Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Good News for Mitt Romney

Although Republican conservatives are chagrined that Florida might propel Senator McCain to the nomination, it's not over yet. In a state heavily populated by military and retired-military voters, McCain and Romney actually appear to have tied among Republicans.

Was Florida a Closed Primary Or Not?
January30, 2008 (Excerpt)

"In my attempts to self-soothe in the wake of Romney's Florida defeat, I'm poring over the details of the exit polling in search of encouraging morsels, thus far with sporadic success. Mitt beat McCain soundly among conservatives (37-29), among "issues" voters (35-27), and even edged him out among voters for whom terrorism was the most important issue (29-26).

One breakout that puzzles me though is the vote share by party identification. Romney and McCain were tied among Republicans at 33-33, while McCain won independents 44-23. (See page 4 of the exit poll.)

If I'm reading the poll correctly, it suggests 17% of Republican primary voters identified themselves as having no major party affiliation, while 3% identified themselves as registered Democrats.

One of the features of the Florida primary that was supposed to distinguish it from the other contests to date was that it was a closed primary, meaning only party-registered voters could vote in their respective primaries. This was one of those alluring intangibles that hinted at a Romney advantage relative to the earlier open primaries.

And indeed, the exit polling suggests that Romney likely matched McCain among Republicans in Florida (rounded to the nearest percentage point). From where I'm sitting, it appears Mitt RomneyMitt-Romney-MBA Sep-07 might've won the Florida primary.

Despite my support for Romney, I'm loathe to hunt for extra innings in this or any contest. That's a game usually better left to the Gores, Kuciniches, Paulnuts, and the other dark-minded conspiracy buffs of the world. And to be clear, I'm not suggesting conspiracy is afoot, only that Florida's record of electoral execution is... well, checkered. You don't have to conspire to screw something up in order to screw something up."

Exit poll cited is at this link


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

60 Minutes and George Piro End ‘Bush Lied’ Nonsense

I know it will never be enough for the liberal ideologues and the purely partisan politicians, but I hope the 60 Minutes interview and the follow-up articles on Saddam’s interviewer will end the “Bush Lied” nonsense – at least among those political opponents of Bush’s who are fair-minded.

Mr. Piro, an FBI agent assigned to question Saddam over many months, revealed that Saddam deliberately foisted on the world the deception that he had many kinds of weapons of mass destruction - chemical, biological and nuclear. This deception took many forms and was carried out because Saddam feared most an attack from Iran, and he thought it was the only thing that would prevent that from happening.

He (Saddam) also told the interviewer that, although he had dismantled his WMD program, he had left in place equipment, scientists and programs so that he could reconstitute his WMD when the world lost interest, and that he intended to do just that.

Another important point we learned from Saddam via Piro was that Saddam expected only a short-lived air attack from the United States, because of the many times the U.S. had, in the past, responded in this manner regardless of the provocation. He was the most surprised man on the planet when the U.S. actually moved troops into Iraq and went after him.

Mystery of the WMDs
By Laurie Mylroie
1/29/2008 American Spectator (Excerpt)

George Piro, a personable and handsome FBI agent, appeared on 60 Minutes Sunday to tell us Saddam Hussein's secrets. The 36-year-old Lebanese-American was Saddam's interrogator. In addition to whatever the show disclosed about Saddam, it also revealed a lot about how the U.S. media and bureaucracies have handled and stoked the controversies over Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) -- basically, afflicted by chronic Alzheimer's. The events relevant to understanding OIF go back nearly 18 years -- to Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Few people worked on Iraq all those years. Still, those doing so now ought to know that history. Neither 60 Minutes nor the FBI do.

Piro explained that when he finally asked Saddam about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, Saddam replied that most were destroyed by U.N. inspectors (UNSCOM) and the rest were destroyed by Iraq. After their destruction, however, Saddam tricked the world into believing Iraq still had them. "That was what kept power. That capability kept the Iranians away," Piro affirmed.


Washington Post, January 24, 2008 (Excerpt)

“The Iraqi leader had also intended to restart the weapons program and had the means to do it.”

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Monday, January 28, 2008

The Kennedy Endorsement Gives Me Great Hope

Until today, in that small place way in the back of my mind, there was this thought that this was going to be a Democratic year no matter what we did and no matter who the Republican nominee might be. The reason is that I have assumed all along that Senator Clinton would be the nominee for the Democrats, and that, with the tide running her way, she would win the presidency.

Today both Senator Kennedy and also Caroline (Kennedy) endorsed Obama, and the sun came out for me. Say what you want about the Clintons; they may be dishonest and slimy, but, together, they are experienced both in political campaigning and in government. Their experience makes them formidable opponents for any Republican nominee. However, the trashing of Obama by the Clintons that we have been watching seems, for the first time, to have exasperated and turned off many of their former allies and supporters. Endorsements normally don’t mean much, but I think today’s endorsement by the Kennedy's, coming as it did right after South Carolina, may change a lot of minds that were wavering.

Senator Obama is a great speaker, but he has no experience, and he has already made some major gaffes. I think he is eminently beatable when the subject shifts to national defense, illegal immigration and the economy – particularly if Romney is the Republican nominee. As much as McCain is respected, because of his liberal positions many Republicans will sit on their hands if he is the nominee. The only issue where McCain is acceptable is on national defense.


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Sunday, January 27, 2008

How to Respond to a Supercilious Atheist

As one who finds key evidence to be lacking for the three aspects of Darwinism, and also finds some of the key tenets of man-made global warming to be laughable, it is always annoying to note the dismissive attitudes of the true believers. Skeptics of Darwinism find they cannot get perfectly good papers published, and if they are in academia, they often have difficulty gaining tenure. I’m sure that, as the materialists take over the world, reports will soon surface that college professors are being denied tenure because they believe in God, or because they believe that the culture of their country is at least as worthwhile as the cultures of the immigrants who risked everything to escape their own country’s culture to come here.

One of my favorite websites is that of the American Thinker. Once again I have posted below an excerpt from one of their authors. The excerpt is a small portion of a long article; to read it all, just click on the link provided.

How to Respond to a Supercilious Atheist
By Alan Roebuck, January 26, 2008, American Thinker (Excerpt)

“Not all atheists are supercilious, of course. Many are content to live and let live, and some even grant that religion (which, in America, basically means Christianity) does some good. But atheism as an organized, evangelizing movement has been on the offensive lately. Witness the "New Atheists" such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens, with their aggressive stance against God and their bestselling books attempting to debunk religion. So, assuming you are a theist, what do you say to the atheist who asks, "You don't (chuckle) actually believe in God, do you (snicker)?"

The natural response would be to start giving evidence for God: the origin of the universe in the Big Bang requires a cause that is beyond matter, energy, space and time, the design of life requires an intelligence to account for the information that it contains, the many accounts of miracles and the supernatural cannot all be fabrications, and so on. Entire libraries have been written on the evidence and arguments for God.

But before you start showing them the evidence, consider: Most aggressive atheists say "I would be willing to believe in God if there were any evidence that He exists, but no such evidence exists, so I don't believe." No matter what evidence you give, the supercilious atheist finds a way to dismiss it. To him, it is not the case that your evidence for God is valid but nevertheless is cancelled out by his superior evidence against God. No, in the atheist's mind your evidence does not even count as evidence. And therefore your reasoning has no effect on his thinking, other than to confirm to him that you are irrational.

What's going on here? Does the atheist have superior insight that allows him to see the errors that invalidate the arguments for God that seem valid to us theists? Or is it the atheist who is missing something?

