Saturday, September 30, 2006

Newt on Terrorism, before it was chic

From Newt.org:

ALLEN: We are interrupting that story because we have now on the phone with us Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Speaker Gingrich, your reaction to the U.S. attacks today on Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R), HOUSE SPEAKER: Well, I think the United States did exactly the right thing. We cannot allow a terrorist group to attack American embassies and do nothing. And I think we have to recognize that we are now committed to engaging this organization and breaking it apart and doing whatever we have to suppress it, because we cannot afford to have people who think that they can kill Americans without any consequence. So this was the right thing to do.

We have not yet gotten assessments of the damage, but I hope that it's been very decisive. And I think it's very important that we send a signal to countries like Sudan and Afghanistan that if you house a terrorist, you become a target. And if you want to get rid of the target, you've got to get rid of the terrorist.

Gingrich response to US Strikes against Osama bin Laden’s network
CNN BREAKING NEWS 13:45 pm ET
August 20, 1998; Thursday 1:45 pm Eastern Time


. . . terrorism is a much more profound threat than we have responded to. It should trouble every American that we've been trying to get bin Laden since 1993. You just mentioned the cost of repairing an American warship damaged by terrorists. We should all be concerned that we don't have the intelligence to know where they are, the ability to preempt, or the capacity to punish. And in fact, we have people who routinely go around the world holding press conferences explaining they're at war with the United States.

Gingrich Testimony to The House Armed Services Committee on U.S. National Security
Chaired By: Representative Bob Stump (R-Az)
March 21, 2001 (25 Weeks before September 11)
Friday, September 29, 2006

Extremely interesting interview with Newt

Ryan Sager of RCP interviewed the Speaker here about the direction of the GOP, and, as always, Newt was on point with thoughtful and fearless commentary. He discusses the SoCon/Libertarian divide in the GOP, John McCain's presidential prospects, Bush's education policy, and more.

He also gave a very candid analysis of W which I'm surprised wasn't splattered all over the newspapers. Reading it, I was glad that he said it, b/c it's exactly what I've been feeling about the President for some time:

Q: How far has Bush brought the Republican Party toward being a "governing party"?

A: Not very. And it's because the most important characteristic of a governing party is that you set the agenda and you win the argument. If you can't win the argument, you can't sustain the agenda. And if you're not setting the agenda, then random chance and your opponents are setting the agenda. I have a very mixed emotion about the Bush presidency. I think the president, on almost every big decision, has been essentially right. He has really had the moral courage to rise to some huge decisions. But he has not had the drive and the understanding to force the level of change those decisions imply. So we don't today have and information campaign capable of matching up with the Danish cartoon offensive. We don't today have a clear understanding of urban warfare and policing capable of dominating Hamas or Hezbollah or the anti-Iraqi forces in Iraq. I think his big decisions are right, but I think his ability to understand how difficult and how complicated follow through is is a major limitation.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Some positive news from Germany

A little backbone from the Chancellor:

BERLIN (Reuters) - Chancellor Angela Merkel urged Germans on Wednesday not to bow to fears of Islamic violence after a Berlin opera house canceled a Mozart work over concerns some scenes could enrage Muslims and pose a security risk.

"I think the cancellation was a mistake. I think self-censorship does not help us against people who want to practise violence in the name of Islam," she told reporters. "It makes no sense to retreat."


While it is not positive that the show was cancelled, this is a small example of the type of political leadership that will be needed in the West if we wish to preserve our cultural heritage.

