Carol Platt Liebau: December 2007

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

In the waning hours of 2007, I'm grateful for the many glorious blessings this year has brought.

I'll be back to blogging more regularly starting tomorrow, and I thank all my vistiors for their readership, and sharing their own insights and opinions.

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Another Huckabee Gaffe

Check this out -- Mike Huckabee thought martial law was still in effect in Pakistan. Worse yet, check out the "clarification." After saying what he said, his campaign didn't just come clean and move on, it attempted in effect to argue that it all depends on what the meaning of "martial law" is.

For my taste, that's a little too close to the Clintonian it's all a matter of "what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Obviously, these kinds of mistakes have been made by presidential candidates in teh past . . . but the stakes are infinitely higher now, given that we're in a war with the forces of Islamofascist terroris,m. Who could think that this guy is equipped to be President?

The Death of Benazir Bhutto

This Frontpage piece by Jacob Lakshin provides some of the most balanced and intelligent commentary out there on the death of Benazir Bhutto. She was far from perfect and made some significant strategic miscalculations, but ultimately was a voice of reason and progress for Pakistan, and her death is a real lost for the USA.

Fortunately for Pervez Musharraf, Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for the assassination -- otherwise, of course, he was a prime suspect as Bhutto offered pretty much the only other acceptable electoral alternative to him for the United States. Nonetheless, he will no doubt be "persuaded" to convene a thorough investigation into the murder, and that's a good thing, as it's the only way to exonerate himself and forcibly remind the rest of the world, once again, of the presence and perniciousness of Islamofascism in the Middle East.

And if something happens to Musharraf, as well, well . . . let's just hope that the nukes are secured.

Morning Radio

I have the pleasure of sitting in this morning with Crane Durham on Allman and Crane in the Morning on St. Louis' 97.1 FM Talk.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Definitely Not Getting It

This is guest blogger Wile E Coyote.

I saw a flier over the weekend from a local abortion-rights group.

The group was calling for a counter-demonstration at San Francisco's Civic Center in opposition to January 19's right-to-life march there.

All well and good.

But, the abortion-rights group declared its intention to "take back our public space" from the right-to-lifers.

Evidently, these abortion-rights people don't understand that a "public space" is not theirs to take, only to share.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Holiest Night of the Year

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

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

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

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

Luke 2:8-14

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not Quite Getting It

Jessica Brinton of The Sunday Times of London tried to reach me for an interview, but then decided just to go ahead and critique the premise of Prude -- but in a way that showed she had either failed to read, or failed to understand, the book.

Brinton argues:

If Liebau questions why today’s teenagers are applying their intellectual energies to making choices about clothes, accessories, hair and sexuality, any parent of teenage girls past will tell you they always have. What’s different is that they make no apology for it.

As a preliminary matter, the book doesn't question "why today’s teenagers are applying their intellectual energies to making choices about clothes, accessories, hair and sexuality." It argues that those traditional and long-standing interests of young women have, with the incitement of a sex-saturated teen media culture, been carried to unacceptable extremes.

What's more, if Brinton had looked at the book, she'd know that I address the argument that every generation has been in a "moral panic" about its young people. As Prude notes, the difference is how quickly the sexual landscape has changed for young women. In 1943, for example, the average age of first sex for a girl was 19 -- back when girls married earlier and lived shorter lives. By 1999, that had fallen to 15 -- a very rapid descent in historic terms. Perhaps that's explained by the fact that in 1943, only 12% of girls approved of premarital sex; by 1999, that number had skyrocketed to 1999.

Whether one agrees with the changes or not, there's no doubt that they're profound.

Finally, no one's calling for teens to be "apologetic" for their choices. What Prude demands is a recognition that, whether the young girls themselves know it or not, the oversexed media environment is damaging to them.

Adults, like Jessica Brinton, are supposed to know better. In the week when Britney Spears' 16 year old sister announced she had been impregnated by a 20 year old young man, her blase attitude rings just a bit hollow. If she'd taken the trouble to contact me, I'd have gladly told her so; if she'd bothered to read the book, she'd understand why.

Not a Uniter . . .

Mike Huckabee has long been at odds with the economic conservatives in the Republican Party. His dangerously naive views on foreign policy has alienated the foreign policy conservatives.

Now, he's managed to anger the Catholics.

Pretty soon, he's going to run out of Republican constituencies to alienate.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Light Posting

Starting tomorrow, posting will be light through the New Year. I'll be writing when I can, but with Christmas and New Year's Day coming up, it seemed like a good time to slow down a bit. Please feel free to comment, to email, and -- of course -- to check back, because I will be posting from time to time.

Wishing you and yours every blessing during this wonderful time.

The Problem with Huckabee

Here, EJ Dionne argues that many in the Republican Party are hostile to Huckabee because he is an economic populist -- but that an increasing percentage of the GOP base is composed of "big government conservatives."

Well, my opposition to Huckabee stems not only from his big government (and nanny-state) tendencies, but also because of the questions that have been raised about his ethics -- and his willingness to use sectarian religious beliefs as a way to score political points (as I discuss in more detail here).

After years of inveighing against the evils of any religious overtones in political debate, the left is strangely approving of Huckabee. Is it because their affection for big government outweighs their mistrust of religion, or because they know that Huckabee will be the easiest candidate for Obama or Clinton to defeat?

NY Times: Our Bad

Being the NY Times means never having to say you're sorry -- or, at least, doing so when the fewest number of people are likely to be paying attention, in the weekend before Christmas.

Here, the Times concedes that the story they blazoned about Rudy Giuliani was, most likely wrong.

Whoops. So sorry, Mayor.

