Carol Platt Liebau: November 2006

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hating to Lose, Not to Fight

That's essentially the point that Jonah Goldberg makes in his weekly LA Times column. It resembles the point I made two weeks ago in my Townhall column two weeks ago:

Voters aren’t angry that the United States is trying to secure Iraq and establish a foothold for democracy in the Middle East. Instead, they’re frustrated at a war that, it seems, is being fought with half measures, little discernible forward progress, and an Administration that appears hesitant about presenting a thorough, sure-footed case for our continued presence there or a clear plan for victory.

Danny Debase-O

Here is a link to the YouTube video of Danny DeVito's disgraceful performance on "The View."

Interestingly, the clip shows him referring to the President in terms vulgar enough that they were bleeped out by ABC; what it doesn't show (and I saw today in a replay of the show itself) were his remarks about having sex with his wife on every surface in the Lincoln Bedroom.

Discussing the episode on today's Hugh Hewitt show, the incredibly talented James Lileks made a very perceptive remark about DeVito's comments about the Lincoln Bedroom -- to the effect that DeVito was the type of person who couldn't bear to leave anything undebased. Absolutely true.

But in my view, people like Danny DeVito have always been with us. And once upon a time, he would have been treated like the boor that he is, rather than having Rosie and the rest of the "View" gang giggling along sympathetically. Perhaps part of the problem is that too few people are willing to take a stand about a lot of the vulgarity with which Americans are confronted on a daily basis.

Barbara Walters, the show's true and undisputed leader, is a very smart lady. She could have chosen some classy but firm way to slap down DeVito -- and it would have been courageous and right for her to have done so. It would have demonstrated for all those women in the audience that -- while everyone is entitled to his or her opinion -- those views should be expressed with a modicum of decorum when one discusses the President and The White House on national television. What a wasted opportunity.

Just recently, Barbara Walters ran an interesting special about her 30 biggest mistakes in 30 years; it seemed admirable to me that she would be willing to critique herself so thoroughly. It's worth wondering whether she believes letting DeVito's rant go unreproved was a mistake, as well.

The Dems & Ahmadinejad

It's hard not to wonder how the Dems feel when they realize that America's adversary, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, advocates the same strategy for Iraq that they do.

Could the Dems possibly believe that he's just misunderstood -- and actually has America's best interests in mind?

Who Gives, Who Doesn't

John Stossel has the details. Interesting to note that conservative-headed families give more to charity, even though they earn slightly less.

But it strikes me that it's probably not a matter of politics -- it's a matter of religious faith. And on the whole, conservatives are more likely to be believers than liberals are.

American Spectator Piece

Here's my piece in today's American Spectator, discussing the recent rash of starlets partying without underwear -- and why it's incumbent on adults to speak out about it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Absolutely Not!

I've long disliked him -- he's John McCain with all of the sanctimony and none of the charm. Of course, I'm talking about Chuck Hagel. Nauseatingly enough, the Washington Post's David Ignatius is trying to tout a Hagel presidential campaign as a possible solution to the Republicans' problems.

It's interesting. David Ignatius tries to characterize Hagel's doomsaying on Iraq as somehow prescient. But it's also worth wondering how much all the doom-saying -- like that indulged in with gusto by people like Hagel -- has contributed to the problems we've encountered in trying to win a war that's as much about will and morale as it is about firepower.

I might vote for Hagel. That is, if he were just about the last Republican on earth besides Lincoln Chafee. And in my opposition to Hagel, I'm apparently in good company.

Paging Phyllis Schlafly . . .

According to this piece in The Washington Times, the ERA is once again rearing its ugly head. It was a bad idea back in the '70's (sometimes, it seems the whole decade was a bad idea!) and it's a bad idea now.

Follow in Churchill's Footsteps

That's the advice that Michael Freund offers President Bush -- and he's right.

What It Means to be a Superpower

As the soldier's arm patch (right below the American flag) points out, we are indeed "doing the work of" France, Germany and Russia. But hey -- it's not like it's the first time.

Update: Ruth Anne Adams, who herself has military experience, notes below that the insignias are unlikely to be genuine. Fair enough -- I'll leave them up as a sardonic comment on our friends the French, Germans and Russians. Thanks for setting the record straight.

A Truly Odd Couple

As this piece points out, it's a spectacular lapse in judgment for Mayor Bloomberg to seek out Al Sharpton as part of sorting out any controversial racial issue.

Does he have any awareness of Sharpton's destructie, racist past?

In my view, Bloomberg's supposed presidential ambitions are laughable as it is. This renders them even more so.

Presidential Sweepstakes

Bill Frist will not seek the presidency -- a wise move, in light of his regrettable failures as Senate majority leader.

In the meantime, Barack Obama is visiting New Hampshire, in the apparent believe that four years in the Senate (and no meaningful foreign policy experience) constitute acceptable credentials to become COmmander in Chief in the war on terror.

Caught in a Webb

Mark my words: The Democrats are going to be sorry they have to put up with James Webb, who, judging from the linked piece, is something of a jerk (and even worse for the Democrats, seems to believe that he can write his own playbook).

It's remarkable to me that he would treat the President of the United States with such rudeness. Regrettably, such behavior is to be expected, perhaps, from long haired, self-righteous erstwhile hippies, but one would hope for something a bit better from a newly elected U.S. senator.

In fact, one would hope for something better from just about anyone. Back in early 1994, when I lived in D.C., I used to walk on the Mall. One morning, I ran into none other than Bill Clinton, taking a jog in all his short-shorted glory. "Good morning, there," said the President, with the over-familiarity displayed by a lot of men who pride themselves on having a "way with women."

Trust me -- I had little use for Bill Clinton, believing then -- as I believe now -- that he was a pot-smoking, draft-dodging, womanizing liar. But he was still the President of the United States. And so, when he greeted me and wished me a pleasant day, I said, "Good morning, Mr. President" and wished him a good day, as well.

It's a matter of respecting the office, if not its current occupant. What is it that a then-27 year old understood that Senator-elect James Webb just doesn't get?

An Interesting Irony

Newt Gingrich is quite right that serious measures need to be taken so that we stop giving terrorists the "rights" that will ultimately allow them to kill us.

What will be interesting is the response from Gingrich's putative presidential campaign rival John McCain -- and, in fact, anyone who supported McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform." If they continue to support the legislation's anti-free speech provisions and yet oppose what Gingrich is arguing, they're going to find themselves in a position that's awkward, to say the least.

After all, is there anyone who really wants to run on a platform that argues that terrorists should enjoy free speech rights that are denied to law abiding American citizens who simply want to participate in their own politicla process within 30 (or 60) days of an election?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Common Sense and Stem Cells

Top of Harry Reid's agenda, reportedly, is getting more money for "stem cell research."

Conveniently omitted, of course, is the crucial detail of whether he's talking about embryonic stem cell research. Even so, he might want to think about the fact that research shows that the private sector operates more efficiently than the public one.

Whatever one's views of the ethics of embryonic stem cell research, it seems like a mistake on every level to turn it over to the public sector.

A Brief Burst of Sanity

So it appears that Nancy Pelosi has decided not to name Alcee Hastings as chairman of hte House Intelligence Committee.

This will no doubt come as a disappointment to the person who represented Hastings in his judicial impeachment trial -- a person who doesn't see the obvious impropriety of entrusting top secrets to a man who was removed from the bench for bribery.

Key Questions

Newt Gingrich has eleven key questions for the Baker-Hamilton commission.

What Book -- and Who Decides?

Dennis Prager is 100% correct. Keith Ellison should take his oath of office on the Bible, as scores of elected officials before him have done -- whether they believed in it or not. If we wants to swear on the Koran, as well, he should be welcome to do so; even so, there's a real value and a real reason to ask people who are swearing to uphold a governmental system that reflects Biblical values to incorporate a Bible into their ceremony.

Taking Christ Out of Christmas

Here it is . . . the first disgusting example. What business does the Nativity story have at a Christmas fair, anyway, right?

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Democratic Agenda

Michael Barone notes that it will be difficult for the Democrats to force through any truly "progressive" legisation -- certainly true, given the relatively narrow margins by which they hold both houses of Congress and the existence of a Republican president.

