Carol Platt Liebau: May 2007

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Cindy Sheehan's Farewell

This pitiful letter shows that Cindy Sheehan is, indeed, a grieving and unbalanced woman who is more to be pitied than blamed. Her shock at finding her Democrat friends have turned against her as she's started to criticize them, too, is as naive as it is sad.

What's notable is that her criticism of the left has been considerably less publicized than her fevered denunciations of America in general and President Bush and Republicanas in particular. Why has the press failed to report the left-wing attacks with the same gusto that characterized their coverage of right-wing criticisms of so-called "Mother Sheehan"?

They're Surprised?!

Unbelievably, apparently Republican senators are surprised at the intensity of the opposition to the immigration bill. And that, as much as anything, is a distressing sign of the chasm between Beltway GOP thinking and the real world.

The proponents of the bill have mishandled their defense almost as badly as they could have -- attributing ugly nativist sentiments to every bill opponent and refusing to take serious and conscientious objections seriously. Ironically, the very fact that they don't understand what all the fuss is about only serves to alarm the base even further; if the "leaders" don't comprehend why some of this bill is so bad, how committed can they be about truly addressing the underlying problems not only in the legislation but with the US's immigration regime as a whole?

It's been amazing to me that the President has repeatedly tried to adopt immigration as one of his "legacy issues," given that the topic unites Democrats and badly divides Republicans. It's been even more surprising to see him fall back on the worst John-McCain-style attribution of unworthy motives to his adversaries on this issue.

Getting History Right

Heather McDonald is absolutely right in asserting that Prop. 187 (removing government benefits from illegal immigrants) has little to do with the Democratic domination of California.

Rather, as she points out, the burgeoning Hispanic population -- often poor and underprivileged -- does. What's more, the 1990's decline of the defense industry and successive cycles of Democratic tax and spend government (with the accompanying exorbitant taxes and over-regulation) have driven many of the educated and productive taxpayers from the state.

Hypocrisy Alert

The same freshman Democrats who inveighed against the supposed "culture of corruption" on Capitol Hill during their election campaigns have now selected a registered lobbyist -- who represents the oil industry, the tobacco lobby, pharmaceutical industries and American Indian gambling interests -- to form its PAC.

Generally, I would have no comment about anyone using any legal method to extract a competitive advantage. But given the loudmouthed denunciations of such behavior by Democrats themselves in the runup to November 2006, it does reek a bit of hypocrisy, does it not?

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Whose "Unending War"?

Cal Thomas points out what should be obvious to Democrats, even as they try to drive down support for America's mission in Iraq by invoking the specter of President Bush's policy of "unending war":

This war will be unending, not because of the "Bush policy," but because of the Islamofascists whose jihad they believe is a direct order from their "compassionate and merciful" God. Some compassion; some mercy.


Not Ready for Veep Time?

John Dickerson eviscerates Bill Richardson's performance on "Meet the Press" last Sunday. Heck, it sounds like the appearance could serve as an invaluable opposition research treasure trove.

Thompson's Coming In

So it appears that Fred Thompson will be entering the presidential race.

On the one hand, to the extent that he sharpens up the field, thereby helping the best candidate to emerge, it's a good thing. But it strikes me that there is a lot of mass delusion among Republicans who seem to think that, because he's got an appealing, folksy manner and a lot of gravitas, Fred Thompson is the answer to conservatives' prayers.

For me to become a Thompson supporter, I would need to be convinced that his cancer isn't in any danger of returning, and so far, we have heard very little from doctors or others about his prognosis. It's an unpleasant topic, but anyone who thinks the Democrats wouldn't exploit it is hopelessly naive.

Second, I'd like to hear his thoughts on McCain-Feingold, which he supported. Does he regret that decision, and why/why not? How articulately does he defend his position?

More than anything, I want to see him just get into the mix, and start having to mix it up with the other candidates -- and the press -- just to see how he takes it. The upcoming campaign will be a brutal one for the Republican candidate, and I want to be sure that whomever Republicans nominate can take, and land, punches with elan and good humor. Thompson looks just fine now, but so does every car until it's driven off the lot . . .

In other words, a big question in my mind is does Fred Thompson really want to be president, and is he willing to do what it takes to get there -- not just in the primaries, but most importantly, in the general election?

Good Thing There's No War on Terror

Otherwise, one might suspect that this terrorist dry run suggests that there are jihadists who do, indeed, want to kill us.

In an era when people raising conscientious objections about the immigration bill are being told in effec to "shut up and sit down," it's instructive to note all the bureaucratic fumbling in the terrorist dry run -- as these same agencies would have an enormous part in ensuring that the illegals being offered probationary visas and, ultimately, citizenship don't pose security threats:

According to the Homeland Security report, the "suspicious passengers," 12 Syrians and their Lebanese-born promoter, were traveling on Flight 327 from Detroit to Los Angeles on expired visas. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services extended the visas one week after the June 29, 2004, incident.

The report also says that a background check in the FBI's National Crime Information Center database, which was performed June 18 as part of a visa-extension application, produced "positive hits" for past criminal records or suspicious behavior for eight of the 12 Syrians, who were traveling in the U.S. as a musical group.

In addition, the band's promoter was listed in a separate FBI database on case investigations for acting suspiciously aboard a flight months earlier.
(emphasis added)

Even with all this, no one bothered to pick these guys up before June 29 -- and, in fact, their visas were extended after the incident! Yet we're supposed to be confident that the same sort of government bureaucrats can handle an influx of 12 to 20 million new people and check each one.

Homeland Security officials initially denied the complaints [about the behavior of those conducting the "dry run"] and blamed passengers who reported the incident to the press as behaving hysterically. However, the inspector general report shows that air marshals had the group of men under surveillance before they boarded the plane.

So don't worry -- even with the new immigration bill in place, you won't know of the presence of any suspicious foreigners, at least until after an investigation when they try to launch a terrorist attack.

Will Fitzgerald Prosecute?

My former boss, Senator Kit Bond of Missouri, has demonstrated that Valerie Plame has offered strikingly different accounts of how her husband, Joe Wilson, was sent to Niger.

Assuming that these various accounts were offered under oath, will prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald prosecute -- or is he content to stick with going after the Bush administration?

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What Does Hillary Have to Say?

A Hillary Clinton supporter refuses even to shake hands with Mitt Romney because he is a Mormon.

Will anyone in the press ask Hillary what she has to say about this? Of course not. And of course it's not fair to impute the bigotry of her supporters to the candidate herself -- but do you doubt that, if a Romney supporter had refused to shake Hillary's hand beacuse she was a woman (or Barack Obama's because he's an African American), that we'd be hearing a lot from the MSM about ugly prejudice on the right?

Thanks to the Hugh Hewitt Show!

Many thanks to Generalissimo Duane, Adam Youngman and, of course, Hugh Hewitt for giving me the opportunity to host the show and for making it such a pleasure when I do.

The Gingrich Plan

It is neither helpful nor productive for someone like Newt Gingrich to start comparing President Bush's White House to that of the hapless, feckless, hopeless and weak Jimmy Carter. It only engenders low morale among the Republican base and provides an excuse for the MSM to engage in another round of Bush-bashing stories, which does nothing to help the party as a whole.

So why would he do it? The answer is clear:

The only way to keep the White House in G.O.P. hands, Gingrich said, would be to nominate someone who, in essence, runs against Bush, in the style of Nicolas Sarkozy, the center-right cabinet minister who just won the French Presidency by making his own President, Jacques Chirac, his virtual opponent. Sarkozy is a transforming figure in French politics, Gingrich said, and he suggested that the only Republican who shared Sarkozy’s “transformative” approach to governing was [himself].

I generally like Gingrich, but haven't we heard all this about his "transformative" approach to governing before? It ended up culminating in his resignation in 1998 and a return to business as usual. So far, at least, President Bush isn't the only one who's shown himself to have trouble beating the whole "business as usual" attitude in Washington, D.C.

Ominous Words

When someone like Hillary Clinton starts talking about imposing a "we're all in it together" society on the United States and using "the right government policies" to ensure "fairness," what does that sound like to you?

Given her liberal voting record, her early devotion to leftist radicals like Saul Alinsky and her previous efforts to bring 1/7 of the US economy under government control, it's hard to deny that it sounds a lot like socialism.

Boos for Trump

I've always been mildly amused at Donald Trump -- and looked on him as something of a self-promoting buffoon, albeit a very rich one.

But it's ridiculous that he's somehow trying to excuse the booing of America's contest in his Miss Universe pageant by blaming it on U.S. policy. Rather, he ought to be mentioning how such behavior is contrary to the spirit of the Miss Universe competition (such as it is).