I would argue that it's the latter. Consider: the theist believes in the real existence of everything that the atheist believes in: matter, energy, space, time. The theist believes that the physical world really exists, just as the atheist does. And the theist believes that the scientific description of nature is fundamentally correct, as far as it goes.

But the atheist refuses to expand his mental universe by also believing in the transcendent things that the theist believes in: God, souls, angels and demons, for example. The atheist restricts himself to a sort of tunnel vision.”

And this is where atheism becomes vulnerable. The atheist does not disbelieve in God because he has neutrally examined all the evidence, and drawn the proper conclusion that there is no God. On the contrary, the atheist radically misconstrues the plentiful evidence for God, and he does this because of his false worldview, which tells him that only the physical really exists. Before he has examined the evidence, the atheist thinks he knows that nothing non-physical actually exists, and this assumption governs how he responds to the evidence.

About that word "worldview:" It means a comprehensive system of thought that describes the nature of reality, answers the big questions of life, and provides man with a code of conduct. Most Western atheists have a worldview that the philosophers call "naturalism," the basic elements of which include atheism, empiricism (the doctrine that all knowledge is obtained inductively, based on our sense perceptions), and materialism (the doctrine that only matter and its properties exist).” American Thinker

Editorial Note:
This article also provides a good explanation of why Darwinists can not consider the body of evidence from modern microbiology now building that undercuts the idea that successive random changes lead to new species. Such evidence conflicts with their world view.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Two For the Money, Three for the Show?

Like many of my friends, I have never understood why anyone would support or believe anything that Bill or Hillary Clinton said about anything. I can remember watching them discussing Bill’s escapades on 60 Minutes during the first Clinton campaign in 1992 and thinking, “they are such liars”. From that moment on, whenever either one of them appeared on TV I tuned them out or tuned them off.

It’s taken a long time for others to appreciate their dishonesty, their narcissism and even, perhaps, their sociopathic character disorders, but the rest of the country finally seems to be catching on. Why would 35 years of taking it to be in Bill’s shadow and destroying many women’s lives qualify Hillary for president?

Supposedly, Nixon once said, to rally his base, “watch what we do, not what we say”. The Clintons transpose this into, “listen to what we say, don’t watch what we do”.

Are the Dems out of love with Hill and Bill?
By James Lewis, January 25, 2008, American Thinker (Excerpt)

“The Left's romance with the Clintons never made any sense to conservatives, who despaired to see how low the country had fallen after eight solid years of blatant sleaze, mendacity and incompetence. "Where is the outrage?" asked Bob Dole in 1996; but then he was a badly wounded vet from World War II, and never, ever talked about his paralyzed right arm. A man from a different generation.

Millions of sane voters wondered where the outrage was, too, but the Clintons kept their media phalanx intact. They were untouchable. The Left just seemed to stayed suckered, in spite of everything.

Well, love is dead today. Democrats are making goo-goo eyes at a younger and better-looking idol. Even David Broder drops a tear listening to Obama.

What's more, the Left finally sees the Clintons for what they are. It only took sixteen years to figure out what everybody else knew in 1991. The mind boggles.

Two months ago Maureen Dowd, of all people, wrote in the NYT that

"Without nepotism, Hillary would be running for the president of Vassar ... Of course, Hillary is never on her own. From the beginning, her campaign has relied on her husband's donors, network, strategies and strong-arming."

This week she dumped another stink bomb:

"Bill's transition from elder statesman, leader of his party and bipartisan ambassador to ward heeler and hatchet man has been seamless - and seamy."

Wow! Why wasn't Dowd giving us these devastating insights in time for the elections of 1992, 1996 and 2000? Oh, never mind. I can guess.

Even Margaret Carlson, totally in the pitch-black burqa for the Clintons all these years, has just had it. She now raises the spectre of more Monicas to come:

"Months ago, a voter explained why he was leaning against Senator Hillary Clinton for president: ``You can't be commander-in-chief,'' he said, ``if you can't keep your dog on the porch.''

"He was referring to the specter of another Monica emerging during the Democratic primaries, and this time Hillary being unable to blame a ``vast right-wing conspiracy'' or retreat to Martha's Vineyard behind a pair of dark glasses."

The hard ideological Left has had it with the Clintons, too. The Nation quotes Norah Ephron's devolution from pure Clintonism to disillusionment:

"I love [Hillary Clinton] so completely that, honestly, she would have to burn down the White House before I would say anything bad about her!" exclaimed Nora Ephron in a 1993 Newsday interview.

Three years later, she told the Wellesley class of 1996,

"Understand: Every attack on Hillary Clinton for not knowing her place is an attack on you."

Come late 2006, however, Ephron was the one on the attack as one of the self-described "Hillary resisters --- those who believe that she will do anything to win ... who can't stand her position on the war, who don't trust her as far as you can spit."”


Clinton's Depressing Assault on Obama
By E. J. Dionne, January 25, 2008 RealClearPolitics (Excerpt)

WASHINGTON – “It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Washington Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn't allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan's "rhetoric in defense of freedom" and his role in "advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back."

"The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing," Clinton declared.

Clinton was careful to add that the Reagan military program included "a lot of wasted money and unnecessary expenditure," but the signal had been sent: Clinton was willing to move beyond "the brain-dead politics in both parties," as he so often put it.

His apostasy was widely noticed. The Memphis Commercial Appeal praised Clinton two days later for daring to "set himself apart from the pack of contenders for the Democratic nomination by saying something nice about Ronald Reagan."

Clinton's "readiness to defy his party's prevailing Reaganphobia and admit it," the paper wrote, "is one reason he's a candidate to watch."

I have been thinking about that episode ever since Hillary Clinton's campaign started unloading on Barack Obama for making statements about Reagan that were, if anything, more measured than Bill Clinton's 1991 comments. Obama simply acknowledged Reagan's long-term impact on politics, and the fact that conservatives once constituted the camp producing new ideas, flawed though they were.

Obama's not particularly original insight was a central premise of Bill Clinton's 1992 campaign. Clinton argued over and over that Democrats could not win without new ideas of their own. To reread Clinton's "New Covenant" speeches from back then is to be reminded of how electrifying it was to hear a politician who was willing to break new ground.

That's why the Clintons' assault on Obama is so depressing. In many ways, Obama is running the 2008 version of the 1992 Clinton campaign. You have the feeling that if Bill Clinton did not have another candidate in this contest, he'd be advising Obama and cheering him on.”

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Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Why they Hate Mitt Romney

Now that Fred Thompson has dropped out, it appears my record in picking someone isn't too good, but I previously said that I would enthusiastically support Giuliani or Romney if Fred dropped out. At this point it is Romney for me. I hope I'm not the kiss of death. Here's an interesting post from the American Thinker:

Why they Hate Mitt Romney
By Amy D. Goldstein, American Thinker, January 23, 2008

Have you noticed how all of the Republican candidates can barely conceal their contempt for Governor Mitt Romney? It goes way beyond the typical good-natured competition that usually is the hallmark of Republican contests. Senator McCain has snarled at Governor Romney in debates and Gov. Huckabee has tried to paint Romney as cold and uncaring, while Sen. Fred Thompson attacked Governor Romney right out of the box. This display of hatred usually is the hallmark of the Democrats.

So, why do the other candidates hate Mitt Romney? Several reasons:

1. He can win. Governor Romney appeals to economic conservatives and could appeal to foreign policy conservatives based upon his understanding of the issues. Most non-partisan foreign policy wonks who have briefed the major candidates tell me that Romney "gets it" better than any other candidate -- even better than those who have held high profile office for decades. Moreover, he is the candidate that the Democrats most fear.

