Carol Platt Liebau: June 2007

Saturday, June 30, 2007

So Much for "Consensus"

Science is rebutting many of Al Gore's claims about global warming. Perhaps now we'll see whether those who believe fervently in global warming base their convictions on science, or on a quasi-religious faith.


This piece by Linda Chavez (someone whose work I've otherwise admired) is an example of the doom-saying and finger-pointing being indulged in by Republicans who wanted the fatally flawed immigration bill to pass.

Like many of the bill's other proponents, Ms. Chavez declines to take the serious objections of bill's opponents seriously. For example, she leaves unaddressed the national security implications of handing out Z visas in the space of one business day, and ignores the obvious hypocrisy of those who would insist that the federal government is competent to handle all the other new tasks that would be imposed on it by the new legislation -- except, of course, securing the border.

It's much easier, of course, to impugn the intelligence and the motives of those who have disagreed with her on the bill's merits (a group that, not incidentally, includes the majority of the American people), and to dismiss the bill's opponents of an ignorant, single-minded obsession with "amnesty." (She doesn't explain why, in fact, law-abiding people shouldn't, on some level, have the right to be offended at the specter of the government rewarding law-breaking).

Most damaging of all, Republicans like Ms. Chavez -- through their own smears and slurs -- have given credibility to the ugliest Democrat stereotypes of Republicans as racist bigots. If, as she predicts, Republicans "find themselves sitting on the back benches for years to come" because of the immigration issue, she has only herself and her ideological compatriots like the President and John McCain to thank for it.

Incident at Glasgow

Although it hasn't been officially designated as such, a terrorist incident has taken place at Glasgow Airport, with a gas-laden car being crashed into the airport's front door.

It's still not clear whether there is any connection to yesterday's thwarted car bomb attacks. It is, however, worth noting that it's a weekend when world news does focus to some degree on Great Britain, given the memorial concert for Diana and the recent installation of Gordon Brown as prime minister.

Above all, it's a useful reminder that there are people out there who want to destroy the freedom of the western world -- not because of Iraq, but because of religious bigotry and hatred.

Friday, June 29, 2007

History Matters

William Bennett has some excellent suggestions for teaching that most important of subjects -- American history.

Good Thing There's No War On Terror

Right, John Edwards? We're wondering, of course, how to understand this foiled attack on London . . . just a big misunderstanding, perhaps?

If a Democrat wins the presidency, don't expect any muscular response if such things occur in the United States. It'll be more sweeping these episodes under the rug a la the World Trade Center bombing of 1993.

That is, unless someone is somehow able to convince the Democrat administration that Roger Ailes and Fox News is behind it. Those seem to be the only entities to whom Democrats will stand up these days.

The Court Speaks

Here is a summary of yesterday's Supreme Court decision, Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School Dist. No. 1, which held that the schools cannot use measures that take race explicitly into account in an effort to maintain integration in schools.

Obviously, liberals are bouncing off the walls about this one -- and liberals and conservatives alike are claiming that their interpretation stems from the correct understanding of Brown vs. Board of Education. In a sense, the question is: Did Brown require color-blindness when it comes to offering children an education, as conservatives believe, or did it impose some new requirement of "inclusion," as liberals insist?

Of course, it could be argued that Brown did both. The difference, back then, however, was that "inclusion" was necessary in order to work toward the goal of a color-blind educational system, given that schools were officially segregated. Color-blindness was the universally agreed upon good that was supposed to be attained.

Today, conservatives are the ones who still hold to the dream of a society where children are judged on the content of their characters (or the quality of their school work, or whatever), not on the color of their skin. In contrast, liberals are the ones who have essentially abandoned Dr. King's dream of a color-blind society, and replaced the ultimate aim of color-blindness with achieving the new goal of "diversity" -- based on skin color alone, mind you, and as defined by whatever government bureaucrat.

Liberals are upset about this court case not because it undermines the goal of color-blindness in American society -- but because at least four justices in the majority are affirming that it's constitutionally impermissible for a government to make decisions and distinctions among its citizens based on race. Liberals, apparently, are willing to trust government to make "benign" racial distinctions among Americans.

Conservatives are not, understanding that racial distinctions even with the best of intentions are never benign -- and what's more, that it violates the Constitution. And they are right.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Talk Radio: The Lion's Roar

This story about the immigration bill's adverse impact on Senator McCain's political fortunes reveals something very interesting about the way some Republicans view talk radio. Start with this:

[A top McCain fundraiser] added that the constant barrage of criticism from the likes of Rush Limbaugh is making it difficult to raise money from the conservative wing of the party.

"Like it or not, our base listens to that stuff," the fundraiser said. "Whether it's a good bill or a bad bill or an indifferent bill doesn't matter. The folks who are listening to that stuff, it's hard to persuade them with facts."

Set aside the insulting characterization of talk radio's content as "that stuff," and ignore the fact that some of the best in-depth coverage of the facts about the immigration bill came from talk radio shows like Rush's and Hugh Hewitt's.

McCain's people seem to make the same mistake that Senator Lott did when he told Chris Wallace: "Talk radio defined [the immigration bill] without us explaining that there were reasons for it and the good things that were in it. So the onus is not on them, it's on us to do a better job of communicating what we're trying to do."

McCain and Lott have it backwards. The problem with the immigration bill wasn't that people didn't know what was in it -- the problem was that they knew what was in it all too well.

Likewise with McCain's record. The problem isn't that people don't know what McCain has done in the Senate. The problem is that they know, all too well. Most Republicans will laud McCain's stance on terror and the war -- and praise him for his heroism during Vietnam. But that's simply not enough -- with other qualified strong-on-terror candidates in the race -- to overcome his history of opposition to some of the Bush tax cuts, McCain-Feingold, grandstanding on supposed "torture" of terrorist detainees," the Gang of 14, and so much more.

Rush Limbaugh didn't create that record. John McCain did. And when the likes of Lott and McCain blame talk radio for their political misfortunes, they're essentially buying in to the stereotype of conservatives as stupid and easily led.

And talk radio has been eager to have McCain on the air to clear some of these matters up -- Hugh Hewitt has repeatedly invited him to appear for what would no doubt be a thorough but respectful interview. McCain has chosen instead to appear on programs like "Hardball." That's not Hewitt's fault, or Limbaugh's.

What's more, Americans didn't start believing in conservative ideals just when Rush went nationwide in 1988 -- think of the Reagan landslides of 1980 and 1984. Nor does the secret of talk radio's popularity lie in some mythical capacity to program its listeners with right-wing propaganda. Rather, the best way to understand talk radio is to think of Winston Churchill's statement: "I may not be the lion, but it was left to me to give the lion's roar."

Talk radio isn't the lion -- but its best representatives give voice to the millions of listeners who believe in conservative principles, and can't find those principles represented either accurately or fairly in many other places.

Ding Dong, the Bill is Dead

The immigration bill has just been denied cloture by a vote of 46-53. And good riddance to a bad bill.

Let's get enforcement first, and then we'll find a way to regularize those who are here for the right reasons.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Discontent on the Dem Side?

According to the New Hampshire Union-Leader, the frontrunner on the Democratic side in New Hampshire is . . . Al Gore, currently not a contender for the presidential nomination.

The situation seems somewhat analogous to what's been happening with Fred Thompson over on the Republican side. This blog has often opined that Thompson's high poll numbers result from the fact that he's essentially a "none of the above" choice, in effect a vessel into which discontented Republicans can pour their political hopes.

So what is Al Gore? After all, we've heard repeatedly that Democrats are quite satisfied with their choices for President, in contrast with the Republicans. If that's the case, why isn't one of the declared candidates in the lead?

It could certainly be argued that Fred Thompson is more of an unknown quantity than Al Gore. But is that really true? What's impossible even for Democratic voters to know is which Gore would be likely to enter the presidential race: Hawkish Gore, earth-tones Gore, business-friendly Gore, "people versus the powerful" Gore, or green Gore. So couldn't some of the same "empty vessel" phenomenon be taking place on the Democratic side, and if so, what does that say about the real level of contentment with the declared candidates?

What a Girly Man!

So John Edwards has to send out his wife to beg Ann Coulter not to be mean to him?

And this guy wants to be Commander-in-Chief of the US Armed Forces? What's he going to do -- send his little daughter Emma Clare to beseech Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to please start treating America more nicely?

What a gutless wonder. Talk about not being able to fight one's own battles . . .

Beating Us At Home

Here is yet more evidence that Al Qaeda in Iraq is counting on weak-kneed politicians in Washington D.C. to secure for them the victory that they seem to have trouble achieving for themselves.

Too bad even some Republicans, even inadvertantly, seem all too willing to help them.

A Different Kind of Border Crossing

As this IBD editorial notes, Iranian soldiers have been crossing the border into Iraq to kill soldiers there.

