani has credibility with base despite his views on abortions rights etc is that the MSM clearly fears him. Negative MSM coverage of Republican candidates is like a divining stick pointing towards those Republicans the Democratic Party fears the most.....

If McCain is nominated I'll vote for him, but still consider him puke-worthy. For this and other reasons. I can imagine he's enough of an egotistical fool to imagine that the Gasping Media will still fawn on him once he's running against a Democrat. If that situation happens one looks forward with a certain schadenfreude to his bewilderment when they turn on him like the animals they are.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:48 PM

December 22, 2006

"Compassionate antigovernment conservatives"

There's an interesting piece in Newsweek by former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson...

....As antigovernment conservatives seek to purify the Republican Party, it is reasonable to ask if the purest among them are conservatives at all. The combination of disdain for government, a reflexive preference for markets and an unbalanced emphasis on individual choice is usually called libertarianism. The old conservatives had some concerns about that creed, which Russell Kirk called "an ideology of universal selfishness." Conservatives have generally taught that the health of society is determined by the health of institutions: families, neighborhoods, schools, congregations. Unfettered individualism can loosen those bonds, while government can act to strengthen them. By this standard, good public policies—from incentives to charitable giving, to imposing minimal standards on inner-city schools—are not apostasy; they are a thoroughly orthodox, conservative commitment to the common good.

Campaigning on the size of government in 2008, while opponents talk about health care, education and poverty, will seem, and be, procedural, small-minded, cold and uninspired. The moral stakes are even higher. What does antigovernment conservatism offer to inner-city neighborhoods where violence is common and families are rare? Nothing. What achievement would it contribute to racial healing and the unity of our country? No achievement at all. Anti-government conservatism turns out to be a strange kind of idealism—an idealism that strangles mercy.

But there is another Republican Party—what might be called the party of the governors. It is the party of Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, who has improved the educational performance of minority students and responded effectively to natural disasters. It is the party of Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who mandated basic health insurance while giving subsidies to low-income people. Neither of these men embrace big government; both show convincing outrage at wasteful spending. But they have also succeeded in making government work in essential government roles—not a small thing in a post-Katrina world....

I think Gerson is both right and wrong. (There are a number of wrong things I'm not getting into here, but do feel free to comment...) For instance, "What does antigovernment conservatism offer to inner-city neighborhoods where violence is common and families are rare?" I'd say, A LOT, since government itself causes many of the problems, and because economic growth is the first essential, if people are going to escape from the trap of the "underclass."

But there is also a lot that government needs to do, since these are people enmeshed in complex situations that government can't avoid. (Certain people I could think of ought to spend some time sitting among the hapless creatures in the waiting area of an inner-city hospital emergency room before they make pronouncements about "getting government off people's backs.") Only government can chose between competing groups and visions—that's never going to end. And government will always be responsible for law, for order, for safety, for education and health care... (Regular RJ readers are saying "wait a minute, we could offer some suggestions here." I'm getting to that.)

However, in every one of these government areas there are improvements or better methods that antigovernment conservatives could offer. But to offer them effectively they have to care. They have to get involved in the problems to have any impact. They need to be—dare I say it—compassionate. There, I said it. And if you are a conservative who cares, and you become say, a state governor, well you have all these tools—governmental tools— to hand, and there are these horrid problems....So you tend to morph into a "compassionate conservative."

But that's not exactly what's really needed. What we need I think are compassionate antigovernment conservatives.

But that's not exactly it either. I think the word antigovernment has a bad flavor. After all, government is us. This is a democracy. If I have a problem with government, I can e-mail my supervisor (San Francisco's aldermen are called supervisors, due to our odd situation of being both a county and a city) and get prompt results. He wants my vote. So government doesn't seem to be the alien monster that anti-government conservatives portray. And yet, the most common sort of situation that arises will pit me and our supervisor against something that feels rather like a strangling alien monster, the bureaucracy. In which fight it is quite possible that we will lose. I could tell you stories.

Perhaps what I'd like to see are compassionate anti-bureaucracy conservatives. And it often feels to me like many conservatives are groping in that direction. Yet we rarely seem to be able to make it explicit. I think that's what Bush's "Ownership Society" is about. For instance, privatizing Social Security is not "getting rid of government," it's getting rid of a bureaucracy. And getting rid of dependence on that bureaucracy. Same with school choice, or HSA's, or favoring 401-k's over traditional pension plans. These are the right ways to move, but I could just weep with frustration because this anti-bureaucracy idea is rarely made explicit—it should be a crusade! And the crusade should be about saving souls! Not in a religious sense, but about saving people's character and spirit from being destroyed by dependence and lack of responsibility. (It's also a religious issue, since the desire to be cocooned from life's dangers, and loss of faith seem to be intertwined.)

Maybe I'm just weird. This stuff seems so obvious to me, but it's not obvious to a smart guy like Gerson....

Posted by John Weidner at 10:11 AM

December 16, 2006

good question...

Victor Davis Hansen...

....Does running for President allow a candidate to freelance at a time of war by talking to our enemies and triangulating against the president? Why is Gov. Richardson talking to North Koreans, or Sen. Kerry trying to talk to the Iranians, or Sen. Bayh to the Syrians? Wouldn’t that be like a Tom DeLay talking to Milosevic to undermine Clinton during the Kosovo bombing? Or Trent Lott dealing with the Taliban as Clinton sent cruise missiles against them?

Perhaps in the interest of fairness, readers can cite past examples where Republican Senators and Presidential candidates went abroad, undercut Democratic foreign policy at a time of war, and made statements that were welcomed by our enemies. I know Senators of both parties talked to Saddam in 1989-90 and often nearly empathized with him, but we were not yet at war with him.

Nota bene: Senator Nelson just returned from talking in Mr. Assad’s Syria—the serial murderer of Lebanese reformers, the clearinghouse for Hezbollah, the refuge for the killers of Americans in Iraq—with assurances that Syria wishes to be a stabilizing factor in the region.

Sen. Kerry in Cairo just praised Hosni Mubarak, lauding him by chastising President Bush’s failure to listen to this voice of reason and his criticisms of the United States. And why not listen to such advice, since this autocrat has been the recipient of billions in American aid, while squelching all reform for some thirty years in the bargain?...

Well, the anti-American vote is very important! That is, it's important if you are running in a Democrat primary. Or you can run as "moderate;" then you just need to not be seen as pro-American. What animals. And the really ugly irony is that these frauds will justify their hatred of our country by claiming that we........ support dictators!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 PM

December 9, 2006

It's good to have an authoritative answer on what it means...

The report of the Iraq Surrender Group, that is...

...In his weekly radio broadcast, Bush said the bipartisan group's report presented a straightforward picture of the "grave situation we face in Iraq." He said he was pleased the panel supported his goal of an Iraq that can govern, sustain and defend itself, even though that will take time. And he said he was glad the bipartisan panel did not suggest a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"The group declared that such a withdrawal would `almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence' and lead to `a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization and a threat to the global economy,"' Bush said, quoting the report, which was issued Thursday.

"The report went on to say, `If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return,"' Bush noted....[Link. Thanks to Orrin]

As Dean Barnett recently pointed out, the only time a "bi-partisan committee" is useful is when there is a consensus on what needs to be done, for which politicians need cover. Military base-closings are a good example. Everybody knew we had far too many bases, but no politician dared agree to cutting the one in his district. So the bi-partisan committee makes the choices, and every politician "puts up a fight to save Fort Comanche," and then accepts the inevitable.

If there is no consensus, then the results of a committee are going to be mush. Pure mush. Just like the 9/11 commission...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

November 18, 2006

Culture of victim-hood....

Steven den Beste:

2000, Democrats: "We wuz robbed!"
2002, Democrats: "We wuz robbed again!"
2004, Democrats: "We wuz robbed yet again!"
2006, Republicans: "Bummer. Oh, well, we'll do better next time."

Note that right-wing pundits and bloggers don't seem to be fixating on voter fraud, despite documented evidence that the Democrats have been doing that kind of thing? Note that Republican candidates who lost very narrowly gave in gracefully, without demanding recounts or resorting to the courts? Why the difference?

I think it's the basic Democrat culture of entitlement showing through. Democrats were angry in 2000, 2002, and 2004 because they felt that they deserved to win. Republicans don't feel that anyone deserves anything. They believe that all rewards have to be earned...

There's more, worth reading.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 PM

November 11, 2006

Feeling better about the election...

I'm feeling better about the election. I wrote a long unpublished post of the going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket type, but, well, maybe that's not how I'm thinking.

Michael Barone wrote somewhere that both parties have moved to the right. Dems by adding moderates, and Republicans by shedding them. I don't expect those new Dems to have much influence on their party now. The Democrats are still controlled by the monsters who gladly helped shovel millions of South Vietnamese and Cambodians into Communist concentration camps, and condemned millions more to death or desperate flight. And who would do it again, without remorse. They will be setting the agenda. Which will fail, yet again, and thus clear the way for other ideas.

But those new people may well be the future of their party, their future Goldwaters and Reagans. If our country has a future (as seems likely to me on this lovely morning) then the Democrat Party has a future, and it will be groping towards better, more American ideas over the next generation or two.

I expect that we will pay a bloody price for the message we have now sent to the terrorists, the message that we will retreat when casualties rise. We are teaching them to kill people. (And when the bill comes due I will not forebear to point out that Pelosi and her gang are murderers and warmongers, and that their "pacifism" means getting Americans and innocent bystanders killed, while letting killers frolic.)

BUT, wars are about fighting. Sorry chomskys, but that's the way it is, and you won't be able to wriggle away from that reality. I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone of Trotsky's famous remark. When it happens, when things get ten times as ugly as they are now, we will have leaned a lesson. (Or if not, than I guess some future Osama will arrange for them to get a hundred times as bad.)

This is going to be a lonnng war, and sometimes losing a battle can be a blessing. The winner thinks he has the world figured out, and the loser is prodded to the hardest part of any activity, which is re-thinking his assumptions. Most people would rather die than question their underlying beliefs, but there are always a few who, confronted with the blood-splattered rubble, will go back to the philosophical drawing-board.

I just hope it's not San Francisco that that's the target. My guess it that softer (philosophically softer I mean--think European) targets will get hit. We have taught the terrorists one lesson that their Democrat allies will have a hard time erasing. That is that America can still be a very dangerous lion to prod. I firmly believe that 9/11 happened with the expectation that America would either lash out in instant fury, or cringe away towards appeasement. I don't think al Qaeda would ever have attacked us if they thought that our response would be to patiently and cold-bloodedly dismantle two Islamic countries, and rebuild them with democratic institutions.

That had to be a nasty surprise, and don't imagine they will risk it again soon....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:21 PM

November 10, 2006

Put them to the test...

Many bloggers of the Dextrosphere are mentioning IraqPundit's post Speak Up, Democrats...

Al Qaeda and Iran are both gloating over the U.S. election results. AQ's chief in Iraq, Abu Hamza Al-Muhajir, actually mocked Bush while praising the Democrats' victory in the congressional mid-term contests. According to an audio tape message attributed to Al-Mujahir, Americans had "voted for something reasonable in the last elections."

Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the Republican defeat at the polls "is actually an obvious victory for the Iranian nation."

The White House has declined to comment on these statements, but what about the Democrats? Doesn't it behoove the Democrats to correct the claim that their ascension to power is good news for the enemies of the U.S.? Don't they want to move quickly to disabuse Al Qaeda of the idea that Democrats represent something that these butchers deem "reasonable"?...

....Democrats don't have a party position on what to do in Iraq. But surely they have a party position on whether they want to be embraced by the likes of Al Qaeda and Iran. Don't they?....

An interesting test! What, indeed, will Democrats do now?

My bet is that they will fail the test. They are sick with all the lefty ailments. Which are too many and too depressing to list again.

And of course they were not too squeamish to accept terrorist help in getting into power. A trifling matter of hundreds of Iraqis slaughtered to provide the right headlines in the run-up to the election. But they're not important--not people you know, just sand-niggers. And a bunch of our servicemen were killed for Nancy too, but we already know how Dems feel about America's military.

Pelosi and company accepted this. Accepted having human beings killed to help put them in office.

So I'll bet they have a weak response or none at all. But I'd LOVE to be proved wrong!

Posted by John Weidner at 10:24 PM

November 7, 2006

Chins up...

Jim Geraghty writes:

...Every two years, the country has a choice. Sometimes the country's going to agree with you; sometimes they won't. Sometimes you'll be convinced you have fantastic arguments, and the other guy doesn't know what he's talking about. And yet sometimes they choose the other guy. Sometimes you lose. It stinks, but it happens.

What do you do? You mope. You drink. You swear a bit.

And then, after a little while, you get back up on the horse and try again.

Regarding this, I think the Democrats have inferior policies. But the country chose 'em; now they get to see how they work.

My congratulations to tonight's winners; chin up to the losers. Tomorrow is another day...

I'll drink to that. 'Course I'm not such a decent chap myself. I'll confess I feel a certain evil pleasure thinking of the Nihilist Party now having to come up with something positive they can pretend to believe in. My guess is they won't; their "program" will be to be anti-Bush. They are but shadows cast by real objects.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 PM

Win or lose, Michael Steele's a class act...

From the Weekly Standard:

...Steele's voting site in the heavily African-American county was unlikely to be a stronghold of support. He had some supporters in the crowd (a handful of people sought him out while he was standing in line) and outside the middle school, the vast majority of those in attendance appeared to be overtly hostile to the candidate.

"Anyone who's with Bush is not with me," proclaimed one black woman as she crossed paths with Steele in a hallway. There were other remarks in the same vein. While being interviewed in the polling place, another African-American voter stated that she couldn't support someone who still believed in "a false war based on lies."

...Standing in line to vote with his wife, the pair wearing matching blue Under Armour windbreakers, Steele was surrounded by folks who clearly had no desire to vote for him. They made snide comments behind his back. "They're just trying to trick us, but we know better," exclaimed one elderly woman. She went on to explain that Steele's great "trick" was not cutting to the front, but instead choosing to stand in line like everyone else.

For 45 minutes, Steele was waiting in line, listening to the jibes, biting his tongue, and smiling bravely. If not for his resolve, it would have been a depressing sight--the capacity some of us have to be rude to strangers is remarkable. Michael Steele deserved better...(thanks to
Dean B)

How low. What animals leftists are. And how classy the Steeles are to just smile and stick it out and vote. A real man, and a real woman.

And can you imagine John Kerry being in such a situation? No, because he'd push to the front of the line and say "Do you know who I am?"

Keep this in mind when you hear the usual bullshit claims that black voters are being harassed and intimidated at the polls. Here's a genuine case.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:22 PM

October 30, 2006

How these things usually go....

From Hugh Hewitt, a bit of context on mid-term elections with a President in his second term...

...First, some very basic political history:

In the 1986 election, Ronald Reagan saw the Democrats gained a net eight seats in the Senate and take control from the Republicans with a 55-45 majority. The Dems added 5 House seats to increase their majority to a 258 to 177 margin in the lower chamber. For the math challenged, that is an 81 seat majority for the Dems.

In the 1974 election, the sixth year of eight Republican presidential years, the Watergate/pardon election saw Democrats add four seats in the Senate, for a total of 60 Democrats. Democrats crushed the GOP in the House, adding picking up 49 seats for a post-election day margin of 291 to 144 --a 147 seat edge!

In the 1958 election, Ike saw the democrats add 14 senators (including two from Hawaii) for a 65-35 Democratic-GOP split. The Democrats added 48 seats in the House and controlled that body by a margin of 283 to 153. Again, math fans, that's a 130 seat edge!

Now, with some facts in hand, go back and read the Post's agenda journalism. President Bush's unique electoral record is matched only by FDR's, and FDR's Democrats lost 76 House in 1938, and six Senate seats.

The Bush-Rove political legacy is already established, and even a narrow loss of both the Senate and the House would not dent it. If neither body's GOP majority is held, but the margins remain narrow, the Bush-Rove record becomes the most potent political performance in modern times for an eight year presidency, and if either or especially both are held, retire the laurels....

My personal suspicion is that we are in a transition period such as happens every 70 years or so in America. (Link to other posts.) The best comparisons are with FDR's fist two terms. (The 1860's were also such a period, but the war removed most of Lincoln's southern opponents from the game, which makes comparisons difficult.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:53 AM

He thought Reagan was a softie...

Andrew Ferguson has an article in American Standard on the weird situation of Dems and James Webb, Tangled Webb: Cognitive dissonance in Virginia. ... Really bizarre. And very funny, to think of those poor angst-oozing Eloi voting for a guy who resigned in protest from the Reagan administration because Ron was going soft, and not spending enough on armaments!

...Dreema Fisk, an Arlington poet and retired schoolteacher, told me she'd heard that Webb had once been a member of the Republican party--a group with which, she said, she was tragically familiar. "I come from West Virginia," she said, "and I discovered last time that my entire family back home voted for Bush." She shook her head and kneaded her hands. "I cried all night." (Ha ha. Suffer, granny. That's gotta be the funniest thing I've read this month! But it kinda makes you wonder about Amendment XIX.)

She said she was a Quaker. I asked her whether she'd read any of Webb's war novels. "Are they violent?" she asked. "Maybe I should read one."

Among those Arlingtonians who do know more about Webb, enthusiasm is often muted. As chairman of the County Board a decade ago, Ellen Bozman helped bring about Arlington's continuing era of Democratic dominance. At the party she told me that many of her acquaintances had expressed reservations about her candidate.