2. Jealousy -- from his hair to his appearance to his family to his money - these are all reasons for deep seeded, if unseemly, jealousy. This green-eyed monster makes its appearance in almost every speech or presentation, in the form of a joke, a jab or a veiled reference.

3. He isn't beholden to interest groups. Governor Romney's wealth frees him from any influence that interest groups could apply to others - especially those who lack funds or who are Washington insiders. He doesn't need them, and that scares the interest groups and their allies. He is not of the game and wants to change it - and his personal wealth allows him to do so. He really can change Washington.

4. His brains - not only is he one of the smartest people ever to seek the presidency (having earned a Harvard MBA and JD simultaneously), but he understands the complexities of the issues that America faces and is able to devise workable solutions. Just look at his proposal for an economic stimulus and compare it to what the other candidates are proposing. Romney clearly can lead this country through economic challenges.

5. His wealth -- again. While he has raised more than any other candidate, Governor Romney doesn't need to raise the money in order to continue. Nevertheless, he understands that successful candidates must have people invested in their candidacy in order to succeed. He has learned the lessons of past wealthy businessmen who make vanity runs for the White House. The other candidates have to constantly raise money in order to continue their campaigns.

6. His experience. The rest of the Republican field has been in politics in one form or another for most of their adult lives. Governor Romney came to public service after having a successful career in which he directly created jobs, saved jobs, invested in new companies and turned around failed businesses. He even fixed both the Olympics and the failing state of Massachusetts. More than any other candidate, Governor Romney's experience is most directly applicable to the average American's situation.
7. He believes that America's best days are ahead of it, and not a memory. Governor Romney is a man of the future, not of the past. He sees America as a beacon of freedom for the entire world, and not a country limping toward its last days. His infectious optimism is informed by his business experience, his love of country and his family values. His can-do spirit is the antidote to defeatism masked as "straight talk" or "reality."

8. His beliefs. When all else fails, Governor Romney's opponents attack his religion in the hopes of sowing fear and loathing. Not only is this unseemly, but it is dangerous. We have seen this type of rhetoric before - in the 1920's and 1930's - from the likes of Henry Ford and Father Caughlin and others who sought to disenfranchise whole segments of the American population. Governor Romney believes in the common American faith of democracy and religious freedom, as he so eloquently stated in his speech "Faith in America." These are the values our Founding Fathers codified in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

Why do the Republican candidates hate him? Because they don't have any answers to his challenges. They seek to undermine him by using personal attacks more worthy of a middle school playground than a presidential contest. This is politics and Washington as usual, and choosing any candidate that employs these tactics will only get us more of the same. One would hope that Americans could see beyond these base attacks and choose the candidate who is best for the country - Governor Mitt Romney.

Amy D. Goldstein is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.


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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Affirming Our Second Amendment Rights

It was interesting to me that at a recent birthday party, five of the eight men there discussed owning guns, and three of the five (including me) have concealed-carry permits. The other three men did not volunteer information, so they may or may not be gun owners. Some people, like liberal columnist, William Raspberry, famously excoriate gun-owners while reserving that right to themselves (as Democrat Senator Webb was also caught doing),

Gun owners and others who respect the Second Amendment should remember that both Clinton and Obama are anti the 2nd Amendment and have voted for every gun control measure put before them (source:

Rather than any more gun control legislation (except for constantly tightening ways to keep guns out of the hands of ex-felons and people with mental defects), what is needed is a federal law for carry-permit holders that recognizes the mobility of today’s society. There is now a federal law, referred to as the “peaceable journey” law, that enables any legal gun owner to carry an unloaded weapon across state lines while traveling. What is needed is a similar law that automatically gives reciprocity to a permit holder who is also on a “peaceable journey”, but wishes to retain the protection he has in his home state.

The same rules would apply as is the case now: one could only stop temporarily in a pass-through state, and the destination must be another residence or place of business. As it is now, I can protect myself through Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia, but before entering DC and Maryland I must empty my gun and lock it in a box in my trunk, and it must stay that way through New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island until I reach my other home in RI.

The Second Amendment Wedge
by Jed Babbin, 11/26/2007, Human Events

Hillary calls them, “kitchen table issues,” the political questions Americans take seriously enough to talk about them privately, in their homes, among family and friends. Whether she likes it or not, one of those issues is gun control. Last week the Supreme Court decided to take on the biggest gun control case in almost seventy years: District of Columbia v. Heller. The Heller case is an appeal by the DC government from the US Circuit Court’s decision holding unconstitutional D.C.’s ban on privately-owned handguns and severe limits on other weapons.

The Heller appeal will be argued next spring and unless something very odd happens, it will be decided before the election. This is very bad news for the Democrats who -- like Hillary -- don’t believe that the Second Amendment grants to private citizens the right to keep and bear arms.

The DC handgun ban provides that an unlicensed private person may not carry a pistol even from room to room in his own home. Because DC -- as a matter of policy -- doesn’t grant handgun permits, the law effectively bans lawful handgun ownership.

It also requires that all other guns -- shotguns and rifles -- be registered and kept either unloaded and disassembled or locked with a trigger lock. In either case, the weapon is useless for self-defense because an assailant isn’t likely to stand by waiting patiently while you search for the key or put your shotgun together in order to protect yourself from him.

It’s been almost seventy years since the Supreme Court last ruled on the very basic principle embodied in the Second Amendment: the right to keep and bear arms. The 1939 decision in Miller v. US confused the law.

Reacting to the interstate gangs of the 1930s that preyed on the public (and their banks: think Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde and their ilk) Congress regulated private possession of the gangs’ favorite tools of mayhem: machine guns, suppressed (silenced) weapons and sawed-off shotguns. Miller and his co-defendant were convicted of crossing state lines with a sawed-off shotgun in violation of the new law.

In 1939, the Supreme Court ruled that the Miller convictions were proper because the sawed-off shotgun was not a weapon that would be of use to a militiaman: “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.” But following that logic -- and given the armament most common among the modern militia, the National Guard, is the M-16 rifle which is capable of fully-automatic fire -- the Miller case is at best a limited guide for the Supreme Court in the DC v. Heller appeal.

Though you may as well reason that the freedom from unreasonable search and seizure applies only to homes that were built by 1781, the fact is that officers of some states’ militias were required to equip themselves with a brace of pistols.

The Heller case raises the precise issue that liberals fear most: the private rights of individuals. The DC Circuit’s opinion rejects the District of Columbia government’s argument that the Second Amendment grants only a collective right: that the states have the right to arm their militias, but no private citizen has a right to keep a firearm. It will be very tough to overcome the DC Circuit’s reasoning for two big reasons.

First, as the Supreme Court held in 1840, there’s not a surplus word in the Constitution. “Every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning…no word was unnecessarily used or needlessly added.” The Second Amendment says, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.” There are no useless words here. Every one is key to the force and effect of the Second Amendment. That Amendment, when it speaks of “the people” must be read in concert with the rest of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and their history.

No one contends that the other Amendments that preserve rights of “the people” -- the First, Fourth, Ninth and Tenth -- do not preserve individuals’ rights. The same must be true of the Second.

Moreover, the Federalist Papers -- as the DC Circuit analyzes -- reveal that the Founders believed in the right of the individual to keep his own firearms. Neither the Federalists nor the Anti-Federalists believed the federal government had the power to disarm the people.

