Saturday, April 30, 2005

Franks Sez WMDs *Did* Go To Syria

Seems to me the commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom would qualify as at least somewhat of an authority on the issue, wouldn't you agree?

Retired General Tommy Franks, who commanded the successful U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, said Thursday that he saw persuasive evidence that Saddam Hussein had transferred his weapons of mass destruction to Syria.

"We saw all kinds of suspicious activity which, all of us could have speculated, meant for certain that weapons were being moved into Syria," the top military man told WWRL Radio's Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter.

General Franks added that while he "never saw anything that was absolutely convincing, the possibility remains" that Saddam's WMDs were removed.

Franks was responding to claims by his second in command, retired General Michael DeLong, who told Malzberg last year:

"Two days before the war, on March 17 [2003], we saw through multiple intelligence channels - both human intelligence and technical intelligence - large caravans of people and things, including some of the top 55 [most wanted] Iraqis, going to Syria."
Of course they went to Syria, just as sure as Saddam had WMD.

This is not, well, rocket science. Saddam played shell games with UN weapons inspectors for twelve years. If he didn't have a WMD arsenal and programs, what was he hiding? Why act guilty if you can prove your innocence and get the scrutiny (such as it was) of the "international community" off your back?

I've never bought the suggestion that the WMD never existed but that he thought he had them because his top lieutenants "lied to him." Hello? Lying to Saddam Hussein was an ingraved invitation to a very agonizing and grisly fate. There's a reason why he so terrorized his closest Ba'athist associates above all others, after all, and why he had redundant secret police apparatuses: he didn't trust anybody. It wasn't in his nature.

One could advance the theory that he pretended to have WMD so as to keep the UN sanctions in place as a cover for the twenty-one billion smackers he was skimming off the Oily Food program, with an eye toward financing the reacquisition of a fresh WMD arsenal. Except that that hypothesis doesn't require him to have been "pretending." Indeed, the UN's appalling corruption would have been the proverbial icing on the cake.

Many people make the mistake of confusing the concepts of "evil" and "insanity," as though it isn't possible for a man to rationally reason his way to heinous conclusions. This is typically a retrospective error, which follows confrontations and conflicts brought about by the eager tendency on the part of those same people to delude themselves about the evil of aggressor dictators like a Hitler, a Stalin, a Mao, or a Saddam out of a craven reluctance to, yes, pre-emptively confront it. While such men may be whacked about certain things (Hitler's anti-Semitism, commies' quasi-religious faith in Marxian romanticism), and definitely paranoid (as Saddam certainly was), they have, on the whole, proven themselves eminently capable of taking the measure of the democratic (small "d") leaders with whom they deal.

It seems obvious to me that Saddam knew the UN was no threat to him, even before the Oily Food gravy train got rolling. He reasoned that to the extent he couldn't manipulate them, he could buy them off with their own subsidies. By such means could he both safeguard his WMD arsenal and programs and gain "investment capital" to vastly enlarge them, with an eye toward dominating the Middle East and even beyond.

He miscalculated with George W. Bush partly because he was used to the feckless idiocy of the Clinton regime and partly due to the buffoonish propaganda caracature created of the 43rd POTUS by his domestic political enemies. But when Bush made the mistake, at then-SecState Colin Powell's insistence, of going back to, and working through, the UN instead of bypassing it and invading Iraq as soon as possible, Saddam was provided with an extra six months' breathing room, and he evidently put it to good use by evacuating his WMD assets to Syria, manipulating the Western press into propagandizing their absence to discredit Bush's pre-emption strategy on his behalf, and establishing the "insurgency" to wear down the Coalition "occupiers" and pave the way for his triumphant return to power.

The latter two didn't work out for the same basic reasons as the original miscalculation. But to insist, as the Bushophobes still do, that the WMD never existed at all is the epitome of foolishness and reflects unfounded assumptions grounded in overt partisan malice.

General Franks grasps Occam's Razor. Pump Saddam full of sodium pentathol and he'd most likely confirm it.

Libs, though, will battle it to the death, because facts and substance have become politically lethal to them.

Which goes to show that oftentimes, complexity is just a facade for the intellectual emptiness concealed behind it.

Can't Attack the Judiciary, Hmm?

Here is what Ralph Neas, president of People for the Soviet Way, has to say about California Supreme Court Judge and Bush federal appellate court nominee on the PFSW website:

“Janice Rogers Brown is the far right’s dream judge....She embodies Clarence Thomas’s ideological extremism and Antonin Scalia’s abrasiveness and right-wing activism. Giving her a powerful seat on the DC Circuit Court would be a disaster.”

I'll get to fisking cracks like this tomorrow, since Dem senators have parroted them more or less verbatim. The observation I can't help making here is...haven't people like Neas been castigating people like Tom DeLay for "attacking" the courts? Stentorianly slamming conservatives, particularly evangelicals like James Dobson, for "assaulting the independence" of the judicial branch? But that's precisely what Neas does in a mere three sentences. Indeed, he manages to slime both Judge Brown and Justices Thomas and Scalia all in the same caustic breath. Isn't that an "assault on the independence" of the judicial branch?

This is, naturally, a rhetorical question. The far left doesn't want an "independent" judiciary; they want an ideological one that will, as Rush Limbaugh put it this past week, "institutionalize" their policy agenda so as to remove it entirely from the realm of a legislative/democratic process that has rejected it and them.

When I and many others refer to the "Imperial Judiciary," it most assuredly is not hyperbole. Screeds like Ralph Neas' are the redundant proof.

Doyle Sez Vote Fraud is Finger-Lickin' Good

Mark Noonan brings our attention to this latest bit of Donk brazenness, where, to inappropriately employ an off-color aphorism, Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle is refusing to cut the cheese:

Governor Jim Doyle vetoed a bill Friday that would have required voters to show government-issued picture identification at the polls, saying it would disenfranchise elderly voters.

No word is available on just how elderly voters would be disenfranchised, unless Doyle is implying that they're all senile and would be lucky to make it to the nearest busstop with their pants on and without a roll of toilet paper trailing flutteringly behind them, much less remember to bring identification with them on Election Day.

I thought about this the other evening when I stopped by a local KFC to pick up some chicken for dinner. The bill came to a little over nine bucks, and I whipped out my check card, and the high school kid across the counter from me asked to see my ID.

"I can't buy three original recipe chicken breasts and a biscuit without showing ID, but I could spend every Election Day driving to as many precincts as humanly possible, cast a vote in each one, and never be asked to identify myself once," thought I as I dug my wallet back out to retrieve my driver's license.

I live in the state of Washington. 'Nuff said.

Next election, I'm thinking of taking a bucket of original recipe with me to my polling place. I hope they don't mind greasy ballots.

In the meantime, I would urge Badger state Pachyderms to begin a villification campaign against Governor Doyle questioning the legitimacy of his election. As corrupted as his state's election process has become, and as eager as he is to keep it that way, his forfeiture of governing credibility seems eminently reasonable to cite, preparatory to his forfeiture of his possibly ill-gotten office itself.

Maybe after it's over, he and Christine Grinchoire can do a Doritos commercial together.

Or perhaps KFC....

To Live & Lie in D.C.

More comments I posted at Blogs for Bush yesterday....


If you approach the American people with your honest views and defend them openly, you may lose...but if you instead approach the American people by obfuscating your views and using attacks on the other side to distract from your opinions, then you will not only lose for sure, but lose very badly.

Not if you're a good enough liar. How else to explain the Clinton detour?

The Dems' biggest problem now is that their leaders are all lightweights (i.e. Pelosi), stiffs (i.e. Reid), and mental ward escapees (i.e. Al Gore), none of whom can think worth a lick, much less on their feet, and all of whom are such knee-jerk reactionaries that it ought to be child's play to manipulate them.

Unfortunately, aside from the President (whose biggest fault is that he's too stubbornly nice), it seems the only leader our party has who isn't a numbnut (i.e. Lugar) or a cringer (i.e. Frist) is Tom DeLay. And look what's happening to him.

If the Democrats were to forthrightly state what they are doing, they'd lose...but for them to foolishly try to hide their real reasons for action is even worse; falsehood comes out, and the people know when they are being conned.

And if Republicans aren't pointing this out, then "the people" will conclude that our party is winking at it, that it's all just the same old game, and resignedly shrug and write it off to "politics as usual."

If people feel like they're being conned but their elected GOP representatives don't seem to be objecting to the con themselves, won't the people throw up their hands in futility and stop paying attention?