Full story
Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Olbermann continues his descent

As he drifts further from sanity, the Countdown (to lunacy) host has really topped himself this time. His defense of Clinton's bullying, irrational meltdown on Fox News Sunday is laughable. I could write an article pulling it apart, if not for the fact that Rick Moran at RedState has already done the job for me, and quite well at that. Rick has tons of quotable lines, but I found this description of Olbermann funny and accurate:

Olberman's shtick is reminiscent of the high school know-it-all who used to drive everyone nuts by trying to prove he was smart by using a large vocabulary - invariably misusing terms willy nilly - while taking on a professorial air of superiority that attracted every bully in the school like flies to rotting meat. Loud, insufferable, and laughably incoherent at times, the know-it-all was able to gather around him the witless, the woebegone, and the wasted where he would hold forth every day in the lunchroom, his sycophants hanging on every word.
Friday, September 22, 2006

The Pope Stands Alone

This article posted on HumanEvents.com brings to light another tragic outcome of the Pope's recent speech. Not one leader in the West has spoken out to support him. We all need to wake up and face reality before it's too late.

C-it-go

Resolution on the table in Boston to remove large Citgo sign near Fenway which is city landmark. I agree with McDermott.
Thursday, September 21, 2006

Time to place your bets

So what will happen this November? Time to go on record.

Senate:

(a) Dems take the Senate, GOP loses 6 or more seats
(b) GOP holds the Senate, loses 3-5 seats
(c) GOP loses 0-2 seats
(d) GOP gains

House:

(a) Dems take the House, GOP loses 15 or more seats
(b) GOP holds the House, loses 8-14 seats
(c) GOP holds the House, loses 1-7 seats
(d) GOP stays even or gains

Mid-terms

If we're lucky, mid-terms might not be as bad a bloodbath as possible, due to poor fundraising efforts by Dems, and recent bounce in Bush's approval.

I imagine that if Dems don't get significant gains in House and Senate, that could be the end of Dean as DNC chair. As bad as not taking advantage of a politically favorable climate to pick up mid-term seats would be, it would be unthinkable to Dems to lose presidential race again in '08. There have been grumblings about Dean's leadership (and particularly his snubbing of traditional fundraisers in preference for more "grass roots" approaches that don't seem to be panning out), and this mid-term could be final straw. I would imagine they would move to get rid of him as soon as possible, to allow a new chair as much time as possible to get things going for '08.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Hugo Chavez jumps the shark

at the UN.

El Guapo apparently wants to be El Loco too.

Here's more on what the nutbag had to say.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006

More calls for the West to cease its self-destructive paralysis

...in the wake of the Holy Father's speech. Anne Applebaum offers this wisdom in (surprise!) the WaPo:

...I don't mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech -- surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts -- and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns. By "we" I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde and Fox News -- Western institutions of the left, the right and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary -- "we're pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence" -- but in the days since the pope's sermon, I don't feel that I've heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all...

...I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.
Sunday, September 17, 2006

The religion of peace

Enraged over the Pope repeating a Byzantine Emperor's words (in the midst of a long and eloquent speech) that jihad is violent and evil, Muslims have responded by... threatening violence against the Pope, the Church, and the Western world, and then shooting a nun. That should help exonerate Islam of the charges.

In any case, a great discussion of the current flap is found at RedState here. This article is a must read.
Thursday, September 14, 2006

B & E

This analogy for illegal immigration was emailed to me today. It brings into focus just how ridiculous amnesty programs are:


Recently large demonstrations have taken place across the country protesting the fact that Congress is finally addressing the issue of illegal immigration. Certain people are angry that the US might protect its own borders, might make it harder to sneak into this country and, once here, to stay indefinitely. Let me see if I correctly understand the thinking behind these protests.

Let's say I break into your house. Let's say that when you discover me in your house, you insist that I leave. But I say, "I've made all the beds and washed the dishes and did the laundry and swept the floors; I've done all the things you don't like to do. I'm hard-working and honest (except for when I broke into your house).

According to the protesters, not only must you let me stay, you must add me to your family's insurance plan, educate my kids, and provide other benefits to me and to my family (my husband will do your yard work) because he too is hard-working and honest, except for that breaking in part).

If you try to call the police or force me out, I will call my friends who will picket your house carrying signs that proclaim my right to be there.