The second reason the Heller case will be tough to overturn is in the Fourteenth Amendment which precludes states from passing laws that abridge the privileges and immunities of citizens granted under the Constitution. The courts haven’t yet decided that the Fourteenth Amendment precludes gun control laws such as the District of Columbia’s, but the Heller case may make that result unavoidable, thus overturning those laws around the nation.

If the Republicans seize this opportunity, they can make a “kitchen table” issue into a “wedge issue” in 2008: one that will decide the minds of voters. One Republican -- Mitt Romney -- has spoken on this precise point. In his interview with HUMAN EVENTS, Romney said his personal view was that the Second Amendment granted the right to keep and bear arms to individuals. No Democrat will say that.

In Hillary Clinton’s book, “Living History,” she writes about her outrage at Congress’ failure to, “…close the so-called gun-show loophole and to require child safety locks on guns.” She goes on talking about how Congress lacked the will to, “…buck the all-powerful gun lobby and pass sensible gun safety measures [which] made me think about what I might be able to do, as a senator, to pass common sense legislation. In an interview in May, I told CBS anchor Dan Rather that, if I ran for the Senate, it would be because of what I learned in places like Littleton -- and in spite of what I had lived through in Washington.”

Clinton never did anything about gun control as a senator. What would she do as president? Does she believe that the Second Amendment gives individuals the right to keep and bear arms, or does she favor confiscative laws such as the District of Columbia law the Supreme Court will rule on in the Heller case?

We know the answer. But it’s up to the Republican candidates to flush her out of the tall weeds. This is an important issue to a great majority of Americans across the map, in Blue States, not just Red ones. It could be the wedge issue that decides the 2008 election.


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Monday, January 21, 2008

Denise Amber Lee and Michael King

I have pulled my post on the case of Denise Amber Lee and Michael King because Denise's body has been found, and the issue is moot, and also because I feel my emotions got the best of me. I still feel, however, that in the case of enemy-combatant terrorists, our people on the front lines need to be able to use "rough-interrogation" techniques in circumstances where many lives are at risk and can be saved. The enemy we are fighting now is unlike any other we have ever faced.


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Friday, January 18, 2008

Fred, Rush Limbaugh, Courage and Harry Reid

It’s been obvious for some time that my candidate for president is Fred Thompson. Not only was he the only one to recognize the implications of the filing by the Bush Justice Dept. in the 2nd Amendment case now before the Supreme Court (see my 1/17/08 Posting), and the only one so far to speak out against it, Fred also immediately came to Rush Limbaugh’s defense when Senator Reid tried to smear Rush.

For those who missed the smear episode, Senator Reid castigated Rush on the floor of the Senate for something Rush had not said (a very unusual act for a US Senator), he went on to issue a letter (signed also by 41 Democrats including Clinton and Obama) that smeared Rush, and sent it to Rush’s employer who gave it to Rush. Rush then one-upped Reid by auctioning off the letter on eBay and matching the multi-million dollar bid – turning the money over to a Marine charity. Reid later tried to imply that it was all his idea.

Fred Thompson immediately issued a statement supporting Rush when this first happened. So far as I know, no other candidate has spoken out about this outrage.

Just so you know, my position is that Thompson is my candidate. If he doesn’t make it, I would support and contribute to either Romney or Giuliani; I will sit on my hands if it is McCain, and I will actively oppose Huckabee. My expectation is that the nomination will not be decided until the Republican convention.

Cross-posted from the American Thinker:

The Anti Soundbite Candidate
By Rick Moran, 1/17/08

Fred Thompson is not the most inspiring speaker in the GOP race for President. Nor is he the best looking or the smoothest talking among the candidates running. He doesn't have Mitt Romney's hair or Mike Huckabee's glibness. He isn't as aggressively positive as Rudy Giuliani. And while his personal story is compelling, it can't compete with John McCain's inspirational journey from POW to the gates of the White House.

But Fred Thompson is perhaps the most substantative candidate to run for President in many years. He has taken the time to think about what should be the relationship between the government and the governed. He has framed his thoughts within the context of a set of bedrock conservative principles that animates his thinking and generates sound ideas about where America should be headed.

There is a heft to Thompson, a seriousness of purpose that none of the other candidates can match. It is most pronounced during the debates where Thompson's answers to questions are more subtle and nuanced than those of his rivals. His sometimes laconic style zings his opponents with brutal accuracy. Often, the candidate will answer a question by stating "Yep" or "Nope" and pause a few seconds to gather his thoughts. What follows is almost always coherent and is informed by years of experience in government.

His now famous moment during the Des Moines Register debate where he refused to raise his hand like a schoolboy when the moderator asked who believed in global warming was a metaphor for the entire Thompson campaign; keeping the Mickey Mouse to a minimum while trying to be as substantative as possible with the voters. In short, Thompson is running the campaign his way and not in a manner dictated by any previous candidate's success or any criticism that comes his way from media pundits.

He has well thought out policy positions - "White Papers" the campaign calls them - have won him almost universal praise from sources as wildly divergent as the Washington Post and the National Review.

For instance, the Wall Street Journal had this to say about Thompson's tax plan:

"However, what's refreshing about the Thompson plan is that it goes well beyond the current Republican mantra to make "the Bush tax cuts permanent." That is certainly needed, but the GOP also needs a more ambitious agenda, especially with economic growth slowing. The flat tax has the added political benefit of assaulting the special interests who populate the Gucci Gulch outside Congress's tax-writing committee rooms. Lower rates and simplify the tax code, and you instantly reduce the opportunities for Beltway corruption. It is both a tax policy and political reform.”

ABC had this to say about his plan to save Social Security:

“Republican presidential contender Fred Thompson's plan to save Social Security and protect seniors, which he introduced Friday afternoon in a Washington, D.C., hotel, differs starkly from standard election year pabulum on the subject in one key way: He's actually treating voters like adults.”

If all of this is true, why is Fred Thompson fighting for his political life this Saturday in the South Carolina primary?

It is a question that, if Thompson's bid falls short, will be asked by many who saw the former Tennessee senator's entry into the race as a godsend. In the end, the candidate must look to his own efforts and the way the campaign began.

Leaving aside the question of whether Thompson's September entry into the race could be considered "too late" there is the reality of how that campaign was conducted.

Looking back, one could see it was unfocused, even aimless, in its first weeks with the candidate himself trying to find his voice. His early efforts were spotty and sometimes dreadfully boring. By many reports, voters came away perplexed and not a little disappointed.

Thompson's Socratic style of addressing those early crowds was a good way to discuss issues on a substantive level but a lousy way to run for president. Voters more attuned to snappy, one sentence solutions to the problems of the world coming from other candidates found that when listening to Thompson, they had to think, not react emotionally.

In this way, Thompson appealed to people more on an intellectual level. This was fine as far as it went but it brought him few converts and elicited nothing but contempt from the media.

How often have we heard the refrain that the American people wanted a campaign that dealt with issues not personalities? Well, here was Fred Thompson supposedly giving people what we were told they wanted and his once robust poll numbers began to plummet. Seeking an explanation, reporters and pundits who saw Thompson arrived at the conclusion that the candidate didn't want it bad enough, that he had no "fire in the belly," that he hated campaigning and didn't extend himself as the other candidates were doing.

There may be a glimmer of truth in some of that conventional wisdom. Perhaps the candidate believed it was enough that he put his ideas on the table and let the American people decide whether or not they were worthy of consideration. Indeed, Thompson has said as much in the past. What perhaps the candidate didn't realize is that fighting for those ideas and tying them to overarching themes is the most effective way to reach the voter.