All President Bush and the GOP had to do over the past month or so was just wait for the Democrats to saw off the branch they were sitting on. It was a certainty they'd do it; they've been doing it to themselves for better than 10 years now. Unless the Democrats get a sudden attack of honesty, they are going to go on losing - and deservedly so.

Wrong. That's only half the equation. It's our party that has to do the actual sawing. Otherwise, if/when the branch eventually breaks, it'll be the rest of the tree that topples over.

Review the political history of the past forty years. The GOP could claim Wile E. Coyote as a mascot far more credibly than the Donks ever could.

as soon as a GOPer comes along who realises just how fed up most conservatives are with making nice with the other side, that GOPer will steamroller the competition for the GOP nomination in '08 and go on to clobber whomever the Democrats put up. The 2008 theme song will be Nazareth's "Now You're Messing With a Son of a B***".

There is no such GOPer. At least not one that would get within a parsec of the nomination.

Again, among the current leadership, Tom DeLay would come closest, and look what's being done to him. Before him it was Newt Gingrich, and look what was done to him.

If any such Republican looked like a star on the rise, they'd be rototilled long before the snows fell in Iowa and New Hampshire. Which is precisely why no Republican contender would ever take that tack. Heck, remember the 2000 convention? They practically withheld floor passes from anybody who wouldn't lactate on command.

The party hierarchy will never stop being haunted by Pat Buchanan at the 1992 convention in Houston. And he wasn't even the nominee.

With all due respect, I'm not a pessimist; I'm a realist. I only sound pessimistic because studying history will do that to a person.

That said, I'll point out that the Clinton Diversion (perversion?) was an utter disaster for the Democrats and the left...because the left was bamboozled into defending the Clinton's when they should have joined in the impeachment, the Clinton's managed to survive, but the net effect of the 8 years of Clinton was loss after loss for the left.

Yes, but try telling them that. You can't. They drank the koolaid for years. Only instead of killing them, it turned them into raving zombies with astroturf for brains.

Heck, I spent years in online debate forums warning them about this. I told Donks to their "faces" that one day Clinton was going to leave office, and the fantastically intricate propaganda apparatus with which he and his machine spent the '90s playing "Gingerbread Man" with their ponderous GOP foes was going to fly apart spectacularly with nobody remotely competent left to pilot it.

They never listened. And neither, apparently, did their party leaders. So when the propaganda machine started going "punkety-punkety-punkety," they comforted themselves in the "Bush is a dolt" myth. Then they lost the 2002 mid-terms. So they decided to dispense with "nuance" and "spin" and that gave us the Howie Dean phenomenon. Then, like a lush just dimly aware that he's on the brink of explosive liver decompression, they threw the bottle away at the last possible instant in Iowa last year, and turned back to "nuance" in the person of arguably their least competent practitioner of it. And now, having lost again, they're reduced to following a man who looks like Tom Daschle after drinking from the wrong Holy Grail.

That's why I'm so caustic in my ridicule of Bill Frist. Tangling with Dirty Harry should be like watching the Skipper arm-wrestle Gilligan. Yet Frist tip-toes around like he's going up against the political equivalent of Hulk Hogan, circa 1982. It's humiliating even to read about it.

Honesty is always the best policy...and the Democrats have made a fetish out of being dishonest.

Bill Clinton made a political career out of it. And he's the last successful Democrat. That's all the farther his lilliputian followers can see. So they'll follow his example all the way to the bottom, never realizing that it was a parasitic relationship from the very start.

I've always thought that Sick Willie is never truly happy unless he's exploiting somebody. Ironic indeed it is that for all those years, we thought it was only because he was making monkeys out of us.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Politics of Social Security

Some thoughts I posted over at Blogs for Bush today.


Does this plan offer any other solution than taking it out on the rich? Why punish the rich? becuase they worked hard? Becuase they're american dream is being fufilled?

Because that is the sacrament in the Church of the Poisoned Mind. Class warfare is to libs what taking Communion is to Christians. It's a pillar of their godless faith.

Asking Dems to "come to the table" on Social Security reform without socking it to the wealthy would be like asking Billy Graham to co-headline a crusade with Marilyn Manson. It just doesn't fit.

That's the problem with the President's approach to SS reform. After four-plus years in D.C. he's still welded to the idea that by being "reasonable" and "conciliatory" he can elicit recuprocity from the DisLoyal Opposition. I had thought that after the way they whizzed in his face for nearly two solid years that he'd have been disabused of this delusionary notion, but apparently not. The "New Tone" will never die with this man, and as much as he managed to accomplish in his first term despite it, it's really hampering him now, and nowhere more than on Social Security reform.

If the President wants to get done what needs to get done, "reasonableness" and "conciliation" need to give way to "ruthlessness" and "confrontation."

And there needs to be a formal plan. Otherwise, the "third rail of politics" is going to revive with a vengeance.


Reality check: The Dems are never "coming to the table." They can't. It would be ideological suicide. Social Security is the crown jewel of the welfare state. Marketize that and the party of the New Deal has little, if anything, left to defend.

Our choice is whether we want to force them to commit political suicide instead by crafting personal account reform legislation (i.e. Ryan-Sununu) and forcing them to either let it pass or filibuster it.

The latter would be a virtual certainty. And that would be the path to another smashing victory in November 2006.

Dubya has done a fine job of selling the need for reform. The next step is to propose a formal plan, and give the extreme media something to prattle about other than how reform is "sinking."

Otherwise, that prattle will become prophecy fulfilled.

The New Persecution

I've been writing about the bigotry of the Left against biblical Christianity - "Christophobia," as I've coined the term - for the thirteen years I've been online. I've seen this hatred firsthand, and often. It is as noisome and virulent as any prejudice there has ever been, including Nazi anti-Semitism, the early stages of which contemporary Christophobia in America is disquietingly beginning to resemble.

Stanley Kurtz writes extensively on this topic on NRO today, and succeeds in taking everything I've written since 1992 and distilling it down to a single column. There's no way to adequately excerpt it - every word is powerful and prescient.

Please, do read the whole thing and take it to heart and act upon it, while it's still possible to do so.

UPDATE/BUMP TO 4/29: Captain Ed picks up on the same thread today, in connection with Senator Ken Salazar's vicious slander of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.

The peroration:

Salazar's rant blows the cover off of the attacks on Bush, Dobson, and anyone who professes their faith as an important component of their lives. Judicial nominees like William Pryor and Janice Rogers Brown (who won 76% of Californian votes in her last election to the State Supreme Court) have been called "extremists" and "Neanderthals" for their "deeply held personal beliefs", as Chuck Schumer put it, which has become code for "Catholicism" and opposition to abortion. Instead of honestly debating the real issues, the Democrats have chosen to smear people of faith in the hope of driving them underground, to steal their voices and to scare them away from the public square. They want the overwhelming majority of Americans who profess faith in God to shut the Hell up, and leave government to the atheists.

No thank you. We are all Americans, and our government should reflect the values held by the mainstream, not just the faithless.

"And the four living creatures kept saying, 'Amen,' and the elders fell down and worshiped...."

No Social Security Plan A Tactical Masterstroke?

I had parts of President Bush's presser on while I was working yesterday evening, but I was too busy to pay a whole lot of attention to it. Press rumors yesterday afternoon were that he was finally going to put forth his formal plan to reform Social Security. This is consistent with the pretty much universal spin that the reason that Social Security reform is supposedly "sinking" is because the White House's refusal to get specific and provide leadership (i.e. political cover) for the Republican majories on Capitol Hill.

Yet Dubya didn't add anything new to that debate last night beyond a proposal to means-test Social Security benefits. Otherwise, the status quo is unchanged.

Powerline's John Hinderaker thought Bush did a "great job," even as he was less than thrilled with the means-testing idea, though willing to accept it in exchange for private accounts.

But on NRO today, Kevin Hassett turns the conventional wisdom on its head by suggesting that avoiding any Social Security reform specs is "tactically inspired":

Since Social Security is in big trouble, it is not hard to convince folks that some kind of fix is in order. Once voters are convinced, then a politician has put a tremendous amount of pressure on his opponents.
Well, according to most polls, a majority of voters are convinced that Social Security is in big trouble. On the other hand, those same polls, even adjusted for press bias, produced mixed results at best on the degree to which voters have been sold on the general theme of Bush's reform vision. That suggests that the public is persuadable, but needs to hear more specifics before they'll buy into it.

