who’s the boss?

the republicans have a problem, and it’s more serious than the prospect of losing power in november. as much as we would like to think we have an advantage because howard dean is leading the democratic party, we can’t ignore the leadership void in our own party. who’s in charge here? the president is supposed to be running things, and providing leadership. he is doing his level best to defend himself, and to explain his policies to us. i acknowledge that effort. unfortunately, people on both sides of the aisle are losing faith in president bush. what the republicans need is a strong voice who can effectively defend our political philosophy and to explain why we have the right ideas for the country. unfortunately, tony snow’s kind of busy right now with that whole press secretary thing.

who will step up and be the leader that we need? sure we have official republican party leaders, but there’s no spark there, and there’s no big picture vision beyond keeping themselves in power. that’s what made us different from the democrats in the beginning. what was cool about the reagan years? big ideas. optimism for the future of this country. strength in the face of a communist threat. oh yeah, and those infamous tax cuts. that’s what i believe is missing today from both political parties – that expression of optimism about the future. what we have is a bunch of chicken littles running around trying to convince us that the sky is falling.

we need someone who is inspiring and positive, someone who has a bold vision of how to lead this country. we need someone who understands the problems that we face, both foreign and domestic, and who will aggressively deal with those problems. do we have an ’08 candidate who fits that description? we will find out soon enough.

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it’s up to us

in november, we will have an opportunity to vote on the direction of the iraq war. we have a chance to choose between two parties with what (i believe) are two totally different views on the prosecution of the iraq war and on the overall war on terror. while i think that it’s an unfair characterization to paint candidates such as ned lamont and democratic leaders like howard dean as closet sympathizers with al qaeda, it is important to point out that their proposals aren’t necessarily the best way to deal with iraq.

this is the point where our faith in the current course is tested. it’s a legitimate argument to point out that we are struggling in iraq right now. i’m tired of trying to defend the president on his iraq policy, because it seems to go against what we are all seeing on the evening news. i’m sure that many other republicans and especially those in congress have that same inner struggle, especially when their defense of the president may cost them their jobs.

there’s more at stake here than choosing to support the war in iraq or to oppose it. what we will be deciding in november is how aggressively we want to deal with the terrorist threat we face in this country. i can’t say this enough…karl rove didn’t invent this threat just to scare the country into voting for republicans. IT’S REAL. when we go to the polls this november, that’s the question we will have to answer. can the democrats prove that they will use any means available to them to catch the terrorists who want to kill us? whether you agree with everything bush has done, or whether you question the legality of some of those programs, there should be no doubt that he will do whatever he feels is necessary to protect us.

the future of iraq and the direction of the war on terror has now being placed into our hands. it’s up to us to decide what happens next. consider this decision carefully. choose wisely.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself” — John Stuart Mill

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rock the boat

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.

P. J. O’Rourke

that’s the problem we are currently having in washington, d.c. there isn’t a serious effort to reform the way the politicians handle our tax money, or to change the way the power structure works so that our representatives are more accountable. it’s more difficult than just blaming the party currently in power, because the system has been broken for many years, and neither side seems interested in changing the status quo. the conventional wisdom is that a congressman or senator campaigns on “reform” and “changing washington”, and then that person gets caught up in the game, and forgets all about that silly reform nonsense. the solution to this is not just to elect idealistic people who don’t have a fighting chance under this current system of getting any serious reforms passed, although we absolutely need to do that. we need to fix the system.

i wish i could take credit for the following suggestions, but i can’t. they are the proposals of former congressman and MSNBC host joe scarborough, from his book “rome wasn’t burnt in a day”. the main premise is accountability. what a novel concept. it could never work in washington d.c., unfortunately. (my comments in italics)

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this is not a test

there are some people in this country who still do not seem to understand that the war on terrorism is not just about iraq. the war on terrorism will not be over at the end of the bush 43 presidency. it will not be concluded when the last of the US troops leave iraq and afghanistan. terrorism has always existed in the world. it’s something that is more easily ignored when it doesn’t happen to people we know, or when it happens in some place we have never been. 9/11 was a tragic wake-up call that a terrorist attack could happen in the united states of america, and it brought an up close and personal introduction to a new kind of enemy — one that doesn’t follow the generally accepted rules of engagement. that’s the kind of enemy the nation of israel is facing right now.