But for whatever reason - the befuddlement of the press over his style of campaigning or a perceived lack of energy and desire - the candidate found himself at the end of November trailing badly in the polls. It was then that the campaign seemed to find itself and Thompson found those themes as well as his issues and tied them together. Crowds began to react more positively. It appeared the candidate himself was more energized and active.

But Thompson was pushing against weeks of very negative press and a conventional wisdom that had all but written him off. It was a daunting task to turn the campaign around but he has. Now he must convince voters in South Carolina and beyond that the conventional wisdom about his candidacy is wrong and that he deserves a second look.

His most recent appearances in South Carolina have shown an entirely different candidate than the one who appeared unfocused and low key during the first three months of his campaign. He has now found his mission; that the campaign is for the heart and soul of the Republican party and the future of the old Reagan coalition

When speaking in this vein, the candidate exudes a passion that may have been lacking in his earlier campaign stops. It carries over into his contrasting the records of his opponents with his own as he hammers away at their lack of true conservative credentials. He still talks specifics and issues but in a way that delineates his positions from those of his rivals. In short, he has found the bridge between a way to campaign effectively without sacrificing his belief that the voters hunger for substance in their candidate.

Thompson still pauses and thinks before he answers questions either from the media or voters. He speaks in complete sentences. He treats voters like "adults" as ABC mentioned above. In this sense, he is the anti-soundbite candidate. Whether Thompson's no-nonsense approach to campaigning will give him victory will depend largely on whether voters are moved to support a man who views running for president not as the fulfillment of raw ambition but as a chance to serve the people.


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Thursday, January 17, 2008

What Is Bush Thinking? Ask Fred on 2nd Amend. Rights

My readers all know that I am a strong supporter of President Bush even though he has sometimes taken actions that leave me baffled. I am talking about such things as signing the McCain-Feingold bill, pushing for the No Child Left Behind legislation and involving himself in the Terry Sciavo case. This week Fred Thompson made a statement about the upcoming Supreme Court review of the overturn of Washington D.C.’s outrageous gun control laws that also left me baffled until I looked into the matter.

What has happened is that the Bush Administration has, unbelievably, filed a brief in this case asking that it be returned to the lower court for “fact-finding”. What this really means is that the Bush Justice Dept. wants the lower court to reconsider its finding that D.C.’s gun bans are unconstitutional, and come up with a less definitive decision that attorneys, politicians and gun-control groups can use to find ways to finesse this affirmation of our basic rights.

It takes a little digging to figure out just what is going on here, but it made my Florida vote yesterday (we have early voting in Florida’s primary) for Fred Thompson even more fulfilling to realize that Fred figured out right away what this action meant, and immediately spoke out against it. In fact, I don’t believe any of the other Republican candidates have made statements or are even aware of this development.

I have posted below an excerpt from the blog and also a statement from the NRA on this subject:
Gun rights advocates were understandably dismayed when the Bush Administration Justice Department submitted a brief in District of Columbia v. Heller, the big Second Amendment case to be argued later this term, calling for a remand of the case for reconsideration of D.C.'s gun laws under a less demanding constitutional standard. Given the Bush Administration's support for an "individual rights" view of the Second Amendment, many find it incomprehensible that the Administration would not support the D.C. Circuit decision holding D.C.'s draconian gun restrictions unconstitutional. The DoJ's brief is also a potentially unwelcome development in the Presidential race, as it could dampen gun owners' support of GOP candidates.

The Fred Thompson for President, South Carolina bus tour reached Spartanburg today, where the Law & Order TV star candidate fielded questions at Papa's Breakfast Nook from Charlotte, N.C.'s WBT-AM radio talk show host Jeff Katz.

Asked his opinion of the Second Amendment and the Solicitor General's request that the DC Circuit Court remand the appeal back to the trial court for "fact-finding", the lawyer turned Senator from Tennessee said the Bush Administration was "overlawyering" and stated that he opposed remand and that the case should move forward to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The DC District Court in an opinion written by Judge Silberman, struck down the DC ban on the possession of hand guns even in one's own home. Judge Silberman ruled that the Second Amendment protected an individual right to protect one's home with arms that pre-dates the Constitution.

Statement of the National Rifle Association By Wayne LaPierre And Chris Cox On The Pending U.S. Supreme Court Case

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In the coming months, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider the constitutionality of Washington, D.C.’s ban on handgun ownership and self-defense in law-abiding residents’ homes. The Court will first address the question of whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, as embodied in the Bill of Rights, protects the rights of individuals or a right of the government. If the Court agrees that this is an individual right, they will then determine if D.C.’s self-defense and handgun bans are constitutional.

The position of the National Rifle Association is clear. The Second Amendment protects the fundamental, individual right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms for any lawful purpose. Further, any law infringing this freedom, including a ban on self-defense and handgun ownership, is unconstitutional and provides no benefit to curbing crime. Rather, these types of restrictions only leave the law-abiding more susceptible to criminal attack.

The U.S. Government, through its Solicitor General, has filed an amicus brief in this case. We applaud the government’s recognition that the Second Amendment protects a fundamental, individual right that is “central to the preservation of liberty.” The brief also correctly recognizes that the D.C. statutes ban “a commonly-used and commonly-possessed firearm in a way that has no grounding in Framing-era practice,” the Second Amendment applies to the District of Columbia, is not restricted to service in a militia and secures the natural right of self-defense.

However, the government’s position is also that a “heightened” level of judicial scrutiny should be applied to these questions. The National Rifle Association believes that the Court should use the highest level of scrutiny in reviewing the D.C. gun ban. We further believe a complete ban on handgun ownership and self-defense in one’s own home does not pass ANY level of judicial scrutiny. Even the government agrees that “the greater the scope of the prohibition and its impact on private firearm possession, the more difficult it will be to defend under the Second Amendment.” A complete ban is the kind of infringement that is the greatest in scope. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit correctly ruled that D.C.’s statutes are unconstitutional. We strongly believe the ruling should be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The National Rifle Association will be filing an amicus brief in this case and will provide additional information to our members as this case moves through the legal process.

Please refer questions to NRA Grassroots at 1-800-392-8683.


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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Another Closing of the American Mind?

I doubt if anyone who knows me would consider me a prude, but I have long yearned for some kind of censorship of the television garbage we see that gets recycled into reruns that are impossible to protect children from watching. I am talking, of course, about extreme violence, the glorification of casual sex and the common use of vulgarities. (One side result of TV and the failures of our education system are the obscenities and vulgarities our young people now commonly and constantly use to express themselves.)

I may just have noticed it, but this coarseness has now projected itself into our TV commercials. Not only do I have to protect myself from mindless blather (I watch 2 or 3 programs at a time so I can switch during commercials), but I am now being constantly bombarded by ads about erectile dysfunction and the sometimes unpleasant aspects of women’s natural bodily functions.

Now Lisa Fabrizio has noticed something else as well: ads that push a liberal, political agenda.

Instant Messaging

Lisa Fabrizio, 1/16/08, American Spectator, (Excerpt)

“AMERICANS ARE constantly ambushed by TV commercials and even sports broadcasts that seek not only to corrupt the morals of our children and ourselves, but are often drenched in liberal doctrine. But what if equal time was given to the other side?

Can you imagine the outcry if, instead of unintentionally hilarious attempts at "greening" us all, such as NBC tried a few months ago, another network aired productions in support of drilling for our own oil in Alaska and the gulf coast, or encouraging the unthinkable; development of nuclear energy strategies like those in Europe?