The problem, of course, is that the story definitely took a toll on the Giuliani campaign, capitalizing on doubts some Republicans already had about him, and raising concerns that there might be other skeletons in the closet.

And, of course, it's always impossible to unring the bell. But the NY Times gets simply to say "oopsie," and then go on to its next story as "the paper of record."

Must be nice.

A Short History of Failure

You know that the Democratic Congress has had a bad year when even the New York Times and the LA Times are calling the past year a failure.

Note the tone of astonishment in this NY Times piece:

. . .first and foremost, the war in Iraq. Time and again, even when a few of their number defected, they refused to provide the votes needed to challenge the president’s handling of the war.

That's right. It's called principle. The overwhelming majority of Republicans refused to cave in to pressure from the Democrats and the press to declare defeat in a war that -- as General Petraeus has demonstrated -- is winnable.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Prude On the Left Side

Just spent a couple hours on Marc Germain's show on KTLK, L.A.'s Air America affiliate. Marc's a great guy, and so is his producer, Lisa (although, of course, I disagree wtih them on just about everything).

Remarkably, there was controversy over Prude -- apparently, there are people out there who aren't particularly troubled by the specter of 12-17 year old girls being sexually active.

Until now, perhaps one of the oddest comments directed at me as I've done media for Prude was the assertion by a host on the BBC (as I discussed here) that I essentially wanted to see young women swathed in burkas. But tonight, a question from a KTLK listener totally blew that one away.

Someone actually called in and wanted to know how I felt about masturbation. Truly. As I remarked in my response, what seemed to underlie the question was an assumption that anyone who advocates sexual restraint for young girls must be fundamentally hostile to sex in general, and sexual pleasure in particular.

How strange. Especially -- as I wish I had pointed out -- that research shows that Christian married women not only are satisfied with their sexuality but are happier in their marriages than American women in general.

In other words, sexual conservatism -- and having standards for sexual behavior -- doesn't equate with a stereotype that many on the left seem to hold of people who believe sex is sinful, dirty or wrong.

Please Just Go Away

If the Archbishop of Canterbury believes the story of Christ's birth was mostly a "legend," could he please just step down and permit someone who is an actual believer in the Bible to take over?

Doesn't he have anything better to do than purvey this kind of stuff?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Clintonism Again

It's not just Hillary's own chilly personality that's causing problems for her presidential campaign. It's the return of Clintonism generally -- and people are remembering what a lot of it was about.

First, Bill Clinton's tongue gets ahead of him again, as he makes a statement rebutted by President Bush 41 that the two of them will become global diplomats devoted to apologizing for President Bush 43 in a Hillary administration (did he really think President Bush 41 would stand for that kind of implicit denunciation of his son?).

Then, it turns out that contrary to previous statements, the Clinton Library is, indeed, withholding documents from public scrutiny.

All of a sudden, people begin remembering the half truths, the fabrications and the general dishonesty that was an endemic part of the Clinton years, and that isn't helping Hillary.

It's easy to speculate that perhaps Bill Clinton -- consciously or subconsciously -- is sabotaging his wife's campaign. But I'm not sure that's really true. It's just that he's dishonest and he really can't help himself. If it were an effort to wreck the campaign, he's a smart man, and he could do something cleverer than his little gambit with the Bushes discussed above (or lying about something easily verifiable, like his recent statement that he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning.

Hillary better watch her friends as well as her enemies, in general. If Dick Holbrooke is being truthful in his assertion that Hillary thought her vote for the Iraq war was actually a vote to avoid war, she's either too naive or, frankly, too dumb to be president. The words and the intent of the resolution were clear, and cooking up some convoluted explanation for it is just one more example of Clintonism run amok.

Romney's Veep?

This piece suggests that Senator Judd Gregg of New Hampshire might be a potential Romney veep pick. Late in the article, former Missouri Senator Jim Talent also is mentioned as a potential Cabinet member.

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Jim Talent a bit from Missouri politics, and I like him enormously. That being said, let me make an argument that, of the two, Talent would be the superior veep pick. If Gregg were to leave the Senate, the enormously popular Democrat incumbent governor, John Lynch (a prohibitive favorite for reelection) would pick his successor until the next election, and with New Hampshire trending ever bluer, it's not clear that a Republican would necessarily succeed Gregg, who won reelection easily. What's more, New Hampshirite Gregg lacks the geographic balance that a Midwesterner would offer a former Massachusetts governor -- and Missouri is the classic bellwether state . . . bringing it securely into the Republican camp is no small feat.

Finally, Jim Talent's record is conservative enough -- socially, fiscally, and national security-wise -- to reassure any segment of the party. And his campaign style is disarming and low key; it's hard to paint him as a mean, scary guy. In fact, he performed something little short of a political miracle in 2002 by successfully defeating Jean Carnahan, the widow of the former governor, for his Senate seat without ever coming across as anything but the nicest guy in the world.
No small feat.

He's got a bright, accomplished wife, Brenda, a lawyer who was formerly in JAG, and a nice family.

Romney could do much, much worse.

Mike Huckabee and Women

Over at the American Thinker, Kyle-Ann Shriver notes that she'd rather be "hog-tied" than vote for Mike Huckabee, as he lacks the experience (and, I'd add, the common sense, as Hugh Hewitt's interview with AEI's Michael Rubin makes clear) to serve as Commander-in-Chief.

But there's also plenty to be disturbed about when it comes to Huckabee's views on women. I'm not necessarily talking about his newly-famous exhortation for women to "submit graciously" to their husbands. That's a theological statement that requires a good deal of unpacking to be properly understood, and I've said repeatedly that American politics are poorly served by theological inquisitions (although it's also true that those, like Huckabee, who attempt to exploit religious divisions for political advantage can't complain when the same trick is played on them).

