Carol Platt Liebau: March 2007

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Gotta Love the "Duct Tape Solution"

Apparently, some in the audience weren't buying what "Slow Joe" Biden was selling when it came to the Iraq war.

[W]hen Biden turned to the audience for questions, John Stevens, a 79-year-old Air Force disabled veteran of Korea and Vietnam, told Biden he had a better solution.

"The war's being lost in Congress by the people who give aid and comfort to the enemies that are killing our troops," he said.

Stevens then said he had his own plan: "I call it the duct tape solution. You take a roll of duct tape and you put it over the mouths of the people that are criticizing our troops and also causing the enemy to continue attacking our troops and blowing them up."

Well said, Mr. Stevens -- and thank you for your service.

Can McCain Still Pull It Out?

Fred Barnes thinks so.

For my part, I'm not so sure. The dislike of McCain in conservative circles is so entrenched for his stands on issues ranging from campaign finance reform to the Bush tax cuts to illegal immigration that it's hard to see how he overcomes it, quickly, without painting himself as a flip-flopper of the worst kind. What's more, his contempt and dislike for religious conservatives really does seem to come through clearly, and has won him few friends.

As Barnes points out, a lot of the enmity between conservatives and McCain springs from a lack of trust -- a sense, as he aptly notes, that McCain cares more about what The New York Times thinks than about what conservatives do. One of President Reagan's most charming qualities was his utter disregard of the opinion of elite media -- and in that, at least, Rudy Giuliani is reminiscent of the Gipper.

And for those who have been touting McCain's ability to reach across party lines, it's worth noting that the press will (and has been) turning against him in direct proportion to his attempts to identify himself as more of a Republican and less of a maverick. Who doesn't believe -- if McCain wins the Republican nomination -- that a slew of damaging stories will appear, wherein, for example, McCain's legendary temper is presented as new evidence of "instability" or "lack of presidential temperament"?

There's no doubt that McCain's redeeming virtue has been his support for the war. But if one is looking for a well-known champion of the war on terror, pragmatic Republicans might ask, why not then support Rudy -- whose support has been no less unwavering but who lacks some of McCain's baggage of Senate votes? And if one is willing to understand and overlook shifts on important policy issues, why not go with Mitt Romney -- who, with his staunch fight against gay marriage, has at least demonstrates that when he adopts conservative principles, he sticks with them?

Friday, March 30, 2007

How Typical

The House of Representatives spends plenty of time trying to surrender to the terrorists -- and Henry Waxman even wants hearings about the same old Niger uranium kerfuffle that's been rehashed a million times -- yet the Democrats can't spare a minute to denounce Iran's illegal seizure and detention of the British sailors and Marines.

How typical.

Prayers for the First Mate

Captain Ed Morissey has blogged his wife's kidney transplant here. Good news -- sounds like she's doing fine!

The Beauty of Gratitude

Hugh Hewitt posts a remarkable note from Colonel Don of the US Marine Corps here.

Such gratitude is beautiful to witness -- and profoundly humbling. How blessed all of us here in the USA are.

Could We Stop the "Diplomatic" Freelancing?

So Nancy Pelosi is off to hobnob with Syria, a state sponsor of terrorism and one of the greatest destabilizing forces in the region -- against the express wishes of The White House. No doubt she'll talk more sweetly to Baby Assad than she does about President Bush.

And now presidential candidate Bill Richardson is jaunting off to North Korea.

Maybe the Democrats should keep in mind that they can conduct foreign policy when (and if) they win back The White House. In the meantime, it would be best if they could keep their "diplomatic" freelancing to a minimum.

Talk About "Dissembling"

Margaret Carlson's column about the US attorneys matter is, sadly, another example of the rambling and illogical work that too many of us have come to expect from her.

First, apropos of nothing, she throws in an unsubstantiated claim that the Administration "dissembled" on Iraq. Examples, please? What, exactly, did President Bush believe or say that President Clinton -- a hero of Carlson's -- didn't likewise believe or say?

But her bias is most egregious when it comes to discussing the US attorneys scandal. She writes:

The other aide is Monica Goodling, the White House liaison at Justice, who has refused to testify. Instead, she will plead the Fifth Amendment, providing us with the sorry spectacle of a top Justice Department official invoking a right we associate with those out to thwart justice. . . .

There's only one reasonable interpretation. Unlike Sampson, Goodling fears that the law making it a crime ``to obstruct, influence, or impede an official proceeding'' was broken.

As Ms. Carlson knows -- or should know -- there's actually another reasonable interpretation: That Ms. Goodling doesn't intend to testify in a kangaroo court where the name of the game is for Democrats seize on any discrepancies in statements to perpetuate the supposed "scandal" and drive another politicized prosecution, a la Scooter Libby.

What's more, isn't it a little shocking for a liberal like Carlson to critique the invocation of the Fifth Amendment? What's the problem -- are invocations of constitutional protections legitimate only when they're employed by terrorist enemy combatants?

The Hits on Rudy

It's apparent that the MSM has finally decided that Rudy Giuliani must be taken seriously as a Republican presidential candidate. Many were clearly expecting that the conservative wing of the party would simply reject him, thereby validating the media's stereotypes about close-minded right wingers, etc., etc. But -- at least from their perspective -- no such luck.

So today, we have two hit pieces on Rudy -- this one from the AP recounting the beefs that firefighters have had with the mayor since 9/11, and this one from The New York Times reporting leaked grand jury testimony that his chief investigator remembered briefing him on Bernard Kerik's alleged ties to a company with ties to organized crime before Kerik's appointment as NYC's police commissioner.

This stuff strikes me as pretty thin gruel. After all, anyone who has ever run any major organization is going to have people who are angry and unhappy about his tenure there -- and it's worth noting, as the AP story does near its end, that Rudy was a tough negotiator with the firemen's union, which could explain a fair amount of the disenchantment. As for the Kerik story, Giuliani's testimony that he didn't remember the chief investigator telling him about the Kerik business is consistent; what's more, that story makes sense -- given that the investigator himself cleared Kerik to become police commissioner.

In my view, Rudy has more to worry about from stories like these that highlight his unorthodox personal life and Mrs. Giuliani, who herself may turn out to be something of a mixed blessing for the campaign. As Peggy Noonan put it quite aptly, "In politics, in the world of political life, the proper attitude of a third wife is modesty."

'Nuf said?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

That Hell-Hole Called Guantanamo

Apparently, the terrorist detainees at Guantano -- for whom the Democrats are slopping over with sympathy -- are simply gaga for Harry Potter.

Tough life. No wonder the Democrats are so worried about 'em.

Time on Their Hands . . .

What problem could the National Organization of Women possibly have with the Promoting Responsible Fatherhood Initiative, which aims to build job skills and help fathers connect with their children?

Well, NOW is calling the program unfair and seeking access to it on the grounds of gender discrimination -- supposedly, it only helps men. Of course, that ignores the fact that responsible fathers are good for mothers and for girls . . . What's more, if this is gender discrimination, how would NOW characterize the vastly more expensive Violence Against Women Act?

Know that this is just a taste of the foolishness you'll see if the lefties in Congress actually succeed in their effort to resurrect the so-called Equal Rights Amendment.

A "Surprising" Advantage?

Jay Carney of Time is shocked that Republican candidates like Giuliani and McCain appear to play better with the electorate than Democratic frontrunners.

But he himself hits the nail on the head in part when he writes:

Democrats also may have a residual disadvantage going into 2008 — a long-standing disposition among voters to view Republicans as stronger on issues involving national security. Without question, Bush has done serious damage to the Republican brand in this arena. But, with the nation waging two wars and terrorism still a threat, that underlying sentiment might be one of the reasons GOP candidates appear competitive at all.

Of course, the little crack about Bush doing "serious damage" is unfair; many of the candidates running for President (and, in fact President Clinton himself) fully supported the invasion of Iraq in the mistaken belief that WMD were there. The only difference is that -- now that the going has gotten tough -- the Democrats are willing to change their minds, effectively surrender, and consign Iraq to the tender mercies of Al Qaeda with nary a thought to the morrow (or to the US's national security).

And that, in fact, may underlie the public's unease with Democratic presidents. As weary as Americans may be with the Iraq war, they nonetheless don't want us to lose; but Democrats, by following the polls for temporary political advantage, may once again be placing themselves in a post-Vietnam position where, after some early victories, they will be unelectable on the grounds that they lack both the stomach and the spine to keep America safe.

A Sobering Reminder

In the wake of under-reported news that extremists are showing an untoward interest in driving school buses, over at American Thinker, Marc Sheppard's piece is a sobering reminder of the true nature of the terrorists to whom Democrats want to surrender in Iraq:

Abu Gheith's 2002 warning; school plans in the hands of terrorists; Saudi's terrorizing American schoolchildren on buses; 172 Russian school-kids slaughtered; "extremists" seeking to get behind the wheels of bus-loads of our children; jihadists sacrificing children to kill a few Americans; now a new story of a nutjob in Manilla taking 30 kids hostage on a bus.

