Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Murtha's Arguments for Withdrawal Revisited

"I believe we've done everything we can do. I believe we have become the enemy. And I'll tell you this: The Iraqis are not going to do the fighting unless we turn it over to them. They're going to let us continue." (Rep. John Murtha, November 17 interview)

In his interview with Margaret Warner on the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Rep. John Murtha, cited three major reasons for immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

1. US forces have become the enemy and are the target.

My post of November 18th shows how flawed that reasoning is. The vast majority of people killed by the terrorist insurgency in Iraq have been Iraqis--not US forces. It is Iraqis who are the main target of the terrorists, not US forces.

2. Unless we pull out, the Iraqi forces will never assume responsibility for their own defense. (see opening quotation)

The refutation of point 2 ties in with point 1. If it were you (remember that the terrorists have specifically targeted Iraqi military and police), your family, and your friends who were being killed by terrorists, would you slack off? Because Iraqi forces have so much to gain personally from taking out the terrorists, they will come up to speed as rapidly as possible. They need help to do this--not pressure. Rep. Murtha apparently has a low view of Iraqis. If US troops are willing to risk their lives for Iraqis, how much more are Iraqi troops willing to risk their lives for their families and countrymen? But, the mainstream media doesn't report on their actions or heroism--or the actions or herorism of Coalition forces. The Multi-National Force - Iraq site is a good place to get more balanced news on Iraq.

3. Our being in Iraq is the reason for the terrorism there. There was no terrorism before we went in.

Rep. Murtha forgets about Saddam's terrorism--something the Kurds, lots of Shiites, and even some Sunnis do not forget.

But, in terms of the terrorism Murtha is talking about, it has long been the President's argument that we are fighting terrorism in Iraq so we won't have to fight it here in the US and suffer the consequences we did on 9/11. Our being in Iraq did not create terrorism. But, it is forcing the terrorists to focus their attacks and face a military force rather than their usual soft civilian targets. So, that terrorists are in Iraq where our troops are, is a good thing.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

One Month after Harriet Miers' Withdrawal

Mr. Broder says Bush got "rolled" by his own supporters in the Miers fiasco. But he did not. He got defeated by them. He made a bad choice, and they resisted. The White House fought back; conservative thinkers fought back even harder; Republican senators did not back the White House; the White House retreated, rethought and renominated. (Peggy Noonan, The Dean's Scream, November 3, 2005)

One month ago today conservative pundits like the folks at National Review, George Will and Peggy Noonan "defeated" the President, a majority of Republicans and a plurality of the conservative base. They did this via an intense media campaign directed at Harriet Miers that resulted in the withdrawal of her nomination.

They also changed conservative political parameters. This is what they lost us:

1. That elections matter, and the President has the right to choose which judicial nominees will get to a vote in the Senate. In the Miers case a small group managed to block the President's choice.

2. An up or down vote on every nominee. Not only did Harriet Miers not get an up or down vote, she didn't even get a Senate hearing.

3. That the majority should rule. The pundits represented the views of only a third of Republicans (31%) and conservatives (34%). But they claimed to speak for the base and "rolled" over not only the President, but 53% of Republicans and 44% of conservatives.*

In practical terms, they got us:

1. Sandra Day O'Connor's swing vote for an extra three months--maybe more.

2. A long, drawn out process for the Alito nomination.

3. Difficulty in criticizing any Republican Senator, not to mention a Democratic Senator, who doesn't feel that Alito (or any future nominee) would make a good Supreme Court justice.

4. Validation that a minority has a right to block a nomination. Certainly by trying the nominee in the press. Why not through a Senate filibuster?

5. Republican Senators, 42 of them, who didn't see what the big deal was in slapping at the President's policy on Iraq by approving an amendment “To clarify and recommend changes to the policy of the United States on Iraq and to require reports on certain matters relating to Iraq.”

Kind of a Pyrrhic victory?
*from the October 27 CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll on "Initial Reaction to Miers' Withdrawal":

Pleased 31%
Disappointed 53%

Pleased 34%
Disappointed 44%
Conservatives and Republicans are most likely to be disappointed. This suggests rank-and-file conservatives may have been less negative about the nomination than highly visible conservative pundits and columnists.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Clean and Safe Waters Are Just Too Expensive for Portland

Portland’s City Council has shown it’s lack of vision and administrative ability again. Because of Bureau of Environmental Services (BES) lapses, the City of Portland has been fined $449,800 for 67 sewage spills dumped into various local waterways over a period of four and a half years.