No doubt the "submission" stuff would be used (and abused) by the media to convince every woman in America who's not steeped in Huckabee's religious tradition that he believes women are inferior to men. But what's more concerning are the suggestions that Huckabee actually did oppose equal pay for equal work. Not only is such a position unjust, but it adds credibility to those who would charge that his own sectarian beliefs are directly reflected in his public policies in a way that's out of step with modern life.

As any regular reader of this blog knows, I'm pretty socially conservative. But as a woman, I am appalled (and shocked, actually) atthe suggestion that, in this day and age, a man who wants to lead this country would oppose in any way the concept of equal pay for equal work. It's reminiscent of an experience that I once had at a radio station when another host told me that he -- not I -- should be receiving mroe work because he had a family to support and I didn't.

Many, many women in America have had similar experiences, and the idea that they'll just ignore them and embrace Mike Huckabee is fantasy of the first order. I've never been a Huckabee fan . . . but this really deepens my reservations about him to something approaching outright opposition.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

A Great Justice, a Great Man

We spent the evening at the Reagan Library hearing a talk by Justice Clarence Thomas, and then attending a dinner afterwards. The Justice's talk was exemplary of why he is so beloved by so many. Modest in tone but profound in substance, his words moved the crowd to ovation after ovation.

He claimed that he was an "ordinary man" to whom extraordinary things have happened. He's wrong. He is a great Justice and a great man.

A "Do-Me Feminist" Speaks

Over at The Corner, Kathryn Jean Lopez calls attention to this post on the lefty feminist site "Feministing."

I have, let's see, NO friends that don't have sex with a guy within the first week of dating him. It is a myth that men are more into sex than women in relationships. If anything, from what I have experienced and heard from my friends is it is quite the opposite. But clearly a magazine like this can only function if we believe certain innate things to be true about men and women, so for them, men are horny, control freak, man beasts and women are virginal prudes that must be conquered.

Clearly, sites like "feministing," of course, can only function if they refuse to believe that any "certain innate things [are] true about men and women." This insistence that there are no innate differences between the sexes is, of course, is what makes feminism seem so completely irrelevant and silly to most well-adjusted women. Anyone with eyes to see understands that in some ways, men and women are obviously not the same.

But for the lefty feminist ideology to remain at all coherent, liberal feminists must continue to argue that men and women are the same, especially when it comes to sex. Among the cultural forces I critique for the sex-saturation of teen-girl culture is something termed "do-me feminism" -- the idea that it's somehow empowering and liberating for young girls to act just like the worst stereotypes of sex-obsessed men (being willing to have sex without emotion or commitment, and with anything that moves, for example).

Wouldn't these feminists be doing more for womankind if they instead insisted that women have an equal right to satisfying interactions with the opposite sex, rather than wasting time and energy trying to claim the same right to promiscuous sex?

Prude on BBC

Spent the morning recording interviews for the BBC. I expected challenges to Prude to come from the left, of course, and they did. Perhaps my favorite was the one asking me if what I really wanted was to see America's young girls swathed in burquas, as women are in many Muslim countries.

Certainly, as I pointed out, there is plenty of middle ground between selling thongs to 12 year olds and swathing young girls in burquas. But what I also pointed out was that -- while America's culture and behavior should never be subject to a "global test" -- it was remarkable that many of the same people who worried about the impact on America's image of our efforts in the war on terror were so sanguine about the impression left worldwide by so much of our popular culture. At the same time that we're telling Muslim countries to "respect" their female populations, our popular culture is celebrating "artists" who refer to them as "bitches," "skanks," "hoochies" and "ho's" on a regular basis.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Loving the First Amendment

Unbelievably, complaints have been brought against Mark Steyn to various "human rights" commissions by Mohamed Elmasry and the Canadian Islamic Congress.

Mark Steyn is one of the most brilliant, talented and articulate writers living today (perhaps ever, for all I know). That this could even be happening is like a 1984-style bad joke.

Since when is it a "human right" to be free from criticism? And since when is it compatible with "human rights" to persecute -- or prosecute -- someone like Steyn simply because he has a different point of view?

Makes one appreciate the First Amendment, doesn't it?

Not Too Hot on Huckabee

On Anderson Cooper's show, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council just explained that Mike Huckabee presents a "challenge to some" in the foreign policy and economic wings of the Republican Party. He believes that the fact that Huckabee is unpopular among some in both segments explains why evangelicals haven't embraced him more wholeheartedly -- it's out of courtesy, of a sort, to fellow Republicans.

Perkins could well be right. But it's also worth noting that there are evangelicals who are likewise themselves foreign policy hawks, and who believe in low taxes and small government. And for those, Huckabee is simply unacceptable, given his hopelessly naive kumbaya approach to foreign policy and his tax-happy past.

A New Kind of Midnight Basketball?

My Townhall column -- titled "Teen Sex: The New 'Midnight Basketball'?" is here. It discusses two new studies that are being used to dispute the need for abstinence education for young people.

And no doubt the studies will be used as fodder for those who are just fine with turning down federal money for abstinence only programs, as the Washington Post reports today.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Adam Nagourney delves into the lack of enthusiasm among GOP'ers for their prospective presidential candidates, and compares it to the Democratic love-fest for Senators Clinton and/or Obama.

The whole discussion is a moot point, of course. Just as polls aren't helpful when they measure an incumbent's standing against a generic opponent -- because what voters ultimately have to measure is two real-life candidates together -- it isn't terribly insightful to understand that a race against Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama (who is farther left than most Americans yet know) will do much to give Republicans fire in the belly.

