Saturday, January 29, 2005

Miscellanea - He Flips, He Flops, and He's Not John Kerry Edition

Perhaps, like me, you have had someone use the words of former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter to attempt to convince you the Iraq War was deceitful. If so, you'll want to read this from Tim Blair...

That little ray of sunshine known as Babs has been busy with three new 'statements': one on the cost of the war, one on the 'unconstitutional Patriot Act', and one screed by Ted 'Chicken Not-So-Little' Kennedy. Notably missing is a statement of support for the Iraqi people on the eve of their momentous election...

The Republicans of Foggy Bottom have not forgotten, however...

Future Weekly Jackass Senator Harry Reid of Nevada apparently liked Bush's Social Security plan until it was proposed by a Republican...

The great Chrenkoff not only provides regular updates of the good news from Afghanistan and Iraq, he shows how you can make the news better still...

The Daily Kos, who, as the most visible Leftist blogger, I've been following closely, will NEVER show his support for the Iraqi people or our troops. His latest venture into the land of delusion repeats a canard I've had hurled at me by liberals I know - 'the war is lost' - this on the very eve of the elections! Don't be fooled, folks, by the left's ever-changing definitions of victory. I'll have a longer post on this subject soon, perhaps tomorrow. Enjoy your Saturday evening, and send your thoughts and prayers overseas. People will die, yes, in all likelihood - but millions more will vote. Remember this good news, for it's the reason we must endure the bad. Democracy in Iraq is not only good for Iraqis, it's good for Americans - and the entire world...

The Costs of Inaction

The obtuseness of the Left never fails to amaze me. Reading the local 'progressive' rag, the Austin Chronicle, today, I noticed editor Louis Black has chosen to lend his support to the Iraqis voting this weekend by waxing nostalgic about the protests against the war (notice the distinct tone of martyrdom that permeates his article, much as in the Tim Robbins speech to the National Press Club. This is the most laughable frequently used liberal tactic - decrying the lack of one's freedom by freely engaging in protest, shouting at the top of your lungs about how you're being silenced, when the real problem is that no one cares to listen to your ranting). Black says of the anti-war crowd: "They marched because the United States was gearing up to invade Iraq, and they knew that was wrong". Black is very sadly mistaken here; it would have been wrong to NOT invade Iraq. In fact, the lives being lost now are being lost because a good man, George H. W. Bush, made a very bad blunder in not deposing Saddam after the first Gulf War.

Thus, we see the costs of inaction on one front - by not driving into a wide open Baghdad in 1991, when the entire world acknowledged the justness of our cause, tens of thousands of lives have been lost when we had to finish the job 12 years later. This is indeed an immense burden, financially and emotionally; far greater would the price have been had George W. Bush continued to turn a blind eye to the Iraqi menace. Saddam Hussein was a sadistic dictator who supported terrorism and had no moral problem with WMDs, even if he didn't have a current stockpile, with a hatred of the United States and Israel and an iron grip on his subjects. The invasion of Iraq was justified in numerous ways. Saddam was an affront to international law, a menace to his neighbors, a ticking time bomb that would have eventually exploded.

Suppose we indulge ourselves by imagining a world without the 2003 invasion. Saddam, of course, would have eventually died. While life remained, he would have continued to terrorize his subjects, and used ill-gotten profits intended for humanitarian purposes to buy influence with the Europeans who were anxious the lift the sanctions. Without the threat of UN action over his head, he would have proceeded to rearm quickly, before events turned against him again, and the WMD factories would have proceeded with due haste. He would know his time was drawing to a close, and would long for that great strike against his enemies that would ensure his place in history.

Even had the above not come to pass, upon his death, we would have been subjected to the ascension of his brutal, nihilistic sons. Those who are so outraged by the disgraceful actions of the justly denounced soldiers of Abu Ghraib should take some time to read of the horrors routinely inflicted upon the poor souls who chanced to offend Saddam's offspring. No hope would remain in a country under the thumb of these despots.