It's only fair, after all, because you have a nicer house than I do, and I'm just trying to better myself. I'm hard-working and honest, um, except for well, you know.

And what a deal it is for me!!

I live in your house, contributing only a fraction of the cost of my keep, and there is nothing you can do about it without being accused of selfishness, prejudice and being an anti-housebreaker. Oh yeah, and I want you to learn my language so you can communicate with me!

Internet Straw Polls

The GOP Presidential picture has been coming into sharper focus in the past few months, as this post at Red State points out.

The pecking order right now seems pretty clearly to be:

1) Giuliani
2) Gingrich
3) Romney

Everyone else seems to be a real dark horse right now, including McCain and Allen.

(Deflated) Air America

Could we be so lucky as to have the delicious joy of Air America going belly up right before this election cycle? Quite possibly, according to here and here.

Saddam

This sounds like an unbiased trial with an independent, unattached judge. What a farce. Fortunately, I'm sure that if he's somehow found "innocent", he won't have more than a few minutes to enjoy it on the courtroom steps before being gunned down.

Bloomberg

Link to Post article about conditions looking good for independent conservative candidate in '08, especially someone like Bloomberg. Bloomberg has said for a long time he has no interest beyond mayor of NYC, but if not him then someone else (McCain, Giuliani?) as discussed before could go for it. I think Republicans need to be smart in primary and make sure their candidate is discussing fiscal responsibility and national security on the same footing as social issues.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006

This doesn't taste like victory

By what framework can we possibly interpret Sen. Chafee's primary victory as a win for the Republican party? Going back to one of my earlier posts (Party of Two...), the answer is: in no way is this a win for conservatives, unless we care only about the Republican party itself (and even then in name only), and not the principles.

Great, so Chafee's win gives "Republicans" a chance to hold onto the Senate. But so what? Honestly, is a Chafee vote any different than a Democrat vote? Doubtful. Chafee has not only voted against every conservative principle (tax cuts, abortion, John Bolton, etc.), he even voted against Bush in 2004!

That the Republican national committee put in extra effort to guarantee Chafee's victory is exactly why I made my earlier post. The Republican party seemingly cares less about actually standing for the conservative principles on which it was founded, and more about just staying in power for themselves. Let's be honest: the Republicans are no more or less likely to get ANY of the legislation we true conservatives care about passed by having Chafee in that seat rather than a Democrat. Better to have stood for principles and supported Laffey.
Sunday, September 10, 2006

Allen in '08?

My concerns with Allen have always been about his vulnerability as a campaigner. He is an incumbent conservative on extremely friendly turf in Virginia, and has managed to squander a seemingly insurmountable lead. Survey USA has his lead dropping from +19 in June to +3 in late August. Rasmussen has him going from +20 in April to +11 in July to +5 in August.

I know the entire Macaca incident was blown way out of proportion, and I for one wouldn't want to see his career tarnished because of a comment made to someone who was trying to incite a comment. But an effective campaigner on friendly turf should have been able to keep that story from growing legs. And turned the momentum around. If this is how he performs in his home state, where he has years of connections with the locals and knows the lay of the land, I don't want him getting anywhere near the Presidential nomination in '08. The risk of a poor campaign that turns the oval office over to the Dems is one our county can't afford.

WSJ pours me a bourbon, neat

Eric Felten's article, "When Bourbon Alone Won't Do" in this Saturday's (9/9/06) WSJ provided some great quotes for bourbon lovers. Two that were particularly enjoyable:

When the Trumans moved into the White House, Bess asked head butler Alonzo Fields for Old-Fashioneds. He made them with bourbon, a little sugar, bitters and a slice of orange. Too sweet, complained Bess. He tried again, and Mrs. Truman took her complaint to usher J.B. West, telling him that "she and the President did not care for fruit punch," according to biographer David McCullough. The next night Fields, "his pride hurt, poured her a double bourbon on ice." The First Lady sipped and proclaimed, "Now that's the way we like our Old-Fahioneds."