Does anyone really think that surrender in Iraq will quell their enthusiasm for barbarism?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The New Standard?

All of a sudden, giving money to a group that's critical of a Democratic nominee has become an activity that renders one unfit to be an ambassador -- at least in the Democrats' view. Sam Fox of St. Louis is an otherwise splendid choice.

Are the Democrats trying to set a new standard for ambassadorial nominations?

John McCain, Democrat?

This report says that John McCain was almost persuaded to become a Democrat in 2001.

Before jumping to conclusions, realize that this could be a way for Democrats to try to sully someone they might think (incorrectly, in my view) would be a strong Republican presidential candidate.

Even so, there is a level of detail in the piece that's disturbing, and it's worth asking John McCain: Is this true? Then again, given that the MSM has been one of the Senator's strongest constituencies, it's not clear the question will ever be posed to him, at least by them.

That being said, it's a matter McCain will need to clear up -- because how can he credibly seek to become the standard bearer for a party he was ready to abandon just six short years ago, if indeed the report is true?

Time to Go?

The editors at National Review are calling for the attorney general's resignation.

They contend that the argument that a Gonzales resignation will simply sharpen the Democrats' political bloodlust shouldn't carry an inordinate amount of weight. Maybe that's so -- but nonetheless, it strikes me that turning on the Attorney General without some show of actual wrongdoing sets a troubling precedent of throwing Republicans overboard if Dems succeed in creating a big though specious stink around them (although all that is subject to revision if it's shown that he did indeed mislead Congress or engage in some other objectively wrong behavior).

What's more, whether or not it enhances the Dems' thirst for blood, a Gonzales resignation will cement in many Americans' mind the perception that smething bad happened -- otherwise, why would the AG resign in disgrace?

I agree with Byron York's pithy assessment: "[I]t was an operation in which Justice Department officials did virtually everything wrong — except what they’re accused by Democrats of doing."
And I have no objection to the AG resigning, given what strikes me as some dazzling incompetence coming from the DOJ. But not yet -- not while the resignation will help Democrats perpetuate the myth that substantive wrongdoing took place.

Democratic Priorities

How incredibly revealing. Despite the fact that the House Judiciary Committee has a staff of 30 lawyers -- not counting subcommittees -- John Conyers wants to hire private sector lawyers to pursue assorted investigations of the Bush White House. That's your taxpayer money at work, my friends -- at least what's left after the spinach and peanut and insect infestation subsidies in the Iraq supplemental.

What's more, Conyers isn't looking to hire just any lawyers. He's after Arnold & Porter, one of white-shoe firms in the District, along with Deloitte and Touche.

Does John Conyers really thing the US government is understaffed? Please.

Democratic Priorities

How incredibly revealing. Despite the fact that the House Judiciary Committee has a staff of 30 lawyers -- not counting subcommittees -- John Conyers wants to hire private sector lawyers to pursue assorted investigations of the Bush White House. That's your taxpayer money at work, my friends -- at least what's left after the spinach and peanut and insect infestation subsidies in the Iraq supplemental.

What's more, Conyers isn't looking to hire just any lawyers. He's after Arnold & Porter, one of white-shoe firms in the District, along with Deloitte and Touche.

Does John Conyers really thing the US government is understaffed? Please.

Oink, oink

The Senate supplemental appropriations is -- like its House counterpart -- loaded with pork:

The new bill also includes $13 million for “ewe replacement and retention,” $24 million for sugar beets growers and $95 million for dairy producers. . . .

And it includes $3.5 million for the Capitol’s guided–tour program and $20 million for, in part, insect infestation control in Nevada, thanks to Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Among the other beneficiaries of the Senate “emergency” war bill is the tree assistance program, including, specifically, Christmas trees.

That's what Democratic control means: Surrender in the war on terror -- but plenty of money for the really important things like tree assistance and insect infestation control.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NY Times Snafu

The invaluable Charlotte Hays nails the NY Times on its latest gaffe.

Irony of ironies, it seems that the left-wing paper of record is bent on proving that women can't handle combat.

Senate Waves the White Flag

To its eternal shame, the Senate in a 50-48 vote has refused to strip the House's irresponsible call for a deadline for defeat in Iraq from its version of the bill.

Apparently, the 2-vote margin was obtained because the unspeakable Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) voted with the Democrats, and because Ben Nelson (D-Nebraska) allowed himself to be won over by advocates of defeat 'n retreat. Joe Lieberman joined the Republicans.

Encouraging News

Iraq's Sunnis are splitting from Al Qaeda in Iraq. This is, needless to say, an important step in uniting Iraq and an encouraging development for those who want the United States to leave only when there is a stable, functioning government there.

Of course, the fact that the Sunnis were working with Al Qaeda before sort of puts the lie to the Democrat claims that the Iraq violence is nothing but the spasms of a "civil war," doesn't it?

Happy Birthday - Not

Ryan Sager reviews McCain-Feingold's history of failure -- particularly noteworthy this week, as the misguided piece of legislation turns five.

As I've stated before, it strikes me that something is terribly wrong when online pornography receives First Amendment protection, but the government arrogates to itself the power to regulate political speech.

And What About When They Get Nukes?

Iran is already a belligerent and uncooperative member of the "world community," as demonstrated most recently by their seizure of British sailors and marines. As this piece in the Wall Street Journal points out, there are a number of strategic reasons that the regime may have chosen to engage in what is effectively an act of war.

But if they're this aggressive now, can anyone imagine how they'd behave if they're actually permitted to develop nuclear weapons? The Journal points out what too many in this country have clearly forgotten: "Iran was at its most diplomatically pliant after the United States sank much of Tehran's navy after Iran tried to disrupt oil traffic in the Persian Gulf in the late 1980s. Regimes that resort to force the way Iran does tend to be respecters of it."

Prayers for Tony Snow

Monday, March 26, 2007

Their Spendthrift Hearts

Perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that Democrats have earned a reputation for unbridled spending while in office. According to this piece in Rolling Stone, they don't do much better when it comes to controlling their own campaign costs when it comes to consultants.

Irony Alert

Hillary Clinton on the US attorney firings:

I think one of the hallmarks of our democracy is we have a devotion to the rule of law.

This from the woman who stood by the man who lied under oath to a grand jury and in a deposition, and who herself was involved in the gathering of hundreds of sensitive FBI files on former White House employees.

Yes, if there's anything that Hillary stands for, it's commitment to the rule of law.

What the Vote Meant

Investors Business Daily has a clear grasp on what last week's House vote on the supplemental appropriation bill, laying out a timetable for defeat in Iraq, really meant:

[O]n that day [Pelosi's] party reached its nadir, showing that not even national security stands in the way of Democrats' lust for power and desire to punish those they despise and seek to ruin, even if it means America loses a war.

True. And contrary to their promises to be fiscally responsible, they were willing to tie pork like surplus peanut storage and aid to spinach growers to a bill that's essentially to the continued functioning of the US military. Really appalling.

Global Warming and Gore

Michael Barone points out the quasi-religious nature -- and the solipsism -- of Al Gore's climate change crusade.

Those on the left like to proclaim, without more, that debate should end and that consensus has been reached (on the left, of course, that's true). But the facts tell a different story:

When you read the fine print of even the scientific reports that Gore likes to cite, you find the same thing. Gore foresees a 20-foot rise in sea level — 240 inches. The IPCC panel report foresees a maximum of 23 inches. Gore says that “our civilization has never experienced any environmental shift remotely similar to this.” Geologist Don Easterbrook says there have been shifts up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

Feminism: A Health Hazard?

A new Swedish study has suggested that feminism may constitute a health hazard to men and women alike. Interestingly, the article talks about "equality" presenting health risks -- but it should be pointed out that the term is used in conformity with feminist theory, where equality is defined as "sameness" between the sexes. And given that fact, is it any wonder that there are adverse consequences when men are treated exactly like women and women are treated exactly like men?

It's amusing that the study also speculates that "equality has not yet been fully achieved in society and that these effects are part of a transitional process on the road to fairness." In other words, men need to be forced more completely into the private sphere before things can truly improve. Reminds one a bit of the leftist political scientists who have continued to believe that socialism (or communism, for that matter) can still work -- it's just that the theories have never been implemented correctly.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hagel Has Lost It

Chuck Hagel has now begun coyly referring to the possibility that President Bush could be impeached for his handling of the Iraq war.

