Wednesday, October 31, 2007

This is Great!

Tony Blankley's latest article is entitled "Small Tent Conservatives." I love that. Naturally it's about how mean libertarians and old school conservatives are picking on Mike Huckabee, which is exactly like Dobson threatening to vote third party if Rudy Giuliani gets the nomination.
My goodness, professional conservative activists and commentators certainly are busy these days trying to put up a pup (rather than a three-ring) tent for the GOP. A few weeks ago, it was social conservatives reading Giuliani out of the party. Now, in an almost Sicilian revenge pattern, several free-market, low-tax conservatives are coming after Mike Huckabee with baseball bats -- or perhaps with badminton rackets (given the elite Eastern origins of the attackers.)
Does anybody else get the impression that Blankley is a lot more interested in defending Huckabee than Giuliani? I mean there aren't any mocking descriptions of Dobson's followers are there?

It will be interesting to see what happens if the Republican Party puts of Giuliani and the Religious Conservatives largely bolt. Would Republican pundits like Rush or Coulter or, well, Blankley continue to kiss their collective behinds? Or follow them?

At any rate the point to this article is that Conservatives should be united. A party united cannot be divided. Or so the cheer goes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - John Edwards

Edwards is somewhat focused on Iraq and Iran in his foreign policy (subjects we will, of course, return to). Hence his generic foreign policy statement comes across as kind of, well, generic.
Our standing in the world has been badly tarnished in recent years. America must once again be looked up to and respected around the world.

Edwards supports the immediate withdrawal of 40,000-50,000 troops from Iraq and the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within nine to ten months. We must also lead on the great challenges like ending the genocide in Darfur and the conflict in Uganda and fighting global poverty and diseases like AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

A strong, principled national security policy is the foundation of America's strength. We must strengthen homeland security, stand by our soldiers at every turn, while respecting the Constitution and living up to our ideals in the fight against terrorism.
Pretty generic, but not too bad, all things considered.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Dennis Kucinich

All Dennis is saying is give peace a chance.

Actually this is one of Kucinich's strongest issues because he didn't vote for the Iraq War Resolution, and it has to drive him and his supporters nuts that he was right on the most defining issue of our day and somehow gets no credit for it. That said his page on foreign policy does read a bit like something from the sixties.
The United States must now embrace strength through peace. Because we spend more than the rest of the world combined we will clearly remain the world’s most powerful nation. But with that power comes a great responsibility. We must use our unrivaled power to lead, not to bully, the rest of the world. War must truly become the last desperate measure of self defense, not the handy policy tool it is now used for.

. . . By abandoning the arrogant “my way or the highway” attitude we can reengage the world in productive discussion on our common goals of universal peace and prosperity. Maintaining our current course of action will only end with a world in flames and economic ruin.
I largely agree with Kucinich, but not sure this is an ideal way of setting up his policy - it almost reads like a parody of what Liberals believe on Foreign Policy.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Barack Obama

Obama's page on foreign policy has the interesting name "Strengthening America Overseas." I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense. America, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska isn't overseas. It's right here. Oh well. Let's see what he has to say about foreign policy and diplomacy.
Obama rejects the notion that the American moment has passed and believes that America must neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission. Obama believes that America must lead the world, by deed and example, and that America cannot meet the threats of the century alone and that the world cannot meet them without America.
The section links to a speech by the candidate, which is a good idea.

This election offers us the chance to turn the page and open a new chapter in American leadership. The disappointment that so many around the world feel toward America right now is only a testament to the high expectations they hold for us. We must meet those expectations again, not because being respected is an end in itself, but because the security of America and the wider world demands it.

This will require a new spirit – not of bluster and bombast, but of quiet confidence and sober intelligence, a spirit of care and renewed competence. It will also require a new leader.
He has five areas he wants to focus on - Ending the Iraq War, Rebuilding the Military, Destroying Weapons of Mass Destruction, Renew International Alliances, and Strengthen Weak Nations. I guess there is something there for everybody; although our adventures in strengthening weak nations haven't been 100% positive.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Hillary Clinton

Let's do Hillary Clinton in the middle this week. Her statement, entitled "Restoring America's Standing in the World" is very professional and clean. The real challenge for Hillary isn't winning people over to her side; it's keeping from making any exploitable mistakes. And she seems to avoid that pitfall here.
Americans are ready for a leader who will restore America's reputation in the world, and Hillary is prepared to lead America back in the right direction.

The next president's most urgent task will be to restore America's standing in the world to promote our interests, ensure our security, and advance our values.

America is stronger when we lead the world through alliances and build our foreign policy on a strong foundation of bipartisan consensus.
One interesting sideline; Clinton does make sure to underline her friendship with Israel.
Hillary has steadfastly fought for Israel's right to exist peacefully and to defend its people against terrorism. She has condemned Hamas's rise to power. She has spoken out against the problem of anti-Semitism in Palestinian textbooks and condemned Iran's conference on the Holocaust.
I guess that is necessary, but I'm not sure I've seen other candidates doing it. And, of course, a reference to Israeli violence against the Palestinian people wouldn't be a bad idea.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Chris Dodd

Chris Dodd isn't as impressive on this issue. He does have a page dedicated to foreign policy, but his statement is largely a laundry list of problems the world is facing.
From his time in the Peace Corps as a young man to his 25 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Chris Dodd has worked to strengthen America through bold engagement. Dodd understands America must lead to protect our security not only on Iraq, but also on the rise of state-less terrorist organizations around the world, Iran and North Korea’s emerging nuclear capabilities, a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, the HIV/AIDS crisis that is decimating whole continents and creating failed states, and the growing threat of global warming. Chris Dodd is ready to lead – to face our challenges abroad with boldness and a proven ability to bring people together.
Below that he has a bit on Iraq (although Iraq has it's own page as well, and a few other statements. He does call for more diplomacy and engaging our allies (specifically Saudi Arabia and Russia) in halting activities that are bad for the world.
Hold America’s Allies Accountable. As President, Chris Dodd would engage key strategic countries, nations like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and call on them to support freedom and democracy in their own countries and to eliminate the conditions that export terrorism and allow our enemies to thrive.
He then goes through his qualifications to deal with foreign policy issues, which seem lengthy but not deep.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Bill Richardson