Given the problems with implementing any positive agenda, though, it seems likely that the Dems will turn to investigations of the Administration, instead -- it gives them something to talk about with the '08 elections coming up, in the absence of any meaningful legislative achievement. And that's where Henry Waxman comes in: He's the chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

Obviously, he's in a position to make life difficult for some Republicans (although it must be noted that no Time magazine articles carrying the whiff of faint praise -- like the one issued above -- came out in the wake of the '94 Republican takeover of Congress during the Clinton Administration). What will be interesting, however, is whether this liberal Californian from a safe district uses his power to overplay his hand.

It's funny -- we're hearing so much less from the MSM about how Americans just want everyone to get along and get things done . . . the specter of investgations seems to titillate, more than disturb, these days. But the underlying fact remains that Americans won't welcome a bunch of cheap political grandstanding, whether it comes from the left or the right.

It will be interesting to see if Waxman has the finesse and the self control to avoid sliding over the left-liberal edge as he goes after the Administration.

"Talking" With Syria and Iraq

This piece from The New York Times asserts that the Iraq Survey Group will urge the United States to "talk" with Iran and Syria as part of the effort to stabilize Iraq.

Well, we all know by now that James Baker has said, "[I]n my view it is not appeasement to talk to your enemies." And that certainly sounds very nice and broadminded.

The question, of course, is what does one talk to them about? Does Baker think there is some kind of golden ticket that will convince America's determined enemies to stop acting against American interests just like that? And what, exactly, is the purpose of elevating terrorists like Assad and Ahmadinejad to a position of equality by talking when -- not only are their goals diametrically opposed to ours -- but neither has any incentive whatsoever to help the US? Take Iran. What does it want -- the ability to build nukes? Oops. They're doing that anyway. Never mind.

But the ugly fact is that they're going to want something (that they can't already get anyway) in exchange for their "help" in Iraq. And sensing the terrified desperation that characterizes most of the press coverage of Iraq, they're likely to ask for something fairly significant. What then?

It strikes me that "talking" for its own sake is another example of the diplomatic mindset that puts process over results . . . an approach that's created many of the problems we're already confronting.

But it's also hard to feel too sorry for the Administration that has created this monster. According to the Times story:

“I think there is fear that anything [members of the Iraq Survey Group] say will seem like they are etched in stone tablets,” said a senior American diplomat. “It’s going to be hard for the president to argue that a group this distinguished, and this bipartisan, has got it wrong.”

Precisely. These commissions inevitably become nothing more than a club with which political opponents can beat the Adminstration -- remember the 9/11 commission?

If there's anyone I do feel sorry for, it's the brave Iraqis who took risks with their own lives (and their families') to stand against the terrorists who may well take over if the United States gives up any hope of victory in Iraq -- a position that seems quickly to be becoming the norm.

The Dems & the Troops

Apparently, Charles Rangel took a stab at his own version of John Kerry's "joke," declaring that, "If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career, or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq."

What's interesting is the extent to which this demonstrates a Democratic mindset. It also proves that the MSM was being waaay too kind to Kerry in allowing him to characterize his pre-election comments as a joke. Anyone can see that what Kerry said ("Education -- if you make the most of it and you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.") wasn't intended as a joke; it was supposed to be a cautionary tale of the type popular among politicans exhorting young people to study hard (in the vein of "If you don't study, you'll end up working a minimum wage job").

It's shameful that Democratic politicians don't see soldiers as anything more than victims -- and stupid ones, at that. I wonder what they'd say to Sam Bond -- son of Senator Kit Bond, a graduate of St. Albans and Princeton, and a first lieutenant in the Marines who was stationed in Fallujah. Is he a victim, gentlemen, or just too stupid to choose what Charles Rangel would term "decent career"?

For my part, I'd just call him a patriot -- and an exceptionally brave one.

Townhall Column

My column is up over at Townhall. It discusses the fall-out from the racism spewed by Michael Richards -- and argues that, contrary to the assertions of people like the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson, America is hardly a racist country. Quite the opposite, in fact; we're a people that has tried hard to atone for racial injustices of the past. Exhibit A is the entire contretemps surrounding the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

It's remarkable that a man (of any color) removed from a federal judgeship for bribery would even be considered for the chairmanship -- and that the MSM would treat Nancy Pelosi's promise to the Black Caucus as a sufficient rationale for doing so. Even so, the fact that the entire matter has been handled this way certainly suggests that we make remarkable efforts to be "sensitive" . . . to a fault.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

"Help" From Iran

It's like being in Wonderland -- or some less pleasant alternative universe -- to read that Iran actually has the gall to promise to "help" the United States with Iran, but only under certain conditions . . . namely, that the US and Britain withdraw their troops.

Is this some kind of sick joke? Does anyone really think that Iran has something in mind for Iraq that's going to be good for the U.S. in any way, shape, or form? Have we lost our collective mind to the point where we're allowing rogue states -- and yes, that's exactly what Iran is, as it manufactures nuclear weapons in defiance of the UN and the rest of the civilzed world -- to be setting conditions for us?

I'd accept "help" from Iran with about the same alacrity as I'd welcome an invitation for dinner a deux with Hannibal Lector.

How to be Happy

Here is a piece describing new studies designed to help people raise their happiness quotients. Apparently, finding three good things that happened throughout the day -- and figuring out why they happened -- is a promising new technique.

But what the article doesn't mention -- but strikes me as even more important -- would be a relationship with God.h

Getting to the "Bottom" of the Matter

It was interesting to see that the same annoying females who got under my skin last week -- Bishop Katharine Jeffords Schori and Scarlett Johansson -- merited mention in this week's column by the irreplaceable Mark Steyn.

Great minds think alike? Oh, how I wish! It does bear mention, though, that unlike Steyn, I never noticed Johansson's "fetchingly pert bottom."

A Profoundly Evil Idea

It almost defies credulity that Jonathan Chait would use his LA Times column to advocate returning Saddam Hussein to power.

Doesn't he recall that this man is an enemy of this country -- someone who has sent troops into battle to kill Chait's fellow Americans? Does he have no recollection of Saddam's efforts to obtain WMD and nuclear weapons? Is he indifferent to the atrocities that Saddam has visited on his own people -- from the Kurds, to the women subjected to the rape rooms, to the people thrown to tigers and into paper shredders?

The implications of his proposal are staggering. So much for the Iraqis who have struggled for freedom for their own country. So much for the justice system that's found him guilty. You could kiss all those brave patriots goodbye if Chait's advice were taken.

Chait shows the craven impulse of someone who prefers order -- even that imposed by a totalitarian, murderous regime -- to the dangers and struggles that come with trying to establish a democracy where none has flourished before. It might be defensible (wrong, but defensible) if he reverted to the realpolitik impulses of yesteryear, advocating the establishment of pro-American strong man who would, at least, have a modicum of respect for basic human rights. But Chait's idea is at a whole new level of dishonor and cowardice. (Perhaps conservatives were right when they accuse liberals of hating George Bush more than Saddam Hussein.)

Let's not hear from Chait (or any other lefty who agreees with him on this) any more high-minded blather about the evils of Donald Rumsfeld having shaken hands with Saddam during the '80's. At least that's when Saddam was a key player in helping check even more pernicious forces. Now, he's one of the most pernicious forces on the planet . . . and Chait isn't seeking just a handshake -- he wants a full body embrace.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Too Old, Too Soon

Tweens are morphing into teens. Here's a story about a worrisome trend.

But at least it may spark a long-overdue conversation. It's long past time that we all tried to get a handle on what we, as a society, think is appropriate for public consumption and the impact those choices have on young people.

Why We're in Trouble

This piece by Chuck Hagel (now my least-favorite senator, with the defeat of Lincoln Chafee) exemplifies why America is in trouble in Iraq.

Hagel's solution sounds easy: Turn Iraq over to the Iraqis, turn the Middle East over to the Iranians and the Syrians. Hagel writes:

[R]egional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest -- without the United States. This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years. The Middle East is more combustible today than ever before, and until we are able to lead a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, mindless destruction and slaughter will continue in Lebanon, Israel and across the Middle East.

In other words, Hagel has no problem with America's enemies dominating a vital strategic region of the world -- in fact, it's "encouraging" that they're assuming leadership there, as far as he's concerned.

What's more, he buys into the myth that somehow a resolution to the "peace process" will solve all the problems, despite the fact that every Israeli concession has been met by nothing more than greater Palestinian (and terrorist) aggression.

