egypt and the way forward

There’s a book that I read that I highly recommend to all interested political observers – The Case For Democracy by Natan Sharansky.  The emphasis is on free societies, not simply a system of government in which the people elect their leaders by their votes.   It’s important to disconnect democracy from freedom, because these two words are not synonymous.   The argument is that it is not simply democracy that brings about stability in a country or society  – it is the level of rights and freedoms that are granted to its citizens.

What are these freedoms that former President Bush and, to a lesser extent, President Obama, are suggesting that citizens of other countries long for?  The ones we have here – freedom to speak out against the government without fear of punishment,  the freedom to worship the god of our choice or no god at all,  freedom to speak our minds in all forms of media without government censorship — these are a few of the freedoms we take for granted here in America.  The objective should be a freer Egypt where the average citizen has autonomy in these areas – where the people can choose the path that is best for them and succeed on their own terms.

Not all revolutions are good ones.   Mubarak probably needed to be replaced, but it’s not clear that the end result was the best possible scenario for Egypt going forward.  Sometimes the mob chooses leaders who will continue to restrict the rights of their citizens in order to conform with Muslim fundamentalism and Sharia law.  If at the end of the day, the Muslim Brotherhood ends up controlling Egypt, then Egypt isn’t better off without Mubarak – it’s worse.

The choice should have been an easier one for President Obama in Iran.  The protesters should have been encouraged by this administration to stand up for themselves and their fellow citizens.  This was a missed opportunity.  It didn’t require the use of our military or working through the UN bloat-ocracy.  All that was required was a strong statement of support from the President of the United States.  That’s our role – no other country will fill that void.

Let’s start with this disclaimer.   I agree with the perspective of noted political humorist PJ O’Rourke who once opined that everybody screws up foreign policy – Republicans, Democrats…everybody.   I don’t believe that it’s possible to prevent every worse-case scenario on the national stage, whether it’s Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iran, or North Korea.  But I do think that every President needs to have advisors who have the ability to think strategically and game-plan for the future.   This is more important than ever in these uncertain times, because every US action or inaction could irrevocably set off a series of events that can set the course of history for the next 10-20 years.

Does President Obama have a good team around team to help him navigate these rough international waters?

Newsweek’s Niall Ferguson says no:

I can think of no more damning indictment of the administration’s strategic thinking than this: it never once considered a scenario in which Mubarak faced a popular revolt. Yet the very essence of rigorous strategic thinking is to devise such a scenario and to think through the best responses to them, preferably two or three moves ahead of actual or potential adversaries. It is only by doing these things—ranking priorities and gaming scenarios—that a coherent foreign policy can be made. The Israelis have been hard at work doing this. All the president and his NSC team seem to have done is to draft touchy-feely speeches like the one he delivered in Cairo early in his presidency.

This is something that the President needs to consider – and learn from his mistakes by surrounding himself with the best people who understand the dynamics of the world we live in, so the next domino falling won’t catch the United States by surprise.

about last night


Much credit should be given to RNC Chairman Michael Steele for shutting up and not saying anything stupid during this election cycle that could have doomed the Republicans to certain failure. Well done.

Marco Rubio is a star and future president material. Loved his speech. More on that later.

Congratulations to our next governor Nikki Haley and our new Representative Mick Mulvaney. His win was huge for our district, since it meant the defeat of Nancy Pelosi’s budget chairman John Spratt. This was a long time coming, and we finally found the right guy to get the job done. YAY!!!!!

So, who were those 28% voting for Alvin Greene, anyway?

It would be hard to say that there were many surprises about the election results last night, with Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives and Dems barely retaining control of the Senate. I do think that in some cases, there were missed opportunities for the Republicans — primarily Nevada, Delaware, and Alaska. Of course, we won’t know for several weeks whether Joe Miller or Lisa Murkowski wins in Alaska, but my opinion is still the same about this race. The losses of these Tea Party candidates is not a repudiation of the ideology that the Tea Party candidates represent. These results are based on the weaknesses of these candidates. I’m an ideologue at heart. I’m both fiscally and socially conservative in my belief system, and I want my candidates to share my beliefs. With that said, I still recognize the need to field candidates with political skill in addition to having a sound foundation on the issues we find important. We CAN have both, and the Republicans need to try harder to find this kind of candidate. It’s unrealistic to think that every candidate we put up can have the star power of a Marco Rubio or Jim DeMint, but it’s also unrealistic to believe that the Republican Party can throw up just any candidate and defeat entrenched incumbent Democrats like Harry Reid.