If the President is conciliatory and reasonable, then perhaps the policymakers in Washington are obstructionists if nothing happens. The President wants to work with Democrats and get something done. He has his principles, but he wants to hear theirs.
IOW, "perhaps Republicans AND Democrats are obstructionists if nothing happens." Is that the depiction the White House wants to portray?

As to "working with Democrats to get something done," that's a nonsensical pipedream absent some means of coercion, which can only come from a popularized reform plan that they oppose at their peril.

So the Democrats have two choices. They can oppose any compromise, in which case they may pay a politically price because they are the ones who are unwilling to be flexible. Or they can compromise and fix Social Security. If the President put forward a plan, the Democrats could claim that the fix did not occur because of the weakness of the plan. Without a plan, they see pressure to go to the table and work one out with their Republican colleagues. If they do not, perhaps there will be many more Tom Daschles in the next election, and then Social Security can be reformed.

Here we see the gist of Mr. Hassett's position: use Social Security as a political truncheon against the Dems in the '06 elections in lieu of actually trying to fix it now. I don't know any other way to interpret his argument, because in the context of passing a reform plan in this Congress, it makes no sense. Democrats are going to demagogue this issue with or without a plan simply because the President has made it the co-#1 domestic issue this year. But without a plan, which is the logical next step in the process, that guarantees that the minority's demagoguery can be indefinitely open-ended. Where, in this instance, does the "pressure to go to the table" and "compromise" come from? Shouldn't that "pressure" already exist after Mr. Bush spending the past few months barnstorming the country? Sure doesn't seem like it. Which is why so many of his own supporters are fretting that he hasn't put forth a formal plan.

Mr. Hassett concludes thusly:

By managing the politics in this way, President Bush has reduced the political risk associated with Social Security reform, and probably maximized the chance that something positive can happen.

I disagree. By leading with this issue so prominently, the President has raised the stakes sufficiently that he has to have something to show for it besides just having the issue again in 2006. He's got to get a reform plan passed, with personal accounts, and have that Rose Garden signing ceremony. Anything less will be a failure, and that will hand the issue to the Democrats in the next election cycle.

Having said that, I do freely acknowledge that Senate Democrats, if/when confronted with such legislation, will filibuster it to death. As with their obstruction of the President's appellate court nominees, this is a matter of political survival for them. Like the courts, Social Security is at the core of their remaining national political viability. Take that away from them and they'll have so little policy ground left to stand on as to be all but pushed off the proverbial chessboard altogether. That's why the notion of the President "wanting to work" with these people is absurd. They're not going to do that. They're never going to do that. Even if they didn't hate his guts, they would be committing ideological suicide.

The only way to ensure that the Donks would be committing political suicide would be to place them squarely in the nakedly visible position of obstructing a plan that the people want. Without a formal plan to oppose, they're free to demagogue as much as they want, cost-free.

Did GDub do a "great job" last night? Perhaps in terms of style. But without more substance, style will be rendered increasingly irrelevent - if it hasn't already.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Saddam Tapes

Here's a fascinating follow-up development to the extreme media's "There were no WMD" re-hash from yesterday:

Iraq Survey Group Chief Charles Duelfer announced Tuesday that his team had uncovered "a large collection" of tape recordings of Saddam Hussein as he chaired top secret military meetings – evidence that could prove once and for all whether the Iraqi dictator had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. attacked in March 2003.

In an addendum to his WMD report that was released this week, Duelfer revealed:

"A substantial effort continues to examine the documents that have been recovered from the former Regime. ... For example, a large collection of audiotapes from Revolutionary Command Council meetings chaired by Saddam is being translated and reviewed. These will provide great insight into the decision making of the former Regime on a range of key subjects."

While Duelfer was cautious about how much light the Saddam tapes will shed on Iraq's unconventional weapons, he said the recordings "may provide more texture and details of particular programs and decisions. There may also be more specifics concerning who and how the programs were conducted, including support from outside Iraq."

Something tells me that, assuming there isn't an eighteen minute gap at a particularly juicy point, these tapes will be verrrrrrry educational - perhaps even to those who have no interest in the truth.

"Necklacing", Hillary Style

Get a load of who wants to generate towering clouds of acrid black smoke to char and choke the clean, fresh New York air?

New York Senator Hillary Clinton is backing a plan to burn old tires to supply energy to an upstate New York paper mill that will produce clouds of acrid black smoke - a proposal that has nearby residents in a panic over potential health risks.

In an April 13 letter to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, Clinton urged that the agency approve a two-week test burn at International Paper's Ticonderoga, N.Y., mill – adjacent to environmentally pristine Lake Champlain. [my emphasis]

Oh, my God, this is just too rich. The queen of "Republicans want to kill people with dirty water and dirty air" proposes befouling a slice of sacred "Mother Earth." That's a level of cheek to make one's back teeth hurt.

Here's a sample:

"I know that some are concerned about the potential air quality impact of burning tires at the mill," she wrote, before explaining that she agreed with IP's claims that pollution from the tire smoke won't be too harmful.

The top Democrat said the health risks were worth taking for the good of the local economy.

"I am strongly committed to working to ensure that IP's Ticonderoga mill continues to thrive and provide hundreds of good-paying jobs in Ticonderoga and the surrounding communities for generations," she explained. [my emphases]

Can you imagine any Republican suggesting such a thing? S/he would (politically speaking) be dragged away in chains by the greeniacs, his/her dismembered corpse to one day be found in an abandoned mine shaft in the middle of nowhere. It would never, ever happen.

But Hillary will get away with it. Why? Because this is part of her "Look at me, I'm a conservative!" gimmick. This is what she thinks Republicans are for, and whatever she thinks Republicans are for is what she's going to ape (at least periodically) for the next three and a half years.

Just look how her fellow Donks are losing themselves in their bit parts:

Clinton's support for the tire burn has prompted heated protest from Vermont Governor James Douglas, whose constituents live downwind of the Ticonderoga plant.

"Governor Douglas believes we need people in the United States Senate who understand how important it is to protect and improve our environment," his press secretary blasted, in quotes picked up by the Barre Montpelier Times Argus.

Apparently Governor Douglas had the discretion to refrain from saying, "We need someone in the White House who understands etc., etc., etc." That's what he really meant, and in so doing he's helping ensure that he gets his wish.

And doesn't end up dismembered at the bottom of a mine shaft in the middle of nowhere.

Will Dubya Finally Inter The "New Tone"?

That's what Deborah Orin of the New York Post is hinting:

Until now, Bush hasn't fought back. But maybe that's changing. Tonight he'll hold his first prime-time press conference in more than a year. Bush isn't crazy about them, but he generally does well, as most Americans like him personally.

Republican strategists said it's overdue.

"The Democrats are being totally obstructionist and we're on defense, which puts you in a position of weakness. The administration just isn't engaging with the Democrats or going after them," said a savvy GOP insider.

"I don't think there's an appetite for that right now — but eventually, it becomes a necessity."
Orin speculates that the Bushies haven't gotten into "post-campaign" mode in the sense that the President's re-election campaign, as opposed to the White House itself, was the outfit doing the heavy partisan lifting in last year's re-election campaign. But that really begs the question; this Bush White House has never, ever adopted a "campaign mode" of any kind in the four-plus years it's been there. And that reflects how Bush in particular, and Republicans in general, look at politics: you campaign for two or three months every couple of years, and the rest of the time you "get along" and "compromise," all under the umbrella of "governing." Unfortunately, the Democrats look at campaigning as a 24/7/365 proposition, and the combination of the two has again shown the efficacy of the "Clinton mode," much to GOP grassroots chagrin.

The other half of that chagrin comes from the surprise invariably expressed by "savvy GOP insiders" every time they're bludgeoned by the same "permanent campaign" tactics.

Frankly, Orin's piece comes off to me like wishful thinking. Dubya's commitment to the "New Tone" has surpassed anything and everything else, even the GWOT and partisan loyalty. He's adamantly determined to be a nice guy, and if that costs him his entire agenda and a failed presidency, then that's what he's going to do, dammit.

I suppose it's not impossible that he'll come out swinging at his press conference tonight. But if he does, the extreme media will just depict it as "desperation," which is, frankly, the kind of coverage that the White House would deserve for bumbling away the post-election initiative by allowing a Hill GOP passivity it has done little or nothing to combat.

Perhaps the most maddening aspect of all this is that the President's agenda items are still eminently winnable, most especially breaking the judicial filibuster and Social Security private accounts, with tax reform and the energy policy proposals he introduced yesterday waiting in the on-deck circle.

But that will require more than just positive, "visionary" leadership"; it will also require the willingness to engage in full-scale partisan combat, and use the power the electorate gave the GOP last November to its fullest extent.