As for the Mexicans who are happy to stick a thumb in the eye of the United States, a question for them is -- what's the problem? Failure to appreciate the fact that, thanks to the American economy (and lax laws) illegal immigrations send to Mexico $25 billion per year, (thereby serving as Meixco's largest revenue source)? Is this the kind of behavior we should simply expect from our "friendly neighbor to the south," and if so, why? Just because we want to enforce our border laws the same way they do theirs?


I, apparently, "don't want to do what's right for America" -- and neither do millions of other Republicans, at least according to President Bush.

That's because I'm not ready to sign on -- lock, stock and barrel -- to an immigration plan that is deeply flawed, most significantly because it lacks the controls to ensure that this country is not infiltrated by jihadists.

It's hard to figure out what advantage President Bush sees in attacking those of good conscience who disagree with him. Many of them happen to be some of his staunchest allies in the war on terror, and it isn't clear how it serves him to insult them gratuitously.

And it's puzzling that the President would save his harshest rhetoric -- not for those who would defund American soldiers, or force a surrender in Iraq -- but for those who don't believe it's wise to hand out probationary visas to people from "countries of interest" (i.e. heavily populated by jihadists), thereby allowing them to embed in the United States, without the benefit of even a cursory background check.

Sitting in for Hugh Hewitt

It's always an honor to have the opportunity to fill in for Hugh Hewitt. I'll be doing so today -- go here to find out where to listen!

Townhall Column

My Townhall column is here. It discusses the foundational principles of each of the two political parties when it comes to immigration, judging from the votes we've seen on a host of amendments to the immigration bill.

Monday, May 28, 2007

A "Bold" Stance

Given the mass migration and legal morass created by the 1986 amnesty, it's amazing that anyone would advocate that illegals be offered amnesty once again without even the fig leaves offered by the current immigration legislation being debated in the US Senate. But someone is -- predictably enough, in the LA Times.

A Big Waste of Time

This piece details the "talks" between the US and Iran.

A close reading indicates that no real progress was achieved -- as, indeed, one might expect. It's difficult to understand what incentive Iran actually has to alter any of its behavior. After all, the Ahmadinejad government derives from the talks an increase in status through direct negotiation with America, and buys time to continue building nuclear bombs (that topic was, conveniently, off the agenda).

The Iranians' position is that the violence in Iraq is inspired by the U.S. presence there -- a no-lose proposition. After all, if the US withdraws, it enables Iran to do even more to destabilize Iraq and attempt to install a Shiite theocracy there. If the U.S. holds on, Iran continues to arm terrorists and other adversaries of the democratically elected government, reveling in the Democrats' attacks on President Bush and the weakening of America through the irresolution and indecision broadcast by left-wing attempts to force surrender.

Even an elementary understanding of diplomacy suggests that for meaningful negotiation to take place, both sides have to be at the table in good faith, and both have to want something. At this point, it's not clear that the Iranians either want or need anything other than the continuance of the status quo. So what reason do they have to meet any of the US's requirements or requests? What incentive do they have to be helpful in the least to US interests?

The whole "discussion" strikes me as an enormous waste of time.

What We're Dealing With

This agency is supposed to implement the immigration "reform" bill? Sounds like there could be an entire bill devoted just to cleaning up U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Remembering the Troops

On this (and every) Memorial Day, we remember the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that all of us may be safe and free. And gratitude goes also to the families who bear the brunt of that sacrifice.

May every deceased American soldier from every war rest in peace, and may God bless those who continue to defend us.

Here are some of the stories every American should know. And don't forget the hero dogs.


Fourteen people have been arrested in Spain for their efforts to recruit candidates for terrorist training school.

Thank heaven there's no global war on terror, right, John Edwards?

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Agenda Journalism from the Times

The New York Times remembers America's soldiers on Memorial Day with this piece detailing the misgivings about the Iraq mission on the part of what is admittedly a small group of soldiers from one company.

What's important to remember is that almost every war has included those who are unhappy with either the conduct or the aims of the conflict. But what's also worth noting is that many of the soldiers' gripes have to do with a sense that members of the Iraqi army -- or the Iraqi public -- don't appreciate what we're doing there.

That's terrible if true (and no doubt many soldiers would disagree), but that's not the point. Although it's wonderful that we're able to help the Iraqi people -- and, indeed, building democracies is, so far, the only long-term strategy for defeating and containing Islamofascism that I've yet heard -- we're not there just for them.

We're there because, first, Saddam Hussein was a patron and contributor to Islamofascism all across the Middle East, he was (at the very least) eager to develop nuclear weapons, and he was a staunch enemy of America -- one who wished to do us harm. With his removal has come the danger that Iraq will become an Al Qaeda stronghold, and to responsible, security-minded Americans, that's simply an unacceptable risk.

As long as America's national security would be jeopardized by a surrender in Iraq, we must fight on, whatever the alleged ingratitude of specific members of the Iraqi army or public. And perhaps next Memorial Day, perhaps the NY Times can find a more positive, less agenda-heavy way to honor our troops.

Experts on the Immigration Bill

Hugh Hewitt had some bracing commentary from counterintelligence experts about the immigration bill.

Betrayal on the Left

So the leftists are outraged at Democrats' abandonment of their preelection promises to bring the Iraq war to an end.

Well, once, shame on the politicians. Twice, shame on the leftists. Even if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama somehow manages to win The White House, do they really think either will pull all the American troops out of Iraq? Rather, they'll just argue that they've been "reconfigured" to fight al Qaeda exclusively -- as though soldiers can distinguish al Qaeda from domestic insurgents in the heat of battle.

In the end, the lefties will get a lot of lip service from both candidates -- but ultimately, their "plan" to "end the war," if it's ever given the chance for implementation, will do less to actually bring the fighting to an end than it will to signal American weakness and irresolution to our enemies around the world.

The War? Or Single Motherhood?

Yesterday, the LA Times breathlessly informed us that "War wives at greater risk for post-partum depression."

Haven't we been through this before? Just like the stories trying to tie child abuse to troop deployment, isn't it more likely that the relevant variable isn't the fact that one's husband is deployed -- but rather, that the women left behind are, functionally, single parents?

Strikes me that the lefties who have defended single motherhood as nothing more than a "lifestyle choice" should try to explain why it's OK unless the circumstance is brought about by the fact that the fathers are at war.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Racing to the Left

Given Hillary Clinton's problems and the occasional gaffes that may make even Democrats a little nervous about hiring a relative national newbie like Barack Obama, it's not beyond the realm of possibility that John Edwards could win the nominaton.

But if he does, stunts like this are going to make it difficult for him to win.

Remembering the Clintons

Do we really miss stories like this and this -- and then, predictably, this?

Of course not -- which is why all of the stories are so damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Richardson on Immigration

New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson has changed his mind, declaring that he would oppose the immigration bill in its current form.

Is it because the bill pays scant attention to national security issues? Or because it would fail to do enough to make sure the law is enforced? Hardly. He says:

I read that they added more funding for the fence. I am against the fence. I've always been against it.

So, in other words, he opposes the bill in part because it would actually attempt to take tangible steps to stop the flow of illegal immigrations to this country (although this year's immigration bill calls for only 370 miles of fence, compared to the 700 in last year's bill, which the Democratic Congress has ignored).

But wait -- there's more:

Richardson said he also opposed the bill because it "separates families."

"In other words, it gives priority to job skills rather than family unification. Historically, our immigration policies have emphasized family unification and this bill doesn't," he said.

No, in other words, Bill Richardson is more worried about what's desirable from the immigrants' point of view than what's beneficial for the United States.

To me, that's not a good credential for someone who is supposed to be campaigning for a job that would require him to consider the national interest first and foremost.

Making Romney, Breaking McCain

This analysis in Human Events Online discusses the impact of the immigration bill on the presidential campaigns of Mitt Romeny and John McCain -- contrasting the positive effect it's had for Romney, and the negative consequences for McCain.

All of that is true, to a point. But it's worth pointing out that there's much more than just the immigration issue that explains Romney's upward climb and McCain's descent.

Mitt Romney has been the most consistently excellent debater overall in the two meetings of the Republican candidates. He is personable, clearly well informed, incredibly well-funded, and surrounded by a crack staff. All that, taken together, goes far to explain why his numbers in Iowa -- and elsewhere -- are looking better and better.

John McCain has angered large parts of the Republican base. But it's not just about the immigration bill. There's the opposition to the tax cuts, the Gang of 14, McCain-Feingold, and the grandstanding on the terrorist torture issue. Underlying all of it is the truly profound dislike many staunch Republicans have begun to feel for McCain -- because over the years, it hasn't been enough for him to poke a thumb in their eyes . . . all the while, he's been busy implying that his disagreements with his own fellow GOP'ers stem only from the fact that he is either nobler or smarter or more compassionate than they are.