There are lessons to be learned here, and here’s a strategy I would humbly suggest to my Republican friends going forward to future elections.
Both establishment Republicans and Tea Party members have a few takeaways from last night’s results. What establishment Republicans need to understand is that ideology matters, and to some voters it matters enough to toss overboard the sure-thing candidate to send a message to the powers that be in Washington controlling the purse strings of our party. What Tea Party members need to understand is that the priority of the national Republican Party is getting candidates elected, and that sometimes you can’t get everything you want in a candidate who has a better chance to win than the Tea Party choice. What we know, based on what we have seen, is that strong Republican candidates win, and those who try to play both sides have a tougher road to election / re-election. Would it have been better if Mike Castle was the Republican nominee in Delaware instead of Christine O’Donnell? No, but Delaware voters really needed a better primary choice than those two candidates, especially when the attempt is to flip a solid Democrat Senate seat.

This is the difficulty for the national Republican Party because they can’t just randomly kick to the curb any RINOs that may appear in their sights, since electability still matters to them (and it should). So the responsibility here belongs to the Tea Party to provide quality challengers to the establishment Republicans. The responsibility of the national party is to stay out of the way in the primaries and let the voters decide who the candidates should be. Once that’s decided, then both sides must help the candidates prepare for interviews and debates to give them the best chance to win their race.

In some cases, nothing can be done to fix a flawed candidate. We win some. We lose some. The media takes every advantage it can find to hammer our candidates. That’s politics. It doesn’t benefit the Republican Party to engage in the petty infighting we have seen between the national Republican Party — and those like Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove who wish to speak for the establishment Republicans — and the candidates who have been selected by the voters to represent the Republicans in the primary. Sometimes the voters have bad choices. This is definitely true in the 2010 midterm elections. We have to play the cards we are dealt, and work toward a better result next election. Peggy Noonan suggested on Morning Joe that the best candidates should have career experience before they enter politics for the first time. We can’t just pluck any well-meaning person out of their home to take on Harry Reid or an establishment Republican like Lisa Murkowski. No offense intended to Joe Miller and Sharron Angle, but we could have found stronger candidates for Nevada and Alaska. If Sarah Palin was really serious about defeating her nemesis, she should have run for that Senate seat herself rather than endorsing Joe Miller.

two wrongs don’t make a right

Ground Zero Mosque – bad idea

Burning Korans – extremely bad idea

This goes beyond 1st Amendment rights and the legal arguments. There’s certainly a more reasonable legal argument to be made for the Ground Zero Mosque than there would be for a church burning copies of the Koran.  What’s allowable as a result of the freedoms we enjoy here in America is not necessarily ethical or moral — or wise.  In the case of the Ground Zero Mosque, we can’t legally keep Muslims from building a mosque there just because some in their religion caused 9/11. Muslims have the same freedom of religion in America as those in other religions. With that said, it is extremely insensitive to build it anywhere close to Ground Zero, and that’s why public pressure should do what the law cannot do. I hope that there is continued conversation and communication between the imam and the local community (including 9/11 families) so that there can be a satisfactory compromise.

There is absolutely no justification for burning Korans. I don’t care how small your church is or whether the pastor is considered a nutjob fringe case by the locals. This kind of behavior ruins the reputation of all Christians, not just that church, and it is our obligation to speak out against such stupidity.

It also puts our military in danger – like Petraeus said. Burning Korans will damage the reputation of the church, could endanger the bridge building process to the Islamic world as well as putting our troops at more risk. Let’s not give any more ammo to our enemies, ok?

This is not about appeasing any particular group. The desired objective is to win over the Muslims who aren’t inclined to participate in violent jihad. The mosque could be open to reasonable compromise, but burning Korans is just asking for trouble.

I will get to Dr. Arthur Laffer’s analysis in a future post. I have several initial comments on the subject of health care “reform” that I want to bring to the table before I get to his brilliant work.

If you want to talk about a subject that should be demanding the attention of the federal government right now (but is not) – we should be talking about jobs, not health care. Don’t know how many times I have to say this but people with jobs would be far more capable of buying their own health insurance. There are ways the federal government could encourage / support private industry development and growth, and to make it easier for the job market to improve. The Obama administration appears to be more interested in implementing big revolutionary changes in health care than to deal with bread and butter issues like jobs and the economy.

We do not have a health care crisis situation in this country. That 47 million uninsured number — offered by the uninformed and the mediots (but I repeat myself here) – is bogus.

From Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny:

“In 2006, the Census Bureau reported that there were 46.6 million people without health insurance. About 9.5 million were not United States citizens. Another 17 million lived in households with incomes exceeding $50,000 a year and could, presumably, purchase their own health coverage [1]. Eighteen million of the 46.6 million uninsured were between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four, most of whom were in good health and no necessarily in need of health-care coverage or chose not to purchase it [2]. Moreover, only 30 percent of the nonelderly population who became uninsured in a given year remained uninsured for more than twelve months. Almost 50 percent regained their health coverage within four months [3]. The 47 million “uninsured” figure used by [Speaker of the House Nancy] Pelosi and others is widely inaccurate.”

