Saturday, July 31, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia: Epilogue

Friday morning President Bush wasted no time returning fire in Springfield, Missouri, taking on "the senator from Massachusetts" for his evasions, double-mindedness, lack of results, and wanting to return America to the failed policies of the past.

"This week, members of the other party gathered in Boston. We heard a lot of clever speeches and some big promises," Bush said. "My opponent has good intentions, but intentions do not always translate to results."

Kerry, after nineteen years in U.S. Senate, "has had thousands of votes but very few signature achievements."

Bush noted that Kerry had voted to cut the intelligence budget and had no record of reforming America's intelligence-gathering capability. Nor does he have a "significant record" on education or health care reform.

"He spent nearly twenty years in the federal government, and it appears he's concluded that it's just not big enough. He's proposed more than $2 trillion of additional federal spending, and he's just getting started. The problem is, he hasn't told us how he's going to pay for it. We can figure it out, can't we?" he smiled sharkily.

But the biggest crowd pop the President triggered was when he declared, "Prewar intelligence indicated that Saddam Hussein was a threat; the U.S. Congress - including my opponent - looked at the intelligence, and they saw a threat; and even the United Nations saw a threat. When Saddam Hussein continued to deceive weapons inspectors, I had a decision to make - to hope for the best and to trust the word of a madman and a tyrant - or remember the lessons of September 11 and defend our country.

"Given a choice, I will defend America every time."

The crowd went bananas.

And I now know all I need to know.

And so, apparently, do quite a few others.

Washington Post:

In the end, Mr. Kerry will be judged not in a vacuum but against the record compiled by Mr. Bush. But he will be judged in part on how he chose to present himself last night, and on that score, while he may have been politically effective, he fell short of demonstrating the kind of leadership the nation needs.

USA Today:

[W]hile many of those interviewed this week just four miles from the FleetCenter expressed animosity toward Bush, most were not ready to embrace Kerry. That leaves the hometown senator facing a basic question: If he hasn't closed the deal with swing voters less than a 15-minute cab ride away, what are his prospects in Michigan, Ohio, and other key states where voters know less about him?

And yes, even the hometown Boston Globe is making, well, "pre-emptive" excuses for a Kerry defeat:

After all that buildup, Kerry's own speech needed to be a home run. His words certainly struck just the right tone of strength, optimism, and regret about Bush's failures. But the written text was so long that Kerry had to race through dozens of applause lines in order to finish by 11 p.m., when he knew the networks would tune out. So a potentially great speech came across as merely a very good one. Kerry had four months to prepare for this moment, but as late as mid-afternoon yesterday, he and his aides were still tinkering with his text. If this process is the metaphor for the campaign - too many hands on the tiller - Lieutenant Kerry needs to seize the wheel and fast, or Bush's superior discipline will trump Kerry's superior intellect and case.

I’ve thought that the Dem ticket would get approximately the same sized bounce from Boston that it did with the Edwards veep pick – roughly mid-single digits. And maybe that will still be the case. But my instincts tell me that whatever bounce they get will be their high water mark. And with their campaign essentially shut down for over a month, this race is Bush’s for the taking if he’ll muster the boldness and vision to seize it.

And that appears to be precisely what the Bushies have in mind. They've already produced ads contrasting Kerry's past dovishness - voting against weapons systems, supporting cuts in military and intelligence spending, opposing aid to freedom fighters - with what he says now. Another TV spot highlights Kerry's changing position on the $87 billion appropriation to fund the troops in Iraq. Still another drills Kerry so effectively, a Bush aide says, "it's painful to watch." Combine that with a second-term domestic agenda centered upon the theme of "ownership" - of one's health care and Social Security retirement - contrasted with Kerry's impenetrable hash of statism and tax increases, and ol' Thurston won't know what has hit him.

Presumably. The Bush campaign long ago chose to adopt a strategy of holding their fire until voters were "paying attention" (i.e. after Labor Day). And I have long criticized that strategy because it left the President vulnerable to being cripplingly and inescapably defined by the other side such that whatever tactics they attempted or issues they emphasized, it wouldn't make any difference with an essentially calcified electorate. The Democrats certainly believe that's been accomplished.

The saving grace for the President - and on which they were evidently counting - is that events that were running against him a few months ago (particularly in Iraq) have turned in his favor, and the opposition has nominated a manifestly weak candidate who has staked his chances on his area of greatest vulnerability and Bush's greatest strength.

The electorate probably is too calcified for a landslide-sized surge in his direction. But assuming that the estimation of both sides that the public hasn't forgotten 9/11 is correct, Dubya's inate clarity of word and thought, not to mention his proven track record of leadership and accomplishment, on the "signature" issue of this campaign should be the deciding factor.

The race may see-saw back and forth, but in the end, my original prediction still stands:

Bush 51%, Kerry 47%.

On to New York.

Friday, July 30, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia, Night #4: The Main Event

Can you believe I haven’t even gotten to Kerry’s speech yet? To hell with Joe Biden, and Kerry’s witless daughters with their toe-curling, wince-inducing "mouth-to-mouth on a hamster" anecdote in one breath and "our dad will protect the right to kill babies" sniff in the next (That vermin-kissing image will be as tough to live down as the sperm suit pic – just watch this). Let’s get this over with.

First, the big picture. The biographical video was an undeniably brilliant piece of propaganda, slickly narrated by Morgan Freeman and produced by no less than Steven Speilberg, playing up what is pretty much Kerry’s only real strength – the highly selective account of his service in Vietnam. And ex-Senator Max Cleland was apparently sedated with the same meds as Al Gore and Howard Dean, and managed to both rein in his Bushophobia and give Mr. French a strong introduction. Problem is, the nation didn’t see either one because neither was included on the prime-time network broadcast. The only thing the small portion of voters saw when they tuned in was Kerry himself, standing there, rambling through his speech like a trap door was scheduled to open beneath him, looking and sounding anxious and nervous, and by the end sweating worse than Nixon ever did.

Oddly enough, it’s not difficult for me to understand why. I think Kerry fell prey to the same thing most of us do at a big moment when we’re the center of attention: he realized where he was and what he had to do. Consequently, rather than simply delivering his speech, he tried to deliver his speech, and the two are very, very different. In the latter you don’t just recite the text as it rolls by on the teleprompter, you are thinking about six different aspects of it at the same time – how to regulate your cadence, vary your pace and inflection, listening to how you sound to yourself as you’re speaking. It’s pure self-distraction and can make a speaker lose focus and concentration very easily. Furthermore, if you feel like you’re failing or losing momentum, or if you stumble over a word or two, the distraction magnifies rapidly, and that’s when you’re apt to start sweating, with a profusity proportional to your sinking feeling. And if you’re as conceited as Kerry is, falling short of your own self-expectations can be panic-inducing. I mean, after all, it’s George Bush who is supposed to be inarticulate, not the Beacon Hill Brahmin.

That having been said, I will simply return to what I said earlier in the week: I didn’t think Kerry would bomb, but I didn’t think he’d blow anybody away either. Given what he is – a pedantic, pompous, unbearable bore – he simply wasn’t going to make anybody forget Bill Clinton, Barak Obama, or John Edwards on the previous three nights. Again, the contrast with Clinton is highly instructive, because Kerry is quite evidently trying to follow in his tactical footsteps. Snowing a crowd of people is what Mr. Bill was born to do – for him it’s an involuntary reflex, like breathing – he doesn’t have to think about it because it just comes naturally. For Kerry…let’s just say that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

That is particularly so given the sheer magnitude of the deceptive challenge that confronts him. He’s got to convince people that the nominee of a party that is completely out of step with the values of four-fifths of the American public understands and embraces homespun Americanism rather than the counterculture depravity of Hollywood. He’s got to convince Main Street America that the richest man ever to seek the presidency on a major party ticket – that’s billionaire with a "b" – and who grew up as a perfumed prince in the privileged parlors of Northeastern aristocracy somehow understands the voters’ puny, pathetic, miserable little lives, and doesn’t really consider them to be little vermin on a par with "Licorice, the unlucky hamster." And most of all, he’s got to convince a post-9/11 electorate that a one-time pro-communist demonstrator, Michael Dukakis’ lieutenant-governor, and one of the most anti-defense, anti-intelligence, knuckleheadedly pacifistic legislators of the past two decades, who has weebled and wobbled all over the place on the war on terror in general, and Iraq in particular, is a credible commander-in-chief who will unhesitatingly defend Americans against a vicious, remorseless enemy that wants to kill us by the millions. And all of this at the same time as keeping his restless base simultaneously intact and under wraps.

Even for Bill Clinton, this would be a tall task. For John Kerry it scarcely even seems possible. And his speech reflected that reality.

Out he came, to the obligatory wild applause and cheering (is it any wonder that the bulk of Hollywood is Democrats?), and the first thing he did upon reaching the podium was sketch a salute and say, "My name is John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty." This was really, really goofy. It was like since they couldn't find a swiftboat to plunk down right in the middle of the delegates to jack-hammer the Rambo image into spin overkill, they settled for this gratuitous GI Joe imagery instead. They've overdone that so much it's difficult to remember that Lurch is running for president instead of Generalissimo.

And yet only about ten percent of the speech was actually devoted to foreign policy. He used the word "terrorist" only three times. He never uttered "terrorism," or Saddam Hussein, Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran, or al Qaeda. Ditto "liberation." Iraq was mentioned only three times, and one of those was to insert a "Bush lied about WMDs" jab.

He did, however, insert the word "strength" and its variations into about every other sentence. Which helps explain why so many of the analyses of this address focus so heavily on its foreign policy aspects.

This tells me a number of things.