Four Names to Remember

One of the most shameful aspects of the Iraq war is the short shrift that our fighting men and women have received from the MSM.

This piece tells the story of four modern day heroes that all Americans should know -- especially as we begin to observe this Memorial Day weekend.

Please say a prayer for them and all their fighting brethren this weekend, along with the families who bear much of the brunt of their sacrifice.

The Power of Stigma

Mona Charen notes the closing of a "pregnancy school" for girls and points out that the stigma that used to attach to out-of-wedlock sex and childbearing was actually protective -- both for the young girls whose lives unwed motherhood would permanently disrupt, and for the society that would ultimately end up assuming some portion of the responsibility for the illegitimate offspring of girls who gave too much, too soon.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a Matter of Trust

The fissures in conservative thought about the immigration bill are exemplified by two columns today by prominent writers: Bob Novak and George Will.

In general, I admire Novak. However, on this topic he seems to take the tack of those who believe that all those who oppose this immigration "compromise" are doing so because of bigoted nativism. My concerns about the bill rest largely on the national security concerns articulated so well by Hugh Hewitt and others.

For my own part, I welcome all immigrants who come to this country in search of the American dream and who wish to become Americans -- whatever their color or background. Even so, those who are expressing cultural concerns could, in fairness, point out that back in 1911 (Novak quotes those who expressed similar cultural concerns at that time), new immigrations were encouraged to assimilate and embrace American traditions and values. That isn't the case today -- as many have attempted to analogize America to a "salad bowl" rather than a "melting pot."

In my view, George Will has the better of the argument when he points out that

Americans are skeptical about the legislation, but not because they have suddenly succumbed to nativism. Rather, the public has slowly come to the conclusion that the government cannot be trusted to mean what it says about immigration.

Just the Same as Abu Ghraib?

Here is some grisly information about Al Qaeda torture methods for the denizens of moral equivalence who continue to harp on about Abu Ghraib. Waht went on there was terribly wrong, but even the worst behavior in which the guilty engaged is nothing compared to what we and our soldiers confront. Does John McCain really believe that people who would resort to such methods are going to be influenced by whether or not we waterboard their fellow terrorists in a crisis situation?

A Disturbing Warning

Fox News has just reported that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has threatened to "uproot" Israel if it becomes involved in the Lebanon conflict.

Those who believe in "global tests" and strict solidarity with the "international community" at all times should, perhaps, offer some advice about how to respond to news that Mohammed El-Baradei is quite content to allow Iran to develop nukes in contravention of three UN resolutions.

Hardly a Surprise

This morning, the Washington Times notes about the immigration legislation that "Divisive bill stokes GOP anger." Well, no kidding. It's hard to understand the people who, like Senator Mel Martinez, actually think that such a bill would "save" the Republican Party. Whether it's the cavalier treatment of border security, the unworkable "enforcement" provisions, or the fact that the bill, as noted here, makes it significantly more difficult for legal Latinos assimilate and to move up the economic ladder, there seems to be little in the bill that would benefit America in general and the GOP in particular.

What's most frustrating is the overtone of accusation that the bill's supporters employ to hint that anyone who opposes the legislation is, perhaps, just a little bigoted. Exhibit A is Martinez's remark that ""I think he's [the President's] got a great phrase, where he's saying that, 'without amnesty or animosity,'and it's very important that, as this debate unfolds, we keep that in mind, that we keep the animosity out of it and try to do something that's good for the country."

The President and legislators like Mel Martinez need to understand that "animosity" toward illegals of any ethnicity isn't the motivating factor behind opposition to the bill. In fact, if there's any "animosity" at all, it's directed, quite rightly, toward politicians who find it easier to believe that well-meaning Americans are bigoted than they do to believe that they might, actually, have it wrong with the immigration bill in its current form.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thanks for Tipping 'Em Off

Is there any national security secret that the MSM wouldn't reveal? Here, ABC decides to help out Iran by tipping off its mullahs and Ahmadinejad to an alleged US destabilization plan.

What, precisely, is the "public good" that is served in comparison to the harm that such reporting can do? If the story is true, ABC has done America's enemies a great service. Even if it's false, it's great propaganda for adversaries who would love to stoke anti-American hostility and paranoia.

Way to go, ABC.

The Public, On Immigration

From this Rasmussen poll it seems the American public's priorities are clear: Secure and enforce the borders -- and don't go offering citizenship until the top goal has been achieved.

Certainly, that's a reasonable interpretation of poll resultings showing that only 26% favor the immigration bill in its current form . . . and 72% believe it's "very important" to secure the border and stop illegal immigration.

A Significant Statistic

This piece discusses a poll of attitudes of Muslims in the United States, and overall, the news is good, or so we're told (it's not great, after all, when a quarter of young Muslims think suicide bombing is justifiable in any circumstances).

Certainly, one statistic leaped out at me and seemed worthy of mention:

Most Muslims living here express dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., but many think newcomers should adopt American customs. A large majority believe that hard work is the way to success.

Muslims coming to U.S. today should adopt American customs

Foreign born: 47%

Native born: 37%

Muslims coming to U.S. today should try to remain distinct:

Foreign born: 21%

Native born: 37%

To me, it's highly revealing that foreign born Muslims seem to have a greater desire to become part of America than those who have actually benefited their whole lives from the freedom and the way of life that America offers. It suggests that the left-wing grievance industry in America does a good job at inculcating a sense of victimization, and that the rest of us aren't insisting that our citizens be taught why it is, indeed, such a blessing to be part of the great American melting pot.

Harsh Words for McCain

In his typically acerbic style, Howie Carr denounces John McCain and his immigration bill in no uncertain terms.

What's ugly for McCain is that there is more than a nugget of truth behind statements like the following:

Every day, as more details about the amnesty bill emerge, the worse it gets for McCain. Do you realize, McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2003, but now his illegal-alien bill doesn’t require them to pay a dime in income taxes?

So McCain finds himself in the position of having voted against tax cuts for citizens, but endorsing the payment of no taxes by criminals who don’t even belong in this country.

As Howie Carr also points out, all this is very good news for Mitt Romney.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

(Another) Democratic Retreat

So the Democrats have pretty much caved in on their demand for a withdrawal date from Iraq.

Amazing . . . when the going gets tough, they even retreat from retreat.

Making Progress

Investors Business Daily chronicles some of the good news in the war on terror.

The Rehabilitation of John Ashcroft

Of course, the chorus of liberal praise for John Ashcroft is every bit as politically opportunistic as their earlier cruel and unjustified attacks on him were. Even so, as Jonah Goldberg notes, it's heartening to see a good man receive his due.

The Long-Term Politics of the Immigration Bill

Ever since the days of Prop. 187, Republicans have been desperate to rebut unjust Democratic charges that they are anti-immigrant (read: anti-Latino) bigots. Fair enough.

The problem is that signing on to this incredibly flawed immigration bill isn't the way to solve that problem -- even though a short-term resolution of the illegal immigration problem might cast a warm glow over a politician's heart.

A University of Maryland study reveals that passage of the current immigration bill would, in fact, precipitate a political realignment hugely favorable to the Democrats (no wonder Teddy Kennedy was supposedly willing to accept some less-than-favored provisions in the bill).

And none of this has to do with race or ethnicity. The fact is that the immigration bill as it's currently constituted would offer citizenship to a vast number of uneducated and very poor migrants. Given that the Democrats had (at least until 2006) been losing electoral market share, integrating these people into the political system has no doubt seemed, by far, like the best way to revive the welfare state's flagging fortunes.

Indeed, Republicans have long hoped that Latinos would become the 21st century equivalent of the Reagan Democrats. But in order to care about limited government and low taxes, one must have some money and property that needs protecting from the government. Importing what's essentially a reserve army of the desperately poor and unemployed from Mexico isn't only a recipe for finding new big-government clients, it also inhibits those who are already here (and already citizens) from climbing the economic ladder.

Monday, May 21, 2007

A Little Humor

Mary Katherine Ham has a very funny post over at Townhall about Hugh Hewitt's unbelievable feat -- i.e., reading and digesting the immigration bill over the course of what must have been a pretty long and tedious weekend.

No Respect for the Taxpayer

It's almost impossible to believe: That the White House demanded that a a provision requiring illegals to pay back taxes be removed from the immigration legislation.

So help us understand. It's perfectly okay for illegals to have reduced tuition at in-state universities, to enjoy education, health care and all the rest during their tenure as illegal aliens -- but once they're given citizenship, they owe the United States nothing?

What a bad mistake -- not only in terms of equity, but also politically, for The White House.