In the past, of course, when Republicans have been enthusiastic about their candidates, the press has portrayed that fact as somehow attributable to the candidates' putative problem with reaching out to "the middle," i.e. that Reagan or George W. might be "too conservative" to win. Funny that the reverse calculus isn't performed, even though it's entirely likely that both Clinton and Obama might be "too liberal" to prevail, especially in a contest with Giuliani, Romney or even McCain (if he somehow won the nomination).

The fact is that Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996 not because the electorate was so totally enamored of him; in fact, he never mustered a majority of the popular vote. Rather, Americans were even less enchanted with George Bush in '92 and Bob Dole in '96 (and, of course, Ross Perot helped Clinton in '92). The same "lesser of two evils" scenario could, in fact, work in Republicans' favor this year, even if their candidate isn't setting them (or the country) on fire -- although given that many Americans don't yet know much about, say, Mitt Romney, it's not even sure Republicans would have to rely on such a hope.

A Great Appearance

In his "Meet the Press" appearance, Mitt Romney showed that he has the intelligence -- and the media savvy -- to do a good job in a presidential campaign.

Romney handled the interview with aplomb, including the oft-asked questions about his "flip flops." Watching the interrogation, one almost hoped that he'd tell Tim Russert that they actually aren't flip flops (flipping one way, and then back) -- they're just flips. And the point is that he's a guy who can learn from experience and amend his policies in ligh tof new knowledge or new information. 'Scuse me, hasn't the press just spent at least six years condemning President Bush for stubbornly holding to his policies despite what they deem to be changing facts or information? Then Romney does it, and that isn't right either. Almost makes one wonder if the problem is that they're both Republicans, so nothing they do will ever be good enough for the MSM . . .

Tediously but predictably, Tim Russert spent a chunk of time at the interview's outset performing a theological probe on Romney, asking about his religious faith. Most offensive were Russert's attempts to somehow pin on Romney the Mormon Church's failure to allow blacks into the ministry until 1978. Russert's a Catholic, after all -- and does his Church's refusal to permit women into the ministry to this day mean he's a sexist? Of course not. Does his membership in the Catholic Church mean that he necessarily agrees with his Church's position on women priests? No. So let the whole Mormon-black thing go, already -- at least insofar as it's used to suggest that Mormons (and/or Romney) are (or might be) racists.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More Clintonism?

One of the many things that make me uncomfortable with Mike Huckabee is his tendency, as I noted to resort to Clintonian word games when the going gets tough.

Well, here's another example. Huckabee inaccurately described himself as having a "theology degree". Apparently, he doesn't.

The Beauty of Free Speech -- When the Satellite Works

Spent the morning trotting over to the Fox News studio in L.A. in order to appear on Sky News in the UK, only to find that the satellite wasn't working. Ah, well.

But it's all good news otherwise. It seems that the message of Prude is getting out, because the lefties are starting to attack it.

Here is the predictable leftist rallying cry on Alternet that the book is trying to "turn back the clock" (and to the extent that I'd like us to return to a time when young girls weren't offering oral sex in school stairwells, it's absolutely right) and here, I'm described as an "American feminist" and, entertainingly, compared to "demented pelicans turning on their young" (although the author errs in asserting that I'm criticizing young girls as "slags" and "sluts" -- rather, I criticize the culture for sending young girls a message that sexiness is the most important attribute for a woman).

Gotta love freedom of speech, don't you?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Just the "Southern Way"?

That's how Mike Huckabee's pro bono lawyer described the culture of gift-giving to the former Arkansas governor in this story from Politico.

Apparently, many of the donors found themselves named to a variety of posts by their donee, Mike Huckabee. But what jumps out even more is this statistic:

In one year, the value of the gifts given to Huckabee amounted to more than $112,000 — nearly double his $67,000 state salary.

Wow. Everyone should have so many people who just want to give them things out of disinterested friendship.

Not So Fast

Political obituaries are being penned for the Hillary Clinton for President campaign. Stories like this one -- "Clinton denies White House run is in trouble" -- are never good.

Clearly, there was weakness and vulnerability hidden beneath the seeming inevitability that the campaign evinced not long ago. The left of her party dislikes her for the centrism she displayed in an effort to reach a general election public. The middle of her party mistrusts her electability. But the fact is that it's way too soon to write off Senator Clinton. She's got a lot of money, what seems like an almost pathological need to win and hold power, a ruthless machine, and the determination to do what it takes. Let her win Iowa, and she'll be the Comeback Kidette, with new momentum sweeping her into the other primaries.

The problem for her, of course, is figuring out how to rough up Barack Obama without leaving any fingerprints on the character assassination. She needs to bring him down, but without making herself any more dislikable in the process. It will be interesting to see whether candidates like Bill Richardson -- very much in the running for a Hillary veep spot -- start to escalate their attacks on Obama, in order to win her approval, or perhaps even as part of an "alliance" that would be of benefit to both.

Hillary's efforts to ingratiate herself with women voters -- ads featuring her mother and daughter -- strike me as obvious and heavy-handed. But then again, that's always been her problem. For someone who is supposed to be such a brilliant, subtle and nuanced thinker, her political instincts always seem to verge on the ham-handed. And, of course, there's her tendency to make rookie mistakes, without her husband's deft touch in explaining them away.

It's remarkable to see pro-Hillary journalists like Eleanor Clift blaming Bill Clinton for his wife's trouble. Without Bill, of course, Hillary wouldn't be anywhere near the White House.