"I have friends who say they'll vote for him, but reluctantly," she said. "His service as a Reagan administration official, that bothers some people. And they worry--about other things."

"Like affirmative action?" I said.

"There are concerns here and there," she said.

"And guns," I said. "He's incredibly pro-gun."

"There can be reasonable differences Democrats can have," she said. "I had a cousin who had guns. He hunted. Of course, that was in rural Illinois."

"And the Confederacy. He really likes the Confederacy. He named his son after Robert E. Lee."

"One friend tells me she just won't feel right voting for him," Mrs. Bozman said. "I say, He'll listen. He'll learn."...

"I had a cousin who had guns. He hunted..." Geez. Give. Me. Strength.

I HOPE I am right in thinking that these useless cave fish are America's past, and not its future.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:14 AM

October 26, 2006

Ha ha ah...

The Forward: Top Democrats are rushing to repudiate former President Carter’s controversial new book on the Middle East, in which he accuses the Israeli government of maintaining an apartheid system...

There's an embarrassment for you. Letting cats out of the bag two weeks before the election...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 PM

smears

I caught a bit of Rush today. He's taking orchestrated attacks for his supposed "vicious personal attack" on Michael J Fox. Doesn't sound like anything of the kind to me. It is perfectly reasonable to speculate that Fox may be exaggerating the effects of his disease, since he does not look that way at other times, and has admitted he doesn't take his medications before testifying about Parkinsons in public.

And this was a political ad. Paid for and scripted by Dem political operatives. It's not a "public service announcement." In fact it's been run in support of at least one Dem candidate who has voted against Embryonic Stem Cell research. Fox is using his disease to get candidates of his party elected, and it is cowardly and bogus to claim that criticizing him is "out-of-bounds."

More importantly, it's time to blow the whistle on the dishonest Dem tactic of parading victims as spokesmen and then attacking anyone who answers back as "heartless." Think Max Cleland, the Jersey Girls, Cindy Sheehan. It's a shabby way of avoiding debate. Think of Sheehan supposedly having "absolute moral authority" as a grieving mom. Actually she only had "authority" by being a leftist tool, and the knaves who pushed her forward accorded zero respect, zero authority to the thousands of other mothers of our heroic dead who don't happen to agree with them...

Leftists don't want to debate the issues. They don't in this case want to talk about the fact that Adult Stem Cell research is already yielding therapies, while Embryonic isn't even close. That would beg the question of WHY they are so fervent, so religious about the less promising type of research...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:26 AM

October 12, 2006

"We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices"

The vile Lancet is at it again. Another absurd exaggeration-of-Iraq-deaths study, released, once more, right before a US election.

(You don't need to be a statistician to shred this "study." For instance, modern warfare usually produces 3 or 4 wounded for each fatality. So according to this study, about 1 out of 10 Iraqis should have been wounded in the past 3 years. Uh huh, right. So where are they? The thing is clearly bogus, so we can expect the "pacifists" to repeat this figure as gospel.)

Please don't miss this post by Omar, of Iraq the Model....

...Among the things I cannot accept is exploiting the suffering of people to make gains that are not the least related to easing the suffering of those people. I’m talking here about those researchers who used the transparency and open doors of the new Iraq to come and count the drops of blood we shed.

Human flesh is abundant and all they have to do is call this hospital or that office to get the count of casualties, even more they can knock on doors and ask us one by one and we would answer because we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices.

I wonder if that research team was willing to go to North Korea or Libya and I think they wouldn’t have the guts to dare ask Saddam to let them in and investigate deaths under his regime.

No, they would’ve shit their pants the moment they set foot in Iraq and they would find themselves surrounded by the Mukhabarat men counting their breaths. However, maybe they would have the chance to receive a gift from the tyrant in exchange for painting a rosy picture about his rule.

They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes....

I despise these liars. But far more, I reject with the utmost contempt the unspoken sub-text of this "study," which is that there is nothing worth fighting and dying for.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

October 11, 2006

"they knew what was going on and did nothing"

I think the Foley affair is being blown up absurdly. Sleazy though his IM's were, any kid of today who uses the Internet has encountered worse. And the idea that boys old enough and sophisticated enough to become Congressional Pages are going to have their little psyches shattered if they encounter a gay predator—online, for pity's sake—is laughable. (And moral pomposity coming from the very people who fight tooth and claw to prevent the Boy Scouts from shielding 10-year-olds from the same thing...Well, color me unimpressed)

But let's, for the sake of argument, grant the Lefty premise—that Republicans through inaction for political advantage, have gravely endangered young people in their care. Let's stipulate to San Fran Nan's position, that homosexuality is so degrading that a male infant of 17's life is ruined if they *shudder* encounter it. Shouldn't the same criticism be leveled at a certain other party that's delayed for the same reason? John Fund writes, in OpinionJournal...

Politics is all about timing. Apparently, the liberals behind Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the group that received information about Mark Foley's sexual instant messages as far back as April, originally planned to unleash its blockbuster a bit later in the 2008 election cycle. The American Spectator reports that a political consultant with ties to the Democratic National Committee told the magazine: "I'm hearing the Foley story wasn't supposed to drop until about ten days out of the election. It was supposed to be the coup de grace, not the first shot."...

Should I point out the irony, or would that be insulting everyone's intelligence?

As always, I'm bored with the surface story and interested in what's underneath. I would say to those who are suddenly up on their pillars of moral outrage, what is your general philosophy on such questions?

What do you believe? About morality, that is? Where do these beliefs come from? Do you have a system or philosophy that can provide you with general guidance, so you could apply it to some new situation that comes up? Or is your outrage based on "Oh everybody knows that is wrong!"

And if the latter, have you ever pondered on the various things that "everybody" used to think were wrong, but now don't? What do those changes mean? Is there some stopping point at which we will stop discarding moral rules?

Of course I'm wasting electrons here. No Leftist dares to open such worm cans.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

October 3, 2006

Time for change...

I found this over at BrothersJuddBlog. It's too good not to post myself...

Cartoon, Democrat defense positions

Posted by John Weidner at 4:57 PM

a little more intolerance needed, perhaps?

from OpinionJournal...

...And Mr. Hastert was informed that fellow Illinois Republican John Shimkus--who oversees the page program as part of a six-member board--spoke privately with Mr. Foley, who explained that the email was innocent.

What next was Mr. Hastert supposed to do with an elected Congressman? Assume that Mr. Foley was a potential sexual predator and bar him from having any private communication with pages? Refer him to the Ethics Committee? In retrospect, barring contact with pages would have been wise.

But in today's politically correct culture, it's easy to understand how senior Republicans might well have decided they had no grounds to doubt Mr. Foley merely because he was gay and a little too friendly in emails. Some of those liberals now shouting the loudest for Mr. Hastert's head are the same voices who tell us that the larger society must be tolerant of private lifestyle choices, and certainly must never leap to conclusions about gay men and young boys. Are these Democratic critics of Mr. Hastert saying that they now have more sympathy for the Boy Scouts' decision to ban gay scoutmasters? Where's Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on that one?...

Dems must be thrilled that they can campaign on something other than their non-existent policies or philosophy, but still, the ironies here are just amazing...

Perhaps the Republican House leadership should introduce a resolution expressing the House's regret for tolerating homosexual predators such as Reps Foley and Studds and Frank, and expressing support for organizations, like the Boy Scouts of America, that are working to prevent such lamentable occurrences...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

September 25, 2006

"Administer the empire by engaging in no activity...."

Roger Simon...

...Perhaps this has all been a conspiracy to once again elevate the reputation of Karl Rove. I was always something of a skeptic msyelf - I mean what's the big deal? It's only politics, not, as they say, rocket science. But I think the Rovester really does have a secret and that is just to do nothing - a kind of Zen meets Hippocrates approach to political game playing. ("First do no harm, Bodhidharma.") If you wait long enough, all your enemies will come crashing down around you from their own energy.

The Plame Affair was an interesting example. Rove just sat there with barely a response as his opponents (great truth-seeking journalistic Children of Watergate) filled nearly every issue of Newsweek with Talmudic analyses of this non-event, projecting the writers' own paranoid fantasies and agression on an object that clearly did not exist....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:20 AM

September 15, 2006

Black-hearts and back-stabbers...

It is NOT POSSIBLE to heap too much scorn and derision and mockery on the people who were "in the know" during the Plame investigation, and said nothing. But Victoria Toensing makes a start, in What a Load of Armitage!

...Mr. Armitage, who came forward after Mr. Libby was indicted, was told in February 2006, after two grand jury appearances, he would not be indicted. Mr. Rove, however, after five grand jury appearances, was not informed until July 2006 he would not be charged. Mr. Fitzgerald made the Rove decision appear strained, a close call. Yet of the two men's conduct, Mr. Armitage's deserved more scrutiny. And Mr. Fitzgerald knew it. Each had testified before the grand jury about a conversation with Mr. Novak. Each had forgotten about a conversation with an additional reporter: Mr. Armitage with Mr. Woodward, Mr. Rove with Time's Matt Cooper. However, Mr. Rove came forward pre-indictment, immediately, when reminded of the second conversation. When Mr. Woodward attempted to ask Mr. Armitage about the matter, on two separate occasions pre-indictment, Mr. Armitage refused to discuss it and abruptly cut him off. To be charitable, assume he did not independently recall his conversation with Mr. Woodward. Would not two phone calls requesting to talk about the matter refresh his recollection? Now we also know Messrs. Armitage and Novak have vastly different recollections of their conversation. Isn't that what Mr. Libby was indicted for?

What Mr. Fitzgerald chose not to know is even more troublesome than what he chose to ignore. When Mr. Armitage came forth in October 2003, why did Mr. Fitzgerald not request his appointment calendar from early May, the time the first story appeared in the national press about an unnamed former ambassador's trip to Niger? Mr. Fitzgerald demanded this type of information from White House personnel. Just think, if he had done so of Mr. Armitage, he would have learned prior to indictment about Mr. Woodward's appointment...

This pointless mendacious attack on our nation's leaders during time of war was a foul deed. And especially foul were Powell and Armitage, sitting there, fat and happy, while the vile Bush-hating mob howled for scalps, or licked their chops over the thought of (innocent, decent) men being sent to prison.

George W Bush lifted those two into offices that are among the highest in the land. He asked them to serve their country, he gave them his trust—we gave them our trust—and they stabbed us all in the back.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:58 PM

September 7, 2006

Brazenly flouting the law...

From a piece in OpinionJournal, Four Million Children Left Behind:

LOS ANGELES--This city is the main front in the pitched battle over the No Child Left Behind Act. Like many large urban school districts across the nation--though more brazenly--the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is resisting the law's core command: that no child be forced to attend a failing school.

In LAUSD, there are over 300,000 children in schools the state has declared failing under NCLB's requirements for adequate yearly progress. Under the law, such children must be provided opportunities to transfer to better-performing schools within the district. To date, fewer than two out of every 1,000 eligible children have transferred--much lower even than the paltry 1% transfer figure nationwide. In neighboring Compton, whose schools are a disaster, the number of families transferring their children to better schools is a whopping zero.

The question is whether Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings--whose administration has made NCLB the centerpiece of its education agenda--will do anything about it. She has the power to withhold federal funds from districts that fail to comply with NCLB, and has threatened to do just that. Rhetoric, so far, has exceeded action.

In L.A., the district has squelched school choice for children in failing schools by evading deadlines for notifying families of their transfer options; burying information in bureaucratese; and encouraging families to accept after-school supplemental services (often provided by the same district employees who fail to get the job done during the regular school day) rather than transfers. Still, the district insists that the reason for the low transfer numbers is that parents don't want their kids to leave failing schools....

Please Ms Spellings, have a spine. Grow one. The real "Axis of Evil" around here is the incestuous relationship of the teacher's unions, education bureaucrats, and the Democrat Party. Evil. They are destroying children to preserve their power. Poor children---the affluent have choices.

NCLB was designed to smash this filthy monster, but someone has to take the heat and enforce the law.

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

August 28, 2006

Political strategies...

Michael Barone writes, in A GOP Terror Bump, on how the London bombing plot arrests, and other news, is shifting public opinion towards the Republicans...

....As it happens, the London arrests came almost exactly 24 hours after antiwar candidate Ned Lamont, flanked by Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, claimed victory over Sen. Joseph Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic primary. The Lamont victory -- and the rejection of the party's 2000 vice presidential nominee -- sharpened the contrast between the two major parties.

One, it seems, would withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible without regard for the consequences -- an initially popular position for those who consider our effort there either misbegotten or hopelessly bungled. The other, it seems, would stay the course until we achieve our goals -- one that may become more acceptable if people come to think that withdrawal would not make us safe. The London arrests seem to have accelerated this thought process.

Polls since the London arrests suggest what has been happening. Bush's job approval was up significantly in the Gallup Poll, usually the most volatile of national polls, and the Democratic margin in the generic question (Which party's candidate for the House would you vote for?) was sharply reduced. There was a similar trend in generic vote in the Rasmussen poll, which is ordinarily much less volatile than Gallup....

Democrat strategy is based on voters being stupid, and terrorists being smart (smart enough to lie low for a while so that the parties they are in symbiosis with can get elected). This strategy may be clever in the short term, but over a longer time-horizon, it will likely fail. [Hey, Andrew Cory, did they teach you this in your poli-sci classes? Or did they leave it to be picked up in the real world? i.e. R.J.]

Actually, to some extent, it's the sheer ignorance of the voters that derails the Democrat plan. Imagine Jane Q. Citizen arriving at airport security with a carry-on bag, and being told she has to toss her shampoo, toothpaste, conditioner and moisturizer (!) in that new trash bin! She should blame Bush, right? But, her expensive education just slid off her back, and she doesn't know that the Jews are pulling the strings, she doesn't know that the "Israel Lobby" and Cheney's "Big Oil" cronies are aligning us against the legitimate aspirations of the Wretched of the Earth.

Being female, she has a certain predisposition towards appeasement, but...that moisturizer...frightening...maybe we really are at war. Maybe she should vote for some real men.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:28 AM

August 27, 2006

feeling smug I am...

According to a book about to be published, the person who first leaked (with no malicious intent!) that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA was Richard Armitage. Armitage, as you probably know, was, and presumably still is, Colin Powell's friend and right-hand man. And Armitage told Powell and the State Department this. And he confessed to the Justice Dept, and to investigator Patrick Fitzgerald, four years ago.

What does this MEAN? (If true. It certainly fits with the conclusions formed by many who have been following the story.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:11 AM

August 22, 2006

This is so funny...

I blogged abut this back in January, about Karl Rove saying openly what the Republican plan was. And still the boobies are "caught flat-footed"...

WASHINGTON — Democrats caught flat-footed by the Bush administration tactic of linking the war in Iraq with the larger war against terrorism, and campaigning hard on both, have only themselves to blame. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove gave the playbook away seven months ago.

Right on schedule, the White House stepped up its rhetoric last week, portraying President Bush and the Republican Party as the better choice for defending America against terrorism....

....Their apparent surprise, and the lack of their cogent response so far, is, at the least, perplexing. In January, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Committee that explicitly previewed how the GOP planned to portray Democrats as a threat to national security — a strategy that helped win the 2004 presidential election for Bush.

"Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview, and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview," Rove said. "That doesn't make them unpatriotic, not at all. But it does make them wrong — deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."....

They "have no cogent response." Well of course. Republicans are just telling the simple truth. Hard to fight that. And actually, Dems usually are unpatriotic, but it was sensible of Karl to be tactful on that point. (Me, I don't have to be tactful.)

Rove and Bush leaving helicopter

Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 PM

August 21, 2006

The real McCoy...

The Anchoress, on why she will not agree to suggestions she drop her support of Rudy Giuliani, although she disagrees with his positions on social issues like abortion...

....Giuliani showed me who he was ‘way back when he was refusing Yassar Arafat access to NYC, at a time when the whole world was lauding the monster and kissing his backside. He showed who he was when we were attacked and he managed to reassure the whole nation that capable, adult people were in charge. He showed me who he was when he attended scores of funerals, comforted hundreds of families, walked brides down the aisle because their slain fathers and brothers were lost in the WTC rubble. He showed me who he was when he returned a “relief check” for ten million dollars to a Saudi Prince, because the money came with a denunciation of Israel and of the Jews and US Policy. We need this unshakable and intrepid man, who is incapable of dithering, in these times.

We know this man, Giuliani, and he is a man-in-full. I would rather have one faulty, imperfect man-in-full in office, (one who is willing to be unpopular, if that’s what it takes) and dealing with our devils, than a dozen “more perfect and palatable” types who either can’t get elected or are too distracted by the demands of “the base” to do what needs doing.

And so, no…I won’t be withdrawing my support for Rudy Giuliani at this time. I’m not into throwing people away as “lost causes,” simply because they don’t “fall in line,” and who would want someone who does that, anyway?....

I agree. He's the only real man among those running, of either party. It looks like it's going to be a lonnng war, and the last thing we need is some weak sister in the White House. He's wrong on some issues, but has been superbly right on others...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:34 PM

August 10, 2006

Perfectly rational...

Dafydd, on John McCain and Rudy Giuliani...

...The primary "values and philosophies" demanded are not found in either man's position on the issues Bevan examines, but rather in both men's characters in a time so fraught with peril. Everything I know, I learned from Zorro, including this: "No man can govern others until he has first learned to govern himself." John McCain cannot even govern himself; I will not trust him with my country.