Taking It Slow

After some worrisome comments that might have been interpreted to suggest support for the immigration bill, Mitch McConnell has indicated that he wants to take it slow in the Senate, and leave plenty of time for debate.

That's as it should be. The denseness of the bill and the importance of the subject mandate that it receive a full and fair airing.

Supporters of the legislation insist that it's not an "amnesty" bill. And indeed, people will have to submit to a fine and some inconvenience in order to obtain a green card.

But what that suggests is that all the illegals in this country want a green card or citizenship. What about all the people who have come in here illegally and want nothing more than a job to earn money to send home? With the stroke of the President's pen, in virtually every case, they go from being illegal aliens to people who are able to obtain "Z visas" and poof! -- they're not illegals any more. If that isn't amnesty, what is?

The Unions or the Children?

Democrats have a choice -- will they renew school choice legislation for DC, given all the positive effects of the 2003 bill (including enhanced parental participation), or will they stand with their union buddies and force poor children back into poorly performing schools of the government's choosing?

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Headed Left?

There's been widespread speculation about Michael Bloomberg running an independent presidential race. The excitement with which the press has covered the phenomenon suggests that many MSM'ers believe he would take votes from the Republican side.

But this story suggests that Bloomberg may have appeal to the left. After all, what Republican is going to take seriously an "independent" candidate who's flirting with Air America? It's as if the left were going to be expected to support a candidate who was visiting with Rush Limbaugh.

The Reality of the First Female President

Anna Quindlen writes wistfully of her "fantasy" of the first female president -- how it would be someone who would come in and turn the whole, "lousy" system upside-down.

Quindlen's unfulfilled fantasy is very revealing of what left-wing feminism is really about. Implicit in her dream of what a female president would be like is the assumption that women aren't just different than men, they're somehow better -- and that superiority would be reflected in the woman they chose to lead them (and America). Now, how disappointing to find that Hillary Clinton is, at base, just another . . . politician.

Given all this, it's hard not to feel just a twinge of pity even for Hillary -- who, after all, could live up to this standard? It strikes me that conservatives have had a much healthier approach. Margaret Thatcher, for example, was a person of principle, but conservatives lauded her not for serving as some kind of female political Messiah, but rather because she was able to effect real, positive change and stand by her convictions, even as she beat the men at their own game. Some Republicans have touted Condoleezza Rice, not because they believe she can effect some kind of female-driven revolutionary change, but because they think they could win, or because they believe she'll fight hard against terrorists, or whatever.

Anna Quindlen should have gone to a girls' school in her early years (she attended college at Barnard). What it taught me was that -- though boys and girls are different -- girls, and later women, aren't any better than boys. Boys are aggressive . .. so are girls, in a different way. Etc., etc. Yes, a woman can be president, but chances are that it won't usher in some kind of "I am woman, hear me wrong" Golden Age of high minded political discourse and sweeping reform.

Hillary has, apparently, come to terms with that fact. It's just that those who should, perhaps, be her srongest supporters can't quite summon that level of pragmatism.

Immigration & McCain

Having had a number of longstanding commitments this weekend, I haven't had a chance to read the immigration bill. Hugh Hewitt has, however, and his analysis is incredibly helpful.

See also the post at Powerline about the McCain meltdown discussed on this blog here. McCain can't even keep it together debating a piece of legislation with a fellow Republican border state senator -- and yet he wants us to believe that he's fully equipped in every sense to deal with Iran, North Korea and a variety of other world leaders?

Dishing But Not Taking

So the Chinese are complaining about efforts to link their Olympic participation with changing their hitherto-indifferent stance toward the genocide being perpetrated in Darfur.

The Chinese pique seems entirely representative of Communist countries. They're plenty happy to try to show that they wield international authority and enjoy the accompanying prestige, but become completely bent out of shape if anyone calls them to account about the way they use (or refuse to use) their power.

The Chinese need to get over it. With international standing comes responsibility, and it's long past time they faced up to theirs in the Sudan.

Just Not Getting It

Today's panel on Fox News Sunday offered some insight as to why many of the adherents of the new immigration bill are acting so arrogantly -- trying to ram through a cloture vote in the Senate tomorrow night being just the latest example.

Mara Liasson of Naitonal Public Radio essentially charged that many Republicans wouldn't be happy with the bill unless it included "mass deportations." Then Juan Williams -- also of NRP -- talked about the "xenophobes on the right."

If their views are at all representative, it suggests that many of those temperamentally inclined to support the bill really don't understand why so many people are so very unhappy. It has nothing to do with wanting to deport anyone, or with mindless xenophobia.

Rather, many reasonable people understand that it's simply impracticable to round up and send home the millions of illegal aliens in this country -- and they are willing to do something to help those people regularize their status here, despite the unfairness that results to the millions of law abiding people all over the world who want to emigrate here.

The problem is that same group of people likewise want to make sure we don't wind up in an identical mess in another 10 or 20 years -- and, even more importantly, we don't have a porous border that will alllow terrorists to enter this country unbeknown to us. Hence the insistence on real border security -- a real fence (does The White House rely on a "virtual fence" to protect the President? Of course not) and some reason to believe that both the Administration and the Democrats intend to do what neither has shown any inclination to do up to now -- namely, secure the border.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Exceptions that Constitute the Rule

Hugh Hewitt has conducted a careful analysis of the much-vaunted "triggers" in the execrable immigration bill. The conclusion? The breadth of the exceptions substantially undermines the significance of the trigger provisions in the bill.

Blaming Romney for Falwell?

Of course, it was too much to believe that an entire column by Tim Rutten could ever be on the beam. Rutten starts off fairly enough, condemning the anti-Mormon bigotry manifesting itself in response to the Romney campaign.

But then he leaps to asserting that this kind of bigotry is only acceptable because Jerry Falwell encouraged people of faith to be politically active. Huh?

Obviously, Rev. Falwell elicited a wide range of emotions (and more virulent and vocal hatred on the left, it appears, than Pol Pot, Stalin and Saddam Hussein combined). But he and his brethren in the leadership of the Religious Right didn't initiate a process of probing into candidates' personal theologies; what they did was to assure people of faith that they had a right to be heard and to petition their government for the redress of grievances -- even if their opinions and grievances were founded in their religious beliefs.

In fact, it's significant that Rev. James Dobson is praising Mitt Romney even as he expresses reservations about Rudy Giuliani. This stance isn't based on their personal Mormon or Catholic theologies; frankly, Dr. Dobson probably is in greater agreement with Catholics than with Mormons. Instead, it's based on Giuliani's political stand on abortion -- and Dr. Dobson's political beliefs are explicitly based on his own religious convictions.

Nor is there anything wrong with that. In fact, for too long before the rise of Rev. Falwell's Moral Majority, people of faith were essentially told by the political and media elites in this country that their religious convictions barred them from participation in the political life of this country and delegitimized their policy preferences. That might have been convenient for liberals everywhere, but it was terribly, terribly wrong.

That's something Rutten should condemn -- and don't usually lefties like him applaud people who "speak truth to power" (power being in the shape of the media and political elite)?. But, of course, it's so much easier to blame those who brought conservative Christians back into the political process. Nevertheless, it doesn't make people like Dr. Dobson or Rev. Falwell responsible for anti-Mormon bigotry like this -- unless, of course, these leaders are so powerful that they are secretly controlling liberals like Jacob Weisberg.

What Is the President Thinking?

As this piece in The Washington Times makes clear, President Bush has tacked left on immigration to make common cause with Teddy Kennedy, bypassing onetime allies like Senator John Cornyn of Texas.

It's hard to figure out what the President is thinking. Surely he doesn't want to alienate the Republican base -- just about the only constituency that defends him when it comes to the Iraq war. And it's truly remarkable that he'd broker a deal with Teddy Kennedy on immigration, given the way that Kennedy condemned the President on the No Child Left Behind legislation even after Kennedy got his way on most of the legislation's important provisions.

What's most annoying, perhaps, is the White House's insistence that it will enforce the tougher immigration security measures supposedly contained in the bill. Based on past performance, this is simply a difficult proposition to believe. Take just one statistic -- Congress allocated money for 700 miles of border fencing. Only two have been constructed. Doesn't that -- coupled with its support for effective amnesty -- tell someone something about the administration's seriousness about immigration enforcement?

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Few Numbers

Robert Rector, senior fellow at The Heritage Foundation, just offered a few unpleasant numbers about the immigration bill on Bill O'Reilly's show:

** The retirement cost of giving American citizenship to 9 million people will be $2.5 trillion -- and they'll become part of the social security system at precisely the time when it will be strained already by the Baby Boomers.

** The typical immigrant household run by a high school drop-out -- with 60% of the immigrants being college drop outs -- receive an average of $30,000 per year in government benefits. The household pays in about $10,000 in taxes.