He's obviously lost it. As everyone knows, the Constitution requires "high crimes and misdemeanors" for impeaching the President. And though it may be news to the sanctimonious senator from Nebraska, not listening to Chuck Hagel -- or the other defeatists in Congress -- anything but a crime or misdemeanor. In fact, it's good common sense.

What Passes for "Journalism"

Check out this post at Powerline. It's no wonder that the folks at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune don't much like its authors -- John Hinderaker, Scott Johnson or Paul Mirengoff -- as they document and comment on the paper's steady diet of agenda journalism, mistakes and distortions.

But even so, isn't it a bit much -- even for the Star-Tribune -- to lift a comment off an AOL news site where Powerline can be accessed and try to present it as the work of the site's three bloggers?

Egregious incompetence or worse? That's the problem . . . with the Star-Tribune, you can never tell.

Where Gore's Got It Wrong

After Al Gore testified on Capitol Hill last week, only one Democrat stayed around to hear the opposing view from Bjorn Lomborg, a professor. Why hear the facts, after all, if one's mind is already made up?

Here's Lomborg's piece in the NY Post explaining where Gore's got it wrong.

The Other Side of the Story

Last week, a number of media outlets (like The Washington Post and LA Times reported allegations made by career Justice Department prosecutor Sharon Eubanks that the Administration had illegitimately interfered in a big-time tobacco prosecution.

Today on Fox News Sunday, however, Chris Wallace interviewed Eubanks, and her obvious political animus toward the Administration made her a less-than-convincing witness. Even more significantly, more facts than those in the linked story were adduced.

First, apparently complaints about the case were raised at the time -- and the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility found no wrongdoing. (Make no mistake -- this is a career office, as evidenced by the fact that it had the same head from its inception in 1975 until 1997).

Second, the damages request was lowered only after an appeals court set legal parameters that indicated that Eubank's larger request might well be overturned on appeal.

There's probably a reason that all the faux-hyperventilating Democrats on the Hill haven't quite taken up Eubanks' cause.

Bringing Sharia to America?

The Wall Street Journal's Katherine Kersten points out some instances in Minnesota where those who follow sharia law are seeking special accommodation for their religious beliefs. Funny that liberals see evangelical Christianity as a threat to the Republic, but remain strangely silent when proponents of a theological regime that denigrates women and homosexuals start trying to introduce that regime into the American mainstream.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

The Beginning of the End?

Not without justification, the fundraising derby is sometimes referred to as the first primary of the presidential race.

If that's true, it's not good news for John McCain, whose campaign has announced that it won't reach its fundraising goals.

A Conflict, or Not?

It's being reported that the Attorney General attended a meeting in which he signed off on the US attorneys already slated for firing.

The Democrats are seizing on this fact as an admission that the Attorney General lied to Congress. Not so fast.

There's a big difference between being involved in the selection and the process of impending firings, on the one hand, and simply signing off on a selection process (and selections) that have already been made, on the other. One constitutes "involvement" and one is simply fulfilling the administrative responsibilities of the Attorney General.

If Attorney General Gonzalez lied to Congress, he must go. Whether he did so, however, remains unclear. And it would be a huge mistake for him to resign prematurely -- it won't do anything to assauge the Democrats' political bloodlust, and will only serve to validate the impression of scandal that the Democrats have been trying so hard to purvey.

Looks Like Miss Austen to Me

The only known portrait of Jane Austen is going to go on auction at Christie's.

To me, the woman in the portrait looks like one would imagine Jane Austen (or one of her heroines, for that matter) -- with an attractive, intelligent and lively face.

Why Would We Listen to Him?

Perhaps it was inevitable that Carter era national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski would surface to proclaim that terrorism isn't the real problem -- the real problem is the phrase "war on terror." He denounces the "national brainwashing on the subject of terror," "fear-mongering" and "paranoia" generated by both the phrase itself, and the struggle it denotes. Perhaps it would be better if we just turned a blind eye and a deaf eye to the intentions of our enemies, a la the Clinton administration, and just hoped another day of reckoning would never come?

The feckless and bizarre nature of the piece is evident even from the pains he takes to defend the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) -- a group that was, according to Daniel Pipes, founded by Islamic terrorists.

Granted, there isn't much that Brzezinski is right about these days, as I've pointed out before. But then again, given that he's part of the most miserably failed foreign policy team of my lifetime, who's surprised? After all, it was his political patron, Jimmy Carter, who noted at the time that the Shah of Iran was deposed that not all change was negative. Wrong again.

Read this whole sorry Brzezinski article for yourself. In his world, the terrorists aren't the problem -- the Bush Administration is. Doesn't that pretty much tell you everything you need to know about today's Democrat party?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Some Empowerment

Meghan Cox Gurdon points out that beauty pageants reviled by feminists -- like Miss USA -- are actually more wholesome than the raunchy fare (like the new show featuring tryouts for stripper/singer group The Pussycat Dolls) that are purveyed to Americans as signs of female "empowerment."

She writes:

It will probably not surprise you to hear that the creators of this cat-housery want us to believe that getting pretty, young, scantily clad women to writhe for the camera is a way of empowering them. According to this line of reasoning, these gyrating fembots are a triumph of liberated femininity, using their sexuality on their own terms. . . . In fact, the world of women parading for men's pleasure hasn't changed--except that now women have allowed themselves to be fooled into thinking that the less they wear and the more they "work it," the more independent and free-spirited they actually are.

Depravity dressed up as empowerment is fast becoming the cultural trope of our times.

That's one of the points I make in my upcoming book Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)

The Heighth of Hypocrisy

Former presidential counselor Beth Nolan shows some crust in asserting that the White House is carrying the concept of executive privilege too far by refusing to allow White House advisors to be put under oath in a show trial atmosphere so that Democratic senators can conduct a fishing expedition.

First, it's worth pointing out that Nolan worked for an Administration that the courts found claimed executive privilege illegitimately in order to shield the President from a legitimate independent counsel investigation of the President's own sex scandal. Here, in contrast, President Bush and his administration aren't looking to shield themselves from the consequences of behavior outside the scope of their official duties.

Second, Nolan's piece is profoundly misleading. She writes:

When Congress has already received information and testimony that raises serious questions about possible wrongdoing, the White House counsel's offer -- a closed-door session that may not be recorded, even by a transcript, and on the condition that Congress has only one bite at the apple, no matter what it may subsequently learn -- is simply inadequate.

Needless to say, politics dictates that if the Congress found something dramatic in the closed-door testimony, it would definitely get more than "one bite at the apple." That proviso is put in to guarantee that Democrats can't simply prevent Karl Rove from doing his job by tying him up constantly in congressional meetings. What's more, why should the Democrats determine that the offer is "inadequate" if they haven't tried it -- and they're sincerely interested in just getting the facts?

Nolan likewise misleads by suggesting that there are fewer grounds for claiming executive privilege on behalf of advisors who have already left the White House:

Out of respect for the separation of powers, Congress should not ordinarily call on such officials for testimony but should leave such officials to devote their attention to their duties for the president. This rationale no longer has force for those who have left the White House, such as Harriet Miers . . .

That's simply disingenuous. The primary rationale for executive privilege for presidential advisors is to allow them to be able to offer advice to the President without worrying about subsequently being hauled before Congress under oath. Where they are working at the time they are called for such testimony is irrelevant -- as Nolan surely knows, as the Clinton Administration made this argument frequently.

She winds up with this:

When I was counsel to the president, we were deluged with subpoenas, many of which were issued unilaterally by a committee chair and served on us without even the courtesy of a phone call first. So much for respecting a co-equal branch or engaging in a process of accommodation.

So what? The Clinton Administration rarely attempted to "engag[e] in a process of accommodation" like the one President Bush tried futilely to initiate. From Whitewater on, it was "batten down the hatches" -- and all of us can recall the "take no prisoners" siege mentality that the Clinton Administration adopted.

Funny: Nolan thinks that when Democrats were on the end of Republican subpoenas, Congress was unreasonable. Now that the shoe is on the other foot -- and without any evidence to substantiate the highly inflammatory allegations, while emails and other correspondence have backed up the Administration's account -- it's the executive branch that's being unreasonable.

Our Man in the Senate

Jed Babbin spoke with the fabulous Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell -- one of the greatest assets the Republicans have. Don't let his courtly Southern manner fool you . . . the Senator from Kentucky is a smart man and a principled one, who gets the job done.

An Interesting Perspective

As Patterico notes, LA Times' former Opinion editor Andres Martinez seems outraged that the news department has tried to reach over and coordinate with editorial.

Truly, however, it's already been happening in reverse, where editorial content creeps into the news coverage. What's remarkable is that Martinez seems to care less about ideologically infected reporting than he does about a more administrative effort to coordinate staff editorials with the paper's news coverage.