Remember when the Democrats were having a fit at the thought of our soldiers following Iranians back across their own border to prevent them from meddling in Iraq?

Where's all the high-minded outrage now? Are the Democrats quite willing to "stand up" to President Bush, but wilting like scared bunnies when it's time to stand up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Is border crossing between Iran and Iraq OK with the Democrats as long as its the Iranians -- not the Americans -- doing it?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ugly Truths?

John Leo reports on Harvard professor Robert Putnam's findings about the fallout from "diversity" -- and they are as disturbing as they are politically incorrect.

The Truth About Guantanamo

Colonel Morris Davis, chief prosecutor in the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions, outlines the procedural guarantees afforded the accused being tried by military tribunals.

He likewise sets the record straight about conditions at Guantanamo Bay:

[M]ost of the detainees are housed in new buildings modeled after civilian prisons in Indiana and Michigan. Detainees receive three culturally appropriate meals a day. Each has a copy of the Koran. Guards maintain respectful silence during Islam’s five daily prayer periods, and medical care is provided by the same practitioners who treat American service members. Detainees are offered at least two hours of outdoor recreation each day, double that allowed inmates, including convicted terrorists, at the “supermax” federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.

Standards at Guantánamo rival or exceed those at similar institutions in the United States and abroad. After an inspection by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in March 2006, a Belgian police official said, “At the level of detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons.”

The facts put the lie to Democrat assertions that terrorist detainees are being somehow mistreated at Guantanamo, and make their calls for closing down the prison -- and moving its inmates to the United States -- more inappropriate and ridiculous than ever.

Not the Key Vote

As everyone knows by now, senators have voted to bring the immigration bill back to the floor. There's a good deal of anger at those who supported such a move -- but it's worth noting that, when it comes to Republicans at least, that anger may be premature.

Take Missouri's senators, for example. Democrat Claire McCaskill voted not to bring back the bill, Republican Kit Bond voted to bring it back for another round of discussion. Why? Because it's worth getting Democrats on the record -- something McCaskill could be forgiven for wanting to avoid. After all, how does it help any Dem to be on record opposing sensible amendments like that offered previously by John Cornyn, which would have barred illegal immigrant felons including child molestors and drunk drivers from obtaining any of the benefits of citizenship?

As noted below, Kit Bond is going to offer an amendment striking the "path to citizenship." If it -- and others -- don't pass, he won't vote for cloture.

The vote to watch isn't the one from this morning -- it's the cloture vote tentatively scheduled for the end of the week. Any Republican who votes for cloture, absent enormous changes and revisions to the bill, should be in trouble. But this morning's vote, to allow the consideration of various amendments, may end up helping Republicans to the extent it highlights how feckless the Democrat party is when it comes to immigration.

Following Up

Politico has an update on the news we had last night. The meeting referenced in the post below -- with a vote on whether to oppose the Senate immigration bill in its current form -- will take place tonight, rather than this morning.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Making News

Many thanks to Generalissimo Duane and Adam for their able assistance and -- of course -- to Hugh Hewitt for permitting me to sit in for him as he cruises the Mediterranean. Today, the show made news on two different fronts pertaining to the immigration bill.

First, Congressman John Campbell revealed -- and Congressman David Dreier confirmed -- that the GOP House Caucus is meeting tomorrow morning. The caucus will vote on whether to release a one-sentence statement expressing opposition to the Senate immigration bill in its current form.

That's significant, of course, because should a sufficient number of House Republicans oppose the bill, Nancy Pelosi won't bring it to the House floor. Thus, the message to wavering Republican senators from their House counterparts would be: Don't bother to "walk the plank," i.e., vote for a bill that will anger your constituents, especially when it doesn't have a chance over here in the House. It's a significant development, and Duane will be posting the transcripts of those interviews at

Second, we spoke with my former boss, Missouri Senator Kit Bond. Senator Bond's position has been labeled as an "unknown" when it comes to the immigration bill, but today on the air he confirmed that, unless his amendment to eliminate the "pathway to citizenship" was adopted (along with several other Republican amendments), he would vote against cloture on the bill, i.e. to kill it. Given the unlikeliness of the Democratic majority supporting a measure that would undermine a chief rationale for the bill (i.e. to locate and naturalize a new group of reliable Democratic voters), chances are that Senator Bond will join many of his Republican compatriots in opposing cloture on the Senate immigration bill.

Lots of Good Stuff for the Show

Today, when I sit in for Hugh Hewitt, of course we'll be talking about the upcoming immigration cloture vote, but there's a lot of other good stuff out there.

How 'bout a few interesting juxtapositions? In a Supreme Court case handed down today, Justices Stevens, Souter and Ginsburg -- the liberals on the Supreme Court -- express their belief that a student was constitutionally entitled to hold up a sign reading "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" at a school related event. Yet, as Dianne Feinstein indicates on yesterday's "Fox News Sunday," liberals in Congress are committed to bringing back the Fairness Doctrine in an effort to squelch the dissemination of conservative viewpoints.

Also in the First Amendment stew is today's well-deserved
Supreme Court slapdown
to the McCain Feingold campaign finance "reform" law. It's long been unclear to me why internet pornography is sacrosanct from regulation on First Amendment grounds when political speech 30 and 60 days before an election is fair game -- and we'll talk about it.

Finally, on cultural issues, consider this: In England, where the authorities are exquisitely sensitive to the rights of Muslims and Sikhs to wear headscarves and religious bangles, a teen girl, who is a Christian, has been banned from school for wearing a silver ring symbolizing her commitment to remaining chaste before marriage. The school's rationale? A commitment to sexual purity isn't an "integral part" of the Christian faith.

A Soldier's Own Words

Here is a fabulous piece from a soldier who rebuts all the Democratic talking points central to their argument that Americans should effectively surrender in Iraq.

Too bad this soldier seems to have a more realistic and nuanced understanding of foreign policy than the self-proclaimed defense solons among Senate Democrats.

Mitt Romney's Religion

John Fund discusses some of the ugly attacks on Mitt Romney's religion, and winds up by observing that it would be best to allow presidential candidacies to rise and fall on factors other than a politician's faith.

NB: He also quotes Romney "biographer Hugh Hewitt."

One More Reminder

I am guest hosting for Hugh Hewitt today.


My Townhall column, on the complete impracticability of a Bloomberg presidency -- or, frankly, almost any independent presidency -- is up (you need to scroll way down to find it).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Talk Radio's Finest

This AP story acknowledges the influential and constructive role the one and only Hugh Hewitt has played in the immigration debate:

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., the key conservative negotiator behind the compromise bill, told reporters Friday that California-based radio host Hugh Hewitt "had several ideas" that "we are trying to include" in amendments to be offered in an upcoming series of crucial votes.

Hewitt, a conservative who has criticized many aspects of the bill, had Kyl as a guest on Thursday and asked: "Does the bill provide for any separate treatment of aliens, illegal aliens from countries of special concern?"

Kyl replied: "It's going to, as a result of your lobbying efforts to me."

How cool is that? I'm proud to be filling in for Hugh tomorrow. Find out where to listen here.

The Press in Wartime

Gabriel Schoenfeld points out yet another example of the press' willingness to jeopardize national security without any real reason to do so.

A Terrible Idea

This piece from The Washington Times defies credulity:

Conservative leaders among House Republicans say that President Bush's upcoming showdown with them on immigration could threaten support for the Iraq war as well as for the president's other top policy goals.

For shame. I don't really care what they do with some petty domestic initiatives, but for any Republican to threaten to play politics with the war is shameful. Part of what has made Democrats so despicable is their willingness to change their positions to pander to popular opinion, rather than trying to do what's best for America from a natinal security perspective.

Don't tell me that the Republicans are going to follow the same sort of course.

Stacking the Deck

Interesting to note that, for an immigration debate this morning, Tim Russert chose to host a face-off between Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and Patrick Buchanan. The upshot is that NBC News chose an official representative of the Democratic Party, and then presented Pat Buchanan as the presumably conservative response to that view.

That's unfair and misleading. Pat Buchanan's views -- and even more, the way he presents them -- don't necessarily represent the mainstream of the Republican Party. Many Republicans are willing to consider some kind of regularization for the people who are already here, so long as the border has been effectively secured and national security concerns have been addressed. They aren't comfortable with talk of a "Third World Invasion" and other inflammatory rhetoric employed by people like Buchanan.

Russert and NBC News essentially took a member of the Democratic mainstream to represent Democrats and then an angry, often anti-Republican populist to "represent" Republicans. Where was John Cornyn, or Mitch McConnell, or any other real spokesmen on this issue for Republicans?

Why did Russert and NBC stack the deck to try to make Republicans -- and/or opponents of the immigration bill in its current form -- look like anti-immigrant bigots?