israel has been dealing with terrorists for quite a long time, and unfortunately for them, there’s no end in sight to that struggle. the new attacks against israel are proof of that. when you have a political party whose sole purpose for existence is killing jews, like hezbollah, how is negotiation even possible? when your opposition consists of ideologues with beliefs like that, how can they be appeased? more importantly, why must they be appeased? why should israel give them what they want?

i’m not a foreign policy expert, so i can’t suggest the next move for any of the parties involved in this conflict. all i can understand is what we have learned from history. we don’t defeat terrorists by giving them what they want. we don’t defeat terrorists by giving in to fear. we defeat terrorists by killing them, and by cutting off their financing and means of communicating with each other. i don’t believe that any of us will ever see the end of the war on terrorism. we still need to do what we can to keep our country safe. i believe this.

israel understands the threat they face with terrorists, and they usually do a capable job handling that threat. what about this country? are we willing to take the necessary steps to ensure the security of the united states of america and to protect this country from foreign and domestic threats to that security? that’s the committment president bush made to us when he was sworn into office and that’s the promise he made to us after 9/11.

read the senate resolution on israel , pdf here (h/t- truthlaidbear). i don’t think i could have added anything to what they said. terrorism is not a bogus threat. it’s a real threat. the response to it needs to be a serious one, and not a collection of soundbites designed for political point scoring. decide for yourself who you think is guilty of this.

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yesterday was a great day. july 4th is worth celebrating. there’s something totally right with the way america celebrates independence day. we eat food that wouldn’t be the first choice of any legitimate medical professional, we recognize the outstanding job our military men and women have done and are doing now, and we shoot off big, noisy, pretty explosives. some of us are even lucky enough to watch some live baseball games. 🙂 what’s not to love about that? if you want to be cynical and adopt the predictable connection the left would make with the fireworks, and the explosives going off in iraq right now, go ahead. however, i believe that the left’s opposition to the way we celebrate july 4th is about more than just being against the war in iraq. it is about seeing patriotism as blind support of everything our country does and says. that’s not what patriotism means.

why is that it has suddenly become popular to oppose patriotism? is it such a crime to believe that the united states is the best country in which to live and that it is a country that gives its citizens the best opportunity for happiness and prosperity? is it so terrible to show respect to the men and women of our military, whether or not we agree with their mission? that’s what i would consider patriotism. we can have an overall positive view of the united states without whitewashing the flaws we do have as a country. there can be dissent. there’s nothing wrong with objecting to the policies of the bush administration on various subjects. many of us do. the problem is that what may have started out as honest, principled disagreement has turned into america-bashing.

here’s the difference between dissent and america-bashing. dissent says, “i disagree with this policy for reasons x, y, and z. here’s what we should do instead.” america-bashing is something that has now become chic for the elite enlightened leftists. the message generally expressed is less of a constructive criticism and it is primarily designed to make an emotional appeal to the conspiracy theorists.

here’s a good example of what i’m talking about, from our favorite pro-peace advocate, cindy sheehan.

The star-spangled banner, which I can now see whipping in the wind outside of an airport terminal where I am writing this from does not fill me with pride: it fills me with shame and that flag symbolizes sorrow and corruption to me right now. The flag represents so much lying, fixed elections, profiting by the war machine, high gas prices, spying on Americans, rapid erosion of our freedoms while BushCo literally gets away with murder, torture and extreme rendition, contaminating the world with depleted uranium, and illegal and immoral wars that are responsible for killing so many. A symbol which used to represent hope to so many around the world now fills so many with disgust.

i am probably going to catch a little flak for writing this, but I sincerely believe that there are some on the left who are rooting for america to fail in iraq. they keep bringing up vietnam as an example for how we should handle iraq. we lost in vietnam. do we really want to adopt a strategy based on a war that we lost? it’s one thing to say that we need to look at whether we have made enough progress in iraq at this point, or whether we need to re-adjust our strategy to deal with the current status on the ground. the goal should be to finish the job. the strategy should focus on the best way to do that.

you can disagree with the bush administration on iraq. you can be violently opposed to some other policy decisions he’s made. the freedom to speak out against any of these bush policies is a freedom that was bought and paid for with the lives of the united states military. that’s why we need to respect their sacrifice, regardless of our feelings about their current mission. we need to make sure they have the resources they require to finish the job in iraq. once that happens, both sides will get what they want – the troops will start coming home.