Big-Spending Defeatists

So the House Speaker was able to lard enough pork into an appropriations bill to persuade Democrats to vote for a deadline that would signal a limited commitment to Iraq, currently the front line in the war on terror.

The Democrats know that this bill has no chance of becoming law. The Senate will not pass one like it, and the President will veto any timelines that come to his desk.

So their sole significant achievement with this legislation is to embolden our enemies, and demonstrate once again that Democrats are soft on terror -- and defeatist, to boot.

Congratulations. If we lose Iraq, we know squarely where to place the blame.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A "Revolution," Indeed

News accounts have discussed the founding of True Love Revolution, a pro-abstinence group at Harvard. From campus accounts, it's clear that it takes a fair amount of moral courage to join the group.

True Love Revolution follows in the footsteps of Princeton's Anscombe Society, the first such group.

But what's remarkable in the news account about TRL is the reaction of the feminists.

Some feminists, in particular, have criticized True Love Revolution's message.

Harvard student Rebecca Singh said she was offended by a valentine the group sent to the dormitory mailboxes of all freshmen. It read: "Why wait? Because you're worth it."

"I think they thought that we might not be 'ruined' yet," Singh said. "It's a symptom of that culture we have that values a woman on her purity. It's a relic."

How disappointing. Don't these women realize that it's not about being "ruined" -- as much as it is about valuing oneself enough to be discriminating in bestowing one's sexual favors? Have they no idea of the heartbreak, depression and loss of self-esteem that too often accompanies giving too much, too soon -- especially for girls?

How can feminists claim to be "pro-woman" when they encourage behavior that actually hurts women?

Leadership, Democrat-Style

Democrats can't even get organized to surrender in Iraq, thanks to some of the blue dogs who aren't willing to defund the troops as the surge moves forward.

This is the "leadership" they promised Americans last fall?

To quote the Drudge Report,

Dem leadership pulls DC voting bill from floor; conservative Dems were supporting DC gun repeal...
Leader Hoyer seen yelling at staff on floor...
Speaker Pelosi absent because she is desperately searching for Iraq supplemental votes...
Holmes-Norton standing silently in disbelief.. .

Way Outisde the Mainstream

Iain Murray explores many of the fallacies that Al Gore propagated during his Capitol Hill appearance yesterday.

What's most remarkale, however, is just how far the lionized Gore is outside the mainstream:

Appearing before a House committee, he said that changing the American economy in the way he proposes - a plan of freezes, taxes, market controls and regulations that would represent a massive expansion of government control over the economy - would not be costly.

Yet he also endorsed the ill-fated Kyoto Protocol (which he helped negotiate). The U.S. Energy Information Administration calculates that Kyoto would reduce U.S. gross domestic product by $100 billion to $400 billion a year.


This Is Transparency

Everyone gets it wrong sometimes, but only the real pros are willing to explain to their readers what happened and why.

So Much for Transparency

Amazing. Brian Grazer was to be given the right to edit the Sunday Currents section of the LA Times, while editorial/oped/opinion editor Andres Martinez -- who has just quit -- was having an affair Grazer's publicist. Oh, and the paper's publicist knew all about the publicly-undisclosed relationship, and was still prepared to let the Grazer editing gig go forward.

How low a once-great newspaper has fallen.

Edwards' Decision

John Edwards has announced that he will continue campaigning even as his wife has been diagnosed with a recurrence of her breast cancer.

Those of us who have (thank God) never been forced to confront that kind of diagnosis can never understand what it means -- and can do little besides wish them both the best in whatever struggles may await them. Even so, continuing the campaign in defiance of the diagnosis seems like the right decision, a brave one -- and one that indicates just how central a presidential campaign can become, not just for a candidate, but for those who love him most.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An Interesting Possibility

Does Khalid Sheik Mohammed's confession raise new questions about a link between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda?

She Will Be Missed

The talented Cathy Seipp died today. Although I only had the pleasure of meeting her a few times, thoughts and prayers go out to her daughter, Maia, and her many friends. May she rest in peace.

About Politics, Not Law

Andrew McCarthy tells you everything you need to know about the Democrats' unconstitutional efforts to compel testimony from top White House advisors. In a nutshell:

Quite apart from what it may want, and what may be politically expedient for the administration to give, Congress is entitled to nothing from the president’s staff. Its demand is no more appropriate than would be a summons from President Bush to Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy’s staffers to press them on whether Leahy’s blocking of highly qualified judicial nominees stemmed from principle or bare-knuckles partisanship.

Not Quite!

This misleading LA Times story suggests that American Episcopal bishops are united in rejecting the very reasonable requests made of the Episcopal Church of the USA (ECUSA) by the worldwide Anglican communion.

Hardly. Conservative bishops -- who are ignored by the Times in this article -- do not want to reject the requests made by the Communion, thereby precipitating a schism between the American church and the rest of Church worldwide.

What's more, the claims by the liberal bishops (although they're never explicitly identified as such in this piece) that theological diversity is tolerated in the American church has become something of a joke. Either the dissenting, conservative congregations agree to do it the liberal American bishops' way, or else. The stench of political correctness in the ECUSA is overwhelming.

Light Blogging Today

Our linksys box died, terminating my connection with the internet -- at least until it's replaced tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Real Left-Wing Agenda

AJ Dionne inadvertently explains why so many on the Democratic side are so eager for the war in Iraq to fail.

It's because, in their view, the war stands for a host of foreign policy concepts they despise: "unilateral," "bold," "robust," "transformative" and "sole remaining superpower." With the difficulties in Iraq, Dionne explains, better words (in his view) have come into vogue: "multilateral," "nuance," "patience," "diplomacy," "allies," "history" and "prudence."

The words Dionne favors are those that speak to a chastened America that hesitates to use its power, even when confronted with evidence of a growing threat (indeed, all the world's intelligence agencies believed Saddam had WMD). It's an America that doesn't dare lead, and looks instead to world opinion for direction and guidance.

For the left, there's much more at stake in Iraq than simply America's national security or Iraq's well-being. Failure is desirable -- necessary, even -- in their view, so as to restrain America's power. For, after all, in their view, American power is to be distrusted and feared -- even more than, say, Saddam Hussein was.

It's About Time

President Bush has finally demonstrated that he understands that Democrats are seeking nothing but to slake their political bloodlust with their threats to send subpoenas to presidential advisors.

The White House is rightly telling them to take a hike. In good faith, the Administration has offered to have presidential advisers answer questions -- but that's not enough for the Democrats. That, of course, is because they're not interested in getting to the bottom of the US attorneys story; they're interested in setting a perjury trap and hoping for Libby II.

The US attorneys story is one of the non-events of the year. As even the LA TImes has been forced to concede, contemperaneous emails demonstrate that the US attorney firings appeared to be for entirely legitimate reasons:

The department did not remove the U.S. attorneys for improper reasons such as to prevent or retaliate for a particular prosecution in a public corruption matter," [a Justice Department spokeswoman] said.

Indeed, some of the documents show Justice Department officials discussing individual problems with the various fired prosecutors.

They were critical of Paul Charlton in Phoenix because he wanted to change Gonzales' mind about a death penalty case in Arizona.

They were upset with Daniel G. Bogden in Las Vegas for not bringing enough obscenity prosecutions. McNulty said in an e-mail two days before the firings that he had second thoughts about Bogden.

"I'm still a little skittish about Bogden … I'll admit (I) have not looked at his district's performance."

The documents also show that Washington officials were frustrated with Carol C. Lam of San Diego and David C. Iglesias of Albuquerque for not doing more on border crime cases.

Those are entirely proper reasons for removing US attorneys -- not that, as political appointees, the White House has to demonstrate any reasons at all.

Media Incest

This piece offers insight into the way that Washington works. Note how many journalists' spouses are on the payrolls of various political campaigns -- and how easily the journalists themselves, and their employers, seem able to dismiss the potential conflicts that these relationships can cause.

Ron Brownstein, for example -- whose wife is John McCain's communications director -- seems to think that the problem is solved if he switches over from news reporting to a political column. But that only gets him half the way home, I'd think -- doesn't he have an obligation to disclose that his wife is a McCain employee even in the context of expressing his opinions about McCain?

The whole matter is another testament to journalists' apparent belief that they, unlike other mortals, can separate their personal interests from their professional ones.

Oh, and it's noteworthy that left-leaning journalists have spouses on the McCain payroll. Certainly, spouses can disagree about politics -- but let's just stipulate that there are very, very few political "odd couples" like Mary Matalin and James Carville.

Why the Surge is Working

Gordon Cucullu explains it all.

A Necessary Move

President Bush is reaffirming strong support for Attorney General Gonzales in the face of reports that The White House is seeking replacements.