Well Richardson largely says the right thing, which is Bush has taken us off course and we need to get back on track. He is promoting what he calls a "New Realism" in foreign policy, which is a nice phrase.
This administration’s lack of realism has led us to a dangerous place. We need to take a different path. A path based on reality, not unilateralist illusions. A path that understands that the gravest dangers that threaten us today do not threaten only us – and that therefore to pursue our national interest and meet these challenges we must work with our friends, our enemies, and everyone in between. This is a path not of hard words, but of hard work. A path of moral strength, not pious judgments. A path of strong diplomacy, backed up by a strong military and strong alliances. This is the path of American leadership.
The truth is that the Bush Administration's foreign policy, for all their protestations of hard headed realism, is based largely on fantasies. Witness the predictions for how the Iraq War and how it actually has gone. A New Realism contrasts with that nicely.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Mike Gravel

Mike Gravel's issues page is by far the most minimalist. He doesn't have a statement on foreign policy, although he does have this to say about Iran and Syria.
Senator Gravel opposes a military confrontation with Iran and Syria and advocates a diplomatic solution to the current situation.
Like I said, very minimalist, and lacking in details. But what's there is ok, I guess.

Candidate Review - Foreign Policy - Joe Biden

To put it another way, Diplomacy or blowing the shit out of people. Joe Biden seems to believe that Bush's plan of blowing the shit out of people hasn't gone so well, so he's willing to try diplomacy.
Using Diplomacy to Keep America Safe: Joe Biden knows that the Bush Administration has left the next president with virtually no margin of error diplomatically. With decades of experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and now its chairman, Joe Biden is the most qualified candidate to clean up the mess George Bush has made. Russia is rising on the world stage using oil as a weapon and China is becoming a greater force, both politically and militarily. Democracy is struggling in Latin America and oil has empowered dictators around the world who hold us hostage with their high prices. We need to end the genocide in Darfur as well as check Iran and North Korea’s progress on nuclear weapons and prevent them from increasing their nuclear arsenal. America needs a president with Joe Biden's experience to address these global challenges. As president, Joe Biden's foreign policy will draw upon all of America's strengths, including our ideas and our ideals, as well as our military might.
It's hard to deny that Biden is a strong candidate on this issue. He's got the most experience, and he's projects that experience well. On the other hand, he's a realist when it comes to foreign policy, and that might hurt him with those who would like to see the US abandon War as a foreign policy tool.

Monday, October 29, 2007

You must always be a good ninja!

Glenn Greenwald is in trouble for printing excerpts of a strange letter he got from someone in David Petraeus's command, rather than the whole thing. Many conservative bloggers and rabblers are upset that Greenwald failed to print the entire letter.

Except, of course, he did.

Still Greenwald, even if innocent of this crime, is still guilty of being a liberal.

Good article on Evangelical Christians

Continuing a theme started earlier today, and thanks to a link from the Randomist of Goblins, check out this article on where Conservative Christians are going into 2008.

I particularly liked these paragraphs that explain a bit of a generational change in how Conservatoid Christians look at the world.
Ever since they broke with the mainline Protestant churches nearly 100 years ago, the hallmark of evangelicals theology has been a vision of modern society as a sinking ship, sliding toward depravity and sin. For evangelicals, the altar call was the only life raft — a chance to accept Jesus Christ, rebirth and salvation. Falwell, Dobson and their generation saw their political activism as essentially defensive, fighting to keep traditional moral codes in place so their children could have a chance at the raft.

But many younger evangelicals — and some old-timers — take a less fatalistic view. For them, the born-again experience of accepting Jesus is just the beginning. What follows is a long-term process of “spiritual formation” that involves applying his teachings in the here and now. They do not see society as a moribund vessel. They talk more about a biblical imperative to fix up the ship by contributing to the betterment of their communities and the world.
Anyway it's well worth reading, even though it is quite long. I suspect, as most do, that the Christian Conservatives will end up supporting whoever the Republicans put up, but if they put up someone they don't feel comfortable with, well, such support might be a bit lackluster.

We are all one People

Here's something unusual - an article at Townhall that seems religiously inclusive. Usually articles over there have all the subtlety of "We are the Champions." Of course given that the religious right is about to torpedo any candidate insufficiently concerned with their issues (like, say, Giuliani), you can't say this article is entirely out of the blue.

It's by Suzanne Fields and it is largely directed to the religious base of the Republican Party.
Appeals to compromise or moderation drive the fanatics in any social movement to the sidelines of cultural struggle. Fires destroy everything when zealots get too fired up.

. . . But the future of the religious right is less clear. The presidential contenders asking for their votes are more mixed in their appeal than George W. Bush was seven years ago. It's harder now to excite passion with reason when the arguments aren't 100 percent ideologically pure. But Americans remain a practical people, and nobody likes a losing strategy for long, no matter how dear the single issue.

The separation of church and state remains the great triumph of our democracy, enabling lively and often contentious argument that leads to workable, if not always wholly satisfying, compromise.
I suppose there's no percentage in pretending that Liberal Christians might actually love Jesus, but this is still a step in the right direction. The campaigns of Giuliani and, to a lesser extent, Romney highlight the schism in the Republican Party between the Religious conservatives and the rest of the party. I suppose we'll find out whether or not the religious right feels like they can build bridges or decides to remain in ideologically pure isolation.

I, being a liberal, hope for the later.

My Music is Minimal I play more Minimal than anybody!

Michael Barone's latest article is interesting. I'm not sure I entirely disagree with him, although I don't think he goes far enough. He notes that neither party has a candidate they are entirely thrilled about, and, more to the point, neither party has a story they can sell to the American people.
Today's parties lack such narratives. The Democratic Party is all about, well, listen to its rhetoric. It's all about opposing George W. Bush and all his works. But where to go from there?

. . . The Republicans are no better. Many say the party must go back to Ronald Reagan, and the Reagan narrative is at least of recent vintage. Reagan taught that government had grown overlarge and must be cut back and that America must be the assertive champion of freedom and democracy. The problem is that none of the Republican presidential candidates occupy Reagan's place on the political spectrum, and the problems we face are not those that confronted Reagan in 1980.
That last line is pretty honest, surprisingly honest.

That said I'm not sure you can start with the narrative; I think you need the person to make the narrative work. It's possible there is a person out there; we could be talking about the Edwards era or Obama era or even "shudder" the Romney era. But right now it looks like both parties are offering up nothing. Or to be more precise, nothing that strikes America as distinctive.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Beats - The Stars "In Our Bedroom After the War"

As a new feature for this website, I am going to do a record Review once a week. These will largely be positive reviews, there's more than enough good music out there without wasting time telling you about music I don't like.