[1] Kerry has no signature issue or reason to advance for why he should be president instead of George Bush.

[2] The reasons for that have heretofore been Kerry's inherently cautious nature and the Dem perception that Americans now hate Bush so much that he doesn't need one.

[3] With the transfer of sovereignty reducing Iraq as an issue, and with the reports from the 9/11 commission, Senate Intelligence Committee, and Britain's Lord Butler debunking the rabid left-wing charges that the President "lied" to get the country into an "unnecessary" war, Democrats have calculated that Bush-hatred won't be enough to overcome their inherent disadvantage on national security, and the public has not sufficiently reverted to a 9/10 mindset for a Warren Harding-style "normalcy" gambit to be workable. So they decided, once again, to mount a frontal assault on Bush's core strength, this time by trying to put over Kerry as a "smarter" and "stronger" anti-terror warrior based solely upon his four-months put-putting around the Mekong Delta.

This is a serious, and quite likely fatal, mistake. And the proof of it is in the details of Kerry's own remarks.

The world tonight is very different from the world of four years ago. We are a nation at war — a global war on terror against an enemy unlike any we have known before.
That's true, as far as it goes. But Kerry did not say in what ways the world is different. Nor did he even bother to define the nature of this war and point out how this "enemy" is unprecedentedly unique, its implacability, its bloodthirstiness, its relentlessness, the impossibility of negotiating or reaching a compromise with it. The pronouncement was nothing but pandering, empty sloganeering for which he went on to obliquely hint at pre-9/11 solutions that have already failed.

Let there be no mistake: I will never hesitate to use force when it is required. Any attack will be met with a swift and certain response.
IOW, hundreds or thousands or even millions more American civilians have to die before he'll do anything about it. And notice the qualification? Just how high is his "required" bar? He answered that with this:

I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence...I will reform our intelligence services so that policy is guided by facts.
But when it comes to terrorism, "hard questions" don't necessarily produce "hard evidence," and intelligence rarely yields more than probabilities based upon information that almost by definition is incomplete. Usually, such certitude becomes available only after an attack, which means a president has to make decisions about war based upon his own personal and political judgment.

In other words, there is no risk-free maneuver. Presidents oftentimes don't get to choose between a right and a wrong. They have to choose between a wrong and a wrong. Or a bad and a worse. And sometimes there's no choice at all. If John Kerry can't even acknowledge that, he shouldn't be seeking the job.

How much confidence can we have in his "swift and certain response"? A hint at specificity can be found in the next tidbit:

We need to build our alliances, so that we can get the terrorists before they get us.
But alliances did nothing to prevent the rise of al Qaeda, and those same alliances are strained now precisely because George Bush resolved to "get the terrorists before they get us." That resolve is considered by some of our "allies" as being more dangerous than the enemy that is resolved to destroy us. And even if Kerry shared that resolve, it would last only through the first meeting with Black Jacques Chirac and Gerhardt Schroeder, after which Mr. French would beat a hasty retreat.

Which gives the lie to this outrageous nugget of pandering:

I will never give any nation or international institution a veto over our national security.

Of course he will. His entire political career has been centered on subordinating American sovereignty to the United Nations. As a pro-Hanoi agitator he once went so far as to declare that the United States should not take any military action without UN permission. Nothing in his overpoweringly dovish career since indicates a deviation from that extreme view. And as we've seen, his overriding priority on "rebuilding alliances" would make this pledge impossible to keep.
I will wage this war with the lessons I learned in war. Before you go into battle, you have to be able to look a parent in the eye and truthfully say: I tried everything possible to avoid sending your son or daughter into harm's way...I will make sure that America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to; and that we never have to go it alone in the world.
This is a recipe for paralysis. It’s the words of a man who will never send a son or daughter "into harm’s way" because his chief priority is not to defend the country, but to do everything possible to avoid such tough decisions, and then resort to irrational delusions and futile wishful thinking (e.g. his fantasy that he can convince "our allies" to do most or all of our fighting for us) to keep justifying that inaction. It as much as says that there would never be a war that Kerry would deem inescapable, including the current one, which is what his "I’ll be smarter and more thoughtful" line really means. Kind of makes Jimmy Carter's appearance at this convention all the more ominous, doesn't it?

Can we even count on Kerry's supposed commitment to seeing the Iraq mission through to a successful conclusion? This passage casts that into considerable doubt:

You will never be asked to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.
The Bush Administration had a plan to win the peace. Its biggest flaw appears to be that it wasn't clairvoyantly perfect.

But no one ever enters a war with a precise plan for peace. President Lincoln didn't; neither did FDR. Should they have hesitated and hemmed and hawed while the country crumbled around them until their crystal balls were ready? What "plan for peace" could any president offer before committing American troops to combat in the war against terrorism? That just isn't the way war works. The first priority has to be to winning the war first. Otherwise there won't be a peace to plan for.

Perhaps the most disturbing portion of this speech was when Kerry nonchalantly said of the nuclear build-up by North Korea and Iran:

We need to lead a global effort against nuclear proliferation.
That was it. Just this one throwaway afterthought of a sentence.

Well, we already are leading a "global effort against nuclear proliferation," and via the "multilateralist" approach Kerry favors. And Pyongyang refuses to give up its warheads and stop making more, and Iran has once again thumbed its nose at the International Atomic Energy Agency and resumed its production of weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

North Korea has nukes, thanks to past Kerryite foreign policy. Iran is on the brink of obtaining them. Iran; terrorism central, will have nuclear weapons as early as next year. And al Qaeda, by some reports, already has them deployed in several American cities, just waiting for the right moment to set them off.

And John Kerry yawns, complacently sits back and demands "absolute proof" of these things before he'll even consider taking action.

He apparently believes that it is possible to wage risk-free, error-free, surprise-free war; that only he has the vast intellect to do so; and that short of those thresholds America should never wage war, period. And that suggests the possibility that a Kerry administration will withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan precisly because they have not been perfectly stabilized and democratized.

And yet the central point of Kerry's address, and now his candidacy, is that he can and will be a "stronger" war leader than George W. Bush.

Democrats couldn't have made the Boston Balker a bigger or easier target. And they appear to realize it, judging by Kerry's "put an axe through your picture tube" moment:

In the weeks ahead, let's be optimists, not just opponents. Let's build unity in the American family, not angry division. Let's honor this nation's diversity; let's respect one another. . . . The high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that's why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks.
Yep, just wave the magic wand and make the past three and a half years of acrimony, animosity, annoyance, antagonism, conniptions, dander, disapprobation, displeasure, distemper, enmity, exasperation, fury, gall, hatred, huff, ill humor, ill temper, impatience, indignation, infuriation, irascibility, ire, irritability, irritation, madness, miffedness, outrage, passion, peevishness, petulance, pique, rage, rankling, resentment, sturm und drang, tantrums, temper, tiffs, umbrage, vexation, and verbal violence disappear.

"Even though I’ve called you a liar and a crook and a warmonger repeatedly in this very speech, just ignore it, because if you don’t, I’ll call you a bomb-thrower and divider as well. Oh, right, I already did that, too. Well, the truth shall bring us together, if only to deport you and your digital brownshirts once and for all."

Boston Bacchanalia, Night #4: The Warmup Acts

Thank GOD this exercise in high-octane calumny is concluded. Now the army of mop-drivers can set about cleaning up all the puke and urine and "other bodily fluid" puddles in which the FleetCenter is no doubt still awash.

Hey, they invited Wesley Clark to speak! I had forgotten he even existed, and figured they wanted to forget as well. And to think that not even a year ago so many libs taunted me that loopy tin-star was guaranteed to be the next President of the United States. Hint: if you people think I’m ever going to let you hear the end of that one, you have a whooooole lotta thinks coming.

Well, what did the XFL of politics have to say? Has he been hanging around with his best bud, Michael Moore, or has Jimmy Carter been freezing him out? Has he exacted revenge upon Brit Hume for destroying his campaign on George Bush’s behalf?

"Ashley Wilkes" started out reasonably enough.

Our freedoms were won in war, and protected by generation after generation of selfless service and sacrifice of men and women in uniform. From Bunker Hill to Bastogne, from the frozen hills of Korea to the jungles of Vietnam, from Kabul to Baghdad, American men and women in uniform have served with honor.
Okay so far.

American men and women in uniform have served with honor. They've given us so much; they've asked for so little. Tonight, please give them a round of applause. Honor them, our veterans, our families. Give them a round of applause. We love our men and women in uniform. They have given so much. I want all America to see our party and how we respect the men and women who serve.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that this passage is a bit repetitive. That’s because the delegates weren’t responding. They were sitting on their hands, being honest about how they really feel about the military, and Clark had to practically browbeat them into even a feigned pop.

Soon, though, Dr. Strangelove started having combat flashbacks.

I've heard the thump of enemy mortars. I've seen the tracers fly. Bled on the battlefield. Recovered in hospitals. Received and obeyed orders. Sent men and women into battle. Awarded medals, comforted families, attended funerals.
And completely lost his grip on not spewing sentence fragments willy-nilly. Whether before or after he lost his grip on reality isn’t known, as evinced by his deviation from his prepared text to gratuitously claim that John Kerry has experience the same things. In a theatre during a war movie once for most of them, perhaps.

Then his medication really started to wear off quickly, like "male enhancement" when Hillary Clinton walks into the room.

We saluted this flag. We fought for this flag! And we've seen brave men buried under this flag. This flag is ours! And nobody will take it away from us!
Funny, isn’t claiming partisan ownership of the flag something they disingenuously accuse Republicans of doing? Maybe they want sole custody of it so that they can burn it in peace, perhaps by ripping it into strips, rolling them up, and smoking them.