The City, and so-called water “activists”, have been campaigning against EPA regulations that would require Portland to keep it’s water safety levels up to federal standards. Apparently EPA standards are becoming more and more lax under the Bush administration except when it applies to Portland’s water quality where they're way too strict.

But Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has also found big problems with Portland’s sewage and water quality standards. The DEQ cited some of its concerns about Portland’s lax water quality management:
Oregon environmental law prohibits sewage overflows to state waters because sewage contains disease-carrying bacteria which are a threat to public health and the environment. Many of these discharges occurred during dry weather, when there was a greater likelihood of human contact with sewage in local streams and the Willamette. Sewage is also a significant water pollutant that can harm aquatic life and cause public waters to be unsuitable for recreation, commercial and agricultural uses.

The City in it’s own defense, pointed out that it just didn’t have enough money to maintain its sewage system and didn’t want to raise rates to make sure that local rivers, streams and creeks were protected from its sewage spills. The Oregonian quoted Sam Adams, Commissioner in Charge of Portland’s BES, as saying:
"It's unacceptable, but it's also unavoidable in some cases because we have an older system," Adams said. "Over the past few years, the bureau has been loathe to turn in a lot of requests for maintenance because we already have the highest sewer rates in the country."

Imagine what Commissioner Adams would say to a businessman or homeowner who asked to be excused from Portland BES standards because “our rates are already too high”. That sort of logic only seems to work if you’re the City of Portland, which, coincidentally, has enough public money to fund political campaigns for commissioner and mayor. Just not enough to keep massive sewage from spilling into public waterways.

Just last May the City Council voted to provide public money for primary and general election campaigns up to $350,000 for candidates for commissioner and up to $450,000 for mayoral candidates. They set aside $1.3 million for this. But they (and Commissioner Adams who voted for the campaign financing plan) can’t find enough to stop major sewage spills.

Adding insult to injury, the spills were due to negligence. The BES, far from being caught by surprise about the dumps, instead of fixing known problems, had rigged up an alarm system for a portion of pipe they suspected might break. Unfortunately, the alarm system didn’t work properly. And 660,000 gallons of sewage spilled into the Willamette River in September.

Fortunately for Portland (and the rest of the state impacted by Portland's waterways), the State DEQ noticed the City’s increasing negligence in maintaining its sewage system. Oregonian reporter Anna Griffin writes:
[Jeff Bachman of Oregon’s DEQ] said DEQ took action now because in the course of rewriting a city permit, the agency's staff noticed the mounting number of spills. Three spills of 300,000 gallons or more of sewage in the past three months also served as a red flag, he said.

Why the City Council and Commissioner Adams didn’t also see these major spills as a red flag is a major competence question.

Apparently the bad news will continue. The EPA, with it’s too strict standards, is considering fining Portland for the basically unfiltered water coming from its street runoff sumps. It is also concerned that Portland’s major effort to upgrade it’s water quality equipment (the Big Pipe) is not up to federal clean water standards. Poor Commissioner Adams can only whine:
"After all this expense and effort, they're raising questions about whether we're doing enough," said Adams, who will update his City Council colleagues in an executive session today. "This could potentially cost us hundreds of millions of dollars."

Well, aren’t clean and safe waterways worth it? I thought that was the point of the EPA, DEQ, and BES. If the City Council can get its priorities straight and get some competent leadership, maybe Portland will have a chance at reasonable water quality.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Rep. Murtha and Redeploying the Target

In a November 17th interview with Margaret Warner on PBS's Newshour with Jim Lehrer, Representative John Murtha (Dem-PA) called on the US to "withdraw our troops immediately from that area" and "to return our troops -- I say to redeploy our troops out of Iraq." One of the major reasons he cited was that US troops are seen as "the enemy" and the "target".
REP. JOHN MURTHA: Margaret, let me just tell you this: The time has come when 80 percent of the Iraqi people are saying that they want us out of there, that 45 percent of the Iraqi people say that the United States -- it's justified to kill Americans. So you have a country that wants us out of there, and we've become the enemy. We are the target.

Has Congressman Murtha been following the news? Who is the main target in Iraq? In case he hasn't noticed, Iraqis are the main target.

