Monday, November 26, 2007

Why is Giuliani Still Leading the GOP Field?

I think many pundits figured that Rudy Giuliani would have fizzled out by now. After all, his top administrative experience has been the job of "mayor" albeit mayor of New York - a city larger than the economies of most small to medium sized countries about the globe. Giuliani is also considered to be left of the field on social issues like gay rights and abortion. Certainly that's a one-two punch. Yet polls have him at or near the top. Why is that?

One thing he's done well is to play the anti-Islamo-fascism card, (which has been a major theme of this web site). Needless to say, we have some fondness for this position. And I'd say many Republicans, in fact, many Americans in general remain quite concerned about where all this outright barbarism is going, how it will be effectively vanquished, and who best could lead on such an important component to the next leadership of this country.

Giuliani has also effectively made the point that he's been tried in the furnace of first hand involvement with such fiends, with his having been physically present during the attack that killed nearly 3,000 - an attack on Americans tantamount to the bombing of Pearl Harbor by an equally viscous radical race of people (at the time) who were likewise drugged up with the false "religious" belief that either they needed to kill every American or Westerner or they, themselves might as well commit suicide - as many of them did literally with the invading American armies of the Pacific sixty-odd years ago. Thankfully, the Japanese people snapped out of it. But mature Americans see the pain involved in such a quest, some because of their personal experience, and some because of an understanding of history and a proper desire not to repeat mistakes.

Relative to social issues, Giuliani has attempted, and I think to some degree successfully inoculated himself with the endorsement of people like Pat Robertson, but also, by signaling that he will support the appointment of justices and Federal judges who are essentially "Originalists," judges who will not imagine "penumbras" out of the U.S. Constitution, rather they might interpret the Constitution as the Founders intended for it to be understood in the "original." Judges like Scalia and Thomas, and the fact that legal Federalists like Ted Olson are also on his team, demonstrates clearly how and what the Giuliani campaign wants the religious right to know about a Giuliani administration.

So in the last few days, the Giuliani campaign has moved into New Hampshire, a primary state that I think he was once willing to concede to Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney early on. He has directly opposed Romney, who has been the front runner in NH. It could mean also that Giuliani's cognoscenti have come to the cold realization that were he to win in Iowa followed nearly immediately by New Hampshire in January, Romney could build substantial momentum, and were Giuliani to come in a distant 3rd in both or either of these beauty contests, he could lose momentum. The fact is that these essentially subliminal messages are somehow been transmitted to and absorbed and understood by many in the GOP, which has allowed Giuliani to remain buoyed up in the polls across the country until this point.

He wants to keep it that way, and my prediction is that he will manage to do it. Romney, though in a way a "native son" to New England, does not seem to me to have the resonance and gravitas that Giuliani has. Don't get me wrong. Romney is an effective and attractive candidate, but there is a difference between having governed liberal Massachusetts, and liberal New York City that was also the focus of attack against Americans on 9/11. And that latter part could become the major discriminator in the minds of many GOP voters IMHO.

If I were to make a prediction at this point, I see Giuliani pulling it off. If Mike Huckabee continues to grow in stature and continues to attract Evangelicals, adding him to his ticket could further inoculate Giuliani against a surge of Evangelical opposition.

It's doable. Let's see what happens next.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Does Anyone Care to Notice that We're Winning in Iraq?

Here's Chuck Krauthammer's view of things:

It does not have the drama of the Inchon landing or the sweep of the Union comeback in the summer of 1864. But the turnabout of American fortunes in Iraq over the last several months is of equal moment -- a war seemingly lost, now winnable.

And the rest of it here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Is a Nuclear Iran a Danger to the West?

American Enterprise Institute's Joshua Muravchik say yes:

"The dangers an Iranian bomb would present are intolerable. Iran is the pre-eminent sponsor of terrorism. Iranian weapons are responsible for a large share of U.S. casualties in Iraq. Our forces in Afghanistan have intercepted Iranian arms shipments to the Taliban. Argentina has indicted Iranian officials for blowing up a Buenos Aires Jewish center. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said Tehran was behind Hamas' armed takeover of Gaza. Iran provides haven to fugitive leaders of al-Qaeda. The list goes on.

"A nuclear attack by terrorists would be almost impossible to deter. Against whom would we threaten retaliation?"