I'm not a particular fan of the Attorney General's -- and am appalled at how this entire US attorney matter has been handled . . . talk about creating a scandal where none exists! -- but the President is absolutely right. Gonzales' resignation would do nothing to stop the scandal-mongering from the left, and would only help create the false impression that there really was wrongdoing at a level that justifies the resignation of a top Cabinet officer.

That's just playing into the perception that the Democrats have, dishonestly, been trying to create.

Monday, March 19, 2007

It's All in the Spin

Here's how the LA Times chose to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Iraq:

On the fourth anniversary today of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, an extensive poll of public attitudes about the prolonged occupation shows Iraqis are tiring of the American presence and are deeply skeptical of its motives, even as many believe life is now better without Saddam Hussein.

. . .

[M]ore than half said they believed the security situation would improve immediately after American-led forces withdraw from the country. And nearly a quarter said they believed the purpose of President Bush's plan to "surge" more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq was to use the country as a base from which to attack other Middle Eastern nations.

. . .

[N]early half said they believed Iraq had either devolved into full-blown civil war or was close to it. Still, 45% said they believe the new security crackdown will work.

Now compare the reporting of the same poll in the Times of London:

The survey of more than 5,000 Iraqis found the majority optimistic despite their suffering in sectarian violence since the American-led invasion four years ago this week.

. . .

Only 27% think there is a civil war in Iraq, compared with 61% who do not . . .

. . .

By a majority of two to one, Iraqis believe military operations now under way will disarm all militias. More than half say security will improve after a withdrawal of multinational forces.

Amazing differences in tone and emphasis, no? Reporting in part on the same poll, USA Today headlines its piece, "Iraqis see hope drain away" -- despite the fact that both polls covered show that more Iraqis think they are better off without Saddam Hussein.

Could it be any more obvious that the American press has taken sides in the domestic debate over the war, and aren't willing to be constrained by old-fashioned journalistic notions like "accuracy" in their reporting of it?

Agenda journalism at its worst.

The "Magic Negro"?!

What is the LA Times thinking to give space on its op/ed page to this insulting, ridiculous and inappropriate article that characterizes Barack Obama as "the magic negro"?

It seems that the author's point was to argue that Barack Obama is being given something of a pass because he is black -- because Americans are eager to find a black candidate that they like and can support. Whatever the merits of that argument (if that is, in fact, the argument), however, they are completely undermined by the needlessly provocative and unfortunate language in which the author has chosen to couch them.

If Barack is the "magic negro," then what is Condoleezza Rice? And what kind of "negroes" are Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton? The very inquiry points up the pernicious nature of the entire topic -- and one has to wonder what the people at the LA Times are thinking to allow such rubbish to appear in its pages.

Filling in for Hugh Hewitt

Beginning in about 25 minutes, I'll be filling in for Hugh Hewitt. BTW, have you bought "A Mormon in The White House?" yet?

The Rest of the Story

Byron York documents all the discrepancies between Valerie Plame's self-serving account of the Plamegate affair in Congress last week -- and the facts turned up in the bipartisan Senate Intelligence Committee Report.

Note that my former boss, Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri, is quoted in the linked piece.

So Far, So Good

That's Secretary Gates' appraisal of the surge in Iraq.

It's revealing that all the encouraging reports haven't dampened the Democrats' ardor for retreat one single bit. What that suggests is that their calls for cutting 'n running have nothing to do with what's really happening on the ground, and everything to do with their political agenda of trying to bloody the President and win the presidency in 2008. The importance of winning, of course, isn't even part of the equation for them.

The "Acceptable" Kind of Bigotry?

My Townhall column discusses what seems to be a troubling new trend of penalizing public figures -- from Mitt Romney to General Peter Pace -- for their personal exercise of religious conscience.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Good News for Mitt Romney

He's looking good in New Hampshire -- with McCain at 29%, Rudy at 28% and Romney at 22%. Next? Newt Gingrich at 5%.

"Don't Tell Mama, I'm With Obama"!?

According to this piece, that's the catchphrase for former Clinton devotees who have now signed up with Hillary's chief rival.

Who Can Surrender Fastest?

There's something a little pathetic about the Democrat presidential candidates' competition to see see who can lose the Iraq war the fastest.

His strategy of upping the anti-war ante doesn't speak well for Senator Barack Obama's judgment. Even so, Hillary Clinton is even worse -- because her previous positions have made it clear that she believes it is wrong to support a hasty withdrawal. But with her polls falling, she's willing to go ahead and sign on.

Goes to show that nothing -- absolutely nothing -- is more important in Senator Clinton's eyes than winning the presidency, whatever the cost to US security.

The Left-Wing View of Morality

This piece is an almost perfect encapsulation of the attitude that has underlain the sexualization of American culture. Setting aside the particulars of General Pace's remarks (and since when is someone not permitted to express what they believe to be right or wrong?), the author's approach is remarkably revealing.

What's remarkable is that the author sees moral objections to other people's sexual behavior as inherently unworthy of respect or discussion -- in fact, it's an "insult." The very concept of morality, in the author's view, is nothing more than a cloak for visceral, instinctive reactions.

This whole approach to sexual issues -- what business is it of yours if I'm not hurting anyone else? -- can have unfortunate consequences. After all, tarting little girls up like junior grade prostitutes may not hurt anyone else, but it hurts them. What's more, it ignores the negative externalities of certain types of sexual behaviors . . . on children, and on the tone of American culture in general.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Getting Better All the Time

It will no doubt come as an enormous disappointment to the cut 'n run brigades to learn that most Iraqis believe that life now is better than under Saddam's tyranny and that by a 61% to 27% margin, they do not believe there is a civil war in their country.

Now if they could only convince the Democrats . . .

Feinstein Hypocrisy Alert

This op/ed from Senator Dianne Feinstein is incredibly misleading. Feinstein, a member of the Judiciary Committee, has been playing an appallingly reckless role in trying to transform a non-event -- the removal of eight US attorneys -- into a major Washington scandal. What's more, she's been incredibly hypocritical in doing so.

First, she was silent back in 1993 when the Clinton Administration fired all 93 US attorneys.

Second, as the San Diego Union-Tribune notes, Feinstein herself had complained about the San Diego US attorney whose firing she now protests.

Third, for someone who continues to try to project an image of judicious sobriety, Feinstein has leveled some reckless charges -- for example, that the San Diego US attorney was fired for her role in the Duke Cunningham prosecution. In fact, there's not a scintilla of evidence to substantiate such a serious charge, and a cursory reading of White House emails reveals both that the US attorney was on the list to be fired before the Cunningham scandal even came to light, and second, that she was slated to be fired because of insufficient zeal in prosecuting illegal immigration cases, among other reasons.

Dianne Feinstein needs to take it down a notch and start telling the truth. In today's op/ed, one of the many egregious distortions include this paragraph:

Nonetheless, top officials at the White House and the Justice Department hatched a plan to remove a smaller number of U.S. attorneys. One of the keys in the evaluation was whether the prosecutor showed loyalty to the administration.

In fact, the White House emails reveal that loyalty was just one of the considerations in the mix -- but as she herself knows, there's nothing illegitimate about it. Every administration has the right to hire US attorneys who will be guided by its priorities -- and if the Bush Administration, for example, wants to emphasize the prosecution of child porn cases and terrorism matters, while de-emphasizing abortion clinic prosecutions (big in the Clinton Administration), that's its prerogative.

Elections have conseequences, Senator Feinstein.

A Revealing Omission

Remarkably, the LA Times has a story about the significance and impact of political blogs.

What's even more remarkable -- albeit more predictable -- is the fact that the Times "covers" the topic exclusively from the left wing perspective. It discusses several of the most prominent liberal blogs -- Daily Kos, Atrios, Eschaton, Talking Points Memo, TPM Cafe -- but completely ignores the existence of their right-leaning brethren.

That's right -- not a single word about powerhouses like Hugh Hewitt, Michelle Malkin, Powerline or any of the countless others.

Tells you a lot about the Times, doesn't it? Is it more frightening that the Times would simply ignore the right wing blogs, or that it's conceivable that Times staffers don't even know they exist?

"Covert" to Whom?

Andrew McCarthy points out a major oversight in the news coverage of Valerie Plame's insistence that she was a covert CIA agent -- that the newspapers themselves have adduced evidence and argued that her cover was blown as far back as the early 1990's.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Getting It Exactly Backwards

In this breathtakingly obtuse piece, LA Times columnist Rosa Brooks opines that the Bush Administration's decision to fight the war on terror has somehow elevated the status of our enemies.

Most ironically, the "war on terror" framework has lent legitimacy to terrorist leaders such as KSM, enabling them to present themselves as warriors standing up against a powerful — and hypocritical — U.S. military machine.

