rnc: the end and the beginning

There were three major storylines at the RNC today that had nothing to do with Sarah Palin.  The first was the ceremonial end of the Bush era.  The second was Fred’s red meat speech and his stirring account of McCain’s military service.  The third — Joe Lieberman incinerating those bridges between himself and the Democrats once and for all with his direct attacks on Barack Obama.

The Republicans need to do more to emphasize the differences between Bush and McCain, but they need to do this without completely abandoning Dubya.  There are those in the party who still love the guy, and we need all the votes we can get to defeat Barack Obama.  That’s why the President had to speak at the RNC, no matter how brief the speech would have to be.  I’m not sure that the President did much to advance McCain’s candidacy, but it was nice to give him one last hurrah in front of an appreciative crowd. We also saw a video tribute to Bush Sr. It was fitting that they gave all the Bushes their due at the last convention they will have with a Bush in the White House.  (Unless Jeb surprises us all someday…)

Fred Thompson’s speeches will never approach the eloquence of Senator Obama’s, but he was on fire tonight.

Here’s some of what he said about McCain:

Now, being a POW certainly doesn’t qualify anyone to be President. But it does reveal character. This is the kind of character that civilizations from the beginning of history have sought in their leaders. Strength. Courage. Humility. Wisdom. Duty. Honor. It’s pretty clear there are two questions we will never have to ask ourselves, ‘Who is this man?’ and ‘Can we trust this man with the Presidency?’ He has been to Iraq eight times since 2003. He went seeking truth, not publicity. When he travels abroad, he prefers quietly speaking to the troops amidst the heat and hardship of their daily lives. And the same character that marked John McCain’s military career has also marked his political career. This man, John McCain is not intimidated by what the polls say or by what is politically safe or popular. At a point when the war in Iraq was going badly and the public lost confidence, John stood up and called for more troops. And now we are winning. Ronald Reagan was John McCain’s hero. And President Reagan admired John tremendously. But when the President proposed putting U.S. troops in Beirut, John McCain, a freshman Congressman, stood up and cast a vote against his hero because he thought the deployment was a mistake. My friends … that is character you can believe in.

Zing.  Character matters, at least it does for Republicans.  That’s the main question we have been asking about Barack Obama from the beginning — who is this guy and can we trust him with the Presidency?  Love or hate John McCain — you know where he stands.

Continue reading


Maybe I’m missing something here, but I don’t see the bellicose calls for World War III and / or the use of military force against Russia — that the left is claiming — from anyone who has the authority to execute such a plan.  The Bush administration isn’t offering the use of our military to do any fighting, and even if it were, does anyone expect that the Democratic Congress led by Pelosi and Reid would approve any sort of military action against Russia?  I doubt it.  This is a tough situation for the current administration, and Russia will continue to defy the international community whether they have to deal with a President Obama or a President McCain.

What can we do to punish Russia for their invasion of a sovereign country?  There’s always international sanctions, a strongly worded letter from the UN, and getting them kicked out of the G-8.  Something must be done to show Russia that there are consequences to their actions.   I wouldn’t presume to know what the best way to deal with this situation is, but I don’t think that President Bush intends to take military action against Russia.  I’m not sure there is a way to contain Russia by diplomatic means, but we don’t have any other options.  The challenge we have is how to be a strong ally of Georgia and other allied countries in that region without taking steps toward war with Russia.

Sending humanitarian aid to Georgia is a good idea and we should be supporting them in that way.  But there has to be more we can do to show support for countries like Georgia who have been good and loyal friends to the United States of America.  We will be more likely to get international support for fighting global terrorism and the threat of radical lslam if we show that we can be trusted to defend our allies when it is required of us to do so.  The trick is attempted containment of countries like Russia and Iran without the threat of military force.  History tells us that this is impossible, but if the UN imposed enforceable sanctions with some real bite to them, it might delay any future aggression by Russia for a few years.  That would be a good place to start, but I don’t expect the UN to do this, because accountability for rogue actors is beyond their limited authority and ability.

are they serious?

Non-“right wing crazies” also question the Democrats’ (and specifically Obama’s) patriotism.

Like Joe Klein, for example.

This is a chronic disease among Democrats, who tend to talk more about what’s wrong with America than what’s right. When Ronald Reagan touted “Morning in America” in the 1980s, Dick Gephardt famously countered that it was near midnight “and getting darker all the time.” This is ironic and weirdly self-defeating, since the liberal message of national improvement is profoundly more optimistic, and patriotic, than the innate conservative pessimism about the perfectibility of human nature. Obama’s hopemongering is about as American as a message can get — although, in the end, it is mostly about our ability to transcend our imperfections rather than the effortless brilliance of our diversity, informality and freedom-propelled creativity.

