Carol Platt Liebau: December 2006

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Farewell to 2006

As 2006 draws quickly to a close, it seemed like a good time to thank everyone who has done so much for me over the last year, starting with my husband, family and friends. In some ways, it wasn't an easy year (as Republicans in general can testify!), but that means that 2007 will seem all the better.

Looking forward, it's exciting to anticipate many wonderful events, including the publication of my first book, due out late this summer. Thanks go to the wonderful people at Center Street (a division of Hachette Book Group USA), most especially my editor, Chris Park.

Likewise, it's been great to have the opportunity to guest host for the incomparable Hugh Hewitt, who has always been generous with advice and guidance. The past year I've also had the opportunity to get to know and work with the fabulous and kind team of Jamie Allman and Smash on St. Louis' premier morning show, as well as continuing with the good people at L.A.'s KABC.

In a more universal sense, prayers and gratitude also go to every single American soldier (and every soldier's family) -- so many are sacrificing so much to keep all of us safe. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all of you.

Finally, dear readers, thank you -- for your readership, for your input, and for the kind notes you email me from time to time. I value your regard, I welcome your participation, and I am profoundly grateful for each and every moment you spend on this site.

Here's to a happy and blessed New Year for all of us. God bless us every one, and God bless America.

What Will Nancy Do About It?

What will Nancy Pelosi, who has pledged to "uphold the highest ethical standards" do about the news that John Conyers may be accepting responsibility for requiring his official staff to do campaign work?

Let's be clear. As a Capitol Hill staffer, one of the first things one learns is the sharp distinction between official work and campaign work -- that never, ever, ever may the twain meet. In fact, senators arrange to have offices in non-governmental buildings from which they can transact campaign business, so strict is the distinction. Staffers who want to help with campaigns are required to do so entirely and completely on their own time.

The ethics rule that, it appears, Conyers has broken is neither obscure nor difficult to understand. As such, is he really the right person to be chairing the House Judiciary Committee, which is charged with overseeing numerous ethical issues as they pertain to federal law enforcement and the judiciary?

Flouting Showbusiness Orthodoxy

As this story makes abundantly clear, Patricia Heaton is a woman of enormous personal courage, who has dared to disagree with the received wisdom of the showbusiness herds when it comes to issues connected to abortion.

There's no doubt she's paid for it, both personally and professionally. How interesting that the showbusiness set, who are so willing to lionize the Communists who were blacklisted for a time, have no problem seeing Patricia Heaton hassled, discounted or reviled for her beliefs.

Can anyone really think that it's nobler to have been a Communist -- maybe even willing to betray the United States -- than to believe that abortion is wrong?

A New Year's Tradition

Here's William Safire's 33rd annual office pool.

Pro-Abortion Agenda Journalism

The New York Times' ombudsman, Byron Calame, completely shoots down a story from the NY Times Magazine -- a sympathetic piece that discusses the sad plight of a woman sentenced to 30 years in prison in El Salvador.

According to the piece, this travesty of justice occurred because the woman had had an abortion at 18 weeks. As it turns out, however, a three-judge panel had found that she had actually given birth to the child after 38-42 weeks of gestation, and then killed it.

Unfortunately, the Times freelance "reporter" had completely neglected to check the court document containing the panel’s findings and ruling -- documents that were easily accessible. What's more, as the ombudsman pointed out, the story's author "used an unpaid translator who has done consulting work for Ipas, an abortion rights advocacy group, for his interviews" with the woman convicted of infanticide and another woman.

Though shocking, this is just another prominent example of the elite media's long-time, overwhelming support for abortion rights. Along with affirmative action and gay rights, abortion is the third issue upon which the elite press seems to believe there is simply and exclusively one side to the story.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Good and Decent

Peggy Noonan offers an incredibly insightful rememberance of Gerald Ford, gently recognizing his shortcomings, even as she lauds his cardinal qualities of basic decency and love of country.

The GOP Field

This AP story outlines the shape of the Republican presidential field as 2006 comes to a close.

It correctly points out that John McCain has been trying to annoint himself the front-runner, but notes that he has problems:

Long viewed skeptically by conservatives for his renegade streak, McCain has further agitated them with his position on immigration and his involvement in avoiding a Senate showdown over Bush's judicial nominees.

Of course, the piece neglects to mention McCain's other negatives: His support for First Amendment-hostile campaign finance reform, his opposition to tax cuts, and his grandstanding on the terrorist "torture" issue.

No doubt there are issues that confront Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney -- the other two members of the "top tier" of Republican candidates -- but I'd rather have their problems than John McCain's. Unlike McCain, neither Romney nor Giuliani have taken such a sanctimonious and self-consciously "maverick" delight in opposing the majority of their party, nor have either been advantaged by nor courted the MSM a la McCain.

No doubt some Republicans mistrust either Giuliani or Romney or both. But they'll get a hearing. When it comes to McCain, however, most conservatives figure they already know all they need (or want) to.

A Great Dutch Reawakening?

There's reason to believe that secularism in Holland is being rolled back, as a new wave of interest in Christianity is increasingly evident in the country.

A good deal of the growth is, apparently, being driven by young people, many of whom have never even been exposed ot Christianity. It will be interesting to see if religious renaissances likewise follow in other European countries thave have hitherto eliminated religion from public life and culture.

Saddam: The Final Chapter

Saddam Hussein has been executed, after a full and fair trial -- unlike the countless summary executions and massacres for which he was responsible.

Disappointingly, the Vatican has denounced the execution, expressing fear that it will, as the linked AP story puts it, "fuel revenge and new violence."

First, it's worth gently pointing out that one could only wish the Vatican had been as vocal about denouncing the atrocities being committed by Saddam and in his name. Second, it seems that those who are able facilely to oppose this execution may be forgetting that for the terrorized Iraqis -- who lived through years of a brutal dictatorship marked by tortures, rape and inhumane behavior of all kinds -- seeing Saddam Hussein dead, once and for all, may be the only way they can move on with their lives in confidence that the dark and ugly days of Saddam's rule will never, never return.

Finally, perhaps, sometimes, it's salutary for the entire world to witness the working of justice: A one-time absolute dictator hanged like a common criminal, having been tried, convicted and sentenced in gravity and justice by citizens of the nation he abused.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bound to Get Better

As John Podhoretz points out, 2006 was not a year of unalloyed glory.

But no doubt things will get better. Could the backlash against celebrity culture be a hopeful shape of things to come, as Bret Stephens speculates?

The Death of Decorum

According to this piece, at least some colleges are now permitting male and female students to room together.

What a sad pass. Essentially, it's an explicit abdication of any obligation the schools might ever have had to serve in loco parentis; what's more, it's more than a recognition of in-dorm sexual activity -- it's tantamount to an endorsement. Whatever one's personal views on premarital sex, there's no reason actively to encourage it within the confines of a university.

What is the point? And how, exactly, do the colleges think they'll manage when "roommates" involved in a romantic relationship break up?

Strange Reservations

Having been apparently untroubled by Saddam's penchant for throwing women into rape rooms and feeding people into paper shredders, the "European community" is now deeply concerned that Saddam Hussein will be executed after having enjoyed more due process than he ever dreamed of providing for his victims.

One More Day

This is my final day sitting in with the fabulous Crane Durham on "Allman and Smash in the Morning" on St. Louis' 97.1 FM.

Don't forget to tune in to Crane's show, "Nothing But Truth" weeknights from midnight to 3 a.m., Central time.

Now They Tell Us

Piggybacking on the fact that Monica Lewinsky has earned a degree from the London School of Economics this story discusses celebrities and politicians who seem "dumb," but who actually turn out to be "smart."

What's remarkable is what the piece concedes about the oft-vilified Dan Quayle:

But Dan "potatoe" Quayle is a good example. It is easy to remember his dumb moments, but it's its also worth recalling that Quayle earned a law degree and was the youngest-ever senator from Indiana when he was elected. These are accomplishments that require -- at the very least -- emotional intelligence and some intellectual capacity, if not the genius of, say, Jessica Simpson.

Not so incidentally, he was also an expert on missile defense, and took the lead (along with Ted Kennedy) in drafting and passing a major piece of legislation, the Jobs Training Partnership Act. Funny how we never heard these facts at the time, isn't it?