And here's another:

So established is the cult of bouron drunk straight that the venerable Mint Julep comes in for derision. One old Kentucky Julep recipe instructs: "Pluck the mint gently from its bed, just as the dew of the evening is about to form upon it. Select the choicer sprigs only, but do not rinse them." Then after making up the sugar syrup and measuring out the whiskey comes the crucial step: "Pour the whiskey into a well-frosted silver cup, throw the other ingredients away and drink the whiskey."
Thursday, September 07, 2006

NY State of Mind

The Occasional Observer
Looks like Rudy and Hillary are early favorites.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How the blogosphere left and right respond to 9/11

Michelle Malkin has the story.

These are the kinds of stories that leave you scratching your head and thinking, "how did they get to be such j-holes?"

Why Mitt and Rudy are different

As mentioned in the comments to an earlier post, Rudy's recent polling has been looking better and better. This is disconcerting to me as a social conservative who could not support a pro-abortion candidate.

Many social conservatives are also concerned about Mitt Romney's candidacy, b/c of earlier statements, especially from his 90's Senate run against Teddy K., that he would uphold abortion "rights."

So one question worth exploring is this: can a pro-life Republican consider Giuliani and Romney as equivalent--equally unreliable on life issues?

I see some notable distinctions, although I think both candidates will have a chance to define (or redefine) themselves as the election cycle progresses.

Since the time of his Senate run, Romney has steadily tracked rightward on abortion: first declaring a position of neutrality in his '02 gubenatorial race (essentially the most conservative possible in MA for someone who wants to be elected), to opposing embryonic stem-cell research that would destroy human life, to declaring he yearns for an America that embraces a culture of life and wants states to be able decide for themselves (which would mean overturning Roe v Wade). For more on this topic, see here. More resources are here and here.

Giuliani has not shown any evidence of evolving on the issue. When he ran for Mayor he described himself as pro-choice and has never acted contrary to that position. He is not now presenting himself as a pro-life candidate, to my knowledge.

So while both candidates have some history that is not, at a mininum, strongly pro-life, Romney has been talking and acting in an increasingly pro-life manner over a long period of time. Giuliani has not.

While I have not yet decided that I'd vote for Romney, he impresses me greatly, and I'm open to consider supporting him (something I could never do for a pro-choice candidate) because I consider his pro-life conversion to be genuine. While critics are convinced it is crass opportunism, it seems to me that his conversion began at a time when it was of little help to him politically (in Massachussets), and is congruent with the values that are clearly present in his personal life. There's only so much an outsider can know about what's going on within a family, but this much is clear: Mitt and Ann have been married for 36 years, and have 5 sons (who are all married) and 8 grandkids. Rudy is twice divorced.

That said, you'd expect Rudy to be having a hard time in the socially conservative areas of the country--especially the South. And when you add in the fact that Rudy has been both pro-gun control and pro civil-unions for homosexuals, you'd figure an Italian New Yorker with "Mayor" as the biggest job on his resume would be candidata non-grata in the South. You'd be wrong.

Let's take a look at a recent Cook poll.

First of all, it shows that Giuliani gets 32%, McCain 20%, and Gingrich 10%. But that's not the most interesting part. Check out this poll question, which seems to highlight Giuliani's "vulnerability" on social issues:

(ASKED ONLY REGISTERED VOTERS WHO SAY THEY ARE REPUBLICANS OR REPUBLICAN
LEANERS.)
Rep2. Thinking about Rudy Giuliani (JEW-LEE-on-nee),

(ROTATE:)

Some people say he really cleaned up New York City as Mayor and made it a safer place, and then he showed real courage as a leader after the attack on the World Trade Center.

(ROTATE:)

Other people say that his views on some issues—because he is pro-choice on abortion, and supports gun control and gay rights—makes it hard for them to support him for President.