Back From New York

Sorry for the extended delay in blogging -- it was a whirlwind trip into New York and back (and believe me, that 6 hour return flight seems long), especially combined with extra time on the ground de-icing . . . I barely made it out before the winter storm struck.

It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to appear on the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet. Interestingly, the show book a young woman who testified to the facts in Prude, and talked about her experience witnessing her peers having sex in public at parties.

It's great to be posting again, but things may be a little lighter than usual only because there's been a significant upsurge in interest in the book, from outlets like the BBC and Sky News -- as well as outlets in Ireland, Scotland and Spain.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Light Posting b/c of Prude Media!

The light posting today is because of a second wave of media interest in Prude. I began the day filming a segment for Inside Edition -- which will air tomorrow.

I've completed radio interviews in L.A., and two in Toronto, Canada -- and with the book being released worldwide, I've received requests from the BBC, British television, Scottish radio -- and even radio in Spain!

Posting will be light tomorrow and Thursday, too, as I'm scheduled to head to New York to appear on the The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet on your local Fox affiliate Thursday morning. The schedule got moved forward a bit, so I was scrambling today!

I'll be home on Thursday, but back to posting full steam on Friday morning.

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Prude TV

I will be on Inside Edition tomorrow, talking about Prude.

Torture, But Necessary?

That's how one expert characterizes waterboarding in this piece from ABC. He also says that the technique resulted in information that disrupted perhaps dozens of terrorist attacks.

The whole issue is a tough call. But ultimately, how does one tell the loved ones of those who would otherwise have been killed in terrorist attacks that their deaths were worth it in order to avoid waterboarding a terrorist with information that could have prevented the attacks?

Prude TV

I will be a guest on The Big Story today on the Fox News Channel.

Prude Overseas!

The UK press is covering Prude -- from the London Daily Mail to The Guardian to The Scotsman.

"Tak[ing] This Nation Back For Christ"

In a speech to fellow pastors, Mike Huckabee reportedly deckared "I hope we answer the alarm clock and take this nation back for Christ."

As any regular readers of this blog know, I am anything but hostile to the concept of religion as a part of public discourse. And those who are steeped in the Christian faith, like Huckabee, know exactly what he meant by the statement above.

The problem, of course, is that not everyone in America is, in fact, steeped in the Christian tradition. And for those without that background, the statement above sounds needlessly divisive, and alarmingly sectarian.

There is no inherent reason that a minister cannot -- or should not -- be elected President of the United States. But the kind of statements Huckabee made illustrate the pitfalls for those who want to try to do so.

It will be interesting to see whether, after this, lefties like Frank Rich will continue to have a hard time containing his enthusiasm for Mike Huckabee. If no criticism is forthcoming, it will be obvious that many on the left are playing the game of "supporting" their opponents' weakest candidate.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Another Slippery "Man from Hope"?

Remember Bill Clinton's famous "it's a matter of what the meaning of 'is' is"? Well, Look at how thinly Mike Huckabee slices the baloney when Chris Wallace asked him about his support for a "pathway to citizenship" for illegals on Fox News Sunday and ask yourself if there must be something in the water in Hope, Arkansas:

WALLACE: ... a border fence, for cracking down on employers, for telling illegals to go home.

But last year in an interview, you said something somewhat different. You said this, "I think that the rational approach is to find a way to give people a pathway to citizenship."

Governor, in your new plan, the only path is to go home and to get on the back of the line, which, of course, would mean years of waiting. Why the change?

HUCKABEE: Well, I don't think there's an inconsistency. When I said a pathway, I didn't say what the pathway was.

I now believe that the only thing the American people are going to accept — and, frankly, the only thing that really makes sense — is a pathway that sends people back to the starting point.
(emphasis added)

In other words, it's just a matter of what the meaning of "pathway to citizenship" is. Who knew that when Mike Huckabee supported a "pathway to citizenship" back in May, what he really meant was that the pathway ran through the illegals' home country?

It's reminiscent of Bill Clinton in 1992 talking about the vote for the first Gulf War, and saying that he would have voted for the war, but he agreed with the arguments of the people who voted against it. Apparently, according to what he says now, Mike Huckabee supports a "pathway to citizenship," but he would require illegals to go home and start over in order to become citizens.

Obviously, that makes no sense, because that's what, in theory, current law requires. So did Huckabee not know this, or is he just being disingenuous, in the finest Clintonian tradition?

Update: As Hugh Hewitt points out, Huckabee played the same semantic games with the word "quarantine."

Prude Radio

I'll be a guest on Laura Ingraham's radio show tomorrow.

A "Religious Test"

Steve Chapman is steaming mad at Mitt Romney for not including unbelievers in his speech about Mormonism last week.

That's his prerogative, of course, but Peggy Noonan was able to make the same point in a considerably less overheated way -- without, for example, accusing Romney of believing that "any American who doesn't worship at least one god is eating away at our democratic structure like a hungry termite."

What's remarkable is that Mr. Chapman accuses Romney of trying to impose a "religious test" on those running for President. He goes on to argue that

If the founders thought religion was indispensable to a free republic, why does the national charter say "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office"? Wouldn't it have made more sense to include a religious test?

No doubt the founding fathers thought that a "moral and religious people" were indispensable to a free republic, and rightly so. Without the informal social constraints that religion imposes on selfish and anti-social behavior, an ever-stronger government is necessary just to keep order (as I argue in a different context in my book, Prude). But that's not the same as believing that every political leader should have to swear to certain sectarian dogma -- the kind of religious test in vogue in England at the time.

Let's be clear here. Surely Chapman knows the difference between state action and private decisionmaking. And although I'd disagree with them, people have the right to decide not to vote for Romney because of his faith, as he himself noted. But that's not the same thing as the government passing a law that no Mormons may ever hold political office.