George W. Bush has proven his mettle against our Islamists enemies; now he has to show the same ruthlessness to their domestic political counterparts.

As with the Byrd option, I'll believe it when I see it.

[HT: Blogs for Bush]

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Extreme Media Follies

Here’s a poll with some seriously confused respondents.

Most Americans believe news coverage is biased and negative, but they also say they respect journalists and trust what they hear and read.

A national survey conducted by the Missouri School of Journalism's Center for Advanced Social Research found 62% consider journalism credible and more than half rated newspapers and television news as trustworthy.

At the same time, 85% said they detect a bias in news reporting.
Nearly half – 48% - believe the bias they perceive is liberal. Which is fairly impressive given the tilt of the pollster in question.

To call these results cognitive dissonance doesn’t begin to describe them. But they can, I think, be attributed to the spin skill wielded by the extreme press, when they aren’t, you know, faking memos and defaming U.S. soldiers.

And that spin is relentless.

Here’s a case in point:

There they go again, still desperately trying to undermine the war effort.

A deluge of press reports yesterday claimed that Iraq Survey Group chief Charles Duelfer has determined that Saddam Hussein never shipped any of his weapons of mass destruction to Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.

But that's not what Duelfer said at all.

In a report available on the CIA Web site, the weapons prober explains:

"Some uncertainties remain and some information will continue to emerge about the WMD programs or the former Regime. Reports cited in the Comprehensive Report concerning the possible movement of WMD or WMD materials from Iraq prior to the war remain unresolved."

In other words, the extreme media is once again citing absence of evidence as evidence of absence. The two are not remotely the same thing.

Ed Morrissey puts the matter in proper perspective:

What does this tell us? First, by its inclusion in the addenda and not the main body, it tells us ... nothing. The data remains inconclusive, and that's all. ISG could not go into Syria, nor into the Bekaa Valley that until this week was controlled by Syria, to determine if any kind of transfers took place. The only conclusion they could reach is that official transfers never took place, meaning that Saddam's files contained no records of any such movement of materiel between Iraq and Syria. The report further tells us that had the ISG had the time and resources to follow up on the leads provided, they still probably would find out nothing, given the geopolitical difficulties of invading Syria to complete the investigation.

Had Duelfer and the ISG meant to conclusively state that no WMD transfers of any kind had occurred, it would not have been left as a footnote or an addendum. That usage indicates an explanation for an unfulfilled mandate of the mission, not a positive conclusion, as a close read of the language used indicates.
To extrapolate from an aphorism, it is difficult to find a horse long after it has escaped its stall and leaped the corral fence. But the extreme media would have us believe that there was never a horse at all.

But that is old news, despite the lib propagandists’ stubborn unwillingness to let it go, to say nothing of admitting defeat. For a more contemporary gambit, try this:

As the Senate moves toward a major confrontation over judicial appointments, a strong majority of Americans oppose changing the rules to make it easier for Republican leaders to win confirmation of President Bush's court nominees, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.

[B]y a 2 to 1 ratio, the public rejected easing Senate rules in a way that would make it harder for Democratic senators to prevent final action on Bush's nominees.
This is, not to put too fine a point on it, bull[bleep].

And as usual with extreme media polls, it’s all in how you phrase the questions.

Brother Hinderaker agrees:

[H]ere is the question the pollsters asked: "Would you support or oppose changing Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?" That is an absurd question, to which I would probably answer "No," too. The way the question is framed, it makes it sound like a one-way street, as though the Republicans wanted to change the rules to benefit only Republican nominees. If they asked a question like, "Do you think that if a majority of Senators support confirmation of a particular nominee, that nominee should be confirmed?" the percentages would probably reverse.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen did ask the question that way:

When asked if Senate rules should be changed to give every nominee a vote, 56% say yes and 26% say no. [my emphasis]

Wow, that’s the polar opposite of what ABC and the WaPo are claiming. Not that it’s a surprise or anything. They had a story they wanted to publish (“Americans overwhelmingly oppose any Republican attempt to change Senate rules to end the filibustering of judicial nominees”), and so they commissioned a poll that was as slanted as it had to be to produce the results that fit their angle. It’s pure left-wing propaganda, or what Hugh Hewitt likes to call “agenda journalism.”

An emailer to Rush Limbaugh may have captured media extremism best:

"This is not a push poll, this is a push-up poll. It's sort of like these phony lacy bras that try to make women look like they have more than they have. The media is now push-up polling trying to make it look like they have more than they have."

Pity the “boobs” are mostly on our side of the aisle.

There's Something About Ann

Ann Coulter's give-'em-hell style was on full display Monday evening. And a few meek gopher state souls didn't like it very much.

Ann Coulter spoke at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and, in terms that should have surprised no one, she flung barbs at liberal icons, calling Senator Ted Kennedy "a human dirigible" and Senator Barbara Boxer "learning disabled."
I'm still cackling on that last one.

Coulter's style, though, is one that the hard Left just cannot handle. Perhaps that's because it's so similar to their own, and the idea of a two-way street on anything is a concept utterly foreign to them.

Climbing aboard the anti-free speech express, St. Thomas University president Reverend Dennis Dease wrote in the Bulletin, a university newsletter, that "although [Ann Coulter's] presentation may have been meant as an 'act' or a 'shtick' to entertain by provoking those who disagree, such behavior unfortunately contributes to the growing dark side of our culture - a disrespect for persons and their sincerely held beliefs. Such hateful speech vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University of St. Thomas stands for."

Sure, Reverend. Just ask Tom DeLay, or John Bolton, or Donald Rumsfeld, or the President's appellate court nominees, or the President himself, or heck, ask Ms. Coulter. They could all tell you a thing or two about what it's like to be on the receiving end of "hateful speech."

Seems to me that what the "dark side" needs desperately is exposure to the light. Ms. Coulter just happens to use a flamethrower. Sure looks like it works to me, judging from your reaction.

Get a load of this next graf.

Coulter was a guest of the school's chapter of the College Republicans and a student newspaper, the Standard. There is no word on whether or not the Reverend Dease will take action against those groups. [my emphasis]

I realize that the First Amendment has been largely repealed, but even so, it's still breathtaking to see such Gestapo tactics speculated upon so casually.

Oh, but that's not the punchline.

Dease, curiously, was not present at the speech he so sternly criticized, but relied on others whose tender sensibilities were offended by Ann's remarks.

"I am told by many people," he wrote, "that Ms. Coulter was unsparing in her vitriolic criticism of 'liberals' and treated in a sarcastic, disrespectful and mean-spirited manner any audience members who challenged her viewpoints."

Doesn't this just figure? Dease had his mind made up before Ms. Coulter ever arrived. Indeed, it isn't unreasonable to wonder whether any of his "sources" were actually present at her lecture. The various accounts of her speech don't seem to include any actual quotes from it, "hateful" or otherwise.

When preconceived notions rule all, golly, who needs to actually listen to what a member of the other side has to say? And, since what the Left really wants to do is silence voices like Ms. Coulter, preconceived notions are all they dare cite.

One offended attendee, Fr. Dease wrote, who "found both Ms. Coulter’s remarks and attitude to be appalling, had an interesting question. He understands the value of hearing 'controversial' speakers and debating issues, 'but where do you draw the line?' he asked. 'When do you say, We’re not going to invite this person to campus, especially if she isn’t going to respect others’ points of view?'..."

According to reports, he said he "heard from people whose views I respect suggest that her performance went far beyond the bounds of what is commonly accepted as civil discourse."

Ann Coulter does not suffer fools or their foolishness gladly. She's blunt and outspoken. She takes no prisoners. And she gives as good as she gets. Kind of like John Bolton after extensive external modifications.

But that doesn't translate to "hate," unlike, say, the wave of recent campus physical attacks launched against conservative speakers such as Coulter, Pat Buchanan, and Bill Kristol, or the destestable bloviations of the far-left professoriate, or the assassination fetish of the moveon/Soros crowd.

Let me put it in terms that a man of the cloth should easily understand:

"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?

"Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye."

UPDATE: Here's real "hate speech"....

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Frist Wakes Up - But For How Long?

Suddenly, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist woke up this morning on the Senate floor and realized he was about to get spanked again by his Minority counterpart, Harry Reid, and belatedly jumped into the PR battle over the Democrat judicial filibuster.

Reacting to a Democratic offer in the fight over filibusters, Republican leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure Senate confirmation for all of President Bush's judicial nominees.

