Get Your Blog Up

“This administration is populated by people who’ve spent their careers bashing government. They’re not just small-government conservatives—they’re Grover Norquist, strangle-it-in-the-bathtub conservatives. It’s a cognitive disconnect for them to be able to do something well in an arena that they have so derided and reviled all these years.”

Senator Hillary Clinton

Friday, November 17, 2006


I haven't had a chance to watch the TV News lately, but I'm pretty sure that while Democrats are proclaiming that this is a new era of bipartisanship and how they want to work together with Republicans, the media is letting slide the words of new Minority Whip Roy Blunt:
Under this Republican leadership, the job of the Minority Whip will no longer be to go to the House floor every day and lose. Instead, each time we hold our team together and force the Democrats to vote like Democrats, we'll be taking one more step toward recapturing our majority in 2008.

In other words, "Screw the country that elects us, we've got to get back in power!"

By the way, Democrats have proposed some pretty popular ideas this election, so I can only imagine this as a recipe for failure on Blunt's part. But again, that statement proves that Blunt's not really concerned about the country's needs, just his parties mad drive for power once again.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The more things change

President Bush ,December 12, 2002:
Recent comments -- recent comments by Senator Lott do not reflect the spirit of our country. (Applause.) He has apologized, and rightly so. Every day our nation was segregated was a day that America was unfaithful to our founding ideals. (Applause.) And the founding ideals of our nation and, in fact, the founding ideals of the political party I represent was, and remains today, the equal dignity and equal rights of every American. (Applause.)

And so the -- and this is the principle that guides my administration. We will not, and we must not, rest until every person of every race believes in the promise of America because they see it in their own eyes, with their own eyes, and they live it and feel it in their own lives.

The question now, in light of Senator Lott's election to Minority Whip in the Senate, is if those comments reflect the spirit of the country now? Or if this is the way that conservatives intend to get back to their base?

I'm sure that Trent Lott will be an effective Whip for the Republican party, and maybe those that elected him looked at that factor alone before choosing him. But political parties need to remember that their actions reflect both the party the represent and the country in general. And we now live in a country where a man who made the claim that if we had elected a strict segregationist to the White House years ago, we wouldn't have the problems we have today is once again climbing the ranks of power in one of the major political parties.

Trent Lott not only uttered those words, but also has a history that reflects questionable judgments about race in America. And 25 Republican Senators have signed off on those views as ones they would like to see reflected in party leadership.

Amnesty for Reagan

John Hawkins, on what the GOP needs:
Then there's the albatross around the Republican Party's neck, the guy in the White House, who has rushed out to assure everyone that he intends to continue to try to push his amnesty plan that's wildly unpopular with the base.


Obviously, what the American people want to see from the GOP is same principled conservatism that led to landslides for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984...

Would that be the same style conservatism that led to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants in 1986?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Stopping the violence

NY Times:
Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

"The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this," General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. "Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence."

Point taken. But have U.S. forces been able to stop the sectarian violence either?

Quote Unquote

Speaking on soon to be Speaker Pelosi's endorsement of Jack Murtha for majority leader of the House:
"Everywhere you go on Capitol Hill today, this is the topic of conversation," said Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Atwater), who supports Hoyer. "It would have been easier for some of us not to have to exercise our independence quite so early."

Murtha vs Hoyer

I'm one of those "corruption won Democrats the majority" people, so it's obivously important to me that Democrats take cleaning up Congress seriously. It's also why I've been dispapointed with the matchup of Jack Murtha v. Steney Hoyer for Majority Leader. The Plank seems to have every negative story about Jack Murtha, while this piece from the Washington Monthly doesn't put me wholy in Hoyer's camp, either. All along, I've just been waiting for someone to say this:
"Wait until you see the ethics package we support and we pass," he said. "No meals, no trips, nothing. I support it 100 percent."

So there you have it, Washington insiders. You can all exhale as I tentitavely endorse Murtha for Majority Leader.

But you better follow through.

Perhaps the worst thing about this battle is the rise of stories discussing how ethically challenged Jack Murtha is, combined with Nancy's "Culture of Corruption" Pelosi's endorsement of him. I'm not exactly stir at the begining of the draining of the swamp era that's supposed to come.

As if I need another reason, presenting the problems with Pelosi's seeming edorsement of Alcee Hastings for House Select Committee on Intelligence over Jane Harman.

I can only hope that the Democrats are so effective at cleaning out corruption that these battle quickly drop into things of the past. I can only hope.

More from Kristol and Kagan

There is a popular theory these days that the pressure of an American withdrawal will force Iraqis to reach some kind of accommodation with one another. This would be more plausible had it not already been disproved by three years of painful experience. The United States has been promising to withdraw from Iraq since the beginning of the war, and the only result has been to drive Iraqis closer and closer to sectarian conflict.

I think Kristol/Kagan are confusing the carrot with the stick here. For the last three years, the talk about leaving Iraq has been more on their terms than ours. Once security is achieved, then troop withdraw will begun. So if I'm an Iraqi and don't really want to take responsibility for my country and my new found freedoms, I don't have to - American troops will remain to take care of it for me.