Like President Bush, VP Quayle was not glib -- and he was a Republican. Together those facts meant he had to be stupid, . . . at least in the assessment of the MSM and other elites, which prize the ability to talk far above the ability to do. What's more, it wouldn't have been seemly in the eyes of the left-tilting MSM for the first baby boomer president to have been someone like Dan Quayle.

Much better to wait for a glib liberal . . . like Bill Clinton.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Another Side to the Story

Tom DeFord says that President Ford told him that he had supported the invasion of Iraq. Bob Woodward, call your office.

No Respect

It's not often that a President dies. Harry Reid and his merry gang really couldn't have found a way to reschedule some meetings in South America?

Strikes me that if someone wants to be considered a national leader, perhaps he should begin acting like one.

Beating Back the Terrorists

The Ethiopians are successfully fighting back the Islamofascists out of Somalia

Note that we pulled out of Somalia after the Black Hawk Down incident, and it's now a hotbed of terrorist activity. Then imagine if we followed the same course in Iraq.

In any case, there are some lessons in the Ethiopian victory that would be interesting for th President to think about.

Weaker Than He Looks

As Victor Davis Hanson points out, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is far weaker than he looks. Why, then, would anyone support validating this intractable enemy of America by entering into "dialogue" with him on any subject, when keeping up the pressure will work better -- and, perhaps, have a more desirable result?

More Morning Radio

Like yesterday (and tomorrow!) I'm once again in with the very talented Crane Durham on "Allman and Smash in the Morning" on St. Louis' 97.1 FM.

Not Even Cold

He couldn't even wait for President Ford to be buried. Bob Woodward breathlessly informs us that President Ford was opposed to war in Iraq -- and, conveniently, didn't want that opinion to be released until he was dead. Congratulations, Woodward -- you waited a full 36 hours before releasing the information.

Interesting that we are constantly informed by the MSM that our country is "divided" -- but then, on one of the few occasions when people of all politial stripes should be able to put their differences aside out of respect for the deceased, someone like Woodward lobs a figurative grenade into the crowd of mourners.

It's unfortunate, of course, because it turns President Ford's death into another political fight, rather than allowing it to be about his life and legacy. It's unfortunate because it requires those who disagree with Ford to criticize the former President when they'd rather simply praise and remember him for his virtues.

Ann Coulter has pointed out the left's penchant for exploiting the families of 9/11 or military dead to serve as spokesmen, because it's more difficult to disagree with them without coming off as cold and heartless. Now, it seems, the MSm is doing the same thing with dead Presidents.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Toes in the Pool

John Edwards is hopping into the presidential race -- get ready for lots of class warfare rhetoric.

But the best news of the day is that the incomparable "Slow Joe" Biden has also joined the mix, declaring himself more qualified than either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama (arguably true, definitely scary). It should be fun; if a little plagiarism doesn't discourage putative supporters, how 'bout his newly-proclaimed Confederate nostalgia?

An Excellent Overview

For the best summary of what's going on as the Islamofascist terrorists from Somalia attempt to go after predominantly Christian Ethiopia, read this.

Telling It Like It Is

I don't often agree with Juan Williams, but his column today is magnificent:

[M]iddle-class values . . . benefit people, black or white.

To encourage the black poor to adopt these values is not evidence of self-hate but offering good news about how people can help themselves and their children to succeed. It is good news to know that if you stay in school and at least graduate from high school, then stay in the job market and don't have a child until you are in your 20s and married, you have little chance of being poor.

It's a must-read.

Peddling Trash to Children

the Bratz dolls -- objectionable in themselves for their attire, reminiscent of miniature streetwalker clothes -- are now putting filth into the mouths of little girls.

It's a sign of how degraded the culture has become that a doll being marketed to 6 year olds is saying the "f-word" in any way, shape or form.

A "Hil" of a Mess?

Michael Goodwin points out that the political strength of John Edwards and Barack Obama signals discontent in the Democratic ranks with the prospect of a Hillary Clinton candidacy.

With the withdrawal of moderates like Mark Warner and Evan Bayh from the Democratic presidential race, it's tilting to the left. This should help Hillary Clinton, who's been trying to burnish her moderate credentials, in a general presidential election.

But she's got two problems in the primary: (1) They're dominated by lefties; and (2) They're dominated by activist politicos who are interested in winning. The lefties are mad at the new, more moderate Hillary -- and they also undestand that she's a deeply polarizing figure in America, which makes it more difficult for her to reach out and win new adherents.

How Convenient

It seems that FBI files relating to leak investigations are missing.

Simple governmental incompetence? Perhaps. But let's just hope that Sandy Berger (or someone like him)hasn't been trolling through the Bureau's document area . . .

RIP President Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald Ford has died. He was a decent, honest man and a true patriot.

May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Say Goodbye to the Wall

At least if the Democrats have their way on immigration policy, we can all kiss the wall goodbye.

What's remarkable is that John McCain is spearheading the effort, along with Ted Kennedy. Is he trying to put the last nail in the coffin of his presidential ambitions?

More on the Agenda Study

There's more on the "too good to be true" (from the leftist perspective) Guttmacher Institute study discussed here -- the one that claimed that 95% of Americans have had premarital sex.

Here's some information that adds some context to the story.

Nice Try

Contrary to what seems like the best efforts of the left-wingers, it appears that leaking the existence of the NSA wiretapping program hasn't resulted in any new information being provided to terrorist suspects, due to the fact that the courts have spoken nearly unanimously on the issue

A Spurious Comparison

It's hard to believe that any media organ would run a story of such startling moral obtuseness:

In a span of a few hours, 2,973 people were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In a span of 45 months, the number of American troops killed in Iraq exceeded that grim toll as the war continues.

The milestone in Iraq came on Christmas, nearly four years after the war began . . .

Get it? In other words, now -- shock! -- more people have been killed in Iraq than on 9/11, and that means that the war is now worse than the attack that precipitated it.

Give me a break. At some point, in WWII, more people were killed in combat than were killed at Pearl Harbor. That didn't delegitimize the war. And are we supposed to be overcome with the "strange irony" of the "Christmas connection"?

If anything, it's worth noting that it took almost four years for as many soldiers to be killed in combat as the number of innocent civilians killed in a brief few minutes one sunny September morning. Lest we forget, preventing another such morning, where thousands of innocent American lives are lost on American soil in a blink of an eye is the reason the soldiers are doing what they're doing.

No Room For God?

This piece points out the fissures in the Democratic Party over religion. The consultant upon whom the piece focuses was very successful in helping her Democratic clients reach out to people of faith -- but, predictably, some in the Democratic Party aren't pleased, arguing that her approach is frighteningly reminiscent of the religious right.

And that, my friends, is the core of the Democrats' religion problem. The press likes to skirt the issue, as if the Democrats are just delicately reluctant to discuss their faith in public. The ugly truth is that there is a committed band of militant secularists and atheists in the Democrat Party, who are not just uncomfortable with religion, but are downright hostile to it . . . but you won't read that in the MSM.

Proving the Link

For all the hopefully naive who were reluctant to believe that Iran was determinedly stirring up trouble in Iraq, there's bad news. The US is holding four senior Iranian military officials who are suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi security forces.

Post-Christmas Radio

I'm in with Crane Durham on "Allman and Smash in the Morning" on St. Louis' 97.1 FM.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas to all of you, dear readers. May every joy and blessing of Christmas be yours, today and always.

Townhall Column

Here's a happy Christmas message: There have been victories in the war on Christmas -- and they prove that we have the power to determine the quality of our culture.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve

“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

Luke 2:8-14

Resolve vs. Recklessness

John Kerry graces us with what he attempts to style as a major "I told you so."

Kerry presents himself as "someone who learned the hard way how embracing the world's complexity can be twisted into a crude political shorthand." How very, inadvertantly revealing.

What people like John Kerry and the rest of the establishment foreign policy types will never understand is that just because things are difficult, that doesn't mean they are complex. Just because sommething is simple, that doesn't mean it is easy.

People like John Kerry hide from decisionmaking and accountability by occuying a world of "complexity" -- where everything is too difficult ever to be truly resolved, and where more deliberation, more talking and more deep thinking is always necessary.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Al Qaeda to Democrats: You Owe Us

Al Qaeda lets Democrats know whom they should be thanking for their midterm election victory.