No, Mr. Black, Mr. Alterman, Senator Kennedy, Ms. Streisand, Mr. Robbins, it was not wrong to invade Iraq, but it was very wrong to have allowed ourselves to come so close to such a fate as that I have outlined above. We truly were blessed to have a president who knew that 9/11 was perhaps the final chance to take the offensive decisively against the rogue nations that encouraged and sponsored the politics of terror.

With the passing of Ronald Reagan, the Radical Left was astonished to find their once-mortal enemy was so beloved by the world. The stock response they spewed to the just praise for Reagan's decisive role in bringing down the abominable Soviet Union was that it would have eventually collapsed under its own weight, it was a failed state (strange how you seldom heard that BEFORE Reagan), Reagan just happened to stumble along, and really, it was Gorbachev more than anyone who deserved the praise. Bull.

Gorbachev was reacting to forces he could not control and trying to preserve the Soviet system, not destroy it. Years of inaction by the Left had resulted in a permanent, dangerous stand-off between a economic and military superpower and a tin-horn dictatorship that owed its prominence on the world stage to the cowardice of those who preferred peace at any price to freedom. Ronald Reagan was buried a hero because he pushed that decaying monstrosity, deliberately, over the precipice. To those who said we were spending too much on the military, he responded, "Not enough". To those who said he had foolishly provoked the Soviet Union by calling it an 'evil empire' (which it surely was), he responded, "Tear down this wall". And when the dominoes started to fall, he was shrewd enough to befriend Gorbachev and provide him face-saving cover as the once-proud Soviet bear went into permanent hibernation with a whimper, not a bang.

We will always have with us the squeamish moral relativists who describe as fascists those who would take an active role in promoting the cause of freedom. One need look no further than the hysterical hand-wringing Bush's Second Inaugural Address has caused among the promoters of the 'live-and-let-live' mentality. The costs of inaction, where liberty and democracy are concerned, are far too vast; we must push forward, ignoring the catcalls and the abuse, for our cause is just.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Miscellanea - I'm at a Loss Edition

What words, really, can describe this man? Truly sickening...

Barbara Boxer and the Daily Kos, sitting in a tree,

Hillary is learning the hard way that sensible talk about abortion and the American left don't mix...

Terry Eagleton waxes poetic over the beautiful art of the suicide bomber (I'm not joking) (hat tip to Classical Values)...

The fiscally responsible, corruption-free, fair-and-balanced United Nations says it will regard Israel as an occupying power in Gaza even if it pulls out (BRILLIANT! Good work, guys - glad to see all those billions are going to good use)...

RightWingNews has a good post on the Left's indifference (or worse) to our success in Iraq. Bonus points for showing another example of Joe Lieberman used as an epithet...

Miscellanea - What's At Stake Redux

Excellent article about the palpable excitement in the air as Iraqis prepare to vote on Sunday (hat tip to

The Washington Post carries this piece by an advisor to the UN Iraqi electorial assistance team (tip of the hat to RealClearPolitics)...

The Chicago Tribune on the joy of the US expatriates as they vote freely for the first time in 50 years (nod to the Instapundit)...

Get the election news from the ground level at Friends of Democracy (hat tip to PoliPundit)...

It's happening - it's real - and for the terrorists, the battle for Iraq has been lost; they may kill more people, but the seed of democracy has been planted, irrevocably...

Quote of the Day - Iraqi Election Edition

"Freedom has a scent
Like the top of a newborn baby's head..."
- U2, "Miracle Drug", How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb

Pray for a safe environment on Sunday for the coalition troops and the Iraqis. If you want the troops to come home (and who doesn't?), this is an important first step.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Michael Moore, The Oscars, and Leftist Revisionism (In Which Pooh Discovers an Alternate Universe Where Moderates Rule the Democratic Party)

Well, it was bound to happen. As goes Michael Moore, so go the Democrats. Moore, as usual, led the way, claiming that his movie wasn't about the election after Bush won so decisively...but take a look at this, from the New York Times:
MICHAEL MOORE is not coy about his hopes for "Fahrenheit 9/11," his blistering documentary attack on President Bush and the war in Iraq. He wants it to be remembered as the first big-audience, election-year film that helped unseat a president.