For those reasons, I find it perfectly rational to support Giuliani and oppose McCain, in despite of their very similar (and disappointing) positions on some critical issues, where both stand at odds with the center-right mainstream...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:07 PM

August 9, 2006

Lieberman...

My only comment on the Lieberman defeat is to think about how disgruntled I've sometimes felt at the way the President and the Republican Senate Campaign Committee give their support even to RINO's like Arlen Specter or Lincoln Chaffee.

That's not looking too bad right now...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:43 PM

August 7, 2006

Strangely chilly...

There's some good sense in Government Shrinkage Goal, By Grover Norquist. And yet it's painful to see what a small-minded man he is, only seeing the dollars-and-cents aspect, and not the deeper spiritual and cultural implications of what he advocates...(Thanks to Orrin)

Norquist writes:

....The solution to the spending problem is to replace politically suicidal, or at best difficult, efforts to "cut" spending with politically profitable "reforms" of programs that will reduce their long-term costs. [Somebody--maybe Orrin-- recently wrote that having the government provide a lot of security was to "cost" of giving women the vote. I think that's true, and that that's a lot of the reason why it's politically suicidal to cut spending. Bush's "Ownership Society," which is what Norquist is writing about here, is an attempt to end-run this problem.]

The best example of this is "privatizing" or "personalizing" Social Security, moving the system from the pay-as-you-go, unfunded, Ponzi scheme to a fully funded, independently held personal savings account system. When fully phased in every American will be required to save, say, 10 percent of their income and accumulate real resources to buy an annuity at retirement that will keep one out of poverty and allow one to keep all savings beyond that minimum to be spent as one wishes. Social Security can be reformed to cost not its present 20 percent of the federal budget but rather remove it from the budget. [Right on. But what's really important about this is not just getting unfunded liabilities out of the budget, but in making people self-reliant, rather than being dependent on big government. Which is why leftists HATE the whole idea, and claim Bush wants to "destroy" SS, even while they have their own retirement nest-eggs invested in the market. Vile hypocrites.]

Medicare can be similarly financed through allowing Americans to save their Medicare tax payments. Health savings accounts can give Medicare and Medicaid programs real competitive pressures to reduce costs without voting for any "cuts." [Ching! Yes. But again, the real benefit is spiritual or psychological. People should be making their own decisions about their and their family's health. Anything that prods them into taking responsibility is good. And your HSA is your money--that tends to concentrate people's attention.]

On education, the only reform worth enacting is real parental school choice. With private schools costing half of what government schools cost, public schools over time will have to become as cost-efficient and effective as private schools. [Yes, correct. But to me it's passing strange to write in this bloodless way, and never mention the dreadful human cost of failing inner-city schools. Or even the dollars-and-cents cost, in increased crime and welfare. Weird.]

Pipe dream? No. We are on track to make all three key reforms a reality in the next decade. The case for Social Security reform is politically strengthened as more and more Americans own shares of stock directly through mutual funds, individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s. When Ronald Reagan was elected, only 17 percent of adults owned stock directly. Today more than 50 percent of households and 2 out of 3 voters in the 2004 election do so. That number grows as all new companies use defined contribution retirement systems rather than defined benefit plans....

Doom for the Left. Ha ha ha. And oh so richly deserved...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 AM

August 2, 2006

Melting down...

People are talking about this WaPo article, on the current Democrat meltdown...

Top Democrats are increasingly concerned that they lack an effective plan to turn out voters this fall, creating tension among party leaders and prompting House Democrats to launch a fundraising effort aimed exclusively at mobilizing Democratic partisans.

At a meeting last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) criticized Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean for not spending enough party resources on get-out-the-vote efforts in the most competitive House and Senate races, according to congressional aides who were briefed on the exchange. Pelosi -- echoing a complaint common among Democratic lawmakers and operatives -- has warned privately that Democrats are at risk of going into the November midterm elections with a voter-mobilization plan that is underfunded and inferior to the proven turnout machine run by national Republicans....

If you believe in the 70-Year Cycle in American politics, this sort of thing is only to be expected right now. But the cycle itself is an example of one of the most important human characteristics: We cling to ideas or schemes that have been successful in the past with extreme tenacity.

The Dems are failing over and over, but they can't re-think. Partly this happens in any failing organization because those who can re-think tend to leave. (Or are driven to the margins, like Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman.) So the views of the remainder become ever more concentrated and distilled.

Liberals are stuck in 1973, when everything they did appeared to work well. (Actually everything they did was propelling Ronald Reagan towards the White House, but they don't dare admit it to themselves.) Every campaign in the WoT is declared to be another Vietnamish quagmire. Every minor political scandal is sure to be the new Watergate, that will drive Republicans from the temple. Liberals portray Republicans in the same silly cartoonish way that they did Barry Goldwater. (Or even more outdated, weak, shabby and stupid, portray them as fascists and Nazis.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:38 AM

August 1, 2006

Clarity...

From Hugh Hewitt, who writes, "Clarity is a very, very good thing. Democratic majorities in either the House or the Senate will compel the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq whether or not the country's young government can survive such a withdrawal..." Clarity indeed. It's good that they are openly in favor of losing a critical campaign in the War. We know where they stand. (We always did, but simple folk have often been fooled by their twistyness.)

WaPo: After months of struggling to forge a unified stance on the Iraq war, top congressional Democrats joined voices yesterday to call on President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of the year and to "transition to a more limited mission" in the war-torn nation.

With the midterm elections three months away, and Democrats seeing public discontent over Iraq as their best chance for retaking the House or Senate, a dozen key lawmakers told Bush in a letter: "In the interests of American national security, our troops and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained. . . . We need to take a new direction."...

Notice that that, other than cut-and-run, there is no "new direction." No plan, no vision, no philosophy, nothing proposed as a way to deal with Islamo-fascist terrorism. Not even the ghost of a clear statement of how they view the problem.

They never will come up with a plan or a vision. They can't. They are nihilists. They are empty of any compelling vision of something bigger than themselves; they only wish to feed their own ravenous little egos. To be a leftist is to be a nihilist. To be a "core Democrat" is to be a nihilist.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:54 AM

July 27, 2006

Are we in a war?

Hugh Hewitt has a good long post on the notion that the attacks on Israel will hurt the Republicans politically...

...As the November elections approach, the same debate has begun as surrounded the 2002 and 2004 contests: Are we in a war, and if so, which party is better equipped to lead it? Reporter Peter Baker anchors his "analysis" to the premise that "[f]or the president, the timing could not be much worse." I cannot imagine any single sentence that could be so very, very wrong. The war and all its deadly seriousness and enormous perils are back at the center of the political debate. Nothing benefits the president more politically than the necessity of serious debate about serious issues. The minimum wage debate and bogus arguments about the deadlines within the prescription drug program just disappear against the backdrop of the existential threat to Israel and the new revelations about the strength of a Hezbollah terror organization operating globally....

Leftists continually push the line that there really is no war, that it's mostly Bush scare-tactics. It's easy for ordinary voters to be fooled during a lull in the action (or, ironically, due to the splendid success of the Administration in protecting us from attacks). But if rockets are raining down on Israeli cities, it tends to concentrate people's minds. Especially because ordinary Americans are not anti-Semitic leftists, and tend to admire the pluck and enterprise of Israel, and sympathize with her fight against vile murdering savages...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:30 PM

July 17, 2006

There's only one war...

Ben Smith, in the NY Daily News, City's left is torn by Mideast crisis:

The broadening violence in the Middle East is endangering a political species with deep roots in New York: the liberal Israel hawk.
Although parts of the American left are more sympathetic to the Palestinian side of that conflict, "in New York the liberals are Zionists, because they're Jews," says Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens).

But the anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-Israel "progressive" political space occupied by the likes of the upper West Side's Rep. Jerrold Nadler and national Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is shrinking.

Israel's American allies are increasingly in the Republican Party, and leading journals of the American left have been skeptical of Israel's aggressive military response to the kidnapping of its soldiers.

Nadler said he sees "an increasing strain on the far left that is unreasonably anti-Israel, which I do not understand." An unwillingness to support Israel's right to defend itself, he said, could be tantamount for supporting the destruction of Israel. "If this kind of support for genocide of Jews continues to infect the left - that's not a left I want to be part of," Nadler said. The criticism of Israel's recent response as "disproportionate" has widened the gap between Democrats who back the Israeli government and their more critical allies.

"I think it's gong to end up pushing them farther apart," said Chris Owens, a Brooklyn congressional candidate who has called for negotiations between Israel and its neighbors...

I yield to no one in my admiration for American Jews--they can keep their heads in the sand with an obstinacy that is truly superhuman. Reality is a bitch, so the wise person just ignores it and keeps doing whatever worked for them when they were young.

You gotta sympathize. How grossly unfair it is when you don't get to chose what side you are going to be on in the big game! Pity the poor Jew, whose natural home is on the Jew-hating God-hating terrorist-supporting Left. Whatcha gonna do? It's hard to feel completely comfy sticking with the side that would happily toss you to the sharks, like Leon Klinghoffer... Yet how unfair it is that reality has allied you with George Bush, Condi Rice and Christian Red-State America! Not just unfair, it's too too tacky!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

July 16, 2006

"Realist" fatuity

I think this NYT Op-Ed, An American Foreign Policy That Both Realists and Idealists Should Fall in Love With, is totally muddled...[NOTE: This is a long boring fisking you can skip if you like. The "new foreign policy" is an attempt to be effective without giving up leftist moral relativism, and admitting that we are the good guys. A flat-out impossibility.]

Robert Wright writes:

AS liberals try to articulate a post-Bush foreign policy, some are feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance.

They have always thought of themselves as idealistic, concerned with the welfare of humankind. [Turns out, not so.] Not for them the ruthlessly narrow focus on national self-interest of the “realist” foreign policy school. That school’s most famous practitioner, Henry Kissinger, is for many liberals a reminder of how easily the ostensible amorality of classic realism slides into immorality. [Nixon and Kissinger were liberals.]

Yet idealism has lost some of its luster. Neoconservatism, whose ascendancy has scared liberals into a new round of soul-searching, seems plenty idealistic, bent on spreading democracy and human rights. Indeed, a shared idealism is what led many liberals to join neocons in supporting the Iraq war, which hasn’t turned out ideally. [Are you saying that idealism is only OK if everything works perfectly? Some idealism.] In retrospect, realists who were skeptical of the invasion, like Brent Scowcroft and Samuel Huntington, are looking pretty wise.[Not to me.]

It’s an unappealing choice: chillingly clinical self-interest or dangerously naïve altruism? Fortunately, it’s a false choice. [It's false because there's a third possibility. But this article isn't it, just realism with some frosting on the cupcake.] During the post-cold-war era, the security landscape has changed a lot, in some ways for the worse; witness the role of “nonstate actors” last week in India, Israel and Iraq. But this changing environment has a rarely noted upside: It’s now possible to build a foreign policy paradigm that comes close to squaring the circle — reconciling the humanitarian aims of idealists with the powerful logic of realists. And adopting this paradigm could make the chaos of the last week less common in the future.

Every paradigm needs a name, and the best name for this one is progressive realism. The label has a nice ring (Who is against progress?) and it aptly suggests bipartisan appeal. [Since "progressive" is the latest sneaky pseudonym for leftist, this is really stupid] This is a realism that could attract many liberals and a progressivism that could attract some conservatives.

With such crossover potential, this paradigm might even help Democrats win a presidential election. But Democrats can embrace it only if they’re willing to annoy an interest group or two and also reject a premise common in Democratic policy circles lately: that the key to a winning foreign policy is to recalibrate the party’s manhood — just take boilerplate liberal foreign policy and add a testosterone patch. Even if that prescription did help win an election, it wouldn’t succeed in protecting America. [At least you admit that "boilerplate liberal foreign policy" is not about protecting America.]

Progressive realism begins with a cardinal doctrine of traditional realism: the purpose of American foreign policy is to serve American interests. [Which are what? Exactly?]

But these days serving American interests means abandoning another traditional belief of realists — that so long as foreign governments don’t endanger American interests on the geopolitical chess board, their domestic affairs don’t concern us. In an age when Americans are threatened by overseas bioweapons labs and outbreaks of flu, by Chinese pollution that enters lungs in Oregon, by imploding African states that could turn into terrorist havens, by authoritarian Arab governments that push young men toward radicalism, the classic realist indifference to the interiors of nations is untenable. [Yes. Clearly true.]

In that sense progressive realists look a lot like neoconservatives and traditional liberals: concerned about the well-being of foreigners, albeit out of strict national interest. But progressive realism has two core themes that make it clearly distinctive, and they’re reflected in two different meanings of the word “progressive.”

First, the word signifies a belief in, well, progress. Free markets are spreading across the world on the strength of their productivity, and economic liberty tends to foster political liberty. Yes, the Chinese government could probably reverse the growth in popular expression of the past two decades, but only by severely restricting information technologies that are prerequisites for prosperity. Meanwhile, notwithstanding dogged efforts at repression, political pluralism in China is growing.

Oddly, this progressive realist faith in markets seems to be stronger than the vaunted neoconservative faith in markets. After all, if you believe that history is on the side of political freedom — and that this technological era is giving freedom an especially strong push — your approach to fostering democracy isn’t to invade countries and impose it. And if you believe that the tentacles of capitalism help spread freedom, you don’t threaten to disrupt economic engagement with China for such small gains as the release of a few political prisoners. [In other words, "faith in progress" means you don't have to actually DO anything. Dems should love that.]

A strong Democratic emphasis on economic engagement always threatens to alienate liberal human rights activists, as well as union leaders concerned about cheap labor abroad. But the losses can be minimized, thanks to the second meaning of the word “progressive.” [Toss 'em some Tranzi bones, to shut them up.]

II.

The American progressives of a century ago saw that as economic activity moved from a regional to a national level, some parts of governance needed to reside at the national level as well. Hence federal antitrust enforcement and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Analogously, problems that today accompany globalization call for institutionalized international responses.

In the economic realm, progressivism means continuing to support the World Trade Organization as a bulwark against protectionism — but also giving it the authority [What kind of authority, exactly? And do we get to VOTE on this stuff? Of course not.] to address labor issues, as union leaders have long advocated. Environmental issues, too, should be addressed at the W.T.O. and through other bodies of regional and global governance. [And if they fail? As they usually do? Or if they act against American interests...The "Progessive" does...what?]

Nowhere does this emphasis on international governance contrast more clearly with recent Republican ideology than in arms control. The default neoconservative approach to weapons of mass destruction seems to be that when you suspect a nation has them, you invade it. [Simply a LIE. This has never been the Republican OR neo-con position.] The Iraq experience suggests that repeated reliance on this policy could grow wearying. The president, to judge by his late-May overture toward Iran and his subdued tone toward North Korea, may be sensing as much. [Neither country has ever been a good candidate for invasion. And if we are planning invasions, they are not on the back burner because we are "weary," but because our will to prosecute the WOT has been deliberately sabotaged and undermined by traitor Democrats.]

Still, he is nowhere near embracing the necessary alternative: arms control accords that would impose highly intrusive inspections on all parties. [Because they ALWAYS FAIL against rogue regimes, and are unnecessary against all others. You write "impose." WHO imposes? By what amount of force? What army? The UN? The World government?" As soon as one asks the question, one sees that only the USA could "impose" anything of the kind.] Neoconservatives, along with the Buchananite nationalist right, see in this approach an unacceptable sacrifice of national sovereignty. [And YOUR position on national sovereignty is? Could you be specific here?]

But such “sacrifices” can strengthen America. One reason international weapons inspectors haven’t gotten a good fix on Iran’s nuclear program is that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty gives them access only to “declared” sites. Wouldn’t Americans be willing to change that and let inspectors examine America more broadly — we have nothing to hide, after all — if that made it harder for other nations to cheat on the treaty? [Is this stupid, or what? Why would the Iranians or other rogue nations become more cooperative just because inspectors inspect our weapons, which everyone already knows exist?]

There is a principle here that goes beyond arms control: the national interest can be served by constraints on America’s behavior when they constrain other nations as well. This logic covers the spectrum of international governance, from global warming (we’ll cut carbon dioxide emissions if you will) to war (we’ll refrain from it if you will). [And if they DON'T? You are left with...what? But even before that, the absurd thing about this kind of thinking is that "progressives" only get EXCITED about the "restraining America" part. We see this every day, in the WOT. They will ALWAYS go mushy when it comes to "constraining other nations."]

This doesn’t mean joining the deepest devotees of international law and vowing never to fight a war that lacks backing by the United Nations Security Council. But it does mean that, in the case of Iraq, ignoring the Security Council and international opinion had excessive costs: (1) eroding the norm against invasions not justified by self-defense or imminent threat; (2) throwing away a golden post-9/11 opportunity to strengthen the United Nations’ power as a weapons inspector. The last message we needed to send is the one President Bush sent: countries that succumb to pressure to admit weapons inspectors will be invaded anyway. Peacefully blunting the threats posed by nuclear technologies in North Korea and Iran would be tricky in any event, but this message has made it trickier. (Ever wonder why Iran wants “security guarantees”?) [It was only the threat of invasion that got the inspectors into Iraq, where they were blatantly hindered from doing anything. And Blix was put in charge, against our wishes, precisely because certain nations on the Security Council knew he could be trusted to "see no evil." And if WMD's had been found, it would still have been the USA and the Axis of Good that would have to force action. The same if inspectors found WMD's in Iran.]

