Friday, July 18, 2003

Wives told to shut up

So now the wife of the commander of the Third Infantry, Anita Blount, is writing (with Gen. Blount's approval, no doubt) to spouses of the unit to encourage them to keep their mouths shut and quit complaining about the fact the military has reneged several times on promises to bring them home from Iraq. Her letter states that such conduct encourages the Saddamites to attack us more.

I don't buy that. Spouses always want soldiers at home -- it's hard to raise the kids, take care of the house, etc. without that other half being there. I don't think that this comes as a surprise to anyone. If General Blount is concerned about complaining and backbiting, he should start by talking to his troops, whose criticisms and whining are unseemly and might actually have an effect. I'm with Jeff Jarvis on this one.

I'd like to read some comments from Phil Carter on this. How about it Phil? I know you want to bring the 3ID home, and I'm with you on that.
Please forgive me!

Do these Democratic Presidential candidates really think that whining and begging and groveling are activities that will make them seem Presidential? They seem to lack a certain gravitas to me.

UPDATE: It was even worse than I thought.

UPDATE II: You know that it's bad when even the NYT criticizes your groveling. (OK, technically they just quote other people who criticize the groveling, but it's still basically an editorial.)

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Laying out the case

Wow. That's all I can say after reading Mark Steyn's latest column. Wow.
Issues for Democrats

Glenn Reynolds offers some suggestions for Democrats running against President Bush. Unfortunately for the GOP, I don't think any of the candidates are going to hire Glenn as their campaign strategist anytime soon. Let's look at some of his proposed issues:

9-11 Commission: I honestly think that most Americans aren't really clamoring for a circus of finger-pointing about 9-11, though I haven't seen any polls on the matter. Besides, we've totally changed our security structure since then. I also think that most of us are already aware of the problems faced by the INS (delays and bureaucracy), the CIA and FBI (not enough Arabic speakers, not enough agents in Arab countries) airport security (inability to scan every bag), etc. Why do we need to hear all of this over again? Examining failure is a painful thing, and I certainly haven't seen any groundswell of support for doing so with public hearings.

Bush is too cozy with the Saudis: Hmm, maybe the Democrats could tie this into an attack based on Bush's greed for oil ... which could be solved if only we wouldn't drive so much or had more fuel efficient cars. Maybe Kucinich can call for a ban on all SUV's! Or we could just invade Saudi Arabia and capture their oil! OK, maybe not.

Bush making it cumbersome for pilots to carry guns: "Let's see, Bush has outraised all of us Democrats put together. How can we raise some more money? I know, let's call for more guns for self-defense! That'll really get those Hollywood types to empty their pocketbooks! Paging Michael Moore ..." The problem is that if the Democrats make an issue out of giving pilots guns for self-defense, then they have to say why they don't want the rest of us to have them.

Radio stations playing the same crap: "Of course the government can fix this! The masses are being oppressed because there is no way for them to listen to the music they like!" If this were the case, I'm sure that the wonderful free market that we have would come up with a solution. Unfortunately, I think Glenn simply has more sophisticated tastes than most Americans. They like their crap very much, thank you. (By the way, I was once connected to an attempt to set up a low-power FM station, before the program got squished. It's a great idea, and the idea that broadcasts from a few churches and non-profits are going to hurt commercial radio is silly. Props to Glenn for pointing this out; what broadcasters need to worry about is satellite radio.)

The problem that the Democrats face is that they don't really have any good issues. That's why they keep talking about Iraq even though it's a losing issue. Most "red state" Americans are proud that we went over there and kicked Saddam's butt, whether he had any weapons or not. Most of us think he's had it coming since 1991 and it was about time. Most of us are just about as inclined to vote for Jerry Springer as we are to let France and the UN tell us what to do.

The economy could be a great issue. The problem is that to make it effective, the Democrats would have to say what they would do. Their proposal, repealing the tax cut, is unpopular except among the few true-blue liberals that they are currently fighting over in the primaries.

Like Glenn, I've also got some advice for the Democrats: give up. You're going to lose.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Bush raises tons of money and Democrats stick with ineffective message

News today that President Bush outraised all nine of his Democratic opponents put together in the last quarter. Democrats should get used to this, because President Bush is going to raise an "obscene" amount of money and will dominate the airwaves next summer.