Some Associated Press accounts:

November 19, 2005:
Bombings kill nearly 50 near Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq — A suicide attacker killed at least 36 people and wounded 50 more in a Shiite funeral procession Saturday north of Baghdad, while a car bomb near a market just outside the capital killed 13 and wounded 21, police said.

September 14, 2005:
Scores die in Baghdad bombing
BAGHDAD, Iraq — At least 73 people were killed and 162 wounded early today after a suicide bomber detonated his vehicle near a group of construction workers in a Shiite district in northern Baghdad, Lt. Col. Moayad Zubair said.

August 18, 2005:
Deadly triple bombing stuns Iraq
The deaths of at least 43 Iraqis in the three linked car bombings yesterday brought an outpouring of grief and anger rarely shown on state television, as broadcasts for the first time focused solely on the violence and call-in shows allowed citizens to voice their sorrow and frustration.

The sequential attacks targeted a police station, then a crowded bus terminal where many Shiite Muslims were gathered and finally a hospital where many of the victims had been taken. Most of the victims were civilians.

June 26, 2005:
Multiple bombing attacks target police in Iraq, leave dozens dead
MOSUL, Iraq — Suicide bombers struck a police headquarters, an army base and a hospital around Mosul today, killing 33 people in a setback to efforts to rebuild the northwestern city's police force that was riven by intimidation from insurgents seven months ago.

Maybe Congressman Murtha should be calling for "redeployment" of Iraqis out of Iraq if he wants to end the violence there. Wake up Congressman Murtha!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Weapons of Mass Destruction: How Soon They Deny

The RNC has a great video on Democrats warning against the danger Saddam Hussein posed to the US--some in 1998 when they had access to all intelligence information.

Thanks to Mike's America!

Following is a transcription of the Democratic statements (emphasis mine):

former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright: Iraq is a long way from Ohio, but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risk that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face, and it is a threat against which we must and will stand firm. (February 18, 1998)

President Bill Clinton: Or we take some ambiguous third route which gives him yet more opportunities to develop this program of weapons of mass destruction and continue to press for the release of the sanctions and continue to ignore the solemn commitments that he made. (February 17, 1998)

DNC Chairman and former Governor Howard Dean: There are such a thing as international outlaws. I’m not sure China is one, but I’m quite sure Iran and Iraq are. (January 31, 1998)

former National Security Advisor Sandy Berger: He will rebuild his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, and some day, some way, I am certain he will use that arsenal again as he has ten times since 1983. (February 18, 1998)

Representative Nancy Pelosi: Saddam Hussein certainly has chemical and biological weapons. There’s no question about that. (November 17, 2002)

Senator Jay Rockefeller: There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years. We also should remember we have always underestimated the progress that Saddam Hussein has been able to make in the development of weapons of mass destruction. (October 10, 2002)

Senator Joe Biden: We know he continues to attempt to gain access to additional capability including nuclear capability. There is a real debate how far off that is, whether it’s a matter of years or whether it’s a matter of less than that. And so there is much we don’t know. (August 4, 2002)

Senator Harry Reid: Saddam Hussein in effect has thumbed his nose at the world community and I think that the president is approaching this in the right fashion. (September 18, 2002)

Tim Russert: Do you believe we could have disarmament without regime change?
Senator Hillary Clinton: I doubt it. I can support the President. I can support an action against Saddam Hussein because I think it’s in the long term interests of our national security. (September 15, 2002)

former Senator John Edwards: Serving on the intelligence committee and seeing day after day, week after week briefings on Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons. He cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons. It’s just that simple. (January 7, 2003)

Senator Evan Bayh: Bill, I support the President’s efforts to disarm Saddam Hussein. I think he was right on in his speech tonight. The lessons we learned following September the 11th were that we can’t wait to be attacked again, particularly when it involves weapons of mass destruction. So, regrettably Saddam has not done the right thing which is to disarm, and we are left with no alternative but to take action. (March 17, 2003)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Chickens Come Home to Roost

Mr. Broder says Bush got "rolled" by his own supporters in the Miers fiasco. But he did not. He got defeated by them. He made a bad choice, and they resisted. The White House fought back; conservative thinkers fought back even harder; Republican senators did not back the White House; the White House retreated, rethought and renominated. (Peggy Noonan, The Dean's Scream, November 3, 2005) (emphasis mine)

Today the Senate voted 79-19 for an amendment “To clarify and recommend changes to the policy of the United States on Iraq and to require reports on certain matters relating to Iraq.”