At his Guantanamo hearing, KSM was quick to exploit what he termed the "language of war." "I'm not happy that 3,000 been killed in America," he piously informed the military tribunal. But in war, "you have to kill." The U.S., he implied, is really not so different from Al Qaeda. Just consider the innocents killed by U.S. bombardments!

(That latter bit of "reasoning," loaded with ridiculous moral equivalence, sounds a lot like what emanates from the mouths of many elected Democrats.)

Actually, Professor Brooks, jihadists were marketing themselves as warriors long before 9/11. What's more, it's not the declaration of a "war on terror" that has elevated the visibility of people like "KSM," -- rather, what's gained them public attention is the fact that they are trying to kill us and are willing to come to our shores to do it. Amazingly, Brooks thinks they should be treated like common criminals, rather than lawless enemy combatants. If that isn't offering them unwarranted "legitimacy," than what does?

Last week at Guantanamo, KSM finally got his theatrical opportunity: the chance to stand before a military tribunal and proudly accept the mantle of "enemy combatant" in Al Qaeda's war against the U.S. By declaring war on terrorism, the Bush administration ended up playing right into his hands.

In Brooks' world, if we just ignore the fact that Islamofascists have declared war on America, it will simply disappear. But it's worth remembering that if Brooks and her friends get their way -- terrorists are moved to the United States, given trials in federal court, and extended all the constitutional protections offered to American citizens -- people like KSM will receive even greater opportunities to "grandstand."

In fact, the lefties who slop over with sympathy for Guantanamo detainees are the ones who are playing into the terrorists' hands. By exploiting the sympathies of the soft-hearted and soft-headed, terrorists have managed in many cases to secure something approaching "prisoner of war" status -- a status that carries protections to which no law entitles them. And that, rather than the Bush Administration's decision to take their plots against with the seriousness that's warranted, is what legitimizes them and their activities.

Note to Professor Brooks: Just because we don't want to be at war with them, that doesn't mean they're not at war with us -- however much the soft-headed and hopelessly naive among us might refuse to concede that fact.

An Ugly Plot

The FBI is warning that extremists have shown untoward interest in driving school buses.

These are the kind of people with whom Democrats seem to believe we can reach a "political understanding."

What the Polls Really Say

Here is a full and nuanced reading of recent polls about Iraq. The piece reveals the almost-unbelievable depth of press bias when it comes to covering the story.

Judging by Results

As the Investors Business Daily points out, President Bush's Latin American tour had some distinctly beneficial results -- not that you're likely to read about them in many U.S. newspapers.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Wish is Father to the Thought

In this column John Mercurio speculates that the much-ballyhooed report by The New York Times -- that Republican unhappiness with their presidential frontrunners could presage a realignment -- strikes me as more speculative than accurate.

Not so fast. There are several more innocuous reaosns for Republican discontent. First, it's worth noting that the GOP has always been a party of stability, and its candidate has traditionally been the "next in line" or otherwise a logical heir to the nomination. This year, given the widespread animus toward John McCain, that isn't the case, which in itself can be causing some uneasiness.

Second, if there's been any surprise in this campaign so far, it's the extent to which Rudy Giuliani has been embraced by elements of the party which -- according to the punditocracy -- were going to reject him outright. That isn't the sign of a realignment-producing discontent . . . rather, it's a signal that Republicans are in the race to win, and are willing to be pragmatic if that's what it takes, whatever their internal unrest.

Finally, party happiness with a nominee is important, of course -- but it isn't entirely dispositive. What likewise matters is how much appeal the nominee is likely to have across the spectrum to moderates and independents. And by that calculus, any of the three Republican frontrunners seem every bit as likely as the top Dems (more likely, in fact) to have widespread appeal. What also matters is -- even if Republicans aren't thrilled with their own candidate -- how alarmed or opposed they will be with the Democratic candidate.

And if that candidate is, for example, Hillary Clinton -- well, need I say more?

A Double Victory

In a victory both for national security and for the Constitution, the Senate Republicans have fought back the Democrats' latest attempt to surrender to the terrorists in Iraq, this time by setting a withdrawal deadline.

Obviously, it goes without saying that surrendering the battlefield to Al Qaeda in Iraq is a bad idea for America's national security. What's more, under the Constitution, the Congress has two responsibilities in wartime: To declare war, and to withhold funding if the situation warrants it.

The Congress on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis approved the Iraq war. If it has changed its mind, there is always the alternative of defunding it. But nothing in the Constitution gives the Congress power to manage the war; such responsibilities are inherent in the President's role as Commander-in-Chief.

Way to go, Senate Republicans!

Damning With Faint Praise

Barack Obama is one cagy customer. Complimenting John Edwards' looks is just one more roundabout way of stressing that he's all Breck girl and no substance.

Just a Tad Complacent?

Politico reports that Howard Dean has been meeting with world leaders to prepare the way for a new Democratic president.

First of all, who, exactly, elected Howard Dean as America's Ambassador-at-Large to the world? Given Dean's history of innacurate and inartful remarks, along with his atrocious temper, thinking of him attempting to make nice with other world leaders is enough to make any normal American's blood run cold.

More than that, it simply smacks of disloyalty. The majority of people in this country voted for President Bush, and as long as he's in office, it strikes me that it's inappropriate for Dean or other Democrats to skulk around the world either apologizing for him or talking down his Administration. Can anyone imagine the outcry had a chairman of the RNC treated Bill Clinton this way? It would have been wrong in those circumstances, and it's wrong here.

Finally, in case Dean and the rest of the Democrats hadn't noticed, the American people haven't actually elected a Democrat President yet. And given that they've only done so three times in the past 31 years, couldn't one characterize Dean's approach as something close to arrogance? Hate to tell you, Gov. Dean -- but the American people may end up making a different choice.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A Frightening Trend

There is, in fact, a serious cultural problem that springs from Biblical illiteracy -- we begin to lose any sense of our shared moral and ethical heritage.

But -- contrary to the suggestion in the linked article -- given the temperament of the public schols, they're probably not the right institution to pick up the slack. In fact, what's frightening to contemplate is that what's happened today with Biblical literacy is likewise happening with American civics and history -- with the complicity of the public schools.

Ultimately, how do we communicate on any level without a widespread knowledge of either our governmental or religious foundations?

Signs of Progress

There is good news from Iraq. Since the surge, bombings are down 30 percent. Execution-style slayings are down by half.

Hillary Lies Again

This morning, on ABC's "Good Morning America" (transcript here), Hillary Clinton told another whopper.

Asked to justify her outrage at the Justice Department's firing of 8 US attorneys, when her husband had ordered the firing of all 93 at the outset of his Administration, Hillary responded thusly:

This is a great difference. When a new president comes in, a new president gets to clean house. It is not done on case-by-case basis where you didn't do something that some senator or member of Congress told you to do in terms of investigation into opponents. It is 'Let's start afresh.' Every president has done that. (emphasis added)

In fact, every president has not conducted mass firings of US attorneys, as Hillary should well know. Part of the controversy generated by Clinton's decision sprung from the fact that the firings were unprecedented. As Investors Business Daily has noted, the mass firings were "something no administration has done before or since."

What's more, Hillary misrepresents the reasons for the firings with her remarks implying that the Bush Administration fired the US attorneys because "you didn't do something that some senator or member of Congress told you to do in terms of investigation into opponents."

As Patterico points out, there were in fact legitimate reasons that these eight US attorneys were shown the door.

Now She's Concerned

Ruth Marcus is full of righteous indignation over the perceived failings of Alberto Gonzales.

Strikes me that Gonzales has certainly managed to mishandle the PR for the US attorney matter -- who ever heard of apologizing for doing something that one has a perfect right to do, i.e., firing 8 US attorneys -- but, after all, isn't Ms. Marcus' concern several years too late?

Where was she, exactly, when the hapless, hopelessly incompetent Janet Reno was "presiding" over the Justice Department? Did she ever call for Reno to resign, even after it became clear that she was little more than a political lapdog for Bill Clinton, even after WACO, the use of the IRS and the FBI for partisan purposes, and so much more -- including the firing of all 93 US attorneys?

Could Marcus' concern possibly mirror her partisan sympathies?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Terror Free Investing

For a long time, the left has tried to use divestiture as a tool against Israel and other disfavored interests.

Now, Frank Gaffney proposes an antiterrorism initiative that's both financially and morally sound: Terror free investing.

Winning the "Popularity" Trifecta

Chuck Hagel is quite a guy. His defeatism and sanctimony has irretrievably damaged his standing with Republicans; his support for many of the President's policies can hardly help him with pro-surrender Democrats. Now he's even managed to alienate the press with yesterday's non-announcement announcement.

Talk about hitting the trifecta. And this guy thinks he might have the political skills to win the presidency?

Conflicting Liberal Authorities: What to Do?