Let's face facts. Giving up in Iraq will teach every country on earth that all it takes is 3,000 deaths and America will surrender. It will teach the world that American assurances of help to those who want to fight for freedom are empty -- as long as their adversaries can wreak enough havoc. And it will vindicate Osama bin Laden's world view that America is make up of decadent, weak people who care about nothing enough to fight for it, at least if the fighting drags on. That's a dangerous message to send to those who believe that they are engaging in a long, slow struggle for world domination.

For the life of me, it's impossible to understand how people like Chuck Hagel -- who supports a bipartisan policy of retreat -- can be considered a "realist." His approach is predicated on a view of the world that's anything but realistic: That everything will be OK if American would just get out of Iraq, and pacify the brutal enemies who want nothing more than to eliminate freedom across the world and see all of us dead.

Friday, November 24, 2006

B-bye, Iron Curtain!

Though it wouldn't have seemed possible just two decades ago, next week's Nato summit will be held in Latvia, a country once sequested behind the Iron Curtain (HT: James Taranto).

For those who despair of ever "winning" the war on terror, it's a worthwhile reminder. Remember that many of the same people who are telling us that we can't win in Iraq are the same people who mocked President Reagan when he predicted -- rightly -- that Communism would one day end up on the "ash heap of history".

Stomping American Power

The unrestrained glee of its adversaries in seeing the Bush Doctrine as a whole -- not just the Iraq war -- fail is the subject of Daniel Henninger's column.

And Henninger has a prescient warning:

But someone ought to step back and consider the cumulative political effect of what of late has turned into an unrestrained gang-stomping of the sort normally seen at Miami-Florida International football games. We are ensuring that no future president, of either party, will project military power anytime soon short of retaliation for a nuclear attack. Every potential presidential candidate, including John McCain, has to be looking at the Bush administration's experience and concluding there is simply no political upside in doing so.

What's more, there's something ironic about the supposed compassionate souls on the left taking such a hard line against projecting American military might abroad:

No genocide will occur on American soil, but the same information tide that bathes us in Baghdad's horrors ensure that Darfur's genocide will come too near not to notice. Too bad for them, or any aspiring democrats under the thumb of Russia, China, Nigeria, Venezuela or Islam's highly mobile anti-democrats. We've got ours. Let them get theirs.

Only one problem: That attitude isn't the American way.

Helping Iran Get the Bomb

Russia has sent an air defense system to Iran. There can be no other way to interpret this move except as a preemptive repudiation of any international effort to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

It's time that the United States and its closest allies come to terms with the fact that neither Russia nor China have their best interests at heart, and proceed accordingly.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Blessings to All!

As we celebrate this blessed day of Thanksgiving, it's a wonderful time to remember my favorite Thanksgiving hymn (which was actually incorporated into my November '98 wedding):

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Despite the difficulties that may beset us personally, our country, and the world, there is so much for which to be thankful -- for wonderful family, loving friends, generous mentors and the work and aspirations that make life worth living.

I am grateful to live in a God-blessed country which has been given noble leaders of great religious conviction like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, both of whom understood the importance of setting aside time to praise and thank the Almighty. And I, too, thank Him for the freedoms that are our birthright as His children and our heritage as Americans.

Please remember to say a prayer for the brave soldiers who won't have the opportunity to give thanks with their families this year because they are stationed far away, seeking to protect all of us and help freedom spread throughout the world. We are thankful for their courage and their sacrifice -- and that of their loved ones.

Finally, dear readers, I am thankful for you -- for your readership, your comments, and the honor you do me and this blog by your attention to it. To each of you and to those nearest and dearest to you, I wish a happy Thanksgiving, and many, many more!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Most "American" Holiday

Here's my piece on why I believe that Thanksgiving is one of the most distinctly "American" holidays of all -- with some of the most beautiful hymns.

Counting Our Blessings . . .

As Thanksgiving approaches, it grows difficult to count our blessings -- there are so many of them! Certainly, along with my practically-perfect husband, two of my chief blessings are my parents.

My mother is a wonderful, intelligent, loving woman who was the consummate mother; she always treated me as if my opinions were of the utmost importance (and as all of you know, the rest of you are now paying the price!). My dad is a wonderful, caring man who was a supportive father and the consummate physician.

Along with my husband, they are two of my greatest blessings this Thanksgiving, and always.

She Doesn't Speak for Me

Here is a Q-and-A with Katharine Jeffords Schori, who now "leads" the Episcopal Church in America. Her arrogance and unthinking left-wing pretensions are insufferable, as Michael Medved notes here. (HT: Optimist Mom).

Suffice it to say that this woman doesn't speak for me. And I find her opinions, words and manner entirely lacking in the humility that religious leaders are supposed to model.

The Price of Appeasement

There is much to be concerned about in the Middle East. As this account in the Washington Post makes clear, Syria once again feels emboldened to begin interfering in Lebanon.

It's hard to know just why this is happening now. Has the much-discussed inclination of James Baker to "talk" to Syria encouraged the Syrians to behave this way? Is it the sense that President Bush's ability to pursue an aggressive foreign policy against Middle East troublemakers has been fatally compromised through the election of a dovish Congress?

In any case, the idea that "help" in Iraq can be secured through the good offices of Iran and Syria is little short of craziness. It purchases short term "success" at the price of long term peace -- and would be little more than "kicking the can down the road" in the finest tradition of the Clinton Administration.

"Unconscious" Racism?

In a column today -- "What Lies Beneath" -- the Washington Post's Eugene Robinson effectively alleges that racism is alive and well in America today. Building on the Mel Gibson, George Allen and Michael Richards episodes, he concludes that nothing has really changed. "Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, come explosions of vitriol, suspicion and disdain, all aimed at minorities," Robinson writes. "Don't tell me that racism is dead. It just shuns the light of day."

Really? Does anyone believe that, based on two, maybe three (it seems a bit harsh to lump Allen in with the others) episodes, it's fair to conclude that the ugly spectre of race hatred lingers in most American hearts? No doubt people like Richards and Gibson completely lost it and behaved repugnantly. But their disgusting and hateful behavior doesn't mean that their views are widespread -- any more than the fact that wife- (or other women-) beaters still exist means that every man, deep in his heart, actually hates women and wants to hurt them.

Robinson writes that "We've buried [racial prejudices and animosities] under layers of sincere enlightenment and insincere political correctness, but they're still down there, eating at our souls." Speak for yourself, friend. That kind of talk makes it sound like Robinson is beginning to adopt the theory of "unconscious racism," first propounded (to my knowledge) by Professor Charles Lawrence in this 1987 article" in The Stanford Law Review.

Of course, if the racism is unconscious, the person supposedly afflicted by it can't identify it. Presumably, only members of the oppressed minority can diagnose the order -- but it's not clear how.

It strikes me that, in a country that makes herculean efforts every day to ensure fairness among all the races, where numerous African American and other minority public figures are idolized, and where people who express racist ideas -- from Richards to Gibson to, yes, Allen -- pay a heavy price, it's insulting and unfair for Robinson to conclude from the unconscionable words of an ugly few, that America is a country that carries hidden racism in its heart.

The Cost of Failure

Tony Blankley lays it out right here:

[I]f . . . our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, war lordism and terrorist safe havens — it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'ite Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom, the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf — and the world economy with it — will be in daily risk of being cut off.

Nor is that all. Al Qaeda and other terrorists are already gloating that they have whipped the "cowardly Americans" in Iraq. We will be seen (in fact already are beginning to be seen) as a weak reed for moderate Muslims to rely on in their hearts-and-mind struggle against the radical Islamists. Osama bin Laden was right in one regard: People fear and follow the strong horse; even more so in Middle Eastern culture where restraint is seen as weakness and murder is seen as strength.

You heard it here.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Sad Statistic

Apparently, nearly four in ten of US children are now born out of wedlock.

This is bad news for a number of reasons: Children born out of wedlock are more likely to live in poverty; what's more, as a Heritage Foundation study (quoted here by Larry Elder) notes:

Compared to children living with both biological parents in similar socioeconomic circumstances, children of never-married mothers exhibit 68 percent more antisocial behavior, 24 percent more headstrong behavior, 33 percent more hyperactive behavior, 78 percent more peer conflict, and 53 percent more dependency. Overall, children of never-married mothers have behavioral problems that score nearly three times higher than children raised in comparable intact families.