The amendment is a slap in the face to President Bush and our Iraq policy.

Conservative pundits like those at National Review, Peggy Noonan, and George Will have taught Republican senators not only how to “not back the White House” but how to “defeat” the president. Republicans in the Senate have shown themselves to be good learners. The conservative pundits’ chickens have come home to roost.

How long will it take for Republican Senators to unlearn these bad habits?

Republican yeas:
Allard (R-CO)
Allen (R-VA)
Bennett (R-UT)
Bond (R-MO)
Brownback (R-KS)
Burns (R-MT)
Chafee (R-RI)
Cochran (R-MS)
Coleman (R-MN)
Collins (R-ME)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Craig (R-ID)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeWine (R-OH)
Dole (R-NC)
Domenici (R-NM)
Ensign (R-NV)
Enzi (R-WY)
Frist (R-TN)
Grassley (R-IA)
Gregg (R-NH)
Hagel (R-NE)
Hatch (R-UT)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Lott (R-MS)
Lugar (R-IN)
Martinez (R-FL)
McConnell (R-KY)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Roberts (R-KS)
Santorum (R-PA)
Shelby (R-AL)
Smith (R-OR)
Snowe (R-ME)
Specter (R-PA)
Stevens (R-AK)
Sununu (R-NH)
Talent (R-MO)
Thomas (R-WY)
Voinovich (R-OH)
Warner (R-VA)

Bunning (R-KY)
Burr (R-NC)
Byrd (D-WV)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK)
Conrad (D-ND)
DeMint (R-SC)
Graham (R-SC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Kennedy (D-MA)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Leahy (D-VT)
McCain (R-AZ)
Sessions (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Vitter (R-LA)

Thanks to Hugh Hewitt who is one of the few Conservative pundits who got it right in October and continues to lead the good fight in November.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

President Carter’s Dreams

In a November 3rd interview (broadcast November 5th on CSPAN), Brian Williams spoke with former President Jimmy Carter. The centerpoint of the interview was Carter’s new book, Our Endangered Values. The interview is interesting from a couple of standpoints.

First is Carter’s thesis that President George W. Bush’s administration is radically different from all presidential administrations that have gone before.

Here’s an example of the former President’s logic:
Historically our nation has believed, Republican and Democratic presidents have espoused, the proposition that our nation would go to war only if our security was directly threatened. That’s international law as well. That’s part of the United Nations and others to which we have subscribed. This administration has said: No. We will endorse a proposition of pre-emptive war. We will go to war if we feel that a foreign country houses a leader that is obnoxious to us . . . or if in the future that leader’s policies might endanger the United States. So, we reserve the right, ostentatiously demonstrated in Iraq to bomb the people of Iraq to launch our missiles and shells against Iraq and to invade Iraq when our security was not directly threatened.

One wonders if Carter remembers the war in Korea (in which he served)? Or the war in Viet Nam? Or the first war in Iraq? Or our participation in the war in Bosnia? How was the threat to our security “direct” in those wars/conflicts in a way that it isn’t in Iraq?

Carter’s dreamy analysis doesn’t clearly identify the radical difference between George W. Bush’s war policy and the war policy of previous administrations. He didn't mention the connection between Saddam's hatred of the US and the possibility of his using weapons of mass destruction (seen even by the UN) and cooperating with terrorists. Since 9/11 those dangers have become more palpable to Americans than distant dangers in Korea and Viet Nam were (not to mention the first war with Iraq and the military action in Bosnia).

The argument is well made that unless we had stood where we did in Korea and Viet Nam, Southeast Asia might well be communist and have delayed or stopped the fall of the Soviet Union. But, in terms of direct threats, 9/11-type terrorism now seen clearly in Iraq stands closer to the direct threat posed at Pearl Harbor than any other event in the last 60 years.

Second, in a different kind of dreamy analysis, Carter spoke on what he thought was keeping the Democrats out of power.