Certainly, Americans have the right to believe -- as Romney apparently does -- that it's best to have a person of faith (whatever the faith) at the head of the US government. Holding that belief is not the imposition of a religious test. And what's more, as I've said before, as a matter of policy it makes sense to me. The president is the most powerful man in the world, and it's important for him to believe that he nonetheless is accountable to a power infinitely greater than he is. After all, as Dostoevsky's Ivan Karamazov once observed, "without God, everything is permitted."

Faltering, Flailing -- and Failing?

Al Hunt has a few hard -- but perceptive -- truths about the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Not So "Compassionate"

For someone who wanted to offer in-state illegals reduced tuition at state universities as a mark of "compassion," Mike Huckabee extended little of the same to homosexuals, at least judging by his words in 1992, when he had harsh things to say about homosexuals.

Here, I discussed how easy it would be for the MSM and Democrats to paint Huckabee as some out-of-the-mainstream wacko (whether the characterization is either true or fair isn't the point). There's no question that these revelations just made that job even easier.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Exodus Begins?

The first vote by a diocese about whether to leave the Episcopal Church of the USA happens this weekend.

Ironically, the head of the US Episcopal bishops has threatened the bishop involved, telling him that if the diocese leaves, it will be "necessary to ascertain whether you have in fact abandoned the communion of this church, and violated your vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of this church."

Ironic because it's the leftist elements in the church which have, in truth, abandoned the worldwide Anglican communion, and violated vows to uphold the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church in America in order to satisfy those with a left wing political agenda.

Huckabee on Immigration

Here's Huckabee recently on illegal immigrants: Build a fence, and make 'em go home. But judging from his earlier comments, it seems that if they stay, and educate children at taxpayer expense, Huckabee would have no problem giving those kids in state tuition.

The "Hillary Resisters"

Funny how opponents of the Clintons always end up with a nickname -- "Clinton haters," "Hillary resisters" -- isn't it? Where are the cute monikers for the people who spend their time obsessed with incoherent rage against the current President?

In any case, is it really any surprise that upscale, left-wing women who made it on their own are ambivalent about a woman who is the presidential frontrunner only because of the man she married? I'm no lefty -- and a lot of these women in the story leave me cold -- but who can blame them, or doubt that their reaction to a self-made female politician like Dianne Feinstein would be different?

The only part of their critique that I find offputting is the following:

"Hillary, in a sense, is a tragic figure," said Clara Oleson, a 65-year-old retired lawyer and union educator in West Branch, Iowa, who supports Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). "She seems to feel she needs to be a social male -- aggressor, commander in chief."

As a woman who is pretty feminine in appearance and deportment, I've grown tired through my life of left-wing feminists telling me either that I'm a self-hating woman or a man in a woman's body simply because I don't share their views.
The problem with left wing feminists is that they define man as the adversary -- and so anyone with whom they disagree or are uncomfortable is, by definition, acting like a man.

And although I've no brief for Hillary Clinton, of course she has to be commander-in-chief (whether these women like it or not) and if she intends to win, she'd better convince the country that she's tough enough to be up to it.

But really, that's Hillary's problem. Once again, she's wanted it both ways -- acting like a traditional left-wing feminist (remember her disdain for women who "baked cookies and had tea" and, more recently, her allusion to the "old boys' club" of presidential contenders?) but then not wanting to be pegged as one. No wonder her quasi-cohorts are a little less than happy with her.

Flipping (over) the Pages

It's being reported in the Washington Post that two House pages engaged in public oral sex, prompting the resignation in protest of two congressmen from the oversight committee.

Sure, the idea of House pages engaging in this kind of activity is shocking, but as I document in my book, Prude, it's not as rare as anyone would hope. There are instances -- some of them reported in the pages of the Post -- of young people doing this in school auditoriums, bathrooms, parking lots . . . and yes, even in classrooms.

The answer to all this isn't more "sex ed" -- it could even be argued that young people have listened all too well to the warnings about unwanted pregnancy, hence the resort to oral sex. What's needed is character education, helping young people develop sexual integrity the same way they develop integrity in other areas of their lives.

As the study reported on here -- discussing a certain lack of ethics among teens -- indicates, there's a lot of educating that should be going on but isn't.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Plaudits All Around

As Duane Patterson notes, posting at Hugh Hewitt's site, Dr. Dobson seemed favorably impressed by the Romney Address.

So did Patrick Buchanan, a man who is not often or easily pleased.

Not only was the address an eloquent and moving discussion of religion and its role in America and its political life, Romney's steadfast declaration that he would not back away from the "faith of his fathers" may have answered another lurking question voters have had about the Massachusetts governor. Much of the press reporting on Romney has focused on his supposed "flip-flops", but today, he was able to speak for himself, and when he did, he told voters there were, indeed, certain principles he would never apologize for and never relinquish. With that statement, he may well have answered the lurking though unspoken doubts of a number of voters; clearly, he has done himself a world of good.

Huckabee: A "Unique Challenge"?

The WaPo's Chris Cillizza speculates that Mike Huckabee might be difficult to demonize, and pose a "unique challenge" should he become the presidential nominee.

Please. We all know the flaws of the four best-known aspirants, Giuliani, Romney, McCain and Thompson. But Cillizza's argument -- that Huckabee's social conservatism could win over the base while his economic populism and low key manner woos independents -- is a joke.

