Sunday, April 02, 2006

Week In Review

What infirmity and insanity prevented me from commenting upon in the recent days past....

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Jonah Goldberg and Daniel Henninger pretty much sum up my reaction to the boomlet in the center-right blogosphere over President Bush's most recent presser. Sure, Dubya may be "back," but hasn't he been "back" several times over the past six months? He rebounded from Katrina only to bellyflop into the Harriet Miers fiasco; the first "push-back" on defending the GWOT in general and the Iraq front in particular was drowned in the uproar over the NSA terrorist surveillance program leak; the push-back on that, while even more successful, was summarily pissed away in the Dubai Ports World debacle; and after the aforementioned press conference and series of war-defending speeches, the White House is blowing off its own feet again by pushing hard for its thinly-disguised illegal alien amnesty initiative, which threatens to shatter the reigning center-right governing coalition - the consequences of which would be disastrous.

Bush's poll numbers are not as bad as the Extreme Media attempts to portray. But low-forties still pretty much sucks. And climbing out of that hole requires a great deal more than just (to borrow a timely basketball metaphor) trading baskets.

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As regards the amnesty juggarnaut rolling suicidally through a waningly Republican Congress, David Frum's words are horrifically mesmerizing:

It is just too luridly amazing watching the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary committee vote for amnesty for illegal immigrants and a guestworker program. It's like some poli-sci experiment run amok. Here are policies opposed by close to two-thirds of the American people and by the overwhelming majority of the Republican rank-and-file ... policies that threaten to split the party and throw away control of at least one house of Congress ... policies that you would suppose even their advocates would recognize as politically ultra-radioactive and only to be enacted in the deepest darkest secrecy of a senatorial subcommittee 23 months before the next election.

And instead they are doing it all now, with only 8 months to go before voting day, in the full glare of publicity, at just the time and in just the way calculated to inflict maximum self-damage.

How is this to be explained? Since when have Republicans - Republicans! - become so "courageous" as to buck directly against so strong and vehement a current of public opinion on anything? Aren't these the same timid, scared-of-their-own shadow pantywaists who are afraid of rocking the boat? Who are running away from their own President on the war because it is supposedly "unpopular"? Who refuse to control run-away federal spending because that is the easy way out? And they're making their stand on this?!?

NRO's editors were merciless:

This is a travesty. Looking at survey data that show overwhelming support for a crackdown on illegal immigration and opposition to a guest-worker program and amnesty, the Judiciary Committee decided to tell the American people to shove it. No matter how fed up the public is with out-of-control immigration, the political class always has one solution: even more if it. Apparently, protesters waving Mexican flags — many of them illegals themselves — are what really get these senators' attention.

The New York Times reports: “Lawmakers central to the immigration debate acknowledged that the televised images of tens of thousands of demonstrators, waving flags and fliers, marching in opposition to tough immigration legislation helped persuade the panel to find a bi-partisan compromise.” So there you have it — your illegal-alien amnesty, brought to you in part by illegal aliens marching in the streets. Have Jacques Chirac and Dominique de Villepin been giving the Judiciary Committee tips on how to kowtow to demonstrators?

Michelle Malkin had ample coverage of those demonstrations, which were characterized by the same rabidly extremist candor that marks every tentacle of the contemporary Left these days. Signs with slogans like, "This [referring to the American southwest] is stolen land," "Chicano Power!", "If you think I'm illegal because I'm a Mexican, learn the truth history because I'm in my homeland," and "We are indigenous - the ONLY owners of this continent." Doubtless these rabblefests were anything but spontaneous - there's no such thing as a spontaneous left-wing extremist protest - but one cannot help but surmise that the very concept of illegal aliens agitating in the streets of a neighboring country for mass entitlement to both an unearned living and an actual "reconquista" would have been unthinkable if not for forty years of utter failure of national will on the part of our governing class (of both parties) - whether to ensure a perpetual supply of "cheap labor" or to build a new political constituency - to simply control our own borders and enforce existing immigration laws, the very base essence of national sovereignty. The past week's events appear uncomfortably like an epilogue to a tragedy - if not an outright national epitaph.

If it is true that "where there's a will, there's a way," when the will disappears, so will a great deal else.

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All may not be as lost as the pessimistic close of the previous section suggests. Even Double-M predicts that, "this stunt will be the nail in the coffin of any guest-worker/amnesty plan on the table in Washington. The image of the American flag subsumed by another and turned upside down on American soil is already spreading on Internet forums and via e-mail." And the aforementioned Mr. Frum holds out the hope that congressional 'Pubbies, hopelessly submerged in disorienting Beltway BS, may yet finally and belatedly grasp the base-destroying peril in which they are placing themselves and pull back before it's too late.