How about instead of anti-smoking crusades such as that waged literally ad nauseam by our friends in the state of New York against those who freely choose to use a legal product, we got some glimpses of the equally behavior-driven ravages on the human body wrought by the AIDS virus? Or instead of over-dramatizing cruelty to animals we had some graphic video of partial-birth abortion? But of course these images will never see the light of day in the mainstream TV world, a world that seeks to conform the nation to its own agenda.

Probably most emblematic of this is the campaign of Planned Parenthood (caution, view these You Tube videos at your own risk) to promote physically "safe" but morally ruinous lifestyles on our children. Perverting what is good and truly natural -- that conjugal love, open to procreation is not a danger one needs "protection" against -- these ads, which air on youth-oriented channels like MTV and VH-1 and encourage homosexual acts, teach that "protection" should be one's only concern during a happy life of rampant promiscuity.

And lest our kids have any outdated religious notions that would preclude them from enjoying this glorious existence, one of their ads features two guardian angels of "safe sex" who advise a young gal in the process of initiating a sexual romp to seek after "protection." After securing the proper response from her lover, the girl mews a happy "Amen," while one of the angles tells the other that she is "pretty hot." Explains a Planned Parenthood chaplain, "I love the fact that this ad challenges popular conceptions of religion and sexuality."

So the next time the family snuggles down on the couch together to root on the home team, or your kids invite some friends over to watch the latest videos; beware. It's not just the program content that may be hazardous to their health, but the commercials also." Lisa Fabrizio


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Tuesday, January 15, 2008


I guess the editors of the treasonous New York Times don't realize that "Home of the Brave" was just another in a series of unpopular, anti-Iraq War movies. The theme of "Home of the Brave" is that every returning Iraq War veteran suffers serious, sometimes murderous, mental problems. You idiots at the Times, it was a movie!!!!

By RALPH PETERS, New York Post, 1/15/08 (Excerpt)

January 15, 2008 -- THE New York Times is trashing our troops again. With no new "atrocities" to report from Iraq for many a month, the limping Gray Lady turned to the home front. Front and center, above the fold, on the front page of Sunday's Times, the week's feature story sought to convince Americans that combat experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan are turning troops into murderers when they come home.

Heart-wringing tales of madness and murder not only made the front page, but filled two entire centerfold pages and spilled onto a fourth.

The Times did get one basic fact right: Returning vets committed or are charged with 121 murders in the United States since our current wars began.

Had the Times' "journalists" and editors bothered to put those figures in context - which they carefully avoided doing - they would've found that the murder rate that leaves them so aghast means that our vets are five times less likely to commit a murder than their demographic peers.

The Times' public editor, Clark Hoyt, should crunch the numbers. I'm even willing to spot the Times a few percentage points (either way). But the hard statistics from the Justice Department tell a far different tale from the Times' anti-military propaganda.

A very conservative estimate of how many different service members have passed through Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait since 2003 is 350,000 (and no, that's not double-counting those with repeated tours of duty).

Now consider the Justice Department's numbers for murders committed by all Americans aged 18 to 34 - the key group for our men and women in uniform. To match the homicide rate of their peers, our troops would've had to come home and commit about 150 murders a year, for a total of 700 to 750 murders between 2003 and the end of 2007.

In other words, the Times unwittingly makes the case that military service reduces the likelihood of a young man or woman committing a murder by 80 percent....

Those on the left will never accept that the finest young Americans are those who risk their lives defending freedom. Sen. John Kerry summed up the views of the left perfectly when he disparaged our troops as too stupid to do anything but sling hamburgers.

And The New York Times will never forgive our men and women in uniform for their infuriating successes in Iraq
Ralph Peters

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

An Examination of John McCain’s Disastrous Record

New Hampshire, once thought to be a bastion of conservatism, but more recently a liberal, bedroom community of Greater Boston, gave John McCain a victory fashioned from the votes of independents and cross-over Democrats. The same thing may happen again Tuesday in Michigan’s open primary where independents and disaffected Democrats can ignore or approve of McCain’s actual record.

Republican voters, though, should pay close attention to Senator McCain’s past positions, and not be carried away by his support for the surge in Iraq. A McCain presidency would be a disaster for conservatives and traditional Americans.

The Real McCain Record
Obstacles in the way of conservative support.

By Mark R. Levin, January 11, 2008, National Review

There’s a reason some of John McCain's conservative supporters avoid discussing his record. They want to talk about his personal story, his position on the surge, his supposed electability. But whenever the rest of his career comes up, the knee-jerk reply is to characterize the inquiries as attacks.

The McCain domestic record is a disaster. To say he fought spending, most particularly earmarks, is to nibble around the edges and miss the heart of the matter. For starters, consider:

McCain-Feingold — the most brazen frontal assault on political speech since Buckley v. Valeo.

McCain-Kennedy — the most far-reaching amnesty program in American history.

McCain-Lieberman — the most onerous and intrusive attack on American industry — through reporting, regulating, and taxing authority of greenhouse gases — in American history.

McCain-Kennedy-Edwards — the biggest boon to the trial bar since the tobacco settlement, under the rubric of a patients’ bill of rights.

McCain-Reimportantion of Drugs — a significant blow to pharmaceutical research and development, not to mention consumer safety (hey Rudy, pay attention, see link).

And McCain’s stated opposition to the Bush 2001 and 2003 tax cuts was largely based on socialist, class-warfare rhetoric — tax cuts for the rich, not for the middle class. The public record is full of these statements. Today, he recalls only his insistence on accompanying spending cuts.

As chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, McCain was consistently hostile to American enterprise, from media and pharmaceutical companies to technology and energy companies.

McCain also led the Gang of 14, which prevented the Republican leadership in the Senate from mounting a rule change that would have ended the systematic use (actual and threatened) of the filibuster to prevent majority approval of judicial nominees.

And then there’s the McCain defense record.

His supporters point to essentially one policy strength, McCain’s early support for a surge and counterinsurgency. It has now evolved into McCain taking credit for forcing the president to adopt General David Petreaus’s strategy. Where’s the evidence to support such a claim?

Moreover, Iraq is an important battle in our war against the Islamo-fascist threat. But the war is a global war, and it most certainly includes the continental United States, which, after all, was struck on 9/11. How does McCain fare in that regard?

McCain-ACLU — the unprecedented granting of due-process rights to unlawful enemy combatants (terrorists).

McCain has repeatedly called for the immediate closing of Guantanamo Bay and the introduction of al-Qaeda terrorists into our own prisons — despite the legal rights they would immediately gain and the burdens of managing such a dangerous population.

While McCain proudly and repeatedly points to his battles with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who had to rebuild the U.S. military and fight a complex war, where was McCain in the lead-up to the war — when the military was being dangerously downsized by the Clinton administration and McCain’s friend, former Secretary of Defense Bill Cohen? Where was McCain when the CIA was in desperate need of attention? Also, McCain was apparently in the dark about al-Qaeda like most of Washington, despite a decade of warnings.

My fingers are crossed that at the next debate, either Fred Thompson or Mitt Romney will find a way to address McCain’s record. (Mike Huckabee won’t, as he is apparently in the tank for him.)

— Mark R. Levin served as chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese in the Reagan administration, and he is a nationally syndicated radio talk show host.


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The Conch Republic and the Price of Gas

We just returned from a few days of vacationing in Key West, Florida, the southernmost point in the United States. Everywhere throughout this priceless jewel of scenic beauty, old-time Spanish architecture and fun-loving tourists are reminders that this island is only 90 miles from Cuba, and that, calling itself the Conch Republic, it recently once seceded from the USA and declared a brief war on us.