What's more likely is that it goes the other way, that is, his economic populism divides the base -- and then, the press goes to town discussing his belief in creationism, his background as a preacher, his pro-life stances and his release of a convicted rapist. The Democrats follow up by mentioning his "compassion" when it comes to illegal immigration and his lack of foreign policy experience, thereby neutralizing two policy issues that otherwise cut in Republicans' favor -- and his ethics problems would be used to neutralize Hillary's or to enhance Obama's appeal. Voila! No suburban moderate will touch him with a ten-foot pole, and hello, President Clinton or Obama.

Huckabee would pose a "unique challenge" all right. But not to the Democrats.

What Needed To Be Said

Here is the text of Mitt Romney's speech on religious faith from this morning.

I didn't have the opportunity to see him deliver the speech, and there can be many a slip 'twixt cup and lip -- but from the text, it's a winner. For my money, Romney hit all the right notes. He made it clear he was a friend to religion generally, that his creed has much in common with others that predominate in this country, and that he respects people of all faiths. And he refused to back off from his own beliefs -- which should answer the objections of those who try to assert that he is someone who changes his mind for political gain -- while making it clear that his highest duty would be to follow his oath of office.

Some of the speech was downright moving:

Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom. Freedom opens the windows of the soul so that man can discover his most profound beliefs and commune with God. Freedom and religion endure together, or perish alone. . . .

There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution. No candidate should become the spokesman for his faith. For if he becomes president he will need the prayers of the people of all faiths. . . .

I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from 'the God who gave us liberty.'

Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage. Perhaps the most important question to ask a person of faith who seeks a political office, is this: Does he share these American values _ the equality of human kind, the obligation to serve one another and a steadfast commitment to liberty? . . .

You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: We do not insist on a single strain of religion _ rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith.

Romney said all that needed to be said.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A Third Party Scenario?

Bill Kristol speculates that Michael Bloomberg might run for President if the Democrats nominate Barack Obama and the Republicans nominate Mike Huckabee.

The scenario strikes me as not at all implausible, given that both major party candidates would have major problems -- Obama's left-liberalism and inexperience, on the one hand, and Huckabee's economic populism (alienating to economic conservatives) coupled with his small town preacher background (which will, rightly or wrongly, become a source of hesitation for many after the press gets done discussing his religious background and how it plays into his stands on abortion and other hot button issues).

It might be well if the social conservatives who support Huckabee -- and threaten to leave the party if Giuliani is nominated -- take a good look at Kristol's piece.

A God-less Movie

As this article makes clear, no one knows yet whether the movie version of "The Golden Compass" has included any of the anti-God rhetoric of the book upon which it is based.

It may well not -- New Line Cinema would have to be crazy to let such material seep into a Christmastime movie. Even so, I wouldn't go to see it whether or not the stuff's in there, because I'd hesitate to enrich a writer who has actually said, ""My books are about killing God" or the people who have gone into business with him.

Ready to Gamble?

A National Intelligence Estimate says Iran stopped making nukes in 2003, a finding welcomed as a victory by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Ehuk Barack, Defense Minister of Israel, says there's some evidence it was resumed after that.

The NIE report is being used as a rationale for doing nothing about Iran. Well, are Americans ready to gamble on Ahmadinejad's good will, and the same intelligence apparatus that turned out to be wrong in Iraq?

If we sit back and Iran develops a nuke, then the biggest fiasco to come out of Iraq will be the wrong lessons that have been drawn by the doves -- that it's a mistake ever to vigorously defend American interests.

This time, if the intelligence community is wrong once again, and Iran does develop and use a nuke, relying on faulty intelligence could cost infinitely more lives than what's happened in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Huckabee and Creationism

According to this report, Mike Huckabee is frustrated that he's asked about his views on creationism so often.

Well, you can't have it both ways. As I pointed out in my Townhall column, Huckabee seems willing to exploit his image as a "Christian leader" (as he put it in his You Tube campaign video), especially when he perceives that doing so will offer him an advantage over his rivals. What's more, he seemed quite willing to answer questions about what Jesus would do about the death penalty -- and even one about Biblical interpretation -- although he he was perfectly positioned (as a minister) to explain that as theological questions, those weren't relevant to a presidential debate.

The kind of creationism questions that are (rightly) annoying Huckabee is a foreseeable byproduct of the injection of theology into an electoral race. But those who live by the sword must die by the sword, so my sympathy for him is limited, indeed.

No Secrets There

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show -- being aired tonight and promoted in a variety of places -- is ironically named, isn't it? Given the skimpy lingerie, it's obvious that Victoria, in fact, has very few secrets at all.

Look, grownups have a right to seek this stuff out, of course. But what's unfortunate is that CBS is beaming into everyone's home the kind of content that men used to have to buy Playboy magazine in order to enjoy.

It's just another example of the phenomenon I discuss in Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!). America is truly letting girls down by tolerating -- or celebrating -- behavior that sends a message that being "sexy" is the most important attribute a girl can have . . . more important than character, intelligence or talent.

In an appearance today on "Your World With Neil Cavuto" (video here), I pointed out that the feminists were eager to get rid of the Miss America pageant because, they argued, the swimsuit competition "objectified" women. Well, where are they now? At least Miss America made aspirational nods toward the notion of wholesomeness; this lingerie fashion show, by contrast, is an open exercise in ogling women's bodies without even a nod to talent of any kind, and yet no one's saying a word.

A Democrat's "Impeachable Offense"

Joe Biden is declaiming that President Bush should be impeached if the US attacks Iran.

How funny that this senator (and no doubt many in his party) believe that it's a "high crime and misdemeanor" for a President to exercise his core authority as Commander-in-Chief in a way that they deem to be misguided. And it's just a little less than a decade after they decided that committing a felony (i.e. perjury) doesn't rise to that level.