Obviously, the out of wedlock birth rates are hardly a statistic to be cheering, but don't expect to hear that from the MSM.

It's not just morally wrong -- it's downright dumb for young girls create babies with boys who may be interested in sleeping with them, but whose commitment to them doesn't extend to a willingness to marry. Why is that message so absent from our culture today?

In Defense of Religion

Dinesh D'Souza provides a wonderful rebuttal to a frequently-made atheist claim -- that religion is to blame for most of wars that have afflicted mankind.

He notes:

It is strange to witness the passion with which some secular figures rail against the misdeeds of the Crusaders and Inquisitors more than 500 years ago. The number sentenced to death by the Spanish Inquisition appears to be about 10,000. Some historians contend that an additional 100,000 died in jail due to malnutrition or illness.

These figures are tragic, and of course population levels were much lower at the time. But even so, they are minuscule compared with the death tolls produced by the atheist despotisms of the 20th century. In the name of creating their version of a religion-free utopia, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong produced the kind of mass slaughter that no Inquisitor could possibly match. Collectively these atheist tyrants murdered more than 100 million people.

What's more, prominent atheists happily ignore all the good that is done every day all over the world by religious organizations ranging from the Salvation Army to Catholic Charities< to the Jewish Coalition for Disaster Relief.

Oh yes, and don't forget the new finding that religious conservatives give more to charity than do secular liberals.

When one weighs the harm causes versus the good done by religion as opposed to atheism, there's simply no contest. Religious belief wins every time -- in this world and the next.

The Democrats & Terror

Janet Reno and other Clinton-era Justice Department officials are upset that a citizen of Qatar, accused of being an agent for a terrorist sleeper cell in the United States, would be tried by a military commission rather than by a regular court here in the United States (where, incidentally, he might have the power either to force the revelation of government secrets or else win dismissal, not that the prospect worries Reno et al).

Guess it all makes sense if the war on terror is nothing but a law enforcement operation -- as the Dems obviously see it. As for me, I agree with Attorney General Gonzales: What's remarkable is how many rights, in fact, the accused terrorists are given.

Spirit of America

(Click on the photo to see it)

The truth behind the picture: [T]his little girl's entire family was executed.They intended to execute her also and shot her in the head but they failed to kill her. She was cared for by John's hospital and healing up, but has been crying and moaning. The nurses said John is the only one she seems to calm down with, so John has spent the last four nights holding her while they both sleep in that chair. The girl is coming along with her healing. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Here is more about Chief Master Sergeant John Gebhardt.

Do you ever wonder why images like these don't seem to have the same appeal for the MSM as the photos of Abu Ghraib? And do the Democrats truly want to leave freedom-seeking Iraqis to the tender mercies of the kind of people who would shoot this little girl in the head?

Pardon Me!

According to Byron York, it seems that Bill Clinton pardoned soon to be House Intelligence Committee Chairman's "partner in crime." Literally.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Good Grace

In "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving,", Linus paraphrases the Pilgrims' grace as follows:

We thank God for our homes and our food, and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice


A Wasted Opportunity

Actress Scarlett Johansson is slamming President Bush for holding traditional views on sex, criticizing abstinence education, and declaring that, if the President had his way, "Every woman would have six children and we wouldn't be able to have abortions."

In the past, Johansson has protested that she's "not promiscuous". Whether or not she's promiscuous, she is certainly a bubblehead. Perhaps it's not surprising that she condemns education that encourages abstinence as "unrealistic" -- she's opined in the past that "I do think on some basic level we are animals, and by instinct we kind of breed accordingly."

What Johansson seems to ignore is the fact that human beings have many impulses. What elevates us above animals is our capacity to establish moral standards that prompt us to curb those impulses in the service of higher values.

No doubt she's aware of the power of example . . . she's let it be known that she's tested for HIV twice yearly. Given the influence over young girls that she wields, it's a shame that -- rather than encouraging young girls to behave in ways that will protect their self-respect and physical and emotional health -- she simply buys into the reductionist notion that young people are little more than breeding animals, who can't be expected to exercise self-restraint when it comes to sex.

Getting Serious About Judges

Here is a column for ABC News by Hugh Hewitt, discussing the judicial confirmation process in the upcoming Congress.

The Truth About Rumsfeld

Douglas Feith, who worked with the Secretary of Defense from 2001 through 2005, offers a compelling portrait of a great patriot and public servant.

Defining What's Threatening

Amazing what's happening at Brown University. The university has revoked a speaking invitation to Nonie Darwish, author of "Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror." What's the problem -- that her message will "offend" the proponents of jihad?

Note that Brown's sensitive concern doesn't extend to evangelical Christians. The student evangelical Christan group has been banned from advertising or meeting on campus.

Doesn't look like the university is any friend to the first amendment -- whether it has to do with religion or speech -- does it?

Why Republicans Lost

Here it is, in a nutshell. No legislation authorizing warrantless wiretapping was passed, and soon-to-be-gone Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist tells the President it isn't going to happen during the lame duck session.

Everyone knows what that means. That means it isn't going to happen -- because the Democrats sure aren't going to pass such laws. It's difficult to know what the last Congress was actually doing -- it couldn't get around to confirming judges, passing important national security legislation, or extending the President's tax cuts. No wonder voters were sick of them.

Thanks to Republican ineptitude, the official American congressoinal position will soon that the "rights" of suspected terrorists trump the security of normal Americans. Democrats, it seems, are about to reach a whole new plateau when it comes to a disdain for the "right to life."

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Ready to Gamble?

Iran has vowed to follow its atomic ambitions "until the end."

Now, according to Seymour Hersh, the CIA -- the same organization that didn't realize the Soviet Union would collapse, that Saddam Hussein was close to a bomb in '91 or that his WMD's were gone in 2003 -- isn't really sure that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons, after all. Such "reporting" will offer the Democrats the fig leaf they'll be looking for to support a policy of endless "dialogue."

Add to the mix that Henry Kissinger quite rightly notes that behavior that signals weakness on the part of the United States will be provocative to Iran.

So, are Americans ready to gamble that the CIA finally has it right, and that Kissinger's got it wrong? It will be interesting to see how Democrats react to the necessity of weighing in on the tough questions of war and peace before a course of action has been settled upon, rather than simply waiting to criticize in the aftermath.

Iteration of the Obvious

This piece notes breathlessly that the Rand Corp has issued a study recommending that the United States "fight" Islamofascist terrorism by "challenging its violent Islamist ideology and muzzling its leading proponents."

Well, who woulda thought?

Certainly, it's important for clerics to challenge the theological foundations of terrorism. But what the study seems to ignore is the need for political -- as well as theological -- competition for the vision of the Islamofascists. Along with their radical religious beliefs, they envision states governed by radical Muslim theocracies, where personal and political freedom is virtually nonexistent.

One of the central reasons that we must succeed in Iraq is to create a model of a free and democratic state in the heart of the Arab world. That's one of the top reasons we've gone there -- to remove the threat of Saddam Hussein, and to show disaffected, young, would-be terrorists that there are more hopeful, productive ways of existence than planning one's life around killing oneself and an assortment of innocents.

Good Advice

Jack Kelly reminds Republicans of the way out of the electoral wilderness:

Republicans should retain their social conservatism and regain their economic conservatism. But the conservatism that wins elections is a conservatism of optimism and inclusion, not doom, gloom and ethnic division. Republicans will not regain their majority without fidelity to Ronald Reagan's principles. But they may need Mr. Reagan's attitude even more.

Principles and attitude are equally important. It's like substance and procedure when it comes to the law. Even just laws are worthless if there are no meaningful procedural guarantees; all the procedural guarantees in the world, however, don't matter if the underlying substance of the law is tyrannical or unjust.

Same is true here. The sunniest disposition ultimately means little without some real principles. But given the anti-conservative bent of most of the MSM, even the best conservative principles need to be presented in an optimistic, open-hearted fashion.

This Is News?

With ridiculous stories like this, the media continues to participate in the sexualization of every area of American life, even politics and public policy.

Why is something like this running -- even in the San Francisco Chronicle?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A Little Perspective, Please

It's impossible to avoid this story about the outrage elicited by OJ's book deal and television interview.