Read the whole thing here.


AP Photographer Caught Working for Insurgents

You know how you can tell we're winning in Iraq?  By the way the nightly news programs are covering the war in Iraq.  When the news is bad for the US, there's lots and lots of coverage.  However, when there is no bad news, there is no coverage.  Nada.  Zilch.

But here's a good one (they'll probably miss), and also indicative of the wave of victory going on over there; let me read this one slowly:

"The U.S. military says it has 'convincing and irrefutable' evidence that an award-winning Associated Press photographer is connected to the insurgency in Iraq."

You can read there rest of it here.

During WWII, AP photographers cooperated with the US Government, and actually reported with propaganda favoring the Americans, even if the news was bad.  They even agreed not to print casualty reports, so as not to discourage the nation.  Today, they can actually be working for the enemy.  The pendulum has swung off its axis.  My how things have changed since "the greatest generation."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Novak: Nixon's Dirty Tricks Live on!

Robert Novak has defended his accusation that Hillary has the goods on Barack Obama, stands by his story and claims Hillary is bringing back a behavior last practiced by the Great Dirty Trickster himself, Richard Nixon.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

We are Not Lemmings

Someone at the Projo decided to put a stale news piece written by Paul West from last week's Baltimore Sun's on the front page of today's Sunday Providence Journal.  What's interesting is that the article was retitled "Iowa Could Decide it All," when the original title used by the Sun was "Clinton faces tougher attacks within party."

I have a question for the headline editors at the Projo: Do you really think the way Iowans vote - in a caucus, mind you, not even in a primary election - is really going to cause people around these United States to scratch their heads and say, "you know, before the Iowa caucuses I was for Giuliani, but it looks like the nation's on a tear for Romney; better go with the flow..."

As they say on Federal Hill: Forget-about-it.  It ain't gonna happen.

The news is becoming about the news.  I think news analysts need to give it a break.

David Brooks, last week on the Lehrer News Hour, in his weekly debate/discussion with Mark Shields, noticed how different a focus group of citizens from the location of the last Democratic debate, looked so differently at the candidates and the issues than he and Shields had.  It was an excellent observation.

We are not going to be influenced by the outcome of caucuses or primaries or pundits or pols.  We want to know where these candidates are really coming from, how realistic they are about the war, the economy, the Constitution, taxes, etc.  Then we will decide.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Novak Claims Hillary has the Goods on Obama

But she claims Novak set Barack up for a fall.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Why Haven't We Heard More about Al Qaida Atrocities?

There was a piece on the Editorial Page of today's Projo that originated last week in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, written by Clifford D. May, president of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism.  In it, Mr. May asks a very important question:  why aren't we reading more in the free press about the atrocities committed by Al Qaida?

Here are some excerpts to whet your appetites: many people still believe that guards in Guantanamo flushed Korans down the toilet, that U.S. Marines committed a massacre at Haditha and that American soldiers ridicule women disfigured by bombs, run over puppies for sport and desecrate graves for a laugh? All of this was reported in such mainstream publications as Newsweek and the New Republic. None of it is true.

Meanwhile, the barbarous violence committed by Al-Qaida and the Iranian-backed militias in Iraq is scarcely noted. For example, here's a story you probably have neither read nor heard: On Oct. 28 in a village 10 miles southwest of Baqubah, U.S. infantrymen came upon a prison run by Al-Qaida. In it, according to military spokesmen, they found a hostage, bruised, battered, dehydrated and tied to the ceiling, his arms injured because of the way they were twisted behind his back.

and this:

Where can one go to learn what is really happening in Iraq? Michael Yon is a former Green Beret. He has been reporting from Iraq's battlefields, mostly for his own blog ( No journalist has revealed more about Al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), including its "reputation for hiding bombs intended to kill parents in the corpses of dead children they'd gutted."

He has photographed Iraqi and American soldiers as they "disinterred the remains of adults and children" from killing fields. "In one grave," he noted, "soldiers recovered the heads of decapitated children, some with still partially recognizable remnants of flesh and hair."

His readers have learned what most Americans would not know from NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and NPR -- why AQI has failed to win Iraqi hearts and minds: "Between shooting people for using the Internet, watching television or other 'moral transgressions' such as smoking in public, AQI's claim of fundamentalist piety proved to be a thin veneer, quickly eroded by blatant drug, alcohol and prostitute use."