Meanwhile Ted Kennedy and other Democrats are still whining about "Nigergate." I don't get it -- don't they realize that Iraq is still a winning issue for the President and that they only hurt themselves the more they talk about it? So Democrats want to keep criticizing the President's actions in the Middle East and turn the election into a referendum on Iraq? Bring it on! Here's Kennedy's quote:

''It's a disgrace that the case for war seems to have been based on shoddy intelligence, hyped intelligence, and even false intelligence,'' Kennedy said in a speech at the John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. ''All the evidence points to the conclusion that they put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth.''

Of course not. That's silly. The case for war was based on many things, but primarily it was based on Saddam's noncompliance with U.N. resolutions. So many journalists and bloggers seem to have forgotten this.

UPDATE: ScrappleFace has the Democratic candidates' response to being outraised.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Here's a long, thoughtful column from ESPN writer Ralph Wiley about race, baseball, and Dusty Baker's comments. He feels, like I do, that it provides an opening for bigots, but doesn't think that Dusty really meant what he said. Key graf:

What about all those people who died in the cane fields of the Caribbean and the cotton fields of the American south? Did they mind the heat? Could they take it? And there is no straight line running from those poor doomed people to Dusty Baker anyway. The blood of more than one continent flows in most of our veins by this point, and certainly in Dusty's; or if not in Dusty's, then surely in his youngest son's. What heat are we talking about? Societal heat, or hot weather? Guys in their pajamas playing a sedentary game for five hours on a summer day, without having to do much running, taking breaks every half inning, sitting in the shade every half inning, getting water any time they want, repairing to the clubhouse if they want, wearing Oakley sunglasses? This is not exactly heavy lifting in the broiling sun from can't-see-in-the-morning to can't-see-at-night. It really slaps all those untold, uncounted people who died in the sun and after the sun went down, for Dusty Baker to be so cavalier with their history, merely because he somehow thought it served his self-interest for him to type them all thus.

I think the reason that I've gotten so worked up about Baker's racist comments is that I grew up on a Louisiana cotton farm, and (like Ralph Wiley says) playing baseball never seemed very taxing compared to real work in the midday sun. I was a decent baseball player in high school and always thought I could have played in college or the minors if only I'd weighed more than 150 pounds at the time (no power). The idea that, if I'd had a baseball career, I might be discriminated against because (as a white guy) I "couldn't take the heat" ... well, as much as that little thing makes me mad, it gives me a small glimpse at what black Americans must go through all the time with the racist attitudes held by so many whites.

For my Louisiana readers:

John Maginnis agrees with me that Governor Foster just gave a juge boost to Jay Blossman's campaign. Key graf:

Foster has given Blossman's issue more than legs, he's given it wheels. The candidate could ride it far, or he could run it into the ground. There's a long way to go to election day. For now, Blossman doesn't mind being shunned by the governor and the political establishment, for that's who he's running against. And with enemies like Foster, who needs friends?

Please read the whole thing.
Bush admits he lied

ScrappleFace uncovers the scoop about the Big Bush Lie. Heh.
Blogging isn't always pleasant

Fellow Baptist Bryan Preston says he doesn't like having to give Pat Robertson a smackdown. I'm with him on that. It's incredibly infuriating when someone who is seen as a spokesman for your beliefs reveals himself to be corrupted by greed.

What is Pat Robertson's political legacy? Well, many on the right would give him credit for reenergizing the Christian conservative movement in the early 1990's. Using the database and organization created from his 1988 presidential campaign, he formed the Christian Coalition and contributed to the 1994 GOP landslide. These people would really be giving the wrong person the credit, though, because the Christian Coalition's success was mainly due to the efforts of Ralph Reed, as evidenced by the collapse after Reed left.

Other than that, he's done nothing but embarrass the Republican Party and Christian conservatives. He's ultimately damaged our cause more than he's helped it.

You're right, Bryan. It is necessary to do this, however unpleasant we may find it.

Monday, July 14, 2003

"I got the one with the biggest rack."

A hunter bragging about his latest trophy? Yes, only he's shooting women.

Krauthammer takes on Dean

Charles Krauthammer has a wonderful column that says many of the same things I said (but he says them better) in my post about the new anti-American foreign policy that liberals such as Howard Dean have espoused. Key graf:

The only conclusion one can draw is that for liberal Democrats, America's strategic interests are not just an irrelevance, but also a deterrent to intervention. This is a perversity born of moral vanity. For liberals, foreign policy is social work. National interest -- i.e., national selfishness -- is a taint. The only justified interventions, therefore, are those that are morally pristine, namely, those that are uncorrupted by any suggestion of national interest.