The number of Americans who are uninsured has been massively inflated to exaggerate the extent of the problems we have with the current health care system as it exists today. This is intentional. There’s no possible way the American people could possibly be talked into an overhaul of the entire health care system without being persuaded that we have a crisis that demands immediate attention. Fortunately, this massive overreach by the Democrats and by the President of the United States with HR 3200 has caught the attention of average Americans, some of whom have been doing the job our Congressmen / Senators won’t do (reading the bill). I applaud those who have attended town halls to ask the tough questions to these Congressmen and Senators. Someone has to do it. It really shouldn’t be necessary to remind my fellow conservatives not to give the media, liberal activists, Democrats and the White House any ammunition to paint our side as a bunch of raving lunatics – but I will say it again until it doesn’t need to be said.

One might interpret the previous commentary as an opinion that the American health care system as it exists today does not require any changes. We do not have a perfect health care system. With that said, the choices /options we have for health insurance are vastly superior to any system resembling single-payer or government-run health service programs. Of course it would be wonderful to get all Americans health care coverage, but what sacrifices would have to be made in order to get close to this goal? Is it even possible to spend enough money to provide all Americans coverage? Of course not. The debate here should be whether we must overhaul the current health care system to attempt to cover the relatively small number of uninsured Americans, or whether with a few small changes we can achieve the best combination of coverage and care for most Americans. The latter is my position on health care reform – we don’t need a complete overhaul, just a few common-sense changes. What changes would I propose, on the compelling suggestion of economists like Dr. Laffer? I’ll save that for a future post.


It was with mixed emotions that I watched the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama.  As a conservative, I have an obligation to stand up for what I believe is right, and to oppose about 95% of what our new President wants to do.  But it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment and almost believe that one mortal human can do everything he’s promised to do as our new President.  Inaugural events are made for TV, and the massive crowds gathered to witness this historic event added to the drama of the moment we all witnessed together.  Yet we all must realize the limitations of any President and any politician to fill gaps in our wallets or in our lives.  There is a proper role of government in this country, and we need to get back to it.  The responsibility for our success or failure belongs to us alone.  If you are looking to a politician or to a celebrity to fulfill a spiritual need in your life, may I humbly suggest that you look elsewhere?  Otherwise, prepare for disappointment. Some walls were broken down today, but there are those who insist on living in our tainted racial past — like Rev. Lowery.   If the African-American community expected all racism to be gone with the election of Barack Obama, then this might come as a shock.

Highlights and lowlights:

That was awkward — Chief Justice John Roberts flubbing the presidential oath of office, DiFi’s questionable pronunciation skillz (For the record, I do think she could have said OATH instead of OAF.)

Worst meaningless poem ever — Elizabeth Alexander and her ‘praise song for the day‘.  I’m not even sure if that was the title, but it certainly seemed to be a poem about nothing.

Not Dress code approved — Joe Lieberman’s baseball cap.

Best-looking Obama – tie – Barry and his kids.  I question the wisdom of the First Lady’s stylist.

Because Jeremiah Wright suddenly had to be out of town on January 20th — Rev. Lowery.  His words were a repudiation of all this unity our President keeps talking about.  We are all Americans.  That’s our common thread.  Why is this guy seeking to keep us divided into racial groups?

I don’t remember much about what our new President said, except that it was unexceptional compared to some of his previous speeches.  The trouble is that he’s set such a high bar for himself that it could be difficult to meet those expectations.

pakistan in chaos

Andy McCarthy on the Benazir Bhutto assassination:

Jihadists are not going to be wished away, rule-of-lawed into submission, or democratized out of existence. If you really want democracy and the rule of law in places like Pakistan, you need to kill the jihadists first. Or they’ll kill you, just like, today, they killed Benazir Bhutto.

Read it all here.

Speaking of those presidential candidates, most of them took the time to release statements about the Bhutto assassination.

The war on terror (or “the terrorists’ war on us” as Rudy says) is not over. We may be winning a few battles here and there, but there is more work to be done by the next President to keep us on the right track. It would be nice if democracy and free elections was some kind of cure-all to what ails those countries sympathetic to Islamic rule. It’s not, so we do need to keep killing jihadists. There isn’t an easier way to stabilize Pakistan.

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hurry up and wait

Michael Ramirez in Investor’s Business Daily:

We live in a society with a short attention span, bent on immediate gratification.

One wonders if Americans today would support a war that took eight years to introduce democracy, four more years to finalize a constitutional framework, two additional years to establish a working government and two years beyond that to secure individual rights and liberties for its citizens.