Isn't it a little bit scary that the terrorists saw their anti-American advantage so perfectly aligned with Democratic political success?

Christmas in Iraq

David Ignatius writes about the soldiers who are spending Christmas in Iraq.

As we all prepare to enjoy our Christmas festivities (and blogging gets lighter!), take a moment to say a prayer for all the soldiers who are defending our freedom and trying to secure a foothold for democracy in the Middle East.

God bless them every one.

Peace vs. Power

Matthew Continetti argues that the real divide in American politics is the "peace" party vs. the "power" party. To some extent, that's true.

But what's worth pointing out is that those of us in the "power" party aren't interested in power for its own sake. Rather, we believe that it's the only way to be certain that peace can be secured. The "peace" party could more accurately be called the "peace at [almost] any price" party -- and its members are willing to believe that our adversaries are reasonable people, with pure and peaceful motives of our adversaries, so long as that illusion will prevent the necessity of war.

Hold the Good Thought

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Forthcoming London Attack?

Authorities are saying it would be a miracle if there weren't a terror attack in London over Christmas.

Yes, these are definitely the kind of creeps America should negotiate with. Not.

The "Nonpartisan" MSM

Read it and weep. More evidence of MSM bias -- this time against anything that smacks of the privatization of education.

How 'Bout Some Accountability?

Ronald Rotunda supports the modest reform of establishing an Inspector General for the judiciary.

And, indeed, it sounds like a fine idea. Why not some accountability?

Calling Carter Out

Alan Dershowitz wants to know why Jimmy Carter refuses to debate him on the subject of Carter's own new book.

Why We Can't Lose in Iraq

Read it here:

The CIA this month conducted a simulation of how the Iraq war affects the global jihadist movement, and one conclusion was that a U.S. loss would embolden al Qaeda to expand its ranks of terrorists as well as pick new strategic targets.

To the cut 'n run crowd: Get it?

Good News

There have been electoral setbacks for Ahmadinejad.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Want to Talk to Them, Too, Dems?

Left-wing Democrats and a chunk of the Washington establishment are big proponents of "talking" to America's enemies.

Now Al Qaeda wants to negotiate with us, too. So what do you say, Democrats? Shall we just try to find common ground with all the people who want us dead?

And how, exactly, do you split the difference -- hope they'll agree to try to kill only half of us?

Episcopal Church in Meltdown

The incomparable Charlotte Allen explains exactly what's behind the quickly diminishing size of the Episcopal Church in the USA (led by the arrogant Katharine Jefferts Schori).

What a Skunk

That would be Sandy Berger, who -- in what was obviously an effort to conceal evidence that was embarassing or worse about the Clinton Administration's non-handling of Islamofascist terrorism -- removed classified documents from the archives and then lied about it.


The Nanny State Rules

First, they went after smoking -- but at least one could argue that the second-hand smoke had adverse impact on innocent bystanders.

Now, the nanny state monitors have targeted trans-fats, as John Stossel points out. Has government discharged all its other duties so perfectly that it should be regulating what free men and women, of their own volition, put in their mouths?

Silencing Debate

With McCain-Feingold campaign finance "reform," the politicians legislated restrictions on criticism of themselves. How convenient.

In the newest pernicious twist, and the Swift Boaters have been fined by the FEC. Former FEC chairman Bradley Smith discusses here.

Strikes me that something's seriously amiss when putting virtual child pornography on the internet is a constitutionally protected activity, but you get fined for criticizing candidates for the presidency.

Note to Kerry: You Didn't Win

How dare John Kerry and Chris Dodd try to conduct their own foreign policy with Syria, in contravention of the expressed wishes of the Commander-in-Chief?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Study With An Agenda

The Guttmacher Institute continues on its quest to define down expectations for young peoples' sexual behavior -- all with the goal of scuttling abstinence education, as this piece makes clear.

It's interesting how the "findings" of the Guttmacher study are described:

More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

But wait a minute. There's really never been any "perception" that women "born in the 1940's" were more "chaste" -- because, except for those born in the very earliest years of the decade, they were baby boomers who came of age in the '60's and even the '70's, when sexual mores were already loosening.

The question isn't what people "born" in the 1940's were doing, but rather what people who were of an age to be engaging in sex in the 1940's and 1950's, i.e. before the sexual revolution, were doing.

As other studies from more impartial sources have indicated, and in contrast to the Guttmacher Institute's clear agenda, it does indeed seem that "people were more chaste in the past" -- at least until the birth of the generation that would initiate the sexual revolution.

Picky, Picky

Just days after The Boston Globe tells us that Mitt Romney might not be socially conservative enough for those pesky social conservatives in the Republican Party,now the Washington Post informs us that they won't go for Rudy Giuliani, either.


Certainly, both men need to convince the electorate that their principles are solid, that they respect and want to work with the conservative base, and that they will appoint the kind of judges that will interpret, rather than make, law.

But the MSM -- which has only the most minimal understanding of the social conservative mind -- is underestimating the extent to which social conservatives will demand "purity" on each and every issue, so long as the big picture looks good.

Ironically, John McCain may have more trouble than either Romney or Giuliani -- in part because the latter two have always been straightforward about where they are and what they believe, whereas the former is prone to bill himself as a social conservative and then act in the Democrats' best interests . . . in other words, he's unreliable.

In any case, even as it canvasses the supposed "finickiness" of the social conservative base, the MSM is overlooking the fact that the prospect of a President Clinton or President Obama has a way of concentrating the mind of all but the most intransigent social conservative -- and quickly, too.

The Voice of the MSM

With this column, Richard Cohen might as well be speaking with the institutional voice of the entire MSM.

He liked John McCain much better before, apparently, before he became so, well, conservative. Any McCainiac who has reveled unduly in the golden limelight of the press' praise is in for a rude shock.

See, here's the rule: In a matchup between McCain and the Republicans, the MSM likes McCain. But that precept is no longer operative when McCain starts taking on Democrats. In other words, the MSM only likes McCain if and when he's willing not to act like a Republican (voting against tax cuts, calling sleep deprivation and the like "torture," forming the Gang of 14, etc., etc.). When he's bucking the hated conservatives, that's great -- he's a maverick, a man of purpose. When he's bucking the liberals (or heaven forbid, the press!), he's a sell-out, too old, and full of crazy ideas about Iraq.

I'm no particular fan of John McCain -- but at least my position is consistent.

Iran: Nukes by 2009 or 2010

That's the message from the head of Mossad. He certainly seems more clear-thinking than some of America's Democrats, noting that pulling out of Iraq would provide Al Qaeda with a victory.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Conservative Enough?

Byron York's piece makes it clear that the long knives are coming out for Mitt Romney, as certain activists express concern that he's insufficiently socially conservative.

One of the most important qualities a presidential candidate needs is political agility, as George Allen learned to his detriment. Guess it's time to see if Romney has it.

Profile in Courage

Someone needs to explain to Hillary Clinton that presidents don't enjoy the luxury of 20/20 hindsight.

Now she's saying that she wouldn't have voted for the Iraq war if she had known then what she knows now. Well, of course not -- the war's unpopular now, and Hillary Clinton has never been one to go out on a limb for principle, at least once she learned that the American people won't simply accept her policy prescriptions (a la healthcare) like tablets from Mount Sinai.

If everyone had the benefit of perfect foresight, many of the bloodiest battles of WWII -- and every war -- could and would have been avoided.

But it's also worth mentioning that, with perfect foresight, Neville Chamberlain wouldn't have tried to secure "peace in our time" with Adolf Hitler. And who's to say that, if the Democrats succeed in forcing a failure in Iraq, the time won't come when that's as regrettable as the Munich accords?

Presidents do the best they can with the best information they have at the time. And their judgments aren't always perfect, as Hillary most definitely should remember from her husband's tenure.

Why Barack Will Wait

Barack Obama is many things. Stupid isn't one of them. And that's why John Fund is right to question whether he'll actually run for president in 2008, despite all the cheerleading from the MSM.