"And it's not just a hope," the Oscar-winning filmmaker said in a phone interview last week, describing focus groups in Michigan in April at which, after seeing the movie, previously undecided voters expressed eagerness to defeat Mr. Bush. "We found that if you entered the theater on the fence, you fell off it somewhere during those two hours," he said. "It ignites a fire in people who had given up'.

Not about the election, eh, Michael? Now, while trying to distance themselves from the stench of failure permeating from their disastrous influence on the 2004 election, the Radical Left has taken on the guise of moderation and aped their hero in trying to convince us it was all a bit of fun, that whole Fahrenheit thing, we knew it wasn't true, you see, we just blundered into the theater, and they locked the doors on us...

A certain "Chip" (if that is your real name) at TKS asserts:
"I am a liberal and I can tell you that none of my liberal friends are up in arms about the so-called Moore snub. The fact of the matter is that F911 [stunk]. It was terrible � over the top, conspiratorial, shallow, you name it. Sure, sure, it had its moments of humor, Bush being Bush, but almost everyone I know acknowledged that the movie was sheer propaganda, an especially well made polemic that was designed to rouse the faithful and make a bunch of money. Now, one thing you must admit is that liberals, in the main, have far better taste than their conservative counterparts (look no further than the recent inauguration and the execrable "Let the Eagle Soar"), thus this movie was obviously not nominated. The contrast that you've set up is actually interesting. Liberals do not clamor for a bad movie like F911 to win the nation's highest cinematic award, yet conservatives are grumbling that a one trick pony of a movie like "The Passion" was excluded. Interesting.�
Perhaps Chip is telling the truth (after all, he has far better taste than you and me - he said so, didn't he? Isn't that proof enough?), and his tasteful, discerning friends really felt that way. Did the Left as a whole? Let's take a look back with that magic time machine I call Google.

Tom Tomorrow, he of the oh-so-left and often quite funny This Modern World, attended the premiere and gave us this insight:'s the right film for this moment, a film inextricably intertwined with the political season. It covers a lot of ground that the media have been too cowardly to cover for the past three years. In his closing remarks after the showing, Michael said he didn't know if it was going to change anyone's mind--but frankly, even if all it does is rally the base, that's a fine thing too.
From a recommendation at the frequently hilarious, but unintentionally so, BuzzFlash:

The one and only groundbreaking truth-telling, pro-democracy documentary by the one and only Michael Moore.

"Fahrenheit 9/11" comes out just in time for the November election, with the fate of democracy hanging in the balance.

Paul Krugman's review:
"Fahrenheit 9/11" is a tendentious, flawed movie, but it tells essential truths about leaders who exploited a national tragedy for political gain, and the ordinary Americans who paid the price.
The 'essential truths' argument, by the way, is the new 'progressive' code for 'lying is o.k., if you hate Bush' (see Rather, Dan).

Matthew Yglesias:
  • It is very strange that the media is more concerned with Michael Moore's invalid argumentative techniques than with the extremely similar techniques employed by the president of the United States.
  • It is very strange that the media is more concerned with the fact that Michael Moore is a polemicist rather than a journalist presenting a balanced view of events than with the fact that the Fox News network and a small army of conservative radio hosts are doing the same thing.
  • It is a very strange thing indeed that the media does not provide outlets for stridently liberal commentary in lieu of the fact that Fahrenheit 9-11 clearly demonstrates that there is a large audience for such things.
  • What liberal media?
J. Hoberman in the Village Voice:
There are sequences in Fahrenheit 9/11 so devastatingly on target as to inspire the thought that Moore evict the son [of Bush 41].
Frank Rich:
No one would ever accuse Michael Moore of having a beautiful mind. Subtleties and fine distinctions are not his thing. That matters very little, it turns out, when you have a story this ugly and this powerful to tell.
The Nation:
Not the judgment of film critics but the passage of time will decide whether Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 can change the world. Change, of course, is the whole purpose. Whatever satisfaction Moore derives from his ever-mounting income and awards, he clearly will consider this picture a success only if it helps drive George W. Bush from office...Fahrenheit 9/11 is Michael Moore's most urgent diatribe and also his best, most moving film.
You and I both knew this already, though - we were there, we heard the passionate swoons of the 'Progressives' as their prophet prepared to lead them into the Promised Land - but it didn't come to pass, and now they avoid your glance, look down at the floor and mutter, "Oh, we never liked him in the first place."