The war and its almost immediate surrender was to call attention to the dire consequences that the disastrous Mariel boatlift of 1980 (one of President Carter’s many terrible ideas) was having on Key West’s economy. I want to call attention again, though, to the fact that a newly-discovered, huge pool of oil and natural gas lies just slightly to the south of Key West, both in American and in Cuban waters.

China, Cuba reported in Gulf oil partnership
U.S. firms stand by, prohibited from bidding on contracts; lawmakers propose opening up U.S. coast for drilling.

May 9, 2006, (Excerpt)

“The United States Geological Survey estimates the Cuban deal involves 4.6 billion barrels of oil and 9.8 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, according to the (New York) Times. The paper said that's enough oil and gas to power the U.S. for a few months.

The paper also cited an Interior Department study that said the U.S. continental shelf contained 115 billion barrels of oil and 633 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That would be enough oil to satisfy U.S. demand, at current consumption levels, for 16 years and enough natural gas for 25 years, according to the (New York)Times.

It would be a disaster for Key West and for any other coastal community of the Gulf of Mexico for a large oil spill to appear, but who would be most likely to take steps to prevent such a spill, a Chinese or an American oil company? And who would be most likely to help pay for the cleanup of such a spill? It is the height of stupidity for our Congress, backed mostly by Democrats, to continue to prevent American firms from drilling in the Gulf – especially now that Cuba has hired Chinese and Indian firms to undertake such exploration and drilling.

Despite the fact that we have huge oil reserves waiting to be tapped in the Gulf and in the ANWR area of Alaska, Congressional Democrats continue to oppose any measures that would free us from dependence on foreign oil and lower the price of gasoline and heating oil, while they continue the nonsense of subsidizing the failry tale of ethanol.

These Democrats are talking out of both sides of their mouths when they fake screaming about sending American troops to the Middle East, on the one hand, and then vote to stop the very steps that would help free us from dependence on foreign oil. Their two-faced approach also involves stopping the development of nuclear energy, since the rapid building of nuclear-electric plants would also help free us from this dependence while greatly improving the environment.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Sound Bites From Last Night in NH

The Republicans:

The biggest issue is Islamofascism, and I can best deal with it.

I never said any of those things I said.

The amnesty for illegals I was for was not amnesty.

We should dig a deep hole, pull back all Americans from everywhere, and all jump in.

I’m the only one who turned around businesses, the Olympics, and the state of Massachusetts.

I’m the only true conservative here, and I will apply those principles as president.

The Democrats:

I spent 35 years pulling Bill’s chestnuts out of the fire, so I’m best qualified.

I will destroy the American drug industry even though it has given us all these miracle drugs.

I don’t get specific about anything, but, although I opposed Iraq, I will invade Pakistan.

It’s not my fault.


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Friday, January 04, 2008

On to New Hampshire and Conservative Confusion

In my opinion, the results of the Iowa caucuses solved nothing, and neither will New Hampshire. Although on the Democratic side, Iowa picked winners in 2004 and 2000, as recently as 1992 and 1988, Iowa went for Tom Harkin and Richard Gebhardt. On the Republican side, in 1988 and in 1980, the Iowa winners were not the nominees.

New Hampshire has a similar record; in 1992 it went for Paul Tsongas, and in 1984 for Gary Hart, Democrats. In 2000 it went for John McCain and in 1996 for Pat Buchanan on the Republican side.

Winners of Iowa and New Hampshire, then, may have a clear, temporary advantage, but the race is not anywhere near over with victories there. For Republicans, New Hampshire will be especially confusing because that state is nowhere near the bastion of conservatism it once was. Hordes of liberals have escaped the (often unintended) results of their liberal votes and policies in Massachusetts to move to New Hampshire, now a bedroom suburb of greater Boston; unfortunately these new NH voters have not and never will connect the failures of liberal policies in Massachusetts with their own feel-good tendencies.

I can only hope, on the Republican side, that Governor Huckabee’s ignorance of foreign affairs (including not even knowing the names of prominent leaders), his stance on immigration before his Iowa flip-flop, his tax policies and tax plans, his desire to apply the Golden Rule to convicted murderers and rapists – and also to foreign leaders out to bring us down, his desire to make it a federal offense to smoke, and to use the powers of the federal government to enforce some of his other beliefs, will become clearer to voters as time goes on.

The beneficiary of Huckabee’s weaknesses will no doubt be John McCain, a true hero I admire but would never want to see president. This is because he is a RINO Republican who gave us the atrocious McCain-Feingold law that took away our First Amendment rights without accomplishing anything but the mushrooming of 527 groups, because he pressed for amnesty for illegals and because he fought against the Bush tax cuts, among other things.

I could support Romney or Giuliani, but I greatly favor Fred Thompson, who came in third in Iowa, as the only true conservative who would live up to the example set by Ronald Reagan. Fred’s views on the issues are well thought out, but do not lend themselves to 30 second sound bites. He has to grow on you.


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Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Foreign Policy of Democrats: Pull Out

This author believes we will have to maintain a large military force in the Persian Gulf area until, both in the US and throughout the developed world, there is extensive development of alternatives to oil. To me this means nuclear power, hydrogen as a vehicular fuel and synthetic fuels (NOT Biofuels). This means that, no matter what we accomplish domestically, we may be in the Middle East in force throughout the twenty-first century. This also means that the Democrat candidates for president are either living in a fantasy land, or are not telling us the truth.

Why We're in the Gulf
The world would be a much more dangerous place without America as a policeman.

BY WALTER RUSSELL MEAD, January 1, 2008, Opinion Journal

Few subjects matter as much as oil, the Persian Gulf and American foreign policy. But few subjects are less well understood. Even relatively sophisticated observers will attribute American interest in the Persian Gulf to Uncle Sam's insatiable thirst for crude, combined with an effort to gain lucrative contracts for American oil firms. The U.S. on this view is something like a global Count Dracula, roaming the earth in search of fresh bodies, hoping to suck them dry.

True, the security of America's oil supply has been an element in national strategic thinking at least since Franklin Roosevelt met with King Abdul Aziz in the waning days of World War II. And true, the U.S. government has never been indifferent to the concerns of the major oil concerns. But the security of our domestic energy supplies plays a relatively small role in America's Persian Gulf policy, and the purely commercial interests of American companies do not drive American grand strategy.

The U.S. today depends on the Middle East for only a small portion of its energy supplies. Still the world's third largest oil producer and holding large coal reserves, America is significantly less dependent on foreign energy sources than the other great economies. Imports account for 35% of U.S. energy consumption versus 56% for the European Union and 80% for Japan. Nearly half the oil and all the natural gas imported by the U.S. comes from the Western Hemisphere; sub-Saharan Africa supplies most of the balance. Only 17% of U.S. oil imports and less than 0.5% of our natural gas come from the Persian Gulf; 80% of Japan's imports come from the Gulf, and by 2015 70% of China's oil will come from the same source.

While U.S. import needs are projected to grow significantly, U.S. dependence on Persian Gulf energy is not, thanks largely to expected production increases in the Western Hemisphere and sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. energy imports from the Persian Gulf are expected to remain below 20% of total consumption. The oil market, of course, is global, and if something were to happen to the Middle Eastern supplies, prices would rise world-wide, and the U.S. economy would be seriously disrupted. But domestic supply is not the key to American interest in the Gulf.

For the past few centuries, a global economic and political system has been slowly taking shape under first British and then American leadership. As a vital element of that system, the leading global power--with help from allies and other parties--maintains the security of world trade over the seas and air while also ensuring that international economic transactions take place in an orderly way. Thanks to the American umbrella, Germany, Japan, China, Korea and India do not need to maintain the military strength to project forces into the Middle East to defend their access to energy. Nor must each country's navy protect the supertankers carrying oil and liquefied national gas (LNG).