I came to this album in a weird way. I liked their last album ("Set Yourself on Fire") well enough but thought it was more of an interesting misstep rather than a good album on it's own. It had some great songs of course. "Soft Revolution" and "Your Ex-Lover is Dead." So I was planning on buying the album, but wasn't exactly expecting it to be incredible. Just another album of emo-rock I could put in when I got in the mood. On Monday I had the day off and a coupon for Borders, so I picked it up (along with Prodigy's Greatest Hits collection, something you'd think I'd have bought a long time ago). That night I had a friend over and he noted that he'd heard the "In Our Bedroom After the War" and wasn't impressed. I hadn't listened to it yet at that point (although I had watched the DVD). So when I listened to it, it already had two strikes against it.

Fortunately the lead off track (after the introductory "The Beginning After the End") is The Night Starts Here which is probably the best song The Stars have ever done. It's just a beautiful flowing song the sets the tone for something to happen. It's been used in a promo for the NBC show "Friday Night Lights" (given the way the lyrics sync up with the shots on screen and the general professionalism, I have a hard time believing this isn't an official NBC Promo. I could be wrong, and if I am, kudos to whoever did it).



That is the best song on the album, but it's far from the only great one. "Take Me to the Riot" is a great song and rocks out as much as Stars are allowed to. "The Ghost of Genova Heights" is creepy with a bit of a falsetto chorus (reminded me a bit of Jamouriqoui). "Window Bird" is a lovely showcase for Amy Milan. "Personal" has both Even Cranly and Milan singing and is a somewhat sad song, as it relates a sketchy attempt to connect via Personals and failing to do so.

Finally the ending. "Today Will be Better I Swear" and "In Our Bedroom After the War" are two gorgeous songs and ultimately hopeful. It's interesting to note that the last album which had the title "Set Yourself on Fire" struck me as a much more resigned album. This one, after the fire has burnt out, perhaps, shows the Stars finding there's still a lot to love that hasn't been burnt by the fires of the 21st century.

Anyway if nothing else seek out "The Night Starts Here." Brilliant song.

My Theory on how Pret-A-Porter got Written

Writer A - "Yeah if you're a writer you have the power. You can make things happen."

Friend A - "Ah that's BS. There's lots of things you can't make happen."

Writer A - "Oh yeah? Like what?"

Friend A - "I'll bet you can't get a bunch of models to walk a runway naked."

Writer A - "That's easy. You just have to come up with some reason for them to walk around naked. Something they could get behind."

Friend A - "They'd see through you in like 30 seconds, you pervert."

Writer A - "You don't know how people's minds work. You just have to, like, tie into their own personal experience."

Friend A - "Like what?"

Writer A - "Well all them Models are like totally insecure. Worried about getting over taken by the next hot model."

Friend A - "Yeah. So?"

Writer A - "So you write some character, like a fashion designer or something who is worried about the same stuff. And finally she just says fuck it and rather than showing off her clothes she has her models go out there totally naked. And because they respect her they do it."

Friend A - "That'd never happen."

Writer A - "I could make it happen. I'm a writer. I have the power."

I admit the humor of the previous section won't mean much if you haven't seen "Pret-a-Porter." It's the one with the Lyrical Gangster Song - Here comes the Hotstopper by Ini Kamoze.



It's Robert Altman so maybe I should go back and give it another look, but I was not impressed my first run through it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Candidate Review - Abortion - Mitt Romney

Well Romney's stance isn't exactly highlighted either, although I suppose that's probably because everybody knows that it has changed over the years. And what there is of his stance, isn't as definitive as some of the others (although he does, of course, say that he's pro-life).
"I am pro-life. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."
Does the candidate believe Abortion to be murder? It's unclear. Does he think it's ok for babies to be aborted in Oregon but not in Georgia? Presumably. A much weaker statement compared to, say, Huckabee.

One closing note, Republicans probably care a lot more about this issue then Democrats. Republicans are eager to show off their stance on this issue (except where their stance isn't the expected one), Democrats are somewhat less eager to highlight their position on this issue. Presumably that's because Republicans are fighting to change the Status Quo and Democrats are fighting to preserve it. It's expected that the Democrats will try to uphold the current set up (or expand Reproductive Rights) but it's not very exciting. And while for most Democrats it's a necessary qualification, it's no where near a sufficient qualification.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Alan Keyes

Well here's another no-hoper. His website is tight enough, although it gives the impression that he's trying to build the Keyes brand while he runs for President. Which I suppose is a smart policy.

His position on Abortion is pretty straight-forward. He's not a fan.

If the Declaration of Independence states our creed, then there can be no right to abortion, since it means denying the most fundamental right of all to human offspring in the womb.

The Declaration states plainly that we are all created equal, endowed by our Creator with our basic human rights. But if human beings can decide who is human and who is not, the doctrine of God-given rights is utterly corrupted.

. . . As far as the "legality" of abortion is concerned, how could the so-called "right" to murder our children in the womb have come about? I think, in open debate, I could prove it to anyone — that Roe v. Wade was the most obscenely illogical and shoddily-written Supreme Court decision perhaps in the whole history of our country. There was a perverse illogic to it that ought to, even to this day, warn us against the possibility that it has any real ground or foundation in our law or the Constitution.

In addition to overturning Roe v. Wade, we need a Human Life Amendment that respects life and restores our respect for the will of God.
So he also recognizes that overturning Roe v. Wade is just the first step.

One thing that's interesting (and probably frustrating to most of the Republican Base) is that the candidates with the most firm position on Abortion are at the bottom of the electability list.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Rudy Giuliani

Rudy Giuliani has 12 Commitments. It's good when your Commitments come in nice round numbers like that. I have 14 1/2 commitments (not counting Arby's related commitments) and consequently I just can't see running for President.

His website has a lot of blue on it for a Republican, but it seems clean enough and professional.

As you might expect, given his controversial position on Abortion, he does not put it front and center. He'd rather you looked at his commitment to fiscal discipline and pursuing the war on Terror first. Seems like a good strategy when you consider his position on Abortion.
Rudy Giuliani supports reasonable restrictions on abortion such as parental notification with a judicial bypass and a ban on partial birth abortion—except when the life of the mother is at stake. He’s proud that adoptions increased 66% while abortions decreased over 16% in New York City when he was Mayor. But Rudy understands that this is a deeply personal moral dilemma, and people of good conscience can disagree respectfully.
Kind of botched there, although presumably he and his web lackey are aware that everybody knows his position on Abortion. But if you came to him flat, without knowing where he stands, that last sentance would read a bit odd; you'd wonder which "people of good conscience" he is talking about. Those who are in favor of partial birth abortions? Or opposed to parental notification?