Fahrenheit 9/11 grossed over $100 million in domestic box office alone - quite astonishing for a documentary that no one will now claim to like.

Miscellanea - Surprise Early Announcement Edition

For the first time in the storied tradition of Weekly Jackass, I am telegraphing next week's recepient early. The honoree will be the loathsome Eric (shudder!) Alterman, for garbage like this...

In other future Weekly Jackass news, any blogger that slams the 'Joe Lieberman wing' of the Democratic Party while calling Dianne Fienstein a war profiteer and mentioning 'Condoliar' Rice has got to be a strong contender...

Jack Shafer decries the fetishizing of blogs....

So does Kevin Maney, while simultaneously putting bloggers in the hallowed company of George Orwell, Martin Luther, and Thomas Paine! (maybe we're not bragging enough)...

Parts two and three of Oliver Kamm's response to Christopher Hitchens regarding Old School Chomsky...

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Miscellanea - Don't Believe Your Lying Eyes Edition

A hilarious bit of poorly executed sleight of hand from the Washington Post goes nowhere, thanks to the good folks at Power Line...

Good non-worshipful, non-demonizing piece on Ayn Rand in the New York Sun (hat tip to RealClearPolitics)...

The worst day in America's history is also, by a good margin, the world's best documented atrocity, but the wounds are still fresh and raw, 3 1/2 years later. Try to look at this exhibit without getting misty-eyed, and you'll see what I mean (hat tip to Michelle Malkin)...

After having a good cry over that last item, time to cheer up with a dose of Political Therapy...

Do I smell a future Weekly Jackass in the making? The great Chrenkoff on the new embodiment of the Angry Left...

What's behind the Radical Left's newfound disenchantment with former poster boy Michael Moore? Let Ed Driscoll show you the path to enlightenment...

Still no sign of any support of Iraqi democracy by paid Howard Dean shill the Daily Kos, but he did find time to suggest the Iraqis were no better off now than under Saddam...

At least Juan Cole isn't just ignoring the upcoming elections, unlike Josh Marshall, who does find time to spotlight his good buddy Paul Krugman...

Weekly Jackass Number Eight - Tim Robbins

This week's honoree is a true gem, the very personification of the 'bleeding heart liberal'. Mention Tim Robbins, and you'll see the red-state, blue-state divide in action: half the country will swoon in admiration, the other half will run from the room screaming. Usually, I take a series of wrong-headed statements to illustrate the 'jackassedness' of my selections, but with Robbins, I think we'd get a better glance at his foolishness by fisking a single speech he gave to the National Press Club:

For all of the ugliness and tragedy of 9-11, there was a brief period afterward where I held a great hope, in the midst of the tears and shocked faces of New Yorkers, in the midst of the lethal air we breathed as we worked at Ground Zero, in the midst of my children's terror at being so close to this crime against humanity, in the midst of all this, I held on to a glimmer of hope in the naive assumption that something good could come out of it.

��the na�ve assumption that something good could come out of it�. I�m sure my definition of something good is drastically different from Tim�s, but I don�t look at 9/11 as a chance for America to reform itself. There�s no silver lining, none, to terrorism. To those who say the attacks brought out the best in America, I say the best was always there, now and forever. Sometimes we just have a bigger stage to show it on. Taking Tim�s comment at face value, though, what about the newfound rights of Afghan women, freed now from the brutality of Taliban rule? What about the dismantling of the terrorist training camps? Of course, we have the upcoming Iraqi elections, though Tim spoke on April 15, 2003, so that�s not a fair example in this case.