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Truth About "Bipartisanship"

Radio talk show host John Ziegler makes the point about Governor Schwarzenegger that I've been making for a long time: That is, the "bipartisanship" for which he's become so celebrated has really been nothing more than the crassest kind of political surrender to Democrats in California.

As Ziegler points out, "bipartisanship" is generally a glorified term for the phenomenon of Republicans acceding to Democratic priorities. The recent "Time" magazine cover featuring Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Schwarzenegger is a perfect example: Both have been (nominal) Republicans who have governed (recently, in Schwarzenegger's case, always, in Bloomberg's) like liberals.

The reason bipartisanship has been thusly defined, in actuality if not formally, is because of the press. Note the difference between the glowing coverage awarded to Republicans who give in to Democrats -- from "maverick" John McCain to "independent" Chuck Hagel to Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger. Then contrast it with the way that Joe Lieberman -- an erstwhile Democrat who sometimes subscribes to Republican priorities -- is treated by the press. Given the disparity, where is the incentive (other than principle, ha!) for Democrats to reach across the aisle?

The MSM biases aren't really opaque: Any Republican eager for favorable coverage is well-advised to play ball with the Dems. Any ambitious Democrat had better not.

The Money Catch-22

This Washington Post piece notes that neither John McCain nor John Edwards is likely to meet their fundraising goals for this quarter.

That's bad news for them on several fronts. Fundraising isn't just a measure of a candidate's likely strength going forward -- it's a gauge of the current state of the race. McCain's fundraising has dried up despite his start in the race as what was supposed to be the "inevitable" nominee (an early assessment with which I disagreed), in large part because the base can't stand him and because his outspoken support for a terrible immigration bill has only reminded them how often -- and how gleefully -- he's put a thumb in their eye in the past.

John Edwards was struggling to raise money last quarter, if you'll recall, and his coffers started swelling only after the announcement of his wife's illness. His gaffe-prone campaign simply doesn't seem to have what it takes, between the $400 haircuts, the $50,000 speaking fees to lecture college students on poverty, the stint at a hege fund and all the rest.

Polls go up and down, but there's a reason that fundraising is often referred to as "the first primary." It's because the amount of money raised constitutes a "hard number" that can't really be spun, ignored or underestimated in terms of its importance.

Friday, June 22, 2007

On Rudy

Jim Geraghty highlights some of the many reasons why it's hard not to like Rudy Giuliani.

It's also worth remembering that a Giuliani candidacy would put in play states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which might otherwise not be competitive with, say, a Huckabee nomination.

One of Rudy's big weaknesses so far, however, has been the way he's handled the abortion issue (as I've pointed out before). The dirty little secret, of course, is that abortion isn't the hot potato for conservatives that so many in the press (and in the Democratic Party) believe it is, as Melinda Hennenberger points out.

It would be strange if the Republican ticket consisted of two northeastern candidates from blue states -- but it's hard to deny that almost any conceivable Republican ticket would be strengthened by Giuliani's presence on it.

We Shall See . . .

So North Korea is promising to shut down its nuclear facility "promptly." Hm. Seems I've heard that before -- and I'll believe it when I see it.

Upcoming Radio

I will be filling in for Hugh Hewitt on Monday.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Closing Gitmo

What a great idea. Not. By closing Gitmo and bringing terrorists to the United States, not only does the Bush Administration risk offering them a panoply of undeserved legal rights, not only do they get to come into US territory, but they perhaps get to mix with the domestic prison population -- a group ripe for radicalization.

Way to go, guys. I'm sure now that they've caved to the Democrats, all the criticism will stop, both from them and the "world community." Right. Thank heavens we've decided to bring the enemy combatants to our homeland . . . now I'm sure they'll lose their desire to attack us and start treating our soldiers more nicely. Really.

Is there any better way to send a message to our enemies that (1) our will is weakening and (2) we're starting not to take the war on terror seriously?

For Shame

This piece details some of the scurrilous attacks against Governor Romney's religion that have been launched by his competitors.

What's most interesting is that the greatest number of them have come from the McCain camp -- that's right, from the campaign of the man who piously denounced alleged dirty politics on the part of George W. Bush's campaign in South Carolina back in 2000.

Keeping Libby Out of Jail?

One of the judges on the three judge panel reviewing whether Scooter Libby must go to jail is the judge for whom I clerked, David B. Sentelle.

It will be interesting to see what happens. Whatever Judge Sentelle's personal political views, his jurisprudential outlook calls for him to rule on the law and the facts -- nothing else. And it should be factored into the equation that Judge Sentelle himself was a federal district court judge in North Carolina before being tapped for the D.C. Circuit, so it's not a stretch to figure that he may decide that deference to Judge Walton's ruling -- even if it's one he doesn't personally agree with -- is the way to go.

Not So Fair and Balanced

Is there anyone in America who's shocked to learn that reporters contribute more money to Democrats than Republicans, 9:1?

What's remarkable is that given the imbalance, the left still complains about talk radio, Fox News and any other outlet that doesn't pretty consistently toe the liberal line. Too bad they can't muster some of that indignation against, say, Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Here is the list. Note that reporters from opinion shows -- like "The O'Reilly Factor" -- are listed side by side with "journalists" from what are supposed to be straight news shows.

Note also, under "radio," that one of the hosts on Air America is also a reporter for CBS News. Wonder if they'd consider hiring someone, say, from Salem Radio Network to balance things out? Not likely.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Quite a Juxtaposition

Liberals cherish constitutional rights when they believe that people like the terrorists in Guantanamo Bay aren't getting enough of them.

When it comes to talk radio and the First Amendment, however, they're not quite as generous. In fact, they're slavering to use the heavy hand of government to suppress the airing of views with which they disagree, the market be damned.

It's an interesting juxtaposition, isn't it? And it's worth wondering how many of the leftists out there actually do believe that people like Rush Limbaugh present more of a threat to America than the people being detained in Guantanamo.

KABC Tonight

As on most Wednesday nights, I will be debating Bob Mulholland on Al Rantel's show, 790 AM KABC during the 7-7:30 pm half hour.

Global Cooling?

Now some solar scientists are beginning to predict that by 2020, we will be entering a period of global cooling. What's even more instructive -- for those who believe that the reported scientific "consensus" on global warming is irrefutable and dispositive -- is the following:

[T]he science of global climate change is still in its infancy, with many thousands of papers published every year. In a 2003 poll conducted by German environmental researchers Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, two-thirds of more than 530 climate scientists from 27 countries surveyed did not believe that "the current state of scientific knowledge is developed well enough to allow for a reasonable assessment of the effects of greenhouse gases." About half of those polled stated that the science of climate change was not sufficiently settled to pass the issue over to policymakers at all.

Of course, that won't stop those who have embraced anthropogenic global warming doctrine with the fervor of religious converts. But it's worth at least presenting the facts for the record.

Manipulated by the Enemy

This Christian Science Monitor is a valuable reminder of how savvy the terrorists are at manipulating Western and Middle Eastern media alike, how it is part of their strategy to do so -- and how credulously the MSM too often falls into their trap.

Damage Already Done

Kathleen Parker deplores the damage the Duke not-rape case has done to feminism -- and the cause of innocent victims everywhere.

Although no doubt it will have an impact in some cases on the margins, however, feminism as a consistent, articulate and honest world view has been in tatters for some time now. The hypocrisy has long been evident to anyone who cares to look -- rife with examples such as NOW supporting liberal Paul Simon in the 1990 US Senate race over moderate Republican Lynn Martin.

Anyone who doubted that feminism (as it's currently practiced) was less about pro-woman principle than left-wing politics and political correctness was forced to confront the truth as all its most visible proponents rushed to defend Bill Clinton in the late '90's.

It's been a damaged brand for a long time, which is why NOW has the credibility of, roughly, Al Sharpton. That's not to say that what's gone on isn't deplorable -- it's just that it isn't a surprise to anyone on either side of the political aisle to find that feminism has gone the way of the civil rights movement . . . as a cause that was once based on real and historic injustices that has devolved into little more than left-wing grievance-mongering.

A Warning Worth Heeding?

Jennifer Rubin strikes me as unduly harsh in some of her criticisms of President Bush, but her warning about Fred Thompson versus the other top-tier Republican candidates (Giuliani and Romney) is well worth noting:

First, [conservative insiders] insist on ideological purity, attempting to define Rudy Giuliani out of the mainstream of the party. Then they goad a smart, reform-minded former governor, Mitt Romney, into becoming a human pretzel, cheering as he contorts to adopt their pet social views while ruining his viability.

. . .

Once again, they are enchanted by the banal. They seem unmoved by his lack of accomplishment in any field of endeavor other than acting. The highlights of his Senate record seem to be a single bill to track wasteful spending, an ineptly run investigation on illegal Chinese campaign contributions and stewardship of a McCain-Feingold campaign-finance bill that most of them despise. And so far this year, Mr. Thompson has yet to offer any specific policy proposals.