This piece is almost enough to make one feel sorry for the liberals.

Why? Because it puts two foundational beliefs of the left-wing mind -- i.e., faith in the New York Times and a passionate conviction about the existence of man-made global warming -- in conflict. (It comes only a day after an LA Times editorial observed that, "By interfering with the discretion of the commander in chief and military leaders in order to fulfill domestic political needs, Congress undermines whatever prospects remain of a successful outcome." What's going on?!)

The New York Times article actually reports that a number of scientists without partisan agendas or political axes are expressing skepticism about some of Al Gore's more cataclysmic charges relating to global warming. It's about time -- dissenters from man-made global warming orthodoxy have been ignored, threatened, or bullied for far too long.

No need to worry that liberals will have too hard a time reconciling the conflict between the Times and global warming talking points -- the beautiful thing about belief in global warming is its infinite flexibility.

After all, as this story reveals, even after two explorers were forced to give up on a trek to the North Pole -- intended to call attention to global warming -- because it was simply too cold, the global warming enthusiasm of one of the trip's organizers remained undiminished:

"They [the explorers] were experiencing temperatures that weren't expected with global warming," [the trip organizer] said. "But one of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability."


Monday, March 12, 2007

Thanks to the Hewitt Team!

It was a great pleasure and privilege to have the chance to guest-host for the one and only Hugh Hewitt.

Thanks to Hugh, who's on book tour in New York promoting A Mormon in The White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney, released today (click on the link and buy it now!).

As always, the indispensable Generalissimo and stalwart Adam made everything easy, and Austin and Beth helped the trains run on time.

Many thanks to the entire fabulous Hewitt team!

Paging St. Jude

St. Jude is, of course, the patron saint of lost causes. His intervention may well be needed for the campaign of Senator Chuck Hagel, who has just announced that he will announce whether he will run for Presidnet later this year. Defeatist on the war, sanctimonious in his opposition, hostile to fellow Republicans -- it would be an interesting campaign.

Perhaps former Senator Lincoln Chafee is available to join him as his running mate?

Was This Terrorism?

Happily, an attack on "the backbone of the internet," emanating from the Asian-Pacific region was foiled.

Cold Day in H-ll

The Los Angeles Times has actually denounced Congressional Democrats for their attempt to micromanage the Iraq war and force defeat.

Wake me -- am I dreaming?

Thinking Americans Are Stupid

So Hillary Clinton has been caught in yet another whopper, claiming that she was an adherent of Dr. Martin Luther King the year before she was an avowed Goldwater Girl in the 1964 election.

The reasons she would make such a claim are obvious. Threatened by Barack Obama's burgeoning popularity in the African American community, she is trying to find new grounds on which to claim a connection with black voters.

It's just the method that she used -- a pandering, easily refuted falsehood -- that raises the questions. She had to have known that the information about her Republican roots was out there. Why, then, would she go ahead and make a statement that's not only untrue, but easily verifiable as such?

First, it's worth noting she has a history of doing this. She's told people that she was named for Sir Edmund Hillary, and the like -- even though, that, too, could be easily checked.

At the very least, Hillary's willingness to make these claims speaks to a deep contempt for her audience. Doesn't she know that people have the intelligence and the capacity to check her statements -- and that her every statement is going to be scrutinized?

More profoundly, it indicates a profound emptiness at the core of Hillary Clinton. She lacks the confidence that she will be liked and supported if she reveals her "true" self, and thus resorts to trying to make "connections" with her audience based not on who she is, but who she thinks they would like her to be.

If this weren't so annoying, it would be sad. But this lack of mature and stable self-knowledge and self-acceptance may explain her ceaseless quest for power, public acclaim and public office. She's trying to find the love and regard from the outside that she's obviously unable to manifest for herself from within.

Hugh Hewitt Show: Guest Hosting

I'll be guest hosting the Hugh Hewitt Show today. Find out where to listen here.

We've got lots of great topics on the table -- and don't forget: Today's the release date of Hugh's new book, A Mormon in The White House?: 10 Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Truth About Justice

Predictably, the Democrats are grandstanding again. Charles Schumer is calling for Attorney General Gonzales' resignation, on the grounds that he is allegedly putting politics above the law.

That's pretty rich, coming from a senator who complacently sat in office (both in the House and Senate) throughout the tenure of the hapless, hopelessly incompetent Janet Reno. Her Justice Department was a political tool of the Clinton Administration from start to finish, as David Limbaugh pointed out; what's more, its respect for civil liberties (allegedly so beloved by Democrats when a terrorist threat looms) was limited, at best.

What's more, this matter about the firing of eight US attorneys is a big "nothing" of the first order. The President is entitled to fire US attorneys for cause -- or without it. As many will recall, one of Janet Reno's first acts was to fire all 93 sitting US attorneys. As Judge Robert Bork wrote in 1998:

Upon taking office, in an unexplained departure from the practice of recent Administrations, Miss Reno suddenly fired all 93 U.S. attorneys. She said the decision had been made in conjunction with the White House. Translation: The President ordered it.

There was a brief outcry, but there was the end of the matter. For one thing, the Senate was in Democratic hands. For another, firing all 93 U.S. attorneys -- despite the massive threat to numerous ongoing prosecutions all across the US -- was the President's prerogative. They serve at the pleasure of the President.

Here, with regard to the US Attorney for New Mexico, the big charge is not that Senator Pete Domenici tried to stifle on ongoing prosecution. At worst, the allegation is that he tried to hasten its conclusion. Even that is unproven, but Domenici is being dragged through the mud anyway. And in fact, it's hardly unheard of for elected officials to check in with U.S. attorneys -- many times, the US attorneys are well-known to (or even proteges of) senators and congressmen. Perhaps its time for all the US senators to reveal the extent of their contacts with US attorneys in this administration and the preceding one.

The vaporings in the MSM over this non-story have been ridiculous. If they really cared about the facts, they would read Andrew McCarthy's straightforward accounting of relevant facts. Why is it all right to fire 93 US Attorneys, but terribly wrong to fire only 8?

News Flash: Women Aren't Monolithic

This piece reports that women, as a group, may not support Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman -- and that some Democratic women are even supporting John Edwards over Hillary!

Well, of course. It's long been an insulting assumption -- made primarily by the left -- that women are simply Democratic by nature, and that their gender will play the dominant role in determining which candidate they will support for President. That's not true, nor should it be -- any more than Barack Obama's appeal should be exclusvely about the fact he's black. The job of President is too important to be subjected to the race and gender considerations that too often overtake substantive political discussion.

For a long time, it seemed that Hillary Clinton played down her gender -- and rightly so. Now, she's playing it up, but no doubt as a matter of necessity. She senses that she's losing African American support to Obama, and needs to try to redefine herself as an alternative, exciting "first" to counter the greater sense of electricity around the Obama candidacy. Hence, she's falling back on the gender card.

Sen. Eagleton Laid to Rest

Yesterday, former Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton, a wonderful man, was laid to rest yesterday in St. Louis.

His farewell letter advised people to "go forth in love and peace -- be kind to dogs -- and vote Democratic."

All good advice -- except for the last one, of course.

Don't Count the Republicans Out

Here's one that will upset the Democrats. Samuel Popkin and Henry Kim explain why it's much too early to count out the Republicans for next year's presidential elections, pointing out that it's much more difficult to run for President -- as the Democrats must -- is harder than many expect.

A MSM Back-Up Plan?

Robert Kagan writes:

A front-page story in The [Washington] Post last week suggested that the Bush administration has no backup plan in case the surge in Iraq doesn't work. I wonder if The Post and other newspapers have a backup plan in case it does.

Well, perhaps here it is. No doubt that the few remaining truly great newspapers -- like the Post -- have taken it on the chin for an alleged failure to "challenge" the Administration before the invasion of Iraq (although, in fairness, they had the same intelligence that the rest of the world had; namely, that Saddam possessed WMD).

But stories like this one -- titled "Reports of Progress in Iraq Challenged" -- add little to the conversation, citing a think tank analyst from the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a "military official" as well as an "unnamed Democrati c congressional staffer." In fact, none of them actually rebut the President's claims that, although it's early, the surge may well be working.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Fox "Controversy"

The Nevada Democratic Party has pulled out of partnership with Fox News Channel and canceled its debate. Democrats are trying to blame Roger Ailes' joke about Barack Obama for the decision (but Politico's Ben Smith reports that Obama himself has told a version of the same joke).

In fact, the handwriting was on the wall when John Edwards began resisting the Nevada debate. (It's worth noting, as commenter eLarson observes below that some of this may have to do with the fact that Edwards' anti-gambling stances were likely to be massively unpopular there. In any case, it's amazing that Edwards will happily associate with a couple of God-bashing bloggers, but draws the line at America's most popular cable news network.)

