/* Am I A Pundit Now?: July 2005

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hillary's Coronation Will Have To Wait

Hillary's path to the White House is looking a bit treacherous these days.

Last Monday, at the annual summer meeting of the Democratic Leadership Council, Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a "ceasefire among warring factions of the Democratic Party."

The DLC was a great innovation for the Democrats, and it helped put Bill Clinton into power in 1992. But other than Bill's reelection, the Democrats have lost every White House, House and Senate election since, and many Democrats blame the DLC. They accuse the DLC of being 'Republican-Lite', pandering to big business, and acquiesing to Bush adminstration policies on the War on Terror.

They have a point. Why vote for a pale imitation of the Republicans, when you can vote for the real thing?

So Hillary ordering the rest of the Democratic party to stifle their ideology and fall in line behind her did not go down well with the Democratic base. It appears that Hillary has pushed her 'inevitability campaign' a bridge too far, and it now alienating a large part of the Democratic party. It was inevitable that parts of the party would eventually savage her in the name of a purer ideology - but Hillary and her strategists probably did not count on it beginning this soon.

My guess is that Hillary will be forced to creep Leftward to stem this assault. Her impressive poll numbers and standing in the party will not be enough to preserve her from the caterwauling Deaniacs - and Dean is more or less in charge of the party now.

The Democrats have proven that they value liberal ideology over electoral victories, and it would take a masterful politician to find that golden mean between Leftist bona fides and practical centrism without arousing the ire of the true believers.

Hillary Clinton is too clumsy a politican to pull that one off.

6:44 AM | | |

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Kyrgyzstan Extends Use Of Airbase

Donald Rumsfeld has secured ongoing use of an airbase in Kyrgyzstan for "as long as the situation in Afghanistan requires," assured Major General Ismail Isakov.

PoliBlog makes a great point about this - "it is remarkable that the US has even temporary military bases in a place that once was part of the Soviet Union."

Who'da thunk we'd ever see this in our lifetimes?

8:14 AM | | |

Monday, July 25, 2005

Did North Korea Just Blink?

Delegate Kim Kye-Gwan has said that North Korea is ready to denuclearise the Korean peninsula.

I don't believe it for a minute, but at least the North Koreans are saying the right things now.

10:18 PM | | |

Fallaci On The London Bombings

Mystery Achievement has the latest essay from Oriana Fallaci regarding the London tragedies of late, via Roger L. Simon.

She had previously been silent on these tragedies, and would like everyone to know that her silence was not acquiesence. She removes her former silence in her usual powerful way when it comes to the fate of 'Eurabia'.

10:05 PM | | |

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Plame Misdirection

This little tidbit was picked up at the blog-that-must-not-be-named as an example of Republican 'lies', the lie supposedly being that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent because she openly went through the gates of CIA headquarters every day.

Supposed CIA official Larry Johnson says that "there are thousands of undercover CIA employees who drive through the three gates at CIA Headquarters in McLean, Virginia everyday." Thus, supposedly establishing that Plame could have gone to work at CIA headquarters every day and still be a 'covert operative.'

Only one problem: CIA headquarters is in Langley Virginia, not McClean, and Langley is where Plame worked. McClean houses CIA operations, and is not their analysis center. You would think a CIA official opining on the all-important Plame affair would know this.

7:43 PM | | |

Pro-Lifers Worse Than Jihadists?

One of the saddest aspects of the domestic front on the War on Terror is the fact that a great many Americans see fellow Americans as a greater threat than al-Qaeda to the well-being of our nation.

For example, we now have liberals describing pro-life christians as an 'American Taliban'.

Case in point is Cynthia Tucker, in the article 'Right To Privacy Is True Target Of American Jihadists.'

One wonders if Cynthia Tucker knows anything about the real Taliban. I've got news for her. When it came to human rights under the Taliban, lack of access to birth control was pretty far down on the list of indignities. Try this one on for size: Cynthia Tucker would not be allowed to attend school under the Taliban regime. She would not be allowed to write for a newspaper. She would not be able to drive. She would not be able to dress as she liked in public or listen to music. Call me silly, but these seem to be far more fundamental abridgements of human liberty than the right to have sex without consequences.