Along with the attacks on his experience sure to come from the junkyard dogs of the Hillary Clinton camp, there will be well-founded questions about his very left-wing voting record:

The fact that he originally opposed the war in Iraq would help him with primary voters, but it's unclear how many Democrats want to plump for someone who, according to National Journal, has a more liberal voting record than Hillary Clinton. Last year Mr. Obama had a perfect 100% voting record from both the Americans for Democratic Action and the AFL-CIO.

His record as a state legislator is even more liberal. In 1996, he spoke out against the Defense of Marriage Act, which the Senate approved 85-14 and Mr. Clinton signed into law. He twice voted "present" on a bill to ban partial-birth abortions. In 1999 he was the only state senator to oppose a law that prohibited early prison release for sex offenders.

The only reason to run right now would be for vanity, and a panicky sense that the positive press won't last. Barack Obama is too serious about his ambitions to be vain, and wily enough to understand that he needs more experience, and some opportunities to put a more moderate gloss on his voting record.

Who wants to bet he won't run?

Senatorial Disgraces

Senators Bill Nelson of Florida and Barbara Boxer of Califonia should be ashamed. The former flew to Syria to conduct his own pitiful attempts at foreign policy with Syria's leader, the thug Assad, while the latter gave an "Outstanding Service" award to the head of CAIR-Sacramento.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kofi Annan: Good Riddance

This editorial from the Pittsburgh Tribune Review rightly excoriates Kofi Annan's pathetic record at the U.N.

Ironic that Annan chose the Harry Truman Library for his farewell address. He meant it as a jab at President Bush -- but for most of us, it was a reminder of just how appalled Preident Truman would be at the corruption and ineptitude of what was intended to be an honorable and effective world body.

What's at Stake

Mark Steyn gets to the heart of what's at stake in the "war on Christmas" with his usual acuity:

What the rabbi in Seattle and the cops in Riverside are doing is colluding in an assault on something more basic: They're denying the possibility of any common culture. America is not a stamp collection with one of each. It's an overwhelmingly Christian country with freedom of religion for those who aren't. But it's quite an expansion of "freedom of religion" to argue that "those who aren't" are entitled to forbid any public expression of America's Christian inheritance except as part of an all-U-can-eat interfaith salad bar.

How "Bipartisan"

One of the members of the Iraq Study Group provided the Democratic response to the president's weekly radio address.

Tells you all you need to know, doesn't it?

Equal Treatment for All?

Don't hold your breath. The Boston Globe takes another shot at Mitt Romney, attempting to portray his shift to conservatism on some social issues as fundamentally insincere.

Don't count on Hillary Clinton getting the same treatment: Apparently, it's no longer relevant that she tried to socialize 1/7 of the U.S. economy. According to analyses in The LA Times and The Washington Post, she's pretty much of a centrist now -- few questions asked.

It's an interesting contrast, no?

"Consensus" on the Right

As this piece points out, most Americans' views on the "divisive" social issues are closer to the standard position of Republicans than of Democrats.

Of course, last year Democrats had some success running moderate candidates, who were permitted to ignore party orthodoxy on a number of important issues. The question is whether that approach will work in 2008 -- when there's a presidential election.

That's because there will be a Democratic nominee who will be the official "face" of the Democratic Party. And with Evan Bayh and Mark Warner out of the race, in a field consisting of John Edwards, Barack Obama, maybe Al Gore and also Hillary Clinton, the latter becomes the most centrist by default -- a concept that may not be an easy sell for Americans who remember 1992-2000.

In a world where the netroots aren't afraid to challenge the status quo (albeit unsuccessfully, so far, with Ned Lamont), it's much more difficult for a Democratic candidate to win as a social conservative (or even a moderate, as Bill Clinton was in 1992). So whoever wins the Democratic nomination will have his (or her) work cut out for him/her.

Undermining Their Own World View

Heaven knows that liberals and the MSM are promoting the heck out of Barack Obama, characterizing him as a "rising star" and the like.

But here's my question: If they believe that the American people are irredeemably racist -- as their almost monolithic support for affirmative action and other race-conscious policies suggest -- why do they bother?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Weakness is Provocative"

It's a lesson that many of us learned on the playground, but one that outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld repeated yesterday in his farewell address. As Charles Krauthammer has pointed out HT: Real Clear Politics), Rumsfeld's legacy will be a positive one.

It's hard to dispute that victory in Iraq, more than anything, will define Rumsfeld's legacy -- as it will the President's. If it's achieved, all his other accomplishments will be properly appreciated. Without it, the mistakes -- typical of those made in any war -- will have a greater place in the assessment of Rumsfeld's tenure.

It's encouraging to read that the President has a plan for victory in Iraq, according to Fred Barnes. Reportedly, it will acknowledge the importance of strength -- and the imperative of establishing order before trying to forge a political settlement between warring factions in Iraq.

In any case, one thing is clear. Donald Rumsfeld is a great public servant, who deserves the thanks of a grateful nation.

The Episcopal Struggle

Here is a rather comprehensive explanation of what's at stake in the internecine disagreements plaguing the Episcopal Church.

It was interesting to read how graciously Bishop Peter James Lee of Virginia has treated the conservative parishes, because the sort of tolerance he has extended has been very much the exception, rather than the rule.

More typical is the attitude of the Church's current presiding bishop. According to the linked piece:

The presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said in an e-mail response to a request for an interview that such splits reflect a polarized society, as well as the “anxiety” and “discomfort” that many people feel when they are asked to live with diversity.

That pretty much typifies the way the liberals have treated the conservatives within the church. Unlike Bishop Lee, who has acknowledged that people of good will can disagree, the unbelievably arrogant Schori is insisting -- as many of her ideological brethren do -- that conservatives resist "change" within the church not because of valid theological objections, but because of hateful bigotry.

Her attitude is simplistic and insulting -- and it helps explain how matters in the Church have come to such a pass.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Hypocrisy Alert

After inveighing against "dead-of-night legislating," incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid engaged in a little of it himself.

Ah, the difference between what one says during a campaign -- and what one does once the campaign is over. Nancy Pelosi knows it well.

Scaredy Cat

President Jimmy Carter, showing all the moxie that he demonstrated in dealing with the Russians from 1977-1981, is refusing to debate Alan Dershowitz about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Irony alert:

"There is no debate in America about anything that would be critical of Israel," [Carter] said.

Wait a minute. Isn't that just what Dershowitz is asking for . . . even as Carter refuses to participate?

A Tall Order

They say the first step is knowing that you have a problem. Well, maybe the new secretary-general of the UN has a clue, because he's talking about instituting an "Operation Restore Trust."

Given Kofi Annan's suspect and inept tenure, the Oil for Food scandal, the rapes committed by UN "peacekeepers" in the Congo and so much more, it's a tall order.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Choosing a Leader

Richard Brookhiser offers a glowing assessment of Rudy Giuliani's presidential potential, while addressing his shortcomings frankly.

Yeah, That's the Ticket!

Because some polls show that Arab attitudes toward American people, products and culture became increasingly negative over the past year, James Zogby thinks the U.S. should simply change its Middle East policy.

Yes, that makes sense. Let's just ask what those countries want to do, and then do it. Or at least we could go back to where we were in "popularity" back in 2001 -- because no one would ever have considered unleashing terrorism on the U.S. back then, would they?

The Rise of the "Prostitot"

More evidence that portions of American culture -- especially those aimed at young girls -- have become inappropriately sexualized: Dolls that prostitutes are available for your little girl to play with.

A Long, Long Road

Hard to believe that Barack Obama would be so sensitive to comments about his ears. If he's going to continue taking every remark so seriously, it could end up seeming like a long, long road to the presidency . . . for him and for us. Best not to show one's personal vulnerabilities, especially so early.

But who takes Maureen Dowd seriously anyway? Everyone knows that when the chips are really down, she'll come out fighting for Obama, or any other left-winger. Even her response -- about "just trying to toughen [Obama] up" -- are a coy little way of indicating that she's really on his side.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Barbaro: Home for Christmas

Good news! Champion horse Barbaro has left the hospital.

Senator Johnson's Medical Condition

As much as any Republican would like to see the GOP take control of the Senate, of course all prayers go out for Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat of South Dakota, who was hospitalized after displaying some disturbing medical symptoms.