I imagined our leaders seizing upon this moment of unity in America, this moment when no one wanted to talk about Democrat versus Republican, white versus black, or any of the other ridiculous divisions that dominate our public discourse. I imagined our leaders going on television telling the citizens that although we all want to be at Ground Zero, we can't, but there is work that is needed to be done all over America. Our help is needed at community centers to tutor children, to teach them to read. Our work is needed at old-age homes to visit the lonely and infirmed; in gutted neighborhoods to rebuild housing and clean up parks, and convert abandoned lots to baseball fields. I imagined leadership that would take this incredible energy, this generosity of spirit and create a new unity in America born out of the chaos and tragedy of 9/11, a new unity that would send a message to terrorists everywhere: If you attack us, we will become stronger, cleaner, better educated, and more unified. You will strengthen our commitment to justice and democracy by your inhumane attacks on us.

I can�t imagine a better example of the fuzzy-headed thinking that passes for liberalism among today�s �progressives�. What the hell do community centers, old-age homes, and baseball fields have to do with the nineteen bastards who used airliners as missiles? Osama would be mighty intimidated by those clean parks, wouldn�t he? This is known as the �Jim Hightower� maneuver � when you don�t have a solid argument, throw out everything in sight and hope something sticks. Read that last paragraph a few times, seriously; let it sink in � in those few lines you can see the heart of the problem with �progressives�. We�ll shame the terrorists into submission with our liberal guilt, implies Robbins.

And then came the speech: You are either with us or against us. And the bombing began. And the old paradigm was restored as our leader encouraged us to show our patriotism by shopping and by volunteering to join groups that would turn in their neighbor for any suspicious behavior.

In the 19 months since 9-11, we have seen our democracy compromised by fear and hatred. Basic inalienable rights, due process, the sanctity of the home have been quickly compromised in a climate of fear. A unified American public has grown bitterly divided, and a world population that had profound sympathy and support for us has grown contemptuous and distrustful, viewing us as we once viewed the Soviet Union, as a rogue state.

This past weekend, Susan and I and the three kids went to Florida for a family reunion of sorts. Amidst the alcohol and the dancing, sugar-rushing children, there was, of course, talk of the war. And the most frightening thing about the weekend was the amount of times we were thanked for speaking out against the war because that individual speaking thought it unsafe to do so in their own community, in their own life. Keep talking, they said; I haven't been able to open my mouth.

You remember the good ol� days, don�t you, when we enjoyed due process, basic rights, the sanctity of the home � before we became a rogue state like the Soviet Union? I find it unbelievable that Robbins and others of his ilk continue to haul out the canard that people aren�t free to speak in opposition to the war. Robbins said this during a speech to the National Press Club!!! Sorry to muzzle you like that, Tim, must be hell living that rough life of yours.

A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications.

Every day, the air waves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear.

Yes, Tim, every day the airwaves are filled with spewed invective and hatred � but it is directed at the Bush administration by Leftists such as you.

I am sick of hearing about Hollywood being against this war. Hollywood's heavy hitters, the real power brokers and cover-of-the- magazine stars, have been largely silent on this issue. But Hollywood, the concept, has always been a popular target.

I remember when the Columbine High School shootings happened. President Clinton criticized Hollywood for contributing to this terrible tragedy -- this, as we were dropping bombs over Kosovo. Could the violent actions of our leaders contribute somewhat to the violent fantasies of our teenagers? Or is it all just Hollywood and rock and roll?

Tim, logic is not your strong suit. The action in Kosovo was a HUMANITARIAN one, requested by the European leaders who were too weak politically and militarily to bring an end to the slaughter in the Balkans. Sometimes, Tim, you have to kill some bad guys in this world � and sometimes, unfortunately, some innocent people die, too, in order to save what remains of civilization. It has been so always�

There�s a depressingly large amount of other filler in this speech, but you can easily see the contours � the martyr Tim Robbins, standing up in front of a room full of people who applaud his �courage� in confirming their own prejudices, all the while decrying the oppression of the fascist state that allows him to prattle on endlessly while earning millions. Yep, Tim, you�re a Jackass, all right � this week and always.

