Iraq . . . still a mess
More wishful thinking from Andrew Sullivan on Iraq. He says we should secure Baghdad. He’s right, but that’s really not the point. This Administration will not do what is necessary to win the war. They didn’t plan on doing the necessary work, they didn’t impose order when chaos developed after the war, and they have never acknowledged the gross failures of this policy.
Other than minor adjustments, which usually have come way too late, Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld have never faced up to the fiasco they created. As long as they are running things, with a free pass from the GOP Congress, nothing will change.
Posted in: Iraq War
Tags: Iraq War
Give me liberty . . . .
Conservatives have completely abondoned the concept of liberty. Forces like the religious right, big-government conservatives and the fears generated by 9/11 have led many conservatives to argue that the government needs to regulate our moral lives, and it’s getting hard to find any conservatives who will champion the concept of freedom. Many conservatives like David Brooks are welcoming this new concept of “moral guardrails.”
Many of us are getting sick of the government, the GOP and the religious right telling us how to live our lives. Fortunately, some conservatives are still willing to fight for the concept of liberty. Radley Barko obliterates Brooks’ argument that we need the government watching over us on moral issues. He points out how almost every indicator, from teen pregnecy, to divorce rates, crime and abortion rates are down and heading lower. These trends began in the early to mid 90′s (under Clinton, who Barko does not mention). Meanwhile, this has also happened while our society has become much more liberal about things like homosexuality and our pop culture has become more course. He ends with the following, which should be a punch in the gut to all conservatives who have tolerated th moral nanny state:
So what gives? Seems to me that technology, relaxed public attitudes, and consumer choice have given Americans more lifestyle freedom over the last 15 years than we’ve ever had before. Yet not only is our national moral fabric not unraveling, it appears to be as durable and fibrous as it’s ever been.
So why exactly do we need more moral guardrails from the government aimed at restricting behavior?
(Interestingly, the one trend that hasn’t significantly declined over the last 15 years — or at least hasn’t receded as quickly as the others — is drug use. And that’s the one vice the government has been most aggressive about policing.)
Frankly, I think these statistics speak for themselves. We handle our liberty just fine, thanks. The vast majority of Americans don’t need government-imposed “guardrails.” Family, friends, churches, and other support networks more than suffice.
Twenty years after Ronald Reagan declared government to be the problem, today’s conservatives want to use government to cure every social ill imaginable.
The questions is whether Democrats and liberals will fight for our freedoms. Democrats are so afraid to speak their mind because they don’t want to piss off the morals crowd, yet they keep losing elections because nobody believes them anymore.
Speak up. Stand up for liberty. It’s the right thing to do, and it might actually be good politics as well.
Prelude to Surrender
It’s a catchy phrase – Prelude to Surrender – I wish I had come up with that one myself. Rich Lowry uses this phrase to describe George W. Bush’s latest speech on immigration, otherwise known as his latest lame attempt to shamelessly use an issue to boost his poll numbers.
Lowry actually uses another title for his piece – “Clintonian at the Border.” As NewDonkey.com points out, things are getting realy bad for W. when the right starts comparing him to Bill Clinton.
This is a tough issue for Bush. He actually had a real policy here – he generally agreed with the Senate approach. He wants to toughen up enforcement (doesn’t everybody?), but we wanted a rational middle ground when it came to dealing with the illegal immigrants who were already hear. I don’t believe that the Senate bill can be characterized as amnesty. The earned citizenship provisions make people work to gain citizenship, after paying a fine, working for a number of years and staying out of trouble.
Yet Bush wasn’t satisfied with having a real policy that he believed in. His administration is such a mess, and his poll numbers are so low, that he decided to try to appease his right-wing base. Yet he’s treating them as if they are stupid. He has consistently insulted principled conservatives when they disagreed with them in the past (see the Harriet Miers debate and the ports fiasco). Now’s he’s throwing them a policital bone with the National Guard proposal, but he’s sticking with the Senate plan.
Lowry and other conservatives can see through this charade.
Mel Gibson takes shot at George Bush
Mel Gibson became the darling of the religious right and many Republicans last year when he released “The Passion of the Christ.” With his new project, however, his many supporters might be shocked to hear what Gibson has to say about President Bush:
He tells British film magazine Hotdog, “The fear-mongering we depict in the film reminds me of President Bush and his guys”.