** The net cost to the taxpayer of an illegal alien who gets amnesty -- with "net cost" measured as benefits received minus taxes paid in -- is about $500,000.00 over the course of a lifetime.

Certainly, the national security aspect of the amnesty bill is the most disturbing. But it's bad news not just for our security, but also for tazpayers' pocketbooks.

Surprise! Liberals Unhappy

Liberals always seem to be unhappy -- about the lack of American "social justice," about the environment, and especially now, about global warming. Is it any surprise that they're also unhappy that the Democratic Party has so far failed to ram through every element of their far-left agenda?

Even so, it seems particularly unreasonable for liberals to be unhappy as many Democrats try to ram through an immigration bill that will offer many, many poor people American citizenship, and create a clientele for the big government programs so beloved of the left.

Not Too Hard to Believe

This account -- of a heated exchange between Senators Cornyn and McCain -- has the ring of truth. Not only is it entirely too easy to imagine Senator McCain blowing his top at someone who has the temerity to question a deal he supports, it's also pretty easy to see him claiming to know more than anyone else about the issue.

I guess that the Republican grassroots aren't the only ones that McCain essentially tells to shut up and sit down.

Good Genes . . .?

Charlotte Hays has a wonderfully entertaining piece in today's Wall Street Journal about a meeting of the descendants of Jamestown's first settlers.

Build the Fence

Investors Business Daily points out exactly how border security is being ignored in the execrable bill being forwarded by a bipartisan group of amnesty enthusiasts.

Even the Illegals Hate "the Deal"

Well, at least opponents of amnesty aren't the only ones who are objecting to the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill. Lots of illegals are unhappy, too.

Maybe that will count for something with John McCain -- since the well-founded reservations of fellow Republicans are obviously irrelevant to him.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Candidates on the Amnesty Bill

Rudy Giuliani's communications director has issued the following statement:

"Rudy's top priority and main objective is to ensure our borders are secure and to stop potential terrorists and criminals from coming in. The recent Fort Dix plot is a stark reminder that the threat of terrorism has made immigration an important matter of national security. We need to know who is coming in and who is going out of this country if we are going to deal with those who are here illegally.”

Mitt Romney speaks for himself (not through a communications director) and is stronger in the terms of his denunication:

"I strongly oppose today's bill going through the Senate. It is the wrong approach. Any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country indefinitely, as the new 'Z-Visa' does, is a form of amnesty. That is unfair to the millions of people who have applied to legally immigrate to the U.S.

Today's Senate agreement falls short of the actions needed to both solve our country's illegal immigration problem and also strengthen our legal immigration system. Border security and a reliable employment verification system must be our first priority."
(Too bad he didn't add the national security element, a good feature of Rudy's response).

And then, of course, there is John McCain:

“A comprehensive plan for immigration reform is long overdue. I am proud to join this distinguished bipartisan group in announcing an historic overhaul of our immigration system,” McCain said. “The legislation we announce today represents weeks, months -- and in some cases -- years of work and bipartisan negotiations. I’m proud of our work, our process, and our product.”

To put it mildly: From the sublime (Romney and Giuliani) to the ridiculous.

The Naked Truth

Porn star Jenna Jameson has endorsed Hillary Clinton for President.

She added these bon mots:

The Clinton administration was the best years for the adult industry and I wish that Clinton would run again. I would love to have him back in office.

Of course, that defies comment . . . And then there's this:

I look forward to another Democrat being in office. It just makes the climate so much better for us . . .

That's a slogan to be proud of . . . "Democrats: Making the Climate Better for Porn Stars."

Hypocrisy, Thy Name is Democrat

Here's just one more example of Democrats ignoring the pledges that helped bring them to power last year -- they are attempting to change procedural rules in the House of Representatives to limit the ability of the minority (Republicans) from having any impact on the political debate.

Certainly, the House isn't the Senate -- there's always been much more heavy-handed domination by the majority, whatever the party in charge. But here, Democrats are considering changing a rule that's been in place since 1822.

Imagine the outcry had Republicans contemplated such a move! And although it's a largely inside-the-Beltway matter that has limited interest and appeal for normal Americans, it's the kind of story that much of the Beltway media has played up in the past when the shoe has been on the other foot.

It will be interesting to see how much coverage this Democratic attempt at a power grab receives.

A Very Bad Idea

As the editors of National Review point out, there are no redeeming features to the "comprehensive immigration reform" bill that's approaching the Senate floor. Enforcement measures -- like the 700 mile fence -- passed in the last Congress have been ignored, which bodes ill for any of the provisions in this legislation designed to enhance security (or avoid a repeat of the disastrous 1986 amnesty).

Of course the Democrats are delighted. As KFI radio in Los Angeles reported this morning, the immigrants who will be legalized are overwhelming likely to be poor, to vote for higher taxes and bigger government. The question is: Why in the world would Republicans jeopardize their grassroots support -- and, more importantly, national security -- for this piece of junk?

In my opinion, John McCain already had almost no chance of ever winning the nomination. This is the final nail in the coffin of his presidential ambitions.

Update: Hugh Hewitt has the GOP talking points for this ridiculous bill, and they are -- to put it politely -- pure garbage. Anyone with the sense God gave a goat can see that the bill will, in essense, dismantle half the border fence before it's built and allow amnesty, while the enforcement mechanisms will ultimately go unaddressed.

The GOP leadership is making a mistake of epic proportions if it believes that the only people who will be angry about this bill are loud-mouthed bigoted rednecks. Any American who takes the terrorist threat seriously -- and believes that our immigration laws should be taken seriously -- has to be outraged at this transparent sell-out. And that group of Americans includes most of the GOP base.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Washington Post Mention

Howard Kurtz, whose columns are always worth a read, was kind enough to reference me in this one.

A Total Train Wreck

Hugh Hewitt is reporting that the GOP is about to make a terrible, colossal, gigantic mistake by finding an immigration "compromise" that offers plenty of amnesty and very little border security.

I have long expressed concern about the political implications of mishandling the immigration issue for the GOP. But what continues to puzzle me is why, after all, Republican elected officials don't seem to understand what it will mean -- not just for their party (which is bad enough) -- but for America itself should a terrorist plot succeed, and we come to learn it was masterminded by someone who slipped across the border.

Many, many Americans would be willing to compromise when it comes to finding a solution for the millions of illegals already in this country. But such compromise is foolish unless it's accompanied by some kind of proof that the border can and will be secured against future illegals -- especially those who mean us harm.

The Republicans are doing themselves a crazy and terrible disservice by signing on to any legislation that doesn't emphasize enforcement first.

An Emerging Historical Reality

Michael Gerson discusses what it means for world Christianity that the most dynamic form of the faith is now emanating from Africa.

As with any new phenomenon, there are positives and negatives. It should, at the very least, be a fascinating dynamic to watch liberals struggle with the forthright challenge to their condescending multiculturalist views, even as conservatives must acknowledge the fact that -- simply because the African Christians are confronting some of the worst excesses of western theological liberalism -- that doesn't mean that conservatives will necessarily share their theological emphasis or world view in other ways.

Proving Our Enemies Right?

Princeton Professor Emeritus Bernard Lewis sets out an elegant and succinct explanation of why, given the behavior of the Democratic Congress, Osama bin Laden's confidence that the US would be easy to defeat may have been justified.

It's amazing that facts like these -- suggesting that Saddam Hussein supported Al Qaeda attacks on the US, thereby using Islamofascist terrorists as his proxies -- go blithely unreported by the press.

The upshot? At least some segment of America just wants to stop fighting, whatever the cost ultimately turns out to be. For the rest of us, however, some prices are simply too high.

More on Fox News Last Night

The questions that Brit Hume, Chris Wallace and Wendell Goler asked last night highlighted why Fox News has become such a popular source for news. In contrast to some of the stupid questions posed by Chris Matthews at the first debate -- do you believe in evolution? what do you dislike most about America? -- the moderators didn't assume that either the candidates or those likely to support them were something out of Deliverance.

Not a single question posed to the candidates could be characterized as "easy" or "a softball" -- but though they were tough, they were fair. They demonstrated respect for the viewing audience and didn't implicitly hint that the candidates were out of the mainstream in the way the MSNBC debates did. Even the after-coverage, where Hannity & Colmes interviewed the participants, offered an opportunity to take another look at the candidates, and enough verbal space from the questioners to hear what they had to say. Beat the heck out of listening to Keith Olbermann trying to pose as a journalist with credibility.