That’s what the right is questioning about the Democrats and about Obama. It’s not that he doesn’t wear a flag pin. I could care less whether Democrats or Republicans wear flag pins. The attitude and mindset of a potential President is what’s important here. I want someone who, while admitting the challenges and struggles we face as a country, will also acknowledge the possibility that we can overcome those challenges. I’ve said on several occasions that it’s customary to have the party out of power tell the voters how terrible everything is to win elections, and that both sides do this. However, the Democrats seem to have perfected this particular argument, and it’s often hard for them to admit that the country isn’t doomed, because this ruins all of their stump speeches.

It also damages their push for national health care, pulling out of Iraq — forget for a minute that both Hillary and Obama have flip-flopped on their commitment to immediate withdrawal from Iraq — and all of their other grand social experiments and new government spending. This aversion to Bush has really tied the Dems in knots to the point where they can never give him credit for anything, even when it’s obvious they agree with what he does. According to the Democrats, Bush has ruined this great country, and all the bad things happening to you in your life are indirectly caused by your President. This period of misery will continue under President McCain, because “he’s just like Bush”. McCain will also ruin your life, so the only choice you have is to vote Democratic. That’s their whole argument. McCain = Bush.

At some point, the Democrats will have to make the case for their nominee, and it has to be more than “We’re not like Bush!”. President Bush isn’t running again, and running against him won’t work this time.

george bush hates children of all ages

That must be the reason that he wants parents who can easily afford it to pay for their kids’ health care without government assistance. That must be the reason why he wants to restrict the program only to children. (Some states even cover adults under SCHIP, and that’s why we need so much more money than Bush wants to allocate to it.) Kanye West helpfully explained to us that Dubya hates black people. It’s certainly not a stretch from that perspective to also believe he hates children as well. He probably kicks cute puppies and kitties, and plans new ways to torment Americans in his spare time. This makes sense in liberal-progressive world. I mean, if it were up to George W. Bush, no one would have government health care — and by no one I mean people who can afford to pay for their own health care.

President Bush wants to expand SCHIP by 5 billion dollars. That’s “billion” with a B. If you can’t cover all the poor children with an extra 5 billion dollars, then your wonderful government program needs a serious overhaul. I’m not at all suggesting that every dime spent on SCHIP is spent wisely. You can’t make that claim of any government program. But if we want to keep costs in check, we can’t expand SCHIP to cover middle-income families and adults, because that was never its purpose.

Where was this guy’s veto pen on all of the less popular, less PC and utterly wasteful government spending before October? Just askin’.

Tags: ,

stand by your man (part 1)

Let me preface this by saying that there are many areas where conservatives believe that President Bush has disappointed them. The debate over McCain-Kennedy comprehensive “immigration reform” is the most recent example of this perceived apostasy, and it’s a great example of how tone-deaf the administration has become lately. We are also annoyed with the massive increases in federal spending that the President allowed to pass his desk. To some conservatives, there is a long list of Dubya’s sins, real and imagined, and they are ready to move on from this President. Our reasons are different than those of the Democrats. While acknowledging that he should be given all of the credit for his SCOTUS picks and some of the credit for our strong economy, we still find him lacking in other areas. Some of the criticism is unfair in this way: He never ran as a fiscal conservative. He was always supportive of making it easier for illegal immigrants to come here. We voted for the President, not because of these things, but because of Iraq and because we wanted conservative judges on the Supreme Court.

Bill Kristol believes that President Bush will be judged as a successful president. His argument almost convinces me, but even though I know that there have been some successes with the surge strategy, I’m just not buying his optimism on Iraq. He says that in order for a war president to be judged a success, the war has to be won. Many of us are discouraged with Iraq. Maybe we are buying in too deeply to what the MSM is selling. Maybe we are just being realistic about the obstacles the administration is facing in continuing the surge and trying to improve the conditions on the ground in Iraq. In either case, it’s an uphill battle to keep the Republicans from defecting to the Democratic side on the war, and it’s a continuing struggle to keep the impatience of the American people with the progress of this war from forcing those defections from those standing for re-election next time. I’m not rooting against the President. I want him to succeed, not because it validates me, or neocons, or because he would have a better legacy. I want Iraq to succeed because that would mean the terrorists and insurgents have failed there.

Maybe we are asking for too much in our presidents and in our presidential candidates. After all, none of the Republican presidential candidates currently in the field are as committed to reducing the size of the federal government as the average conservative is. They don’t have any new ideas on Iraq, Iran, or North Korea, and they would not implement anything different from what Bush has done so far. On the other hand, Romney, Giuliani, and Fred are all better communicators than President Bush. Romney is probably the weakest of the three because of his tendency to sound wonkish when discussing anything. All I’m saying is that if conservatives intend to vote for a Republican for President in ’08 (rather than sitting the election out and giving the election to Hillary by default), that means that we will have to settle for someone who doesn’t fit everything we want. And that includes FRED.

i agree

Rich Lowry on the immigration deal:

It might be the fate of President Bush to be remembered as the emblem of an Age of Cynicism, when — despite many encouraging economic and social indicators — we experienced a deep public funk, driven by the feeling that government couldn’t be trusted to do anything, at least not well.