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what is more important to the democrats – winning elections or fighting over iraq? some might suggest that the war in iraq is so polarizing that the democrats can take back control of the white house, and possibly even pick up some congressional seats in the fall, BY fighting with the bush administration over iraq policy. i’m not so sure about that. being against the war in iraq is a legitimate point of view. i’m not saying it isn’t. it’s just that making this the main qualification for a candidate might not be the best strategy for the democrats.

lucky for the democrats, i’m here to help them with their strategy. no mortal human being can completely fix the fissure currently on display with the democratic party between the centrists and those who are, um…not so centrist. total unity between those two groups may not be possible. however, there are ways for the democrats to appeal to more voters, as long they start thinking more in big picture terms.

larry sabato asks several questions that democrats will have to answer when deciding the best strategy for picking a presidential candidate who could win the ’08 election. ***while it’s true that his questions have the most relevance to ’08 strategy, i believe that some of these questions also come into play when discussing potential congressional candidates. In some current mid-term races, the question of whether to throw their support behind someone like ned lamont in connecticut who opposes the iraq war, or joe lieberman who supports it and several other policies of the bush administration, is something currently being debated in democratic circles.  it’s all part of the big picture as far as i’m concerned. ***

now to the questions.

“will they…

  • … help themselves by nominating the candidate most likely to win, or will they insist on ideological purity?
  • ….choose a person with broad popular appeal, or pick a controversial standard-bearer?
  • …broaden their base, or merely attempt to produce the highest turnout possible among liberal constituency groups, a tactic that failed in 2004?
  • …find a nominee fully able to compete with a Republican on national security, or simply hope to skate by on this greatest of all issue-clusters in the current age of terrorism?

for the first question, the answer to it should be pretty obvious. you go for the candidate who can get you the most votes, and the candidate who is the most electable.

controversial standard-bearers are only useful if they force electable candidates to re-think their positions on issues, or change them to appeal to those sympathetic to that person’s views. people who admit to unpopular views aren’t usually electable. maybe there are exceptions to this, but the conventional wisdom is usually true in this area.

how many votes can you get from the aforementioned liberal constituency groups? even if a majority of the people in those groups vote, my guess is that the democrats might be a few votes short. aren’t the democrats supposed to be famous for their inclusion, “big tent” philosophy, etc? so why not prove this inclusion by letting those who are in the minority on issues like abortion and the war in iraq have equal access to their party? broaden the base.

national security is important post 9/11. the voters want to know that their candidate’s party has a credible plan for national security. this plan should be more specific than “we won’t do what bush is doing”. it should include not only an alternative to iraq policy, but also a strategy to deal with securing our country’s borders. border security and tougher enforcement of current immigration law is essential as part of an overall national security plan.

i think the voters are smart enough to know when a candidate is pretending to be something he or she is not. so i think the democrats should say what they believe, and be willing to make the argument for why they believe it. if your position is defensible, defend it. it’s not about how awful, terrible, and horrible you think bush is. it’s about why voters should elect you. sell yourself.

my last bit of advice may be more cosmetic than any of the others, but this is something i don’t usually see from the modern democratic party. the spice girls called it “positivity”. be positive. america’s a great country. we have problems. there are inequalities in our society. nothing is ever perfect. we still should have hope and optimism that, in spite of everything going on in the world today, america’s best days are still ahead. i believe that. i would love to hear something like this from the democrats. that’s how reagan inspired the people of this country.

so those are my suggestions for the democrats. i just hope this is one of the days the dnc doesn’t come to visit this blog. i also hope, as always, that they will not take my suggestions seriously.

what she meant to say

if you were looking for a diplomat, she wouldn’t be the first person on your list. if miss manners was out sick one day, you woudn’t ask this woman to ghostwrite her column. she is often abrasive and doesn’t really care too much about the feelings of her critics on the right and on the left. she gets paid handsomely for saying and writing outrageous things. that doesn’t mean ann coulter can’t possibly be right.

i totally disagree with the way ann coulter has framed this question of whether a victim should be immune from criticism just because of their status as victims. i certainly wouldn’t say exactly what she said about the jersey girls. i think it’s a low blow to say those kinds of things about anyone who has suffered a loss like those women have. i’ve never been in their shoes, and i can’t identify with their loss. that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have the right to criticize what they say and what they do just because they lost their husbands on 9/11.

being a victim doesn’t make you immune from criticism. this means you, cindy sheehan and michael berg. we can feel sorry for their losses, but this doesn’t automatically make them experts on foreign policy. it also doesn’t give their statements and arguments any more weight than they would have otherwise.