After last night's presentation, if the MSM doesn't understand why Republicans love Fox News -- i.e., it treats them and their ideas respectfully even when its journalists are being tough -- then the MSM is terminally clueless.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Instant Reaction

Giuliani won. Easily. Handled the questions well, and jumped in to squash Ron Paul like a bug. He actually seemed to enjoy himself. Second? Romney, clearly -- who did a solid job, but seemed somewhat more nervous than the last time, though he definitely had some good moments, on Guantanamo and landing a solid blow on McCain. John McCain didn't do much to impress me, as the comments below evidence. Is his heart really in this? He just seems angry, and in his exchange with Mitt Romney, he chose to get down and fight with a non-substantive criticism of Romney rather than rising above it all.

Mike Huckabee seems like a decent guy, but no charisma. The rest don't really need extensive discussion, as they obviously seem to have no chance.
Romney has done a decent job with the question about whether he's changed to any position less popular than his former one with the Republican base. Comes out for the Dept. of Education and No Child Left behind -- with the crowd pleasing rationale that they help reduce the power of teachers' unions.

Great turning of the question about the white men on the stage to point out that hte real civil right sissue isn't the color of hte poeple running for President, but what's happening in the public schools. Points to Romney.
First annoying question . . . why is there no woman or minority on stage? OK, why wasn't anyone asking such questions of the Democrats in 2004? And how has everyone forgotten Elizabeth Dole and Alan Keyes so quickly?

Gilmore isn't doing a great job with the question. He'd do better if he'd lighten up a bit.
OK, distinction made. "Enhanced interrogation techniques" are those that cause no lasting harm to the terrorists. Bu I don't think John McCain helped himself by shutting the door on that as decisively as he did.
McCain has just turned another question into a holier-than-thou lecture, and has dismissed what seems to be a plausible scenario where some coercion would be appropriate. His emphasis on "world opinion" sounds annoyingly like a "global test." What's more, it strikes me as silly to believe that Al Qaeda jihadists will refrain from chopping off our soldiers' heads if we refrain from waterboarding them. I don't think those are people who play by the Marquess of Queensberry rules. It also strikes me that it doesn't help us to announce in advance that we won't torture anyone -- shouldn't there be at least a little doubt in the bad guys' minds? Finally, I'm tired of him invoking Colin Powell and the rest of the generals. I admire their military service, but they're not God.

Giuliani's response is more popular because he seems to acknowledge the necessity of all interrogation methods in certain circumstances. The distinction he makes between "enhanced interrogation methods" and torture isn't entirely clear to me.

Romney isn't answering the question, but he's hot on Guantanamo and making it clear that terrorists don't belong in American prisons. It's a good moment for him. He's also using the Giuliani "enhanced interrogation methods" and torture distinction, for what it's worth.
Just a commercial-break kudo to Fox News for having questions that take the forum, the voters and the candidates seriously. We haven't gotten any tin-foil inquiries about evolution, and all the Democrats who make it an article of faith to believe that Fox News is biased should be listening to this debae. Now I'm beginning to think they won't debate on Fox -- not because of the alleged bias -- but because they're scared of tough inquiries.
McCain had a strong finish on the Confederate flag issue, but it was somehow satisfying to have him called on his flip-flopping, MSM-pleasing mea culpa on the issue, although it was, of course, the correct answer ultimately for him to say the flag has no place on the Statehouse roof.
Giuliani rightly calls Ron Paul out on suggesting that 9/11 was America's fault. What is Paul thinking? Please, get off the stage. He sounds like a KosKid, not a Republican candidate -- almost as if he wandered in from a gathering of tin-foil-hat leftists. And it shows good leadership on Giuliani's part to jump in. He's so far the best performer in this entire debate.
On the immigration/security nexus, Giuliani just said he supports three things, then he named four -- unless when he said "a fence, a technological fence" and then two other measures, he was meaning "a fence -- a technological fence -- " before going on to the other two. So does Rudy support a real fence, or just a "technological" fence?

S.C. Republican Debate / Second Round

McCain on immigration . . . how does he manage to sound sanctimonious and "I-know-best" on this and really, on so much else? I think he thinks he's showing leadership, but it just comes off as condescension.

Harsh hit from Romney - McCain/Kennedy could do for immigration what McCain/Feingold did for politics. Strong blow -- and audience liked it. McCain's response -- that he's not a flip-flopper -- not that great; look at his conversion to tax cuts. And his attack on Romney hardly helped him develop the "above-the-fray" image he needs to recapture his frontrunner/leader status.
Brownback just got the toughest question so far of the night -- how to explain his own opposition to a rape exception to abortion to a rape victim. His answer was none too good, and demonstrates -- if nothing else -- that he may be a man of principle, but he isn't going to win over a lot of people who don't already agree with him.

Romney did a better job with his abortion question (how to talk to someone whose relative has died from a botched abortion after a Romney justice overturns Roe v. Wade) and he aced it -- pointing out that the abortion matter is one that should be decided by the people, not by the courts.
Rudy is doing much better in this debate. He's obviously been prepped for the abortion questions -- and he did a good job in deflecting the whole analogy between slavery and abortion by saying there are no circumstances under which he can imagine anyone supporting slavery. That answer isn't going to hurt him with the people who do support the exceptions for rape/incest/life of the mother/severe fetal deformity.
What is Brownback doing alluding favorably to President Reagan's 1986 immigration bill? That's just about the only thing that conservatives are willing to fault Reagan for.
McCain sounds defensive trying to explain the votes that annoy average Republicans. Rudy did a better job. Plus McCain just committed a "Bushism" trying to pronounce "transcendental."

Bad job for Huckabee saying that he doesn't apologize for going along when 80% of his constituents wanted tax increases. Hm -- no leadership points there . . .

Romney does okay pointing out that he's stood up for a lot of conservative stuff in "the toughest of [blue] states" but he sounds a bit flustered.
Now Jim Gilmore has taken the bait and is attacking the frontrunners. Strikes me that he's not handling the question well -- thanks to the MSM, everyone knows the weaknesses of the frontrunners and no one really appreciates having a second-tier candidate doing the Demos' hatchet work.

Giuliani just defused with some humor. Now Rudy's done the smart thing -- turned the attacks to the Democrats, rather than going on defense or after his Republican co-candidates. Forced to answer the question, he's done a decent job.
If someone could find a new way to discuss how to shrink government -- and convince voters they had a plausible way of actually making it happen -- now, that would be something. Unfortunately, none of the guys on the stage have delivered.
OOh, like Mitt Romney's idea about establishing benchmarks for Washington, D.C. spending just like the Dems are pushing benchmarks for Iraq.

McCain makes it clear that he's never said he was wrong to oppose the Bush tax cuts (he says he opposed them because there were no spending cuts), but then goes on to praise the effect of the cuts on the economy. So the upshot is?

Best line of the night, so far -- and probably overall: Huckabee points out that Congress spends money like John Edwards at a beauty shop. Tee hee. So much for McCain's "drunken sailors" -- they've just been upstaged by the Breck girl.

S.C. Republican Debate / First Round

On the terrorism question, the three front-runners were the best by far, with Tommy Thompson once again bringing up the rear (it's really impossible to count Ron Paul in general). McCain sounded better, Romney sounded the most detailed and knowledgeable, and Giuliani was strong and convincing, as he always is on these matters.

The questions sure are better than the last debate -- tough, but so far, none of the weird and irrelevant stuff.

BTW, it's hard to gauge these things from a TV set, but it did sound like McCain noticeably received the most subdued reception of any of the major candidates.

Congress' Approval Lower Than Bush's

At least, that's what Gallup is reporting.

What's more, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll, a solid majority of Americans oppose cutting and running in Iraq before the country is stabilized.

Both findings lend credence to the suspicion that the Democrats have misinterpreted their supposed mandate of 2006. They say the public was telling them to end the war, essentially at any cost; it doesn't appear that that's the case.

Ready or Not?

The Washington Times reports that New York Mayor Bloomberg has put aside $1 billion to run for President.

It will be interesting to see whether the country is ready for someone who absolutely believes in Americans' freedom to abort babies, but not to smoke in public or consume trans fats. The most notable element of Bloomberg's tenure as Mayor of New York is his emergence as tax-raising nanny state cop. People in Manhattan have, for example, been fined for sitting on milk crates in public.

And although the MSM has been touting stories about a possible Bloomberg/Hagel rapprochement, it's hard to imagine anyone who is serious about foreign policy -- or personal liberty -- considering such a ticket.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A Very Wrongheaded Plan

Is this story for real? Governor Schwarzenegger really thinks it's a good (and fair!) idea to tax 2% of doctors' gross incomes to help pay for universal healthcare?

As the doctor in the story points out, why not tax teachers for improvements in education? I'd add -- why not tax politicians to close budget deficits (that would restore some sense of fiscal responsibility in a hurry!)? How 'bout taxing lawyers to pay for the additional costs irresponsible litigation imposes on hapless consumers?