On Democrats and abortion:
I think it’s a mistake to wed the Democratic Party to freedom of choice and abortion. As I say in this book I have never believed that Jesus Christ would approve abortion unless the mother’s life or health was in danger or perhaps the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest. For those very few exceptions. And when I was president I had to live under Roe vs. Wade. It was my duty as a president. I did everything I could to minimize the need for abortions. I think for the Democratic Party to get identified as being completely pro-choice with no attention given to the rights of the fetus is a very self-defeating policy. And I hope we will get away from that.

On Democrats relating to religion:
And the other thing that was I think a mistake in 2004, not deliberate, I really believe that our nominees were uncomfortable in dealing with the deeply religious people in our country. I don’t mean the right wing, you know, Christian. I think there was a sense among many devout people, in my own church, my fellow churchmen, that John Kerry didn’t quite relate to us.

Carter said the next successful Democratic candidate has to make some changes. A winning platform would be:
We worship the Prince of Peace, not pre-emptive war.

We are moderate on the abortion issue.

We believe that marriage, by definition in a church, ought to be between a man and a woman, but we believe in full civil rights for gays who want to be partners.

We want to honor human rights around the world and civil liberties for Americans.

We want to protect our environment.

We want to have the tax situation in our country balanced between the wealthy and the poor.

We want to work toward balanced budget.

We want to have a strong defense but not use our military to attack other people gratuitously.

I think he is right that this kind of platform might well win the Democrats a majority in Congress as well as the Presidency. There are a lot of people who have been Democrats but have been driven from the party and from liberalism because of the crazies who have taken over. A liberal like John Kennedy would have no place in the party today–as Lyndon Johnson had no place in the party after 1968.

Isn't it kind of dreamy to think that the platform Carter suggests will be adopted by Democrats? How can Michael Moore, Howard Dean, NARAL, and People for the American Way fit in with his proposed platform? Senator Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman (with the exception of the references to Jesus) could. But, we know what has happened to them. And countless others at the rank and file level have already left the Democratic Party–seeing it as a party of abortion and gay marriage, of wacky ideas on religious commitment in public life and religious expression in public schools, and which has a deep distrust of the military.

Some of the seeds of the Democratic demise can be seen in Carter’s own dreamy blend of personal and governmental morality. As much as he is admired for his work with Habitat for Humanity and attempts to stop the horrors happening in Sudan, President Jimmy Carter came up blank against a fairly mild (in today’s terms) form of terrorism during his own presidency. He could not find the answer to bringing our hostages home from Iran.

Unfortunately today’s Democrats share Carter’s weakness on how to deal with terrorism. Even worse they have also turned from his strength in understanding how Americans view morality and the importance of religious commitment.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Good Analysis on Muslims Getting Fed Up with Muslims as Targets

Both George at Alamo Nation (Collateral Damage) and Tony at Always Right, Usually Correct (Finally some speak up) have good analyses on the rising rage regarding Al-Qaeda terrorism targeting Muslims in Jordan and Morocco. Now, if only Muslim outrage would spread to include Iraqi victims (and maybe even non-Muslims).

Words Matter

In "Oregon looks to neighbors' ballot results, reads tea leaves" about the impact on future Oregon elections of California’s defeat of four ballot measures, Oregonian reporter Jeff Mapes uses a strange formula to identify political protagonists in Oregon.

Democrats and union officials exulted at the defeat of Schwarzenegger measures aimed at curbing government spending and public employee unions. They said it would make it harder for conservative activists to pursue similar measures in Oregon.

Democrats and union officials are pitted against conservative activists.

Mapes follows that with a back-handed definition of conservative as far-right extremist via a quote from the chief lobbyist for the Oregon Education Association:

"It's a huge setback for the far-right extremist agenda," said Chip Terhune, chief lobbyist for the Oregon Education Association, the state's main teachers union. "They're going to have to do a reassessment after this debacle in California."

Mapes goes on to name people in each camp.

Democrats and union officials:
Chip Terhune, chief lobbyist for the Oregon Education Association
Penny Wentz of Our Oregon (a union-backed group)
Rebecca Green, spokeswoman for Naral Pro-Choice Oregon
Senate Majority Leader Kate Brown, Democrat from Portland

conservative activists:
Russ Walker, head of the Oregon chapter of Freedom Works
Gayle Atteberry, executive director of Oregon Right to Life

One would expect that Democrats and unions officials would be offset by Republicans and business leaders. Or that conservative activists would be balanced by liberal activists. Instead one gets a sort of apples and oranges designation where left political philosophy is not identified, but right political philosophy is.