One of Clark’s biggest applause lines was this one:

The safety of our country demands making more friends and fewer enemies.
Awfully hard to see how we "made" enemies like Abu Zarqawi, Kim Jong Il, Iran's mullahs, Bashar Assad, al Qaeda, and the "insurgents," other perhaps than our refusal to become LIKE them. On the other hand, is this perhaps a Fruedian admission on Clark's part that France and Germany aren't our friends? That isn't our fault, either, and for quite similar reasons.

Never let it be said that Kerry’s seditious, pro-Hanoi activities after his contrivedly truncated tour of duty wasn’t mentioned at this convention:

Kerry fought a war and I respected him for that. He came home to fight for peace and I respect him for that, too.
The descent into madness became a plummet.

Great Democrats like Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman who turned back the tide of fascism to World War II. Great Democrats like John Kennedy, who stood firm and steered us safely through the Cuban Missile Crisis. And great Democrats like Bill Clinton, who confronted ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia, and with diplomacy — backed by force — brought peace to a shattered land.
Notably missing from that "great Democrat" list was Lyndon Johnson, who lost Southeast Asia, and Jimmy Carter, who lost Iran, Afghanistan, and (nearly) all of Central America. But utterly appalling was the citation of the rape of Serbia over Kosovo, which was precisely what libs dishonestly condemn Operation Iraqi Freedom as being: an "elective" war, for Clinton’s own political gain, based upon blatant falsehoods, that deliberately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure. Actually, Kosovo was worse, since the primary beneficiary of our toothless aggression was a Muslim narcoterrorist group (the Kosovo Liberation Army).

Joe Lieberman spoke, too. Kind of like the last twitch of rigor mortis from the long-dead Truman/JFK/Scoop Jackson wing of the party that sincerely believed that partisanism should stop at the water’s edge. He actually identified the enemy not just as "terrorists" but Islamists, and even went so far as to equate them to "Nazis and Communists," which earned him a stony silence, since all the delegates know that Republicans are Nazis, and how dare this Bush-collaborator insult their comrades in arms like that!

Then he declared:

We must support our brave troops; they are the new greatest generation, they have liberated Afghanistan and Iraq from murderous tyrannies, and they are fighting tonight in both of those nations to defeat terrorists and allow democratic governments to grow there.
The delegates just stared back with muted hostility.

I know that Senator Lieberman, just like John McCain, has firmly and unequivocally denied that he will ever switch parties. But you have to wonder about the Connecticut Democrat, who is a rarity in that party anymore, a good, decent, and honorable man. He really did seem to be addressing the wrong convention.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke. Her delivery was awful, her content forgettable. Maybe it’s because every time I see her she’s wearing tops with plunging necklines showing a generous amount of wrinkled cleavage. Given the contrast to her stretched-taut face, I’m always reminded of Gloria Swanson. I mean, I know she’s from San Francisco, but for heaven’s sake, she’s an old lady. And old ladies should not be publicly displaying their sagging funbags without the excuse of senile dementia or silicone leakage. Which would probably segue back to the content of her speech, if I could remember what it was.

Perhaps there was no more appropriate saleslady for the presumptive Kerry foreign policy pitch than Bill Clinton’s little foreign ministerial troll, Aunt Madeleine, who declared, "John Kerry will lead America and its allies to defeat and destroy terrorist groups around the world." Well maybe she missed it, but George W. Bush is already doing that. Guess this means Lurch and Opie can take the next few months off instead, huh?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia: Night #3

If Kerry wanted this convention to be buttoned down, disciplined, and something that wouldn’t scare away Main Street USA, would somebody please explain to me why Al Sharpton was given a prime-time speaking slot on day three? The man is personal and political anthrax. One of the kinder things he said about President Bush is that, “if [he] had selected the [Supreme] Court in 1954 [the Court that decided Brown], Clarence Thomas would have never got to law school." And Sharpton hates Thomas almost as much as he does Bush! Though Revrund Al did deal with the notion of hatred, sort of: “We went from unprecedented international support and solidarity on September 12, 2001, to hostility and hatred as we stand here tonight.” And we know from where that “hostility and hatred” spawned, don’t we?

Jesus, these people are making the entire state of Massachusetts into a divine lightning rod.

You just have to marvel at how the Boston Balker didn’t even suspect that Sharpton would blow off his restrictions on time and content. And here’s another dual point to ponder: if a political poison peddler like Al Sharpton will neither heed nor respect John Kerry, what in the ever lovin’ world is supposed to persuade anybody that he’ll be able to wave the magic diplowand and bring the Germans, French, and Russians bounding, puppy-like, to lavish financial and military assistance on us in Iraq? And if John Kerry is so tough, why couldn’t he have simply told Al – who won zippo delegates – to, in so many words, go pound sand?

What guy wouldn’t want to attend a lingerie summit with Jennifer Granholm? Damn, she is hot. If not for her foreign birth, Hillary would have a serious catfight on her hands in four years.

Why would George McGovern, Walter Mondale, and especially Michael Dukakis even be acknowledged at this shindig? Kerry must not believe in karma, that’s for sure.

Do you realize that for the Republicans to do the equivalent (citing past defeated challengers), they’d have to go back to Thomas Dewey to complete the trifecta?

Was anybody surprised that Clinton’s JCS, John Shalikashvili, showed up to endorse Kerry? And did anybody give a damn?

Lizzie Edwards may have stuck her foot in her mouth by endorsing the Radio City Raunchfest recently, but she certainly put Teraaaaaaysa’s “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! I’M CHANNELING MARIE ANTOINETTE!” display to considerable, if not absolute, shame. It’s telling how a wife speaking at a political convention as a wife seems so novel with this bunch.

Okay, onto the main event of the night. As I listened to Li’l John speak, I had a sudden V-8 moment; and I don’t know why it didn’t hit me before – John Edwards is the real life Opie Taylor! Same twang, same barely-changed voice, same two Boston (sorry, Mt. Pilot…) telephone directories to stand on so he could see over the top of the podium. Or maybe it was an apple crate. Though given the image they were shooting for, it may have helped Opie if he’d ambled on stage in overalls, barefoot, with a fish pole and whistling that famous tune.

My gut feeling was that Edwards could help pull this convention out of the ditch into which the first two hideous nights sent it careening. And while he didn’t bomb by any means – in baseball terms I’d call it a stand-up double – the vapidity, and at times idiocy, of his remarks detracted seriously from the fabled “sunniness” with which they were delivered.

Let’s start with the most egregious example:

We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe, and we, John and I, we will have One...Clear...Unmistakable...Message...for al-Qaeda and these terrorists: You cannot run; you cannot hide; we will destroy you.
I tried to picture Osama bin Laden, whether watching from a cave, a comfortable billet in Tehran, or hell, listening to this squeaky sturm und drang and how he would react to it. And the only reason I failed is because I have no idea what kind, if any, sense of humor OBL has. Personally, if I were he, I’d still be convulsed in laughter. Watching this weak little man shake his fist in the face of America’s declared enemies was like Sheriff Andy running for mayor of Mayberry, and Opie stumping for his daddy by declaring that, “If elected, my pa will send deputy Barney Fife to bring La Cosa Nostra to its knees.” On the bright side, though, they could get Teddy Kennedy for the role of Otis the town drunk.

There is a rule of thumb in life, and especially in politics: if you gotta shout it, it probably isn’t so. Put another way, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney don’t have to run around blustering spittle-flecked threats because they’ve proven that there are fangs behind their words. Just ask yourself if Muammar Khaddafy would have voluntarily capitulated on his WMD program if the Bushies hadn’t chased Saddam Hussein into that spider hole. Personally, listening to the above Edwards rhetorical Viagra just brings back all of Clinton’s empty finger-wagging throughout the nineties as al Qaeda and Saddam and the mullahs and Kim jong-Il got stronger and bolder, more often than not with American help. And don’t forget that Opie, just like his “best friend forever,” played ginnip-ginnop with the Iraq war resolution and subsequent reconstruction funding bill.

I can just see Big Time, salivating for the veep debate.

This next quote is, if anything, even more choice:

You know for the last few months, John's been traveling around the country, talking about his positive optimistic vision for America, talking about his plan to move this country in the right direction. But what have we seen? Relentless negative attacks against John. So in the weeks ahead, we know what's coming, don't we? More negative attacks. Aren't you sick of it? They're doing all they can to take the campaign for the highest office in the land, down the lowest possible road.
“Positive, optimistic vision”? What “positive, optimistic vision”? What “plan”? Is there single signature stance that Kerry has (1) taken and (2) stuck with for longer than a week or two? Oh, he’s dabbled in a little wonkery here or there, but does anybody know what it is? If Kerry’s big problem is that “nobody knows who he is,” wouldn’t it help him to actually publicize this “positive, optimistic vision/plan”? And wouldn’t the partisan media be overjoyed to render its enthusiastic assistance in this endeavor?

Sean Tuffnell of NRO Financial did a little investigative poking around on the Kerry campaign website looking for something, anything, on Lurch’s position(s) on Social Security. After all, on Monday Clinton said that Kerry “has a good idea to save” the ancient entitlement. The next night Teddy “Foster Brookes” Kennedy slurringly echoed that claim.

I looked under issues to see if his plan was posted there. Unfortunately, his index of issues left me perplexed:

There were links to information about children and families, civil rights, the economy, education, energy, environment, health care, homeland security, national security, national service, rural America, science and technology, stronger communities, veterans, and women. Nowhere was there a link to Social Security, retirement security, or even seniors’ issues. Frustrated, I tried looking under economy, but found no mention of Social Security there either.