Um, not quite. Frist isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure an up-or-down floor vote on all of President Bush's appellate court nominees. It just so happens that they all enjoy majority support, which is why the Democrats are obstructing them.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid had been quietly talking with Frist about confirming at least two of Bush's blocked nominees from Michigan in exchange for withdrawing a third nominee. This would have been part of a compromise that would have the GOP back away from a showdown over changing Senate rules to prevent Democrats from using the filibuster to block Bush's nominees.

The fact that Frist hadn't given a public response made it look like he was receptive to Reid's blatant swindle. That would have triggered an open revolt by the GOP base, which, yes, really does give a damn about taking the courts back from the left-wing oligarchists who have usurped them. Obviously somebody got word of this to the good doctor, and he hastily put out this fire before it could metastasize into a conflagration.

Bully for him. At least he's not completely obtuse.

But it still begs the questions of what Frist has been doing for the past three and a half months, why there are "negotiations" about what was supposed to be, based upon last year's GOP platform and the election results it helped generate, a non-negotiable issue, and, if Mitch McConnell is correct that the votes are there to break the filibuster, why the SML won't simply pull the trigger and be done with it.

The strategic situation is that the Democrats are in a potentially short-sheeted PR bed of their own making. Their entire strategy was predicated on the assumption that the Republicans could be bamboozled and/or bullied away from changing the Senate rules to declare filibusters of judicial nominations out of order. This would preserve and reward their obstructionism and set the GOP into a genuine civil war that would be highly likely to destroy their majorities in 2006.

But what the Democrats are beginning to realize is that, if Frist and the boys do the unexpected and hang tough, and even, God help us, "go constitutional" after all, the minority will have no place to go. Absent half a dozen GOP defections they don't have the raw numbers to prevail, and Dirty Harry's threat to REALLY "go nuclear" by bringing the Senate to a complete standstill in retaliation would make his party look very bad in a maximally public way that would be exceedingly difficult to spin favorably.

This "compromise" gambit, also aided and abetted by Senator Joe Biden and WaPo columnist David Broder, is designed primarily as a deception to peel off RINOs from Frist's Byrd option majority, and secondarily as a tactical retreat in order to preserve the filibuster tool for use when the next SCOTUS slot opens up - which, given the poor health of Chief Justice Rehnquist, is only a matter of time.

And this, in turn, is what keeps me nervous about the extent, if any, of Frist's strategic thinking in this dispute:

But Frist, in a rare news conference conducted on the Senate floor, said he would not accept any deal that keeps his Republican majority from confirming judicial nominees that have been approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Are we going to step back from that principle? The answer to that is no," Frist said.
It's good to hear him mention the principle itself, as opposed to letting the issue be localized to just these appellate court nominees. But then comes this graf:

Frist and Reid both acknowledged that they are constantly negotiating, trying to find a solution where the Senate does not have a showdown over whether Republicans will change the parliamentary rules to ban judicial filibusters.
There is no common ground to be had here. It is the epitome, the very essence of an unbridgable impasse. Reid is not going to budge. Period. So if Senator Frist is committed to the principle he mentioned above, I again ask the question: about what is there to negotiate? What is he waiting for?

The only answers I can come up with are either (1) he doesn't have the votes or (2) he does but is afraid to actually go through with it. The former would be appalling; the latter would be a disaster. And either - or both - would be a complete and utter indictment of Bill Frist's leadership.

They say patience is a virtue. But we've been patient for four years. That's long enough.

To quote the noted scholar Larry the Cable Guy, "Git 'er done," Dr. Frist. The career you save may end up being your own.

If Wishes & Buts Were Cherries & Nuts....

....the federal government would get a lot smaller:

Call it a slight case of overreaction.

Rolling Stone [that noted highbrow journal of learned opinion....], under the headline "Bush’s Most Radical Plan Yet,” reports that "with a vote of hand-picked lobbyists, the President could terminate any federal agency he dislikes.”

If only it were so.

I mean the part about the President disliking any federal agencies. Terminating them with the stroke of a pen would be the stuff of constitutionalist wet dreams.

What the publication is referring to is a provision contained in – or as Rolling Stone puts it, "tucked away in” – the Administration’s 2006 budget proposal calling for a "Sunset Commission” to evaluate federal programs and determine if they merit continued funding.

Sounds good so far....

The commission would set a schedule for reviewing federal programs every ten years. Any programs that fail to justify their existence would be terminated....


....unless Congress acted to continue them.


And how does {snort} Rolling Stone spin this?

[It] warns that the practice would result in "the end of government regulation as we know it,” asserting that the commission would most likely be made up of lobbyists and executives from major corporations currently subject to federal oversight.

Heh. Just stop at "the end of government regulation" and I'd be turning handsprings. What was this? Their special Halloween issue six months early?

Nice try, boys and girls. But if I need an aphrodesiac, I'll go with Lavitra. The chick they have in their commercials is hotter than a plasma leak.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Hillary Spot

Yeah, I know NRO will take that name when 2008 rolls around. So I might as well get some mileage out of it while it's still in the public domain.

Hillary Stands By Indicted Aide

New York Senator Hillary Clinton is making a public point of standing by her indicted campaign aide David Rosen, who served as finance chairman for her 2000 Senate race.

"David Rosen worked hard for the campaign and we trust that when all the facts are in, he will be cleared," Mrs. Clinton's scandal lawyer, David Kendall, said in a statement released yesterday. "The Senate campaign committee has fully cooperated with the investigation."
This is what, in the Clinton handbook, is known as a "feint." Also a "flyby." The Clintons appear to back up an underling under fire, which makes them look both loyal and confidently innocent, and then, when the underling falls on his/her sword, they back away, expressing "shock" and "disappointment" that keeps the attention focused anywhere but on them.

Oh, yeah, Rosen's going down. Big time. He just won't be allowed to take Mrs. Clinton down with him.

Here's that sword (reported last week), by the way:

The top Democrat came to Rosen's defense the same day prosecutors revealed that Senator Ted Kennedy's brother-in-law Ray Reggie secretly taped Rosen on several occasions making "incriminating statements."

Reggie, who was cooperating with investigators as part of his plea bargain on bank fraud charges, wore a wire for three years as he arranged fund-raisers for top Democrats, including the Clintons.

I'm sure the above makes perfect sense, in a cosmic den of thieves kind of way. Kind of like if two of Ghidra's heads squared off against one another.

Not that Hillary is necessarily out of the woods yet....

Peter Paul: Hillary Still a Target

The man whose allegations spurred a four-year FBI probe into an August 2000 celebrity fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton's first Senate campaign is calling the top Democrat "an unindicted co-conspirator" - a claim that contradicts published reports that prosecutors do not consider Clinton a target of the investigation.

"She is an unindicted co-conspirator in the true sense of the word," Mr. Paul told NewsMax in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Okay, okay, she is out of the woods, and in the usual way. Remember the "sealed indictment" of the then-first dragon that was supposedly sitting on omnibus Independent Counsel Ken Starr's desk that was always "on the brink" of being unsealed? "Unindicted co-conspirator" sounds eerily similar, doesn't it?

Of course, as big a control freak as Mrs. Clinton is, it's beyond laughable to try to suggest that she didn't know anything about the "under the table" details of this Hollywood fundraiser. Of course she knew about them - and approved them as well. It was her campaign, for heaven's sake.

That's where David Rosen came in. His title may have been "finance chairman" (i.e. "bagman"), but his true function was "cannon fodder."

What amazes me is where the Clintons keeping finding these suckers. As ubiquitously infamous as the Boris & Natasha of the Ozarks are for reducing anybody who associates with them to the status of pawns on a chessboard (e.g. Sandy Berger) and treating their staffers like Josef Stalin did the Russian infantry, you'd think the word would get around that going to work for these two isn't a good idea, at least if your personal reputation still means anything to you.

That observation is a neat segue into the final HS item....

Bush Boosting Hillary in '08?

By befriending Bill Clinton so enthusiastically, ex-President George H.W. Bush is inadvertently helping Hillary Clinton to reclaim the White House in 2008, a longtime Bush family confidante said Sunday.

"They're trying to move Hillary to the center for 2008, and this helps de-demonize her and her husband," the unnamed Bush insider tells the New York Daily News.

An unidentified Clinton aide agreed that the ex-presidents' warm relationship is giving Hillary's presidential bid a big boost, proclaiming, "It gives [Mr.] Clinton back some legitimacy."

If you had any lingering doubts about why Bush41 lost to that fat, lecherous hillbilly, that should blisteringly dispel them.