Well and good. It's a disgusting spectacle, and there is something creepy about OJ's attempts to exploit and profit from his infamy.

But let's just hope that all the people climbing on a moral high horse about OJ were similarly indignant when CNN aired terrorist propaganda (provided by the terrorists themselves) of an America soldier being killed by terrorists.

After all, at least it's not as if Fox is airing a broadcast of OJ actually killing Nicole Simpson and Fred Goldman. And although the Simpson trial certainly undermined Americans' faith in the legal system, it wasn't deliberately exploited by foreign adversaries -- as CNN was -- in order to undermine our national will.

So how about a little perspective?

"Follow the Money," Indeed!

In The Washington Post, Walter Pincus reminisces fondly about the days when Congress was cutting off money for the Vietnam War, and notes that it could certainly follow the same course when it comes to Iraq. (He doesn't mention, of course, that we lost the Vietnam War, thereby emboldening our adversaries).

It will be a pleasant surprise if the Democrats don't try some funding shenanigans. After all, it's something that some of them have openly been considering for some time -- but somehow, however, the MSM has just gotten around to talking about it after the elections.

Not So Much a "Reformer"

Hugh Hewitt has an important post on the status of judicial nominations in the post-2006 election era.

Newly elected Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell clearly is trying to restore the principle of "an up-or-down vote for every judicial nominee" -- a principle that was hopelessly muddied by the Gang of 14 compromise crafted by Senator John McCain. Obviously, Senator McCain is entitled to claim that his compromise resulted in the confirmation of judges, but had the constitutional option been invoked, the principle would have been clearly enunciated once and for all and many of the difficulties that now confront Republicans avoided.

In the last Congress, those who had the most to lose by the establishment of "an up-or-down vote for every judicial nominee" rule were clearly the Democrats. Republicans have never resorted to judicial filibusters for even the most obnoxious Democratic nominations -- the Dem senators' behavior was unprecedented.

So why did John McCain and 6 other Republicans (2 of whom lost their reelection bids) put together the "Gang of 14"? Mostly, it was because of a misplaced hesitation to clarify, even change if necessary, Senate rules to address the Democrats' behavior, despite its unprecedented and aggressive nature.

John McCain puts great stock in his reputation as a "reformer." But in his bid to avoid the constitutional option, he's acted like someone who places the traditions of the Senatorial club over considerations of basic justice and fairness. In doing so, he's exemplified the very behavior that Americans revolted against in the last election -- an approach to government that puts going along to get along ahead of obtaining the results, based on firm principles, that our representatives were sent to Washington to achieve.

Dem Policy, & Its Consequences

Democratic senators "Slow Joe" Biden and Carl "The Penguin" Levin are calling for quick withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Honor (and freedom for the Iraqis)v -- to heck with all that, as far as they're concerned.

What's more, General Abizaid notes that Islamic militancy will cause another world war if it isn't stemmed.

Does anyone think that the Democratic policy cutting and running in Iraq can be construed as anything but a victory for the terrorists? And what does that mean for the future?

Friday, November 17, 2006

Thank You!

It was a great honor, as always, to have the chance to sit in for Hugh Hewitt. Many thanks to Hugh for the opportunity, and to Generalissimo Duane for all his help. The rest of the Hewitt team -- Adam, Moses, Austin and LaBrea -- was wonderful, as always.

And thanks to all of you who have written with kind words. I'm grateful for each and every note, whether you agree with me or not!

Much More Today on the Radio

I'll be sitting in today for Hugh Hewitt. We'll talk about the leadership races, what they mean for the country generally and Republicans in particular -- and what it means for the Republicans to be back in the minority on Capitol Hill. Lots of challenges, of course -- but lots of opportunities, too.

It's Boehner

John Boehner has been elected minority leader of the House of Representatives. He was, as everyone knows by know, Dennis Hastert's second-in-command.

There's no denying that I'm disappointed. I'd hoped for a Mike Pence victory -- given that he's a fresh face and a more unadulterated conservative than John Boehner; what's more, he lacks some of the K-Street ties of Boehner.

Congressional Republicans seem to want to give us more of the same old, same old. To me, their re-election of their old leaders shows a certain tone deafness to the message the country was trying to send them, and a tendency to ignore the fairly clearly expressed wishes of their base for new faces and a fresh message.

As far as the Senate goes, there were at least some good reasons to elect Trent Lott as the #2 (even though I have reservations about that decision as well).

That's because, given the Senate procedures and the way they differ from those in the House, it makes sense to have a clever tactician like Lott on the team. In the House, there's little that a minority can do to affect procedure or legislation -- and so it would make sense to have someone who is a communicator; there's simply less need for a legislative strategist or a procedural tactician.

But it's worth noting that NRO's David Frum feels OK about the election of Boehner.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Appoint in Hast(ings), Repent at Leisure?

Nancy Pelosi is being urged not to appoint impeached and convicted former federal judge Alcee Hastings to the chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee.

Will she listen? It's far from clear. So far, as Robert Novak points out, her personal wishes (friendship for Murtha, for example) have seemed to trump any other considerations -- and it's well-known that she has no love for Jane Harmon, who would otherwise succeed to the committee chairmanship.

As I noted here, in a pre-election column:

Nowhere are the differences between the parties more profound than when it comes to the war on terror. In contrast to President Bush – who does what he must to protect the country, even when it’s unpopular – the Democrats consistently allow politics to trump security. That’s why, if Democrats win the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi may deny moderate, bipartisan Jane Harman the opportunity to chair the House Intelligence Committee, and replace her with liberal Rep. Alcee Hastings, a former federal judge who was impeached for and convicted of bribery.

It will be interesting to see how seriously Nancy Pelosi takes her own mandate to "uphold the highest ethical standards and to have the most open and bipartisan Congress," won't it? Having campaigned for "Abscam Jack" Murtha today, will she support Alcee Hastings tomorrow?

Now They Tell Us II

The LA Times notes that there are ethical questions swirling around newly elected House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

Now You Tell Us . . .

All of a sudden, the coast is clear for the MSM to report that Jack Abramoff may implicate Harry Reid and some other Democratic senators in wrongdoing.

And it's safe to mention the potential scandal that dared-not-speak-its-name before the elections: The Kit Murtha matter, in which Jack "Ethics is Cr-p" Murtha directed substantial appropriations to the lobbying firm that employs his brother.

What a different an election makes . . .

Hugh Hewitt Show

I will be guest hosting on "Hugh Hewitt Show" tomorrow, from 3-6 in the West. To find out where and when to listen where you are, go here.

RIP Milton Friedman

Word has come that Milton Friedman -- Nobel prize winning economist and a great believer in freedom -- has died.

His book Capitalism and Freedom helped explain why free market economics and freedom go together -- and why they were good. No doubt many piece about him will be appearing, and all the praise is well deserved.

Update: Larry Kudlow eulogizes Professor Friedman here.

An Early Defeat

Denying Republicans an early Christmas present, House Democrats have elected Steny Hoyer over Jack Murtha as their Majority Leader in the House.

The only person (besides Murtha) more disappointed than the average Republican would have to be Nancy Pelosi. She made this an early test of her clout inside the House and actively campaigned for Murtha; now, she has a fairly formidable adversary serving as her #2, which should make for some pretty interesting leadership meetings.

It's interesting that Pelosi chose to fight this battle so early in her tenure. All it's succeeded in doing is dividing Democrats, forcing an ugly fight, creating enemies for her within her own caucus, and making her look like a loser before she's even formally assumed the role of Speaker.

She gambled; she lost. So, unfortunately, did Republicans; it would have been hard to find someone who exemplifies the Democratic message of cut 'n run, coupled with questionable ethics, better than Jack Murtha did.

What Kind of Bipartisanship?

As Newt Gingrich points out today in The Wall Street Journal, there are two different bipartisan paths that President Bush can take:

Will there be a Ronald Reagan approach to bipartisanship which appeals to the conservative majority of the House? Or will there be an establishment bipartisanship which cuts deals between liberals and the White House?

The latter, of course, would split the Republican party; the former splits Democrats. And, as Ginrich notes, the choice has immense implications for America's safety and prosperity.