This is the spirit that more than anything else brought down (for now) the Senate’s Grand Compromise on immigration. It wasn’t Bush’s declining clout or raging xenophobia so much as the collective grassroots reply to the White House’s detailed explications of the enforcement provisions in the bill: “We simply don’t believe you.”

His administration had made no appreciable attempt to enforce immigration laws until recently. A government can’t ignore its own laws without creating deep suspicions about its motives. Then there was the question of capability. At the same time the administration was maintaining it could process at least 12 million illegal immigrants into a complex path to citizenship, it couldn’t even manage to issue passports in a timely manner when new regulations passed in 2004 came into effect.

It’s just that simple — if we are not enforcing current laws, why should we believe that any new laws would be enforced? There were some tough measures in the immigration bill that we could point to and admit that they were a step in the right direction. But words without action mean nothing. That’s what we are seeing from the Senate and the White House. They say that we are all wrong and that all these triggers will ensure that nobody gets amnesty (whatever the current definition of that word is). I don’t really see how that Z-visa amounts to anything else, when it can be renewed indefinitely.

Let’s assume for a minute that they were serious about enforcing the new laws. Even with the 10-12 million illegals already here, we don’t have the resources to do anything about those people. Yet we want to dump millions more on another overworked and overstretched bureaucracy. This makes absolutely no sense to me. We don’t have to deport them all, but we have to start somewhere. The madness must stop, and Congress can begin winning our trust back by sending up an enforcement-only bill first. Otherwise, we will remain skeptical of the need for the kind of comprehensive immigration reform the President and his Senate accomplices want to sell us.

memorial day

President Bush at Arlington National Cemetery:

…The greatest memorial to our fallen troops cannot be found in the words we say or the places we gather. The more lasting tribute is all around us — a country where citizens have the right to worship as they want, to march for what they believe, and to say what they think. These freedoms came at great costs — and they will survive only as long as there are those willing to step forward to defend them against determined enemies.

As before in our history, Americans find ourselves under attack and underestimated. Our enemies long for our retreat. They question our moral purpose. They doubt our strength of will. Yet even after five years of war, our finest citizens continue to answer our enemies with courage and confidence. Hundreds of thousands of patriots still raise their hands to serve their country; tens of thousands who have seen war on the battlefield volunteer to re-enlist. What an amazing country to produce such fine citizens.

read more here.


smackdown: the carter vs. bush edition

If I had former President Jimmy Carter’s dubious record of achievement, I would be more careful about calling another President’s administration the “worst in history”. Someone might actually call him on it, like Deputy WH Press Secretary Tony Fratto, who said, ” I think it’s sad that President Carter’s reckless personal criticism is out there…I think it’s unfortunate. And I think he is proving to be increasingly irrelevant with these kinds of comments.” Indeed. He’s entitled to his opinion, but to suggest that Carter would have had more of a clue on foreign policy (especially Iraq) is to totally ignore his history. He might not want to give us an opportunity to look at it again. I’m just sayin’.

Tags: ,


The firing of eight US attorneys was handled badly – the left and right can both agree on this. That said, Bush and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had the right to fire them. There are a few cases where you could make the argument that it was politically motivated. After reading piles and piles of information on this case, I’m still not sure who’s right – whether these US attorneys deserved to lose their jobs or whether they didn’t. This is still a lose-lose for the administration. If these were perfectly competent attorneys, then no matter what kind of spin you put on it, there’s definitely a discrepancy between what the AG and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty have said on this matter. Somebody lied, or under the most charitable interpretation, one of the two was misinformed. Either way, it doesn’t make the administration look all that good.

In a Salon article written by Mark Folman, it’s alleged that the firings were politically motivated. It’s interesting to me that the salon article doesn’t put any names to the allegations that the firings were politically motivated except for David Iglesias (one of the former US attorneys who has spoken out), only referencing “senior Justice Department officials” and so forth. If the allegations came from someone other than McNulty, that’s one thing. But if McNulty has already claimed this, then wouldn’t the anonymity be blown already with his public statements? The only conclusion we can draw from this is that there are others who are not willing to go on the record with their claims. That’s certainly understandable. However, I have a harder time believing unnamed random sources whose stories cannot be verified. The article in Salon also points out that federal appointments are never apolitical. So what exactly is the problem again? It’s not that Gonzales fired the attorneys, it’s that all parties involved in the decision gave different reasons for why these US attorney lost their jobs.