This is remarkable in two senses. First, that Kerry has an “issues index” that is so thoroughly invisible (not unlike the Dem party platform); and second, that Mr. French has nothing at all to say about Social Security other than what he has offered sporadically on the stump – which amounts to an abdicatory adherence to the actuarily untenable status quo. Apparently we’re supposed to believe that he has this “positive, optimistic vision/plan” because his surrogates say so. Kind of like the way the priests controlled the liturgy in the medieval Roman Catholic church. And of course, he served in Vietnam. Maybe he’ll be offered the lead in Apocalypse Now II now that Marlin Brando is dead.

And “relentless negative attacks against John”? Frankly, that’s arguably the most insulting thing that’s been said by anybody at this convention. Only difference is it isn’t just the President’s intelligence that is being denigrated. Though in a sense I guess this finally does give Dubya and Osama something in common besides genome and gender: being comically admonished as if they were brain-dead jurors in a big-money tort case. Man, I’m looking forward to the veep debate as much as Cheney must be.

And then Opie returned to familiar ground:

The truth is we still live in a country where there are two different Americas - one for all those people who have lived the American dream and don't have to worry, and another for most Americans, everybody else who struggle to make ends meet every single day. It doesn't have to be that way.
Well, I suppose that you could give Li’l John credit for not accusing “all those people who have lived the American dream” of having extracted it from the livers and spleens of the poor, downtrodden, and destitute. What I find so astonishingly anachronistic about it is that he doesn’t seem to recognize even the existence of the middle class. I mean, at least Kerry does when he falsely claims that it’s “shrinking”; going by the above rhetoric, Edwards appears lost in a sort of dark, dank, dreary, fog-cloaked, Dickensian world where a handful of people like…well, like him and Kerry live in luxury and opulence like Louis Winthorpe in Trading Places, while Everybody Else huddles around fitful fires on freezing street corners in a perpetual November, shivering, wailing forlornly, fighting over the occasional rat that strays too close to the ravenous, rag-clad hordes.

I mean, it’s not that Edwards isn’t a good pitchman, and heaven knows he must've spun such sobmongering stem-winders to many a jury, but this gimmick is just such overpowering bullshit, so many parsecs distant from any rational rendition of current American prosperity, that most listeners (what few there were of them) almost had to have absorbed this drivel, tampon-like, for quite a piece before it finally dawned that Li’l John was actually referring to them. Though I will give Hair, the Boy Follicle Wonder credit for not dragging his Bradyized kids out on stage dressed up as Tiny Tim.

Perhaps his rip-off of Dick Cheney’s 2000 speech “Hope is on the way” – best sums up this quaint, crazy-quilt classism. Cheney, of course, referred to something tangible and specific – the restoration of respect for, and adequate funding and equipping of, the U.S. military. I really have no idea what Opie was promising, or even to whom he was speaking, since the closest impoverished ragamuffins presumably get to a television set is the cardboard carton they call home, and since “the rich” are mostly Democrats like himself and Thurston. Perhaps this is simply noveau aristocratic disdain that conflates “struggle” with “working for a living,” which neither member of the Dem ticket, and quite a few of the delegates, ever have to do again if they so choose. That would help explain why their retributive tax increases will be deflected to the middle class. Again. Which would explain why Edwards tries to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Rich Lowry’s observation says it all: “And this is the guy from whom John Kerry is borrowing his message!”

Instead of pulling the Boston Bacchanalia out of the ditch, Edwards’ address seemed to fit into the archipelago of decliningly quality speeches that began at the apex with Clinton’s on Monday, tailed off with Barack Obama’s on Tuesday, and then descended to Opie’s decent but far from overpowering offering last night. Which is, of course, the precise opposite of how a convention is supposed to unfold. Rather than building to a soaring climax with the nominee’s moment in the national spotlight, Kerry’s speech – said to be an hour long and more bereft of gravitas or content than cotton candy laced with Sugar Twin – seems destined to either “introduce to the American people” the John Kerry his handlers don’t want them to see, or become hopelessly lost in the surrounding staticky Bushophobic hiss that has drenched this quadrennial oddball reunion.

Probably a little of both.

Donk Self-Control

I think David Frum summed up this convention perfectly with the following:

The[Democrats] are constantly congratulating themselves for their moderation and restraint of tone, because their speakers merely call the President a liar and a cheat and a coward, and not also a Nazi and baby-killer.

Good for them, I suppose.

But Americans out there in voter-land have to wonder: OK, congratulations for stifling your Tourette’s syndrome – but what exactly do you Democrats propose to do for us if we give you the jobs you want? What two, three, four things will you guys actually do if you are elected to the White House and in Congress?…What will you do - and why don’t you seem willing to tell us?

This is, of course, a rhetorical question.

P.J. Wishful-Thinker

Hard not to notice Peter Jennings refer to John-John Edwards Wednesday night as “the vice president.” That isn’t even true in a “I’m not really the VP, I just play him on TV” sense. But it sure does blow a hole in those leftie fools who still insist that the partisan media isn’t, well, partisan.

Dick Cheney probably got a chuckle out of it, though. And I bet he’s hoping Jennings will be present at the Capitol next January 20th to rib him about it – good naturedly, of course.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia: Night #2

Well, anybody looking for an improvement of night #2 over night #1 – “improvement” being defined as “more like the positive, uplifting Kerryfest” this Extreme-O-Rama is supposed to be – was doomed to disappointment. Though for us other-minded folks, the entertainment factor got better and better.

For instance, they let Ted Kennedy speak. Without a net. Drunker than a skunk. It was long, rambling, stumbling, bumbling, dreary, rabidly Bushophobic and devoid of anything that could be construed as edifying to the “presumptive” nominee. Some have even suggested that it was substantially ripped off from Dick Cheney’s 2000 veep acceptance speech. But that speculation was interrupted by Teddy belching loudly, emitting a long streamer of drool, and pancaking face-first on the podium.

After security dragged the Massachusetts Manatee off-stage feet-first with a golf cart, out came former House Minority leader (his claim to infamy) Dick Les Gephardt, whose role it apparently was to ensure that the FleetCenter crowd would be sleeping it off right alongside ol’ Tyrannosaurus Sex.

Who else could follow him but his upper chamber counterpart, Tom Daschle, whose primary concern was to schedule his address for the time slot in which nobody from South Dakota would be watching? Observed David Frum:

I note though that former McGovern aide Daschle now says that 'answering the call' during Vietnam was 'doing the right thing.' You wonder where these proud patriots were in 1992, when Bill Clinton was running against Navy flier and war hero George HW Bush.

Howie Dean looked to have been doped up with the same depressants as Al Gore appeared to be on Monday night. Kind of like one of his standard stump speeches replayed at 33 1/3 speed (that means reeeeaaal slooooow, in case anybody was wondering).

Barack Obama, the next U.S. Senator from Illinois, is the next Martin Luther King; or at the very least, the black Bill Clinton (except, so far as I know, with a closed zipper). I say this because those who actually know him describe him as being “to the left of Mae Tse Tung,” and yet he employed soaring, dare I say it, Reaganian rhetoric about American greatness and opportunity, and eviscerated the multi-cultural, hyper-hyphenated mania of his party by speaking of “one America” instead of the angry, aggrieved, balkanized mess that is the guttural dream of hustlers and shakedown artists like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and their homies at the NAACP. I don’t know if he’s the “rising star” of punditocratic coronation – remember, they said the same thing about Howard Ford four years ago – but if his apparent political skills can insulate him from being assimilated into the Black Klan, he may well be, as the aforementioned Mr. Frum opines, the next vice president of the United States.

Ron Reagan’s dishonest address, which, like his whole junket at this Extremoganza, reminds one of a sort of political equivalent of the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, served to reinforce the impression that the Gipper and Nancy should have made one exception to their opposition to abortion. Is that harsh? Well, so is figuratively dragging around your famous father’s corpse as a prop for causes he detested instead of being with the rest of your family to greet the arrival in port (at San Diego) of the USS Ronald Reagan.

I hope somebody shoves a serpent’s tooth up his ass.

The Clinton Tsunami

Okay, I can just hear the lefties shrieking about the “Clinton-hatred” in which I indulged below. Which I could blow off easily by pointing out that I earned my political debate “combat ribbons” from that misbegotten detour long ago, and have come to accept that Clinton lies like the rest of us breathe and will always get away with it because of his towering charisma and counter-cultural “rock star” status. But I’ll scrounge up the effort once again, for old time’s sake.

Clinton claimed that Bush "walked away from our allies in attacking Iraq."

This is a lie. Bush went back to the UN and worked “multilaterally” with our allies to get weapons inspectors back into Iraq (giving Saddam an extra six months to evacuate his WMD stockpiles out of Iraq, I might add). The resulting SCR - Resolution 1441 - promised "serious consequences" which everybody knew meant war if Iraq failed to comply. And it passed unanimously, which means France and Russia and Germany voted for it. What Dubya did is call their bluff when Saddam materially breached SCR 1441 and actually back up his words with action Black Jacques Chirac, Vlade Putin, and Gerhardt Schroeder didn’t want to see taken. Thus was their corruption and double-dealing, and worthlessness as “allies,” exposed. Meanwhile, through the stalwart, courageous support of leaders like Britain’s Tony Blair, Australia’s John Howard, and Spain’s Jose Maria Aznar, we learned who our real friends are.

Clinton claimed that Bush walked away from our allies in withdrawing from the climate change treaty.