A liberal coalition will focus narrowly on Iraq and seek to avoid thinking about the scale of threat we face internationally. A conservative bipartisan coalition will look first to the larger threat to American security and will then seek to find solutions in Iraq to strengthen American security.

Certainly, the Reagan approach to bipartisanship yields much less praise from the MSM, fewer pretty photo ops, and a lot more complaining from the leftists who dominate the Democratic leadership. But it's the right choice for the country -- and for President Bush's own legacy.

Sad Signals

According to this report, hawks are leaving the Pentagon along with Donald Rumsfeld, and the idea of convening a "regional peace conference" -- and talking with Iran about its role in Iraq -- are on the table.

The hope for the proponents of an America- Iran dialogue is that negotiations could persuade the mullahs to use their influence in Iraq to help end the cycle of ethnic violence. At the same time however, the talks could be seen as a tacit acceptance of Iran's continued enrichment of uranium.

James Baker believes in "talking" with one's enemies. Well, that's all well and good, so long as talking will actually achieve something positive that's worth any disadvantages it incurs. Could someone please explain to me how tacitly accepting a nuclear Iran -- and validating Osama bin Laden's assessment of the West as weak, decadent and unwilling to fight -- is worth any "help" Iran might offer, namely, by ceasing from doing what it shouldn't be doing anyway (i.e. assisting Iraqi militants)?

No one can defeat the US military besides the U.S. itself. How discouraging that so many here seem committed to what amounts to defeat, even if it's trussed up in a pretty package.

Be Alarmed

A U.S. citizen carrying information about nuclear materials and cyanide was arrested in Detroit. He arrived in Detroit by way of Nigeria and Amsterdam; he was headed toward Phoenix. He's a U.S. citizen by the name of Sisayehiticha Dinssa, and he's unemployed -- which makes it doubly difficult to explain why he was carrying $78,000 in cash.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Desert Storm Legacy

Austin Bay wonders whether James Baker learned anything from the the error made by the Bush I Administration in 1991, when it defeated Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf War but then allowed him to stay in power.

Interestingly, the first President Bush has been condemned for having failed to "finish the job" in Iraq -- but now the second President Bush is being told that it's time to start a "phased withdrawal" of troops, whether the job is finished, or not. (Oh, and by the way, here's a little refresher course on what prominent Dems -- many now desperately looking for an exit strategy -- had to say about going to war with Iraq just a few short years ago.).

James Baker's Iraq Study Group will be fine if (as Bay suggests) its report produces "a set of policy recommendations palatable to Democrats and Republicans -- in other words, consensus political cover that allows the sober and wise to continue to support Iraq's war for freedom and modernity." But if it's just another way to drive consensus for "peace with honor," it's a disaster in the making.

An Excellent Choice

Today, Hugh Hewitt interviewed the man who will be Republican Minority Leader in the Senate, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

I've long been a fan of Senator McConnell's, especially because of his courage and tenacity when it came to combatting Senator McCain's campaign finance "reform" -- a thinly veiled attack on the First Amendment. He's also been a consistent advocate for justice in the judicial nominations area.

I'm less than enthused about the selection of Trent Lott as McConnell's deputy, but thrilled with McConnell himself. When Senator McConnell told Hugh Hewitt that "Senator Reid can expect all of the cooperation that he extended us in similar circumstances" -- well, that said it all.

I almost (but not quite) felt sorry for the senator from Nevada. And very, very pleased that Mitch McConnell's on our side. I like his style (and his substance!).

Hillary Doesn't Like Howard Dean

Need the evidence? It's right here. Jim Carville -- essentially a Clinton mouthpiece -- is calling for Dean's ouster.

Well, pull up a chair and pop up the corn. Between this and the Pelosi-Murtha-Hoyer fight, there's plenty of entertainment to go around.

"Lingering Cultural Sanity"

In this piece about Paris Hilton, Kay Hymowitz astutely points out that America's dislike for the heiress is a sign of "lingering cultural sanity."

The problem is that the contempt for Hilton isn't universal. According to this survey from Teenage Research Unlimited, Paris Hilton is one of the top-five most envied Americans by teen girls. That's unfortunate, as the teen-girl demographic is one that Hilton' most likely to influence.

Either this means that girls increasingly believe that it's fame (notoriety) itself that matters -- however it's gained -- or that they don't share the rest of the culture's disgust with Paris Hilton. Either way, it's something of a sad sign of the times.

Lott-sa Luck

So Trent Lott has been elected back into Senate leadership -- this time, as the #2 behind Mitch McConnell.

Over at Real Clear Politics, John McIntyre seems sanguine enough about the decision, noting that it may mean that the Republicans are willing to adopt an adversarial stance toward the Democrats.

That's all well and good -- but I'm not sure I share McIntyre's optimism. Trent Lott may be a skillful tactician . . . but he's also the face of the Republican past in two different, unflattering ways.

First, there's the way he resigned: Under the cloud of his "racially insensitive" comments about Strom Thurmond. Whatever one thinks about how the remarks were intended (or their substance), they have now been interpreted to and construed by most Americans as offensive to African Americans. It may (or may not) be fair, but that's the fact.

Second, Lott has been a poster boy for government pork. Is that really an image the Republicans want to carry forward?

The fact is that Lott wants nothing more than to be the Republicans' Senate leader again. We'll see how hard he works on advancing that aim, what it means for Mitch McConnell's success in serving as Senate Minority leader, and what it means for the Senate Republicans in general.

Note well that Lott was elected by only a one-vote margin; McConnell unanimously. How confident are the Senate Republicans -- who know him best -- in Lott's abilities going forward?

Don't Cut 'n Run

That's what General Abizaid says. But, of course, the Democrats know better than the mere general in charge. Contrary to what many Americans believe, the Democrats do, indeed, have a plan for Iraq: A swift retreat.

Rebuilding the Conservative Majority

Tony Blankley has some thoughts that are well worth considering.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

A Motley Crew

So the Senate Dems have their leaders chosen, and a fine group they are.

The new Senate Majority Leader will be Harry "Windfall" Reid, while the Majority whip will be Dick "The Slanderer" Durbin ("If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings.").

Chuck "Dirty Tricks" Schumer will continue as head of the Democratic SEnatorial Campaign Committee, and Patty "Osama Mama" Murray will take over as conference secretary ("[Osama bin Laden]'s been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. He’s made their lives better."). Debbie "Dangerously Incompetent" Stabenow rounds out the parade of horribles as the chairman of the Democratic steering committee.

A motley crew, indeed . . .

Politics Trumps Feminism

Cathy Seipp remarks on the "uninterrupted silence" from feminists in the wake of Jill Stewart (a fine centrist/liberal journalist) being attacked by the lefties upon her arrival as deputy editor in charge of news at the L.A. Weekly. Cathy asks, quite rightly, where is the feminist concern about the underrepresentation of women in the newsroom?

But isn't that always the way? When left-wing women (like Nancy Pelosi) are the first to hold a particular job, we all have to hear about their "pioneering achievement." When the pathbreakers are conservatives or centrists (like Condoleezza Rice, Sandra Day O'Connor or even Elizabeth Dole, first female Secretary of Transportation), the reaction is -- shall we say -- somewhat more muted.

Politics always trumps feminism, world without end, amen.

No Greater Love . . .

Here and here are two must-reads from The Wall Street Journal about Cpl. Jason Dunham, who saved the lives of his fellow soldiers by throwing hismelf on top of a grenade.

Where do we find such men? Where do we find parents like those of Cpl. Dunham, who raised a son with such courage and honor?

Let us all resolve that Cpl. Dunham's magnificent sacrifice will not be forgotten, or rendered meaningless by a defeat in Iraq. And say a prayer for the Corporal and his family.

Taking Advice from McGovern

That's what the congressional Dems are doing today.

As this piece points out:

Senator George McGovern, who led the Democrats to a disastrous defeat in the 1972 presidential election with a platform of American withdrawal from Vietnam, will urge an immediate pull-out from Iraq at a meeting due to be attended by more than 60 senators and congressmen.

The defeat wasn't just McGovern's in the 1972 election. It led to the deaths of countless Vietnamese and Cambodians, and created an image of US weakness and failure that led our enemies to misjudge us until Ronald Reagan came along.

Today, as Cal Thomas notes,

The biggest winners in last week's election were the enemies of the United States, who see the results as confirmation of one of their doctrines: the United States is weak and does not have the commitment to fight a protracted war.