Given that information, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that there might be some kind of cover-up or scandal here. That’s not the case. Both sides don’t trust each other. Congress doesn’t trust the administration to give them the straight story on anything. The Bush administration, likewise, doesn’t trust the Democratic-controlled Congress. There are good reasons for this distrust, especially from the Bush administration. The Democrats, easily distracted from their mission of making America more dependent on government charity and bravely ordering the retreat from Iraq as well as wiping out poverty, have gotten bored with the actual policy-making their job requires, and have decided to investigate the heck out of anyone remotely associated with the President of the United States. Because, ya know…they might eventually find something.

It’s never the seriousness of the offense, but rather the seriousness of the charge. That’s all that matters to the Democrats. Karl Rove must have done something wrong…darned if we know what it is. They couldn’t pin any of the Libby stuff on him, but that’s only because he is such an evil genius and gets away with everything. If he had done even half of what he’s accused of doing, he would be very scary indeed.

I am opposed to fishing expeditions. They were wrong in the past and they are wrong now. That’s a good reason, I think, for the President’s hesitation on allowing Karl Rove to give testimony to Congress. There have been no limits set on what they can ask him, and what’s to prevent Democrats from asking him questions, not only about attorney-gate but about the Scooter Libby trial? These Dems won’t rest until they get a scalp from this administration. Like I said before, I don’t blame Bush for not wanting to offer up Karl Rove to the wolves under those circumstances.

On the other hand, there are legitimate questions about how this whole thing was handled, and Congress deserves answers about that. So if Congress wishes to ask questions about this matter, I don’t see the problem. Talk to the AG. Talk to the Deputy AG. Talk to the folks actually involved in the hiring/ firing decisions at Justice. Somebody needs to be accountable for this, but I’m not sure the bulk of the blame rests with Karl Rove. However, if I were the President, I would have to ask that the inquiry be limited to this particular subject. Frankly, there’s no way this happens if the Dems get Karl Rove under oath.

The Democrats don’t have a legitimate reason to impeach Bush or Cheney. They also don’t have much of a case against Karl Rove, even though they may think that they do. There is more of a reason to question Alberto Gonzales, and I think it’s only right that he answer those questions. But as abhorrent as the idea may be to call for the resignation of Alberto Gonzales, I think it’s the right thing to do. There is more than one reason why he was never the right guy to be Attorney General, and this incident only serves to illustrate why many Republicans had reservations about him from the beginning. Of course this means the Democrats get their victory, but keeping Alberto Gonzales on as Attorney General at this point will do more harm than good for the administration.

SOTU: is anyone still listening?

i liked much of what president bush had to say last night. unfortunately for him, i think that many americans have decided that nothing the president could say would change their minds about him and about his iraq policy.  so they are tuning out everything he says, no matter what the subject is. the president’s state of the union address was about more than just iraq.  here’s one subject where the president and i disagree:

on illegal immigration(he still doesn’t get it):

Extending hope and opportunity in our country requires an immigration system worthy of America — with laws that are fair and borders that are secure. When laws and borders are routinely violated, this harms the interests of our country. To secure our border, we are doubling the size of the Border Patrol — and funding new infrastructure and technology.

pardon my skepticism…but there’s no guarantee that the infrastructure will ever be built, including that border fence. it’s nice that we are going to have more border patrol agents, but how about supporting the ones who are already there trying to do their jobs?  republican rep. tom tancredo of colorado(another possible presidential candidate) is also skeptical: “I am disappointed but not surprised that the president has once again chosen to trot out this same old pig, albeit one with a slightly new shade of lipstick.”  what he said.

Yet even with all these steps, we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border — and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won’t have to try to sneak in — and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers, and criminals, and terrorists.

We will enforce our immigration laws at the work site, and give employers the tools to verify the legal status of their workers — so there is no excuse left for violating the law. We need to uphold the great tradition of the melting pot that welcomes and assimilates new arrivals. And we need to resolve the status of the illegal immigrants who are already in our country — without animosity and without amnesty.

Convictions run deep in this Capitol when it comes to immigration. Let us have a serious, civil, and conclusive debate — so that you can pass, and I can sign, comprehensive immigration reform into law.

like i’ve said previously, the president will now have the ability to pass the kind of comprehensive immigration reform that he’s always wanted, thanks to his new friends the democrats. 

it was a fairly ambitious speech, with new proposals on health care, setting new targets for emissions standards, and decreasing gasoline consumption by 20% in the next ten years. maybe senator mccain was on to something when he embraced david cameron’s tories as ideological twins with the current republican regime. i sure don’t see that much difference between cameron’s views on climate change and the president’s new-found belief in global warming. the tories aren’t looking much like maggie’s tories these days, and the party of reagan has now become the party of compromise, navigating by polls rather than by the strong convictions and principles held by its non-congressional members.

tags: ,