Candidate Review - Abortion - Mike Huckabee

I missed up a chance to riff on "I Heart Huckabees" a few days ago, but I'm sure the opportunity will arise again. Frankly I think Huckabees star is on the rise, which is nice for him but probably not so great for the rest of us.

His website seems clean and reasonably stylish. His issues page has Faith as issue number one and Sanctity of Life (which means Abortion) as number two.
I support and have always supported passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the right to life. My convictions regarding the sanctity of life have always been clear and consistent, without equivocation or wavering. I believe that Roe v. Wade should be over-turned.

. . . I first became politically active because of abortion, when I helped pass Arkansas' Unborn Child Amendment, which requires the state to do whatever it legally can to protect life.
Presumably that without equivocation or wavering bit is intended for Mitt Romney, who's position on Abortion has been a bit wavering. Actually if I were Huckabee I'd be going after Romney, since they have some similarities. The pro-choice Guiliani and the hated McCain aren't great options for COnservatoid Christians, so who's next on the list. Well Romney, despite his lack of consistency on the only issues, is next in line. But isn't Huckabee a better fit?

Presumably Huckabee thinks so.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Tom Tancredo

Well everybody knows what Tancredo's number one issue is, and it isn't abortion. That's his number two issue (or Stand, as his website puts it (and for those who don't know Illegal Immigration is number one)).

His website is kind of blase but with a lot of videos and what nots. And his issues pages includes both a short recital of his position and a PDF and a Video on it (neither of which I'm going to pursue (I have 8 of these things to do).
The innocent unborn enjoy a God given right to life. Roe is a scar on the moral and intellectual history of the country; but, contrary to popular belief, overturning it would merely permit and not require states to prohibit abortion. To protect life, we also need to educate the public about the second victim of abortion, the mother who is subject to potential life long medical and emotional scarring.
Well he gets point for acknowledging that getting rid of Roe probably won't stop Abortions in California or New York. But other than that, pretty by the numbers.

Candidate Review - Abortion - John McCain

Well McCain's website took a while to come up, but it's not bad looking. He has a page in his issues section entitled Human Dignity and the Sanctity of Life, which covers his views on Abortion.
John McCain believes Roe v. Wade is a flawed decision that must be overturned, and as president he will nominate judges who understand that courts should not be in the business of legislating from the bench. Constitutional balance would be restored by the reversal of Roe v. Wade, returning the abortion question to the individual states. The difficult issue of abortion should not be decided by judicial fiat.

However, the reversal of Roe v. Wade represents only one step in the long path toward ending abortion. Once the question is returned to the states, the fight for life will be one of courage and compassion - the courage of a pregnant mother to bring her child into the world and the compassion of civil society to meet her needs and those of her newborn baby. The pro-life movement has done tremendous work in building and reinforcing the infrastructure of civil society by strengthening faith-based, community, and neighborhood organizations that provide critical services to pregnant mothers in need. This work must continue and government must find new ways to empower and strengthen these armies of compassion. These important groups can help build the consensus necessary to end abortion at the state level. As John McCain has publicly noted, "At its core, abortion is a human tragedy. To effect meaningful change, we must engage the debate at a human level."
Again I find myself wondering, if you believe Abortion to be a moral sin or a mortal crime, than how can you content yourself with saying "Well the States should decide whether or not they are going to allow Babies to be murdered." If you believe abortion to be Murder, that's not a very satisfying position.

As for the second part of his statement, it doesn't matter how much you kiss their ass, the Religious Right aren't going your way.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Ron Paul

Ron Paul's website seems clean and clear, lots of red. While his position on the war marks him as an odd man out, his position on Abortion is as red meat as you come.
The right of an innocent, unborn child to life is at the heart of the American ideals of liberty. My professional and legislative record demonstrates my strong commitment to this pro-life principle.

In 40 years of medical practice, I never once considered performing an abortion, nor did I ever find abortion necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman.

In Congress, I have authored legislation that seeks to define life as beginning at conception, HR 1094.

I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.

. . . Many talk about being pro-life. I have taken direct action to restore protection for the unborn.
I don't really respect the theory that returning the abortion debate to the states really solves anything. It seems like a dodge to me, particularly if you believe Abortion to be murder. Why would it be ok to murder babies in Vermont and not in Georgia? That said, this statement is pretty straightforward, and he has another page dedicated to his speeches on the Abortion issue.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Duncan Hunter

Duncan Hunter doesn't have an issues page, he has a "Core Principles" page. And his number one Core Principle? A Right to Life Amendment.
I would amend the U.S. Constitution and provide blanket protection to all unborn children from the moment of conception by prohibiting any state or federal law that denies the personhood of the unborn. Likewise, I have also introduced the Right to Life Act, which would legally define “personhood” as the moment of conception and, therefore, guarantee all constitutional rights and protections, including life, to the unborn without utilizing a constitutional amendment.
I'm not sure Mr. Hunter understands how the Presidency works; Presidents don't get to amend the constitution. But presumably he means he would persuade Congress to promote and pass a constitutional amendment.

I note that his position on abortion is very very easy to find, in contrast to some of our Democratic pages.

His website is functional, but not flashy and not that full.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

If Fire Could Vote, Would It be Democrat or Republican?

Two controversial comments.
I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

There are a few people that hate America. But I don't think the Democrats are those. I think there are those posing as Democrats that are like that.
Glen Beck, speaking on the Fires in California.
Boxer: Thank you so much for your offer of help. It is so important right now for California. So I know we have differences on climate change, but there's no difference in helping each other when our states are in trouble. Right now, we are down 50 percent in terms of our National Guard equipment because they're all in Iraq, the equipment, half of the equipment. So we really do need help. I think all of our states are down in terms of equipment.

Bond: Sen. Leahy and I on the National Guard caucus will welcome your help because the Guard has traditionally been underfunded, when Iraq started, when Katrina hit --

Boxer: You're right.

Bond: ... The Guard had only one-third of the equipment it needs. This is a battle we fight with the Pentagon, and our colleagues have been most helpful.

