Wednesday, January 24, 2007

"Whatever You Voted For, You Didn't Vote for Failure"

With the clear exception of the moving tribute to Wesley Autrey, that line was the best part of the speech. Or at least the most important, as I see it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The SOTU Speech That Americans Deserve To Hear?

Jules Crittenden, over at Pajamas Media, thinks this is how the speech should go (but won't):

I will engage evil directly where I find it, in Iraq and in Iran. With an aggressive and ruthless new strategy and a plan to build our army as we should have a long time ago, I will show the American people that we can fight and we can win. I expect that the American people, though misled by their press and many of their elected representatives, will see results and will get it. Because the American people are a people who in the end don’t give up, don’t stop fighting, refuse to lose, and will choose to win. I have faith in them.
Oh, there’s another one of those words you don’t like.

A nation that is not willing to fight for what it believes in, for its place in the world, is not worthy of its own ideals. But that is not America. I now intend to help America restore its faith in itself. By fighting this necessary fight that we cannot afford to lose.
So … are you with me, or against us?

Not exactly how I'd advance it, but you get the idea. Is anyone tuning in to the speech for the domestic proposals? I sincerely doubt that.

H/T: Centerfield

UPDATE: Actually, I liked the one the President actually gave. As one who doesn't agree with Bush on much, I thought he did a good job. I'll just leave it at that.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Boxer vs. Condi, and the Chickenhawk Meme

This story is a few days old now, but if you didn't know, there was something of a firestorm over a rather ill-advised jab that Barbara Boxer made towards Condolezza Rice, in the Iraq hearings the other day. Conservatives were full of outrage, and while Boxer's statement is worthy of scorn and rebuke, it seems that the right has made this into something bigger than it is (as usual), and in effect, missed the real scandal. First off, here's what Sen. Boxer actually said:

"Who pays the price?" Boxer asked Rice. "I'm not going to pay a personal price. My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with immediate family."

Now the knee-jerk reaction is one of shock and outrage. Did she really say that? Is she suggesting that the single and childless cannot feel the pain of loss? To be fair, I fell for it too. The thing is though, such a response is totally out of character for Boxer. The idea that she would turn misogynist all of a sudden isn't really plausible. Don't get me wrong, anger-fueled, low-class, low blows are hardly new, and are a bipartisan exercise. The implausibility of such an act isn't so much based on Boxer somehow being above such ugliness-- rather it's just plain inexplicable politically. Chris Weinkopf, in a spot-on op-ed in the LA Daily News, explains:

Now come on. Are we really to believe that Boxer - a champion of unlimited abortion and gay activism - thinks that only those with children are worthy of expressing an opinion? The senator has taken some extreme positions in her time, but an excessive deference to traditional gender and family roles is hardly one of them.

Of course she wouldn't, as it would be a slap against her chief constituency. Politically, it's completely out of character. You'd expect this sort of line from the likes of Bay Buchanan, not Barbara Boxer. Conservatives, still the uncontested masters of the hysterical pile-on, missed this entirely, and missed the real scandal of Boxer's remarks:

But lost amid the overblown charges of sexism is real analysis of the plain meaning of Boxer's words - namely, her risible suggestion that only those with a personal stake in an issue are qualified to weigh in on it.

You see, there's the scandal. At the end of the day, it really is just another variation of the intellectually bankrupt chickenhawk meme that has so much dominion over the anti-war Left nowadays. You know the script: Unless you've fought in war, have friends or relatives fighting in war, or have lost loved ones in war, you are somehow unfit to speak on matters of foreign policy. I'm sure you've heard this before. I plan on discussing this phenomenon at length later, but essentially the chickenhawk meme is really rooted in the idea that only those who have a personal stake in an issue are fit to speak on it.

According to the "logic," if you're a man, you cannot speak on abortion issues. Never mind the fact that fathers have stake in the lives of their unborn children, not to mention the males have an interest in the survival of their human cohorts in the womb. If you're a man, women's issues are nondebatable. If you're white, you can't speak on civil rights issues, etc. It undermines the debate, and allows the person to avoid accountability for their arguments. Both sides do this all the time, but Boxer has used it in this case, and unfortunately, many on the Left have made a habit out of it, at least with regards to the war.

Conservatives blew a great opportunity to drive another nail in the fallacious (and insulting) chickenhawk myth. Piling on is easy, but proper outrage is hard. Oh well.

At the end of the day, we should follow the logical course of Boxer's argument. Since she herself admits that she has no personal stake in this debate, by her own logic, one is forced to wonder why anyone is listening to her at all.

P.S. Of course, the idea that we who are childless and single have no stake in Iraq is ridiculous in and of itself. The outcome of this war affects all of us. In the last election, the majority of Americans voted for change in Iraq, as the duly elected Democratic leaders rightly remind us every chance they get. Surely, every one of those opinions mattered, and not just those married, with children?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

To The Mantle, Mr. Ford

Word on the street is that Harold Ford, Jr. has been tapped to become the new DLC Chairman. This is awesome news, although I still wish he was the junior Senator for Tennesee, as opposed to Bob Corker. I've been a Harold Ford fan for a long time, and should he accept. It will be great for the Democratic Party, and the nation.