Tucker is trying to shame the "extremist edge of the religious right," by pointing out to pro-life christians that they are behaving just like our hated enemies the Taliban.

This is how twisted and warped liberal thought has become. Pro-life christians overwhelmingly support the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. They believe in a republican form of government, and the freedom of speech. Tucker might be surprised to learn that pro-life christians actually believe in a secular government, and the freedom of religion. The real Taliban would not see a whisker's difference between Cynthia Tucker and a southern baptist as they made plans to blow them both up.

But, merely questioning settled law that abortion is legal makes them just like the Taliban. Only worse, because the Taliban are out of power many thousands of miles away hiding in the caves of Afghanistan. The American Taliban on the other hand, might be living right next door . . .

The silliest aspect of Tucker's analogy is that, apparently, before the Roe v. Wade decision came down in 1973, this nation was living under "something akin to Sharia, Quranic law that restricts women's rights."

How sad it must be to have one's worldview entirely focused through the distorted narrow prism of abortion rights. How sadder still it is to demonize so many of your fellow citizens based upon that view.

8:01 AM | | |

Saturday, July 23, 2005

A Founding Mother Writes

I am reading David McCullough's biography of John Adams, for which McCullough received the Pulitzer Prize. Indeed, it is a riveting read, and really captures the harrowing desperation and inspiring philosophies of the age.

The letters written by the important players of that age are truly amazing documents. Folks then were so well-educated and literate, and letter writing was such a respected art form, that writers today seem like hacks by comparison. Well, today's writers are hacks compared to them. Here is a quote from the book:

These are the times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman."
Wow. That was not written by the great John Adams, it was written by his wife Abigail in 1777, trying to convince her son to accompany John to France.

Truly, a lost art.

6:48 AM | | |

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Juan Cole Stumbles On Facts

Juan Cole is a history professor at the University of Michigan, widely quoted as an expert on the Middle East, and no friend of the Bush administration.

For a history professor, he sure has a problem understanding chronologies, as this article 'Making Cole-Slaw Of History' shows. Via Real Clear Politics.

7:19 PM | | |

The Roberts Strategy

Bush's ideal nominee for the Supreme Court would be an originalist, with a long paper trail on such issues as abortion, affirmative action and property rights.

It is clear that Bush was not going to get this golden nominee. The political waters are too poisoned, and the Democrats would welcome the fundraising avalanche and demagogic windfall that would come with such a nominee.

Bush has come up with a brilliant 'plan B' nominee however. Judge Roberts seems perfectly poised between conservative respectability and 'far-right extremism': palatable enough to moderates, without providing a definite bull's eye to the Left.

Roberts really presents the Democrats with a dilemma. Though they would never admit it, Democrats strategists know that the extremist bickering aimed at Bush is hurting them with the public. It hurts them all the more when such bickering is seen as mindless obstructionism. And yet, their own hard-Left base demands obstructionism for any candidate to the right of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Bush has given them enough rope to hang themselves, while still getting his nominee onto the bench of the Supreme Court. Bush has a great opportunity to further marginalize the Durbins, Shumers and Boxers of the Senate, along with their MoveOn.org svengalis. Moreover, the choice of Roberts seems to be delighting Bush's own base - it is a total win-win.

Makes you wonder: did Rove pick this guy?

5:58 PM | | |

Monday, July 18, 2005

Yemeni Dissident

Dean Esmay is asking that we bloggers boost the status of this post by Jane by linking to it.

Jane is chronicling the death threats and harassment against Yemeni dissident Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani. Yemen is your standard-issue middle eastern tyranny.

I am coming to this issue really late by blog standards, but it is worthy to highlight this, and one motive here is to keep the light shining on the issue of democracy in Yemen.