Another Wacky Wictory Wednesday

PoliPundit once again rallies the troops around Rick Santorum - please give of your time, money, or interest if you can. Get the details here and be sure and check out at least one random blog from the blogroll at bottom right.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Texas Football Gets Hosed by Oscar

Daniel Drezner points out something I hadn't noticed - no Oscar nominations for Friday Night Lights, and he considers it a better symbol of the culture war than the Passion of the Christ (he puts POTC's nomination count at three - I only saw two (UPDATE - 01/26/05 9:14 a.m. central - the third category was Best Makeup). I haven't seen the movie, but I remember growing up about halfway between Midland-Odessa and Lubbock, and let me tell you, when the Midland Lee Rebels and the Odessa Permian Panthers got together, it was a HUUUUGGGGGEEEEE deal. They would sometimes get 35,000 fans - 35,000 fans! For a high school football game! Guess I oughta get the DVD...

I've come to increasingly dislike the Oscars, and I guess it's part and parcel of increasingly disliking Hollywood itself. I remember watching about five years ago and thinking "My God, what a bunch of pompous, self-congratulatory morons!" and for the most part, that's a pretty sound judgment. However, I don't like to generalize, and Hollywood can still surprise me sometimes - like the initial 20-minute D-Day Omaha Beach segment of Saving Private Ryan, or the astonishingly well-made Lord of the Rings trilogy (Peter Jackson may get his own 'In Praise Of' post someday soon). I'm a big fan of movies, just not a huge fan of some of the people that make them. Still, I'll probably watch, unless some fool gets on his high horse.

That reminds me - tomorrow is Weekly Jackass time, and I've decided to go with a movie star again to coincide with the nominations. Who, oh, who can it be? An entire nation holds its collective breath...

Ted Kennedy - Our Long National Nightmare Continues

For Ted Kennedy, Vietnam has never ended (reminds me of another Senator from Massachusetts). Today, he again railed against our Iraqi policy, saying Iraq was George Bush's Vietnam for, what, the thousandth time? We are forced once more to ask where are the bleeding hearts of the liberals where the tyranny of Saddam is concerned? Why aren't more of them on our side here? Most disturbingly, has the need to demonize their political opponents replaced their good will towards their own nation and its servicemen?

A few days back I praised Joe Lieberman as a Democrat I could admire, and today, he once again made me proud of that assessment. From today's hearings, first Kennedy:
...Sen. Edward Kennedy, a Massachusetts Democrat, said the war there has become "a catastrophic failure, a continuing quagmire" -- and he called Rice "a principal architect of our failed policy." Kennedy said he believes Bush should be allowed to choose his Cabinet and that Rice has extensive experience and credentials. But he added, "In these continuing circumstances, she should not be promoted to secretary of state."
So, Teddy boy, Bush should be allowed to choose his own cabinet, and she's clearly got the experience and credentials, but you don't like our policy in Iraq, so you're gonna go cry in the corner. Now, Lieberman:

"Our responsibility is to determine whether the nominee is fit for the position ... and whether the nominee, in our judgment, will serve in the national interest," Lieberman said Tuesday. "Dr. Condoleezza Rice meets that standard at least and much more."

Thank God at least one senator still understands the concept of advise and consent.

Michael Moore Snubbed - Spontaneous Celebrations Throughout 'Jesusland'

The Academy Award Nominations are out, and Michael Moore is nowhere to be found - no Best Picture, no Best Documentary, nothing, nada, zilch, zip, squat. On the opposite symbolic pole of the culture war, the Passion of the Christ got two nods: Best Original Score and Best Cinematography.

UPDATE - 01/26/05 9:14 a.m. central - Actually, three: the third category was Best Makeup.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Miscellanea - What's At Stake Edition

William Shawcross in today's Guardian:

Tony Blair said in Baghdad in December: "On the one side you have people who desperately want to make the democratic process work, and want the same type of democratic freedoms other parts of the world enjoy, and on the other side people who are killing and intimidating and trying to destroy a better future for Iraq. Our response should be to stand alongside the democrats."

Blair is absolutely right. It is shocking that so few democratic governments support the Iraqi people. Where are French and German and Spanish protests against the terror being inflicted on voters in Iraq? And it is shocking that around the world there is not wider admiration of, assistance to and moral support (and more) for the Iraqi people. The choice is clear: movement towards democracy in Iraq or a new nihilism akin to fascism - Islamist fascism.