We survived having the Soviets misjudge us. Can we survive having the terrorists do so?

Waiting for an Explanation?

The IAEA has found traces of highly enriched plutonium and uranium in Iran, and it's waiting for an explanation.

'Scuse me, I can explain. They're building a nuclear bomb -- and lying about it. It's nothing but stupidity or hopeless naivete to deny that Ahmadinejad has plans.

Funny how the same type of U.N. inspection regime that the left insists would have worked in Iraq has failed so miserably in Iran.

Townhall Column

Here is it -- about how Republicans can recapture the spirit of '94. One of the paragraphs that bears repeating:

In short, congressional Republicans need to begin treating the base less like a rampaging beast to be placated, and more like a trusted friend to be consulted. Too often, party decision-making has a cliquish element reminiscent of an eighth grade cheerleading squad. Would it really hurt anyone for the politicians to turn to the people who fund, electioneer and vote for them most loyally and ask, “What do you think?”? Seeking input about the candidates for the party’s new leaders would be a great way to start the conversation.

Happy Anniversary (to us)!

Today marks the eighth anniversary of my marriage to the most wonderful man in the entire world -- the person whose love and support has been one of the greatest blessings of my life. I am, without doubt, the luckiest woman in the world.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Forgive My Lack of Excitement . . .

At the news that Senator Mel Martinez of Florida has been tapped to be the RNC's next chairman.

Has anyone ever heard Martinez eloquently and passionately defend conservative/Republican principles? What rationale, precisely, lies behind his selection?

And whatever happened to Michael Steele -- an articulate, intelligent and entertaining communicator, who just ran a splendid race in Maryland? Not only is he fun to listen to . . . he could actually devote himself to the job full-time.

Giuliani Jumps In

So John McCain isn't alone -- Rudy Giuliani has taken the first legal step to enable him to run for President.

Welcome to him -- as this blog's readers know, my hopes for Giuliani are high. What's going to matter most is whether he's able to find a way to overcome his differences with social conservatives when it comes to the most important social issues. If he can, he'd be a formidable presidential candidate.

In any case, he compares extremely well to John McCain. During his tenure as Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani showed that he, like President Reagan, has the guts and tenacity to be impervious to the press and elite opinion in the pursuit of the policies he believes to be right. Would that McCain showed any traces of the same quality.

What To Do

Reuters reports the obvious: Al Qaeda is seeking nuclear weapons to use against West.

Luckily, incoming Judicary Committee Chairman Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has an idea: Let's give Al Qaeda habeas corpus rights! That'll make everything better. . . right?

The "Inevitable" John McCain?

As this piece points out, John McCain has been working hard to present himself as the inevitable Republican nominee for President in '08. The piece concludes that he's been doing a good job.

Well, maybe among the press and inside the Beltway, but -- unfortunately for McCain -- others have a voice, too. Specifically, Republican primary voters.

And much of the base isn't too thrilled with McCain, for reasons laid out succinctly by Hugh Hewitt here.

Political Suicide

Only the insane, it's been said, keep on doing the same thing and expecting a different result. If Robert Novak is correct, then a significant proportion of Republican House membesr are in urgent need of psychiatric services.

For those who don't understand the urgency of obtaining new leadership for the GOP, check out this -- that's what we're talking about.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Russ, We Hardly Knew Ye

Russ Feingold has decided not to run for President in 2008. On the one hand, that's a good thing for the USA -- he's a way out lefty, and father (with John McCain) of the speech-stifling campaign finance "reform." On the other, he is, at least, a guy with a modicum of integrity -- he voted for Chief Justice Roberts, despite howls from the moonbats.

Anyway, with his dropping out and Kerry's virtual implosion in the final days of campaign '06, only Al Gore is left to compete for the lefty vote. It would have been interesting to see him and Feingold duke it out, but perhaps ceding left field to Al will make it easier for Gore to go after Hillary, given that he won't be worrying about having his base constituency stolen by Feingold.

And it's worth noting that Barack Obama really should be classified as a lefty, along with Feingold and Gore. It's a testament to his ability to project a moderate image -- and the power of the press' unadulterated adulation -- that Obama is considered somehow middle-of-the-road.

So Much for Moderation

Nancy Pelosi has decided to support John Murtha for Majority Leader. Yes, it's the same man who advocated stationing troops in Okinawa to respond to Middle East crises. Tells you a bit about the Democrats' headlong run toward defeat and retreat in Iraq.

By the way, didn't Pelosi say that "I have to uphold the highest ethical standards"? And didn't the Democrats campaign on the supposed Republican "culture of corruption"? How, exactly, do they propose to square that rhetoric with Murtha's involvement in Abscam?

Apparently, there's a statute of limitations on Democratic wrongdoing. Look how revered Teddy Kennedy -- the Prince of Chappaquiddick -- is among those on the left.

Right On!

Jeff Jacoby has it right -- in every sense of the word.

Any Concern At All?

As amazing as the underreporting of the story is the lack of any reaction from Democrats to news that Al Qaeda in Iraq has hailed their victory.

If you were a Democrat, wouldn't it give you a moment's pause to think that the nation's enemies were that delighted that you'd won? And wouldn't you be eager to distance yourself from them and those sentiments?

If President Bush put out a statement expressing confidence that the Democrats would support continued efforts to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, no doubt numerous Dems would fall all over themselves issuing statements correcting, contradicting or adding nuance to his words. But Al Qaeda starts gleefully expressing delight over Democrats' rise to power, and apparently no one thinks it's worth the trouble to insist to them -- or to the rest of the world -- that the Democratic victory isn't actually a good thing for terrorists. Interesting.

Tightrope Walking

Here is an explanation of the biggest dilemma that Nancy Pelosi faces. With constituents on the left who have seen their party out of power in Congress for 12 years, incredible pressure has built up to see changes on the fronts they consider most important -- including controversial proposals on abortin and gun control.

It will be interesting to see how Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid handle the demands of liberal activists who have, indeed, done a lot to get the Dems back in power. When the GOP right pressures its leaders in a comparable way, the leaders have the help of the press in portraying the demands as excessive and unworkable. With the MSM in a perpetual left-leaning crouch, Pelosi & Reid may not be able to hope for any such deliverance.

What's more, the MoveOn crowd and other lefties aren't as patient as the Republican base. It took a long time -- and a lot of spending, stalled judges, and hesitation on foreign policy -- before the conservatives got restless. The lefties seem to have a shorter fuse; people like this (warning: some profanity in linked post) don't seem to be quite as likely to want to play nicely with others as the well-meaning people in the oft-derided religious right.

Stark But True

Mark Steyn has a sobering question:

What does it mean when the world's hyperpower, responsible for 40 percent of the planet's military spending, decides that it cannot withstand a guerrilla war with historically low casualties against a ragbag of local insurgents and imported terrorists? You can call it "redeployment" or "exit strategy" or "peace with honor" but, by the time it's announced on al-Jazeera, you can pretty much bet that whatever official euphemism was agreed on back in Washington will have been lost in translation. Likewise, when it's announced on "Good Morning Pyongyang" and the Khartoum Network and, come to that, the BBC.

The primary problem isn't that the Democrats were voted in -- although, Heaven knows, that's bad enough. The problem is that it's going to be interpreted across the world as a validation of Osama bin Laden's assessment of the West in general and the United States in particular -- as a bunch of fat, lazy, decadent losers without the will or the guts to withstand Inslamofascism.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

For Shame

Two University of South Carolina fraternity brothers are suing over their participation in Borat. Having seen the movie last night, it's clear why they'd be ashamed of what they said and how they behaved; it was pretty appalling.

But what's even more appalling is that these profiles in courage -- who have refused to allow their names to be released -- are asserting that they participated in the mistaken belief that the documentary, to which they happily (by all appearances) contributed a lot of racist and sexist dialogue, would only be shown outside the country.

As far as I'm concerned, that only makes it worse. Now they're upset that their friends and neighbors can see what pigs they are -- but they had no problem projecting an image of Americans as bigoted across the world, as long as no one here would know about it. For shame.

Cry Me a River

Ed Feulner gives a first-hand account of what's really happening at the "American Gulag."

Happy Birthday!

It's the Marine Corps' 231st birthday! Hurray! Even as we celebrate, say a prayer for all the brave warriors who have defended our freedom since 1775.