This is otherwise known as the Kyoto protocol, and it’s little wonder that Mr. Bill tried to obfuscate this, given the avalanche of negative publicity that has come to be associated with that label. In fact, the U.S. Senate rejected Kyoto unanimously clear back in July of 1997. The United States' participation in Kyoto was finally put out of its misery by the Clinton administration at the Hague conference in November 2000, two months before George Bush took office, and four months before his decision to withdraw the U.S. signature on the agreement, after European governments refused to accept a U.S.-backed pollution credit trading system considered by many to be the only cost effective way for us to have met our emissions obligations in the short-term. Furthermore, neither the Russians nor our “allies” signed onto this turkey for the same reason that Dubya withdrew our country’s imprimatur: it would have decimated their economies for little or no actual climatic gain. All GWB did was attach the toe tag, and once again expose the anti-American ill-will of so-called “allies” who view us much more as a rival to be beaten than a friend to be embraced or a leader to be followed.

Clinton claimed that Bush walked away from our allies in withdrawing from the international criminal court.

But Clinton himself only signed this treaty on the last possible day, December 31st, 2000, despite what he called "concerns about significant flaws" (i.e. subjecting American soldiers, and perhaps even future American presidents, to blatantly politicized “war crimes” charges in the event of military action in defense of US interests of which the “international community” didn’t approve – can you say “Abu Ghraib”?). Moreover, he said he would not submit the treaty for Senate ratification or even recommend ratification until these concerns were addressed, which they never were. Dubya concurred with this assessment, and did the honest, straightforward thing – he withdrew America’s signature. Just as Clinton’s signing onto the ICC was nothing but dishonest symbolism and buck-passing for just such an occasion as this convention speech.

Clinton claimed Bush walked away from its allies in withdrawing American support for the ABM treaty.

But that treaty did not involve our “allies,” none of which were original or subsequent signatories. It only involved the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics – the latter of which no longer exists. Furthermore, the ABM treaty contains a mutual withdrawal provision upon six months’ advance notice, which the Bush Administration duly supplied to Russian President Putin in December of 2001. And lastly, a mere five months later Presidents Bush and Putin signed one of the most sweeping nuclear arms reduction agreements in history, reducing by two-thirds the strategic nuclear warheads of both nations – which presumably is good for our “allies.”

There’s an old saying: “No good deed goes unpunished.” Or, as NR’s Rich Lowry wrote last week:

If [Bush] ignores U.N. resolutions, he is a dangerous unilateralist. If he takes U.N. resolutions on Iraq seriously, he is a dangerous unilateralist. If he doesn't get France to agree to his Iraq policy, he is ignoring important international actors. If he supports multiparty talks on North Korea, he is not doing enough to ignore important international actors.

Well, bullshit. As Clinton himself said during his own reelection campaign, “We’ll just have to win, then.”

Bushophobia Has Peaked

Here’s an interesting observation from NR’s Rich Lowry, which jibes with my gut feeling that Bushophobia has already peaked:

I think it's possible the Democrats are counting on a moment that has passed, the April moment when Fallujah exploded and Bush seemed feckless in response and the economy had still been pretty effectively talked down by the Democrats. It may be that the further we get away from April, the more Bush's standing improves. Which means…the Democrats are in a race against time, to get Bush before people realize things aren't as bad as advertised.

With Kerry “going dark” between Friday and after Labor Day at the earliest, August is the President’s chance to regain the political initiative he lost fifteen months ago. And it looks like the electorate will be willing to give him one more look-see. He must be bold about seizing it, as his old man was with “Read my lips!” sixteen years ago.

Social Security private accounts, anyone?

"Why You Pick Him If You Don't Like Him?"

Based on an actual conversation:

Passenger: "Fleet Center, please."

Boston cab driver (an immigrant): "You like John Kerry, eh?"

Passenger: "Well, I'm a Democrat but I don't really like Kerry that much."

Cab driver: "I hear that all day. All day. 'I don't like Kerry.' Why you pick him if you don't like him?"

“Unity,” my ass. This lack of enthusiasm is going to matter before it’s over, mark my words.

Terrorists For Kerry

Guess who gave the closing benediction at the DNC last night?

According to Steven Emerson’s statement to the 9/11 commission, the Islamic chaplain who was chosen to give last night’s closing benediction at the Democratic National Convention, Yahya Hendi, testified as a character witness on behalf of Sami al-Arian—head of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in North America.

The statement is on this page: National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. Search the page for "Yahya Hendi."

“Terrorists for Kerry” indeed.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia: Night #1

There were four primary speakers on Monday night when 99% of Americans were watching syndicated re-runs of Quincy. And as I predicted yesterday, they didn't waste any time in pitching the "positive, strong, values-drenched, John Kerry can walk on water if it's Perrier" "new tone" of this convention into the nearest Bush-head waste receptacle.

There was also quite a lot of overshadowing fun, like Teresa Zsa Zsa Gabor Heinz Kerry Pick-a-Number stopping just short of macing a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter who only wanted to find out what she meant when she called President Bush "unAmerican." Golly, what a funny lady. Turns out that back in the seventies, before anybody really knew she was a groupie for the rich and powerful, she referred to the Democrat party as "putrid" and Ted Kennedy in particular as "the perfect bastard." And tonight in her speech she promised that her Undead hubby will reverse global warming, among other things. Perhaps he'll erect a global umbrella over each magnetic pole or something. What needs to happen now is for her to ditch Lurch and hook up with Zell Miller; then the Green Acres analogy would be complete.

No synopsis of night number one at the "Spawn of Satan" convention (USA Today rooked themselves when they dumped the indominable Ms. Coulter) would be complete without a link to this photograph, which does kind of make Senator Kerry look like a "sperm" character in a Woody Allen movie. And they're trying to *avoid* repeating Michael Dukakis' mistakes? Besides, John Edwards looks that foolish even without riding around in a tank.But back to the speeches.

What did we learn from the oratory spat forth onto the Menshevik faithful? Well, let me rephrase that - what did we hear from the speakers, and at what depth was the spittle after the proceedings were concluded and the audience whipped back into their cages for the night?

Al Gore was basically the same rabid warthog he's been ever since he tried to overthrow the last election, only this time it appeared that they shot him with a tranquilizer dart. So instead of being maniacal to the brink of demon possession, his talk was "casual" and "wistful" instead. Which is to say, a self-pitying dirge of the sort that oftentimes revs a bitterender like Fat Albert right back up to the crazed raving from which he was just calmed down.

If Ralph Nader had burst onto the stage like John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre, Gore just might have gone berserk. Instead he not so subtley crapped on Nader instead, blaming him (for a change) for his 2000 defeat, and warning the woofers whom Kerry excites about as much as a VD film in health class not to vote with their hearts instead of their heads. Which is a little like the Schrodinger's cat paradox, actually, but that reference is probably too deep for this topic.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, he did say something nice about John Kerry. Something about him being "a man of his word." Heh.

Next came Jimmy Carter, whose presence was remarkable mostly in that the closest he's gotten to a Dem convention since the last one that renominated him has been the side of a milk carton. And the topic on which he was designated to speak? Why, national defense, of course! Yep, the same man who was humiliatingly defeated in the first campaign of the war with radical Islam a quarter of a century ago was charged with making the case for why George Bush - you know, the first POTUS to actually *engage* the Islamist enemy and its rogue state sponsors - is a foreign policy "failure" and why he should be replaced with John Kerry, the man who would take us back to the genuinely failed policies that left us wide open to mass attack three years ago.

Since this case cannot be reasonably made, and Mr. Peanut isn't Mr. Bill either, the Squire of Plains came across pretty much like he has ever since he was driven from office: mean, bitter, nasty, and breath-takingly self-righteous. All his applause lines were slashes at the President. He called Bush a draft-dodger, a liar, a warmonger, a war criminal. He blamed Dubya for the Middle East "peace process" - you know, the ongoing effort to finish what the Holocaust started - "coming to a screeching halt," even though it collapsed on Clinton's watch despite Israel being offered up as a ritual sacrifice to Yassir Arafat. He even got in a bit of history-revising legacy repair by claiming that America won the Cold War he actually nearly lost singlehandedly through "bipartisanism" and "concern for human rights." I guess he doesn't consider Iraqis to be "human." And he made the novel charge that Bush should have concentrated on North Korea instead of Iraq (that is, we should have *attacked a country armed with nuclear weapons*), since as we all know, they're only a bigger threat because Jimmy Carter helped make them one.

After Carter was dragged off the stage, he and Rosalynn sat down in the main FleetCenter luxury box next to...Michael Moore. Guess they must have reinforced the building over the weekend.

Did you see the DNC diva competition? What does it tell us about how Dems view femininity and, oh, I don’t know, aesthetic beauty when they make a blob like Senator Babs Milkulski the representative speaker instead of a telegenic babe like Michigan guv Jennifer Granholm? I mean, it’s the difference between Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West. I can just see the get-out-the-vote pitch: “Come here and vote for John Kerry, my pretty…..” {cackle cackle cackle}

Next was the next president of the United States...Hillary Clinton, who gave the delegates a sneak preview of her '08 stump speech. Yeah, she was supposed to introduce the last president of the United States, but it was all she could do to stand next to that hash-tooting lothario without jamming him in the nexus with a cattleprod.

Ah, Mr. Bill. Nothing like a vivid reminder of the eight-year nightmare we endured to make us so appreciate the ongoing fact that it finally, in the end, ended. Also nothing better to administer a reality check about what John Kerry is attempting to be in this campaign than a 5,000-watt-klieg-light-in-the-face, mugging, vamping, grinning, backslapping, hail-fellow-that-your-wife-boy-she's-got-nice-cans sack 'o crap reminder of what the real thing looks like, and why he makes the Boston Balker look like a department store mannequin. Really, after the Sick Willie tsunami surged through the FleetCenter, spinning the assembled into a dizzying, orgasmic miasma of hyperjoyous, mendacious chunk-blowing, what is there left for poor Thurston? He's like the pooper scooper at the end of the Tournament of Roses Parade. He's like the adult who wakes you up, hungover after your first frat party, and admonishes you that you're going to be late for Biology lab. He's like the Alka Seltzer you pop after getting carried away at an Azteca smorgasbord. He's like......well, I hope you get the idea.