But -- unless inside information not being shared with the public is available to insiders in the MSM -- the tone of the reporting on Johnson is remarkable. Take the linked story, which notes that the senator was hospitalized "weeks before his party was to take control of the Senate by a one-vote margin" (emphasis added). Other news accounts on television have used similar verb tenses, in some way suggesting that control is now likely to shift -- something that strikes me as implausible, given that Johnson has neither been diagnosed with any dire disorder, nor even remotely approached the issue of stepping down at this early date.

From the Horses' Mouths

Many of the brave soldiers in Iraq are expressing frustration with the way their efforts (and our progress) are being portrayed by the media.

Barneycam '06

This year, the President's Scottie, Barney, puts on a "holiday extravaganza." Check it out here.

Unspeakable Barbarity

The BBC has discovered that healthy newborn babies in the Ukraine may have been murdered in order to harvest their stem cells for international trade. Could this kind of behavior be a logical, if evil, extension of a mindset that sees no inherent worth and dignity in human life?

Quelle Horreur!

Because of a rare brain disorder, an Englishwoman became absolutely convinced that she was French.

Restored to health, the young woman commented:

"It might sound funny to others, but suddenly thinking you are French is terrifying."

Doesn't sound "funny" to me. Terrifying, indeed.

"Slow Joe Bubba Biden"

As Kathleen Parker points out, Joe Biden has been wandering around making remarks that would make Trent Lott blush, all in an effort to woo South Carolina primary voters. Astutely, she emphasises the importance of authenticity to any successful political effort -- and that's a quality that "Bubba Biden" lacks when he attempts to tout Delaware's history as a slave state.

Come to think of it, authenticity is a quality that every White House contender since Clinton has had trouble projecting (and Americans can be forgiven for doubting the authenticity of Clinton's authenticity). His wife doesn't have it; Al "Man of a Thousand Faces" Gore didn't, either. As for the duck-hunting, "g"-dropping everyman John Kerry, well, the record speaks for itself.

One of the factors behind Obamamania is the frantic hope by those on the left and in the press that they've found a genuine, articulate and authentic liberal.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Military Recruiting

Well, most Dems may want to cut 'n run in Iraq, but it's clear that at least some Americans are made of sterner stuff.

The AP notes that the Army and Marine Corps exceeded their recuiting goals (at 105% and 104% respectively), while the Navy and Air Force signed up all the recuits they were seeking.

Interesting, the Army -- which, as the piece points out, "is bearing the brunt of the work in Iraq" -- was the armed services branch that exceeded its goals by the largest margin.

Why We Can't Leave Iraq

Raghavan Mayur has a wonderful piece in today's Investor's Business Daily. You won't hear it trumpeted elsewhere, of course, but according to an IBD poll, 66% of Americans believe that a US victory in Iraq is important. What's more, 48% believe, in addition, that the U.S. will win. Adds a different gloss to a lot of these numbers.

What's more, Mayur does an excellent job in reminding readers why simply cutting and running in Iraq (as most Democrats advocate) would be a disaster. It would:

• Seriously weaken the ability of the U.S. to effectively project American power in the future and influence events in distant yet important lands.

• Spark instability in the Middle East, a region of highly strategic interest to the U.S.

• Equate to a win for Iran, Syria and their proxies who are waging wars on multiple fronts in Iraq, Lebanon and Israel.

• Amount to a win for al-Qaida and underscore a lack of U.S. resolve in the broader global war on terror and the rising threat of Islamofascism.

• Embolden dangerous regimes such as North Korea to invade their neighbors, oppress their detractors and instigate global conflagrations because they will believe America has lost its nerve.

And those who don't believe that a regional conflagration would flare up in the wake of a U.S. retreat are dreaming. In fact, according to the left's hallowed New York Times, the Saudis are threatening to offer funding to Iraq's Sunnis in the wake of a U.S. withdrawal.

KABC Tonight

I'm just about to be a guest on Al Rantel's show on 790 AM KABC, going head to head with Bob Mulholland over Iraq.

Sex: Just Like a Good Game of Tennis?

This piece discusses the coarsening of teen culture -- and the extent to which it's sending the message that sex is simply another recreational activity.

This issue has been a matter of particular concern to me . . . especially the impact of the oversexualized culture on girls between the ages of 12 and 17. In fact, it's the topic of my book, forthcoming in September from Center Street and tentatively titled, "Prude: How the Death of Chastity Hurts Young Women (and America, Too!)"

The Murphy Plan

Mike Murphy's idea -- draft the Democrats to help run the Iraq war -- would be an interesting one if it were at all practicable (and, of course, if the U.S. Constitution were written differently).

Murphy notes that President Bush is being hobbled by the fact that the war has become a partisan matter. His solution is to convene a "war council" including Democrats like Biden, Levin, Skelton and Reyes to formulate a bipartisan policy for conducting the war.

Let's start with perhaps the most intractable reason this idea can't work. It's called "The Constitution" -- which, it must be noted, sets forth a system under which the President, alone, is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces (making Murphy's analogy to Winston Churchill's war cabinet inaposite). No President would surrender his constitutional prerogatives -- nor should he -- to the extent that Murphy advises.

Second, Murphy's approach suggests that the Democrats have an interest in the run up to 2008 to seeing an outcome in Iraq that's favorable. I wish I could believe that there are some Democrats who are willing to put victory in the war on terror about partisan domestic political advantage, but if there are some, I'm still waiting to find them. Just the fact that they've been willing to pile on the President -- despite the fact that they, too, believed Saddam had WMD and advocated the invasion -- displays a stunning level of bad faith. Putting presidential aspirants like Biden on such a panel means we'll get lots of preening, little solid help.

Third, Democrats like Carl Levin simply want the United States to "declare victory" and leave Iraq. If there isn't consensus on what the military goal in the country should be, how, exactly, are people supposed to arrive at a consensus about how to achieve it?

In a world where the sun always shone, the birds always sang, and children played in chocolate ice cream mud puddles (under a different Constitution), Murphy's idea would be a great one. Given the world as it is, however, there's reason to believe that it's simply another moderate Republican effort to sell out to Democrats for political cover.

Some Inconvenient Truths

For Al Gore, that is. According to Debra Saunders two new reports challenge Gore's predictions of an environmental holocaust resulting from global warming.

One UN report has found that methane from cows is responsible for a higher percentage of greenhouse gasses than SUVs are.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Nancy Pelosi's choice to head the House Intelligence Committee -- Silvestre Reyes -- has asserted that Al Qaeda is a "predominantly Shiite" organization.

Not only is that wrong -- not only is it profoundly ignorant -- but it's remarkable that a person with such an inadequate understanding of the United States #1 national security threat is going to lead one of the most important congressional committees charged with combatting this threat.

The Silver Lining

Michael Ledeen points out that at least something good has come of the ISG report, however inadvertantly: It's had the effect of placing Iran where it belongs -- at the front and center of American debate.

"Just Another Liberal"?

According to this piece, Barack Obama is "just another liberal":

Here are some of the facts Amanda Carpenter uses to suppport her assertion:

[H]e has earned 100% ratings from Americans for Democratic Action, NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Organization of Women, the NAACP and the NEA.

What's more:

As an Illinois state legislator, Obama also supported raising taxes on insurance premiums and on casino patrons, retaining the state death tax and levying a new tax on businesses.

He voted against a bill that would add penalties for crimes committed as a part of gang activity and against a bill that would make it a criminal offense for accused gang members, free on bond or probation, to associate with other gang members. In 1999, he was the only state senator to oppose a bill that prohibited early prison release for criminal sexual offenders.

In 2001, he voted “present” on a measure to keep pornographic books and video stores 1,000 feet away from schools and churches, and in 1999, he voted against a requirement to make schools filter internet pornography from school computers.

Don't expect to hear a thing about it from the MSM.

A "Modest Proposal" for Citizenship

Here's my Townhall column.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

What an Endorsement

Iran likes the Baker-Hamilton plan.

A Timely Reminder

Jonathan Gurwitz puts it well:

There is already enough tragedy in Iraq for Iraqis and Americans alike. In assessing what's gone wrong during the past four years, we shouldn't compound that tragedy by forgetting — or excusing — what came before.