Gibson’s new film, Apocalypto, depicts the thousands of human sacrafices conducted by the Mayan Indians in an attempt to save their kingdom. Gibson will get plenty of opportunities to further slam Bush when the film is released later this year.
James Webb gains support from prominent Democrats
James Webb’s campaign to unseat George Allen in Virginia is starting to get the attention and support of many national Democrats, including Minority Leader Harry Reid:
Senate Democratic Leader Harry M. Reid and other top Democrats yesterday announced their support for Senate candidate James Webb, signaling the national party’s growing belief that the antiwar crusader and former Navy secretary is the party’s best bet against Republican incumbent George Allen in Virginia.
Webb is fighting for the Democratic nomination against former technology lobbyist Harris Miller in the June 13 primary, the kind of race that national party officials usually stay out of. But Webb, a former Republican and an early critic of the Iraq war, is attracting national attention as someone who could spoil Allen’s plans for an easy reelection in November and a presidential bid in 2008.
I don’t know a thing about Harris Miller. He’s probably a good candidate and would represent the Democratic party well if elected. But he won’t be elected. He probably doesn’t have much of a chance against George Allen.
Webb, on the other hand, has a chance. Webb has a strong military background and he came out against the Iraq War when most people in the country were blindly following the incompetent Bush administration. He has credibility on this issue, and he can make this a high-profile race. He should be the nominee.
Howard Dean vs. Rahm Emanuel
The fight between Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel over how the Democratic National Committee should be spending its money demonstrates the difficulties facing the Democrats as they try to restore the party to power.
Both men have valid arguments. Howard Dean is spending money in all 50 states in a long-term strategy to rebuild the party from the ground up. This strategy makes sense, and he should stick to his guns.
On the other hand, Rahm Emanuel sees the huge opportunity this fall to retake the House and Senate. He wants Dean to conserve resources so they can weather the inevitable GOP onslaught in tight House races. Emanuel doesn’t want to lose this opportunity. He’s also correct.
Unfortunately, even with solid fundraising, there’s only so much money to go around. Emanuel will probably lose this argument.
That said, the Washington Post article points out the Emanuel’s House committee has roughly the same amount of cash on hand as their GOP counterpart, and Chuck Shumer’s Senate committee actually has more money than their GOP counterpart (run by the hopelessly incompetent Elizabeth Dole).
On a more humorous note, the Post article is worth reading just for its description of Emanuel:
Emanuel, a recreational ballet dancer with the vocabulary of a longshoreman, has for 15 years fashioned a reputation as one of Washington’s most aggressive figures — first as an operative on Capitol Hill and in the Clinton White House, and after 2002 as a representative from Chicago.
Karl Rove unleashed
Get ready for hurricane Karl. Howard Fineman reports how Karl Rove’s strategy for the 2006 elections will be to demonize the Democrats and scare the crap out of voters. Democrats should be worried. Rove is at his best when he’s fighting in the gutter, and he will do everything in his power to avoid a Republican meltdown in November.
That said, this strategy might backfire. Voters are obviously tired of Bush and the GOP, and they’ve heard all this about the Democrats before. Rove in essense will be doubling down with this strategy, and it could lead to even bigger GOP losses.
Joe Biden good on the stump
I caught part of Joe Biden’s speech in South Carolina on C-Span. He’s been working on his stump speech, and it has a heavy emphasis on Democratic values. He also takes some tough shots at the President’s failure to provide real leadership after 9/11.
I have to say I was impressed. I didn’t think Biden has much of a chance. He has some great ideas and he’s very credible on the war, but he’s sometimes dangerous when he gets a microphone because he can’t stop talking. He’s particularly bad when asking questions in Senate hearings. But this speech was pretty good. He was very passionate, and the crowd ate it up.
If he can continue to refine this stump speech and work on his tendancy to talk too much, this guy might have a shot. He can get people excited, and he’s letting it all hang out. He’s saying what he really thinks, and he comes across as very credible and authentic. It’s a great start.
It’s like putting lipstick on a pig. The hiring of Tony Snow and the other changes at the White House won’t mean a thing if Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld keep pushing the same failed policies. George Will sums it up perfectly:
[Snow’s appointment is] just what conservatives really want, is government by Fox News. But he’s a man of wit, charm, intelligence, goodwill and it won’t make a particle of difference. It really won’t. Because it’s not a communication problem. It’s a substance problem. Politics is about something. Now, this is an aesthetic improvement in that room in the White House, period.