I commend the piece to you.  You can find it here.

So why aren't we getting this information from the Matt Lauer's, Jim Lehrer's, Katie Couric's and you name them?  Such news would help unite the country on the fight against terrorism.

In today's WSJ Opinion Page, there was another piece which underscores a similar observation on the media, or as Rush Limbaugh calls them, the "drive by" media.

In it, Daniel Ford contrasts the lives lost in one battle of World War II with the number of war dead in Iraq.  In no way would I want to discount in any way the lost lives in Iraq.  It pains me to see even one die, and at such a time in their lives.  But not that long ago, in another war against tyranny, it was not atypical to lost hundreds and even thousands of lives in a single battle.  I've touched on this in previous blogs relating the the PBS series "The War."

On this same point, Ford remarks that in August 1943, our allied flyers were asked to drop bombs on a fuel supply point for the Nazi's:

The target was Ploesti (pronounced "ploy-esht"), a small city in Romania north of Bucharest. Its 12 refineries produced most of the petroleum that fueled the German war machine, so the Allies were eager to take them out. Alas, the city was 1,200 miles from the nearest Allied airfield, in Egypt--an impossible journey, or so it seemed, over water, mountains and neutral Turkey. Surely the Germans would assume that Ploesti was safe from attack and therefore scant its defenses?

Wrong. Unknown to the Americans, the refinery complex was guarded by fighter planes and "more flak guns than those protecting Berlin," as Duane Schultz tells us in his vivid chronicle. The Ploesti raid was small by the standards of the Anglo-American bomber offensive against Germany, involving only 178 heavy bombers. Still, each plane carried a crew of 10, meaning that the lives of more than 1,700 young men were at risk.

In the end, "Of the 1,726 airmen on the mission, 532 were killed, captured, interned, or listed as missing in action." Most of the missing--imprisoned by the Germans or interned by the Turks--would return at war's end. In the meantime, that single, bootless, 27-minute raid cost the lives or freedom of as many young Americans as 10 months of combat in Iraq."

And so we fight on, without the support of our friends in the mainstream media.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Few Exceptional Men

A couple of years ago I visited Arlington with my family.  It was a very rainy day.  We viewed the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  The guard marched without regard to the pelting cold rain, and rightfully so.  It was a truly moving experience.  It could not be called unusual to witness a grown man crying at such a scene.

CNN has a piece that is a tribute to these men and women who guard this all important tomb.  See it here.  It is an appropriate tribute today, being the 89th anniversary of the Armistice of World War I, and a day to especially remember and honor all American veterans or all wars.  Here lies an unknown soldier, who gave his life that people like me may live today in a free society, able to prosper and enjoy the fruits of liberty.  For this, these soldiers paid the ultimate price. 

I wonder if we weigh the price they freely paid in such a scale?

The Ron Paul Phenomenon

Thirty odd years ago, when I called myself a "libertarian," had a Ron Paul candidacy emerged in those days, I could imagine myself as an avid supporter. 

In the early 1970's, one would have noticed that I was a little closer to my more liberal college buddies when it came to the war (in Vietnam during my generation).  Though I could understand the reason for the war, and I considered myself anti-Communist even then; I generally believed, however, that we were fighting a war of attrition in Vietnam, which I did not like, and was very much against.  I believed that someone like US Rep. John Ashbrook would be the ideal guy to put an end to it, and to usher in a lot of free enterprise loving concepts to governing; but he was easily swept away by a Richard Nixon who ended up being the President, and who ultimately did put an end to the Vietnam war; unfortunately the way he did it was not very pretty.

More than the issue of the war, I believed in a lot of generally libertarian principals, such as limited government (with a capital "L"), and as such, an end to massive bureaucracies, lower taxes, the kind of things you'd hear from Ron Paul today. 

Paul's platform includes a return to the gold standard, abolition of the I.R.S., a literal view of the Constitution, and an immediate end to the wars in the Middle East.  Conceptually attractive.

I guess I would have to admit that today I see that kind of Libertarian thinking as ambitious, impractical and unrealistic.