Optimism is Good

Noemie Emory offers six solid reasons that there's a silver lining tothe clouds of last Tuesday's electoral "thumping."

Optimism is Good

Noemie Emory offers six solid reasons that there's a silver lining tothe clouds of last Tuesday's electoral "thumping."

On the Side of the Angels

Hurray for the Archbishop of York -- who has criticized the systematic erosion of Christianity from public life.

The problem with public atheism is that, over time, it breeds a sense that religion is somehow the topic-that-cannot-be-discussed, at least publicly. As I noted here, it's weird that it's perfectly OK for all kinds of sexual messages to dominate public discourse, but any allusion to Jesus Christ is somehow verboten.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Liberal Mind

Here is a telling quote from Rosie O'Donnell, on the subject of terrorism:

Rosie O’Donnell: "Faith or fear, that's your choice. You can walk through life believing in the goodness of the world, or walk through life afraid of anyone who thinks different than you and trying to convert them to your way of thinking. And I think that this country–"

Elisabeth Hasselbeck: "Well, I'm a person of faith, so I, but I also believe–"

O’Donnell: "Well, then, get away from the fear. Don't fear the terrorists. They’re mothers and fathers."

Gosh, Rosie. So are the law-abiding gun owners, Republicans and pro-lifers you despise. Don't fear President Bush either -- he's a dad.

And, in fact, he compares rather well to the Islamofascist terrorists you're not afraid of. He doesn't strap explosives to his own children, want to hack your fellow countrymen's heads off with a butter knife, put you back in a burqua, or stone homosexuals. Have a little faith in the President, Rosie.

The Shape of Things to Come

So a lawsuit alleging that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other administration officials are guilty of war crimes is going to be filed in Germany -- itself, of course, a well-known model of restraint in warfare.

It will be interesting to see how the new majority party responds. Will its leaders stand by as leftists across the world seek a new way to limit American power to defend itself and chart its own policies?

And where, pray tell, is the lawsuit filed against Al Qaeda for its ugly and merciless murder of innocents?

Noonan's Words of Wisdom

I've disagreed with some of the things that Peggy Noonan has written recently, but she's dead on here:

One day in the future either New York or Washington or both will be hit again, hard. It will be more deadly than 9/11. And on that day, those who experience it, who see the flash or hear the alarms, will try to help each other . . .

Make believe it's already happened. That's the only attitude that will help us get through it when it does. I do not mean think like Rodney King. We can't all get along, not on this earth. But we can know what time it is. We can be serious, and humane. We can realize that we're all in this together and owe each other an assumption of good faith.

No doubt Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and most of the rest love their country as much as I do. It's just that they're wrong -- and they see the world in a way that I believe makes America less safe, and less great.

That doesn't make them evil. But it does make them wrong -- and makes their actions worthy of close, careful and constant scrutiny.

Farvel, U.N.!

The UN believes that Norway is the best country in which to live, ranking the US 8th -- after Norway, Iceland, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Japan and Canada.

Strikes me that means there are seven other places where all the UN bureaucrats might be happier. B-bye.

Don't we wish. But it seems that, given all their criticism of it, the UN functionaries inexplicably want to remain in the U.S.

Robin Givhan's Mash Note to Nancy

At last, we have the pleasure of reading that Nancy Pelosi's outfits have pleased the Washington Post's style guru, Robin Givhan.

She's the one who criticized the utterly appropriate clothes worn by the Roberts children for the announcement of their dad's nomination as Chief Justice, turned the Secretary of State into a sex object and compared her to a dominatrix (before conceding that her clothes were "not inappropriate"), and most famously characterized Katherine Harris as someone who "can't even use restraint when she wields a mascara wand."

Of course, it's not the first time that Givhan has been accused of bias. But it is one of the clearest examples. Compare the slams of Katherine Harris above to this love-sick paen:

[S]he wore it well. She looked polished and tasteful in front of the cameras. It is tempting to even go so far as to say that she looked chic . . .

Pelosi cuts a distinctive figure. She gives the impression that she cares about the way she looks, but gives no indication that she obsesses about it. Such pride is an admirable quality . . . (except, presumably, when Katherine Harris manifests it).

Pelosi appears consciously, comfortably and authoritatively female.

Pelosi had to decide how a woman who will be second in line of succession to the presidency should look. And what she came up with is someone who wears a neutral-colored, softly tailored power suit. One that is accessorized with style rather than rote references to love of country. She looks dignified and serious. And in this case, she also happens to look quite good.

Note Givhan's evident relief that Pelosi sports none of the emblems of patriotism -- in her view, how irredeemably vulgar would that be? It's so much more sophisticated just to downplay one's allegiance, apparently. What's more, if Givhan's liberal bias were operating consistently, she would have to note just how much the ability to buy expensive clothes -- she names brands like Chanel, St. John, Akris, (and Ellen Tracy, one for "the people") -- helps the women wearing them look "dignified" and "serious" and "good." Because the truth is that it helps a lot.

But none of that today, as Givhan basks in the glow of a new clothes-crush. And if you think Givhan likes Nancy Pelosi, imagine the raptures a President Hillary would elicit!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

At a Tipping Point

Daniel Henninger explains the great jeopardy posed to the Bush Doctrine by the reintroduction of foreign policy "realists" -- who believe in nothing more than "working" the worlds problems.

Many of them are the same people who sneered at Ronald Reagan's belief that the USSR could be defeated, and whose "realpolitik" created a Middle East stocked to the gills with angry, hopeless young jihadis.

Many of them are well meaning and honorable. But their approach to the war on terror is going to bear careful watching.

A (Hopeful) Reality Check

Amity Schlaes makes a point that can't be made often enough:

Instead of making red states blue, blue politicians were often winning by going red themselves.

It's going to up to conservatives to make sure that the entire country knows when the Democrats start behaving as though they ran on a left-wing agenda that was wholeheartedly embraced by the voters.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Like a bad dream from the past, Vietnam-era leftover George McGovern is surfacing. Apparently, he's going to meet with 60 Democrats to fill them in on the best way to lose in Iraq.

What We're Confronting

If there's anyone out there who doesn't understand how much the Iraq war has been jeopardized by the election results, here's the voice of a typical leftist emanating from the Huffington Post:

The White House ran on a "pro-victory" ticket and lost. Yesterday's reports from Baghdad indicated widespread expectation and relief that American policy in that country is about to change. The American military is know to want to leave and Iraqis, whether those in power welcome it or not, sense the occupation is de facto over. At such a moment insurgency knows it has won, however long it takes the occupying power to go. Retreat becomes the only option.

Well, the Islamofascists will be happy to hear it. Vindicates what they've been saying all along. Horrifying, isn't it?

Hewitt on McCain

Here is the amazing column by Hugh Hewitt read on the air by Rush Limbaugh this morning.

Hugh gives credit where it's due for the Dems' big gains last Tuesday.

Finger on the Problem

Mark Steyn describes his visit with the President, and he has it right, as always:

The President had begun his remarks by saying that "we need to be on the offence all the time." And, for those of us who agree, that's part of the problem. "You say you need to be on the offence all the time and stay on the offence," I began. "Isn't the problem that the American people were solidly behind this when you went in and you toppled the Taliban, when you go in and you topple Saddam. But when it just seems to be a kind of thankless semi-colonial policing defensive operation with no end . . . I mean, where is the offence in this? Instead of talking to Syria, can't Syria get some payback for sending all these guys over the border to subvert Iraq? Shouldn't Syria be getting subverted in return?"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Soft Bigotry

How gleefully the MSM points out that African American Republican gubernatorial candidates Ken Blackwell and Lynn Swann struggled in this year's elections -- all lost, as did Michael Steele in Maryland's Senate race.

Harold Ford, a Democrat, also lost a Senate race in Tennessee. Of course, according to the MSM, the cause was racism. (Wonder where the outrage was when vile, racist attacks were being launched against Michael Steele?)

It's amazing. Black Republicans lose in blue states like Maryland, Pennsylvania and (at least this year, given all the Republican scandals) Ohio. That, apparently, is just par for the course. A black Democrat loses in Tennessee -- a solidly red state -- and, all of a sudden, it must be racism.

Seems that there's bigotry afoot only when voters don't support African American Democrats.