Yes, William, it is shocking indeed (hat tip to deacon at Power Line)...

Meanwhile, the increasingly disgusting Daily Kos sends the Iraqi people support by highlighting an unfortunate side-effect of suicide bombing (you see, you tend to get a little trigger happy when people are using cars as weapons, but you wouldn't want context to get in the way of your hatred of Bush, would you? See, you never saw the atrocities Saddam committed, because there was no freedom of the press, but go ahead with your radical polemic, don't let reality interrupt...) Of course, no Iraq news at all from TalkingPointsMemo, and apparently the only Iraqi Juan Cole is concerned about is Chalabi. Thanks, guys, for lending your support...

Not wishing to be outdone in the Leftist idiocy department, the University of Oregon has banned 'Support Our Troops' ribbons on their employees' vehicles. Just kind of makes you want to vomit, doesn't it? (tip of the hat to PoliPundit)...

Meanwhile, for those of us who DO give a damn about liberty, our troops, and democracy, the amazing Arthur Chrenkoff has an extremely informative look at the elections. Once again, Chrenkoff sets the standard the rest of us should try to live up to...

Is It Wrong to Reach for the Stars?

George W. Bush certainly seems to have touched a nerve with his second Inaugural speech. I've previously commented on William F. Buckley's criticisms. Buckley is not the only conservative to take issue with Bush's bold stance: Peggy Noonan and George Will have also put their objections on the record. On the left, unsatisfied customers include E. J. Dionne, Jr., and Thomas Oliphant.

The reasons these gents and ladies give for their carping include:
  1. Freedom is not a doctrine (Richard Haass);
  2. Our deeds don't match our words;
  3. God was mentioned too often (surprisingly, Peggy Noonan brought this criticism);
  4. We couldn't possibly achieve this ambitious of an agenda; and
  5. Bush is attacking straw men.

Starting with that last first: Will argues, and Dionne concurs, that no one is denying the universal appeal of freedom but rather, that some places just aren't well equipped for it, and don't have the right institutions in place, blah blah blah. How patronizing - we figured it out here, they'll manage there. The transition often won't be pretty, but what nation claims perfection?

As for the argument that our deeds don't match our words, and we couldn't achieve all this anyway, and what about Saudi Arabia and China and Pakistan, well - what would you have us do? Isn't the idea of a goal to have something to shoot for? If you can't reach the goal completely, does that impact its worthiness?

I found Bush's speech to be wonderfully appropriate to the spirit of this nation - as I've stated many times, I'm an unapologetic believer in American exceptionalism and I think we should indeed have the goal of encouraging the end of tyranny, globally. We can't control the actions of other nations, nor should we, but we can use our economic and military might to give some very tempting incentives to do the right thing (and yes, I do think that should apply to Pakistan, China, and Saudi Arabia - we need to take stronger stands with all three countries. I'm not talking war, I'm talking tough diplomacy).

This is a political blog, not a religious one, but I think the following sums up the matter most eloquently:
...this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Phillipians 3:13-14 (King James Version)

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Miscellanea - Championship Edition

Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots on making it to the big one...since my Cowboys just blew this year, I don't really have a dog in this hunt, but Philly's the underdog, I suppose, so go Eagles!...

If you're waiting to hear a message of support for the success of the upcoming Iraqi elections from the Daily Kos, you're waiting in vain...

Ditto for Juan Cole at Informed Comment...

TalkingPointsMemo makes it a trifecta...

For the rest of us, Carpe Bonum has a link to a thrilling election-related Public Service Announcement...

Roger Simon's priorities are also in order...

Daniel Drezner lists his five greatest Americans
(my picks? Ohh, that's another post altogether)...

Goodbye to a Legend

As you probably know by now, Johnny Carson has passed away. What a shame...young people who have grown up on the mediocre Tonight Show of the Jay Leno era can have no idea how influential Carson was. The entire country, it seemed, just had to stay up at least long enough to see who was on and to watch the monologue. Carson was at his funniest, to me, when a joke bombed. He would turn the embarassed silence, through gestures, threats to the writing staff, and asides to Ed McMahon, into something far funnier than the joke could ever be. Rest in peace.