The administration’s misjudgment in Iraq highlights the distinction — sometimes glossed over by neoconservatives — between transparency and regime change. Had we held off on invasion, demanding in return that United Nations inspections be expanded and extended, we could have rendered Iraq transparent, confirming that it posed no near-term threat. Regime change wasn’t essential. [This simply ignores the ever-more clear support of terrorism by Saddam, the massive humanitarian crises, the crumbling of the sanctions regime, and several other pressing reasons for invasion.]

To be sure, authoritarianism’s demise is a key long-term goal. Authoritarian states never have the natural transparency of free-market democracies, and the evolution of biotechnology will make an increasingly fine-grained transparency vital to security. But this degree of transparency will only slowly become a strict prerequisite for national security, because the bioweapons most plausibly available to terrorists in the near term aren’t effective weapons of truly mass destruction. (Anthrax isn’t contagious, for example, and there is a vaccine for smallpox.) For now we can be patient and nurture regime change through economic engagement and other forms of peaceful, above-board influence. [Oh right. Let us NURTURE! We've heard that stuff before. It always means "don't make waves."]

The result will be more indigenous, more culturally authentic paths to democracy than flow from invasion or American-backed coups d’état — and more conducive to America’s security than, say, the current situation in Iraq. Democrats can join President Bush in proclaiming that “freedom is on the march” without buying his formula for assisting it. [You there! Yes YOU, the 8 million Iraqis with purple fingers. Your democracy is not "culturally authentic." You risked your lives for nothing. The all-wise "Progressives" think your democracy should "evolve." Slowwwwly. Out of "authentic" sources, which presumably means the Ba'ath Party, which was surely going to "evolve" soon. But only If "nurtured."]

When expressing disdain for international governance, the Bush administration morphs from visionary neocon idealist into coolly rational realist. Foreign policy, we’re told, is not for naïve, “Kumbaya”-singing liberals who are seduced by illusions of international cooperation. [Everything I've read here so far says that Bush is right.]

Yet the president, in his aversion to multilateralism, flunks Realism 101. He has let America fall prey to what economists call the “free rider” problem. Even if we grant the mistaken premise that the Iraq war would make the whole world safer from terrorism, why should America pay so much blood and treasure? Why let the rest of civilization be a free rider? [Why? 1. Because we are the good guys, not selfish "realists." 2. Because things always only get fixed if the strong LEAD. 3. We BENEFIT the most, because we benefit the most from Globalization, which is really the spread of OUR system throughout the world. And the blood and treasure are trivial compared to past wars.]

The high cost of free riders matters all the more in light of how many problems beyond America’s borders threaten America’s interests. The slaughter in Darfur, though a humanitarian crisis, is also a security issue, given how hospitable collapsed states can be to terrorists. But if addressing the Darfur problem will indeed help thwart terrorism internationally, then the costs of the mission should be shared. [Nothing will happen unless America leads. That's the brutal fact that this article is trying to squirm away from. And because the President's political capital is limited, he must focus on only the most pressing issues. If the Democrats SUPPORTED America, we could fix Darfur tomorrow, and probably drag in some reluctant partners too. DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS are killing blacks in Darfur, right now, by hindering the President, instead of urging him to action. The blood is on your hands, lefty. Pacifism kills.]

President Bush’s belated diplomatic involvement in Darfur suggests growing enlightenment, but sluggish ad hoc multilateralism isn’t enough. We need multilateral structures capable of decisively forceful intervention and nation building — ideally under the auspices of the United Nations, which has more global legitimacy than other candidates. [Sudan is part of the UN! Plus China, which is hungry for oil from Sudan, and many countries who wish mostly to thwart our interests, or who think Moslems killing blacks is no bad thing. To expect ANYTHING good to come out of the UN slimehole is fatuous.] America should lead in building these structures and thereafter contribute its share, but only its share. To some extent, the nurturing of international institutions and solid international law is simple thrift.

And the accounting rules are subtle. As we’ve seen lately, the cost of military action can go not just beyond dollars and cents, but beyond the immediate toll of dead and wounded. In an age when cellphones can take pictures and videos of collateral damage and then e-mail them, and terrorists recruit via Web site imagery, intervention abroad can bring long-term blowback. [Uh, and if the UN were involved such things would not happen?]

Further, when you consider the various ways information technology helps terrorists — not just to recruit more fighters to the cause, but to orchestrate attacks and spread recipes for munitions — and you throw in advances in munitions technology, an alarming principle suggests itself: In coming years, grass-roots hatred and resentment of America may be converted into the death of Americans with growing efficiency. [But the UN NEVER stimulates hatred of the US...]

That domestic security depends increasingly on popular sentiment abroad makes it important for America to be seen as a good global citizen — respecting international laws and norms and sensing the needs of neighbors. One of President Bush’s most effective uses of power was the tsunami relief effort of 2004, which raised regard for Americans in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia. Much of the war on terror isn’t military. [No duh! And WHO DID IT? Bush, and the incomparable US military, with some help from the Axis of Good. While the UN and Old Europe were utterly useless and selfish. So what is the lesson here, Mr Wright?]

Of course, some of it is, and we’ll need the capacity to project force anywhere, anytime. Still, a full accounting of the costs of intervention makes it clear that we can’t afford to be the world’s army... [Rubbish. Our current military spending is roughly comparable to the rest of the world's combined. Yet we are not straining our economy, and our spending as a % of GDP is well below Cold War highs.]

[I'll snip out a section where Wright says, correctly, that Globalization is causing a decline in world conflict, and then calls for--this will surprise you--yet MORE international institutions!]

IV.

And I'll nip out a section on "realism," and how it requires--surprise, surprise--more international institutions. Here's the crux:

....This sounds harsh, but it is only acknowledgment of something often left unsaid: a nation’s foreign policy will always favor the interests of its citizens and so fall short of moral perfection... [That is a failed idea. I think so, and George Bush and Condaleeza Rice think so. America is a profoundly moral nation, grounded in Christian and Jewish principles. "Realism" is an amoral policy that often serves to advance evil. ]

...Harnessing this benign dynamic isn’t the only redemptive feature of progressive realism. Morgenthau emphasized that sound strategy requires a “respectful understanding” of all players in the game. “The political actor,” he wrote, “must put himself into the other man’s shoes, look at the world and judge it as he does.” [Bullshit. One should chart a moral and world-uplifting course, and attempt to LEAD in that direction.]

This immersion in the perspective of the other is sometimes called “moral imagination,” and it is hard. Understanding why some people hate America, and why terrorists kill, is challenging not just intellectually but emotionally. [And somehow it always leads to the conclusion that we should do little or nothing.] Yet it is crucial and has been lacking in President Bush, who saves time by ascribing behavior that threatens America to the hatred of freedom or (and this is a real time saver) to evil. [Which somehow usually leads to vigorous moral action. (And, as in Kissinger's famous joke, it has the additional advantage of being true.)] As Morgenthau saw, exploring the root causes of bad behavior, far from being a sentimentalist weakness, informs the deft use of power. Realpolitik is reality-based. [No, it's a twisted fantasy. If "realists" had been in charge, much of the world would still be groaning under Communist tyranny. (And we'd still be supporting an army three times as big as now!) If "realists" had been in charge Iraqis would still be going feet-first into the shredders.]

Is progressive realism salable? The administration’s post-9/11 message may be more viscerally appealing: Rid the world of evil, and do so with bravado and intimidating strength. But this approach has gotten some negative feedback from the real world, [Negative feedback! Oh dear! We can't endure that!] and there is a growing desire for America to regain the respect President Bush has squandered. [That wasn't respect. Complicity in ignoring evil is more like it.] Maybe Americans are ready to meet reality on its own terms. [We are.]

You know what I really DESPISE about realists? (And pacifists and liberal Christians and leftists?) Whatever they do or say, it's always someone else who has to suffer for their ideas. They put on a big show of being "realistic" (or moral, or peaceful, or spiritual) but by some mysterious alchemy it's always some poor devil in another country, or another neighborhood, who has to pay the price.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:47 PM

July 13, 2006

Today's snippet...

Hugh Hewitt, in an excellent letter to Senator McCain:

...Senator, I have said this on the air and in print many times: You are a great American, a lousy senator, and a terrible Republican....

Just so.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 AM

July 9, 2006

Sunday thought

Jul. 07 (CWNews.com) - The most prominent leader of the "underground" Catholic Church in China's Hebei province has been arrested for the 9th time in the past 3 years.

Bishop Jia Zhiguo of the Zheng Ding diocese was taken into custody on June 25, the Cardinal Kung Foundation reports. The bishop-- who was still recovering from a recent medical operation-- was taken from a hospital to an undisclosed location. Authorities said that the prelate was being sent for "education."

Bishop Jia had last been arrested late in 2005, and held for 5 months before his release in April. (He was allowed to return to his home-- although he remained under surveillance there-- just as Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in the US for a diplomatic visit.) The bishop has now spent more than 20 years in prison.

Chinese authorities have put heavy pressure on the clergy of the "underground" Church to accept the authority of the government-approved Catholic Patriotic Association. That pressure has been most pronounced in Hebei, a province outside Beijing, where the underground Church is particularly strong. Bishop Jia-- a beloved figure who cares for 100 handicapped children in his own home-- has frequently been the focus of government "re-education" efforts.

This is leftism in a fairly pure form. The diluted form we see all around us, with the "re-education" efforts always in the form of enforced tolerance. The current campaign is for gay rights (which no one should be so foolish as to imagine has anything at all with helping gays). A campaign that keeps ratcheting up, with new demands every year. Don't be surprised when some of our bishops get sent to the pokey for some re-education time for "bad thoughts."

The technique is to hijack some cause that's good in itself. Commies used to "help" workers, by organizing unions and strikes. But once they gained power, the freedom to organize unions was gone for good. Same thing with other "good causes." Rights for minorities, women, the handicapped...anyone who disagrees is labeled a bigot. Same with the environment. If you are not for every new regulation, then you are against "saving the Earth." And always the goal is to have criminal and social penalties, to punish those who disagree.

There's only one war. The front-lines are everywhere.

* Update: Charlene adds, that if you need a reason to look favorably on the Church, just notice who its enemies are...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:44 AM

July 8, 2006

"like firecrackers and drunken yahoos on the Fourth of July"

Patrick Hynes of Anklebiting Pundits (referring to this Op-Ed) makes a useful distinction...

....I might quibble with Meacham in a couple of places, as when he says the Founders “struggled with religion’s role in politics.” They, of course, did no such thing. They fought, bitterly at times, about religion’s role in government, but religion and politics—in this Christian nation—have always gone together like firecrackers and drunken yahoos on the Fourth of July. Politics and religion are so intertwined that Thomas Jefferson, who was not an orthodox Christian actually pretended to be one by attending church regularly and contributing large sums of money various churches across Virginia in order to maintain his political viability. The insistence that we separate religion from politics is a relatively new obsession of the modern political Left....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:37 PM

July 7, 2006

"seethingly, dribblingly, incontinently, steamingly angry..."

Here's another one to read, by Simon Heffer on the endless lunatic bashing of Margaret Thatcher by British leftists...

...However, last week a light was shone in on my ignorance. A long-time servant of the BBC explained to me, in a moment of stunning insight, why the Leftists in that organisation, and the Leftist contributors to it, are so bilious and angry even 16 years after Lady Thatcher left office: it is because they lost. They were wrong. They were humiliated. They have become bores with nothing else to say...

...Consider how angry, how seethingly, dribblingly, incontinently, steamingly angry, you would be if you were a Leftist, as you reflected on the past 25 years or so. First, Lady Thatcher had policies that, after a period of bloody but necessary economic restructuring, improved not merely the growth rate and prosperity of the private sector in general, but also helped create wealth for millions of people who had hitherto owed everything to the state. People suddenly owned their homes, owned shares, and had the freedom to spend more of their disposable income.

Second, her example flashed around a world benighted by socialism, so much so that she remains a heroine in those nations liberated from it. Freedom, choice and prosperity have replaced oppression, uniformity and poverty. Do these people ever ask Poles, or Latvians, whether they wish the clock could be turned back to the age of socialism? How do they explain that things in such lands are so much better, and people so much happier, now?

Finally, why hasn't "their" party undone all the "damage" of Thatcherism? Why do trade union laws remain unrepealed, and industries privatised? Why has there been no uprooting of the property-owning democracy? It is because she was right, and they know she was right. They cannot, however, bear to admit it. All they can do instead is tell lies, call her names and spit with rage. Don't laugh at them. Pity them...(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Our own loons have had their own moment of clear humiliation delayed, because the Clinton years gave them a flimsy pretense that their ideas were still viable, though in fact Clinton's only successes were with conservative ideas such as Welfare Reform and NAFTA. Clinton might have saved the Dems like Blair saved his party, but only at the cost of repudiating socialist ideas. He took a different way, probably because his "New Democrat" notions would never have flown, without the far-greater failure of far more socialist policies that Britain had.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 AM

July 6, 2006

A "new direction." I'm all agog...

This would be hilarious if one didn't reflect on how the emptiness of the Dem Party just mirrors the emptiness of a large part of the population. From The Hill (Thanks to Betsy N):

Three weeks have passed since congressional Democrats announced their “New Direction for America,” the domestic agenda they propose should they win control of the House or Senate, but some Democrats apparently still haven’t gotten the memo.

Asked Thursday to comment on their agenda, a half-dozen House Democrats remained fuzzy on the particulars.

“The new model, etc., etc?” faltered Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

“I haven’t even looked at it,” admitted Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). “I’m not very good at talking points.”

“I like mine better,” Rep. Gene Taylor (D-Miss.) declared while looking over a list of the Democrats’ six priorities as if it were the first time he’d seen it...

...Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said he was not sure what agenda had been unveiled weeks earlier and reprised an hour before.

“What was presented today?” he asked, brow furrowed, while noting that a “fish crisis” in his district had kept him from staying current.

It wasn’t until presented with a laminated talking-points card that he perked up. “Oh! Good stuff!” he exclaimed.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) started off slow — “Which slogan are you referring to? — but rallied gamely, expounding on the virtues of the “New Direction.”

“I think it is a potent phrase. Do you want more of the same, or do you want a new direction? I think it’s a very powerful message,” he intoned....

Of course, if you have a "fish crisis," that obviously comes first. If people go down to the end of town, well what can anyone do?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:29 AM

June 27, 2006

One small skirmsh...

David Cohen has a great post on issue of "signing statements."

....We usually celebrate the genius of our constitution by ticking off our freedoms, or our wealth, or noting the noble goals of American exceptionalism. But in reality the genius of the constitutional system is best illustrated by this trite, less-than-noble jockeying for power. The President claims some power. Congress pushes back. The Framers knew that they were not instituting a government of angels. They knew that office-holders always try to accumulate power. They therefore famously set up a system of checks and balances; one of which is that, if the President is gaining power, Congress is losing power. Congress, regardless of faction and party, is as an institution loath to lose power and will do what it can to stem the tide. Here, the signing statements are a sideshow.

Both the Congress and the Administration know that those statements
have no power to change legislation or the President's constitutional powers. This is just one small skirmish in the war between Congress and the President, each of whom keeps the other in check by desiring to capture as much power as possible. [emphasis added]

The pushing and shoving has been going on all through our history. We are currently in a phase of pushback against congressional power-grabbing during the 70's, after Watergate.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM

June 25, 2006

sitting here in Pelosiville...

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, in a speech yesterday on the Inheritance Tax...

..."Pope Benedict recently put out his new encyclical. And in his encyclical he quoted Saint Augustine. He talked about the role that politicians have and that a government should be promoting justice: ‘A State which is not governed according to justice would be just a bunch of thieves.’ This is a pope saying this in an encyclical, quoting a saint.

"I ask this Congress: Is it justice to steal from the middle class to give tax cuts to the ultra super rich? It is not just, and it is an injustice that we cannot afford. Americans can no longer afford President Bush and the Republicans. It’s time for a new direction. We can begin by rejecting this estate tax giveaway to the wealthy and insist on a vote to increase the minimum wage – that would be a real values judgment."...

This is idiotic in a dozen different ways, and you can probably figure them out as well as I can. I would just say to Ms Pelosi (and this will bewilder liberals) that it is just as wrong to steal from the rich as it is to steal from the poor.

Better than my poor thoughts, Domenico Bettinelli, who I got this from, quotes the Godfather himself, from the same encyclical...

The State which would provide everything, absorbing everything into itself, would ultimately become a mere bureaucracy incapable of guaranteeing the very thing which the suffering person—every person—needs: namely, loving personal concern. We do not need a State which regulates and controls everything, but a State which, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, generously acknowledges and supports initiatives arising from the different social forces and combines spontaneity with closeness to those in need...

Is it just me, or does that seem vaguely familiar?

Posted by John Weidner at 5:06 PM

June 18, 2006

200 signing statements!

From Penraker:

It is remarkable that the left willl seize at Presidential signing statements - things that have no legal effect, things simply aspirational, defensive, and with no more power behind them than the breeze - to claim that Bush is becoming a dictator.

They didn't even notice them when Bill Clinton was President. He issued 200 of them, if I recall the numbers correctly. Every President since Reagan has used them....

I wish I had known about Clinton's signing statements when a knee-jerk Leftist made the same argument to me, about how he was deeply shocked and worried by Bush's unprecedented dictatorial power-grab. But even if Bush had invented them, the argument is still not respect-worthy. To openly express disagreement with something you don't believe in is democratic, not dictatorial.