Boxer: That's another area where we can work together, and I think it's good for people to see it. I joined your caucus several months ago, and I'm really ready to go because I have a letter that states, from the Pentagon itself, that if there's a real catastrophe, such as the one we're having now, we're really in some kind of trouble. So thank you very much for that.
Senator Kit Bond (R) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), speaking on the Senate Floor.

These two comments are apparently equally offensive. Meaning the one by Glenn Beck and the one by Barbara Boxer (Kit Bond, being a Republican, apparently gets off the hook for agreeing with and expanding on Boxer's comments).

Wait, sorry - just got a revision. It turns out that Glen Beck's comments weren't controversial at all, and only a liberal snob would think they were. That doesn't sound right.

He's Huckalicious

David Brooks wrote about Mike Huckabee yesterday, who he describes as "the one candidate acceptable to all factions." Except, presumably, those who want to hold the White House in 2008.

I'm joking, mostly. Huckabee has some strengths and some weaknesses. He's definitely a solid Christian conservative, and they will turn out for him. Which I suppose is his real strength - with the Christian Conservatives clamoring against Guiliani, McCain and Romney, he's a breath of fresh air.

But, as referenced above, his foreign policy would be, perhaps, softer towards Europe. But he would continue the degradation of Civil Rights begun under Bush and he would continue the policy of preemptive war that has worked so well in Iraq.

It's hard to know what people are going to want in 2008, but it doesn't seem likely that they are going to want more of the Bush Madness. And if Huckabee predicates his campaign on that, well, Clinton's "return to normalcy" campaign might be very attractive.

Hillary in '08

This is more like our regular broadcasting schedule. We have an article by Jonah Goldberg on how Republicans are eager to run against Hillary Clinton. It's full of questionable premises (like the idea that the Republican candidate automatically gets 40 to 45% of the vote), but it's central premise is clear enough.
To wit: Most independents and swing voters want an end to the acrimony and bitterness in Washington - and a candidate they like. Whether that's right or not is irrelevant. That's what they want.

Which Democratic candidate would be most likely to give those voters what they want? Not Hillary, it's safe to say.

. . . Fair or not, the Republicans' intense dislike of Hillary will underscore the idea that a vote for her is a vote for more of the same rancor.
Kind of an interesting dilemma. Republican rancor against Hillary Clinton is the fault of, apparently, Hillary Clinton.

Let's dispense with that right off; whoever the Democrats nominate with the possible exception of Joe Lieberman, will be destroyed by Conservatives and portrayed as a huge mistake. They are focusing on Clinton right now, because she's the most likely nominee. But they aren't going to take it easy on Obama or Edwards or Dodd or whoever we put up.

I think it's also wishful thinking to assume that partisan rancor is what people are mad at. As is traditional for these sorts of stories, the War in Iraq and it's effect on the national mood are quietly airbrushed out. Goldberg isn't interested in how that might be affecting our national mood (largely because all of the Republican candidates have promised to continue the same policies as the Bush Administration (except no-hoper Ron Paul). Once you start considering the war and foreign policy, the Republicans don't look nearly as strong.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Candidate Review - Abortion - Hillary Clinton

Well now we are at the end of the list, and we get to Hillary Clinton. Her website is more functional than flashy, but it's not bad. She has a section of her website dedicated to Woman's Issues, like Obama, Richardson, Edwards, and Biden. I'm kind of uncomfortable with that set-up. A lot of these "Woman's Issues" are issues that touch everybody. But anyway, here's her stance.
When it comes to each woman's ability to make the most personal of life decisions, Hillary has stood firm as an advocate for a woman's right to choose. She has expanded access to family planning services, including for low-income women. She spoke out forcefully against the Supreme Court's April 2007 decision that -- for the first time in decades -- failed to recognize the importance of women's health.
She also has a little video but I'm not watching it because this is the last one and I'm tired. Anyway hope you enjoyed this.

Candidate Review - Abortion - John Edwards

Edward's site is workmanlike but clear enough. He has a section on Woman's Issues, and under it we find this passage.
The decision about whether to become a parent is one of the most important decisions that a woman can face. Edwards believes that she should make it with her family, her doctor and in the context of her religious and ethical values. He will protect and defend the right to choose and reverse the damage that has been done by President Bush's anti-choice agenda.
Very straightforward. Not much to say about it really.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Joe Biden

After having to kind of hunt on Kucinich's site, Biden's area on Woman's issues is refreshingly easy to find. His website in general seems pretty clear and professional, if lacking in much flair.

His statement on abortion seems a bit lacking in gusto.
Senator Biden supports the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade that protects a woman’s right to choose to terminate a pregnancy. Believing family planning could help prevent many unwanted pregnancies, Senator Biden has consistently supported Title X – the nations’ family planning program -- that provides information, services, support, and research for family planning.
He proclaims his support for Roe vs. Wade, rather than his support for the fundamental right to choose. There is also a speech he made in support of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, reprinted at his site.
Opponents warn that the treaty's call for universal access to family planning is really a disguised call for a right to abortion services.

That is a charge with no basis in fact. In 1994, the State Department certified that the treaty is abortion-neutral; that same year, the Committee on Foreign Relations agreed to a proposal, sponsored by Sen. Jesse Helms, making clear that nothing in the treaty shall be construed as creating any right to an abortion.
At any rate all of this does leave Biden with a bit of wiggle room, but it's hard to know whether this is intentional or not.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Dennis Kucinich

Dennis Kucinich is, along with Edwards I think, one of the few that I covered the last time I did one of these. His website is very well designed, although finding his position on a Woman's Right to Choose is proving difficult. He does have a section on his gorgeous wife however, which makes her seem like a lovely person (well she probably is a lovely person).

He also wants to restore the constitution, and to that end wants to place copies of the constitution with as many people as possible. Seems like a laudable plan. Of course charging $25 for the copy (in donations to the campaign) may limit how many actually get copies.

Returning to abortion, I only find one reference at his website, in an interview he did with Paula Zahn that was reprinted at his website.
ZAHN: One last question for you, sir, before we have to quit. You talk about living the principles that animate your faith. And yet you are a practicing Catholic and your views on abortion and gay marriage -- or gay unions is in direct opposition to what your church teaches. How do you reconcile that?