In fairness, many "conservative insiders" have been supportive of both Mayor Giuliani and Governor Romney -- from David Dreier on the Mayor's team to former Senator Jim Talent on Governor Romney's. That being said, there is something discomforting about the fact that Fred Thompson can jump to the top of GOP polls having displayed minimal fire in the belly, little executive experience and very few thoroughly articulated policy positions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Clay Pigeons and Unsatisfactory Amendments

It's being reported that Harry Reid might use a procedural tactic -- a "clay pigeon" -- to help secure passage of the immigration bill.

Strategically, this strikes me as a mistake. When the issue at stake is as important, as controversial, and as sweeping as the immigration bill, sneaking it through with procedural sleight of hand is a poor way to run the country. "Clay pigeons" and other such tactics may have a place in preventing the passage of legislation -- operating under the "first, do no harm" theory and the Founders' clear intent to make it difficult for transient majorities to pass big legislation without solid majorities -- but it's wrong to use them to jam through a bill that's as widely opposed as this one is.

What's more, the amendments that reportedly will be considered do little to address the serious, substantive concerns of bill critics when it comes to border security and the possibility of terrorists from "countries of interest" entering through the south. It doesn't even mention allowing a vote on what would seem to be a very common sense amendment -- namely, the Cornyn amendment, which would have banned many varieties of convicted felons from amnesty or the benefits of citizenship.

A Man of (What) Principle?

Mayor Bloomberg has left the Republican Party -- the party he joined in order to run for mayor of New York, and the one for which he left the Democratic Party.

Maybe third party's the charm for him?

In all seriousness, it's clear that he's thinking about running for President. If I were a Democrat, I'd be worried. His nanny state antics are much more consistent with leftist orthodoxy than with conservative thought, and so long as Republicans nominate a presidential candidate with solid economic views, they have nothing to fear.

But there is a real potential for Mayor Bloomberg to become the Democrats' version of Ross Perot . . .

A Logical Impossibility

This article is an example of the ridiculousness that passes for coverage of religious issues.

Apparently, there is an Episcopal female priest in Seattle who claims to be both Muslim and Christian. That's, of course, a logical impossibility. She analogizes it to the ability to be both a female and an African American at the same time, but the analogy, of course, is flawed. Everyone is of a specific gender and a specific ethnicity concurrently, but just as one can't be both a woman and a man at the same time, it's likewise impossible to hold two conflicting sets of religious beliefs simultaneously, that is, if one takes both sets seriously.

For example, Muslims and Christians disagree over the divinity of Jesus. Well, either Jesus is the Son of God or he isn't. That's why one can't really be a fully believing Muslim and an orthodox Christian at the same time.

Ms. Redding is, of course, entitled to believe whatever she wants to. But it's ridiculous for her to claim that she can be both Christian and Muslim at the same time -- and for the Seattle Times to cover such a claim not only with apparent seriousness, but with an evident degree of approval.

Whose "Consensus"?

The father of scientific climatology thinks global warming is a bunch of "hooey".

As for the assertion that it's "scientific consensus," well, who says? Only the press, which keeps repeating the word "consensus" in the hopes that it will convince Americans that anthropogenic global warming is a reality, rather than simply a theory (and one with plenty of holes, at that).

Immigration Fallout

Clint Bolick echoes the concerns of many well-meaning Democrats when he warns that failure to pass an immigration bill this year may have a disastrous impact on GOP hopes of luring Latinos to the party for a generation or more.

Frankly, however, if this occurs, the blame doesn't lie with those who have raised serious and conscientious objections to a bill that is widely unpopular with Americans on both sides of the aisle (witness the small number that wants the bill revived).

Instead, the blame lies with those Republicans who -- in their eagerness to get the bill passed -- slandered their fellow GOP'ers by tarring them with the brush of racism and bigotry. Among them are President Bush, Trent Lott and Lindsay Graham. By doing so, they gave credence to the long-time, ugly, divisive Democratic efforts to paint the Republican Party as the home of racists.

If, instead, the Republicans favoring the bill had taken the opportunity to underline their disagreement with bill opponents, but still defended the good faith of the vast majority, the inevitable smears would have been infinitely less powerful. Because they chose another course, the danger of long-term political problems is much greater than it needed to be.

The Law of Unintended Consequences

Among the other sad effects of abortion, it has made previously unthinkable behavior thinkable, as John Lott points out.

Over time, the looser sexual behavior that was enabled by abortion has trickled down even to younger girls -- where far too many believe that there can be casual sex without consequences.

It's always been difficult for me to understand why "abortion" is euphemized as "choice" -- after all, doesn't the real "choice" come when a woman decides to have sex, especially when it's unprotected? It strikes me that aborting a living baby created through volitional sex and/or in the absence of any severe fetal deformity or meaningful health threat to the mother isn't a behavior that we, as a nation, should be condoning.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Troubling Questions

This Newsweek article raises some questions about Fred Thompson's voting record on abortion and campaign finance reform.

So far, he's been able to escape the kind of scrutiny and "flip flop" accusations that declared candidates -- like Mitt Romney -- have faced. How long that will last is anyone's guess.

Profile in Courage

Only now is Senator James Webb (D-VA) admitting that it was his gun that his aide was arrested for carrying into the US Capitol, in contravention of both federal and D.C. gun laws.

No War on Terror?

How strange, then, that the Taliban would be hosting graduation ceremonies for teams of suicide bombers to come to the US, Britain and Canada.

Ignoring the Truth

The Editors at National Review have it exactly right on Senator Lieberman and the threat posed by Iran:

Our politics is at an extraordinary pass when a senator who suggests we should be prepared to take military action to protect American troops from hostilities undertaken by a sworn enemy of the United States is roundly denounced. No Republicans have spoken out in Lieberman’s defense. Nearly everyone wants to take a “see no evil” posture toward Iran’s involvement in Iraq, even though Gen. Petraeus has spoken forthrightly about its murderous handiwork. Lieberman’s offense was merely to speak the truth.

The problem with the "see no evil" posture, of course, is that it only encourages more Iranian aggression, exhibit A being the Iranian-American hostages -- civilians, mind you -- currently being held by the terrorist state without cause. Would that the American left would get as upset about their plight as about that of the Guantanamo detainees.

Some of the groundwork for the current problems was laid when it became crystal clear that Iranians were supplying fighters and equipment to kill American soldiers in Iraq. When it was suggested that Americans were justified in following the fighters back across the Iranian border in order to put a stop to such deadly interference, self important senators like Biden and Hagel got the vapors -- presumably more upset at the prospect of violating Iran's "sovereignty" (wish they'd worry a bit more about that here at home) than about the fact that our soldiers are being killed by Iranians with IED's.

The mullahs in the Iranian government may be a little crazy, but they're not stupid. They know that Congress isn't going to countenance any meaningful action against them -- so, as the NRO editors ask, why should they stop -- or "negotiate," for that matter?

The Stench of Opportunism

Someone needs to explain to Hillary Clinton: Leaders don't get "do-overs" -- of the Iraq War or anything else.

As it is, her positions have been all over the map, obviously much less as a result of any principled effort to secure America's national security than to forward her own political ambitions.

This "do-over" effort is just more of the same. The problem that Hillary, like the rest of the Democrats, doesn't seem to understand is that a unilateral retreat from Iraq isn't going to solve anything. What happens when a real civil war breaks out, and Saudi Arabia comes in to protect the Sunnis, Iran the Shiites, and Turkey gets interested in the north? What happens when our terrorist foes are emboldened, believing our retreat signals the truth of Osama bin Laden's assessment of the West as weak, decadent, fat, lazy and doomed? What happens when Iraq becomes an Al Qaeda base like Afghanistan used to be -- but with plenty of oil money to subsidize terrorist plots?

Once the Democrats have responsible answers for these questions, then they can talk about do-overs. Until then, ironically, after condemning President Bush for supposedly failing to plan for a post-war Iraq, they're making the same mistake -- taking into account not at all the dangers a post-withdrawal Iraq would create.

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I'll be a guest on Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont later this afternoon. Other guests include Allan Hoffenblum, Publisher of the California Target Book and political consultant; Duncan Hunter may also call in.

The Surge Begins

A big offensive is beginning in Iraq. Say a prayer for its success.

Ready for More of the Same?

Here is an article detailing the manifest incompetence of the government agencies charged with investigating those who wish to become American citizens.

And yet we're supposed to believe that they're ready for an influx of 12 million -- and a turnaround time of one business day?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A Big Left Turn?

Eleanor Clift speculates that this might be the "year of the liberal" -- when left wing ideas might finally be viable for The White House.

Could be -- but it would be foolish for Republicans not to welcome dominance by the left, at least in the presidential primaries. That's because with Americans preferring a generic Democrat for President over a Republican -- 52% to 31% -- Republicans' hopes of winning will have to rely on a match-up between individual candidates. Republicans have some strong candidates -- Romney and Giuliani in particular -- and the farther left the opposition is, the better a chance they have.