At least part of the reason is the media’s longstanding refusal to distinguish liberal from far-left extremist. Thus, “liberal” (a perfectly respectable political position) has come to imply far-left extremist. Reports like the above do nothing to counter that tendency. In fact they encourage it by leaving the impression that no one wants to be designated as a “liberal”. Better to use the more philosophically value-free terms of “Democrat” or “union”. In contrast, people on the right seem to proudly wear the philosophical label of “conservative”.

Will “liberal” and “left” ever become value neutral, not to mention positive, terms again? Not with reports like the above which continue to tar them by refusing even to use them.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Paris Riots: Wanna-Be Insurgency

The rioting near Paris has all the earmarks of a wanna-be insurgency–even though almost every news story mentions poor living conditions as the reason for the rioting. A recent AP report is no exception:

ACHERES, France - Youths armed with gasoline bombs fanned out from Paris' poor, troubled suburbs to shatter the tranquility of resort cities on the Mediterranean, torching scores of vehicles, nursery schools and other targets during a 10th straight night of arson attacks.

Police deployed a helicopter and tactical teams to chase down youths speeding from one attack to another in cars and on motorbikes. Some 2,300 police were brought into the Paris region to bolster security, France-Info said. More than 250 people were arrested.

The violence _ originally concentrated in neighborhoods northeast of Paris with large immigrant populations _ is forcing France to confront long-simmering anger in its suburbs, where many Africans and their French-born children live on society's margins, struggling with unemployment, poor housing, racial discrimination, crime and a lack of opportunity.
(emphasis mine)

The hit-and-run attacks on “resort cities” and soft targets (nursery school, paramedics, youth center) are more indicative of a desire to demonstrate muscle than of rage and frustration.

Most rioting has been in towns with low-income housing projects where unemployment and distrust of police run high. But in a new development, arsonists were moving beyond their heavily policed neighborhoods to attack others with less security, said a national police spokesman, Patrick Hamon.

"They are very mobile, in cars or scooters. ... It is quite hard to combat" he said. "Most are young, very young, we have even seen young minors."

There appeared to be no coordination between separate groups in different areas, Hamon said. But within gangs, he added, youths are communicating by cell phones or e-mails. "They organize themselves, arrange meetings, some prepare the Molotov cocktails."

France has not understood the importance of defeating terrorists in Iraq. French authorities and the press now seem to be avoiding the issue in France itself. At present the insurgency consists of ill-equipped youth who have not done the planning necessary for a real insurgency. But, French authorities need to come up to speed fast.

When residents of the area where the nursery school was burned asked for French army protection and suggested that they might form citizen groups to protect their neighborhood, their mayor said, "We are not going to start militias. You would have to be everywhere."

But the residents were smarter than the mayor. They saw that mere police action could not protect them. Police can’t be everywhere. Only the army or citizens themselves can come close to being “everywhere”. Rather than pooh-pooh the use of citizen groups, the French need to encourage citizen involvement.

Even more important the French need to get serious about the War on Terror and the impact of their failure to join the coalition of nations fighting Islamic terrorism. This a wake up call. The insurgency mind set has taken hold in the Paris suburbs. At present the insurgency is mostly inept–though with enough force and diversity to give French police more than they can handle. It’s time for the French to rethink their role in the War on Terror.

Friday, November 04, 2005

They Still Think They're The Only One's That Count

Hedgehog (Lowell Brown) documents more instances of anti-Miers commentators thinking the part (them) stands for the whole (all conservatives) in The World According to Broder, Noonan, and Blankley.

Everyone seems to be asking the question whether conservatives will support the President. Read the poll! That's not the question.

The real question is whether the main body of conservatives who were disappointed in Miers withdrawal can take seriously the pundits who continue to ignore them and the principles they support.