KUCINICH: Well, actually, we -- as president I want to unite this country on the issue of abortion in this way. We need to do everything we can to make abortion less necessary. And we do that through pre-natal care, post-natal care, childcare, universal health care, a living wage, creating circumstances that make it less likely abortion will occur.

I think our nation can be united along that.
Doesn't seem that likely to me, but I guess to run for President you have to be a hopeful person. At any rate I've looked at five sites so far, with three to go (Edwards, Clinton, and Biden for those curious), and in the bulk of the cases finding out the candidates position on Abortion hasn't been that easy. I wonder if there will be a contrast over in Republican Country (coming Thursday).

Candidate Review - Abortion - Bill Richardson

Bill Richardson's website is very clean looking as well, although perhaps a bit less ostentatious than Obamas. On the plus side finding his stance on Abortion is somewhat easier than Obama's and much easier than Dodds.
I am pro-choice and will continue to support abortion rights and medical privacy for women. I am the only candidate explicitly committing to appoint only judges who consider Roe v. Wade settled law.
So a little braggy there, but that's kind of expected on a candidate's website.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Barack Obama

Barack Obama has some slick people working on his website. It's got a very clean design. As near as I can tell he doesn't have a presence in Second Life.

The Website does have a blog which looks regularly updated - very regularly. It also has a section on People, which highlights supporters of Obama. Very smart idea. There is an Obama Store where you can get a Windbreaker? Very practical for this time of year.

Obama's position on Abortion is found on his people page for Women. If you go there you can click on Where Barack stands and pull up his position on what his campaign considers Women's issues, including Supporting Research into Woman's health, Fighting Cancer and so on.

And about half way down, one finds this straightforward statement.
Barack Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue, and respects those who disagree with him. However, he has been a consistent champion of reproductive choice and will make preserving women’s rights under Roe v. Wade a priority as President. He opposes any constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in that case.
So there you go. Pretty clear.

Candidate Review - Abortion - Chris Dodd

When you go to Chris Dodd's web page, you first get an opportunity to join the Dodd Squad. Kind of an old reference, but a moderately cool one. Dodd does not have a presence in Second Life, apparently. On the other hand he does have a Dodd Mart where you can buy Dodd Shirts and Dodd Mugs. He also has a Dodd Dodd. Dodd dodd dodd Dodd!

Sorry - went of the rails there for a moment. I'm back. His website is very cleanly designed, and looks nice. He does use his name a lot, but what are you going to do. It's a good name.

His issues page focuses on the issues he wants to talk about and Reproductive Rights aren't on the list. He isn't talking about his stance on this issue at the website. Perhaps it's an oversight, as he did speak directly at one of the Democratic Debates (the one in South Carolina, apparently).
I happen to believe a woman has a right to choose. I've voted that way and done that, supported that for the 26 years I've been in the US Senate. Supporting expanding adoption, children's health issues--these are things I've worked on for the last 26 years, having started the children's caucus in the US Senate, worked on children's health issues.
Perhaps I missed it, although I used both the Websites search engine and Google advanced search.

Or course, one of the problems with starting with Abortion as one of my big issues is that it isn't a key issue in this election (so far anyway) so candidates don't feel like they have to take an immediate position on it (the way they do on Iraq, for example).

Candidate Review - Abortion - Mike Gravel

And away we go!

I will be doing these Candidate Reviews on Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday I will cover the Democrats and Thursday I will cover the Republicans. I will be tagging these with the Issue and Year, and with the Candidate and Year (on the off chance that I am doing these again in 2012 - so if you see below, this post is labeled Abortion 2008 and Gravel 2008.

Todays is on Abortion (or Reproductive Rights), largely because it will be a simple issue to cover and I will also be looking at the Candidate's websites in General.

Mike Gravel's website is somewhat minimalist; although he does apparently have a presence in Second Life. I'm not sure of the value of that. His website is designed around getting people to participate in his campaign; nothing wrong with that I suppose. He has a blog that looks like it is regularly updated (well several times a month, which isn't that great I suppose).

On the other hand he doesn't have a section for his speeches which I think is a bit of a misfire. His issues page is somewhat minimalist as well.

He does, though, have his position on Abortion there.
Senator Gravel supports a woman's right to decide if and when to have children and to make the difficult decision about abortion without interference by government.
Simple and direct, which I gather is how Mr. Gravel wishes to be seen.

One down, seven to go.

Monday, October 22, 2007

New Look

I should hold off till the anniversary of this blog (next week) but instead I'm doing it today. New Look, New Title. Enjoy.

Tomorrow we will start our weekly candidate reviews, to help you decided who to vote for in the primaries, or, more likely, who to vote against.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Dobson's Choice

Frank Pastore is not a great interviewer. Comes of being a radio guy, I suppose. Too used to hearing the sound of his own voice. But he recently interviewed James Dobson, big man in the Christian Right, on why he won't vote for Rudy Giuliani. The standard reasons were given (including his appearing in drag on Saturday Night Live), and then Pastore made this interesting comment (in the form of a question).
Dr. Dobson, if Hillary were to win the presidency then that just means that the pro-life movement continues to fight another day, it would rally and mobilize the base, it would also send a message to the conservatives in America that without the pro-life movement, without the evangelical conservative Christian vote, you’re not going to win. If Rudy Giuliani wins it could be the end of the pro-family, pro-life movement because if he were to have four years in the White House the support for the pro-family movement could easily dry up. Why would the Republican Party support anything other than a pro-life candidate? Of course, that might be popular in a general election, but we sacrifice our soul at the altar of political expediency.

Dobson: That’ absolutely true, Frank.
It's heartening that a certain section of the Conservative base sees more value in Hillary Clinton being president than Rudy Giuliani. It's nice to know they are preparing to lose.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Limbaugh's World

Brent Bozell has written a review of the Limbaugh "phony soldiers" comment, and it's about what you would expect. Long on ideology, short on logic. He does make this comment, which has been common from right wing commentators on this situation.
Before reviewing the facts of the case, one has to shake his head in disbelief that anyone would accuse Limbaugh of an anti-military bias. A day doesn't go by when he isn't praising our military on his radio program.
The question isn't Rush's love of the troops; it's his acceptance of the existence of liberal troops. Liberals who fight to defend this country alongside conservatives. Rush Limbaugh, and most conservatives presumably, aren't keen on highlighting this contingent of troops, because they don't fit the narrative of Conservatives as loving their country, Liberals as hating it. Hell it wasn't a month ago that Limbaugh had "I hate the USA" (as sung by Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Al Sharpton and others) in heavy rotation.