But surely this bewitching is limited to just the hapless Pappy, right? Dubya has to know better, doesn't he?

Wrong, pork-rind breath.

Until recently, most Republicans had been confident that the former first lady couldn't win a general election, secure in the knowledge that the Monica Lewinsky scandal had left both Clintons irreparably tarnished.

President George W. Bush used the scandal to great effect during his own 2000 campaign, regularly promising audiences that he would "restore the honor and dignity of the White House."

But now both Bushes seem determined to rehabilitate the impeached Democrat. [my gagging emphasis]

Click on the link above if you want to read the rest. Just be sure to have a barf bag handy.

Or click here for a preview of what the third Clinton administration has in store, and start packing your bags for the Alaska gulag.

UPDATE: The Christian Defense League called Hillary's bluff on outreach to the evangelical community. That'll earn Reverend Mahoney and his comrades extra long sentences in the on the chain gang dismantling the Alaska pipeline.

I hope he stocks up on mukluks, while there's still time.

Busting Bolton

Isn't it telling that the gutless diminutives in D-Party are protecting the UN from an "unkind" Ambassador that might hurt Kofi's feelings and disparage anti-American dictatorships that oppose the dominance of democracy any where on the planet?

As Dems troll for more whispered gripes of bureaucratic battery against Bolton, perhaps they'd best consider that the vast majority of Americans have lost that lovin feelin for the UN and would welcome an honest, plain talkin tough guy who'll hold the world body accountable for it's considerable short comings and frankly introduce them to the reality that without the leadership and money from the USA, the UN will be powerless, ineffective and doomed to the fate of the League of Nations.

Senate Democrats should stop this deplorable petty partisan trashing of a qualified public servant; OBVIOUSLY for no other reason than he's a neo-con who agressively supports the policies of the Bush Administration. This is another frantic attempt by the Do-Nothing Dems to hasten second term lame-duckery and prevent the peoples' business from being DONE by the Republican majority.

There's a bright side to this tedious exhibition of rabbid partinsanship...expect these counter-productive shananigans, Bolton bashing, the filibuster flap and the Delay rap to cause Dem losses in 2006 and beyond.

Vintage Whine

Can you believe that the Democrats have plummeted to such depths of vaccuity that this is what they've resorted to to bolster their insistence that John Bolton isn't "qualified" to be President Bush's ambassador to the United Nations?

In a new "allegation" [my quotes] against President Bush's nominee for United Nations ambassador, a woman who worked under John Bolton in the early 1980s has complained that he tried to fire her after they clashed over US policy on infant formula in developing nations.

Lynne D. Finney, now a therapist in Utah, wrote to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Friday, saying Bolton mistreated her when they worked in the General Counsel's Office at the US Agency for International Development. Her accusation is the latest "salvo" [my quotes again] in a pitched battle over Bolton's nomination.

Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, a Democrat on the committee, distributed Finney's letter to reporters. An aide to Boxer said Democrats will push to include Finney's allegations in the list of claims to be probed.

"Mistreated" her by "trying to have her fired"? Man, if that's to be the new standard, I sure hope that the half-dozen people who have succeeded in firing me over the years get appointed to high office. At fifteen minutes a pop, that guarantees me at least an hour and a half of fame.

I guess it figures that Finney is a therapist, huh? Although the expression "Physician, heal thyself" appears lost on her if her feelings are still hurt over a "clash" that took place over twenty years ago.

But the most parodous part is ol' Babs herself treating this "latest salvo" as though it were on a par with Mr. Bolton having been uncovered as a "boy from Brazil." Now we're supposed to "probe" he said-she said deritus from a generation back that doesn't even involve sex? [Bleep-bleep Bleep], what is this, junior high school? Or is the idea to get so far down this tangential rathole that nobody even remembers to what office Mr. Bolton was appointed? It certainly does seem lost on his persecutors, whose real core beef with the man appears to be that he would be unlikely to participate in Turtle Bay's, um, "vigorous social activities."

The Democrats are running a big risk with this nonsense. As difficult as it is to plumb the bottom of RINO squeamishness, if the FRC Donks keep up this litany of Mr. Bolton's alleged "serial impoliteness," they'll eventually reach the point where even the George Voinoviches of the Senate will be more embarrassed to buy into this silliness than they will be by Mr. Bolton's foreign policy views and bad haircut.

With the GOP fiasco of last week, FRC Dems, as it were, "drew an inside straight" on the Bolton nomination. It's a hand awfully difficult to overplay.

But if anybody can, it's Barbara Boxer.

[HT: Captain's Quarters]

Connecticut Camel Toe (er, Nose)

Here's an interesting story, with definite political implications for 2006 and 2008 - just not the implications one might be thinking at first glance.

About 3,000 protestors gathered at the state capitol Sunday to denounce lawmakers who voted in favor of legislation last week that made Connecticut the second state to offer "civil unions" to gay couples.

Brian Brown, executive director of the Family Institute of Connecticut, urged opponents of the bill to vote against lawmakers who supported it in next year's elections.

I hate to rain on anybody's parade, but 3,000 protestors is a drop in the bucket.

Likewise, don't expect much, if any, impact on next year's elections in a state as "blue" as Connecticut.

But this has national implications, if the Dem grassroots ever calm down enough to recognize them.

Their legislators in the Nutmeg State knew what they were doing. By passing legislation instead of getting a judge to impose de facto sodomarriage by fiat, and making the label "civil unions" rather than "gay marriage," they ensured that the homosexual camel got its nose inside Hartford's legal tent in a way that opponents won't be able to effectively challenge or easily dislodge.

Social libs have trapped themselves in a snare of their own making through the complete eschewment of even a minimum level of public discretion in their tactics and rhetoric. Truly amazing, coming as it does in the immediate wake of the only two-term Democrat presidency since FDR, which was founded upon guile and misdirection.

Connecticut Donks have shown their party the way back to power, and beyond. The question is whether its legions stop shrieking long enough to pay attention.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Greens Turn Brown

Here's the poop, the whole poop, and nothing but the poop:

As environmentalists celebrate the 34th annual Earth Day, some in the green movement are now advocating "diaper-free" babies to help save the planet...

..."There is a way to have a baby and NOT use diapers," says one website advocating diaperless babies. Parents are urged to get in tune with their infant's body signals and hold babies over toilets, buckets and shrubbery or any other convenient receptacle when nature calls.

One advocate suggests bringing a "tight-lidded bucket" along to serve as a waste receptacle when mothers take their babies out in public.

I wonder why they didn't mention corks as another option. I guess they're not biodegradable.

Just watch, they'll start citing this as another justification for abortion on demand and infanticide.

I realize the above sounds like it came straight out of a classic Saturday Night Live skit (or maybe Monty Python), but as Dave Berry likes to say, I swear we're not making this up.

Hey - would we shit you....?

[HT: GOP Bloggers]

Fire Hose Politics

This morning brought another report - this time from Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - that the GOP has the votes to break the Democrats' judicial filibuster.

What makes this version different from its predecessors? The Democrats are acting like they believe it, and that they also believe the Republicans will actually pull the trigger:

U.S. Senate Republicans have the votes to ban any more Democratic procedural roadblocks against President Bush's judicial nominees, a top Republican said on Sunday.

A spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada promptly questioned the claim, while another Democrat, Senator Joseph Biden of Delaware, floated a possible compromise to avert a fight that could bring the Senate to a near halt. ...

Biden, appearing on ABC's This Week, said, "I think we should compromise and say to them that we're willing to - of the seven judges - we'll let a number of them go through, the two most extreme not go through and put off this vote" to end the filibuster.

Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald's, had a saying that expressed his view of competition (paraphrased):

If you see your enemy drowning in a lake, row out to him in a boat, stick a firehose in his mouth, and turn on the water.

Ray Kroc wasn't a bad man. He simply played to win.

In politics, victory only begins on Election Day, because each Election Day is only a single battle in a permanent war. That is what elected Republicans have such a difficult time grasping.

Democrats have filibustered regardless of what the polls have said. Republicans, still foolishly thinking that after more than a decade the Democrats will ever act like they did when they were in the minority, were magnanimous in last November's victory, and frittered away its momentum in the process.

Yet (if this AP story can be trusted - and how many times have we heard this over the past two months?) Bill Frist has managed (for the moment) to scrounge up enough votes to activate the Byrd option and put an end to this crud once and for all. And the Democrats must believe it if they're now slowly retreating from their heretofore wall-to-wall blockade.