Candidate Profile Nine: Barack Obama

NOTE: No doubt you've come by here as the result of a Google search for Barack Obama's resume. I'm glad you're here, but I'd rather see you at the brand-new Decision '08, which can be found here. Come join the conversation!

Barack Obama is the rising young star of the Democratic party. He is currently a senator for Illionois after a landslide victory against the laughably inept campaign of Alan Keyes. Obama's presence was ubiquitous during the Dem's 2004 convention; you couldn't throw a brick without hitting a media outlet lined up to interview him. What's all the hubbub? Let's take a look.

Barack Obama - Official Biography

Resume - Junior Senator for Illinois; first African-American editor of Harvard Law Review; former Illinois state senator

Obama is an attractive candidate - good-looking, articulate, smooth, polite, intelligent - all of these adjectives can be applied to him without fear of contradiction (and keep in mind, I'm a staunch Republican!), so it's not hard to see why the Dems get so fired up about him. He claims he will absolutely not run in 2008, but we've heard that before, right? Eric Zorn, columnist for the Chicago Tribune, thinks he'll make the run; others disagree. Time will tell.

Obama is refreshingly direct - take a look at a couple of quotes from an interview with Rolling Stone:

What advice do you have for people who feel hopeless after the Kerry loss?

Get over it. Go to the movies, go to the park, go on a date -- get some perspective. Losing an election is not a tragedy.

What would most surprise people to learn about you?

Probably that I'm a failed jock. I love basketball, but my love for the game always exceeded my talents. I was pretty good but never really good. Also, I'm a reformed smoker; I think that surprises people. I quit, but then during the campaign when you're in a car driving through cornfields, occasionally I bum a cigarette or two. But I did all my drinking in high school and college. I was a wild man. I did drugs and drank and partied. But I got all my ya-yas out.

When's the last time you heard a politician admit past drug use, and the occasional cigarette, or failure in anything? Contrast that with 'I didn't inhale'...

As always, there are negatives. Obama's primary political message seems to be some sort of economic populism similar to that espoused by the much more boring John Edwards. Ask Bob Shrum how well that populist message goes over in national elections, Barack. We haven't yet had much of a chance to evaluate his very young Senate career, either. Naturally, the self-destructive community of black 'progressives' oppose his non-radical style and association with the Democratic Leadership Council, apparently out of fear that the Democrats might actually win the presidency again.

Obama's first real turn on the national stage in his new position was at the confirmation hearings for Condoleezza Rice, and he got good reviews from some conservative commentators. The fact that he voted to confirm the obviously qualified and imminently suitable Dr. Rice hasn't won him any friends among the Radical Left, however - though it's hard to imagine any responsible politician winning their support (or for that matter, even WANTING their support).

Barack Obama clearly has the qualities to make a run, but my gut tells me 2008 is a bit early for him. I would keep an eye on this guy in 2012.


UPDATE 07/04/05 10:34 p.m.:
Obama's not really making any moves...I'm dropping him slightly.


Miscellanea - Liberalism Defined Edition

Right Wingnuthouse links to a contest by the American Prospect to define liberalism in 30 words or less (one of the prizes is Robert Reich on your answering machine - wow wow wow oh wow!). My entry: Liberalism (see 'Progressivism') is the belief that an individual is born into victimhood, and only the government, not one's own efforts, can change that. Just 24 words - do I win? (hat tip to PoliPundit)...

Commonwealth Conservative links to this story on 'a Conservative Answer to Michael Moore'. Personally, I'd set my sights higher than that...

What's all this fuss about the Nazis, wonders a gentleman in Queensland, Australia, and idle thoughts of an idle fellow has the answer...

Captain Ed has the story of felony charges in Milwaukee regarding a scheme to depress voter turnout - among Republicans...

On a related note, Michelle Malkin reports that it was the Democratic wooing of that elusive illegal felon vote that put them over the top in the Washington governor race...

The ultra-efficient, corruption-free, fiscally responsible UN is embarking on their newest project - ending world poverty. Expect poverty rates worldwide to skyrocket, in a wholly unrelated development, I'm sure...