One other observation I just can't help making: weren't Democrats outraged, just OUTRAGED, when one of the President's first TV ads showed a four-second pic of 9/11 ground zero? Well, they sure didn't similarly limit *their* "exploitation" of "Holy Tuesday" last night, in the form of a tearful bereavement from a relative of one of the victims - a Muslim woman from Sri Lanka who also happens to sit on the Dem platform committee. Meanwhile, there is neither hide nor hare of any indication or sign that this disloyal opposition is giving the slightest passing thought to investing a drop of skullsweat in the endeavor of determining how we might, just might, actually WIN this war if what George W. Bush has been doing isn't working - which it is.

I guess that's what John Kerry will fill us in on Thursday in his roughly 60,000 word speech. Call it unwitting performance art - libs believe pumping the air full of meaningless, empty, toothless diplobluster is a viable substitute for the use of decisive military force.

Or, put another way, to them a single cruise missile isn't worth a thousand words.

See why they think Mr. French is so valuable?

Monday, July 26, 2004

Boston Bacchanalia: The Prelude

Let the Democratic National Hatefest begin!

What’s that, you say? It’s not going to be a hatefest? John Kerry has given specific instructions to knock off the Bush-bashing? This will be a week of peace, love, and brotherhood instead, led by the Reverend Gomer Kaye?

Uh-huh. Guess whose speeches aren’t being censored by Kerry’s people? Bill and Hillary Clinton, the twin capos of the Democrat party who are bigger obstacles to a Lurch presidency than George Bush is. And sure enough, it’s rumored that they’re going to have claws and fangs bared and sharpened, which will rev up the bloodthirsty delegates, set the tone for the week, and make poor old John Kerry look like an afterthought when he goes out on Thursday to give “the speech of his life.” They can get away with that because of who they are and because it’s still their party, no matter the identity of the titular “presumptive” figurehead. They know Kerry is just a prop, a tomato can filling a role that will be completed in November, after which the decks will be cleared for Mrs. Clinton’s four-year coronational processional. Hell, Kerry probably knows it too, deep down, but will never admit it even to himself. Or at least until he lands a book deal next spring.

Other Dems – at least in actual positions of responsibility – don’t have that kind of autonomy. Of course, there are plenty of Dems who don’t hold positions of responsibility – Michael Moore and Howie Dean come to mind – who will be bashing away at the President and thumbing their noses at the nominee they supposedly can’t wait to “climb any mountain, bear any burden” to get elected. It seems to me that these people are going to overshadow the Kerryites’ public relations sanitizing efforts – overwhelm might be a better verb – no matter what the Boston Balker might claim to want.

Does he want a sane convention for the brief snippets the networks will be showing the country? After all, this is the same man who sat through the now-infamous Radio City Raunchfest, with all the profane, bilious Bushophobic vitriol, with a big smile on his mug and the comment at the end of the night that it had all “represented the heart and soul of America.” Recall as well how Kerry himself has had a number of unguarded moments when he’s called Bush and the GOP “liars” and “crooks” and accused the President of having “fucked up” Iraq.

The answer, of course, is that those are his real, true feelings, but he apparently possesses sufficient political acumen to discern that the tactical shelf-life of Bush-bashing has passed its expiration date. Just as the 1995-96 Mediscare gambit peaked in late spring/early summer of that election year, so the whole “BUSH LIED!!!!!” squall has begun showing signs of generating a backlash even before the 9/11 report, Senate Intelligence Committee report, and British Butler report took turns exonerating and vindicating the President’s war leadership. With erstwhile loony left stars like Dick Clarke, “Yellowcake Joe” Wilson, and the aforementioned Jabba the Hut reject having been deconstructed, decompiled, and all-around demolished, the usefulness of relentlessly deranged negativity is, it would appear, at an end.

There are, however, a couple of problems at that juncture.

One is that, let’s face it, even the “responsible” Dems won’t really be able to help themselves. Just look at the columnar advice of former New York guv Mario Cuomo:

A simple clear idea that could distinguish Kerry from Bush: He might start by saying, "We will not call the president a liar. He's our commander in chief, and we respect that. But we will say this. He was mistaken, as many of us were, about the three predicates of the war: weapons of mass destruction, complicity with Al Qaeda with respect to Saddam, and imminence of threat. "He did not know, but he was grotesquely wrong. Many of us were fooled by this, but he is the president.

Ah, so “we will not call the President a liar,” but we will say should have somehow “known better” than to defend the country and legitimate eighteen UN Security Council resolutions despite the intelligence that was available to him at the time. “We will not call the President a liar,” but we will continue perpetuating the fiction, already discredited, that there were no WMDs or WMD programs, no Saddam-al Qaeda links, and that Bush ever said the Iraqi threat was “imminent.” “We will not call the President a liar,” but we will condemn him for not ignoring 9/11 in his foreign policy decision-making, even as we will condemn him for not acting pre-emptively to avert the al Qaeda attacks of three years ago. In short, “we” will do everything but call the President a liar.

He now insists that the war was worthwhile anyway. Worthwhile? A loss of 900 Americans, many more wounded, 15,000 to 30,000 Iraqis killed, $120 billion spent on an occupation that has failed terribly in stabilizing the nation and has drawn terrorists from all over the world? Despite all that, the president said it was a good thing to do. Here lies the big difference between me and the president. He's saying he would do it again. Another 900 lives, another $120 billion, another 15,000 to 30,000 Iraqis killed. Another loss of respect.

Well, at least here there’s no phony “We will not call the President…” demurral. Cuomo flat-out urges Senator Kerry to call George Bush a warmonger and war criminal and completely mischaracterize the liberation of Iraq and the vast step forward it made in the war on terror. Certainly the above bears no resemblance to their utterly neutered campaign plank on Iraq.

That's where I part company with the president. He has not yet renounced his preemptive war. I'm against preemptive war. I will not make that mistake. I will not let the country make that mistake again.

In other words, Senator Kerry should declare that in an age of WMD terrorism, he will not defend the country until after thousands more American civilians have perished first. Small wonder that Rush Limbaugh this morning was all but begging Kerry to take Cuomo’s advice.

Kerry’s other problem is…well, Kerry. Listen to Cuomo’s summation:

You should be able to bring a tear to people's eyes or a smile to their lips, a moment of revelry, a laugh. You should move people when you're trying to be president. Kerry is so accustomed to the precision of his words. He's complete. When people let themselves go and follow their own emotions, it can be wonderful.

For this convention, I want to see Kerry make people cry, make people a little nervous.

Understand that he’s talking about John Kerry’s oratory here. The only time he’s ever moistened the eyes of his listeners is by boring them to tears. If he tries to imitate Clinton’s lower lip-biting and effeminate emoting, he might double over the delegates in laughter, or perhaps generate a collective disgruntled, mildly horrified incredulity. But manipulating emotions? Conducting the feelings of the assembled faithful like a rhetorical virtuouso? Who’s Mario trying to fool with this pulp?

John Kerry can do one thing with his voice: lecture. He’s the medieval Chinese history associate professor who can pontificate on the fourth Ming dynasty for hours at a time without even taking a second breath. He’s the oratorical equivalent of a VCR instruction manual in all four listed languages. He never says anything in ten words or less when he can say it in fifteen hundred words or more. And whenever he says anything it’s with that nasally air of pomposity that slides underneath his words to impute to the listener the subliminal impression that you should already know what he’s saying and agree with it so that he doesn’t have to bother explaining it again. In short, he’s Thurston Howell III without the sense of humor.

Now this is not to say that Kerry is going to bomb on Thursday. Maybe he’ll be smart and disciplined enough to eschew Cuomo’s red meat. In fact, here is the gist of the speech that I would advise Senator Kerry to give:

America’s present need is not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration; not agitation, but adjustment; not surgery, but serenity; not the dramatic, but the dispassionate; not experiment, but equipoise; not unilateralism, but sustainment in triumphant internationality.

Sound familiar? It was the acceptance speech punch line (except for the last tidbit) of another U.S. Senator seeking the presidency in the aftermath of a time of crisis and war, Warren Harding. And as Frank Freidel, one-time Charles Warren Professor of American History at Harvard, commented,

…the very murkiness of such statements was effective…both opponents and proponents of American entrance into the League [of Nations] could find in Harding’s speeches reasons to vote for him.

No parallel is ever exact, of course. “Most voters,” writes Freidel, “were chiefly interested in protesting uncomfortable living conditions” (i.e. the post WWI economic depression), and that’s a far cry from the booming economy and avaricious prosperity Americans enjoy today. Even the war on terror has not been the sustained crisis or required the sort of sacrifice that “the Great War” did (as President Bush predicted early on). But, ironically, the incessant anti-Bush agitating, coupled with the contrast between the year-plus reconstruction of Iraq and the initial three-week blitzkrieg, has engendered a sort of fatigue of unrealistically high expectations from which a lot of Americans have come to suffer to varying degrees. The growing backlash against the Bushophobes is a manifestation of it.

Were Kerry to go out on Thursday and, in effect, declare victory in the war on terror and turn the page back to domestic matters, with a particular eye toward harkening nostalgically back to the supposed “good ol’ days” of the Clinton detour, that would neatly sidestep, and perhaps even eclipse, the Bush-bashers, apply a little martial arts misdirection to Dubya’s national security strength by rendering it less relevant, and redirect the campaign toward the greatest strengths of Kerry and his party. And it would be the route that would fit in best with Kerry’s own strengths as a speechifier.