Doctors are not the reason that medical bills are high -- in fact, many of them have fees set by the federal government. And the last thing California needs is to start driving doctors out of the state the same way that businesses have been effectively evicted over the past years by the state's anti-business environment.

Looks Like It Helped . . .

Mitt Romney's numbers have gone up in the wake of his "60 Minutes" interview.

"Supporting the Troops," Indeed!

We constantly hear from the Democrats that they don't support the war, but of course "they support the troops."

Well, no, they don't -- especially not in California! As the LA Times reports today, the California Legislature -- dominated overwhelmingly by Democrats -- refuses to make available any state money for the colleges expenses of members of California's National Guard. California is the only state in the Union that refuses to make such assistance available, even though it would cost around $3 million, out of a $130 billion state budget. Other states do much more -- Indiana, for example, gives its Guard members free tuition at state universities (as, indeed, it should!).

What's more, the paper reports that one of the reasons for withholding the funds is lawmakers' own personal opposition to the Iraq war -- yes, that's why they're taking it out on the Guard.

Here's one particularly precious little tidbit:

State Sen. Jack Scott (D-Altadena) chairs the Senate Education Committee, which has scuttled attempts by the California Guard to get tuition assistance for members. College aid ought to be based on financial need, not on membership in a group, Scott said . . .

Really? Great -- let's take another look at affirmative action, Senator Scott.

Ted Olson Vouches for Rudy

Former solicitor general and all-around Washington wise man Ted Olson, a conservative, says that Rudy Giuliani would appoint good, solid judges.

Riding the "Strong Horse"

Good news is coming from Iraq -- not that you'll see it in most of the MSM:

In the aftermath of America's recent troop surge in Iraq, tribal leaders throughout this country are turning on Al Qaeda, and American military commanders are trying to exploit the new development by bringing tribe members into the Iraqi Security Forces.

For those officers overseeing the new tribal diplomacy, signs are emerging that Iraq's deepest social networks — its tribes — are withdrawing their tacit acceptance of Al Qaeda and are becoming more willing to cooperate with American authorities to combat the terror network.

The linked piece goes on to note that these developments are still in the early stages, but they have been inspired by military successes in the Anbar provinces and elsewhere. Obviously, it's helpful when Americans look like the "strong horses," rather than sending constant signals of irresolution and weakness.

Mike Wallace's Nerve

My Townhall column discusses the utter inappropriateness -- on several levels -- of Mike Wallace inquiring into the Romney's premarital sex life on "60 Minutes" last night.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

No Shame

So John Edwards is planning to politicize Memorial Day by urging his supporters to turn it into a day of anti-war activism.

Senator Edwards, give it a rest -- just for one day. As a society, we should be able to reserve certain occasions or days to be -- not Democrats or Republicans -- but simply Americans. And whether one agrees with the Iraq war or not, we should be able to reach common cultural ground on the idea that troops deserve to be honored whether we agree with the particular conflict in which they fought, or not.

Part of the problem with the cynicism and division in America these days is that too many people are unwilling to let politics go for even a moment -- to set aside our differences in order to celebrate the things that should unite us.

With this pernicious political stunt, John Edwards contributes to that problem. Some "leader."

Thank You, Gold Star Mothers

This Mother's Day, spare time for a prayer for all the gold star mothers, like this one, who have sacrificed what is most precious to them so that Americans can be secure and free.

Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword

According to this piece in The New York Times, Hillary Clinton is actively employing Bill Clinton in her campaign.

Live by the sword, die by the sword. With all the advantages Bill's involvement may bring, they also make Hillary doubly vulnerable should he experience another "lapse in judgment" (or another is discovered) of the sort that tarnished his time in The White House. And it's worth wondering: If he lacked the self-discipline and judgment to resist a thong-snapping intern on a snow day in The White House -- when he already was President and could see clearly how much there was to lose -- can he really be relied on to fly straight now?

An Incoherent Position

I watched Rudy Giuliani this morning on "Fox News Sunday" (transcript here, and the best thing he could do for himself is to stop talking about abortion -- the more he says, the more uncomfortable conservatives are going to become.

That's because his position is incoherent. As noted here, he says that he would be open to nominating Supreme Court justices who presumably think Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided. But he also says that women having the right to choose abortion is one of the two pillars of his abortion beliefs. Taken together, this would seem to indicate that if the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, he would be OK with that result -- and just believes in such a case that the states should enshrine abortion rights in their own laws.

Now, this is convoluted reasoning, but it could be defensible (insofar as anyone can follow it) if Giuliani had said that the jurisprudential basis of Roe was ridiculous and that the matter was one for the political system rather than the judiciary to sort out -- notwithstanding the fact that he reluctantly agreed with the policy outcome. Here's the problem, though: Giuliani also says that it's just fine with him to leave the whole issue to the judges:

They're [Supreme Court Justices are] free to take a look at Roe against Wade, take a look at the limitations. But I believe I should leave it to them to decide that.

If he believes that the abortion right is a fundamental constitutional guarantee -- like freedom of speech or free exercise of religion, for example, or other foundational rights in the Bill of Rights -- how can he be comfortable with turning the issue over to the states if the Supreme Court strikes down Roe?

But if he simply agrees with abortion rights as a matter of policy -- and not a matter of Constitutional law -- how can he stand by and allow an imperial judiciary to dictate policy from the bench? Isn't that doing what he has said all along he opposes, that is, legislating from the bench?

The less said about abortion, the better for Giuliani. The more he says, the worse it gets.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

What Happens If We Leave

Intelligence officials are ocncerned that -- if the Democrats succeed in forcing a failure in Iraq -- Al Qaeda is planning to establish a militant Islamic state there.

Do the Democrats even care?

Motherhood's "Selfless Virtues"

My friend Jennifer Marshall writes about what we're really celebrating on Mother's Day.

And don't forget to check out her book: "Now and Not Yet: Making Sense of Life This Side of 'I Do'". Jennifer is a wonderful person with great insight, and I'm looking forward to reading her book.

The Pernicious Religious Sanctuary Movement

This piece bears on a new "sanctuary movement" wherein various houses of worship attempt to shield illegal immigrants from being deported in accordance with US laws.

One of the reasons America has worked so well for so long is because there has always been a carefully cultivated, but still delicate, relationship between church and state. No doubt churches have a moral right and obligation to make their views known, and to step in if there is real harm and danger being visited upon the weak or the helpless as a result of unjust or evil laws (think Nazi Germany's treatment of the Jews, for example).

But the immigration laws the houses of worship are attempting to subvert are neither evil nor unjust. The people being prosecuted or deported under them are those who broke existing laws voluntarily, and even so, are not being put in any danger of life or limb -- they are simply being required to abide by the laws this country has established.

In such circumstances, when religious leaders begin actively to subvert law enforcement in order to push their own political agendas, it undermines the careful balance in church-state relations that fosters respect for the church and still allows a representative democracy to work. If religious leaders believe that the immigration laws should be changed, they have the right -- as all citizens do -- to petition their government.

In the meantime, it is an abuse of their positions to attempt singlehandedly to ignore or evade otherwise just laws that have been passed by the freely elected government of the United States.

Friday, May 11, 2007


Is it any wonder that Mike Wallace feels quiz the Romneys about their sex life when there are repugnant shock jocks who joke about raping the Secretary of State and the First Lady?

I'm waiting for all the Hillary partisans to raise a fuss about what could be construed as an effort to denigrate powerful women. Sadly, I suspect I'll be waiting for a long, long time.

Another Hillary Whopper

Who knew that Hillary was raised in a farming community? Actually, not.

Over at the Hillary Spot, Jim Geraghty put it best: "This was probably after she was named for Edmund Hillary, and before she tried to join the Marines..." No doubt.

Terror Threat Against Americans in Germany

ABC is reporting that there is an imminent danger of terror attacks against American troops or tourists in Germany from Al Qaeda.

Good thing John Edwards has assured us that there's no global war on terror. What with Al Qaeda in Iraq, the Fort Dix Six in New Jersey, and other similar jihadist threats, I would have almost sworn that there was a common ideological link among such terrorist efforts.

Jon Voight Speaks

Hugh Hewitt conducted a lengthy and interesting interview with actor Jon Voight on his show yesterday. Voight is, of course, starring in the movie "September Dawn" (which was actually made two years ago, well before Mitt Romney was on the radar screen), telling the story of the Mountain Meadows massacre, which took place about 150 years ago. One of my favorite exchanges in the interview:

JV: Boy, these questions. I don’t…here’s the deal. We know very little…generally speaking, people know very little about the Mormons. I mean, you have to really go to work to find out anything about them, so I would say of the people who go to work and they have a fair estimation, and people who have friends who are Mormons, you know, we have respect for many Mormon people in our Congress. There are about 14 people…

HH: Harry Reid.