He also repeats one of the bizarre allegations by Rush - when he said Phoney Soldiers he was talking about Jessee McBeth and a bunch of people in Washington guilty of defrauding the veterans administration by claiming to be veterans. That, of course, doesn't fit the context at all. The callers point which Rush backed up with his "phony soldiers" comment, was that the media goes after anti-war Soldiers and ignores pro-war soldiers. In that context complaining about phony soldiers whose motives are financial makes less than no sense.

At any rate, the issue seems to have largely died down; hopefully this will be my last post on the subject.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Busy and distracting day.

I'll just note that Cal Thomas has written an article condemning President Bush for saying that Muslims and Christians pray to the same God.
President Bush is wrong - dangerously wrong - in proclaiming that all religions worship the same God.
Not sure I have anything to say about this - just that it's nice to see Thomas taking a step back from his normal "Muslim Menace" stance.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The Thrill is Gone

Republicans aren't having a great year. Many of them (see for example, Rush Limbaugh, feel compelled to hide it and claim that all is great). Others prefer to attack the Democrats because, well, that's what Republicans do. A few are admitting it, like Donald Lambro. It's mostly about Republican retirements in Congress and a the SCHIPs battle, neither of which put a smile on Republican's faces.
"Democrats are going to pound Republicans on this in the campaign," a disgusted Heritage official told me. "Sometimes, I think (Republicans) deserve to lose." Successful legislative battles are the result of good policymaking and sophisticated political calculation. In the fight over SCHIP, the Republicans have neither.

Is it any wonder that Republicans ended last week feeling so gloomy about their prospects in the coming year?
No that seems totally understandable.

Does your vote count?

Not in primary season. Apparently.

According to a fascinating article in Salon by Michael Scherer, your vote may not have the same value you think it does.
The American system for nominating a presidential candidate has about as much in common with actual democracy as Donald Duck has with a lake mallard. It's not just that this year's primaries have been further front-loaded, or that the early primary states aren't representative of the nation at large. There is only passing fairness. There is only the semblance of order. There is nothing like equal representation under the law.
Well worth reading, even though you may have to sit through an ad.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Ann Coulter's Personal Fantasys

According to The Carpetbagger.
If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president. It’s kind of a pipe dream, it’s a personal fantasy of mine, but I don’t think it’s going to happen.
So good day for Conservative principles.

Will Conservative Christians sink Republicans?

It's increasingly possible. They don't like Guilliani, aren't fond of McCain, are scared of Romney and haven't warmed to Thompson. None of the top tier candidates suit them. And James Dobson has already warned that he might lead his flock into a third party if he doesn't get a candidate he likes.

Kathleen Parker writes about their disdain for the top tier candidates, suggesting they get behind Romney now, rather than drawing it out.
Ultimately, Christian leaders (some of whom make off-the-record, supportive calls to Romney, I'm told) most likely will back the Mormon. But their actions meantime have hurt Romney as he tries to close the deal nationally.

If they were smarter, they'd embrace Romney as the one who can beat Hillary because he, more than anyone else, unites all wings of the party -- economic, security and social.
Joe Conason also has an article on this problem, saying approximately the same thing, without referring to Romney specifically.
Whether Dobson is serious about a third party or not may become clearer at his upcoming "Values Voters Summit," a mini-convention of religious-right activists that will convene in Washington on Oct. 20, with appearances by nearly every Republican presidential hopeful (except Giuliani and Thompson). The Republican Party won't be "finished" by the defection of the religious rightists -- as a few feverish partisans predict -- but they have the capacity to make what portends to be a bad year even worse.
There's an element of pride involved here - both the Liberal Base and the Conservative Christian Base are upset at their respective leaders/candidates. But the Conservative Base has had power and influence for 7-8 years now and so isn't as "hungry" as the Liberal Base. So while the Liberal Base might be willing to swallow a candidate like Clinton (who isn't really what they want), the Conservative Christians might feel capable of turning up their noses at a Guilliani.

We'll find out, I suppose.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

An Uplifting Article

In the midst of the constant turmoil it's nice to get a burst of sunshine - even if this particular burst of sunshine dates from June. It's an article from the Nation by Rick Perlstein, on the forthcoming progressive majority.
You suspected it all along. Now it just might be true: Most Americans think like you. Nearly two-thirds think corporate profits are too high (30 percent, Pew notes, "completely agree with this statement...the highest percentage expressing complete agreement with this statement in 20 years"). Almost three-quarters think "it's really true that the rich just get richer while the poor get poorer," eight points more than thought so in 2002.
Certainly pleasant to think about, although I think Perlstein makes a bit more out of this than the numbers support.

Rush Limbaugh's America

I know I can't seem to get off this subject, but this is a really good post I wanted to point you too over at the Anonymous Liberal. He is dealing with the argument that Liberals are attacking Rush because our ideas are so weak we don't have anything else to talk about.
At a time when the Republican "brand" is at a historic low, when a Republican president is massively unpopular, and when the Republican platform seems to consist only of cutting taxes and starting wars, only someone who is completely delusional could possibly suggest that it is the Left that is desperately resorting to personal vilification in order to maintain power.
He's not wrong.

Keep Cool with Coolidge

And we did. We kept cool with Coolidge.

This is the theme of Cal Thomas's latest article, in which he encourages Republicans to visit Vermont and avoid talking to any (living) Vermonters. Rather he wants them to engage Calvin Coolidge, and learn from his example.

Yep, Cal Thomas wants modern Republicans to be more like Calvin Coolidge.

By all accounts Coolidge was a bit dull, but a decent man who had little time for partisan hatred. Looking at people like Senator Craig or Rush Limbaugh, maybe Thomas has a point.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Piling on Rush

Part of me is bored with this Rush "phony soldiers" Story, which is a shame because it really is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with Limbaugh Conservatism. Fortunately, as a seasoned bloggist (coming up on his fifth anniversary of blogging) I can feign interest.

Sort of.

Anyway this is easy enough. One of the more humorous claims by Limbaugh is that this sort of smear is unheard of on the right; only the left would have the indecency to question his love of the troops. Joonah Goldberg went him one better, saying "I've never heard actually a conservative basically flat-out deny the patriotism of the opposition." It's a pity for Goldberg that a website such as Media Matters exists, one that has archives and keeps track of what people actually say. Needless to say, they can provide plenty of examples of Rush Limbaugh questioning the patriotism of Liberals and Democrats.
"I want to respectfully disagree with the president on the last part of what he said. I am going to challenge the patriotism of people who disagree with him because the people that disagree with him want to lose."
So maybe Jonah Goldberg should rethink his comments.