There is another reason for Dean's Iraq/Liberia hypocrisy, though I don't believe it's the main reason. To play devil's advocate, though, it could be that Dean and other liberal politicians pushing war in Liberia are doing so simply to gain black votes in the Democratic primaries. Certainly it doesn't hurt that the NAACP is criticizing America's Africa policy, saying that we have ignored the continent's wars. I honestly think, however, that Dean would be just as hypocritical even if it didn't help him suck up to the NAACP.
More on gay marriage

Eugene Volokh has an interesting post up on gay marriage. He points out that infertile and older people get married and no one objects that they are corrupting the institution of marriage (by entering into a union not designed to produce children). Something he ignores, however, is adoption. Infertile or older married couples can adopt and still raise children in a family with a mother and father. Gay marriage disrupts that family structure. If gay marriage becomes a reality, adoption agencies will not be able to "discriminate against" gay couples. So my opposition really does come back to the effort to raise our society's children in real families. Maggie Gallagher has some great insights into this as well.

Yes, many Christians like myself (and those of other faiths) oppose state support for what we consider immoral relationships. I do think that is reason enough to prevent gay marriage, just as it is enough to prevent polygamy and incest -- but it need not be the primary reason.
Robertson Update

Drezner has all the details and asks, "Is the country finally at the point when Pat Robertson can just be ignored?" Unfortunately, no. Many evangelicals still watch his 700 Club show, and "his" Christian Coalition (even though it's been ineffective ever since Ralph Reed left) hasn't been supplanted by another effective organization representing Christian conservatives.

Should he be ignored? Yes.
Ignoring the facts

This Nat Hentoff column is essential reading about the Supreme Court decisions in the affirmative action cases.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

NAACP Brouhaha

I don't pretend to understand Democratic politics as well as those of my own party, but I do think that this rift can't be good for them as a whole. Without any central themes for the election resonating with the public, I think the Democratic candidates are going to have to increasingly cater to their different interest groups to get support in the primaries. The Democratic Party will enter the 2004 election far to the left of where it was in 2000.
President Bush reelection factors

Michael Barone has an interesting take on the strength of the Bush campaign at this point. Using Barone's thoughts as well as my own, it's easy to read the stars and see an alignment favoring President Bush's reelection:

* The tax cut, along with his success in Iraq and Afganistan, keeps his base enthusiastically united behind him.

* President Bush will enjoy the largest fundraising advantage in history over his opponent. He'll probably spend about 3 or 4 times as much as the Democrat in the general election.

* The tax cut and the prescription drug bill will allow the Bush campaign to trumpet significant domestic achievements.

* Expected GOP gains in the House and Senate mean that President Bush can concentrate on his own reelection without worrying about defending the control of Congress.

* Consumer confidence remains high. The recent turnaround in the stock market is likely pointing to a stronger economy as we enter 2004.

* The national security issue is a strength for the President and should continue to be one.

* Americans trust President Bush to a degree matched in the last 40 years only by Ronald Reagan.

* Through 9-11 and the wars in Afganistan and Iraq, Americans have become much more proud of their country; patriots are likely to want to stay the course.

* The Democratic Party is fundamentally divided to an extent not seen since Vietnam.

* Ralph Nader is likely to run again as a candidate of the Green Party.

All that said, there are a few reasons that Republicans shouldn't light any cigars just yet. Here are some of the possible pitfalls:

* Large numbers of American soldiers are killed in Iraq or Afganistan, turning American opinion against the conflicts.

* Al Qaida hits the U.S. with a major terrorist attack.

* Unemloyment continues to rise and the economy somehow slips going into the elections next year.

* All of the major fugitives (Saddam and his sons, Osama, Mullah Omar) remain at large, or the new government in Afganistan or Iraq collapses.

* President Bush gets trounced in the debates by his opponent (remember that he only got elected in 2000 because Al Gore morphed into a new person for each debate).

* No WMD are found in Iraq and the Democrats are able to pursuade the nation that Bush lied about the war [note to Democrats: please try this tactic. Please continue to focus your campaigns on the nation of Iraq (where our commander-in-chief just won a war), instead of developing domestic issues]

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