If this war produced nothing more than a temporary union that was later torn asunder by an even larger civil war, would there be open rebellion?

Fortunately, another generation of Americans made that commitment long ago. It resulted in the creation of a nation that has become a beacon of democracy and freedom for future generations — the United States of America.

Iraq will take time. Will we have the patience to see it through to the end?

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rethinking the stability strategy

Was John Edwards right about the war on terrorism being a bumper-sticker slogan? To the extent that this statement trivializes the threat we face from Islamic extremists, absolutely not. I wonder, however, if in the desire to achieve stability in the Middle East we have unwisely propped up dictators and terrorist sympathizers, to achieve the stability we want to have there without taking the risk of transformational change that the promotion of human rights and freedom would produce in a society. It is fair to ask if the United States government really believes the foreign policy philosophy introduced by Bush 43, or whether we are serious about supporting those in other countries who are struggling to make a break from oppressive government control of their lives.

I was reading a Washington Post story about the problems Musharraf is having in Pakistan right now, and one line just stuck out in the opening grafs: “To the Bush White House, the war on terrorism tops everything, including democracy.” Is President Bush resigned to the idea that stability is more important than democracy? Some of the moves he has made would appear to suggest this, such as supporting a dictator like Musharraf, and it’s understandable that at this point in his political life, he’s looking for a quick fix to Iraq and to the Middle East. The President knows what needs to happen (the promotion of free societies), but he doesn’t know how to accompany that with consistent policies in holding countries accountable for human rights violations in exchange for financial and political support from the United States.

We say all the right things about freedom and democracy, and wanting to encourage opposition to dictatorships and Islamic theocracies, but maybe we could be doing more policy-wise to support those who oppose these type of governments. I’m not talking about American-led regime change in Iran or North Korea. What I’m talking about is finding ways to bring some accountability to oppressive regimes by withholding foreign aid and making all support conditional on verifiable improvement in the lives of the people under those governments. The problem that the US has in doing this is the international community and (with only a few exceptions) their tendency toward appeasement, the quick fix, and their application of a few Band-Aids on this serious flesh wound.

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neil boortz calls us out

Can our love of freedom be rekindled? Frankly, I doubt it. We’re too lazy. Too used to the good life. We love living as adult children with our mommy and daddy, in the form of government, taking care of our basic needs while we sit around worrying who the next Falcons head coach will be and who is going to be the next American Idol.

I guess in a few years from now some young people will look at me and think to themselves “He’s old! Yeeechhhhh.” Yeah, maybe so. But I knew America when freedom was precious. I knew America before the war on the individual. I knew America before political correctness. I knew America when individual accomplishment was celebrated, not derided; when grades meant something and when the mother of a functionally illiterate child didn’t drive around with a “My child is an honor student” bumper sticker on her car….

Can America be saved? Can we be rescued from politicians who are more interested in their positions of power and the perks that come with membership in the congress? Perhaps … but I don’t see it happening. I don’t see it happening as long as CNN can travel to the sidewalks and find some young bimbo who will proclaim that she doesn’t want to manage any part of her own retirement plans — that she would rather have the government do it all for her. I don’t see it happening as long as people look to the government to set their wage rates. And I certainly don’t see it happening as long as the American people remain blissfully unaware of the threat of Islamic fascism.neil boortz

read it all here.

he’s right. when will we realize that giving more control to the government means that the average american has less control of his or her own life? we have gotten soft, and in the world we live in today, apathy is a luxury we cannot afford to keep for very long. america faces external threats. those demand the attention of the united states government, and rightly so. it also faces internal threats which also threaten to destroy our civilization from within. we cannot allow this to happen.

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don’t vote

don’t vote (or vote for a democrat) if:

  • you want charlie rangel putting more of your money into the government’s pockets.
  • you believe that the whole country should be punished for perceived republican sins.
  • you actually believe that democrats would cut spending while ADDING more new government programs.
  • you want president bush’s judicial appointment picks to be D.O.A. (no alito or roberts types allowed if the dems are in charge)
  • you want to see less progress made on illegal immigration. (what we have isn’t perfect, but it’s more than we would get under the democrats, who totally agree with bush on this one issue.)
  • you are convinced that the democrats have a better way to protect us from future terrorist attacks, which is so much more “tough” and “smart” than what we are doing now.
  • you think that the civil rights of terrorists are more important than the lives of american citizens.
  • you consider ideological purity the most important quality in your candidate, and don’t care where he or she stands on any other issue you care about. just remember what happened to lieberman in the primary in connecticut. is that the outcome you want for this election?
  • you are determined to let the polls and the punditocracy determine the outcome of this election.

if none of this describes the way you feel, you know what to do. it is always better to get most of what you want, instead of getting NONE of what you want. vote your conscience, but keep the big picture in mind.

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