Yes, I do favor limited government,  but anticipate the unfortunate need for some form of taxation, and hence a need for an I.R.S., albeit, maybe an I.R.S. trimmed a few notches.  I don't think we need a department of Education, and also agree with the concept of a more literal view of the Constitution, but I can no longer think of myself as an isolationist, and consider Libertarians who favor it as having the heads in the sand.  I am also pro-life, and many libertarians (not all mind you, there is actually an organization called Libertarians for Life) despise government intrusion on the matter, though I believe Ron Paul is pro-life, having sponsored a bill declaring life begins at conception.

As one reads about the avid (rabid?) Paul supporter, one discovers the passion that I recall from my college days.  I see a lot of college aged techies going absolutely bonkers for Paul.  Sometimes they are overbearing.  They are using their generationally associated knowledge of the Internet, which is vastly more sophisticated than my generation's knowledge certainly, to aid the Paul campaign - even indirectly - even in a manner independent of the campaign itself.  A recent article in the NY Times and on MSNBC provides a peek into this phenomenon.

Paul has maintained a US House seat from Texas for 5 terms.  He can't be just an ideologue to hold onto a seat like that, especially from Texas.  He must have some political pragmatism to his repertoire.  So he's been tested in the fiery baptism of 20th Century realpolitik, and has survived.  But the one thing that particularly annoys me about Paul is his inane view of the war against terrorism.

From my vantage point, I see him as being an annoyance to the John McCain's, Rudy Giuliani's and Mitt Romney's of the world, all of whom, I believe, understand the danger of terrorism today.  Maybe it is not a bad thing for Paul to be providing a contrast to these other Republican candidates for President.  If Paul decides to run for President as an independent, Fred Barnes believes he'll actually do more harm against the Democrats than the Republicans.  I don't know if that's true, but it is interesting to me, a person with only a few more miles of tread left on the tires, to see the phenomenon I witnessed over 30 years ago recur, and to see the energy and jubilance in that remnant of young, (18th Century) Liberally minded, libertarian thinking, free enterprise loving college students.  But I entirely expect the same result as had occurred 30 plus years ago, and this time I see it as occurring rightfully so. 

John Ashbrook lost in 1972, and essentially was never heard from again.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Waterboarding is no Democrat's Idea of Sport

I can't recall when I have ever been a fan of Harvard Law School Professor Alan Dershowitz, but today you can count me in as one of his adoring masses. He writes in today's Wall Street Journal:

...Democrats appear to be making [a] mistake as they move toward what [they think is] an inevitable retaking of the White House. Most of the Democratic presidential candidates are seeking partisan advantage from what many Americans see as the Bush failures in the war against terrorism and especially its extension to Iraq and possibly, in the future, to Iran.

This pacifistic stance appeals to the left wing of the democratic electorate, which may have some influence on the outcome of democratic primaries, but which is far less likely to determine the outcome of the general election. Most Americans--Democrats, Republicans, independents or undecided--want a president who will be strong, as well as smart, on national security, and who will do everything in his or her lawful power to prevent further acts of terrorism.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans may watch Michael Moore's movies or cheer Cindy Sheehan's demonstrations, but tens of millions want the Moores and Sheehans of our nation as far away as possible from influencing national security policy. That is why Rudy Giuliani seems to be doing surprisingly well among many segments of the electorate, ranging from centrist Democrats to Republicans and even some on the religious right.

[P]olitical campaigns and confirmation hearings are not the appropriate fora in which to conduct subtle and difficult debates about tragic choices that a president or attorney general may face. But nor are they the appropriate settings for hypocritical public posturing by political figures who, in private, would almost certainly opt for torture if they believed it was necessary to save numerous American lives. What is needed is a recognition that government officials must strike an appropriate balance between the security of America and the rights of our enemies.

Unless the Democratic Party--and particularly their eventual candidate for president--is perceived as strong and smart on national defense and prevention of terrorism, the Bush White House may be proved to have made a clever partisan decision by refusing to make the war against terrorism a bipartisan issue. The Democrats may lose the presidency if they are seen as the party of, Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, Dennis Kucinich and those senators who voted against Judge Mukasey because he refused to posture on a difficult issue relating to national security. They will win if they are seen as just as tough but a lot smarter on how to deal with real threats to our national interests.

You can read the whole thing on their free Opinion Journal site here.


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