In their zeal to attack George W. Bush, critics of the Iraq war would do well to remember that it was the Kofi Annans of the world and their realist abettors in the United States who allowed Saddam to rule brutally and slaughter mercilessly for three decades.

Those like Kofi Annan -- who seem to believe that Iraq was safer and better under Saddam Hussein -- should feel free to check out the grainy videos of hapless Iraqis being tortured under Saddam's regime here. And we don't mean the kind of "torture" that the left loves to invoke when it brings up Abu Ghraib -- as disgusting and wrong as it was. We're talking real torture.

The Ethical Pelosi Congress

Democrat Rep. William Jefferson -- he of the $90,000 in the freezer -- has won reelection, easily.

Well, given that some Democrats are already forgetting their ethics campaign promises, no doubt he'll feel more comfortable back in Congress than he should.

A Bunch of Faint-Hearts

Fox News Sunday today included an interview with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who confided his "growing impatience" with the war in Iraq. It also featured a clip of Gordon Smith, who insisted that he's at "the end of his rope" about the war.

There's no doubt that the President needs to put forth a strategy for victory in iraq that sounds feasible. And in fairness, Gordon Smith is seeking reelectoin in '08 as a Republican in Oregon. Brownback apparently is running for President -- but if he thinks that showing weakness and irresolution about the war is going to help, his foray into the presidential sweepstakes may be even shorter than many are already predicting.

In short, these senators (and others like them) are pathetic. Can you imagine if faint-hearts like this had been in charge during WWII, when 8,000 soldiers were being killed each month, rather than 50?

How sad that they seem so determined to ensure that the sacrifices of the men and women who have given their lives in Iraq will be meaningless. Here's the question: Is victory important? If so, let's get on to figuring out how to achieve it. If not, why was anyone willing to ask a single American soldier to give his or her life?

It makes no sense to say that victory is important -- but only if it's easy, costless, and popular at all times.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A "Duty" To Integrate

Great Britain, in the person of Tony Blair, is renouncing the multi-culti experiment.

What will be interesting is to see if all the years of indoctrination can be as easily overcome. As this op-ed points out, Britain -- like the U.S. -- has done a pretty good job at convincing its citizens (contrary to fact) that the country's history is primarily a shameful, rather than a proud, one.

Overrun with citizens who aren't just indifferent -- but actively hostile to -- their country, the English had better get the clue pretty fast. Although the U.S. is luckier, in that this country does a better job of absorbing other cultures, it -- like Britain -- had better quickly come to face facts. Specifically, when a country's people are taught for years and years that there's nothing about their homeland that's worth protecting, don't be surprised when no one's jumping to defend it after the country comes under siege from those who are hostile to all the liberties it's stood for.

Not So Easy This Time

James Fallows speculates that the ISG report may turn out to play a role in galvanizing public opposition to the Iraq war in much the same way that Walter Cronkhite's denunciation of Vietnam mobilized popular opinion against that war.

As a liberal, no doubt Fallows wishes that were the case. But ironically, lefties like him have ended up making such a one-event turning point much less easy to achieve. That's because, beginning with Vietnam and continuing on, one of the left's primary objectives has been to undermine respect for authority . . . any authority.

Back when Cronkhite turned on Vietnam, there were some trusted figures in American life whose word would be taken as gold. For better or (in my view) for worse, Cronkhite was one of them.

But the culture of the left has bred distrust for institutions and contempt for "authority figures." With as very few exceptions, there's no one -- no, Mr. Fallows, not even James Baker -- who commands the kind of universal respect that would allow them to turn opinion against a war, a la Cronkhite.

All A Matter of Priorities

So the townhouse of the UN chief is undergoing a $4.3 million renovation. Says a lot about the UN's priorities, especially when one considers the funding shortfalls that mean that little children in Africa will go hungry during the second half of December.

But hey -- no self-respecting UN leader can be expected to live in a house that hasn't had that $200,000 kitchen renovation, can he?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Just Ignore It

After all, everyone knows the Islamofascists aren't serious.

Afraid of Victory?

It does seem that some Americans are outright afraid of victory in Iraq -- a goal which, as Shelby Steele points out, is incredibly hard to define.

Even so, all the handwringing over troubles in Iraq is somehow ludicrous. Are these people meaning to propose that the US military can be defeated by a ragtag bunch of insurgents? During a period of unprecedented US military and economic might? At a time when we're losing 50 soldiers a month (whereas in WWII, we were losing 8,000 in the same period)? Certainly, every soldier's life is precious -- but if we're willing to declare defeat in a central front in the war on terror based on this casualty rate, perhaps there's an argument that the Islamofascists were right when they targeted us as decadent and weak.

Are things tough in Iraq? Yes. So let's get a better plan, and let's execute it. As Ronald Reagan said, "I do not believe in a fate that falls on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall upon us if we do nothing."

Jeanne Kirkpatrick, RIP

Dr. Jeane Kirkpatrick, President Reagan's ambassador to the U.N. (the first woman to serve in this capacity), a great lady, and a staunch cold warrior, has died.

Her speech to the 1984 Republican convention that renominated incumbent President Reagan became famous for its candor and its moral clarity. The "Kirkpatrick doctrine" helped in no small part to bring the end of the Soviet Union about. Jeane Kirkpatrick was a patriot to the core.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and certainly deserved it. Dr. Kirkpatrick was also my aunt's roommate at Stephens College.

Godspeed and RIP.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Just One Question

Here's one that's kind of a new twist on what parents the world over have asked their children. Wonder what all the consensus-aholics in the MSM would answer to this: If all the wise men in the world arrived at a "general consensus" that you should jump off a bridge (after an "exhilarating experience" of "genuine bipartisanship), would that make it right for you to do it?

Thank You, Ladies!

Last week in this piece, I complained that an insufficient number of adult women were speaking out against the pantyless partying antics of starlets like Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

Well, I'm happy to note that Camille Paglia and Bette Midler have both criticized the behavior.

No doubt I disagree with both Paglia and Midler on many things, but I do appreciate the fact that they have standards. Thank you, ladies.

Slapped Down, and Deservedly So

Everybody with sense is lining up to take a punch at the ISG Report, ranging from Frederick Kagan to Christopher Hitchens, Fred Kaplan to John Podhoretz.

They differ in some of the particulars of their criticisms -- but they agree that the report lacks seriousness, and that's a pretty damning charge given the time and media attention that's been lavished on it.

Some of those who have critiqued the report but who come at it from a less hawkish perspective -- like Kaplan, for example -- have highlighted the group's dire assessment of the situation in Iraq. No doubt it's serious. But the idea that the United States can't win in Iraq without the good offices of Iran and Syria is simply laughable, so long as our resolve remains strong.

On Pearl Harbor Day, Victor Davis Hanson explains some of the key differences between WWII and the war on terror, which explain why, this time, victory is taking longer to achieve.

What's worth pointing out is that it's no less achievable now than it was then; what's more, the struggle now is every bit as important -- a fact that too many of us seem too able either to overlook or to ignore.

Where the Buck Stops

According to this New York Times story, the ISG report constitutes an impassioned plea for bipartisan concensus on the "most divisive foreign policy issue of this generation." But, we're cautioned, "[w]ithout President Bush, that cannot happen."

In other words, if the President will just roll over and accede to defeat in Iraq, we can all just get along. But question whether that should happen if the policy is wrong and dangerous for America -- which defeat would be.

President Bush's press conference with Prime Minister Blair this morning is somewhat reassuring. Unlike the ISG, he understands the stakes of the war in Iraq, and knows that it's more than just an isolated struggle in one country -- it's the battleground in a longer and more potentially threatening war on Islamofascist terror. He even mentioned outright the pernicious role Iran is playing in fomenting the ongoing killing in Iraq.

It sounds like he's waiting for other reports (from the Pentagon, for example), and -- thankfully -- it doesn't appear that he's in imminent danger of taking the silly ISG report seriously. And it doesn't sound like he's falling into the newest Washington obsession of "talking with our enemies" -- he just said that our adversaries "know what's expected of them."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Baby Bratz

James Lileks has some well-deserved words of excoriation for some of the most vile playthings around (HT: IWF Inkwell).

My own favorite Bratz fact? Even the littlest girls can "design [their] own sexy skirt" with the Bratz "Superstyling Funkitivity Book." It's never too early for your own precious little girl to begin learning how to dress like a "prostitot."