Oh, sure, that runs the same huge risk for Mr. French as boasting about there not having been another terrorist attack in the homeland would for the President – if something big goes boom, there goes his credibility – and the notion would certainly seem to be belied by the army of security that is locking down half of Beantown this week. But as former NFL football coach Chuck Knox used to say, “You gotta play the hand you’re dealt.” Kerry is not a used car salesman and emotion-manipulator like Bill Clinton, and he’s not an angry, alpha male-impersonator (and crazy as a loon) like Al Gore. And thanks to them and self-righteous pacifistic fops like George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, and his mentor, Michael Dukakis, his party is not taken seriously on national security, and hasn’t a prayer of regaining such gravitas after its reprehensible conduct of the past fifteen months. So if you know voters won’t trust you in time of war, you have to make the case that the war is over and hope that near-term events don’t burst the illusion. Is it responsible? Absolutely not. Is it Kerry’s only realistic chance? Definitely. Can it hold for three months and a week? Well, it’s held for almost three years, hasn’t it? What would Lurch have to lose? After all, it only has to hold long enough for him to get elected. Thereafter al Qaeda can incinerate the entire country, and Kerry will still be in what’s left of the White House. And what more prominent historical legacy could he have than to go down as the last President of the United States? Would stomp Clinton’s legacy into chunky salsa.

Bottom line is, since greater Kerry exposure usually means declining Kerry poll numbers, why not use what exposure you have to incur to your best advantage? But will the fourth-term junior upper chamber legislator from the Bay State follow this advice? From the looks of things, it appears highly unlikely.

What a…well, “crying” shame…

Friday, July 23, 2004

President Punching Bag

Ever since he landed on that aircraft carrier fourteen months ago President Bush has sat back and let his enemies beat the living hell out of him without so much as a whimper of protest. And the whole time I’ve said it was a mistake, because it was allowing his enemies to define him most unfavorably. And when, or if, at some point he decided to get into the campaign and fight, he would find the political landscape as intractable as it would be hostile.

The polls seem to bear that out. Within a matter of days of the Iowa caucuses that propelled John Kerry on his presumptive way to the Democrat nomination, Lurch surged into a dead heat with the President and has been there ever since, despite being the worst national candidate in at least sixteen years. Indeed, it appears to have taken sixty or seventy million dollars in negative advertising just to keep Bush from falling significantly behind.

We know, of course, that the Bushies have said for over a year that they expected a “close” election, and some like pollster Matt Dowd have predicted a fifteen-point Kerry lead after next week’s Dem convention. Nobody is really buying this given the polarization of the electorate, but there comes a point where “lowering expectations” crosses over to a frank concession of weakness, or even defeat, at least in terms of public perception.

From my perspective, this Bush re-election bid has borne the increasing stench that blanketed his father’s hideously disappointing effort twelve years ago. And this one would be far worse because, let’s face it, John Kerry is no Bill Clinton.

But then, low and behold, this week we started hearing that the Bush-Cheney effort, which heretofore has confused assertion of its past record for an explanatory defense of it when it’s bothered to say anything at all, would, over the course of the next month, begin laying out a blockbuster second term agenda that would transform the race and leave John-John in the dust.
One would like to think so, given that even a mid-single-digit lead for Kerry after next week may be a formidable hill for the embattled incumbent to climb.

And then, in the last twenty-four hours, I came across these two items:

THE WAR, OR, ER, PEACE PRESIDENT: Bush seems to be changing his tune a little on the campaign trail:

Mr. Bush noted: "The enemy declared war on us. Nobody wants to be the war president. I want to be the peace president. The next four years will be peaceful years." He repeated the words "peace" or "peaceful" many times, as he has done increasingly in his recent appearances.

“How does he know? What if Iran gets a nuke? What if there's another major terror attack? The President has obviously been worrying about his hard-edged image with women. But he needs to avoid lapsing into incoherence.”


Along with about 7,000 others, I listened to the remarks last evening that reportedly represented the President's new and improved stump speech. I thought, and have since learned many others agree, that it needs more improvement - and editing. It was unfocused and so drifted down every policy by-way imaginable. It sounded like a State of the Union address intended to buck up the bureaucrats by mentioning every conceivable initiative. There were some good zingers for those few still paying attention. Paraphrased from sketchy notes on the back of my program: You can't be pro-business and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. You have to choose and my opponent made a choice and put him on the ticket. Another line about "junk lawsuits" got plenty of applause as did a pledge to stand up for marriage and the family. "There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat," received a standing ovation. Hopefully, people didn't just take the opportunity for a seventh inning stretch to relieve the tedium. ”

Although the speech had been hyped as an opportunity to talk about the President's second term agenda, there was only an oblique reference to ushering in a new era of ownership. The President noted that John Edwards won a mention as one of our "sexiest politician," and said that one of his goals for the second term was to get Dick Cheney on that list. It was the only concrete agenda item of the night.

What does this suggest? Well, it reminds me of the last two losing GOP presidential bids in that it seems as if Bush is being over-handled. I mean, come on, he’s too “hard-edged” for women? Hasn’t Karl Rove read Michelle Malkin’s latest column about “security moms”? Besides, whom do they think they’re fooling? Bush isn’t a war president because he chose it, but because it was chosen for him by events. And he’s performed strongly and ably in the role. It’s been said on many occasions that he believes it to have been why God put him in charge at this time in our history. So now it doesn’t fit him anymore? I can understand why he’d hunger for quieter times, but if that’s what he wants, defeat in November would get that for him quite efficiently, just as voters can get a “peace president” by electing his opponent. Indeed, that whole paragraph could go, lock, stock, and barrel, into a Kerry campaign ad as effectively as the Bushies used Kerry’s “I voted for the $87 billion before I voted against it” gaffe against him. Particularly the “the next four years will be peaceful” part, which I guarantee will be used should another major terrorist attack hit before Election Day.

As for the domestic side, again, if voters want eye-glazing wonkery, they’ve got a ready source of it in Senator Kerry. What the President needs to do is make a big splash, as well as minimizing or negating his prescription drug boondogglery, with the only such option left available to him: Social Security privatization. Such a move would be bold, galvanize the GOP base, add to it by appealing to the still largely-neglected and ever-growing investor class, and completely eclipse John Kerry’s “I served in Vietnam!” gimmick and force him to react to it (to hold onto his raging base – itself a growing liability - he’d have no choice) in order to even remain visible in the race.

Would it outrage the left? Sure. But guess what? They’re already “outraged.” They’re insanely pissed that George W. Bush continues to draw breath and have been for over three years. And from what I’ve read, a growing number of people beyond just Republicans are getting sick of it. So could it really get any worse? Especially when there is so much to be gained in return?

I wouldn’t stop there. I would make the complete refurbishment of our intelligence apparatus, incorporating at least a representative sample of the 9/11 commission’s recommendations, a top priority. Such an overhaul is about thirty years overdue, and people like John Kerry are the ones responsible for denuding it to the point where it’s just another bureaucracy that doesn’t know which end is up and has a vested interest in remaining ignorant, instead of the kind of rapier weapon the government needs to fight terrorism in the shadows so that we won’t have to fight as many wars in the light. I would hang that, and his votes to cut intelligence funding by billions, which even his mentor Uncle Ted didn’t support, around Kerry’s neck now while he’s still mumbling about calling an “emergency domestic intelligence summit” or whatever the hell he’s calling it as his idea of counter-terrorism.

These is an area where Kerry can, believe it or not, get to Bush’s right if the President isn’t careful. Don’t laugh; it’s what Bill Clinton did to Duyba’s dad on taxes AND foreign policy twelve years ago. And while the son isn’t vulnerable on taxes, he IS on the intelligence issue simply by not swiftly holding Clinton holdovers like George Tenet (and by implication, Bill Clinton himself) accountable for the failures that allowed 9/11 to happen. To say nothing of his AWOL status on immigration and the lingering political correctness fetish that eschews racial/ethnic profiling and refuses to speak candidly about the true nature of Islam (as opposed to the fiction that people like bin Laden have “perverted” it), which are huge and continuing liabilities to homeland security efforts.

There’s an old saying: “Fortune favors the bold.” Recent political history has proven time and again that audacity and vision win elections, and timidity and moderation lose them. Nobody was more audacious than Bill Clinton, and nobody had greater visions than men like Ronald Reagan and Newt Gingrich, who accomplished things for the GOP that nobody believed possible. And nobody epitomizes pompous, cynically vacillating caution more than Gomer the Gigolo.

George W. Bush has displayed both of these traits. Which one he chooses to embrace now will determine how soon he goes back to fence-mending in Crawford.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

What Did Kerry Know, And When Did He Know It?

Boy, how a fresh Clinton scandal can feel like Old Home Week.

First there was the Democrat suggestion that the Bergeler investigation was leaked by the Bush Administration to distract from the “devastating” 9/11 commission final report. The suggestion of which was itself an attempt at distraction, since (1) the report wasn’t damaging at all to the White House and (2) they knew its contents long in advance since it had to be pre-vetted for national security purposes.

And, not to be outdone, there was the counter-theory, marvelingly and admiringly put forth by some conservative pundits, that the old Clinton spinner Lanny Davis leaked the story pre-emptively to his favorite reporter, the AP’s John Solomon, so as to deprive the Republicans of the chance to do so later in the campaign when it could have seriously damaged John Kerry. The underlying implication being, “Damn, they outmaneuvered us again!”