For this system to work, the Americans must prevent any power from dominating the Persian Gulf while retaining the ability to protect the safe passage of ships through its waters. The Soviets had to be kept out during the Cold War, and the security and independence of the oil sheikdoms had to be protected from ambitious Arab leaders like Egypt's Gamal Abdel Nasser and Iraq's Saddam Hussein. During the Cold War Americans forged alliances with Turkey, Israel and (until 1979) Iran, three non-Arab states that had their own reasons for opposing both the Soviets and any pan-Arab state.

When the fall of the shah of Iran turned a key regional ally into an implacable foe, the U.S. responded by tightening its relations with both Israel and Turkey--while developing a deeper relationship with Egypt, which had given up on Nasser's goal of unifying all the Arabs under its flag.

Today the U.S. is building a coalition against Iran's drive for power in the Gulf.

Israel, a country which has its own reasons for opposing Iran, remains an important component in the American strategy, but the U.S. must also manage the political costs of this relationship as it works with the Sunni Arab states. American opposition to Iran's nuclear program not only reflects concerns about Israeli security and the possibility that Iran might supply terrorist groups with nuclear materials. It also reflects the U.S. interest in protecting its ability to project conventional forces into the Gulf.

The end of America's ability to safeguard the Gulf and the trade routes around it would be enormously damaging--and not just to us. Defense budgets would grow dramatically in every major power center, and Middle Eastern politics would be further destabilized, as every country sought political influence in Middle Eastern countries to ensure access to oil in the resulting free for all.

The potential for conflict and chaos is real. A world of insecure and suspicious great powers engaged in military competition over vital interests would not be a safe or happy place. Every ship that China builds to protect the increasing numbers of supertankers needed to bring oil from the Middle East to China in years ahead would also be a threat to Japan's oil security--as well as to the oil security of India and Taiwan. European cooperation would likely be undermined as well, as countries sought to make their best deals with Russia, the Gulf states and other oil rich neighbors like Algeria.

America's Persian Gulf policy is one of the chief ways through which the U.S. is trying to build a peaceful world and where the exercise of American power, while driven ultimately by domestic concerns and by the American national interest, provides vital public goods to the global community. The next American president, regardless of party and regardless of his or her views about the wisdom of George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, will necessarily make the security of the Persian Gulf states one of America's very highest international priorities.

Mr. Mead is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of the recently published "God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World" (Knopf, 2007).

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mike Huckabee May Have Finally Gone Too Far

I have to admit that former Arkansas Governor Huckabee raised the hackles on the back of my neck the first time I saw him speak. As a former resident of Massachusetts during the Dukakis-Kerry administration, I know what it's like to live under someone in power who is so arrogant he thinks he knows better than you how you should live your life - and intends to do something about it.

I have always feared this type of person from the left, but I instinctively know that when they appear from the right, they are far more dangerous. Governor Huckabee is an ignorant demagogue driven by his view of Christian dogma (don't howl, I am a Christian too) who obviously intends to apply his reading of the Bible to government. So far, he has done very well because he is an excellent speaker with a sharp wit who comes across as the only honest politician willing to state clear views on a variety of subjects. Hopefully his record as governor, his simplistic and ignorant views on critical issues and the mean streak in his character will become evident to voters before too much harm is done.

ON DEADLINE: Did Huckabee go too far?
By RON FOURNIER, Associated Press, Dec 31, 2007

Mike Huckabee may have finally gone too far.

After running an unconventional, surprisingly strong and sometimes strange race to the top tier of the Republican presidential campaign, the former Arkansas governor topped himself Monday with a campaign stunt that smacked of hypocrisy.

He called a news conference to unveil a negative ad that he had just withdrawn from Iowa television stations because, he told a room full of journalists recording the ad, he had a sudden aversion to negative politics. Quite a convenient epiphany.

"If people want to be cynical about it," Huckabee said, "they can be cynical about it."

If he loses Iowa's caucuses, New Year's Eve will forever mark the day Huckabee blew it — the day a crowd stopped laughing with the witty Republican and laughed at him.

If he wins — a possibility that even Huckabee now thinks he put at risk — he sealed victory in a weird way Monday.

Here's what happened:
Huckabee came out of nowhere a few weeks ago to overtake former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Iowa polls, despite being massively outspent and out-organized.

Romney answered back with television ads criticizing Huckabee's record in Arkansas.

While guilty of cherry-picking the worst aspects of Huckabee's resume, the negative ads stuck with the facts. For example, Huckabee did grant 1,033 pardons and commutations, including for 12 convicted murderers, as Romney's ad stated.

Huckabee's lead evaporated, which suggests that the ads worked or that a series of gaffes had caught up to him.

Or both.
So he did what desperate candidates do. Huckabee took himself off the campaign trail Sunday to shoot a negative ad. He bought $30,000 in television time to air the spot and called a news conference to unveil it.

While awaiting the late-arriving Huckabee, more than 50 reporters and a dozen photographers got to read five huge cards placed on easels by Huckabee's staff — all highly critical of Romney's record as governor.

"Enough is enough," the signs said.

When Huckabee arrived, he announced that he had just changed his mind. The ad wouldn't run. It was too negative.

"I believe the people of Iowa deserve better, and we are going to try and give them better ...," he said.

But he didn't. Instead, Huckabee showed off the spot to the journalists, knowing full well his negative message would seep out of the room. He told the media to pay close attention.

"You're not going to get a copy of it," he warned, "so this is your chance to see it, then after that you'll never see it again."

The media laughed.

One of the funniest, most charming presidential candidate in recent memory, Huckabee normally makes reporters and voters laugh at his one-liners. On Monday, he made himself the butt of his own joke, urging journalists to take careful note of the negative ad that he had withdrawn because he wanted to run a positive campaign.

"It's never too late to do the right thing," he said.

The ad criticizes Romney's record as governor, fairly so, but goes on to question his character. "If a man is dishonest to obtain a job," Huckabee says in the ad, "he'll be dishonest on the job."

Funny that Huckabee decided at noon that line was too negative, because he used it six hours earlier during a national TV interview.

He used it on a Sunday news show, too.

And he didn't disavow the line Monday. "I said what I said. I spoke the truth," Huckabee said.

If he loses Thursday, Huckabee said, "I'll be the last guy to do this. But I want to be the first who will at least try."

Iowans have a reputation for punishing politicians who go negative. The question is whether voters, particularly evangelicals who make up his political base, will believe Huckabee had the political equivalent of a deathbed conversion.

Or will they think he's treating them likes rubes — appealing to their sense of fair play while being foul?

Either way, the bizarre news conference was the latest twist in a campaign that has given new meaning to the word paradox. Huckabee is an immensely talented communicator and successful former governor who is nonetheless a flawed candidate.

• He is mistake prone, particularly when it comes to commenting about foreign policy.

• He can be thin-skinned and rash. Two of his advisers, speaking on condition of anonymity, said privately Monday that the production of the ad was fueled by Huckabee's white-hot anger with Romney, and that his change of mind was jarring to the campaign staff.

• He has a paltry political organization in a state that values the ground game, according to an informal survey of GOP county chairs and co-chairs. "I haven't seen much of a sign of him or his people," said Jim Conklin, chairman of the Linn County GOP.

He can also be disarmingly honest. Asked whether Romney should stop running negative ads, Huckabee said, "I'm not going to try to run his campaign."

"I'm having enough trouble running mine."


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