JV: Very…yeah, and there are good guys, too.

HH: (laughing)

JV: (laughing) I don’t want to take a slap at anybody, really, here. I just…but there are very hard working servants of our country, very patriotic people. Mitt Romney’s certainly one of those.

Then again, I've really liked Voight generally since I saw him at the 2003 Oscars. We were fortunate enough to have seats down among the real movie stars (Julia Roberts, for example, was in the row behind us) and I had occasion to see Voight mingling at the reception that precedes the broadcasts. The war in Iraq had just begun; even so, the stench of leftist partisanship was in the air (that was the year Michael Moore won for "Farenheit 9/11") -- and Jon Voight, alone from what I could see, was the only actor wearing an American flag on his lapel to signal support for the United States. He seems to be a good guy.

Not as Good as They Think

We've heard so SO much about President Bush's low poll ratings. How unfortunate for the Democrats -- busy licking their chops and dreaming about next year's election -- that Congress' poll numbers are no better.

A Disparity in Coverage?

The press seems fascinated with the nexus between long-disclaimed Mormon religious tenets that support polygamy -- hence Mitt Romney's upcoming grilling about the matter on "60 Minutes" -- but significantly less interested in Muslim doctrine on the same issue, doctrine that, apparently, is still alive and well in quarters that are allegedly sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

After all, how much more fun is it to hector Governor Romney about his ancestors than to report on some of the unpalatable (and apparently, undisclaimed) beliefs of those who are subscribers to radical Islam?

Marriage, Children & Abuse

A couple of days ago, I posted this item --
"Children Need Their Fathers" -- in response to allegations that there were links between troop deployments and child abuse.

In point of fact, the relevant issue is that when troops are deployed, there are more single-parent homes, and abuse is more likely in these than in homes where the parents are married and living together. (In other words, the relevant variable isn't deployment to find in a war -- it's single parenthood).

Today, W. Bradford Wilcox has a brilliant defense of marriage up at NRO. As part of his piece, he notes:

Typically, two parents bring more social and economic resources to the parenting enterprise than does one parent. Two parents offer one another mutual support, encouragement, and relief when a child is difficult, disobedient, or depressed. For instance, a husband can step in and relieve a wife who has grown angry or exhausted with her children. This, by the way, is one reason married moms are more likely to have children who report good relationships with them; because of the financial, practical, and emotional support they receive from their husbands, married moms are more likely to be affectionate and authoritative — and less likely to be abusive — than are single mothers.

Now You See It, Now You Don't

So Charles Schumer is calling for the breakup of the Department of Homeland Security.

No doubt, the Dems and the press will find a way to blame the President for the Department's creation. But, as is so often the case, the facts are otherwise, as this CNN piece from 2002 demonstrates:

Bush initially resisted the idea of a new department, which had been championed primarily by Democrats in the wake of the [9/11] attacks.

Waiting for the Sniggering to Start . . .

Remember all the sniggering from the press that was elicited by news that the Justice Department had bought drapes to cover two nude statues on certain occasions? Reliable reports that then-Attorney General Ashcroft had had nothing to do with the decision were, in most cases, simply ignored by the press. The meme was that God-fearing hard right Christian John Ashcroft was covering the statues because they offended his aesthetic sensibilities -- and it was too "perfect" to allow facts to get in the way.

This morning, we learn from The Smoking Gun that some of the art at a Virginia gallery was either draped or moved before the arrival of Barack Obama for a fundraiser. Want to bet that this news won't get the same kind of sneering coverage that was reserved for Ashcroft? What a difference a party affiliation makes!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Disgraceful Decision

The Democratic House of Representatives has persisted in its disgraceful course of trying to secure defeat without openly defunding the war, by passing a bill that would fund the war for only three months at a time.

Powerline has the text of the letter that the Secretary of Defense has written to explain to the Democrats why their proposal is deeply pernicious:

[T]he prospect of segmenting and further delaying funding that is urgently needed can only result in additional disruption and uncertainty in Department operations. An organization the size and complexity of the Department of Defense needs a certain measure of funding stability and predictability. Without it, compensatory measures are required that cause, at best inefficiency and at worst a reduction in the Department's ability to carry out its national security mission.

The problem, however, is that the Democrats either don't know these basic administrative and legislative facts -- or, more likely, just don't care. After all, of one talks with a Democrat about the war long enough, the real motive behind most of their posturing becomes clear. It has nothing to do with the war itself or even America's national security -- in fact, they can't explain how following their plan wouldn't signal to Al Qaeda that America is in retreat. Rather, what lies behind all the white-flag-waving is Bush-hatred, and above all, the prospect of political gain next year.

They say that every man has his price. Well, so does every party. The Democrats are willing to sell America's national security down the river in order to secure a political victory.

Hardly the "Heart of Darkness"

The Independent Women's Forum's incomparable Charlotte Hays eviscerates the Pentagon ethics report discussed on this blog here.

Charlotte Hays is one of the most insightful writers out there. Sign up to receive her weekly column here; buy her new book here.

Democratic Priorities

Democrats are holding up a bill setting intelligence policy as part of an effort to put global warming on the same national security footing as, say, Islamofascist terrorism.

Now, all of us would be happy to see some good (i.e. non-ideological) data on global warming and the like, but it's highly unlikely that we'll ever awaken some morning to find that global warming has flown airplanes into urban skyscrapers or that greenhouse gasses have detonated a nuclear bomb in the center of Manhattan.

Faced with incontrovertible evidence that Islamofascist terrorists exist and want nothing more than to kill us, Democrats look away. Confronted with the still conjectural "threat" of global warming, Democrats man the barricades with full force.

Oh, and spare me the insistence that "scientific consensus" has ruled that global warming is occurring. First, that isn't true; second, there was a universal international consensus that Saddam Hussein had WMD.

The Informers Are the Problem

Check out the NY Times' spin on a Fort Dix Six followup story. Tells one a lot about their world view, doesn't it?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Slow Bleed Redux

This piece points out that Nancy Pelosi's new war non-funding strategy is to fund the war for only two months or so at a time. Of course, this is a ridiculous idea -- what general can conduct the kind of long- (or medium-) term strategic planning that's central to victory if he doesn't know whether he'll even have troops or funds 60 days hence?

This "plan" is nothing more than the new version of John Murtha's "slow bleed" strategy. Rather than simply (and honestly) forcing a U.S. defeat by de-funding the war (as is the Congress' constitutional prerogative), it would seek a back-door method to achieve the same result by making victory effectively impossible.

Bigotry From the Left

Article VI Blog notes that all five of the most blatantly bigoted public attacks against Mitt Romney's Mormon faith have come from the left (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Was It "Spying"?!

The left, not surprisingly, was loud and angry in denouncing the idea for the Operation TIPS. Lefties hyperventilated at the supposed thought of "citizen spies" let loose throughout America's fruited plain.

But in practice, what the New Jersey store clerk did in alerting authorities to the jihadist DVD was precisely the kind of activity that Operation TIPS was designed to facilitate.

One other point: It's worth asking the lefties whether they'd throw the evidence out and let these terrorists go free if their plot had been identified via a (domestic) wiretap that the FISA court hadn't authorized.

OK To Kill the Children

A Muslim leader in Australia has told his flock that when Muslims are engaged in jihad, it is perfectly ok to kill children.

That's what we're dealing with in the war on terror. Wonder whether any of the leftists who are so concerned about the accidental deaths of Iraqi or Afghan children will be able to summon the energy to condemn this? Somehow, I just don't think so.

Producers and Parasites

More and more Americans -- the well-to-do as well as the poor -- are living with their noses in the public trough, one way or another.

The Real Leakers

Wonder if all the lefties who have rallied against the supposed "leak" of Valerie Plame's identity are going to condemn these two men -- a British cabinet officer and a researcher for an anti-war MP -- who have been convicted of leaking "extremely sensitive" documents about conversations between the President and Tony Blair? Somehow, I doubt it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Children Need Their Fathers

How interesting. Many on the left who have glorified the pursuit of single parenthood are now willing to link the incidence of child abuse to the deployment of military troops.

The fact is that child abuse and violence are more frequent in single parent homes. Same goes for child sexual abuse.

What does that mean? It means that, optimally, children should have both parents living with them in the home. As all of us know, sometimes that can't happen -- as when one parent has volunteered for the armed forces and the country is at war.

A more relevant study would be whether the frequency of child abuse is greater in single parent military families with a deployed parent or single parent families generally. Then again, here's betting that the findings wouldn't yield the kind of propaganda so beloved by the anti-war left.