And the idea that the Executive Branch must obey any law passed by the Legislative Branch is silly, and is only being pushed at the moment because a Republican is in the White House. Just imagine, if you will, that a President issued an executive order that impinged on the powers of Congress. You can bet there would be statements galore! And Congress would certainly, and properly, not obey.

There has always been in our history conflict between the three branches of government over the extent of each branch's jurisdiction. That is the issue behind the signing statements controversy. And even if we had a 1,500 page constitution, like that EU abomination, there would still be such conflicts. There always will be. What usually isn't mentioned in the discussion is that Congressional Democrats, when they were cock-a-hoop after the fall of Nixon, (besides condemning millions of South Vietnamese to death, exile or socialist slavery) enlarged Congress's powers into areas traditionally Executive. And now there is a push-back...

* Update: Here are some links on Presidential Signing Statements. Clinton actually issued 105 of them, Reagan 71.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

June 16, 2006

"go to a choice system and break up the monopoly"

This piece by Ryan Sager makes Rudy look very appealing (Thanks, Dean)... I may have to add "Giuliani" to my spell-checker...

June 14, 2006 -- A small gathering in Mid town yesterday got a sneak peek at Rudy Giuliani's formula as he gears up for a likely 2008 presidential run. That formula: one-third leadership, one-third technocratic centrist and one-third radical conservative reformer.
There's a reason Giuliani outpolls Sen. John McCain regularly when it comes to who conservative Republicans prefer for the presidency - while also maintaining great popularity with centrists - and it was on full display in this Manhattan Institute-hosted talk on energy policy...

...Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: "We haven't done anything." We haven't drilled in Alaska. We haven't built oil refineries. We haven't ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.

We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the "wrong paradigm," despite the idea's popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, "We have to diversify, that's our strength ...You can be independent by being diversified."...

Good stuff. One important thing is that Rudy has experience running a large and complex entity. There is a good reason why we rarely elect Senators to the presidency--we've never seen them manage anything bigger than an office with a few dozen staffers.

But this is what really grabbed me:

...The red meat for conservatives, however, came in the Q&A: An audience member asked Giuliani what he would do on education as president.

Without deflecting the loaded premise of the question (no announcement yet, folks), the former mayor launched into an impassioned brief for school choice. "A president has to know the role" of the federal government, he said. "It's more of a leadership role." But as that leader, he would emphasize, "choice and vouchers."

As mayor, he said, he thought he could do for the schools what he did for the police department and other city agencies. But he learned he was wrong. The education bureaucracy and the teachers unions were too deeply entrenched. What's needed, he said, "is to go to a choice system and break up the monopoly."

Even if they believe it, "most Democrats can't say to you what I just said," he told the crowd. "They're not allowed to."

What's more, he said, there's not as much support even among Republicans for school choice as one might think. The GOP's electoral base is largely suburban, and suburban schools are doing just fine. Some suburban parents might even see school vouchers and other choice programs as a threat to their cushy status quo. These suburban Republicans simply aren't affected by what's happening to our urban schools.

"They're just not thinking of the good of the country in general," he said - taking a forceful swipe at the selfishness of a group of voters that he may soon be courting.

But he's not going to forget about choice, he said, because it's a civil-rights issue. He recalled when a private philanthropy offered low-income kids in New York City a chance at scholarships to private and parochial schools - a sort of private version of the public voucher program he'd like to see. There were 167,000 applications for a relative handful of spots. The rest of the kids were left stranded.

"I'll never forget that number," he said.

And conservatives are unlikely to forget his political courage.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

This is very good news...

Leftists tend to picture America as a warmonger, but in fact our main problem in the WOT is that, like any democracy, we have no enthusiasm for long frustrating campaigns in distant lands. (Which is one of the reasons the terrorists fight the way they do.) Our problem is that we are NOT warmongers, so only self-discipline can enable us to stay the course. From the LAT:

The Iraq war is the most immediate foreign policy problem besetting the Bush administration. But as a political issue, the White House and top Republican strategists have concluded that the war is a clear winner.

GOP officials intend to base the midterm election campaign partly on talking up the war, using speeches and events to contrast President Bush's policies against growing disagreement among leading Democrats over whether to support immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops...

The job of a politician is to both lead and follow. They must both follow the wishes of the voters, but also, especially in grave issues of war and peace, provide clear leadership and ask the voters for their support. I had started to wonder about the Republicans, so I find all this to be very good news indeed.

....Republican lawmakers and strategists said Wednesday that the campaign to frame the Iraq debate would play out over the summer and into the fall, focusing on battleground congressional districts and states with competitive Senate races.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has already sent an e-mail to 15 million supporters asking them to reject "craven, politically motivated demands for instant withdrawal."....

Notice, friends, that there's no "October surprise," no need to be sneaky. The plan is announced. Having "nothing to hide" is the best secret strategy of all. Pure Rove. Thank you Karl.

...Officially, the House debate will be the first time the chamber has argued the pros and cons of the invasion and occupation of Iraq since the war began more than three years ago. But Democrats, who have repeatedly called for debate on the war, have denounced this week's events as little more than a political trap to embarrass them and force acquiescence with the administration's policy...

Whereas the pathetic puke-worthy Democrats have to scurry away from their own strategy, not to mention the Republican strategy. The "calling for a debate" scam is the same silly thing they did in 2003. If you want to debate, turkeys, start a debate! No one is stopping you. You can introduce your own resolutions, you can say whatever you like.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 AM

May 27, 2006

The real McCoy...

You might want to bookmark this, and then, the next time someone tells you that President Bush is inarticulate, or that the Republicans are the stupid party, you can show them the original, the real McCoy, the Platonic Ideal...

(Thanks to Rand.)

Posted by John Weidner at 3:10 PM

May 18, 2006

Something we expect...

I recently read this oh-so-very-sympathetic account in the NYT of someone who is addicted to painkillers...

Representative Kennedy, scion of America's most loved and hated Democratic clan, has been a passionate advocate for ending the stigma of mental illness; he told voters years ago of his treatment for depression and cocaine abuse. But when he slipped off to the Mayo Clinic last December to get help for addiction to prescription painkillers, he had trouble overcoming that stigma himself.

When he crashed his Mustang convertible into a Capitol barricade in the middle of the night earlier this month, Mr. Kennedy, of Rhode Island, was thrust into a clash between personal privacy and political beliefs. Hours before he told the world he was checking himself back into the Mayo Clinic, he wrestled with going public...

And yet---gee, my memory isn't what it was--wasn't there some other public figure who had an addiction to painkillers? Someone else, in the political and public realm? In the last year or two? Hmmm? And don't I recall that somehow he didn't get treated with quite the same tenderness as Mr Kennedy? Wasn't there even some element of criminal prosecution? For a First Offense?

And, horrid thought, don't I remember that there were some people who---how shall I put this...baldly I guess---who expanded like roosters and crowed over this other person's misfortune?

Maybe Mr K's situation is different because in this case it was something, umm, expected:

But his cousin Mr. Shriver, who said he had watched "countless members of my family" overcome addiction, was optimistic. "Once he gets this current challenge under control, watch out," Mr. Shriver said. "He'll just knock the socks off of everybody."

"countless members?"

Posted by John Weidner at 1:49 PM

May 14, 2006

Am I a lib?

Here is the Atrios/Drum "are you a liberal?" test. It's mildly interesting; here are my thoughts. But for me the elephant in this room is: What are the principles that underlie these positions? What's the "theory" on which they are based? What are the GOALS? That's what we are never going to hear from our "liberal" friends. They don't dare.

1) Repeal the estate tax repeal: The estate tax is an all-around bad idea. Liberals should be against it too, For instance, the #1 reason family businesses sell out to big corporations is...the estate tax. (An idea liberals should be thinking of is to switch to an inheritance tax, that kicks in above a certain amount, say $10m. A billionaire would have to give his money to 1000 people to avoid the tax. That would encourage the break-up of big fortunes into many small fortunes, which would benefit (I would think) society.)

2) Increase the minimum wage and index it to the CPI. No. The minimum wage does not help people escape from poverty, which would be its only justification.

3) Universal health care (obviously the devil is in the details on this one). The goal we should be aiming for is some sort of universal HSA's, so people are spending their own money on health care, thus applying the intelligence of the whole population to keeping costs down and results up. Perhaps with mandatory contributions by all, so that people would build up their HSA investments by the time they get old and really need them.

4) Increase CAFE standards. Some other environment-related regulation. I'm not interested in the question this morning. Some other time perhaps. anybody want to comment?

5) Pro-reproductive rights, getting rid of abstinence-only education, improving education about and access to contraception including the morning after pill, and supporting choice: In other words, reflexively attack traditional morality, the "culture of life," and the teachings of the Church, so we too can enjoy the success and freedom and fertility of the EU.

6) Simplify and increase the progressivity of the tax code: The best thing would be a regressive tax. That won't happen, so a flat tax would be next-best. Low income brackets essentially pay no income tax now, which is a bad idea. Everyone who earns anything should pay at least a little tax, so they feel some inclination to vote for responsible government.

7) Kill faith-based funding. Certainly kill federal funding of anything that engages in religious discrimination: That's just another form of religious discrimination, in favor of the religion called secularism. We should be discriminating in favor of Judeo-Christian faiths, which are, I think, the underlying source of all our national strengths.

8) Reduce corporate giveaways: Too vague a question. The goal should be to support "creative destruction," the rise of new businesses to compete with older ones.

9) Have Medicare run the Medicare drug plan: Madness. The big plus of the drug plan is how it gives people choice, and encourages competition. Which has already lowered costs well below what was expected. (Though the bill is still going to be very big.)

10) Force companies to stop underfunding their pensions. Change corporate bankruptcy law to put workers and retirees at the head of the line with respect to their pensions: The assumptions that underly this are all wrong. They are holdovers from the "Industrial Age," expecting workers to spend a lifetime at one big corporation. They assume stability in an age of rapid change. Our goal should be to replace ALL "defined benefit" plans (including SS) with "defined contribution" plans.

11) Leave the states alone on issues like medical marijuana. Generally move towards "more decriminalization" of drugs, though the details complicated there too: There's no good way out of the mess we are in with these issues, and I have no strong position. Will the "libertarian" way be more or less destructive than the drug war? I suspect more.

12) Paper ballots: No opinion, and it's not a liberal/conservative issue anyway. Whether to crack down on fraud by requiring ID's to vote would be a more interesting litmus.

13) Improve access to daycare and other pro-family policies. Obiously details matter: I bet those "details" are really: "How do we do this in a way that will help destroy religion and atomize people and make them dependent on government."

14) Raise the cap on wages covered by FICA taxes. Sure... if we also privatize FICA so that people can control their own desinies without dependence on government.

15) Marriage rights for all, which includes "gay marriage" and quicker transition to citizenship for the foreign spouses of citizens. Marriage is not a "right," it is an awesome responsibility and privilege. And it is one of the main foundations of the health of our society. Even gays should be supporting traditional families, if they care about the future (which most don't seem to do). Even an atheist government should, for purely practical reasons, buttress and support traditional marriage, including support for religious faith. We are seeing the result of taking the opposite path in Europe, and it's not pretty, folks.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 AM

May 11, 2006

No fair fighting back...

Howard Fineman, in Newsweek:

...The conventional notion here is that Democrats want to “nationalize” the 2006 elections — dwelling on broad themes (that is, the failures of the Bush Administration) [I would not, myself, call that a "broad theme."]— while the Republicans will try to “localize” them as individual contests that have nothing to do with, ahem, the goings on in the capital.

That was before the GOP situation got so desperate. The way I read the recent moves of Karl Rove & Co., they are preparing to wage war the only way open to them: not by touting George Bush, Lord knows, [You may get a nasty surprise on that one] but by waging a national campaign to paint a nightmarish picture of what a Democratic Congress would look like, and to portray that possibility, in turn, as prelude to the even more nightmarish scenario: the return of a Democrat (Hillary) to the White House. [So it's "nightmarish" to focus on the failures of Democrat leaders, as a response to your focusing on "the failures of the Bush Administration?" No fair fighting back?]

Rather than defend Bush, Rove will seek to rally the Republicans’ conservative grassroots by painting Democrats as the party of tax increases, gay marriage, secularism and military weakness. That’s where the national message money is going to be spent. [I can see why Mr Feinman might not want attention called to those self-evident truths. But how does he have the chutzpah to act if this is some sort of dirty trick?]

The numbers explain the strategy
The president has a job-approval rating of 31 percent in the latest comprehensive poll, by the New York Times and CBS. His “favorable” rating, a more general measure of attitudes, is only 29 percent — barely above the levels enjoyed, if that is the word, by Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Bush can’t hope to raise that number significantly by this November — no matter how many seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug plan or how many Sunnis join the new Iraqi government. [WHY can't he hope to raise the number? Economy strong, war going well, no domestic terrorist attacks, a program of bold reforms and defense of American values. The only surprising thing is how low the number is. It's Dem leaders who probably can't raise their numbers]

So the White House will try to survive by driving down the ratings of the other side. Right now, an impressive 55 percent of voters say they have a favorable view of the Democrats, one of the party’s best ratings in years. But the “favorables” of leading national Democrats are weak: 34 percent for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton; 26 percent for Sen. John Kerry; 28 percent for former Vice President Al Gore. ["WEAK?" You just called 29 percent "barely above the levels of Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter."] The bottom line: As long as the Democrats remain a generic, faceless alternative, they win; [Well, there's your winning plan! Stay faceless. All Democrat candidates should wear masks, and disguise their voices. In fact, that's what they are already doing.] Rove’s aim is to paint his version of their portrait.

You can see him busy with the brushes at his easel now, even as he waits to see whether Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is going to indict him for false testimony. [Even as we wait for the Libby trial to start putting reporters and editors under the microscope. Yum!]

Take the new GOP deal on taxes. It would, among other things, extend by two years the Bush-era’s reductions in taxes on capital gains and dividends. The claim is that doing so will sustain overall economic growth (which has been pretty impressive, even though Bush gets no credit for it.) [Why not, Howard? You would give him credit if the economy was bad.] But the real political target is somewhat narrower: the estimated 60 million Americans who own stock. [Foul bloodsucking rich bastards who have stolen their wealth from poor Democrats. Tax them hard!]

Bush and the GOP talk earnestly about their vision of an “ownership society.” And maybe it’s true that they want everybody to be part of it. [This is an example of a REAL "broad theme," Feinman. So what's yours?] In the meantime, however, they will focus on trying to secure the support, or at least the acquiescence, of voters with portfolios. They aren’t the stereotypical country club Republicans of old, by the way; they include tens of millions of middle-class Americans — ancestral Democrats — who nevertheless don’t want Congress to do anything that would depress the value of their 401 (k)s. [Just ignore them. Write the greedy capitalists off. You can afford to lose a few tens-of-millions.]

The idea is to get Democrats to vote against the tax-cut bill — ANY tax-cut bill. Let the op-ed pages rail about the deficit [Bad news--the booming economy has raised Federal revenues to the point where the deficit is running at the historical average for the post WWII years. But I'm sure you "journalists" can keep that under wraps.] and the debt; the White House survivalists won’t care if they can find a way to accuse the Democrats of “wanting to raise taxes.”....

....The issue of gay marriage will play a part. So far this year, at least seven states will have on their ballots measures to ban same-sex marriage: Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. There are citizen-led campaigns seeking to add the issue to ballots in Arizona, Colorado and Illinois. ["Citizens?" Who they? Any Democrats in there? Or "ancestral Democrats?"]

But GOP strategists eventually are going to want to “nationalize” this topic, too, by bringing up in Congress again the draft of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. I know that Dick Cheney isn’t for it, and neither is his daughter, Mary, whose new book “Now It’s My Turn” was released this week....[Ooooh. How you "tolerant" Dems LOVE mentioning Mary Cheney. Because supposedly homo-phobic Republicans having gays in the family is a delicious paradox. The idea that people ("citizens" even) might oppose gay marriage because they actually think the integrity of the family is something government should be FOR never crosses your tiny mind. Which is a lot of why you will keep losing elections.]

...Strength and faith wins votes
Beyond that amendment is the more general GOP theme of faith in the public square. To highlight that issue, the White House will use judicial nominations. That’s one reason why Bush is now pushing the nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh. Faith matters — namely, that he is a conservative Catholic. [When I was growing up, conservative Catholics were almost all Democrats.]

A Rove Reliable on the Senate Judiciary Committee made the strategy clear at the confirmation hearing: Kavanaugh, he said, is the type of judge who will oppose “hostility to all things religious in American life.” Read: Democrats. [Almost right. Except that Democrat activist types are not hostile to religion, it is Christianity they hate. They are Christo-phobic. It's banning crosses and prayers and Nativity scenes that energizes them.]

Finally, there is the war on terrorism and military strength — the only two areas in the New York Times/CBS poll where voters say they trust the GOP more than the Democrats. [So of course it would be a dirty trick to campaign on those subjects. But we Republicans are evil to the core.]

Bush and Rove are daring the Democrats to turn the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden as head of the CIA into a fight over the president’s secret eavesdropping program. That’s a fight they think they can win politically, by turning a legitimate constitutional issue into another Us v. Them morality play. [There is NO constitutional issue, since the courts have repeatedly ruled that warrantless wiretapping is allowable for national security, and previous Democrat presidents have done so with much less restraint than Bush. The "morality play" is America-hating appeasers like you vs those who will vigorously fight for our way of life. Bring it on! Make my year.]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 AM

May 4, 2006

some good news...