The strategy? Isn't it obvious? Peel off a few RINOs from Frist's total with the offer of a token "compromise," the negotiation of which will be used as a further stalling tactic, then double-cross the GOP "leadership" by refusing to sign off on the "compromise." End result? No "compromise" and the "nuclear" option will be neutralized.

The point of this entire exercise is to restore the Senate's advice & consent function, not to make the minority party happy. If Fristy has his eyes open and on the prize, he'll "push the button" and give the Donks a full-fledged taste of what being out of power is all about.

UPDATE: Great minds really do think alike.

Echoes Ed Morrissey:

Needless to say, Frist would be an idiot to bite at this. For one thing, agreeing to such an arrangement amounts to a validation of both the unprecedented use of the filibuster and the notion that the judicial nominees are "extremists". It also solves nothing - it just postpones the fight until a Supreme Court seat opens up. The compromise amounts to nothing except a tactical retreat for Democrats to avoid a huge loss. If Frist accepts such an offer, it will signal that he has no intention of providing leadership to the Republican contingent.

Brother Hinderaker makes it a hat trick:

Democrats play to win - unlike, sometimes, Republicans - and if they had a winning hand on judges, a subject dear to the hearts of their richest supporters, they would play it. Biden's willingness to compromise means they don't have the votes.

The last thing the Republicans should do at this point is accept Biden's deal. The explicit premise of the "compromise" is that President Bush's nominees are "extreme," and the two that the Dems will block are the "most extreme." This is not only false, it is insulting to every judge whom President Bush has nominated to the bench, and to the President himself. Unable to win today, the Democrats are playing for the future - for the President's first Supreme Court nomination, for next year's elections, and for history.

Ideas matter. The Republicans got where they are by remembering this; let's not forget it now. Every one of the excellent judges whom President Bush has nominated to the Courts of Appeal deserves a Senate vote. Anything less is a disgrace.


Lock & load, Senator Frist. You may fire at will.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

France Is Being France

...or, once a weasel, always a weasel:

During a state visit to China, French Premier Raffarin threw support behind a law allowing China to attack Taiwan and continued to push for a lift of the EU arms embargo.

At the outset of a three-day visit to [Red] China, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin said he supported Beijing's "anti-secession" law on Taiwan, and vowed to keep pushing for an end to an EU arms embargo that could open the door for Paris to sell weapons to the Asian giant.

Mark Noonan at Blogs for Bush is under the impression that this indicates the French have changed their minds about the Doctrine of Pre-emption.

That's a cutsie projection in a puerile "gotcha!" sort of way. But only if you believe that Black Jacques Chirac holds to any core principle besides "Regardez dehors pour le numéro un".

France wants us neutralized as a global hegemon, but they have neither the capability nor the inclination to do it themselves. So they want to sell arms to Red China, which does have both the capability and the ambition, as well as a governing ideology that by definition seeks world domination, with the hope that the ChiComms will make trouble for us at minimum, and, ideally, defeat us altogether.

Kind of like the international version of the Democrat Party.

That's why we've "deputized" Japan, and are further arming Taiwan.

Move, counter-move.

At the moment, I think ours carries the greater weight - at least as far as France is concerned.

As to the ChiComms, that remains to be seen.

UPDATE: If you have a Francophobia itch on Paris' "Munich in the Orient," Right Wing Nuthouse will scratch it down to the dermis.

Kerry's Beginning To Realize He Lost

...and he ain't a happy camper.

Failed presidential candidate John Kerry was boiling mad at Senator Mark Dayton after the Minnesota Democrat publicly touted Senator Hillary Clinton at a Democratic Party fund-raiser two weeks ago as "the next great president of the United States."

"What are you doing endorsing my 2008 presidential opponent?" Kerry fumed in a confrontation with Dayton on the Senate floor two days later.

Um, because Marvelous Mark wants his party to win next time, perhaps?

God, I wish I had a tape of this.

But wait - maybe Lurch was just joshing. After all, he's famous for his self-deprecating sense of humor, right?

Wrong, caviar-breath.

"He was very serious," Dayton told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, saying that the 2008 presidential hopeful had "daggers in his eyes."
Cartoon ones, no doubt. And they were probably followed by little cartoon erupting volcanoes.

So Dayton must have gotten an uncontrollable case of the giggles anyway, right? Either that, or, seeing "daggers" in Kerry's eyes, Brave Sir Robin, a man famous for his stalwart courage and unparalleled steadfastness, surely fled in stark raving terror, right?

Wrong, fish & chip-breath.

The former Kerry backer reportedly responded, "As Winston Churchill once said, I'd rather be right than consistent."
That's right, ladies and gents. Arguably the biggest buffoon and coward in the Democrat party - a duality for which there is a great deal of fierce competition these days - dissed Big, Bad John straight to his face.

Or, in this case, his adam's apple.

Talk about a taste of the humiliations to come.

But the cherry on the sundae is this bemused quip from a Hillarynista:

Contacted by the New York Post, Senator Clinton's office had no comment on the episode. "Boys will be boys, even when they're senators," a Clinton friend told the paper.
Do this sound like the Clinton machine is sweating Lurch II?

Sequels, as a general rule, never do as well as the original. And Kerry's original fell short.

His ego will never accept that. Which is why he's running again in 2008.

And that's why his sweating has only just begun.

The New Pledge

Mark Noonan noticed this AP story yesterday:

A [Wheat Ridge, Colorado] school counselor leading the Pledge of Allegiance over the public address system substituted "one nation under your belief system" for "one nation under God." The school apologized for the impromptu switch after students and parents complained.

Everitt Middle School counselor Margo Lucero said her change of words was "a spur-of-the-moment choice" meant to be more inclusive...

Well, golly gee whiz, Ms. Lucero, why stop there? Indeed, why bother with the phony "inclusiveness" coyness? Why not re-write the Pledge to express what you really mean:

I pledge enmity to the flag of the United States of America; and bow to the judgocracy, by which it is ruled; two nations, free of God; forever divided; with liberty and justice for some, and the rest can all die.

I wonder what you're supposed to put your hand over when you recite this....

Friday, April 22, 2005

But Where's The Magic Hat, Senator?

There's a reason why John Kerry is a born United States Senator: whenever he speaks, it just oozes out as one gargantuan run-on sentence, like the lancing of a bottomless boil that sprays its insatiable pus in random directions, as if to ensure that no matter which way you dodge, you can't avoid getting some of it on you.

Add into that ingrained, if confused, pomposity (i.e. "I don't know what I'm talking about, but if I couch it in enough big words, it'll sound like I do. Or like something intelligent to the smelly, grubby mahsses, anyway...") his defeat in last November's presidential election, and you get...well, you get meandering screeds like this (courtesy of Hugh Hewitt):


Hey, a military metaphor. You know what that means - Vietnam!, Vietnam!, Vietnam!

Well, perhaps this time he waited until he drew his second breath....

"...outside the mainstream now seem to effortlessly push Republican leaders toward conduct that the American people really don't want in their elected leaders..."

Isn't it pathetic how Kerry always has to talk about himself?

"...inserting the government into our private lives, injecting religion into debates about public policy where it doesn't apply."

Sayeth the man who spent practically every Sunday of last fall's campaign preaching sermons in one black church after another, all but making Jesus Christ the official Kerry-Edwards mascot.

"Jumping through hoops to ingratiate themselves to their party's base..."

In our dreams, maybe....

"...while step-by-step and day-by-day real problems that keep Americans up at night fall by the wayside here in Washington."

Yeah, millions of Americans lie awake every night, petrified that John Bolton is going to suddenly leap through their bedroom windows, plant his hands disapprovingly on his hips, and stick his tongue out at them.

"We each have to ask ourselves, 'Who's going to stop it? Who's going to stand up and say, 'Are we really going to allow this to continue?'"


"Are Republicans in the House going to continue spending the people's time defending Tom DeLay or they going to defend America and defend our democracy?"

From whom? The Democrats? How is that an "either/or" question?

"Will Republican senators let their silence endorse Senator Frist's appeal to religious division, or will they put principle ahead of partisanship and refuse to follow him across that line?"

Fristy needs your permission to speak to a core segment of his base support? Couldn't he ask, "Will Democrat senators let their silence endorse Senator Kerry's appeal to racial division," every time you speak at an NAACP function? Not that he would, you understand. It might hurt your feelings, and he'd just feel terrible if it did.

Besides, why do you need the active assistance of Republican senators in your party's endless barrage of invective and abuse against people of faith? You people coming down with collective laryngitis or something?