Dennis Miller on the 6 Imams

More on the ISG Report

Hugh Hewitt has valuable links and information. He's characterizing it as the "Emperor Has No Clothes" report, and that sounds about right to me.

In fact, the report generally is irritating. That's because it seems to reflect a 9/10 mentality: There's no wider struggle against Islamofascism, the answer to everything is to get the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" on track, let's just talk to Iran and Syria -- and all will be well. It's a bunch of old-time, warmed-over thinking.

It's somehow ironic that James Baker and some of the others responsible for this report are labeled "realists"; in my view, their work reflects some profoundly unrealistic expectations about a number of factors that are key to the entire inquiry.

Take the idea that we should just play nicely with Iran and Syria. How well has that worked out for us in the past? Certainly, one may at times "do business" with adversaries, but in those cases, everyone's incentives must be aligned, e.g. when President Reagan was able to negotiate with Gorbachev. Here, Syria and Iran's interests don't include ensuring American success in Iraq. For the same reasons we want a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq in the middle east, they don't want one.

And don't believe the abject silliness being mouthed by former Senator Alan Simpson (according to the account of a conference call posted at Powerline) -- especially the part about Iran hating chaos in Iraq more than it hates the U.S. Chaos in Iraq is inconvenient, potentially troublesome, but also an opportunity for Iran to turn its old foe into a virtual protectorate; in contrast, hatred of the United States and all it stands for is a foundational, animating conviction of our Islamofascist foes in both Iran and Syria.

What's most remarkable about this entire endeavor is the extent to which it seems to have reflected upon and adapted to post 9/11 realities not at all. Its greatest achievement appears to have been securing the agreement of all its members -- many of whom, while no doubt well-intentioned patriots -- lack the expertise to be passing judgment on such vital strategic and military matters.

Margaret Thatcher once said, "I am not a consensus politician. I am a conviction politician." In the wake of this report, it will be very easy, here in America, to separate the consensus politicians from the conviction ones.

Talking with the Terrorists

It's being reported in the Jerusalem Post that
"officials from the US Democratic Party" held secret talks with Hamas "at an undisclosed location."

Delicatedly described as a "Palestinian militant movement" by the Council on Foreign Relations, Hamas is the terrorist group that's now in charge of the Palestinian Authority.

Perhaps this is just the most recent example of what seems to be becoming an American obsessin with "talking" with America's enemies.

Joy to the World!

(This isn't Winston, but it's one of his breed)

With all the recent news, it's too easy to become cranky, even in the midst of the Christmas season. Here's my favorite poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow which reminds of all of what's important and true:

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Iraq Study Group Report

So it's out. Judging from the excerpts, it's the usual kind of tendentious mush that's predictable from a bipartisan commission that seems to put the development of "concensus" before anything else.

What's not particularly clear to me is what credentials its members have to have their recommendations taken more seriously than those of, say, the generals in the field or an assortment of other experts, including people who have spent more time in Iraq and in its most dangerous areas.

Take commission member Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Her qualifications for telling America what to do with Iraq are -- what? Lee Hamilton, James Baker and Chuck Robb have a long history of foreign policy service, but all have approached the task with their own load of baggage, including plenty of biases about the war itself (Baker, for exaple, would logically want to prove that it was the right decision not to take out Hussein, back in the early '90's when he was secretary of state).

The panel was put together at the request of Congress -- clearly, as a way both to offload responsibility for making tough calls on Iraq and also as a vehicle for pressuring the President.

As with most bipartisan, blue-ribbon commissions, chances are that it will provide some fabulous opportunities for attitudinizing by its members, offer the president's adversaries numerous ways to attack, and ultimately, provide very little that's of solid or lasting benefit.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Hero Dog

Sir Winston is proud to claim Shana, the hero dog as one of his species.

Hollow Protests

Bruce Benway points out the irony of Hollywood's outrage directed at Mel Gibson and Michael Richards.

Go Along to Get Confirmed

No wonder the Democrats and the New York Times are so thrilled with Robert Gates' appearance before the Armed Services Committee today.

Mr. Gates declared that the United States is not winning in Iraq, that mistakes had been made all around, and that the president did not mean it — or at least, Mr. Gates did not intend to go along — when he said that the best strategy is to stay the course.

What could be better, if you're a cut 'n runner? Sounds like Gates is your guy, according to the hearing transcript. What's more, his decision to telegraph his opposition to any use of military force when it comes to Syria or Iran had to have the bad guys celebrating. Whatever happened to a little strategic ambuigity?

We could only wish that Democrats would offer Republicans similar sycophancy when Republicans are in the majority. It almost sounds like the Pentagon's gone Democratic.

And the Republican senators weren't much better. Of the two senior Republicans on the committee -- Senators Warner and McCain -- neither apparently believed that Al Qaeda or the larger war on terror were important enough to merit questions for the man who is ostensibly charged with defeating the one, and winning the other.

Hillary's Running

Comment Qualifications

Readers: I'm grateful for the comments this blog receives. Just wanted you to be aware of my policy of not posting comments that consist of little or nothing but quotes from other sources, whether I agree with their substance (like the one from the Bible) or not (like the one from Frank Rich).

Common Sense

Thank you, John Podhoretz, for a badly needed dose of common sense:

THE most common cliché about the war in Iraq is now this: We didn't have a plan, and now everything is in chaos; we didn't have a plan, and now we can't win.

This is entirely wrong. We did have a plan - the problem is that the plan didn't work. And of course we can win - we just have to choose to do so.

As this blog has noted time and time again, nothing can defeat the mighty U.S. military except a failure of will here at home. The problem is that the majority of Americans -- as Victor Davis Hansen has pointed out -- aren't sure that the fight is worth it, or even necessary.

And, of course, many of their representatives in Washington are, it seems, all too willing to see the U.S. humiliated and defeated -- anything to give President Bush a black eye is OK with them.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Race Based Admissions

When you use racial classifications to decide who gets to go to what school, that's unconstitutional, in my view -- whatever the NY Times thinks.

As Chief Justice Roberts pointed out, what's the difference between such a scheme and what was happening before the Brown v. Board of Education decision?

Free Speech and Freedom

Newt Gingrich is right -- the First Amendment isn't a suicide pact, and it is eminently constitutional for reasonable restrictions to be placed on speech that's intended to facilitate the murder of Americans.

You can't yell "Fire!" in a crowded theater. Use the "n-word" as part of a comedy routine and you'll be (rightly) shunned. Why do many of the same people agree wtih both those restrictions on free speech -- and who think it's just fine to limit political speech in the run up to the election -- get the vapors when the discussion turns to the possibility of shutting down terrorist-abetting web sites?

This is News?

Of course Kofi Annan thinks the Iraq was better off before Saddam Hussein was deposed. After all, he himself wasn't being thrown into paper shredders -- his organization was just sitting back and enjoying all those lovely oil-for-food kickbacks.

And if the UN had been serious about improving the quality of life for Iraqis, perhaps it would have done a bit more to help secure the peace there.

Not Like Ike, Like Reagan!

Perhaps it's not surprising that there are calls for the Republican Party to become more "like Ike" -- especially when it comes to foreign policy. As the authors of the linked piece see it, the last election was a repudiation of neoconservative ideology, and a call for a more "prudent" foreign policy.

Nonsense. As I've pointed out before, the American people are angry about Iraq -- not because we undertook the war -- but because it's not being prosecuted effectively enough.

Eisenhower was a good general and a good man, but his foreign policy was cautious to a fault. Just ask the Hungarians -- and wonder how different history might have been if he had stood up for them, as America was honor bound to do.

On the domestic side, is it any coincidence that Republicans were in the political wilderness for decades after his tenure? That's what comes of being a "me, too - but less" politician . . . who goes along with Democrats but just a little bit less.

Ronald Reagan knew when to negotiate - but he was also willing to fight. He had ideals and principles for something greater than simply achieving agreement and avoiding a problem -- he was willing to disagree if that's what it took to obtain the right result.

We don't need an Eisenhower these days . . . we need a Reagan.

A Loss for America

President Bush has accepted UN Ambassador John Bolton's resigation when his recess appointment expires.