Now Democrats are attempting to marginalize the Fox News Channel as hopelessly biased -- though it is, actually, the most watched cable news channel, which should tell the Dems something about where they should be reaching out. The question, of course, is whether such a tactic will succeed in making Fox look marginal -- or whether it will make the Democrats look like a party of crybabies held in thrall to a kooky left wing.

If anyone doubted that Republicans were tougher and better sports than Democrats, here's the proof: Wonder what the Democrats would say if two of the biggest morning shows were hosted by a former aide to Gov. Jeb Bush (instead of Cuomo alum Tim Russert) and a veteran of the Reagan administration (instead of Clinton alum George Stephanopoulos)? Wonder how much the Dems would complain if poll consistently showed that the overwhelming majority of journalists leaned to the right, rather than to the left?

Apparently, the Democrats are willing to be mighty tough in standing up to Fox News. How I wish they showed half the animus, spirit and determination in taking on our terrorist enemies. But it's all a matter of priorities -- and when a party has concluded that politics matter more than the war on terror, it's bound to show.

A "Soft on Terror" Agenda

Both the LA Times and the Democrats seem determined to use all occasions to further a "soft on terror" agenda.

Take this piece in today's Times. Titled "FBI abuses may lead to Patriot Act limits," it deliberately conveys the impression that the FBI has been wantonly, wilfully and gleefully violating Americans' civil liberties.

It takes until almost half way through the piece on the jump page (not the front, where the headline blares) before this important qualification is offered:

The report by Inspector Gen. Glenn A. Fine presented a picture of mismanagement and self-regulation gone awry. Fine said he had no evidence of intentional wrongdoing . . .

In other words, the whole "scandal" results from bureaucrats' inability to keep good records and the like. Not good, of course -- but hardly the civil rights scandal that the LA Times seems determined to make of it.

And then there are the Democrats. They've long opposed the Patriot Act -- remember Harry Reid boasting "We've killed the Patriot Act"? Now Pat Leahy and others are trying to use another example of bureaucratic incompetence as impetus for rolling back legislation that has helped keep America safe.

Before the senators get too high on their horses, they might likewise want to remember that many of their own number aren't the greatest recordkeepers in the world. Right, Harry Reid? Right, Hillary Clinton? Of course right.

Friday, March 09, 2007

The Price of Censorship

Peggy Noonan gets it perfectly right:

Our country now puts less of an emphasis on public decorum, courtliness, self-discipline, decency. America no longer says, "That's not nice." It doesn't want to make value judgments on "good" and "bad." We have come to rely on censorship to maintain decorum. We are very good at letting people know that if they say something we don't like, we'll shame them and shun them, even ruin them.

But censorship doesn't make people improve themselves; it makes people want to rebel. It tells them to toe the line or pay a price. People who are urged in the right direction and taught in the right direction will usually try to discipline and improve themselves from within. But they do not enjoy censorship from without. They fight back. They are rude in order to show they are unbroken.

In a sense, the entire matter is reminscent of what's happened in the relationship between the sexes. Now, we are told, we need an extensive network of laws regulating sexual harassment and the like -- and why? Because a generation of men were allowed to believe that simple politeness, chivalry, and regard for women were passe, the marks of a phallocentric, hegemonic, male-dominated society. When inner controls (the mechanisms of self-control) are eroded, external controls end up replacing them.

And rarely for the better.

Bulls Eye!

The leader of a major terrorist group has been captured near Baghdad. Of course, if the Democrats had their way, U.S. troops would be retreating, and this captive would be living large.

Pelosi's Perils

Kimberly Strassel lays out the damage that the anti-war left is doing to Nancy Pelosi's leadership of the House. Their zealotry is endangering the Democratic majority, and with good reason.

It seems only fair that a party that swept to power by promising immediate out-of-Iraq results to its left and moderation to its moderates is now being hoist on its own petard.

The bottom line is that sensible Democrats understand that normal Americans aren't willing to accept nothing but surrender and defeat. That's why, for example, so many of the talking points give lip serving to "winning" even as proposals are offered that would achieve exactly the opposite.

Disco Baby: Sign of the Apocalypse?

The Christian Science Monitor has a piece about "Baby Loves Disco" -- a new program under which moms can take their toddlers to nightclubs during the day. According to the article, the program is immensely popular.

It seems like a sad sign of the times. Are there mothers out there who really don't understand why a dark nightclubs, plenty of adult strangers, loud music and a cash bar combined present a less-than-wholesome scenario for little ones? Or are the parents' desires so important that the best interests of the little ones simply don't matter?

Increasingly, one reads stories like these that suggest that children have become the new equivalent of the tiny dogs starlets are wont to carry around in their purses -- seen as the season's cute and cuddly must-have accessory, but justifying no restrictions whatsoever on the grown-ups' desires or way of life

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Gingrich's Confession

Former Speaker Gingrich has confessed that he had an extramarital affair even as Congress was exploring Bill Clinton's behavior in the Lewinsky matter.

He's obviously right in asserting that there is world of difference between having an extramarital affair -- which is, obviously, very wrong -- and having an affair and then lying about it under oath. One is a crime, and one isn't. Even so, it may be a fine distinction for normal American voters, who have for years been told that the Clinton impeachment was about nothing but sex.

The fact that Ginrich went to Dr. Dobson to make these admissions suggests that he might be interested in pursuing the Republican presidential nomination, and is trying to find a way to manage some of the considerable personal baggage he's carrying.

Although I stand second to no one in my admiration of Gingrich's formidable intellect and visionary leadership, it's tough not to conclude that because of issues like this one, he'd have a very hard time winning a presidential election (note, too, his high negatives). No doubt Rudy carries some personal baggage, too, but his more libertarian/liberal views on social issues -- rightly or wrongly -- may have offered him wiggle room for personal transgressions that Speaker Gingrich simply may not have.

Come to Think of It . . .

John Edswards says he won't participate in the Nevada debate, in part because the event has Fox News as a partner -- and Edwards alleges the news network has a conservative bias.

Remarkable how that claim is trumpeted far and wide, but relatively little is said about Clinton buddy Rick Kaplan taking over as producer of "CBS Evening News." By Edwards' logic, all the Republicans could justifiably decline to participate in any debate with partners other than Fox News.

Bad News for the Media

Americans of all political stripes apparently see the media as a prime source of cultural decay.

Tax Cutting Team

Seems like Mitt Romney's working to assemble a pretty stellar group of economic advisors.

Bring It On, Chuck Hagel!

It's long been said that every senator looks in the mirror and sees a president looking back. That, of course, suggests an element of self-delusion on the part of at least some of the 100 US senators currently sitting.

No one, however, could possibly be more deluded than Chuck Hagel, who may be announcing for President next week. His unforgivable grandstanding on the war -- coupled with his voting record 95% in support of George Bush -- pretty much guarantees that finding a natural constituency (either among anti-war zealots or traditional Republicans) will be nigh impossible.

It will be interesting to see if Chuck Hagel ever finally figures out just how deeply distrusted and disliked he is within the Republican Party. Poor performances in the primaries should be a big clue.

Update: NRO's Jim Geraghty deems a Hagel run unlikely. Too bad, if true.

Dickering Over the Terms of Surrender

So the Democrats have come up with their latest plan for defeat in Iraq -- specifically, a proposal that would require the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by the fall of 2008 (or sooner if the Iraq government doesn't meet some unspecified security "benchmarks".)

This proposal once again shows the naivete, defeatism or paucity of imagination that too often characterizes the Democratic approach to national security. It doesn't take a psychic or a strategic genius to understand the impact on our enemies of a date-certain withdrawal. It sends the message that our commitment is wavering, and that all the terrorists need do is wait until autumn 2008, and they may then run wild. It's likewise a measure that would inevitably force failure in the interim, because what Iraqi is going to risk the ire of the extremist elements by helping to secure the country, with full knowledge that, 18 months or so from now, he'll be totally unprotected against terrorist reprisal?

It's remarkably cynical that the Democrats hope to buoy political support for this cynical ploy by adding money to the spring offensive against the Taliban. Does any Democrat really believe that the terrorist forces arrayed against the US in Afghanistan are significantly different than those in Iraq? The only difference between the two countries is that Iraq has much more significant strategic importance in the Middle East than does Afghanistan, and that the Taliban in Afghanistan openly harbored Osama bin Laden. While instructive, those contrasts are at this point essentially irrelevant to America's national security, which would be threatened by surrendering Iraq to Islamofascist extremists.

Do the Democrats not get it, or do they just not care? And if -- Heaven forbid -- the Democrats do get their way, are they not aware that taking the issue of Iraq off the table could accrue to the significant benefit of a Republican presidential candidate in autumn of '08?