So what it comes down to: Sexually exploiting an intern and then lying about it under oath: A-OK. Defending the U.S. in a way that Biden disagrees with as a policy matter: Impeachable offense.

Talk about the criminalization of policy differences . . .

Will They Take Rove's Advice?

Karl Rove has opined that a Republican can beat Hillary Clinton.

The thing is, Rove is probably right -- it's not for nothing that he's got a formidable reputation as a political strategist. What's sort of entertaining, as Rove doubtless knows, is that it will chap most Democrats to effectively be seen as taking Rove's advice . . . but at the same time, they really know he's right.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Great Band, Great Causes

Today, Hugh Hewitt interviewed Five for Fighting's John Ondrasik. I don't follow bands much -- as most of you know, I'm a Cole Porter fan.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that John's band is the one that sings "100 Years" (I like the song) and he's definitely a good guy. Want to know why? Check out What Kind of World Do You Want.

Kettle, Meet Pot

Now Hillary Clinton is criticizing Barack Obama for his supposed duplicity about how long he's wanted to be President.

Granted, there's no evidence that Hillary was telling her kindergarten teacher that she wanted to be President. Instead, there was only the alleged eight-years-of-Bill-eight-years-of-Hillary scheme dating publicly from 1992. But given both Clintons' struggle with the truth, it's hard to understand why she would open up a can of worms by accusing someone else of being duplicitious.

And even if Barack did say he wanted to be President when he was in kindergarten, what of it? How many children say that and turn out to be lawyers, firemen or plumbers? The only difference in his case is that he's actually got a shot -- so good for him.

It was clear to me when I knew him that he had his sights set far above the confines of the Harvard Law Review or a corporate law firm. Why not? But whether he was planning to be a senator, or a secretary of state, or a president wasn't clear. The ambition could have been formed the night he won his US Senate seat.

Hillary needs to be careful with stuff like this. Not only does it sound petty, it calls to mind the truism that people tend to object most to the attributes in others -- here, duplicity, perhaps, ambition certainly -- that they themselves have.

Huckabee's Missed Opportunity

As a Baptist preacher, Mike Huckabee was uniquely positioned at the CNN/YouTube debate to dismiss the inappropriate questions about Jesus' views on the death penalty and Biblical interpretation.

What a shame he missed an opportunity to do something good for the GOP and, more importantly, for the nation by making it clear that theological questions are not appropriate subjects for inquiry in a presidential election.

That, and more, is the topic of my Townhall column.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sit Back & Enjoy

Pull up a chair, sit back, pop up the corn, and enjoy. Hillary Clinton's minions are going after Barack Obama.

Whether or not Barack wins the nomination -- and it's entirely possible that he will -- his candidacy will be instructive for voters, no matter what. What he's doing is forcing Hillary Clinton to show her claws, and putting her ruthlessness and lust for power on display.

Thank you, Obama campaign. It's good for people to see these things before it's too late.

Why He's "Playing Nice"

The Politico notes that Mike Huckabee is "playing nice" and refusing to criticize his rivals Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani.

Is it because he's just a nice guy? Hardly. It's because he knows he doesn't have the money (and likely the support) to go the distance and win the nomination. In reality, he's running for vice president, and it makes no sense for a southerner who's conservative on some social policies to alienate a couple of northeasterners who might want to put him on their tickets.

Poorly Positioned to Point Fingers

Obviously, I disagree on policy questions with Barack Obama. But to read that Hillary Clinton's campaign has the audacity to call Obama's political action committee a "slush fund" barely passes the laugh test.

Apparently, the Clintons want Americans to believe that there's something out of the ordinary in Obama's PAC giving funds to politicians who endorsed him.

Whatever the merits of the criticism, it barely passes the laugh test coming from the woman who decided to launch her senatorial bid when her husband was still president. Indeed, her husband's administration -- the one where she gained all her supposed "experience" -- was famous for paying off political supporters with nights in the Lincoln Bedroom and so much, much more.

Obama essentially responded by telling Hillary to knock off the attacks, noting that everything that's been done is legal. That's pretty restrained in my book, given what he could have said.

Time to Disclose

So Dick Morris talks regularly with Mike Huckabee. Well, that certainly explains columns like this one, titled "Huckabee is a fiscal conservative."

No one could possibly object to Dick Morris being a Huckabee supporter. But when Morris presents himself as an impartial analyst, it certainly seems appropriate to expect him to disclose any biases he might have.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

New Republic Retracts

Franklin Foer and the New Republic no longer stands by the stories written by fabulist Scott Beauchamp. (HT: Confederate Yankee.)

Beauchamp thereby joins Stephen Glass in the New Republic Hall of Shame -- but is perhaps even more contemptible. Glass, after all, lied about young conservatives and other civilians. Beauchamp purveyed the most disgusting lies about the character and behavior of members of the US military.

A Turning Point Indeed

Well, cats are lying down with dogs and it's raining purple pigs from the sky -- CBS News has admitted there's "cause for optimism" in Iraq.

Of course, the story is leavened, as always, by lots of dour qualifications -- it's not a "turning point" in the war, it's just another "phase."

Well, the same could be said for the media's coverage, couldn't it?

How Typical

Stories like this one -- detailing how Hillary Clinton moved to reap political benefit from the hostage crisis in her New Hampshire office yesterday -- are typical.

Typical of the Clintons because there is no occasion unworthy of being exploited for political gain. Typical of the Hillary Clinton campaign because the strategy is so obvious.

And, of course, typical of the press for focusing on a process story, and reporting with something approaching admiration the exhibition of unabashed Clintonian political skills at work once again.

Update: The invaluable Clarice Feldman had a similar take on the whole Clinton affair (no pun intended).