Where Clift is wrong is in citing the "collapse of the conservative agenda." In fact, the agenda hasn't collapsed -- in truth, it's been abandoned when it comes to border security and spending, and hasn't been tried when it comes to social security reform, and has worked brilliantly when it comes to tax cuts. In contrast, everywhere the liberal agenda has been implemented -- from national health care in Britain to a weak, accomodationalist foreign policy a la Jimmy Carter -- it has been a manifest failure.

Smoking Out the Democrats

It seems that Democrats don't really want border security. As this piece points out, the House of Representatives voted down a proposal to build an 854 mile border fence, with most Republicans voting in favor of the measure, and most Democrats voting against.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Proxy War

Iran apparently isn't the only country supplying weapons to America's adversaries in Iraq and Afghanistan -- China's doing it, too.

Sometimes it's easy to suspect that, whatever they say, the Chinese government is no friend to America. That's why it may not be such great news that so many Americans are sanguine about the prospect of China "catching up" to the United States.

Abortion Films Redux

Gerard Baker raises almost the same issue about the conspicuous absence of abortion on film that an LA Times piece discussed earlier this week.

Want to know why abortion shows up so rarely in the movies? I discuss it here.

Just One Simple Question

Smoke 'Em Out

Charles Krauthammer raises the point I've been wondering about: If everyone says they're for border enforcement, why not pass a border enforcement bill first?

Of course, the answer is obvious . . . not every politician who says he (or she) cares about it is being sincere. But it would be highly instructive to see just who, exactly, is willing to support a stand-alone enforcement bill -- which America wants -- and who would insist it must be coupled with some sort of legalization.

What's more, it would be good politics for the Republicans -- not that that's a consideration that seems to motivate them much these days.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Back From the Dead?

This report says Harry Reid is ready to bring back the immigration bill, this time with a finite list of amendments and the guarantees from Republicans that there will be enough votes to stave off a filibuster.

Interesting choice -- Reid has seemed reluctant in the past to push the legislation through, but perhaps the spectacle of the intra-Republican bloodletting the bill inspires was simply too tempting. The motives of the Bush Administration are harder to discern, especially given that only 20% of American voters want to see this bill revived, while 51% would rather see smaller bills emphasizing enforcement.

Are those within the Beltway listening to their employers -- that is, the American people -- at all?

A Bad Joke?

We don't pay taxes so that congressmen's adult children can tag along for free on official trips.

If the congressmen are so upset at the differential treatment of spouses and adult children, let them pay for their spouses, too.

The Numbers and the Tea Leaves

Here is the newest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. It shows Giuliani at 29%, Thompson at 20% and McCain and Romney tied at 14%.

Once again, I'd point out that Romney and Giuliani have no particular reason to be upset about the relatively strong Thompson showing. At this point, Thompson is the functional equivalent of the "other" check-off box -- a repository for any disgruntled voter's misty dreams of the perfect candidate. It's hard to see how, once Thompson actually has to get into the race and take a policy position or two, he's going to increase his support rather than diminishing it.

Rudy's doing great, and Romney's coming along fine, too, especially given his leading status in two crucial early states -- Iowa and New Hampshire. But no wonder the McCain folks are lashing out at Romney -- two months ago, Romney was at 12% and McCain was at 22%. What a difference a couple of months and a terrible immigration bill can make.

Thompson & Abortion

This piece points out that some conservatives have "issues" with Fred Thompson over his position on abortion. He supports overturning Roe v. Wade, and then letting the states decide.

It's also worth noting that in 1994, Thompson supported abortion rights in the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy -- that is, when 85.9% of abortions are performed. And in 1996, he opposed "criminalizing" abortion.

Whether or not all this is a deal-breaker is up to Republican voters to decide. But let's not hear the press -- or Thompson, for that matter -- accuse Mitt Romney of being the sole "flip flopper" when it comes to abortion-related issues.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

What A Difference Eight Years Makes

John McCain is an enemy of negative campaigning -- unless he's the one indulging in it against Mitt Romney.

Note how CBS News calls it going "on the offensive" when McCain does it, rather than more accurately describing it as "engaging in negative campaigning." Whatever the McCain campaign may say, the MSM still has a soft spot for their guy, especially compared to the rest of the GOP field.

Voter ID Requirements Aren't Bigotry

John Fund highlights the argument -- beloved on the left -- that voter ID laws are tantamount to bigotry. What silliness. Surely the liberals don't mean to imply that people of color care less than others about making sure that only those legally entitled to vote actually do so?

In any case, it strikes me that real voter ID laws should be in place before Congress does anything to offer any kind of legal status to millions of illegal immigrations. Voting rights are one of the most precious perquisites of citizenship, and it's wrong to erode them because of self-interested and ridiculous allegations of bigotry.

Vulnerable, or Not?

Ron Brownstein insists -- without ever backing up the assertion -- that Hillary Clinton remains vulnerable to an intra-party challenge.

But Jim Geraghty foresees a relatively smooth sail for Hillary toward the nomination.

Unfortunately, I suspect the latter is correct.

Abortion in the Movies

From this piece in The New York Times, it seems that some on the left are more than a little upset that abortion isn't presented as a viable (no pun intended) alternative to an unwanted pregnancy in popular culture.

The jumping off point the piece uses is the new, crudely named movie "Knocked Up." Strangely -- from the author's perspective -- when a "career woman" becomes pregnant as a result of a voluntary one-night stand, just as she's on the verge of becoming a news anchor, she doesn't ever consider killing the new life she created. From the piece:

[A]n executive with a Hollywood film production company who spoke on condition of anonymity, unauthorized to speak for the company, noted that the film industry has other tough questions to worry about aside from commercial considerations.

“At a time when women’s reproductive freedom is under attack in the courts, why wouldn’t it come up as part of the conversation?” the executive said. “Are you making a statement by assiduously avoiding the discussion?”

Actually, they're not. Here's what's really going on. Pro-choicers have managed to maintain as much public support for abortion as there is because it's always discussed in terms of women who are poor, desperate and -- we're told -- without any other alternative. But if the pregnant woman in "Knocked Up" had gotten an abortion, it would have been because having a baby at the point would have been inconvenient, what with her new career and the fact that she's been charged with losing 20 pounds before taking over as anchor.

In order to maintain support for legal abortion upon demand in the first trimester, pro-choicers have tried to convince Americans that every woman views abortion only as an incredibly heartrending "choice" she's forced to make in only the direst circumstances. Thus, pro-choicers must avoid any story lines or situations where viewers could conclude that abortion isn't always a matter of women being poor, desperate, abused, raped, the victim of incest, subject to a life threatening condition, or confronted with a severely malformed unborn child.

They understand enough to know that normal Americans will view with repugnance abortion being used as a convenient out for those who -- like the woman in "Knocked Up" -- just got carried away and are reluctant to accept responsibility for the consequences. Seeing an unconcerned or matter of fact attitude about abortion in such circumstances, they rightly understand, will undermine support for abortion rights as a whole.

That's why abortion isn't presented as an alternative in any but the gravest situations -- and why we don't see more of it in the movies.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Not Buying What They're Selling

The Democrats are once again going to entertain a series of mostly meaningless, symbolic votes on the Iraq war.

Of course, they haven't fulfilled any of their campaign promises aside from raising the minimum wage, but it's obviously easier to pander to the far left netroots on the Iraq war than it is to engage in earmark reform or other real work.

This piece in the LA Times points out that this Congress' approval ratings are even lower than those of the Republican Congress it supplanted, and attributes the problem to the "slow pace of change."

Could it be, rather, that the American people simply don't like the kind of "change" -- ie forcing defeat in Iraq -- that the Democrats are selling?

The Many Faces of Al Gore

As this piece points out, Al Gore is deathly afraid of the marketplace of ideas and of competing viewpoints.

Well, maybe he's right to be afraid of competing viewpoints, especially when he's subscribed to both sides of a particular topic. Exhibit A is, of course, his 1992 speech on Iraq, where he condemns President George H.W. Bush for not having intervened there, and offers as sweeping a denunciation of Saddam's regime as President George W. Bush ever has. That's a far cry, certainly, from his current critique of President GW Bush and the war in Iraq.

It's tempting to wonder: Will Al Gore be leading the environmentalist scaremongers in a sweeping crusade against global cooling by 2022?

Just a Bit Overblown

The MSM is trumpeting the fact that both Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson are tied at 24% in the newest Rasmussen poll.

Much as I hate to rain on anyone's parade, it's worth pointing out that this is much better news for Rudy than it is for Fred Thompson. That's because Thompson's polls are not likely to go up after he announces . . . he's been basking in the honeymoon of not having to take tough positions, articulate policies or endure a lot of the media (and other candidate) slings and arrows that will surely confront him once he formally enters the presidential race.