Well, I’ll buy the Dem leak, but not the toadying defeatism. First, if this theory is sound, then by its very nature the other side had the initiative, and there was nothing we could have done to prevent it. The Clinton propaganda machine, being the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be, never lets moss grow beneath its feet. Second, Republicans almost never play the leak game, unless it’s against other Republicans. And third, I don’t think this leak was directed primarily at the President or the GOP. Rather, I think it was an attention-seizing salvo in the war for control of the Democrat party between the Clinton machine and the Kennedy family old guard being fronted by the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

It’s no secret that the Clintons, through their DNC sock-puppet Terry McAuliffe, control the Democrat party, and that the Kennedys want to regain it via the Kerry candidacy. It’s also no secret that the Clintons didn’t want Kerry at first (running Wesley Clark instead) and then allowed Kerry to get the nomination when Clark fizzled by aiding in the self-destruction of Howard Dean. Their underlying assumption: Kerry wouldn’t get blown out, but wouldn’t be a serious threat to actually win and derail Hillary’s designs on 2008. And despite President Bush’s increasingly feckless floundering, that is still a fairly safe assumption.

But the Clintons didn’t get where they’ve been and are now by leaving anything to chance. Which is why a lot of old Clinton hands populate and animate the Kerry campaign, and where Sandy Berger comes in.

It cannot be seriously questioned that Berger’s primary mission in stealing classified documents related to the Millennium terrorist incidents was to sanitize the record so as to minimize the damage to Clinton’s ongoing legacy-quest that would be caused by the public airing of his wholesale national security derelictions and how they left us wide open to the 9/11 attacks. But consider this Watergate-reminiscent question: what did John Kerry know, and when did he know it?

Berger was a top Kerry foreign policy advisor at the same time that he was doing his “plumbing” for Bill Clinton. It isn’t at all unreasonable to ask whether Berger might have shared this pilfered classified information with the “presumptive” Democrat nominee. There’s no way to prove that, of course – at least none that WE know of. But Kerry did ditch Berger awfully fast. And then there’s the matter of what is being called “Kerry’s suddenly disappearing web documents” specifically relating to anti-terror policy.

Now is this to suggest that Kerry was a co-conspirator in Bergelergate? Not at all. Or at least not necessarily; as I have said elsewhere, I don’t think the Boston Balker is a crook or a traitor (he was a traitor at one time, and that’ll come into play to the degree that he tries to suck off his four-month Vietnam photo-op, but he would be incapable of helping pull off a caper like this). What I am suggesting is that the Kerryites were all too happy to help themselves to Berger’s “resources” not knowing from where he had obtained them, and since the Clintonoids knew Berger was already under criminal investigation, they let this fact slip right before the Democratic National Convention to both embarrass Kerry and send him a message.

And I think that message is that there’s a lot more little “surprises” where this one came from.

Anatomy Of Yet Another Clinton Scandal

According to Newsweek magazine, Bill Clinton got a strong warning that Osama bin Laden wanted to hijack airliners. On December 4, 1998, Clinton was presented with a President's Daily Brief (PDB) with the eye-catching title "Bin Laden Preparing to Hijack U.S. Aircraft and other attacks".

The PDB, which has just been declassified, was prompted by a British intelligence report that the son of the Egyptian "blind sheik" Omar Abdel- Rahman - who had been convicted of a plot to blow up New York City landmarks - proposed to hijack airplanes and ransom the passengers in exchange for his father's release.

Curiously, the same information turned up twenty months later, in the August 6, 2001, PDB presented to President Bush, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." One White House official suggested that the existence of the earlier PDB was evidence that President Bush was never properly informed by the outgoing Clintonoids about the full depth of the al Qaeda threat. "This was never briefed to us," said the official about the 1998 PDB.

Conclusion #1: if the Clinton administration didn’t specifically know about the 9/11 attacks in advance, they did know that al Qaeda was (1) in the United States and (2) was intending to launch 9/11-style attacks against American domestic civilian targets.

But what about the part about the outgoing Clintonoids neglecting to mention the full depth of the al Qaeda threat to the incoming Bushies? This is where former Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger comes in.

Berger is the focus – brace yourselves, this is just too juicy - of a criminal investigation after removing highly classified terrorism documents and handwritten notes from a secure reading room during preparations for the 9/11 commission hearings.

Let that sink in for a few moments. Sandy Berger – Bill Clinton’s Condoleezza Rice – stole (“allegedly”) highly classified terrorism documents and handwritten notes from a “secure” reading room during preparations for the 9/11 commission hearings.

Well, then, just what docs did he steal? A big clue is found in the fact that some drafts of a sensitive after-action report on the Clinton administration's handling of al-Qaeda terror threats during the December 1999 millennium celebration are still missing.

Conclusion #2: Berger stole, and most likely destroyed, the very documents that showed beyond any doubt the Clinton administration’s complicity in failing to take decisive action against the al Qaeda operations then already in the works, for the nakedly political purpose of sanitizing Bill Clinton’s “legacy” and smearing his successor in the midst of an election year.

Berger has also admitted having stuffed some of the classified documents “down his pants,” (another common Clinton scandal trait) and offered up a typical Clintonoid mea culpa: “I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced.” In other words, “mistakes were made,” selective memory failure, “good intentions,” and can’t we just drop this and “move on”?

But we can’t just “move on,” because there’s the additional little matter of Sandy Berger being a top campaign advisor to…John Kerry, whose campaign spokesman said just this morning that they “have no comment” while the “investigation is still ongoing.”

This is SO revealing in so many ways. What does it say about Senator Kerry that he takes on as a senior advisor a man who is, in essence, the Democrat equivalent of a Watergate “plumber”? What does it say that, now that Berger’s “alleged” crime is public knowledge, Kerry doesn’t immediately pink-slip Berger and disassociate himself from the whole mess?

But then the same questions can be asked about Kerry’s cultivation of the now-discredited liar “Yellowcake Joe” Wilson, who is also on the Kerry campaign and even has a website that Kerry subsidizes and links to from his own. The same questions can be applied to the 9/11 commission itself, which ceased to be either “independent” and “nonpartisan” months and months ago. And these questions are never going to be answered or even asked by the partisan media, which have so vested a stake in the realization of the objective – George Bush’s defeat – that these questions so powerfully imperil.

It is, well, “incumbent” upon the Bush campaign, at campaign appearances, through surrogates and through its media advertising, to put these questions front and center, particularly with the flagrantly dishonest personal “introduction” of Kerry that will be splattered across the public airwaves next week in Boston.

If John Kerry wants to be taken seriously as being a “moderate” (despite his twenty year senate record), let him turn the Wilson and Berger disasters into twin “Sister Souljah” moments. Otherwise, let him hang politically alongside of them.

UPDATE: Well, half of it didn’t take long – “Bergeler” was “resigned” from the Kerry campaign today, sparing the Boston Balker any further embarrassment for the moment. But there’s now the question of whether Clinton’s plumber might have shared copies of those pilfered classified documents with the Kerry campaign. It’s imperative that GOPers keep up the heat on this front.

Meanwhile, Joe Wilson is still aboard, whining about having been “smeared.”

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Sedition Gets More Just Desserts

Ya know, it does my heart good to see a bloated, washed-up has-been performer like Linda Ronstadt get both booed off the stage and thrown out of the Las Vegas hotel, the Aladdin, at which she was performing for defending an even more bloated traitor like Michael Moore and urging the audience to see his seditious “documentary.” Reportedly the crowd was so angry at Ronstadt’s freelance politicking that they were on the verge of rioting.

Nobody wants to see violence or destruction of property, of course, but to me it’s rather like the Vice President’s missive to Senator Pat Leahy – an incident that is not virtuous in and of itself, but becomes virtuous by, well, virtue of the evil against which it is reacting.

One can just see the Jon Fredersens warming up in the bullpen on this, but their nonsense is irrelevant by its ubiquity. The fact is that Leahy and Ronstadt and Whoopie Goldberg (who was fired by SlimFast) and, way back when, the Dixie Chicks, got exactly what they deserved. And it would appear that a substantial portion of Americans feels the same way.

Hindsight On Autopilot

Another tidbit in the “bipartisan" {snicker} 9/11 commission’s report is that al Qaeda had not just an ongoing relationship with Iran, but that the Iranians rendered specific assistance in the 9/11 attacks. And now, if you can believe this, the partisan media is starting to actually make the case that this proves we should have - {shaking head and rolling eyes uncontrollably} - pre-emptively invaded Iran instead of Iraq.

Well, okay, they’re saying we should have "focused" on Iran instead of Iraq. Which is, for all practical purposes, six of one and half-dozen of the other. The same thing can be said of the left with regard to Operation Enduring Freedom (the invasion of Afghanistan), which they all opposed and claimed would be a “failure” and a “fiasco” and a “quagmire.” The same thing would be said BY the left if President Bush began specifically making the case for regime change in Tehran. Indeed, if we had focused on Iran first, they’d have slammed him for that and for ignoring all the “evidence” of the need to do something about Saddam Hussein first.

The one constant in the Democrat universe is mindless criticism of George W. Bush. Small wonder that even as calm and respected a commentator as Michael Barone concluded you can’t take these people seriously.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

The Dream Job Nobody Wants

So another of the “bipartisan" {snicker} 9/11 commission’s recommendations is the creation of a Cabinet-level “intelligence czar” who would be over CIA, NSA, DIA, and the rest of the vast, sprawling intelligence bureaucracy, eh?

Well, maybe that would help coordinate intelligence gathering and minimize inter-agency rivalries in the same way that the Joint Chiefs of Staff system coordinates the different branches of the military. My only question, though is this:

After the hind-sighted sniping and acrimonious Monday-morning quarterbacking of the past year – or, depending on your point of view, the past three years – who on Earth would actually be daft enough to take this job?