Oh, and Kos is opposed to it! I like it even more!

Hat tip: Instapundit

Jefferson on Islam

I've gone on record as supporting the decision by Keith Ellison to take the oath on the Koran as oppose to the Bible. He's a Muslim, and has the right to swear on the book of his faith, or any book, for the matter. Article VI is clear, not to mention how much this really ought to be a non-issue. It was quite the clever smackdown to the far-right to use the Koran owned by Thomas Jefferson. I remain soundly impressed by that move. As far as Jefferson's views on Islam, Christopher Hitchens has a great piece on his views, as well as his direct confrontation with radical Islamism, in the form of the Barbary pirates. Read it. No need for excerpts.

On another note, many have brought up the issue of Ellison's former membership in the Nation of Islam, which as you know is headed by Louis Farrakhan. We know Farrakhan's history, but Ellison is no longer a member ( he was a member in his youth), and as far as I know never embraced any of his views, that are, now how can I put this, not very philo-Semitic, or favorable towards white people. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe he has openly repudiated those views. I judge the man as he is, and I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

Oh, but he's for an immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Nevertheless...

UPDATE: Ellison's not down with cuddling up to Islamist radicals, like many on the far-right imply, but as Timothy Noah reports, Dinesh D'Souza sure as hell is.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quick Thoughts on the President's Speech

I watched every moment of the speech, as I wanted to make sure I got everything in. Let me just say this outright: I'm really digging Bush's plan. Contrary to some views, it really is a departure from previous approaches. The idea it seems is to help the Iraqis secure Baghdad and Anbar, and with our increased support, turn them loose on the Mahdi Army, the death squads, and those making trouble in Iraq. It really does sound like a plan that could work. I pray to God it does.

There has been a lot of talk about Bush's admitting of mistakes in Iraq. It's good that he did that, for the obvious reasons. One of my main criticisms of Bush in general was his inability to admit error, and change course. The course should be towards victory, however, and not defeat.

As we all know, there has been a lot of criticism of this plan, even before it was announced. A lot of it has been legitimate. Many of the generals and experts don't think it will work. There are real questions about the specifcs that are legitimate. The Democrats, for all intents and purposes, opposes the surge (well, they do now). The Dems basically argue that sending twenty thousand more troops isn't enough, and that political solutions are needed, as opposed to an escalation. In other words, start planning for a phased withdrawal. I've never doubted the sincerity of those who hold this view, but their view is wrong.

The word on the street is that Dems will either put up a non-binding resolution opposing the surge, or even try to block funds for the surge. I really don't need to explain why the second option is bad, do I? The Dems really are in a bind: They can't cut the funds, but they cannot block the surge. As much as they might want to, the decision is entirely up the commander-in-chief, as it should be. I hope to God they won't try to cut funding, but this half-assed dance doesn't help either.

At the end of the day, IMO, they won't cut funds. Any attempt to block the surge will fail, and either the Dems will support because they're forced to, or oppose it, yet remain powerless politically. Who knows. Despite all, I have faith in the good judgment of the clear-headed leadership. Joe Lieberman can't be the only one who gets it.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Huh? (Never Mind, I Get It)

Let me see if I'm reading this right:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein's trial for the killing of 180,000 Kurds in the 1980s resumed Monday with the late dictator's seat empty, nine days after he went to the gallows. The court's first order of business was to drop all charges against Saddam.

Chief Judge Mohammed Oreibi al-Khalifa said the court decided to stop all legal action against the former president, since "the death of defendant Saddam was confirmed."

Huh?! Can someone explain this to me, please?

UPDATE: Never mind. I've since come to the realization that this is a non-story. Things seem bigger than they are at 9am. BTW, a big post is forthcoming that will be my last word on Saddam's trial and execution, and the accompanying hysteria.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Damn, It's Only Been One Day!

Look, I get that a lot of people are really anxious to see real change happen with the new Congress, but the Dems have only been in power for a day. These things don't happen overnight.

Oh, and the reason the Dems aren't pulling the troops out, or cutting the funding: Responsibility.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

At The Risk Of Being Considered Out of Touch

In the midst of this historic day of deserved celebration as the Dems ascend to power, there has been a lot of outrage in other areas. The far-Left is pissed that the Dems haven't impeached Bush yet, and the some in the GOP are whining over supposed impositions on their minority rights in the House.

One story that refuses to die, is the absurd phony outrage over Rep. Keith Ellison's swearing in on a Koran. Thomas Jefferson's Koran, no less. It should be noted that the official swearing in is done en masse, without any book at all. Besides, he has the right to swear on whatever book he wants.

Not convinced? Consider Article 6, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution:

"The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."

Can someone please clue in Dennis Prager and Virgil Goode?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Happy New Year!

A few days late, but here we are! Looking forward to new opportunities in 2007, with the grace of God at our side.