At the moment, every disaffected voter is free to read anything he wants to see into Fred Thompson -- from a Reaganesque charm to an Arthur Branchesque wisdom and toughness on crime. But these delightful images are too often dispelled once a candidate decides to roll up his sleeves and get into the rough and tumble of a presidential race.

Talk About Viewpoint Discrimination . . .

Who knew -- it's OK to use the Oakland, CA city government employee email system for "celebration of the gay/lesbian culture and movement" but those who use the words "natural family," "marriage" and "union of a man and a woman" can be subject to punishment for "hate speech," at least according to the wacky Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

I guess in Oakland -- and on the Ninth Circuit -- it's an Animal Farm world. Speech on one side of an issue is simply "more equal" than speech on the other.

Give Me A Break

So a prosecutor from the WWII war crimes trial at Nuremberg thinks Guantanamo is unfair.

So sorry. Well, I have an idea. We'll just hold the enemy combatants as criminals of war, and then wait for the "war on terror" to end before trying them. After all, this high minded prosecutor had the advantage of trying defendants after the war was safely concluded, when -- even had they gone free -- there was little harm they could cause.

Today, with terrorists who target civilians and who abide by no known rules of warfare, the rules obviously have changed. How interesting that this prosecutor doesn't seem to acknowledge that the "rules" of warfare that even the most abhorrent Nazi troops lived by no longer exist.

"Mr. Gorbachev, Tear Down This Wall"

This piece in US News & World Report discusses the speech that's twenty years old today, and presidential rhetoric in general.

What it overlooks is that such moments aren't just "theatre" -- the concordance of a sentiment and a time. The most memorable Presidential "lines" are those that also spring from a deeply held conviction on the part of the man saying them.

Oh, and one more thing: The MSM tends to venerate Colin Powell to an extraordinary degree, treating his every word as gospel. It's worth pointing out that if Powell had had his way on June 12, 1987, there would have been no speech worth remembering.

More to Learn About Hillary

How revealing is this: According to this piece on NRO by Byron York, Hillary Clinton has had no problem with secret warrantless wiretapping -- at least when it comes to subduing "bimbo eruptions" and helping her husband win the presidency.

When it's to keep the country safe from Al Qaeda operatives, however, it's apparently a whole different story.

After a discussion of the two newest Clinton biographies, York concludes:

In the end, the impression that both books leave is that Mrs. Clinton has had two crowning achievements in her career. One was in 1992, when she fought off allegations about her husband’s womanizing and helped him win the presidency. The other was in 1998, when she fought off allegations about her husband’s womanizing and helped him stay in office. The rest? It’s a mixed bag at best.

That's always been my sense, in part because Hillary's friends have felt it so necessary to tell us just how brilliant and spectacular she is in every way. Most of the time, if someone is that great, their friends don't need to ram it down Americans' throats. They'll see it for themselves.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Silly Reasoning

This piece discusses a Second Circuit decision that, in my view, used a bogus evaluation of the "nation's indecency climate" to rule against FCC restrictions on crass language over the airwaves.

The court cited both President Bush's and Vice President Cheney's use of expletives, arguing essentially that it demonstrated that such language was part of the American mainstream. The author of the piece appears to agree.

Well, maybe the language is mainstream and maybe it's not, but the analogy is terminally flawed, because when the President and VP resorted to such language, it was in the context of a private conversation with one other individual (Tony Blair and Patrick Leahy, respectively), not in situations where they knew the language would be transmitted to millions -- as celebrities do, when accepting awards on live television.

Allowing and normalizing such language, as the Second Circuit did, only encourages the resort to vulgarity in public discourse. Surely the President and VP wouldn't have used the relevant epithets as part of a public address -- and neither should movie stars.

What's even worse is that the opinion piece linked above takes liberties with the truth that are really ridiculous. It starts off:

President George W. Bush has not exactly been a hero to civil libertarians, what with the data mining, wiretapping and library snooping.

Anyone care to reveal where -- at any time -- "library snooping" has been a practice employed by the Administration? There isn't one. As for the "data mining" and "wiretapping," the author of the piece might want to check out the recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll cited over at National Review. When asked whether the United States had pursued terrorists here at home too aggressively or not aggressively enough, here were the results:

Among Democrats 24 percent said "too aggressively," 56 percent said "not aggressively enough," 12 percent said just right, and 8 percent said they didn't know. Among Republicans, 9 percent said "too aggressively," 67 percent said "not aggressively enough," 20 percent said just right, and 4 percent said they didn't know.

Guess that "civil libertarians" as defined by the piece above make up a smaller segment of the American public than they'd like us to believe.

Doubts about Thompson

George Will articulates the doubts about Fred Thompson that many conservatives are -- or should -- be feeling. It's been remarkable to watch him be compared to President Ronald Reagan when, as Will points out, Reagan's ideas were his calling card whereas Thompson's proponents seem most enamored of his manner.

It's also fair to ask -- is Thompson's late entrance into the race just good political smarts, or does it signal an unwillingness to put in the time, and maybe even a paucity of ideas and preparation?

Tough questions, indeed, but better to know now than after someone wins the nomination.

What a Surprise

John McCain is blaming conservatives for the collapse of the immigration legislation -- and, true to form, implying that the opposition sprung only from the most ignoble, anti-immigrant sentiments.

Once more, he's demonstrates why he will never become President of the United States -- and probably doesn't deserve to be. And from the way he's lashing out at the members of his own party, it sounds like he himself is beginning to get a clue about the fruitlessness of his presidential efforts.

Where the "Judicial Temprament"?

It sounds like Judge Reggie Walton -- who has sentenced Lewis Libby to prison even while his appeal is pending -- has a judicial temprament problem. That's the only way to figure his inexplicably snarky response to the offer of prominent law professors to try to convince him that he's in error with his sentencing decision.

One would think that having such a prominent stable of experts willing to come in on Libby's behalf might signal that perhaps he should reexamine what he's doing, but that sort of modesty doesn't sound like it's in the judge's make-up.

What Went Wrong

My Townhall column analyzes the many reasons that the immigration bill failed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


Writing in the Nation, Alexander Cockburn is frighteningly open about the real leftist agenda behind global warming:

We should never be more vigilant than at the moment a new dogma is being installed. The claque endorsing what is now dignified as "the mainstream theory" of global warming stretches all the way from radical greens through Al Gore to George W. Bush, who signed on at the end of May. The left has been swept along, entranced by the allure of weather as revolutionary agent, naïvely conceiving of global warming as a crisis that will force radical social changes on capitalism.

Cockburn is quite right. Much of the new "environmentalist" mania has less to do with protecting Mother Nature than it does with finding new and creative ways to impose government control over both the economy and over people's daily lives. Many of its adherents display the same totalitarian impulses that wreaked such havoc throughout most of the twentieth century.

Cockburn is right about something else: The supposed "consensus" on global warming doesn't really exist.

Hillary's Humor Deficit

This piece discusses the way Hillary's campaign is trying to "humanize" her by demonstrating that she does, indeed, have a sense of humor.

Just the fact that this piece could be written demonstrates how transparently unsuccessful the entire effort is. Whatever insiders want to tell us about Hillary Clinton's wonderful sense of humor in private, in public, she seems arrogant and self-righteous.

The most effective politicians -- like Ronald Reagan -- have a genuine sense of humor that springs from two things Hillary lacks: A genuine sympathy for and understanding of human nature in general, and a real but balanced sense of their own flaws and foibles in particular. Hillary's problem in the humor department is that she has seems to have little real insight or interest in other people as human beings, and she truly believes she's perfect.

Such a combination of traits is plenty to create a humor deficit.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

An Unexpected Plus

Jack Kelly points out the unexpected boon to the Republicans through the entire immigration bill debacle:

Democrats will try to hang the president like an albatross around Republican necks. Under normal circumstances, they would succeed.

But in Mr. Bush's uncanny ability to alienate Republicans nearly as much as he does Democrats may lie the GOP's salvation. Since so many of the president's heretofore loyal supporters are now furious with him, the Republicans vying to succeed him are free to join in the criticism . . ..

Lying Down with Dogs

Hillary Clinton isn't likely to let any ethical qualms stand in the way of her quest for the presidency. She has actually named Rep. Alcee Hastings -- impeached and removed from the federal bench for bribery -- as one of her national campaign co-chairs.

It's all a matter of priorities, I guess.

The Emerging Meme

The LA Times has the emerging meme about the failure of the immigration bill -- it was, supposedly, a triumph of the extremes over the middle.

Truth is, not so much. Check out poll results.

Actually, the bill's drafter's and proponents were out of step with the wishes and priorities of the vast majority of the American people. When a bill fails under such conditions, that's a triumph for representative democracy, not a repudiation of the concept of moderation.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rudy and Roe

A piece by Michael Rosen over at Politico suggests that Rudy Giuliani should stand by his support for abortion rights while shunning the jurisprudential overreach of Roe v. Wade.