The Madness of King Rush

Rush Limbaugh is kind of losing it over this "phony soldiers" kerfluffle, I think because it cuts to the heart of his self image. He believes himself to be pro-military, and in a way I suppose he is. He certainly is in favor of military solutions to foreign policy problems; he despises diplomacy and loves sending in the troops. The fact that his commitment to sending in the troops leads to troop deaths seems to have escaped his notice.

Anyway yesterday Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made some comments on Rush Limbaugh, so he naturally turned to attack Reid (which he does all the time anyway).
I think tit-for-tat's in order here. If Harry Reid is going to call me unpatriotic, then, Senator Reid, you may qualify as a phony patriot. Trying to all of a sudden position yourself now as a supporter of the troops? Can we go back and listen to some previous Harry Reid sound bites? He wants everybody to believe he's such a supporter, has such love and adoration for the troops.
Rush's proof that Reid isn't a supporter of the troops? He stated that the Surge had failed (which it has). He tried to kill the Patriot act and said that they had killed it. He criticized the Commander in Chief (currently President George W. Bush) and Clarence Thomas.

Now I know what you are thinking - Clarence Thomas? What does criticizing Clarence Thomas have to do with supporting or failing to support the troops? Well, going back to yesterday, Rush believes that to be patriotic one must be conservative. Since he believes the American soldiers to be good and patriotic, he also assumes they are conservative. So when Conservatives, like Justice Thomas, are attacked, it's really an attack on the troops.

Yeah, I'm not sure I get it either.

Honest historians and fair-minded observers

Michael Medved's latest article uses this phrase as he launches into a discussion of how this is really a Christian nation founded on Christian principles.
In order to put today’s church-state controversies into proper perspective, we must first clear-away some of the ubiquitous misinformation that pollutes are present public discourse. Honest historians and fair-minded observers will acknowledge eight undeniable and sometimes uncomfortable truths:
His truths?
THE FOUNDERS NEVER “WANTED TO ESTABLISH A SECULAR NATION.”

THE FOUNDERS DIDN’T EVEN WANT A SECULAR GOVERNMENT, AS WE UNDERSTAND THAT PHRASE TODAY.

EARLY SETTLERS DID NOT FLEE ENGLAND AND BUILD NEW WORLD COLONIES IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH “FREEDOM OF RELIGION.”

THE REVOLUTIONARY GENERATION DID NOT FIGHT TO ESTABLISH “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” OR A SECULAR SOCIETY.

THE FOUNDERS WEREN’T ATHEISTS, AGNOSTICS OR SECULARISTS; THEY WERE, ALMOST WITHOUT EXCEPTION, DEEPLY SERIOUS CHRISTIANS.
I know - he says eight, but only gets through five. And every honest historian and fair-minded observer will agree with these points. Except, of course, that many wouldn't. Medved pulls out the standard quotes, but, as anybody who is interested in this issue at all know, there is another list of quotes that suggest that the founders were uncomfortable with giving the religious a blank check to do whatever they want whenever they want. For further information, see The Godless Constitution, a book written by honest historians and fair-minded observers who disagree completely with Medved.

I also find point three interesting - the Puritans are fairly well known for their willingness to persecute people for the crime of having the wrong religious views. Is Medved holding them up as an example we should follow today?

More Phoney Soldier Nonsense

Just wanted to point this out - Rush Limbaugh has described a soldier involved in this whole situation as a Suicide Bomber - in that he's dumb and manipulated into doing something stupid on behalf of evil people. Apparently.

The soldier in question has taken issue with this description of himself, as you might expect.

Here's the story, courtesy of Salon's War Room.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Phoney Americans

For those of you who haven't heard, Rush Limbaugh used the phrase "phony soldiers" on his show last week. He claims he was referring only to a case like Jesse MacBeth who claimed to have witnessed atrocities but didn't. Others claim that the context indicates he was talking about liberal soldiers who criticize the war. I tend to believe the later, but it was probably more subconscious than conscious. I doubt if, for example, Rush was thinking of those seven soldiers who wrote a New York Timees Editorial a few weeks back criticizing the surge, for example. If he had thought of them, he wouldn't have used that phrase; he's smart enough to know how that looks.

To Rush though, to be an acceptable anything one has to adhere to Conservatoid principles. Rush hate university professors; but conservative ones deserve praise. He hates the New York Times; but quotes it approvingly when it agrees with him. He loves Americans but hates liberals. Many Americans are liberal to be sure, but they aren't really American (see also, Sean Hannity's position on "Great Americans."

So the idea of a patriotic liberal soldier is a bit of an oxymoron to Rush, and one he steers clear of as much as possible (although he's certainly willing to flag up the sad case of Jesse MacBeth). But the truth is when he sees a soldier espousing Liberalism, he's naturally going to look for the dark underbelly he knows is certain to be there.

Hence the rather regrettable position he finds himself now - having to spend nearly a week assuring his listeners that he really does respect the troops.

For more insight here's Media Matters for America and Salon's War Room.

The (Guilty) Conscience of a Liberal

In the wake of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's speech to Columbia University, there have been a raft of columns excoriating Columbia as giving evil a venue. What's interesting is that there have been a raft of articles which basically say "Liberals are children doing what feels good." Today's article, by Dennis Prager, hits those notes with the amount of force we've come to expect from the jerk who prophesied the second Civil War.
But intentions matter little in policy making. Wisdom matters infinitely more. And there is little wisdom on the left.

. . . just as in the disastrous invitation to Ahmadinejad, liberals feel good about their intentions and therefore about their decisions. But few, if any, of those decisions are wise.
So rather than do what feels good (and is dumb) you should do what feels bad (and is smart). No you can, of course, quibble as to the wisdom of creating huge deficits or invading Iraq (and now Iran), but if Conservatives know that their plans are good, why do they feel bad about them.

Because Conservatives know that their plans are going to make life harder on Soldiers, the Working Class, the Lower Middle Class, small business owners, minorities, women, gays, and so on and so forth. Their plans, no matter how wise, are going to entail a certain amount of suffering. Suffering they won't participate in, as it turns out.

So it's no wonder they make a virtue of doing things that feel bad. That feel wrong.