that’s what i think coulter was trying to say, and if that’s what she meant, then i agree with her.

shiny happy positive post

politics is depressing. partisanship is tiring. that’s why it’s so necessary to put all these bad things americans may be dealing with in perspective.

for example:

Anyway, my point, whether I can come up with an appropriate intro or not, is that, even though it seems like we have no heroes in politics right now, America is still full of heroes and things worth fighting for. We have the liberty earned by our forefathers, our innovation, our spirit, our awesome economy, and our general kick-assery – and that should be more than enough to get anyone out of bed and glad to be alive each morning. As bad as things may get in Washington and on the world stage, there’s always a supermarket nearby with at least eight different types of Oreo cookies to choose from – and this week they’re buy one get one free!

frank j at imao (read the whole post here)

exactly right. it’s all about the oreos. even if you don’t like oreos, the message is the same. there are reasons for us to be happy. there are positive events in all of our lives that we can be thankful for(maybe even today). we can all passionately disagree with each other on politics, and yet still agree that america is a great country. this is true not because of its politicians, but because of its people.

so do yourselves a favor. turn off the news. spend some time with the family, and with your friends. go outside into the sunshine (where it’s available), and enjoy the day as much as you can. after all, there’s more to life than stressing over the mid-term elections.

this is not good

from nro:

The Senate continues to fiddle with the Hagel-Martinez amnesty bill in an effort to make it less odious to supporters of serious immigration enforcement. But one vote in particular has exposed the real priorities of the bipartisan pro-amnesty majority. On Tuesday, 55 senators (including 18 Republicans) voted against an amendment by Senator Isakson of Georgia to delay the start of any legalization program until the border-security measures in the bill “have been fully completed and are fully operational.”

This explicit rejection of Enforcement First removes all doubt: The bill is nothing but a rerun of the 1986 immigration fiasco, which featured amnesty for nearly 3 million illegals in exchange for the hollow promise of future enforcement. The other adjustments the Senate made to the bill donÂ’t change this—not the 370 miles of additional fencing, not the ban on felons’ getting amnesty, not even the scaling back of the guest-worker plan so that “only” 60-some million people would move here over the next two decades instead of the 103 million originally estimated by the Heritage Foundation. Without a requirement that the borders be secured before proceeding with amnesty, there is no justification for supporting this legislation.

the white house can dispute the numbers heritage came up with (and has), but the overall point remains the same: border security must come before any discussion of guest worker programs. what’s so hard to understand about this?

maybe conservatives would be able to trust president bush on this guest-worker provision if we were sure that he was just as committed to securing our borders. there’s not much evidence to suggest that committment exists. sending national guard troops to the border may be a quick fix, but we need to do more than that. it would also help to enforce existing laws, and to tear down bureaucratic roadblocks to border patrol agents who are just trying to do their jobs.


Barrier of suspicion now separates Bush from GOP base–chicago sun-times
Why Enforcing Our Immigration Laws Will Largely Be Irrelevant If The Senate Gets Their Way–RWN

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you’ve got your reasons
none of them are mine
if that’s the way you want it
go ahead that’s fine

i’ll just get on out of here
i won’t get in your way
if in time it takes you under
well..that’s just the price you pay

but don’t ask me how i feel

–swirling eddies, “don’t ask me how i feel”

i have no words for this immigration speech by president bush. fortunately, many other bloggers are ready to fill that void.

michelle malkin weighs in.

california conservative has some helpful suggestions here and here.

the uncooperative blogger has more posts on illegal immigration. he hosts the coalition against illegal immigration. go to his site for more info and/or to join the cause.

sarahk at imao is unimpressed.
wonkette hosts the unofficial liveblog drinking game during the speech, as per usual.

something to think about:

If there is an honest debate about how many million people will be given a chance to come to America under the Senate bill, weÂ’re told the number is between 30 million and 36 million people. When the average American learns that, they are going to be furious if the Senate Republicans allow that kind of bill out of the Senate. The Senate bill expands substantially who can be brought in as a member of the family. So you take 11 million and add the other people, and we believe the real number is between 30 million and 36 million.

–newt gingrich (h/t RWN)

good luck tony snow. you’re going to have a tough time defending this dog of an immigration policy.

tags: illegal immigration, george w. bush

related stuff i wrote:

simply outrageous
illegals and the rest of us