As I've pointed out before, Rudy's current position is incoherent so long as he tries to have it both ways on Roe (OK to uphold it, OK to strike it down). Given the current emphasis on terrorism-related issues, Rudy's stance on abortion itself may be more likely to be overlooked by Republican voters than it would have been pre-9/11, but what could really cause a problem is the coupling of his pro-choice views with what too often sounds like the endorsement of a judiciary comprised of philosopher-kings.

What the Public Thinks

Harry Reid and the Democrats are going to try to turn the failure of the immigration bill into a political advantage by blaming Republicans. In fact, chances are that they are going to try to imply that Republicans hate Latinos in the hope of securing the Hispanic voting bloc as securely as they have the African-American bloc.

But the facts are that an overwhelming majority of Americans -- 69% -- actually believe that illegal immigrants prosecuted, and 82% believe that America should be doing more to safeguard its borders. That has nothing to do with ethnicity, and since (unfortunately) 69% of the electorate isn't Republican, the sentiment is a bipartisan one. Americans are tired of the security hazards and affronts to national sovereignty that come with what's come far too close to an effective "open borders" policy.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

RIP Immigration "Reform"

The immigration bill is dead, at least for now.

Grow Up, Trent Lott

It's nothing short of amazing that -- a week after President Bush insults the Republican base -- Trent Lott would essentially behave the same way, showing more courtesy to Teddy Kennedy than to members of his own party.

What Lott, like many other members of the "let's get something done" caucus don't seem to understand is that many Americans would rather have no immigration bill than a bad one. It's not just about marking up a notch for a passed bill -- not if the bill would bring with it a host of undesirable consequences like enabling illegals from "countries of interest" to obtain permanent temporary residence within a business day.

In politics as well as in medicine, the Hippocratic Oath -- first, do no harm -- should have some resonance. It's just galling to see Trent Lott invest more emotional energy into condemning the Republicans who, in good conscience, oppose the immigration bill than he did denouncing Democratic obstruction in the Senate for years.

In Fairness . . .

I'm not usually one to defend Hillary Clinton -- and, in general, I agree with the editorials that appear in Investors' Business Daily.

But in fairness, today's IBD piece -- about Hillary Clinton flunking the DC bar -- has got it wrong, in my opinion. In essense, the piece asks (not without some justification): If Hillary is really the smartest woman in the world (as we're all told on a regular basis), how is it that she failed one of the easiest bar exams in the nation?

The problem is that the question really isn't one of intelligence -- it's a matter of preparation. Even brilliant lawyers (like my former constitutional law professor Kathleen Sullivan) can fail the bar (albeit the California bar, one of the toughest in the country). The bar exam has little to do with the "real" practice of law, and (as some have said of the SAT) requires a particularized set of test-taking skills to learn how to answer the questions in the way the bar examiners want to see them.

Almost anyone of normal intelligence (and, in fact, quite a few who are sub-par) are capable of passing any bar just fine, so long as they take a bar review course, pay attention, and put in the time to learn what they need to know in order to convince the graders they should pass the exam.

If Hillary didn't pass the bar, it's probably because she didn't study. That may reflect arrogance -- and her own conviction that she was too smart to need to put in the time -- but it doesn't necessarily reflect stupidity or ineptitude when it comes to a larger knowledge of the law in general.

A Good Couple Days

I thought that Mitt Romney had an off night in the Republican debate, but apparently other viewers disagreed. The extent to which Romney was able to move voters in his direction was remarkable, and a very positive sign should he win the nomination.

Overall, it's been a great couple days for the Romney campaign. Given the way the McCain campaign has been crashing and burning, perhaps it's no shock that he will skip the Iowa straw poll -- but it's somewhat more surprising to hear that Rudy will do the same thing. Of course, the MSM can spin it as ensuring that the poll will be essentially meaningless -- but the truth is that the "meaning" is being fixed right now . . . there's only one candidate in the top tier who is prepared to compete everywhere, and that's Mitt Romney.

Oh yes, overall, a very good couple days for the Governor.

Down in Flames?

It looks like the immigration bill has run into serious trouble. Frankly, that's as it should be, given the arrogance of many of the bill's proponents, who have openly ignored even the serious and conscientious concerns raised by those who have real qualms about offering permanent temporary residence to any and all comers within the space of one business day.

Part of the problem is that those who have authored the bill have so prided themselves on being "grand compromisers" that they've refused to make even common sense changes -- witness the defeat of the Cornyn amendment, which would have only prevented convicted felons - including sex offenders, gang members and repeat drunk drivers - from becoming legal permanent residents.

Without a serious commitment to putting together a bill that makes sense, and given that every day reveals more and more serious deficiencies in the legislation, one can, reluctantly, only hope that this mess is indeed defeated.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ames, Rudy and McCain

Both Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have announced that they're skipping the Iowa straw poll. Can't be anything other than good news for Mitt Romney - and more than a bit surprising that the Giuliani folks would decide that they're in that much trouble.

More tomorrow.

Go Bruning!

Jon Bruning has announced that he will launch a primary challenge against the detestable Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, a/k/a John McCain with all the sanctimony and none of the charm.

He currently runs ahead of Hagel among Nebraska Republicans by a solid 9 points. Go Bruning!

A Miscarriage of Justice

Scooter Libby has been sentenced to thirty months in prison. As Investors Business Daily points out, the sentence is ridiculous. And as the editors of National Review note, Libby is being sentenced as if -- as if -- Patrick Fitzgerald had succeeded in proving that he violated substantive crimes, rather than having had conflicts of memory with some of the journalists who testified.

Remembering D-Day

As with so much else, Ronald Reagan said it best:

You were young the day you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here? We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief. It was loyalty and love.

The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead, or on the next. It was the deep knowledge -- and pray God we have not lost it -- that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.

You all knew that some things are worth dying for. One's country is worth dying for, and democracy is worth dying for, because it's the most deeply honorable form of government ever devised by man. All of you loved liberty. All of you were willing to fight tyranny, and you knew the people of your countries were behind you.

We remember the brave men who sacrificed their lives on D-Day so that we might remain free. We remember the families who sent them to war with nary a whimper, and who also sacrificed the years they might otherwise have spent with loved ones, all because they understood the stakes of that titantic struggle between good and evil. And we remember the country that steadfastly united behind them and their mission.

God bless them all.

Enough about Fred

The NY Sun's Ryan Sager seems to share my impatience with the coy presidential deliberations of the race's most reluctant debutante, Fred Thompson.

Whether Thompson can succeed in winning the nomination while bypassing the traditional gauntlet run by presidential aspirants is a different question than whether he should. As grueling and no doubt unpleasant as the process is, it allows voters to see the mettle of each candidate, and how their performance measures up to those of his putative rivals. It would be a tragedy for Fred Thompson to enter the race so late that Republicans really don't know if he can stand up to (1) the scrutiny and (2) the slings and arrows that accompany an official presidential bid.

It's clear why his approach has appeal -- for him. He is able to bypass a lot of the rigorous grunt work (like debate prep) that other candidates are enduring, even as he keeps alive Republican yearning for a great conservative hope that will shake up the race and send Hillary Clinton back to New York once and for all.

But even though he may be doing himself plenty of good through his wait-and-see strategy, it's not good for the party, and, perhaps, even for the country.

If he wants to run, great. Now's the time to get with it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Third Republican Debate

It was Rudy's night, no way around it. From the beginning, he emerged as a leader when he was unapologetic about the reasons for having overthrown Saddam Hussein. His streak continued on immigration when he pointed out that the bill achieves none of the objectives for which it is purportedly designed. But his high points came with a very cogent response to the bishop's criticism of his stand on abortion -- and when he made light in a very witty way of the lightning-induced microphone problems just as he began his answer. His other moment of glory came when he was the first to denounce the Libby case as a whole, not only for its excessive sentence but for the fact that there was no underlying crime. Likewise, he was well spoken in challenging the media to report good news from Iraq if it comes from General Petraeus in September. He also was strong with free market solutions for health care and in discussing Abe Lincoln's definition of what it means to be an American. A wonderful performance, no way about it.

Wish I could say the same for Mitt Romney, whom I'm most disposed to like. But I can't. He simply had an off night, sounding somewhat wishy washy on the first question out of the box about Iraq (knowing what you know now, would you have invaded?). In fact, for the entire debate, he just sounded overly scripted, almost slick. His answer on health care really provided no new information, and he stumbled on the question of communicating with voters in Spanish. But he did handle the question about his faith with good humor and aplomb, and it's clear that he has a depth of knowledge that others (with the exception of the other frontrunners) seem to lack -- it just didn't come across last night.