Having heard that, which of the following two statements comes closer to your opinion:

The Republicans should nominate Giuliani for President, or the Republicans should NOT nominate Giuliani for President.

REPS & REP LEANERS

The Republicans should nominate Giuliani for President
[8/27] 56%
[2/23] 50%

The Republicans should NOT nominate Giuliani for President
[8/27] 38%
[2/3] 43%


OK, you might be thinking (as I was), this is a national poll. Show me the crosstabs.

Ask and you shall receive:

Republicans Should Nominate Rudy Giuliani:

Northeast: Yes, 68. No, 25.
South: Yes, 51. No, 44.
Midwest: Yes, 57. No, 36.
West: Yes, 54. No, 44.
While Giuliani's keeping his powder dry and not telegraphing how he'll be presenting his social positions come '08, that strategy seems to be working out well for him. Even in the South, where you wouldn't expect it.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, it's important to remember that 56% of the people aren't saying they'd vote for him, just that based on his accomplishments the social positions aren't exclusionary.

So an anti-Giuliani way of reading this poll would be to say 38% of GOP voters won't consider Giuliani b/c of social issues, and he still hasn't locked up the remaining 62%.

Romney

Perhaps an early indirect preview on Romney's foreign relations approach - his position on state-funded security for Khatami visit (see here). Kudos to Romney for taking the stand he did; if "private" groups are interested in inviting Khatami to speak, let them pick up the tab for his security.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Cabinet re-facing

If the unthinkable happens and the Repubs lose both House and Senate in mid-terms this year, do you expect that there will be any shake-up in the cabinet members? How will RNC (and '08 presidential hopefuls) further try to distance themselves from Bush?

Or will there be relatively few (if any) changes, under the assumption that regardless of mid-term outcome and possible "referendum" on the incumbents, the presidential election still comes down to which of two candidates resonates better with voters? Therefore, the most important thing is to choose the person in the primary who best represents the party principles, and is electable (the magic buzzword).

Also, if ever there were a risk from a 3rd party candidate diluting Repub votes, '08 is a likely year. I worry about the splintering power that a 3rd party strong fiscal conservative (but social moderate or even liberal) could have on the election. If Rudy or McCain lose, and decide they will never have a chance to emerge from Republican primary, they might be tempted to run as independents. McCain stands to lose the most by alienating the party, but since he is running out of time to run again he may just decide to go for it. Or perhaps an as-of-yet unknown candidate might make a run as an independent (a la Perot). This would be devastating, barring a massive grass-roots effort to drum up enormous support for the main party candidate. I think the best vaccine here is to make sure that whoever emerges from primary is not just socially conservative, but fiscally conservative. This is in fact a must to neutralize a 3rd party run. This is why I like Romney.
Monday, September 04, 2006

OK, I admit it.

I like human-interest fluff pieces sometimes. Especially when the subject is someone like Buster Martin, who would make this blog's hall-of-fame-for-especially-sweet-individuals. If we had one.
Friday, September 01, 2006

Joe Wilson is the definition of unpatriotic

And he took along the lapdog press for a ride. And the MSM is only now figuring it out. It's too bad that, as with everything the drive-by media does, the damage to the truth can't be undone. Of course, they want to set the record straight, but hopefully with a quiet enough voice that not too many folks will hear, as you'll see below.

With a hat-tip to RealClearPolitics, here's the money quote from the liberal Washingotn Post:

It now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.
"So many people" like... us? I guess the only question that remains is how, after beating the Fitzmas and scandal drum for years, the WaPo can get off scot free by taking Wilson to the woodshed and not having a direct page one apology to the VP and the administration? They gloss it over by claiming "We're reluctant to return to the subject" as though it wasn't page one WaPo news scores of times. They also refuse to give up the premise that the administration is to blame, even though they just said Wilson is to blame: "That's not to say that Mr. Libby and other White House officials are blameless..."

What a bunch of clowns. I wonder why no one respects the MSM.

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