There's stuff worth reading in OpinionJournal on successful Tort Reform in Texas...

...So what has happened since September of 2003, when the new law went into effect? After years of losing doctors, Texas has added nearly 4,000 since passage of Proposition 12, including 127 orthopedic surgeons, almost 300 anesthesiologists, over 200 emergency room physicians, 146 new obstetricians, 58 neurologists and 24 neurosurgeons. The Texas Medical Board is anticipating some 4,000 applicants for new physician licenses this year alone--double last year's numbers, and 30% more than the greatest growth year ever.

The threat of lawsuits has been a particular barrier to attracting and retaining pediatric specialists. Since 2003, Texas has gained 20 pediatric cardiologists, 14 pediatric oncologists, almost 50 new perinatologists (obstetricians specializing in high-risk pregnancies), 10 pediatric surgeons and 8 new pediatric endocrinologists.

Medically underserved counties in Texas are benefiting as well. Jefferson, Webb and Victoria Counties, as well as the counties of Cameron and Hidalgo in the Rio Grande Valley, have all experienced an influx of physicians....


The "Plaintiff's Bar" has become like a massive parasitic infection in our nation. Everything America does is dragged down and weakened by the constant need to worry about lawsuits, and to pay high insurance premiums. (And it's a tax that is largely invisible. When you buy anything, the price includes a premium created by unjust lawsuits. But also, the company that made that gadget paid a premium on everything they bought, and so on in limitless regression. And they all have to pay workers more, to cover the higher costs of everything the workers buy.)

And the costs fall most heavily on the poor, as the Texas example above shows.

It has long been almost impossible to enact any meaningful tort reform, because the "Democrat" Party is dependent on massive donations from the trial lawyers, and has vetoed or obstructed any change This is an axis of evil. Yet another reason why voting Democrat is voting for evil, and is voting to hurt the least fortunate and weakest members of our society.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

May 2, 2006

Travesty...

I happened to catch Rush Limbaugh first thing yesterday, when he was able to announce that his case had been settled...It was very good to hear.

It was NOT good to hear of the phony "Rush Limbaugh arrested" headlines. That was the reason the deal included filing one charge, which is not going to be prosecuted. Technically he's been "arrested for drugs," though effectively the case has been dropped. (And this was not a "plea bargain," by the way. Rush plead not guilty.)

Andrew C. McCarthy & Mark R. Levin write:

....Unlike most of us, who get to keep our private struggles private, Rush’s celebrity ensured that his would be played out publicly. With characteristic candor and humility, he admitted he had a problem. And he did it in a way that is rare today, although one that came as no surprise to those of us privileged to know Rush. He took real responsibility.

He didn’t pretend to be a victim. He didn’t blame anyone or anything—not even the pain. Instead, he forthrightly acknowledged what he regarded as a personal failing, although most of us would aptly see it as a common trap for those with painful medical conditions. Equally important, he didn’t just talk about his problem. He dealt with it, continues dealing with it, and is overcoming it.

From day one he has maintained he is innocent of any crimes. That assertion has stood the test of time, and it stands today as this shameful investigation ends.

We are former federal government attorneys. We’ve collectively spent decades in law enforcement and believe passionately in its professional, non-political, non-partisan mission. Thus, it’s with outrage that we note that, rather than quietly dropping this embarrassment of an investigation, the state attorney, Barry Krischer—a politically active liberal Democrat—has insisted on filing a charge which he well knows will never be tried. Insisting, that is, on further media churning of an allegation of doctor-shopping that he’ll never prove.

Rush is entering a plea of not guilty. The case will be dismissed in 18 months, when Rush completes the treatment he undertook on his own. There is no reason to file a charge that is without foundation and will never result in a judgment of conviction. But, under Florida procedures, this means a person is “processed.” That is, by this petty maneuver, Krischer has arranged for a mug shot of Rush Limbaugh.

Krischer ought to be ashamed of himself, and the people of Palm Beach County ought to be frightened by what passes for law enforcement in their neck of the woods....

The whole thing has been a travesty. Leftists can't debate Rush on a level of facts and logic and principle, so instead we get a political prosecution, and lots of sneers and innuendo.

Think about how many celebs you have heard of having drug problems (often from recreational drugs, not medicines taken for real pain). Are any of them hounded by prosecutors for years over a first offense? Even after they have voluntarily entered rehab? Or think of ordinary law-abing citizens in the same trouble--it happens all the time. Nobody's first offense is prosecuted like Rush's was.

If there were any honest leftists remaining, which there obviously are not, they would have been ashamed to be connected with this dirty work.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:03 AM

April 3, 2006

A slander with few parallels...

I haven't yet read Hugh Hewitt's new book Painting the Map Red, but Betsy Newmark has posted a quote that is right on target...

...The attempt to scare America into voting against Republicans because of the absurd charge that their followers want a "theocracy" may be the biggest electoral mistake of the past fifty years. It is simply impossible to persuade majorities of Americans that they and their neighbors want mullah-style government because they and theose neighbors oppose gay marriage or think that devout Catholics can make great great judges. The deep offense given to people of faith upon being charged with extremism and kinship with the Taliban and the Iranian mullahs is sinking deeper and deeper into the consciousness of the American electorate.

It is a slander with few parallels, and the rote denials of religious bigotry when confronted with the record can not undo the deserved reputation of the left, and especially leading pundits of the left, for religious bigotry....

I think he's correct in thinking that the accusation is incredibly stupid electorally. (It's so stupid as a reality that it's not even worth arguing with. The idea that the Religious Right, which includes Catholics, Evangelical Protestants, Mormons, Eastern Orthodox, the few Jews who are still serious, and a variety of other flavors, could institute a "theocracy" is so ludicrous only a liberal could imagine it.)

But I'm sure it's "sinking deeper and deeper into the consciousness" of a lot of other people besides us that going to church on Sunday is considered, by our sophisticated neighbors, to be weird and old-fashioned. Unless it's to some "hollowed-out" mainstream denomination that has substituted liberalism for Christianity, and espouses "justice" and "peace" as a replacement for the Gospel.

Actually it's liberalism (Big Government Liberalism, not Classical Liberalism) that's old-fashioned. It gelled around 1974, and hasn't had a new idea since...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:38 AM

March 29, 2006

What do you call sabotaging your country in time of war?

Amir Taheri writes in OpinionJournal, that many countries are now "waiting Bush out," in hopes that political weakness will undermine and end his push for democratization. It makes ugly reading.

I will repeat what I have written before. Our tradition, in this country, is for the party out of power to support our leadership in time of war. It is tradition, and also an obvious necesity. What the Democrats are doing now---Democrats, news-media, pacifists, academics---is treason. It is a deliberate sabotage of their country in war time, and we can see the results.

And it is treason to the world. The hopes for freedom of hundreds of millions of people are hanging in the balance, and these scoundrels are siding with tyrants and terrorists and murderers...

....It is not only in Tehran and Damascus that the game of "waiting Bush out" is played with determination. In recent visits to several regional capitals, this writer was struck by the popularity of this new game from Islamabad to Rabat. The general assumption is that Mr. Bush's plan to help democratize the heartland of Islam is fading under an avalanche of partisan attacks inside the U.S. The effect of this assumption can be witnessed everywhere.

In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf has shelved his plan, forged under pressure from Washington, to foster a popular front to fight terrorism by lifting restrictions against the country's major political parties and allowing their exiled leaders to return. There is every indication that next year's elections will be choreographed to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition. In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, arguably the most pro-American leader in the region, is cautiously shaping his post-Bush strategy by courting Tehran and playing the Pushtun ethnic card against his rivals....

...According to sources in Tehran and Damascus, Mr. Assad had pondered the option of "doing a Gadhafi" by toning down his regime's anti-American posture. Since last February, however, he has revived Syria's militant rhetoric and dismissed those who advocated a rapprochement with Washington. Iran has rewarded him with a set of cut-price oil, soft loans and grants totaling $1.2 billion. In response Syria has increased its support for terrorists going to fight in Iraq and revived its network of agents in Lebanon, in a bid to frustrate that country's democratic ambitions....

And what Democrats are doing (not all of them, but "core" Dems for sure) is treason to their own traditions of supporting democracy and the hopes of the oppressed. And treason to the obvious requirement that great questions be decided with moral seriousness, and not out of spite and fear and personal interest.

The bloody wars of the 20th Century were, for Americans, all Democrat wars. And in every case the Republican Party supported our country, not grudgingly, but with warm-hearted generosity. No enemy of America, not the Kaiser or Hitler or Tojo or Mao or Ho Chi Minh ever thought they could "wait it out," because Republicans might come into power and sell their country out.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 AM

March 17, 2006

Most conservative President since Nixon...

Orrin Judd gives us some numbers to keep in mind, while discussing this article, Hey, Big Spender Should we have known that President Bush would bust the budget? by Peggy Noonan...

....At any rate, given that Ms Noonan believes, for some reason, that Ronald Reagan was a conservative and George W. Bush isn't, it's perhaps helpful to just compare the two: when Ronald Reagan left office in 1988 he was dunning us 18.1% of GDP to pay for a federal government that spent 21.2% of GDP. In 2004, the last year for which I could find numbers, George W. Bush had lowered our tax burden to 16.3% of GDP-- a level last reached in 1959--to pay for a government that spent 19.8 of GDP.

There doesn't seem to be any coherent reason why a president's conservatism should be judged by how much he spends, but if you're using that as your yardstick then Mr. Reagan was the most liberal president since FDR during WWII and George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are the most conservative since Nixon....

I love Peggy, but she's SO Industrial Age.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

March 15, 2006

Dash for the elevator...

I keep smiling as I think of this article, on how the Dems are running for cover from the Feingold Resolution. Literally running! Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of unprincipled scoundrels...

....Next in the Senate TV gallery came Schumer. An aide hung up a poster showing a port. The senator called the ports situation "extremely troubling." The aide hung up a poster of an Exxon cartoon. "Obscene profits," decreed Schumer, equally passionately.

CNN's Henry asked the Feingold question. Schumer ended the news conference.

Outside the Democrats' lunch downstairs, the senators were similarly agile. The number two Democratic leader, Richard Durbin (Ill.), darted out of an elevator and into lunch when he thought nobody was looking.

"I haven't made any judgment," said Jeff Bingaman (N.M.). Two minutes later, he reappeared. "I will support an alternative that would call for an investigation," he amended....

They are running because they, as you might say, "don't have a leg to stand on," and like 'toons, they can keep running off the edge of the cliff as long as they don't stop and look down...

There is not the slightest doubt that the NSA intercepts are legal and constitutional. There's only one interesting question remaining, and that is why Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez only used one of the two possible legal arguments in favor of the intercepts. He argued on the basis of the Hamdi decision. (And also used the historical precedents. Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt all used extensive wiretaps without warrants.) He did NOT make the Constitutional argument, that this is an Executive Branch matter under Article II, and can't be abridged by laws passed by Congress.

I can't wait for the memoirs to come out, to answer this and lots of other questions. This is the first time in my life I've followed national events so closely. In the past, without the Internet, I only got the boiled-down versions from the press, and usually didn't know that there were such mysteries...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

March 9, 2006

"Our shining city on the hill just had a few bulbs burn out"

Scott writes, about a report that the UAE is very unhappy, and considering taking some business elsewhere (like buying Airbus planes instead of Boeings)...

...Who knows how far they’ll go? I’m sure that these dudes are pissed and are ranting a little bit. Here’s what I do know — I’ll drive 20 miles to avoid ungracious or apathetic assholes, and spend money somewhere it’s wanted and appreciated (and reciprocated.) I just think it’s goddamned stupid to be so xenophobic. The way we’re going to win the war on terrorism is the export of American ideals, and this Fortress America isolationist horseshit is distinctly not one of them. We are the world’s largest economy, and this is a horrifyingly embarassing precedent to set. Our shining city on the hill just had a few of those capitalism bulbs burn out. More like the dipstick congresscritters pulled the fuse to win a couple of extra votes. A curse upon them and their dunderheadedness...

Amen, brother.

I have various thoughts running around my head about this...One is, that it is wrong, in time of war, to bollix up some aspect of our country's war effort, just because you don't like it or agree with it. If you don't like the current strategy or tactics, feel free to disagree, and propose a better plan. BUT, in the meanwhile, we have a war, voted by Congress, and a President and an Executive Branch whose job is to fight it. Once a strategy has been decided on by them, it's our duty to help carry it through. It is our DUTY as citizens. None of us, even Senators, have the right to sabotage our war efforts.

Second, speaking of having a better plan to propose, that's what NONE of those who were opposing Dubai Ports has. NONE of them have based their opposition on a thought-out plan for winning the war. I find that intellectually disgusting. Can they possibly be so ignorant and foolish as not to realize that this issue is bound to interact with hundreds of other issues, and that the only responsible way to move ahead is to have an overall plan, that dictates how we decide individual cases?

Third, I think that Ms Malkin (and others of her kidney) is, though she denies it vociferously, an Islamophobe. She claims that her anti-ports stance is based solely on rational security concerns. But if that were true, she would be eager to modify the damage this will do to our relations with moderate Islamic states. She would propose making this up to the UAE in other ways, and express gratitude for the help they are giving us in the war. She would appreciate their good points, even if they also have bad points. But you will never hear anything like that from her.

Look, I agree that there are horrible pathologies in the Islamic world, and they need to be pointed out, and possible stamped out. But there is a certain sort of person whose eyes light up when they can relate some Muslim horror story. And who never notice any tales of kindness or decency from the same people. But both sides are "the truth."

And again, what is the strategy? If we can't trust the UAE, then presumably we can't trust any part of the Arab world. Can't win friends and allies. At least that's what's implied. So what does Malkin want us to DO, to win the war? She never says. If her complaints are part of a larger picture, we never get to see it. In her obsessive focus on our borders, she sounds like an isolationist. But she never says what she is, or isn't. I call that intellectually shabby.

And I agree with Scott. We will win the Long War by exporting our ideals, and our secrets of success. By being a light unto the nations, and a friend to mankind.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

March 7, 2006

riding my hobby-horse...

I'm just a total sucker for those many many articles about how Democrats are trying to figure out who they are, or what their core values are this week. How long can people keep writing them? How long can the emperor walk around with no clothes?

So, this post is just me carving up yet another pumpkin...Nothing new here, you don't need to read it. Just my little hobby, when I'm not building my model of Sutro Tower using toothpicks dipped in orange paint...

Democrats Struggle To Seize Opportunity Amid GOP Troubles, No Unified Message
By Shailagh Murray and Charles Babington, Washington Post Staff Writers, Tuesday, March 7, 2006:

News about GOP political corruption, inept hurricane response and chaos in Iraq has lifted Democrats' hopes of winning control of Congress this fall. But seizing the opportunity has not been easy, as they found when they tried to unveil an agenda of their own.
You think you got problems? The GOP has hardly done anything to capitalize on Democrat political corruption, inept Democrat hurricane response, and the ever-more-obvious LACK of chaos in Iraq...
Democratic leaders had set a goal of issuing their legislative manifesto by November 2005 to give voters a full year to digest their proposals. But some Democrats protested that the release date was too early, so they put it off until January. The new date slipped twice again, and now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) says the document will be unveiled in "a matter of weeks."
In SF we all know Nancy's one of the sharper blades in the Democrat Drawer, so, manifesto, here we come! Within weeks!