Now, the incentive has changed. Withdrawing troops is not an if/then statement, but now a reality. We tell the Iraqis we are leaving not based on anything other than the fact that we will do it. And there is no more cover of American troops for those Iraqis who want peace and freedom but do not want to fight for it. They must step up as we step down, and not the other way around. And if we see they are serious about fighting for their country, our troops are nearby, and if they must return, they can.

Kristol and Kagan:
If we wanted to try something truly novel, we would tell Iraqis that the United States did not intend to withdraw until the insurgency was defeated and the sectarian militias were disarmed.

Much like the war on drugs, the war on crime, the war on poverty, and the war on the so-called liberal media, there will never be an end. The insurgency will not be defeated simply through brute force. If that were a possibility, then we would not see Al Qaeda in Iraq "more dangerous than ever" after three years of our presence there. I'm not sure why this is so hard to comprehend.

But, I'm afraid, they do get this part correct:
There is no getting around the fact that under present conditions, an American military withdrawal, even if undertaken gradually, will bring about the rapid collapse of Iraq.

The caveat is, this statement seems true well into the future. Even if Kristol's and Kagan's magical troops appear, I'm doubtful they will be able to much toward the end of a peaceful, stable Iraq. There are too many forces at work in the country who are not looking for peace and stability. And until those forces see a benefit from those goals, they will continue to fight the forces that are working for them.

More troops redux

I finally found what I was looking for:
In "Reinforce Baghdad" [op-ed, Sept. 12], William Kristol and Rich Lowry argue that the United States needs to deploy "substantially" more troops to Iraq to stabilize the country. Aside from the strategic dubiousness of their proposal -- Kristol and Lowry's piece might alternatively have been titled "Reinforcing Failure" -- there is a practical obstacle to it that they overlook: Sending more troops to Iraq would, at the moment, threaten to break our nation's all-volunteer Army and undermine our national security. This is not a risk our country can afford to take.

In their search for additional troops and equipment for Iraq, the first place that Kristol and Lowry would have to look is the active Army. But even at existing deployment levels, the signs of strain on the active Army are evident. In July an official report revealed that two-thirds of the active U.S. Army was classified as "not ready for combat." When one combines this news with the fact that roughly one-third of the active Army is deployed (and thus presumably ready for combat), the math is simple but the answer alarming: The active Army has close to zero combat-ready brigades in reserve.

To which Robert Kagan & William Kristol reply today:
Those who claim that it is impossible to send 50,000 more troops to Iraq, because the troops don't exist, are wrong. The troops do exist.

Oh. That clears it up. Thanks guys.

I'm curious (as everyone else is, no doubt) to see how the Baker/Hamilton commission will answer these claims that more troops that don't exist outside of Robert Kagan's and William Kristol's minds would impact the current conflict in Iraq. And if there is a hint of a suggestion that it might work, Democrats should investigate it further, to the point that it's realized that the troops aren't there and that 50,000 wishes aren't going to make them appear or make America stronger.

It's the only way to put an end to this discussion.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Send in more troops!

Over the weekend, John McCain (R-AZ) reaffirmed his conviction that Iraq can be won if we only send in more troops.

So I say let's do it.

Democrats should look into this position closely for a number of reasons. First off, if he's right, then Democrats look smart for hopping on board. I realize that Democrats ran mostly on a platform of finding a way out of the quagmire in Iraq, but if boosting troop levels is the way to get us out with some level of whatever-you-call-victory, then Democrats look serious in the war on terror and that particular strawman blows away in the wind. But this, in all probability, will not be the outcome.

By subjecting the McCain plan to extra scrutiny, it shows how unserious the proposal actually is. As General Barry McCaffery pointed out this evening on MSNBC, we simply do not have the resources or the troops to enact it. We would have to come up with a whole new group of recruits in a time when the armed forces already must lower standards to meet their goals. Plus, we'd have to train said troops and ship them overseas, all the while hoping that Iraq doesn't further devolve into a civil war.

The McCain plan for Iraq is political posturing at it's finest. And exposing it as such would weaken McCain's future while showing Democrats are bipartisan and willing to look at other solutions for Iraq.

Martinez for RNC

Here's a quick trip down memory lane with the soon to be new head of the RNC.

He's responsible for the famous "Terri Schavio memo" that lead many to believe that Republicans had overreached and were willing to turn a private family matter into a political issue for their own gain. You could even argue this was the beginning of the end for Republicans in 2006.

Martinez, however, claimed no knowledge of what his aids were doing, and it wasn't the first time he's used that defense. An interesting choice for leader of the RNC.

Perhaps these stories shed light on things a little more clearly. Martinez was tied up in fundraising scandals involving a local engineering firm, refusing to return $250,000 that was raised with the help of Jack Abramoff (about halfway down), and my personal favorite:
"Katrina Reconstruction Summit," hosted by Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) and sponsored by Halliburton, among others, brought some 200 lobbyists, corporate representatives and government staffers to a room overlooking the Capitol for a five-hour conference that included time for a "networking break" and advice on "opportunities for private sector involvement."

Turning the destruction of New Orleans into financial opportunities for donors and lobbyists. Martinez should fit right in.