And then there's the GOP's most reliable secret weapon: the Democratic Party.

Did you know that they've finally come out with their own national security manifesto? Here's a summation; see if you can guess who wrote it, and in what publication:

Sharpening their election-year message, leading Democrats on Wednesday released a plan that promised to strengthen America's security but offered few details about how they would achieve their sweeping goals. ...

Though Democrats were spirited in their denunciations of Bush's record on national security, they offered limited insights into the actual policies they would pursue if returned to power.

The party document said Democrats would double the size of the military's special forces, pass legislation improving veterans' medical care and press to screen all cargo bound for the United States "in ships or airplanes at the point of origin."

On many other fronts, though, the Democratic plan emphasized aspiration over direction.

For instance, party leaders said they would make "the needed investments in equipment and manpower so that we can project power to protect America wherever and whenever necessary." But aides said the proposal did not commit Democrats to any specific increase in defense spending.

Along with its vow to eliminate Bin Laden, the plan said Democrats would "destroy terrorist networks like Al Qaeda, finish the job in Afghanistan and end the threat posed by the Taliban." But other than adding more special forces and improving America's intelligence capacity, the document offered no hints of what strategies the party might employ toward those ends.

Doesn't sound like a ringing, much less enthusiastic, endorsement, does it? So did this come from the poison pens of NRO? The American Spectator? Human Events? Rush Limbaugh?

To quote the late Don Adams, "Would you believe...Ron Brownstein in the Los Angeles Times?"

Jim Geraghty and Dafydd ab Hugh fisk the living crap out of this shallow, phony, confused, steaming mess of insincere platitudes and partisan cheap shots. For my part, the following thoughts came to mind upon reviewing this material:

"The document offers no hints of strategies the party might employ toward those ends" because the party doesn't really seek those ends.

Doubling special forces is all very-very and to-to, but is reminiscent of the eighteenth century Prussian monarch Frederick William I, who built the best army in Europe without any intention or even acknowledgement of eventually having to commit it to actual military conflict. The veterans' healthcare plank only reinforces that "symbolism over substance" stink. Ditto the faux jingoism about Afghanistan while completely ignoring the most important front in the GWOT at the moment, Iraq, to which not even the DNC had enough audacity to claim a commitment to "finishing the job." And that, of course, casts a pall of doubt over the huffing and puffing about "destroying al Qaeda" and "eliminating bin Laden." As if there wasn't a huge cloud of doubt swirling there already given that it was Bill Clinton's "dangerous incompetence" vis-a-vie bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban, AND Iraq that landed us in this war in the first place, and back to precisely such foreign policy stewardship that a restored Democrat regime would take us.

"Screening all inbound cargo" sounds reasonable at first glance, but at these people's direction looks like another Smoot-Hawley tariff in national security disguise.

And don't you just have to love the gaseousness of that "needed investments/power projection "whenever and wherever necessary" clause? Sloganeering meant to sound bellicosely reassuring but which could mean literally anything, no matter how Carteresque?

As to "improving America's intelligence capability," we took their advice two years ago by adding two additional layers of bureaucracy, with predictably morose results. And in their first official act since announcing their new "comprehensive" national security stance, House Donks sought to "improve America's intelligence capability" by defunding the NSA:

Republicans on the House [Intelligence] panel defeated a Democratic push to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in spy agency funding until the Bush Administration provided more information about a controversial domestic espionage program being conducted by the National Security Agency. ...

Republicans on the committee defeated a Democratic amendment that sought to force the Bush administration to reveal the budget for the controversial NSA espionage program.

The Democratic measure would have withheld 20% of the NSA's budget unless the White House agreed to disclose how much was being spent on the domestic eavesdropping program.

Cap'n Ed provided the perfect peroration:

This encapsulates the Democratic strategy on the overall war on terror quite splendidly: ignore our national defense in order to play partisan politics. Only a moron would seriously propose cutting funds to a key component of our defense strategy during a time of war. This once again proves that the Democrats care less about keeping us safe than in winning elections, and appear willing to strip us of our defenses in order to score cheap political points.

There's a word for that mentality, and it begins with the letter "T".

Just imagine: a loss of fifteen House seats this November and that Democrat push would succeed. And the Bushies would have the Hobson's choice of either complying - i.e. national security suicide - or ignoring it, which would provide their domestic enemies with another impeachment article.

More and more the '06 midterms are shaping up as the proverbial irresistable force colliding with the immovable object. Is there really no GOP sin for which Democrat perfidy and insanity cannot atone?

Maybe it's just the lingering fatigue from my blessedly abating flu, but I feel in no great hurry to find out.