The comments section for Hedgehog's post is almost as illustrative as the post itself. There are a number of conservatives wondering if conservative pundits haven't joined the liberal chorus in branding the 44% of conservatives disappointed with Miers' withdrawal as non-thinking, stupid, easily led sheep. George Will's October 23rd column says it succinctly:

Such is the perfect perversity of the nomination of Harriet Miers, it discredits, and even degrades, all who toil at justifying it. Many of their justifications cannot be dignified as arguments. Of those that can be, some reveal a deficit of constitutional understanding commensurate with that which it is, unfortunately, reasonable to impute to Miers. Other arguments betray a gross misunderstanding of conservatism on the part of persons masquerading as its defenders.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Ken Mehlman: from hard hits to bunts

The campaign by conservative pundits to stop the Miers nomination has set up a moral equivalence between conservatives and radical left groups. Recently the normally straight talking Ken Mehlman, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, almost had to resort to pleading the Fifth to avoid tarring the right along with the left.

On the November 1 Hardball with Chris Matthews instead of swinging for the fence, Mehlman was reduced to a bunt:

MATTHEWS: So you can‘t really criticize the lefty pressure groups when you say we‘re better off having all the pressure groups fighting.

MEHLMAN: I think it‘s fine to have people involved.

What I think we can do is we can discern whether what they‘re saying makes sense or not, on both sides.

MATTHEWS: So, it‘s OK for senators to be accosted by these left-wing and right-wing groups, these pro-choice and pro-life groups, right before they vote.

Told if you vote against our issue on this, if you try to have an open mind and vote independently on this, you‘re finished in the next election. That‘s OK with you?

MEHLMAN: I think it‘s OK for anybody to say whatever they want to a senator. The senator has to make a judgment and the voters have to answer that.

MATTHEWS: I think that I was hearing you come out against these pressure groups.

MEHLMAN: Well, I think these pressure groups—as I said, the public has to consider what they‘re saying in context. But, do I think they shouldn‘t be in Washington? They don‘t have a right to free speech? Absolutely not.

MATTHEWS: So, you like the way it‘s done right now?

MEHLMAN: Well, I think it‘s unfortunate that you have some of the folks doing what they‘re doing. But, I think the result is what you‘re seeing from the Democrats. You‘re seeing the twisting of a Ted Kennedy. You‘re seeing a Harry Reid.
(emphasis mine)

Compare that to what Mehlman was able to say pre-Miers:

The American people understand that Judge Roberts is a superbly qualified, fair-minded judge, and that he will make a Supreme Court justice we can all be proud of. Someone needs to remind Senators Kennedy and Leahy that their constituents are the American people, not far-left third party groups in Washington. Democrats such as Senator Byrd, Senator Nelson of Nebraska, Senator Pryor of Arkansas, Senator Salazar of Colorado and Senator Landrieu in Louisiana should be far less concerned with appeasing the extremist fringe and instead focus on doing the job Americans elected them to do. (emphasis mine)

The anti-Miers campaign has eviscerated the conservative and Republican arsenals on this issue. Poor Ken Mehlman is just one of the first examples of sending our guys out there without a batting helmet and the ability to hit away at the issues.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Opinion Links

I've added some opinion links.

Mark Steyn is one of the best (and funniest) of the younger commentators. Steyn's weekly column is at the Chicago Sun-Times.

WFB is just the best. Buckley's columns are at National Review.

William Rusher was NR's publisher for 31 years. He's brilliant and fights with class, like a gentleman. Rusher's columns are found at WorldNetDaily.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rumsfeld Continues to Impress

Donald Rumsfeld’s news briefing today noting the great strides being made in Iraq is a reminder both of the good news that so rarely gets reported and the quality of people President Bush has working in his administration.

In just a minute or two Rumsfeld cited facts pointing to progress being made in Iraq including 1 million more voters, with many more Sunni voters, participating in the recent election than participated previously.

This guy is exciting in a solid kind of way, like Dick Cheney. Even in what appears to be a mere reciting of facts, he presents his case in a way that makes you sit up and take notice. He rarely gets ruffled, and just keeps doing his job with diligence and integrity. I’d love to see a draft Rumsfeld movement in 2008.

All the Facts that Fit

Just heard Ann Coulter on Fox crowing that it was the conservatives who made the President back down on Miers. Neither the two hosts nor her liberal opponent questioned that.

Sigh. I guess all conservatives will now be tarred with the campaign against Miers because it is not in the self-interest of major conservative commentators to make the distinction that they represented/convinced only a minority of conservatives. And the left is more than willing to lump all conservatives together in this sad affair.

Has anyone found any major commentator (preferably conservative, but I’ll even take a liberal at this point) who has noted the Gallup Poll figures that correctly depicted the conservative reaction?