4:45 PM | | |

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Boxer Counter-Petition

Boxer Watch warns us that Barbara Boxer has started an online petition demanding a timetable for an exit from Iraq.

So, they started a counter-petition to Bush to tell him that is not a good idea. Nothing like giving the terrorists a timetable to work from.

Heh, I think we know which way Bush is leaning on this one but go sign anyway!

2:20 AM | | |

Friday, July 15, 2005

Guestblogging At WILLisms

I have been invited to guestblog at WILLisms.com, which means either I have finally arrived as a pundit, or Will Franklin has lost his freakin' mind.

I report, you decide.

8:10 AM | | |

Monday, July 11, 2005

HuffPo At Two Months

Well I gave the Huffington Post a shot. I go there regularly to read the stories and leave lots of comments, so I guess I have as much experience with the place as anyone. After 2 months I gotta say that most of the bloggers there are no-names that have no business blogging, the headlines are often overly pumped up and misleading if not outright inaccurate, and many of the commenters give DU a run for their money when it comes to putting their worst prejudices (and manners) front and center.

I think HuffPo tries too hard. Arianna is swinging for the fences, trying to bring down an administration, or at least humiliate it, the way Drudge did. Why reinvent the wheel? Her efforts are a bit too transparent however. Here is a rather telling quote from the blogmistress herself:

Here at the Huff Post we plan to chronicle the Bush administration’s deeper and deeper descent into siege mentality. What are the hallmarks? Denial, defensiveness, doubletalk, robotic reiterations of stale talking points, wild counterattacks, a pathological fear of admitting mistakes, and an utter inability to change course -- even when the current course is taking us right over the cliff. Practically reads like an employee manual for Bush administration staffers, doesn’t it?"
Wow, talk about creating a template.

Notice how Arianna has preordained a 'deeper and deeper descent into siege mentality' which is obviously Arianna's dearest wish. One guesses this HuffPo wish will come true, whether it conforms to reality or not.

Ugh, does she have to be so transparent about this? Can't there at least be a nod to objectivity, detachment, or disinterestedness in the selection or presentation of a story? Fox News at least pretends to be Fair and Balanced, and Drudge actually is fairly egalitarian about the stories he chooses, he plays the contrarian now and then. Arianna however, feels the dire need to orchestrate every ping in the Echo Chamber.

I am beginning to think that Arianna is parroting Kos. I wonder if she perhaps does this on purpose, because deep down she has no real core. After all, her political views seem to be quite fungible and changeable depending upon the particular political winds of the time. She once aped conservative views with all the outward conviction and focus that she now reserves for Leftist views - perhaps, not quite sure herself, she needs Kos' guidance as to what those views actually are. Arianna repeats the view, without the authentic Leftist angst. For example, right after the London bombing, Kos said this terrorist act shows that the flypaper theory is false. Arianna said much the same thing. When Kos says it, it is ignorance masquerading as indignation. When Arianna says it, somehow it is merely gauche.

The authoritativeness the HuffPo has achieved could lie on the spectrum ranging from Washington Post gravitas to tabloid rag fluff--and I hate to say it, because I have something of a time and effort investment into it--that at this point HuffPo is a lot closer to the checkout lines at Walmart than it is to the corridors of power in Washington.

Ken Says: Perhaps all of the original critics of the HuffPo were right, and they could see where it was headed before it even really got started. The place just literally sucks the IQ points out of you. I am not sure that I want to play in Arianna's liberal fantasyland anymore.

Linked to Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway.

4:58 AM | | |

Friday, July 08, 2005

Muslims Denounce London Bombing

Thankfully, there are muslims who deplore the London bombing, such as this unnamed imam from the United Arab Emirates:
What happened in a certain country that was mentioned in the media yesterday is a clear aggression that is totally detached of any logic and is entirely unjustified. Whoever does such a thing is not a Muslim, nor a religious person. This is the kind of criminal act that only serves those who want to destroy mankind, and to thwart civilization and progress."