Too bad. Bolton is, perhaps, the most effective ambassador the UN has had in that cesspool of corruption and self-important moral decay since Jeanne Kirkpatrick. What a crime that he's essentially been forced out because Democrats are worried that he's insufficiently deferential to an institution that deserves no deference at all.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas "Pornaments"

Here is a sad little story about a store in Florida, frequented by children, that's selling pornographic Christmas ornaments.

A Baptist minister, quoted in the story, noted:

It is just sad they have to stoop to this kind of thing to defame Christmas. It says we are nothing more than sexual acts or psychical being and we are much more than that. We are spiritual beings and this is a spiritual holiday. And, why bring it to that level. It makes no sense to me.

Nor to me. But it seems that it's just another example of an impulse toward debasement of everything that ought to be holy and/or respected, a la Danny DeVito.

Some of the shoppers quoted in the story who have no problem with the ornaments are, of course, entitled to their opinions. But do they really want to live in a world where absolutely nothing is sacred, the only thing we can write/talk/think about is sex, and the only culture we have in common is whatever wins the race to the bottom?

Why Judges Matter

Justice Stephen Breyer isn't a bad guy; quite the contrary. But as his interview on Fox News Sunday demonstrated, his judicial philosophy is very different from that of a conservative.

For one thing, in discussing campaign finance "reform," Breyer said:

You don't want one person's speech, that $20 million giver, to drown out everybody else's. So if we want to give a chance to the people who have only $1 and not $20 million, maybe we have to do something to make that playing field a little more level in terms of money.

That statement is profoundly problematic on a number of levels. First, it suggests that Justice Breyer approaches cases with an outcome-based agenda -- trying to assure some kind of "equality of speech" -- rather than simply with a commitment to interpreting the Constitution.

Second, it seems to suggest that the Court's members have been entrusted with something approaching the responsibility of Platonic guardians -- to do whatever (in their view) "make[s] that playing field a little more level in terms of money." Where, exactly, is that principle enshrined in the Constitution? And if there are delicate calibrations that must be made about how level a playing field must be, aren't those precisely the kind of decisions that the people's elected representatives should be making?

Third, in my view, the Bill of Rights in particular and the Constitution in general was primarily intended to set out principles to govern the relationship between the people and their government (so as to protect the people) -- not to produce a thoroughgoing "vision of America" that would govern every relationship between individual Americans themselves. But it would seem that Justice Breyer doesn't agree.

Breyer also asserts that the "primary objective" of the framers "was to create a democratic system so that people themselves could decide in their own community what kind of rules that wanted." Ironic that he -- part of bloc that's less likely to defer to legislative decisionmaking -- would hold that view, isn't it?

No Lame Duck Yet

Fred Barnes lists a number of ways President Bush could still make his last two years count.

One is to use recess appointments to move otherwise stalled nominees onto the bench. It will be interesting to see if Harry Reid lets that happen.

Daschle Not Running for President

Does this surprise anyone? George Allen isn't running, either. Being defeated for reelection to one's Senate seat can put a crimp in those presidential aspirations.

Is It All About the Property?

It's always charming to watch the heterodox Episcopalians -- who spend a great deal of time lecturing others on the need for peace, compassion and understanding -- attempt to intimidate and bully their more orthodox brethren.

The AP's Shoddy Product

Writing in the Boston Herald, Jules Crittendon outlines all the reasons that the Associated Press should be ashamed. Among them are:

The AP, of course, has been delivering unbalanced reports about U.S. national politics for some time, as when President Bush, whom AP reporters despise, is barely allowed to state his case on an issue before his critics are given twice as much space to pummel him. The AP, once a just-the-facts news delivery service, has lost its rudder. It has become a partisan, anti-American news agency that seeks to undercut a wartime president and American soldiers in the field. It is providing fraudulent, shoddy goods. It doesn’t even recognize it has a problem.

What's more, all the nodding heads and chin-stroking sages who make their livings by earnest critiques of journalistic ethics seem strangely oblivious to the fact that the AP is, in effect, making up war crimes.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Dems' Big Test

As North Korea and Iran continue to build nuclear bombs, can it really be true that Democrats will try to gut missile defense?

A Man with a Plan

Here is more evidence that Donald Rumsfeld was tossed overboard the day after the election for no other reason than to pacify the howling dogs of anti-war sentiment.

Just a Big Misunderstanding?

Perhaps I was too hasty in criticizing Britney Spears for partying commando style, earlier this week.

Perhaps she's just allergic to underwear (warning: some unsuitable language/contents in this link). Yeah, that's the ticket.

What a Double Standard!

Can anyone imagine the uproar it would elicit if the Republicans had chosen a minister to give their weekly radio address, as the Democrats did this week?

Think of the rending of garments and gnashing of teeth that would have ensued among the press if men of the cloth were conscripted into similar political service by Republicans. We'd be hearing about how it signaled the advent of a theocracy.

But apparently, when the Dems do it, it's quite all right, as far as the press goes. Perhaps that's either because the members of the MSM suspect the Dems don't really mean it, or else they figure it's to help the Dems increase their political hold on power . . . and therefore, it's quite all right.

Concensus: Failure

Robert Kagan and William Kristol point out that the recomendations of the Iraq Survey Group are mostly a mishmash of rewarmed gruel, that -- thankfully -- the President intends to ignore.

The entire episode is, perhaps, a telling reminder of why the theory of the "unitary executive" makes sense; it's impossible to formulate any coherent foreign policy by committee.

Noteworthy Juxtaposition

The first paragraph to this LA Daily News story is inadvertantly revealing:

Liberals cheered the announcement Friday that Los Angeles Democrat Rep. Jane Harman will not lead the House Intelligence Committee next year, while military analysts called the decision a loss for national security.

Get it? Liberals vs. military analysts. Makes it clearer than ever that liberals are opposed -- literally and figuratively -- to policies that at least some experts deem optimal for national security.

Guess that all Harman's posturings were for naught.

Friday, December 01, 2006

. . . Father to the Thought

As the saying goes, perhaps the wish is father to the thought when it comes to this piece on the purported difficulties the Republicans are going to have in winning back control of the Senate in 2008.

The fact is that it's simply too soon for predictions -- after all, it was just last April when sainted liberal icon Paul Krugman was insisting that structural disadvantages would prevent the Dems from taking either the House or Senate in November 2006.

And who would ever have thought that Democrats would win Senate seats in Montana and Virginia, for Pete's sake? Or in Missouri, for that matter (who haven't elected a Democrat to the Senate -- except for Jean Carnahan in the immediate aftermath of her husband's death -- since 1980)?

The Dems and the MSM (not to be redundant) may hope there are problems for the GOP, but if anything, the fact that the Congress is in Democratic hands for the next two years is more likely to help than hurt otherwise embattled Republican incumbents. So will the presidential race emphasizing the fact that the constantly-vilified President Bush is no longer on the ballot.

The "M Word"

This Wall Street Journal piece discusses the absence of the concept of "marriage" when young girls are told to delay childbearing. Apparently, authority figures have no problem instructing young women to finish their education before having babies, but no one's bothering to tell them to get married.

That's a disaster -- not just for the women themselves, who are most often consigned to a life of hard work and unremitting poverty, but for the children themselves, who are raised in unstable homes without the benefit of fathers.

Interestingly, the piece -- which cites the Manhattan Institute's Kay Hymowitz -- points out:

Ms. Hymowitz doesn't advocate trying to revive stigma. There's a better, more positive way. "We haven't appealed to people's rational self-interest," she says. "They don't know that they're . . . limiting the prosperity of their children's future."

I hope Ms. Hymowitz (whose work is outstanding) is right. But it strikes me that there may need to be a stick, as well as a carrot, in the whole process. That's because many of these young girls (themselves raised without fathers) have been imbued with a kind of faux feminist attitude -- "Men: What are they good for?" (And unfortunately, given what we sometimes see, in some cases, they're right). It may not be enough for girls to figure they could give their children better lives if they're married, so long as the girls already think their children will have "good enough" lives.

What's more, it strikes me that a lot of the marriage training needs to take place among the boys, as well. Too often, too many boys (especially those who have, themselves, been raised without fathers) see women as nothing more than potential sex partners. That needs to change, too.