Some Democrats fear that the hesitant handling is symbolic of larger problems facing the party in trying to seize control of the House and Senate after more than a decade of almost unbroken minority status. Lawmakers and strategists have complained about erratic or uncertain leadership and repeated delays in resolving important issues.
Ah, c'mon, who needs leadership. There's nothing new under the sun since 1973.
The conflict goes well beyond Capitol Hill. The failure of congressional leaders to deliver a clear message has left some Democratic governors deeply frustrated and at odds with Washington Democrats over strategy.
So why don't they deliver a clear message themselves? They must have something in mind...
Party leaders, for example, have yet to decide whether Democrats should focus on a sharply negative campaign against President Bush and the Republicans, by jumping on debacles such as the administration's handling of the Dubai port deal -- or stress their own priorities and values.
Such as paying off the Longshoreman's Union by opposing the Dubai Port deal
There is no agreement on whether to try to nationalize the congressional campaign with a blueprint or "contract" with voters, as the Republicans did successfully in 1994, or to keep the races more local in tone. And the party is still divided over the war in Iraq: Some Democrats, including Pelosi, call for a phased withdrawal; many others back a longer-term military and economic commitment.
That's tough. It's gotta be hard, being allied with an erratic guy like Zarqawi.
"It could be a great year for Democrats," said Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), but the party must present a more moderate face and distinguish itself more clearly from the GOP on issues such as ethics. "The comment I hear is 'I'd really like to vote for you guys, but I can't stand the folks I see on TV,' " Cooper said in a telephone interview from Nashville.
Sorry, what you see is what you get...
On issues such as explaining that former lobbyist Jack Abramoff's work "was a 110 percent Republican operation," Cooper said, "we're not making nearly as much headway as we should." Abramoff has pleaded guilty in a corruption scandal.
Maybe because of those Dems with Abramoff connections? Or maybe all the other Dem scandals?
The Democratic leaders in Congress -- Pelosi and Sen. Harry M. Reid (Nev.) -- are the party's chief strategists and architects of the agenda, which they view as a way to market party ideas on energy, health care, education and other issues. They have held countless meetings to construct the right list, consulting with governors, mayors and just about every Democratic adviser in town.
"Countless meetings!" I'm just awed by how hard they are working to find out what they think. I didn't notice, however, that they are consulting with ordinary non-lunatic Dem voters...
"By the time the election rolls around, people are going to know where Democrats stand," Reid said.
Does that mean ten minutes before the polls close?
But many in the party have their doubts. On Feb. 27, Reid and Pelosi appeared before the Democratic Governors Association. At one point in the conversation, Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, noting that the two leaders had talked about a variety of themes and ideas, asked for help. Could they reduce the message to just two or three core ideas that governors could echo in the states?
This is getting funnier and funnier...
According to multiple accounts from those in the room, Reid said they had narrowed the list to six and proceeded to talk about them. Pelosi then offered her six -- not all the same as Reid's. Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski said later: "One of the other governors said 'What do you think?' and I said 'You know what I think? I don't think we have a message.' "
How about, "all your money are belong to us?"
Others, including Sen. Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) and Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) -- who head the Senate and House campaign efforts -- believe the November election will turn mainly on how voters view Republicans. Schumer is leading the Democratic attack on the port deal, excoriating the administration for jeopardizing national security -- a realm in which Republicans have held the advantage with voters.
Ah, national security. A potential Dem strong suit. These gentlemen are, I trust, working on detailed proposals for the other 99% of national security that ISN'T the Dubai Ports deal?
He and Emanuel have sought to delay the agenda's release to allow Democratic attacks to hold the stage with minimum distraction. "When you're in the opposition, you both propose and oppose," Emanuel said. "But fundamentally, this is going to be a referendum on [Republican] stewardship."
In other words, we have nothing to propose...
Also dividing Democratic strategists is the question of what lessons to take from the Republican landslide of 1994, when the GOP won the Senate and picked up 54 House seats, wiping out 40 years of Democratic rule. Some Democrats associate that breakthrough with the House Republicans' "Contract With America," a list of proposals on policy and government.
I would just LOVE to see what a Dem "Contract" would look like. It's not going to happen.
"We should take a page from their book" and have "an overarching theme" similar to the 1994 contract, said Sen. Thomas R. Carper (D-Del.).
Overarching theme...how about, "If I ran the circus?"
Many of his colleagues agree, but not Reid. "We're not going to do a 'Contract With America,' " Reid said in an interview. He noted that the GOP document received scant attention when it was presented a few weeks before the 1994 election, and political historians say it played a minor role in the outcome. "There's a great mythology about the contract," Reid said.
Smart, Reid. By the way, about those favors you did for Jack Abramoff?"
Even the party's five-word 2006 motto has preoccupied congressional Democrats for months. "We had meetings where senators offered suggestions," Reid said. "We had focus groups. We worked hard on that. . . . It's a long, slow, arduous process."
Gotta have a motto. How about: "Rum, Romanism and Rebellion?" Or: "I left My Heart in San Francisco?"
That slogan -- "Together, America Can Do Better" -- was revived from the 2004 presidential campaign of Sen. John F. Kerry. It was the last line of Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's response to President Bush's State of the Union address, and Reid, Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean have used it in speeches. But there is an effort afoot to drop the word "together." It tests well in focus groups and audiences, Democratic sources said, but it makes the syntax incorrect.
Painful to read. Hey, how about making the motto more inclusive? Maybe, "All cultures, races and sexual-orientations, together, with European ideas, can can help this vile country do less damage to the Earth?"
Governors privately scoff at the slogan. They also say the message coming from congressional leaders has been too relentlessly negative. "They want to coordinate. They want to collaborate. That's all good," said one Democratic governor who declined to be identified in order to talk candidly about a closed-door meeting. "The question is: Coordinate or collaborate on what? People need to know not just what we're against but what we're for. That's the kind of message the governors are interested in developing at the national level."
"What we're for." Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said congressional Democrats have spent the past year redefining the debates over terrorism and Iraq and have prepared the ground for a shift to a more positive message that will focus on energy, health care and homeland security, all areas in which the governors would concur, he predicted. "We've had an unprecedented level of cooperation," he said.
"Vote Democrat. vote for re-defining debates."
Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly added: "At the end of the day, I think everyone will be on board."
No.
Perhaps the Democrats' greatest dilemma is how to respond to the Iraq war. It looms as the biggest question mark over Bush's administration and the Republican lawmakers who have backed him on the conflict almost without question.
"Vote Democrat. We don't all hope America loses the war."
Congressional Democrats have been split over the war since 2002, when many voted to authorize military action. The ground shifted last November when Rep. John P. Murtha (Pa.), a leading Democratic voice on military matters, called for U.S. troops to be withdrawn as soon as possible. Two weeks later, Pelosi endorsed his stance.
Maybe Congress should hold a vote, so Murtha and Pelosi can vote for withdrawal. Ooops, I forgot.
Although Pelosi said she was not speaking for her caucus, some colleagues complained that she was handing Republicans a gift by enabling them to tag Democrats as soft on terrorism and forcing Democratic candidates to explain whether they agreed with their House leader.
If those Dem candidates don't like it, why don't they try being tough on terrorism?
There is little question that the political landscape looks promising for Democrats. A Feb. 9 poll by the Pew Research Center found that Democrats lead Republicans 50 to 41 percent in a generic ballot.
Did the "generics" have to explain their positions? I didn't think so.
But congressional Democrats have some key deficiencies. For instance, they lack the hard-charging, charismatic figurehead that Gingrich represented for the House GOP in 1994. But the Democrats have an abundance of presidential hopefuls, and their agendas sometimes differ from those of Reid, Schumer, Pelosi and Emanuel.
Can any of them "reduce the message to just two or three core ideas?" I didn't think so.
For instance, Sen. Russell Feingold (Wis.) tried to filibuster the renewal of the USA Patriot Act, a move opposed by most of his Senate colleagues, including Reid. Kerry (Mass.) led an unsuccessful filibuster attempt against Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation as a Supreme Court justice. The best-known Democrat is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), whose plans for a 2008 presidential bid leave many of her colleagues wary of how her famous but divisive presence might affect them.
That's it? that's the "abundance of presidential hopefuls?"
"There are lots of skeptics," Schumer conceded. But the polls look better and better, he stressed. "There may be some inside-the-Beltway babble, but it's not affecting the voters," said Schumer, who wants the agenda delayed again -- until summer.
No comment....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:37 PM

February 22, 2006

Disappointments...

I'm very disappointed in the manner in which a number of conservatives have opposed the ports transfer. Partly because they aren't very interested in facts, and don't feel compelled to present much in the way of evidence to back up their assertions. But even more, it's the ungenerous flavor of their discourse that I don't like.

Even if--let us stipulate for the sake of argument--that it's true that the deal is a security risk to our ports. None of the anti-Dubai crowd has suggested in any way that we should do anything else to encourage the friendship of the United Arab Emirates, or to reward them or thank them for the help they have given us, or to compensate them for the loss of this deal. They have nothing generous or warm-hearted to offer. No alternative plan to extend the hand of friendship to these people. They only think about us. OUR security is all-important, the rest of the world is uninteresting and uninspiring.

This is particularly galling to me, because it's similar to the cold-hearted selfishness that seems to me to be the chief characteristic of today's leftists...

Dennis the Peasant is even harsher in his judgment than I am...

...I am afraid we are coming to the moment of the Great Divide within the Conservative Movement. It is increasingly apparent to me that a substantial number of ‘Conservatives’ have never shared the noble impulse of President Bush’s vision of a democratic, secular and prosperous Muslim world. Instead, that has been co-opted by those whose vision begins and ends with the application of brute force, and who have come to the belief that subjugation or destruction are the only option available to us when dealing with the 'Other'... Our final solution, as it were...

Well, probably it was always thus. I don't think this is a "Great Divide," because we were always divided. Think back to the Cold War. Back then there were conservatives who dreamed of liberating the oppressed victims of socialism, and other conservatives who just hated commies, and cared only for our safety. That's just basic human nature. Not many people are going to sign on for a noble and idealistic (but difficult) cause at any time.

And it IS a "noble impulse." And one that has deep roots in conservative culture. The idea of fighting communism by promoting democracy was more-or-less invented within the Reagan Administration, and applied with great success. And many of the same people are still working in the same cause, this time against the Islamists. (They are labeled "Neocons." And no, they are not running things, and weren't in Reagan's time either. We just use them.)

After 9/11 a lot of people signed on for war against Saddam or the Taliban. But that doesn't mean they signed on for years of patient effort to make these people friends and equals...Nuh uh. I think a lot of people on the right never actually "got" the idea. Probably thought it was just happy talk, fit to be ignored.

I'm in the camp of the idealists and dreamers. And I'm very disappointed in that section of conservatives that has never been warm-hearted about Bush's vision for the Moslem world and other needy parts of the globe. Hey, I rather like those people of the Middle East, and Central Asia, though I only get to meet them vicariously via the Internet. (And yes I'm perfectly aware that the Islamic world, especially the Arab world, has LOTS of pathologies and horrible flaws and shortcomings. But think this is a difference of degree, and not of kind.)

And if we conservatives of America and the Anglosphere don't try to build a better world, who else is going to do it? Leftists? Europeans? It is to laugh.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

February 21, 2006

Now suddenly we have real enemies!

I caught a little bit of Rush while running errands, and he made a good point.

Regardless whether the Dubai Ports acquisition goes through, Bush has really flushed out the Democrats. Everything they've been doing--attacking our war efforts from every direction, talking impeachment--has been predicated on the position, spoken or unspoken, that this is not a real war we are in. That Bush is just using the pretext of war for a power grab/fascist takeover/one-party state/enriching Halliburton blah blah blah...

Now suddenly Democrat leaders are saying that we have real enemies! That there's a real danger! That we must be vigilant! They are also taking the extremely "racist" position that no Arabs can be trusted, even ones that have been working with us in the War...

Whatever happened to "Why do they hate us?" Whatever happened to the idea that getting tough with Arabs or Arab countries would turn them against us, would cause them to become enemies?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:56 AM

February 17, 2006

Forty miles of bad road...

Daniel Henninger, in OpinionJournal...

...Have you ever noticed how on a scale of one to 10, every untoward event in the life of the Bush presidency goes straight to a 10?

The Abu Ghraib photos? A 10 forever. Dick Cheney catching a hunting buddy with some birdshot? An instant 10. The Bush National Guard story? Total 10. How can it be that each downside event in this presidency greets the public at this one, screeching level of outrage and denunciation by the out-of-power party and a perpetually outraged media?...

That's sure the truth. Next week Harry Reid will be denouncing the "secrecy" of the administration because Dick Cheney didn't inform the press about his ingrown toenail. And we'll hear calls for impeachment because Scott McClellan got a bloody nose tossing a football with the President.

But Henninger thinks all this is a deliberate strategy, to build up a feeling of distaste and weariness for all the "troubles" that come with Republicans...

...No matter how voters feel on any one issue--terror, the courts, values--the Democrats, event after event, are building the feeling that the Bush-Cheney presidency and GOP Congress have somehow been 40 miles of bad road.

Can it work? Absent a 21st-century political vision, I think Democratic candidates will always be drawing to an inside straight. Creating a negative aura is easier than contending on discrete issues such as taxes. Yes, substance and ideas count in politics, but in many parts of American culture these days feelings and stereotypes are money. Why not make the public just want to throw in the towel on the Republican "experience"?...

Could it work? I'd like to think better of the American people, but my heart's been broken before.

One thing's for sure. There has rarely in our history been such a pathetic bunch of losers as these "Democrats" and leftists and peaceniks. They not only believe in nothing and have no positive plans or dreams, they seem to have given up even pretending to have any positive message.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:29 PM

January 28, 2006

Throwing tantrums...

Doug Williams:

....Every Democrat supporting the Alito filibuster deserves what they're about to get, and I hope they remember it in the coming years. But of course they won't. Their current political philosophy of preference is that of an average three year old: Throw a tantrum when you don't get your way, and whine when the tantrum leads to an even worse outcome. Oh, and the outcome isn't real anyway... elections you don't win are always stolen. Waaahhhhh!! Waaahhhhh!!!

Traditionally the behavior of the current crop of Senate Democrats would have been universally condemned. You don't vote against - let alone filibuster - a superbly qualified judge on the basis that you disagree with future rulings you imagine he or she might make in the future. That's a prescription for a judiciary full of legislative gladhanders and sycophants. It would also make it virtually impossible for a president to appoint judges without his party holding a majority in the Senate. It's not for nothing the most partisan of Senate forbears didn't do what the current Senate Democrats seem intent upon...

...No leftist I have seen has explained the rationale for rejecting Alito - let alone filibustering him - in terms that couldn't be turned against any nominee of a Democratic president in the future....
(Thanks to PoliPundit)

For anyone taking a long-term view--perhaps to the so-far-distant-it's-science-fictiony year 2008--what the Democrats are doing is simply insane. If they are assuming that they have a chance, any chance, at winning the White House in 2008, or 2012, or whenever, then it is crazy to create the precedent that a highly-qualified nominee of some future Democrat president can be blocked just because he or she might make liberal decisions in the future.

The Republicans in 1993 were certainly no pushovers! Yet they voted almost unanimously to confirm Ruth Ginsburg, even though they could not have had much doubt that she would issue future rulings they would detest. And in fact it's been that way all through our history. That the President gets to nominate Federal judges is just a fact of American life.

It's a basic of any democracy that parties have to accept the results of elections, including when you lose. You don't emigrate, or plan a military coup, or blow up the Parliament building. What Dems are doing now is sort of like that.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:09 AM

January 24, 2006

Having nothing to hide is the strongest position of all...

I'm going to indulge myself in a Fisking of today's piece by EJ Dionne, in the Washington Post. Dionne writes:

Perhaps it's an aspect of compassionate conservatism. Or maybe it's just a taunt and a dare. Well in advance of Election Day, Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser, has a habit of laying out his party's main themes, talking points and strategies.
I'm going to spoil the suspense and tell you that poor Mr Dionne will not, in this essay, grasp that having nothing to hide is the strongest position of all. One pities his bewilderment.
True Rove junkies (admirers and adversaries alike) always figure he's holding back on something and wonder what formula the mad scientist is cooking up in his political lab. But there is a beguiling openness about Rove's divisive and ideological approach to elections. You wonder why Democrats have never been able to take full advantage of their early look at the Rove game plan.
"Beguiling and open," yet "divisive and ideological." Will our intrepid columnist reach enlightenment through this strange koan?

That's especially puzzling because, since Sept. 11, 2001, the plan has focused on one variation or another of the same theme: Republicans are tough on our enemies, Democrats are not. If you don't want to get blown up, vote Republican.

Thus Rove's speech to the Republican National Committee last Friday, which conveniently said nothing about that pesky leak investigation.The investigation of the New York Times? Rove noted that we face "a ruthless enemy" and "need a commander in chief and a Congress who understand the nature of the threat and the gravity of the moment America finds itself in."

"President Bush and the Republican Party do," Rove informed us. "Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for many Democrats."

Rove went on: "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview, and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."

Oh, no, those Dems aren't unpatriotic, just security idiots.

Here's why the same approach keeps working. Aside from its being obviously true?

First, note that phrase, "the same cannot be said for many Democrats." This is Rove's wedge through the Democratic Party. Rove has always counted on Bush's capacity to intimidate some Democrats into breaking with their party and saying something like: "Oh, no, I'm not like those weak Democrats over there. I'm a tough Democrat." The Republicans use such Democrats to bash the rest of the party.
Well dog my cats. The man just wrote that to be a Democrat is to be WEAK. And if you are acting strong you have "broken with the party." Amazing.

Moreover, these early Rove speeches turn Democratic strategists into defeatists. The typical Democratic consultant says: "Hey, national security is a Republican issue. We shouldn't engage on that. We should change the subject." In the 2002 elections, the surefire Democratic winners were a prescription drug benefit under Medicare (an issue Bush tried to steal), a patients' bill of rights, the economy and education. Those issues sure worked wonders, didn't they?
It doesn't even occur to him that Dems were wrong on BOTH the war issues and domestic issues.

By not engaging the national security debate, Democrats cede to Rove the power to frame it. Consider that clever line about Democrats having a pre-Sept. 11 view of the world. The typical Democratic response would be defensive: "No, no, of course 9/11 changed the world."
Just saying, "Of course" gives the whole game away.

More specifically, there's a lot of private talk among Democrats that the party should let go of the issue of warrantless spying on Americans because the polls show that a majority values security and safety.
A majority values "winning." You know, that's what you're supposed to do in wars.

What Democrats should have learned is that they cannot evade the security debate. They must challenge the terms under which Rove and Bush would conduct it. Imagine, for example, directly taking on that line about Sept. 11. Does having a "post-9/11 worldview" mean allowing Bush to do absolutely anything he wants, any time he wants, without having to answer to the courts, Congress or the public? Most Americans -- including a lot of libertarian-leaning Republicans -- reject such an anti-constitutional view of presidential power. If Democrats aren't willing to take on this issue, what's the point of being an opposition party?
Actually Bush and the Republicans reject it too. The Administration is just doing what we've always done in war time (see previous post). So, sorry, no issue.

Democrats want to fight this election on the issue of Republican corruption. But corruption is about the abuse of power. If smart political consultants can't figure out how to link the petty misuses of power with its larger abuses, they are not earning their big paychecks.
Notice there's no suggestion that Democrats have or can or should eschew corruption. It's just an "issue."