John McCain now just seems to come across as genuinely grumpy and angry at Republicans, even. He was willing essentially to call Tom Tancredo a "know-nothing" -- really graceless and quite unnecessary (given that everyone knows Tancredo's views and have reached their own conclusions accordingly); it merely made McCain look petty and ill-tempered. In my view, it was also wrong for him to say that some sacrifices of the Iraq war had been "unnecessary" -- for every sacrifice has been given in a worthy cause, and it does nothing but undermine morale and embitter survivors. Finally, one of his answers about illegal immigration seemed, once again, to conflate opposition to his bill with animus against Hispanics -- both unfair and untrue. It's just painful to watch him try to stake a claim to a nomination that so many are so determined that he should not and will not win.

As for the others, what can one say? Mike Huckabee handled insulting MSM questions about evolution very well; Tommy Thompson came across as an angry and over-caffeinated caricature (and made a truly cheap crack about not sending President Bush to the UN after his term ends); Sam Brownback just seemed wacky, insisting that finding the cure for cancer was one thing he'd do differently than the Bush Administration, and asserting that the GOP simply won't support a pro-choice nominee.

The rest were pretty much what we've come to know through the course of the first two debates. But again, in my view, the big news is just how decisively Rudy outshone the rest of the field.

A Little Judicial Humor

Apparently, a British judge has quoted 42 Beatles songs in a sentencing memorandum directed at a Beatles-loving defendant.

This, my friends, is what passes for judicial humor. My favorite case of this genre was the opinion dismissing (an obviously frivolous) lawsuit against Satan for lack of personal jurisdiction over the defendant.

The Red-Brown Nexus

The New York Sun has a sobering piece on the flourishing relationships between leftist ("red") South American leaders and the ("brown") Islamofascist state of Iran. We ignore them at our peril.

In fact, the FBI is investigating potential links between Tehran and the JFK plot.

What's alarming is to realize that -- even if we find evidence of Iranian involvement -- the Democrats will desperately try to ignore the whole matter, because as they demonstrated earlier this year, they are more concerned about President Bush than they are a whole host of anti-American aggression on the part of the Iranians.

Why the Dems Aren't Serious

This piece points out that many of the supposedly "wise people" that liberals love to quote as original opponents of overthrowing Saddam Hussein are now insisting that American surrender in Iraq would be catastrophic.

Yet the Democrats ignore these people, ironically, even as they denounce the President for having done so. They continue to minimize the threat of homegrown terror.

Ah, yes, some are willing to call for "sacrifice" -- but only when it comes to global warming and the like. When it comes to stabilizing Iraq, protecting the people we urged to come out and vote for democratic change there, and preventing a regional conflagration in the Middle East, none of that matters to the Dems. Better just to try to reap all the political capital and win the presidential election.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Not Quite What It's Cracked Up to Be?

An upcoming report in The Washington Times says that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the Senate bill will only decrease illegal immigration by 25% a year.

In fact, even that figure strikes me as optimistic. If we don't have excellent border security, and people figure out that illegals are receiving permanent temporary status in one business day under the new regime, what's to guarantee that floods more of illegals -- people who otherwise might not have come -- won't come streaming in?

What Freedom is Worth

Seventeen years ago today, the Chinese government brutally quashed its people's hopes for freedom at Tiananmen Square (video here). I was just graduating from college, and recall how appalled I and my classmates were at the treatment of our Chinese counterparts. It was the first, last and only time that I've ever worn one of the trendy little ribbons that signify "solidarity" with some cause -- ours were white.

Today is likewise the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Midway.

Both events are sobering reminders of the costs of freedom.

A Moment of Decision

If there is one lasting impression from last night's debate, it's that the Democrats are simply not serious about national security -- as all the party's presidential candidates vie to be the leaders of surrender and defeat in Iraq.

The impression is only reinforced when people like John Murtha insist that the JFK plot was caused by America's presence in Iraq, despite the fact that common sense analysis indicates that really isn't the case.

In fact, if there is any advantage that Republicans have over Democrats when it comes to the 2008 presidential elections, it is a reputation for being more serious than the Dems about terrorism, and more realistic about the country's national security needs.

But with the immigration bill, the Republicans face a moment of decision, based, it's being reported, on what Mitch McConnell plans to do about the legislation. The problem is that if McConnell allows it to be pushed through -- and it passes with a significant number of Republican votes, there's a fair argument to be made that Republicans aren't serious about national security, either.

Given the news of the weekend -- the bureaucratic ineptitude that allowed a very sick man into the country even after a scan of his passport raised an alert, as well as the news that at least two of the four JFK conspirators had been in the country illegally, one for 23 years -- politicians' promises that the new bill will change everything for the better just can't be taken seriously.

If Republicans fall for this bill, it's fair to say that many of them are, ultimately, not serious about America's national security -- a dangerous phenomenon not just for the country, but also for the Republican brand.

A Reasonable Question

Ronald Cass -- and many other Americans -- want to know what Sandy Berger was so eager to hide that he'd surrender his law license rather than answer questions from the DC Bar (even minus any possible fear of self-incrimination).

The New Short List?

Here is a piece about the judges up for consideration should a Supreme Court justice announce his (or her) retirement this spring.

For most intents and purposes, it looks like a pretty solid list . . . and it had better. After last week's slur directed at his base, President Bush absolutely cannot afford to alienate conservatives any more than he already has by making a controversial choice (a la Harriet Miers).

In fact, a fight over a good Supreme Court nominee should be something the White House should welcome. For too long, it's been fighting battles on the defensive when it comes to everything from Iraq to immigration. The issues implicated in a Supreme Court nomination hearing play to Republican strengths -- and they unify a base that badly needs it.

Chances are that neither Justices Ginsburg nor Stevens will retire, if they think they can hold on until the advent of a Democratic president, perhaps for precisely these reasons.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

"Highlights" of the Democratic Debate

Question: Why are all these candidates so angry? Watching the Republican debate, one gets the sense that two of the three frontrunners (Giuliani and Romney) are enjoying the give and take. With the Democratic field, it's all fevered denunciation and rage. Maybe this is just to reach out to the angry netroots, but it certainly isn't appealing. Did any of them smile, genuinely, all night?

* How scary is it when "Slow Joe" Biden starts sounding like the voice of sense and reason? You know you're watching a group of extremists when the concept of not defunding troops fighting a war becomes a matter of debate, and "Slow Joe" starts making relative sense.

* Hillary Clinton thinks we are safer than we were before 9/11 (and, presumably, during her husand's administration. Barack Obama refuses to give the President credit even for the absence of terrorist attacks on the homeland over the past 5 and a half years.

* Neither Hillary Clinton nor John Edwards actually took the time to read the National Intelligence Estimate for themselves before sending troops into harm's way. Well, maybe that's what happens when a politician knows how s/he has to vote for political reasons, and the facts and the evidence just aren't that important to them.

* Mike Gravel is the only candidate who believes English should be the official language of the United States. Hillary says that such a law would prevent, for example, the hiring of translators in hospitals -- but it's not clear to me why a city or state couldn't hire such people. After all, it's the law of the US that illegal immigrants can't work or live in this country, but all the Democratic senators on stage tonight voted against Norm Coleman's amendment to the immigration bill that would have outlawed "sanctuary cities" where immigration laws are completely and deliberately overlooked.

* The Democrats are either completely unacquainted with the laws of supply and demand, or else are the biggest panderers the world has ever known. Actually, both. Asked how they plan to bring gas prices down, they neglected to mention that lower gas prices will only lead to more gas consumption -- something they are putatively against. What's more, "ending subsidies" for the energy companies, as they describe it, will only decrease incentives to drill and find new energy . . . which, in turn, will serve to keep supply lower and prices higher.

* Mike Gravel says he "get[s] his meds" from the Veterans' Administration. Obviously there's a need for serious VA health care reform.

* Dennis Kucinich wouldn't take out bin Laden, essentially no matter what. He wants him tried in an international court. What a loon.

* Joe Biden said the US should go into Darfur even if the UN doesn't act. Wait a minute -- if it was so terribly wrong to go into Iraq without the UN's imprimatur, why is it OK to do it in Darfur? Perhaps it makes everything Ok if we're headed over to "occupy" an area where we have no real strategic interest -- withdraw from Iraq, but hasten to Darfur.

* Bill Richardson said that the US "doesn't care about Africa." But President Bush has paid more attention to Africa than President Clinton ever did, sending an unprecedented amount of aid, especially when it comes to fighting AIDS. And didn't the Rwanda genocide happen on Clinton's watch?

* Hillary Clinton talks about how "we" balanced the budget and cut spending. Was she (or her husband) part of the Republican Congress -- which, last I checked, was the branch that passes the spending bill?

* Mike Gravel is like the Howard Beale of this camapaign. It was entertaining when he pointed out -- accuratelyb -- that the Clinton budget was "balanced" by using the social security funds (and that's been the case for years now, under D's and R's alike).