While those are admirable thoughts, the imam giving this sermon couldn't help taking a dig at Jews and Christians:

Igniting civil strife and using the tools of war and destruction is the habit of the despicable Jews and Christians of the ancient nations, and the Koran has already deplored them for that...'
Ah well, at least the imam is headed in the right direction.

There are more quotes from muslims such as these here at MEMRI.

3:23 PM | | |

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Newsflash: Kos Says Bush Was Wrong

Well I was looking for reactions to the London bombing today around the blogs, and I thought to myself 'I wonder how long before someone says fighting the terrorists in Iraq rather than at home is a false rationale.'

How long did it take? About a nanosecond.

The ever-snotty Kos: "Well, that didn't work out quite as planned, did it?"

Kos never was a class act, and using this tragedy in London as a craven triumphalist blast at Bush is just, well, about the highest level of maturity we ever see from Kos.

If Kos were an honest person (big 'if' here) he would admit that there are no guarantees in life. Bush did not guarantee that fighting in Iraq would keep us safe at home. But the 'flypaper' rationale is in fact valid: obviously the jihadis are concentrating their firepower in Iraq and sending their recruits to Iraq, and if this were not so we may very well have had many more attacks in Paris, Brussels, Rome, New York, Jakarta, etc.

But as usual, the liberals want to make the perfect the enemy of the good. Anything less than immediate apprehension of Osama bin Laden, Zarqawi, Zawahiri, and the immediate destruction of Al-Qaeda and a cessation of terrorist attacks by all groups worldwide means that Bush's War on Terror is a complete and abject failure.

I, for one, am still waiting for the comprehensive report from those brilliant Liberals on how to solve the War on Terror. But then again, Liberals often mistake invective for policy, so perhaps they have shown us the answer, and we just haven't seen it. Maybe a campaign of savage wit, and withering sarcasm will bring Osama to heel?

Linked to Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway.

Update: Dean Esmay recommends that everyone, liberals and conservatives alike, should just stop posting links to Kos. Heh, well, I don't know if this is the last time I will ever mention Kos, but it is food for thought.

4:43 PM | | |

Friday, July 01, 2005

The American Identity

The United States is not a nation, for it is not defined by race, history, geography, language or culture. What is the proof for this assertion? Anyone can be an American. You can be born into a family with generations of American roots, and you would still be no more an American than a Bangladeshi recently sworn in as a citizen, and certainly not entitled to more rights.

Successive waves of immigration to these shores have altered the landscape and brought new character to the American soul. Not even Native Americans can claim to be from American soil - they too immigrated, over the Bering Strait some ten thousand years ago. Thus no group or faction can claim sole inheritance in ownership of America.

What stays constant among these demographic tides is the Republic, the Constitution, and a commitment to Liberty, and this is the American identity. The identity of America is not race, language or culture--it is the American Dream: a framework of Liberty with the Constitution as its centerpiece, which allows the full play of the human potential in all endeavors.

The rest of the world holds us to our principles because they know such principles are good and worthy. We are often told that the rest of the world hates us--put aside for a moment whether this is true or not and realize that if they do hate us, they do not hate America per se. What they hate is when we Americans fail to abide by our own professed ideals. Everyone knows that an entire world holding true to the American ideals would be the closest approximation of Utopia man could achieve, and we Americans so often fall short. The mere shadow of perceived wrongs committed by America hangs darker upon us than the manifest wrongs hang on tyrants from whom nothing good is expected. The world looks to us for good things.

Only the most ossified reactionaries--the totalitarian Leftists, the islamofascists, the kleptocratic tyrants--reject the principles this nation was founded upon. The rest of humanity is either glad to live under Democracy, or wishes they were so blessed.

If America is a transcendent ideal, one need not even set foot here to become an American. This is why America is not a nation: it is a universal principle, and not reserved merely for those fortunate enough to be American by an accident of birth.

Linked to Mudville Gazette and Outside the Beltway.

7:50 PM | | |