And, yes, the core questions must be asked: Are we really safer now than we were five years ago? Looks like it. Has the Iraq war, as organized and prosecuted by the administration, made us stronger or weaker? Did Osama bin Laden just mention "truce?" Do we feel more secure knowing the heck of a job our government did during Hurricane Katrina? The party of Nagin and Blanco sees an issue? Do we have any confidence that the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies will clean up their act if Washington remains under the sway of one-party government? No, nor under two-party government.

Imagine one Super Bowl team tipping the other to a large part of its offensive strategy. Smart coaches would plot and plan and scheme. You wonder what Democrats will do with the 10-month lead time Rove has kindly offered them.They have no good options.

What blows me away about this and most Democrat productions is that, even considering that it's about tactics, it is utterly AMORAL. There is not the least mention of doing what is right or good for the country. And it is totally without any plans or dreams or hopes for building a better world. Contrast it with a bit of Mr Rove's speech...

...In late January 2001, America's new President said, "We are here to make progress, we are not here to mark time." George W. Bush has been true to his word. He is one of history's Consequential Presidents. He has fundamentally recast America's national security strategy. And he has put forward a bold domestic agenda.

In foreign policy President Bush has earned the title as one of history's Great Liberators and in domestic policy he will be seen as one of its Great Reformers. Much has been achieved and much more remains to be done.

Whether that vital work gets done depends in large measure on all of you. Our ideas will prevail only if you continue to strengthen our grassroots efforts that can make all the difference between victory and defeat...[link]
Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 PM

January 22, 2006

Good words...

Karl Rove made a fine speech recently...(I could not find a direct link, but it's posted at Hugh's blog)

....Four decades ago, the Republican Party was relegated to the wilderness – and today Republicans control the White House, the Senate, and the House; a majority of governorships; and in the last several elections, more state legislative seats than in 80 years.

More importantly, we have seen the rise of a great cause. Three Republican Presidents and Republican Congressional majorities have achieved a tremendous amount in two-and-a-half decades. The Cold War was won – and today we are winning the war against Islamic fascism. Millions of people who lived in tyranny have been liberated – and freedom is spreading across the globe. Republicans rebuilt our national defenses; cut taxes and spurred economic growth; ended “stagflation;” limited government’s growth; reformed welfare and insisted on accountability and high standards in education; took important steps to protect and strengthen marriage and the family; and stood up against judicial activism and for constitutionalism.

But there is much more to be done...

Rove's speech is mostly about the power of ideas to bring about political change, which I agree with completely. "Much more to be done" That's for sure. My hope and estimate is that Republicans are just getting warmed up, and the future holds things that will make lefties fling themselves off cliffs en masse.

Here's a bit more--a cautionary tale...

...The GOP’s progress during the last four decades is a stunning political achievement. But it is also a cautionary tale of what happens to a dominant party – in this case, the Democrat Party – when its thinking becomes ossified; when its energy begins to drain; when an entitlement mentality takes over; and when political power becomes an end in itself rather than a means to achieve the common good.

We need to learn from our successes – and from the failures of others. As the governing party in America, Republicans cannot grow tired or timid. We have been given the opportunity to govern; we have to continue to show we deserve the trust of our fellow Americans....
Posted by John Weidner at 10:21 AM

January 15, 2006

Clue. Clue. So close to a clue...

It's just so fascinating, watching the thought slowwwwwwly penetrate into Democrat minds, that they are the minority party, and no longer at the center of the universe. But they are just so stuck. They grew up thinking, or at least those of my generation did, that where they were was the "center," and the far-right was Barry Goldwater, and the far-left was like, you know, Stalin. (It wasn't really true even then, as the success of Nixon's "silent majority" attested.) This is from an NYT article, Glum Democrats Can't See Halting Bush on Courts:

...In interviews, Democrats said the lesson of the Alito hearings was that this White House could put on the bench almost any qualified candidate, even one whom Democrats consider to be ideologically out of step with the country...

The suspense just kills me. Will the light bulb go on, will the other shoe drop? HOW LONG can they go on imagining that they are the ones who decide what's "in step?"

...That conclusion amounts to a repudiation of a central part of a strategy Senate Democrats settled on years ago in a private retreat where they discussed how to fight a Bush White House effort to recast the judiciary: to argue against otherwise qualified candidates by saying they would take the courts too far to the right...

Fascinating. The assumption that they are the ones who set the buoys in the harbor, and tell the ships that they are too far to port or starboard.

...Even though Democrats thought from the beginning that they had little hope of defeating the nomination, they were dismayed that a nominee with such clear conservative views - in particular a written record of opposition to abortion rights - appeared to be stirring little opposition...

Oh, the suspense, the suspense...

..."It may be a mistake to think that their failure demonstrates that they necessarily did something wrong," said Richard H. Fallon, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School. Referring to one of the major Democratic complaints about Judge Alito's testimony, Mr. Fallon said: "As long as most of the public will settle for evasive or uninformative answers, maybe there was nothing that they could have done to get Alito to make a major error."...

Amazing assumptions. Reality is that for a minority party failing is normal, but they can't quite admit that. And the "mistakes" they are hoping for would probably not bother the public at all, since most of the public are not liberal Democrats--another thing they can't admit.

...Several Democrats expressed frustration over what they saw as the Republicans outmaneuvering them by drawing attention to an episode Wednesday when Judge Alito's wife, Martha-Ann, began crying as her husband was being questioned. That evening, senior Democratic senate aides convened at the Dirksen Senate Office Building, stunned at the realization that the pictures of a weeping Mrs. Alito were being broadcast across the nation - as opposed to, for example, images of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, pressing Judge Alito about his membership in an alumni club that resisted affirmative action efforts.

"Had she not cried, we would have won that day," said one Senate strategist involved in the hearings, who did not want to be quoted by name discussing the Democrats' problems. "It got front-page attention. It was on every local news show."...

Crazy assumptions. Just crazy. Assuming that Americans will recoil in horror from someone who does not support affirmative action! Assuming that ordinary Americans care what the grotesque Teddy Kennedy says. Assuming that the public cares about this charade (but at the same time is so stupid that an image of a weeping woman will destroy all rational thought.) Actually the public made its preference clear by electing Republican majorities, and doesn't want to hear the details. Assuming they can win.

"You're trying to convince the American people that this man is not on your side," said Dale Bumpers, a former Democratic senator from Arkansas. "Obviously, we didn't do a very good job....Tom Daschle, the former Democratic senator from South Dakota, said: "It is causing far more serious consideration by at least the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee of what you do in future cases. How do you make clear where this person stands?...

Clue, clue, so close to a clue...and yet so far. Everybody KNOWS where he stands. We like it.

..."There were very few principles on which we could all agree," said Mr. Daschle, who was Senate minority leader at the time of the meeting. "But one was that we anticipated that the administration would test the envelope. They were going to go as far as the envelope would allow in appointing conservative judges."...

The envelope that's being pushed is the filibuster envelope. (The real envelope is much bigger.) But these guys are preserving their dream-world by imagining that that one procedural trick equals real strength. Sort of like France imagining it's still a major power because it has a veto at the UN Security Council.

...The panel also advised them, participants said, that Democratic senators could oppose even nominees with strong credentials on the grounds that the White House was trying to push the courts in a conservative direction, a strategy that now seems to have failed the party....

Uh, maybe because this is a Conservative country? I think these guys really believe that it's all been a bad dream, and at any moment they will wake up and be back in 1973. Maybe Teddy Kennedy's laser mind will pin the hapless Alito down and extract the truth! And then it will be like one of those Hollywood courtroom dramas where the guilty one stands up and shrieks a confession in the courtroom. "I did it! I confess! I'M GUILTY!" And then the good guys win and go back to being the center of the Universe.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 PM

January 14, 2006

Lucy pulls football once again....

I saw this intro in an article by Howard Kurtz, in the WaPo

Beneath the rumble of the Abramoff scandal and the Alito confirmation, a pretty spirited argument is taking place within the Democratic Party: not just the usual soul-searching about finding a winning message for 2008, but about the war and national security and the essence of what the party stands for. (My emph.)

Oh goody, I thought. Finally I get to find out. The essence, the very essence of what the Dem Party stands for! Alas, it was not to be. Unless the "essence" of the party is being "anti-Republican," there's nothing in the article to give me a clue.

There never is! Every time the Dems suffer a defeat, there's this spate of articles on how the party should get back to its "core values." But the articles never suggest or even hint what those core values might be. This one is the same. It's all about tactics. And in-fighting among factions.

To a conservatie Republican, this is insane. Or rather, amoral. We will discuss or argue conservative principles at the drop of a hat. And argue over the extent to which those should also be Republican principles, and how much to compromise with necessary political tactics. If there are no principles that underlie your tactics, then your actions are amoral.

I have a lot of opinions about liberals, but I don't really know what liberals think that liberals are. You can't pin them down. If pressed they may say something like, "We liberals are for the little guy," or some-such mush. But that's not a principle; it's too vague. You know darn well that if the "little guy" is a white male, being squeezed by a teacher's union or an affirmative action program, it's gonna be c'est la vie, baby...

A principle or a "core value" is something you support even if the other party is advocating it, and gaining from it. One reason I'm so cranky about liberals these days is that I had always assumed that they shared with us a few core beliefs: that when America is attacked, it is time to put aside differences and all pull together until victory is won. And that victory should be our goal. And that, once engaged in war, we consider it worth spending lives and treasure to build better and more free societies, as we did with Germany and Japan after WWII.

Hoo boy, was I ever wrong on that one...

* UPDATE: Tom Bowler sets me right on liberal principles. Of course they have them...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:28 AM

January 11, 2006

Low-lifes on trial...

Michelle Malkin has posted pictures of the defendants in the trial that just started, who are accused of slashing the tires of 20 Republican Campaign vehicles. don't expect to see much in the news about it.

Can you JUST IMAGINE how press and lefties would be going berserk if these low-lifes were accused of attacking Democrats!

Imagine the the bloviating, the POMPOSITY! "Democracy is dead," "Workers and minorities have been 'disenfranchised,'" America is fast becoming a police state..."first they came for the campaign vans..."

And the worst: "The America we all once knew (sniff) and loved (sniff) is (choke) GONE!"

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

January 6, 2006

"a swift and brutal assassination"

Iain Murray writes, in The Corner:

....While new Tory leader David Cameron's rush to the political center has alarmed genuine Conservatives, it has attracted vast numbers of voters away from the Liberal Democrats, the polls show. Kennedy failed noticeably to respond to the challenge. If anyone drove the knife into Kennedy's back, it wasn't his former Press Secretary, nor the 11 frontbench spokesmen who signed a letter indicating their unhappiness, it was David Cameron. He appears to have pushed the Liberal Democrats off the precipice.

The Liberal Democrats look destined for a period of internecine strife as they try to decide whether they are a free-market Liberal party or a statist Left party. Support will almost certainly wither away as the paper of Kennedy's leadership is stripped away and the cracks he allowed to grow are revealed.

It is therefore quite possible that a return to two-party politics is imminent in the UK. Ironically, this should make the distinctions between the parties easier to grasp. Without having to worry about tactical voting, the parties will not have to spend time campaigning for a nebuolus "center ground," but will probably instead be able to target their message more precisely. In that respect, British politics may become more like American. If Cameron has acheived that by a swift and brutal assassination of the Liberal Democrats as a credible electoral force, he deserves praise...

I confess I have mostly been ignoring British politics in recent years. But Cameron is starting to seem interesting, and his willingness to support Labour policies that he feels are right, rather than being merely "oppositional," is refreshing to an American.

I have yet in my life to hear any reason for the existence of the Liberal Democrats, so if he's got rid of them, I'm in favor.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 PM

December 22, 2005

You get what you pay for...

Bill Quick: ...I wish I could say I feel sorry for the folks in the Big Apple, but I don't. They are the ones who have voted into office decade after decade officials who have made the city unions the monsters they are today. Stupidity has a nasty way of becoming its own reward. If I had my druthers, I'd love to see this strike continue for a couple of months, until it became crystal clear to every New Yorker the perils of giving the keys to the kingdom to union bosses in exchange for electioneering boodle.....

That's for sure. The workers get shafted, while the "government workers" are absurdly over-paid in return for helping their own bosses get elected. Imagine if unions representing General Motors workers could use money and influence to choose who's going to run the company. That's the sicko situation you have when government employees are allowed to unionize.

And what really annoys me, living as I do among similar idiots, is that it's a certainty thatthose New Yorkers who vote for liberals think it's "compassionate" and "caring" and "moral" and all kinds of similar weepy stupid shit. Actually voting for liberals is the exact opposite, and if New Yorkers wanted a government that really helps the poor and unfortunate, they should be electing flinty-eyed cheese-paring Republicans...because what the poor really need most is a vibrant growing economy. That would lift most of them out of poverty, and leave government funds for the really needy few. Instead, in New York, high taxes drive away many of the jobs, and the government is chronically broke from paying things like the transit worker's real wages (with benefits and overtime, etc) of something over $100,000 a year.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:50 PM

December 19, 2005

failure has not altered Democratic thinking an iota...

I'm congenitally skeptical of the idea of planning. Tony Snow puts the problem in a nutshell...(Thanks to Rand)

....They believe human events unfold in a neat and predictable manner. Call it the Theory of Human Orderliness. The idea is that one can harness the insights of science and the methods of engineering to perfect societies. Theorists believe sound plans can impel people to behave in an ordered manner -- like asteroids tracing their paths through the void....

.....The only flaw in the Orderliness Hypothesis is that it doesn't work if people are present. The war on poverty looked great on paper. It failed miserably in real life. Air-cleansing regulatory schemes looked great in computer models, but failed abysmally in reality. Centralized health care boasted of chalkboard elegance, but is breaking the bank right here, right now. The myth of managed affluence collapsed with the Berlin Wall.

And yet, failure has not altered Democratic thinking an iota. John Kerry boasted dozens of times in his debates with George W. Bush that he had a plan -- for everything: dental care, tree planting, street paving, book binding, teen rutting, mass transit, air circulation, steel production ... you name it. He announced these schemes with a sense of triumph, as if having a plan were superior to having a clue.

In resisting President Bush's infinitely variable approach to the ever-shifting situation in Iraq, Democrats have reverted to form. The cries for benchmarks and deadlines merely embody their weird faith in plans. Howard Dean unwittingly captured the absurdity of it all when he announced this week the precise number of National Guard units required to subdue Al-Qaida.....

You know, we never did hear the details of Kerry's plans. Pretty selfish of him not to share his wisdom.

It's tempting to gloat over a Democrat "meltdown," but that's not quite the word for it. Too liquid and flexible. We need a metaphor of rigidity, a term that might be used to describe a granite statue being transported in an old wagon without springs over a bumpy road, banging and slamming up and down, and gradually turning into a rounded blob churned in a soup of chips and dust...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 PM

Today's funny line...

Washington Times: ...But Mr. Reid was furious. "We've become like the House of Commons. Whoever has the most votes wins. It hasn't worked that way in 216 years," he said...

Shocking. I'm sure LBJ or FDR never abused their position by passing legislation in such a cowardly and underhanded fashion, by letting the majority decide...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:43 PM

December 4, 2005

An agenda of their own...

WASHINGTON POST, Dec. 3 -- Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean offered a preview of the 2006 elections here Saturday with a blistering critique of President Bush's policies on Iraq and immigration and the Republicans' ethics scandals... Ethics, Iraq, Immigration...Building your house upon the stone, Howard? But he warned Democrats they cannot expect to win next year without offering an agenda of their own...

Yep, that's gonna be the hard part...

Speaking at the fall meeting of the Democratic National Committee, Dean pledged that Democrats would offer tax policies aimed at middle-class voters, define "Middle Class," Howard. I dare you a plan to provide health insurance to all Americans, "Oh Canada, oh Canada, wie gr�n sind deine Bl�tter!" immigration proposals that offer a path to legalization for illegal immigrants, sounds like Bush to me and defense policies that would protect the nation and expose the "hollow promises" of the Bush administration. Please! In DETAIL. I'm just SO waiting to hear this.

Dean warmly praised Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) for "standing up and telling the truth" about Bush's policies in Iraq, and suggested that the Pennsylvanian had offered a vision around which Democrats could rally. a VISION! But Dean stopped well short of embracing Murtha's call for a withdrawal plan that would redeploy all U.S. troops within about six months. Coward Instead Dean called on Democrats to coalesce around a proposal that would keep some U.S. forces in Iraq for two more years. Bush Lite, PLUS sending a message of encouragement to terrorists. Yay!

I HOPE Republicans are planning to say loud and clear that Murtha is one of the people who STARTED this war. He encouraged the pull-out from Somalia that so emboldened Osama bin Laden. Pacifism KILLS.

The former Vermont governor's remarks underscored the party's continuing debate over Iraq and the reluctance of many party leaders to support Murtha's call for a speedy withdrawal strategy. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) announced her support for Murtha's plan last week, but others in the party leadership have declined to do so, not to mention the party followership in part out of fears that a swift withdrawal could leave Iraq worse off than it is today and hand the GOP a political weapon. Or maybe fears about advocating surrender just as it becomes clear the campaign is being WON? Such timing.

Dean came to national prominence in 2003 by opposing Bush's decision to invade Iraq and has spoken for the party's antiwar grass-roots activists. But in his speech he blended strong criticism of the president for going to war under false pretenses with a more measured endorsement of a plan promoted by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, which would redeploy ("re-de