"Are we really willing to allow the Senate to fall in line with the Majority Leader when he invokes faith, faith, all of our faiths over here?"

"Faith, faith, all of our faiths over here?" Sounds like "Spam, lovely spam, wonderful spam..." Have you been listening to bootleg Monty Python tapes in the cloakroom again? Teraaaaaayza warned you about that....

"Joe Lieberman's a person of faith."

Yes, he is. You could learn a few things from him, if you ever bothered to show up for "work."

"Harry Reid's a person of faith."

Judging by his actions of late, I'd wager he's recently converted to a different one.

"And they don't believe we should rewrite the rules of the United States Senate..."

Not now. But they did not all that long ago. Is that what you call a "special dispensation" in the Church of the Poisoned Mind?

"...and we certainly shouldn't allow this issue of people who believe in the Constitution somehow challenging the faith of others in our nation."

You think Republicans believe in the Constitution, or you don't think your party should be allowed to challenge the faith of Christian evangelicals? How did we get on the Damascus Road all of a sudden? I thought you shined Boy Assad's shoes back in December.

"Are we going to allow the Majority Leader to invoke faith to rewrite Senate rules to put substandard, extremist judges on the bench?"

Aww, you're recanting already? Rarely has I John 2:18-19 been acted out with such alacrity.

"Is that where we are now? It is not up to us to tell any one of our colleagues what to believe as a matter of faith."

Other than that they better not publicly express it.

"I can tell you what I do believe though."

Okay, everybody, synchronize your stopwatches. The betting window for the cloakroom "flip-flop duration" pool is now closed.

"When you have got tens of thousands of innocent souls perished in Darfur..."

Which the UN might have been shamed into doing something about if we had a UN ambassador like ol' Walrus Face.

"...when 11 million children are without health insurance..."

So Jesus was really an insurance salesman? I don't recall Him ever saying, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home. But before you do, I have some forms for you to fill out in triplicate..."

"...when our colossal debt subjects our economic future to the whims of Asian bankers..."

What have you got against Asians? You might want to watch what you say about them; as much dough as your wife has, some of it must be in some Asian bank somewhere.

But, hey, we'll start swinging the budgetary meataxe if you will. That'd make you look like a lumberjack, wouldn't it? Well, one with a green eyeshade, anyway.

Sheesh, now we're back to Monty Python again....

" on can tell me that faith demands all of a sudden that you put the Senate into a position where it is going to pull itself apart over the question of a few judges."

Well, something is making your party do that, Senator.

Oh, before I forget, here's your copy of the Gospel According to George Soros. Funny that it comes as a little red book, though - I could have sworn that Gideon New Testaments were green....

"No one with those priorities has a right to use faith to intimidate anyone of us."

Senator, if you're intimidated by Republicans, it's a wonder you can make yourself get out from under the bed to use the john in the morning.

"John," get it? Your running mate? Li'l....

Oh, never mind.

Now where did I put my butterfly net?

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Animal Party

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune (via Powerline) brings us the latest installment of Dr. Demented's metamorphosis into a doppelganger of John Belushi:

[Howard] Dean regaled an appreciative [ACLU] audience for nearly 90 minutes without once raising his voice, as he did after last year's Iowa primary election. But he did draw howls of laughter by mimicking a drug-snorting Rush Limbaugh.

"I'm not very dignified," he said. "But I'm not running for president anymore."

Almost hard to believe that he ever did. Until you remember what party he's in, at least, and then the incredulity goes away.

Brother Hinderaker rhetorically asks...

Is that really the image the Democratic Party wants? Crude, hateful, bigoted, low-class?


Here's an audio clip of Chairman How's latest performance, if you need an aerobic workout without donning spandex.

Once More Into The Breach

Matt Margolis reports that the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed the stalled-for-years appellate court nominations of Judges Priscilla Owen (5th Circuit) and Janice Rogers Brown (D.C. Court of Appeals) on a party-line 10-8 vote.

The Dems actually showed up for the Judiciary Committee meeting?

That tells me they're confident the Republicans won't try for the Byrd option, or will lose on the vote if they do.

There appears to be not a single Senate Republican, (e.g. Rick Santorum) who understands the big picture:

1) They had the public entirely behind them on breaking the filibuster at the start of the session three months ago;

2) Thinking that they'd already won the PR battle on that issue on Election Day, they abandoned making the case for ending judicial filibusters;

3) The Democrats didn't stop making the case for upholding them, and have kept it up ever since;

4) Guess what? Now polls are showing the public has switched to the Dem view on the matter, even as they continue to say that, in principle, every nominee should get an up-or-down vote. And in response, no less a once-stalwart conservative than Rick Santorum is recommending that the craven dithering that has gotten his caucus into this predicament be extended indefinitely.

So what should the GOP do? Activate the Byrd option anyway.

Polls are transitory, and the next election is eighteen months away. There's plenty of time to turn them back in our favor, especially after pushing through the rule change.

Best recent historical example: the Clinton impeachment. The other side spun the 1998 midterm elections as a repudiation of the GOP on impeachment, even though Republican candidates across the country had fled in terror from the issue. Then House 'Pubbies did a funny thing: they pressed ahead and passed the two articles anyway. The Senate didn't convict, as nobody thought they would, but the point was made nevertheless. Democrats vowed that the GOP would pay dearly in the next (2000) election.

If I remember correctly, one House "prosecutor" was defeated for re-election - whereas the GOP lost four seats on the Senate side. And, of course, we took back the White House.

Activating the Byrd option now won't hurt Republican chances in the '06 midterms any more than the Terri Schiavo affair. A year and a half is a loooooong time in politics.

But failing to break the filibuster, or even to try, will doom them immediately, because the jilted base won't forget.

One thing's for sure: Bill Frist will never make anybody forget Henry V:

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height.

On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war.
And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start.
The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'

Would somebody please tell Fristy that the Harry here isn't surnamed "Reid"?

"Beyond Parody," Indeed

David Frum brings this Extreme Media headline to our attention:

From the April 17th edition of the Times of London: "Papal Hopeful [now Pope Benedict XVI] is a Former Hitler Youth."

Isn't that akin to calling B-16 a "bed-wetter" because he wore diapers as an infant?

Just wait, they'll get to that one. The new pontiff is approaching the end of his eighth decade.

And he's, you know, so Catholic. Such a nasty trait to see in a pope.

Or, as Benedict would doubtless never say, "Manchmal bekannt ist besser, für irgendjemandes Feinde - und in meinem Fall, schlage ich das gesegnete lotterie!"

The State of the GOP, In 88 Words

From today's American Spectator "Prowler" column:

"On everything from Social Security to DeLay to Bolton, you get the sense that we're fraying at the seams, perhaps more than fraying," says a Republican lobbyist. "We knew the State Department was a snake pit. We knew it was full of Democrats ready to attack a conservative. Yet everyone seems surprised that this happened. You see the same kind of shell shocked look when you talk to a White House staffer about Social Security or immigration policy.

This isn't good, and we need to fix it quick." [my emphasis]

Can you believe I'm still a teetotaler? Or that I'm still in this sorry-ass excuse for a political party?

No wonder I've gone back to listening to sports radio all day.

And I live near Seattle.

Martinez "Cleared," Dean Still At Large

Boy, that ASSociated Press has a way with words:

The U.S. Senate Rules Committee has decided to take no action against Florida freshman Senator Mel Martinez for an aide's politically embarrassing memo in the
Terri Schiavo case.

The first-term Orlando Republican has acknowledged his office produced the memo without his knowledge, and Martinez's legal counsel Brian Darling quit over the memo.

"Take no action"? Floating a stategy memo is now an ethics issue?

Only if a Republican does it, I guess. Maybe the Democrats were crying "gimmick infringement!" and planning to sue.

Meanwhile, Chairman How has openly promised to drag Terri Schiavo's corpse around the country for the next four years like Charlie McCarthy, and we can't even get an APB put out on him.

The "P," BTW, doesn't stand for what you probably think it does.

More, I shan't elaborate....

Words Fail Me

60 Minutes founder Don Hewitt, on how to save network news:

So, as someone who was privileged to be the executive producer of the first 30-minute network newscast in 1960, let me suggest that what's missing from network newscasts is opinion - the kind of personalized, highly subjective material that people turn to the commentary page of their newspaper for after they've finished with the front page.

...............What? You thought I'd have a pithy, acidic comment to add? I said words fail me - weren't you paying attention?

Alright, alright, how about senile dementia?

You can fill in the rest.

[Hat tip: Jonathan Rothenberg]