Saturday, January 31, 2004

Op-Ed Columnist: Electing the Electable: "Meanwhile, a bunch of Democratic insiders drafted Wesley Clark, who may have been a Republican and who didn't seem to have a single domestic policy idea in his head. But he did seem electable because he had worn a military uniform and thus could negate the Republicans' biggest electability advantage, national security. "

Great description by Brooks.

Friday, January 30, 2004

OpinionJournal - Houses of Worship

I will likely be linking to this weekly column regularly, as it always seems to interest me. This week is an amusing anecdotal story that goes a long way to illustrate some serious contemporary issues.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

diet coke for breakfast: My Brother Fisks Maureen Dowd

Message Posted on Dean for (via today's Political Diary):"Dated Dean. Married Kerry . . . woke up with Bush" -- Message posted on Howard Dean's Web site

We can only hope. - Kerry Captures New Hampshire; Dean Hangs On (subscription only): "The major Democratic contenders all have nearly exhausted their campaign treasuries; advisers say that even Mr. Dean, who raised an unmatched $40 million in 2003, has less than $5 million left."

Apparently the dot-com bubble is still bursting. The newest victim: Dean for America?

Dissent Magazine - Paul Berman (via Andrew Sullivan): "I answered, 'The United Nations and international law are fine by me, and more than fine. I am their supporter. Or, rather, would like to support them. It would be better to fight an antifascist war with more than a begrudging UN approval. It would be better to fight with the approving sanction of international law-better in a million ways. Better politically, therefore militarily. Better for the precedents that would be set. Better for the purpose of expressing the liberal principles at stake. If I had my druthers, that is how we would have gone about fighting the war. But my druthers don't count for much. We have had to choose between supporting the war, or opposing it-supporting the war in the name of antifascism, or opposing it in the name of some kind of concept of international law. Antifascism without international law; or international law without antifascism. A miserable choice-but one does have to choose, unfortunately.'

My friend said, 'I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!'
I said, 'I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?'
'But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!'

My own eyes widened. 'You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is,' I said. 'I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . .' "

I simply had to reproduce this for people to see. This is why I won't debate with anyone who says Bush, or conservatives in general, are fascist. We sincerely did not go into Iraq with the intent of killing Iraqis (other than the Baathists at the top who would not surrendur) -- we went there because we firmly believed (whether we were right or wrong is up for debate) that Iraq posed a threat and to save the Iraqi people from a truly fascist (not up for debate) regime. There are plenty of people who understand this, and can discuss the War on the merits, but far too many who do not and cannot.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004 - Daily Dish..: "Dean did a little worse than the exit polls suggested. But his concession speech was easily the best of the night. It was authentic, uplifting, and red meat to the Democrats. It actually rang true to me as Dean's real view of the world. It isn't one I entirely share, to say the least, but it is genuine, represents a lot of people in this country and deserves a hearing. He seemed more affable than recently as well. He smiled more. He spoke more calmly but not ineffectively. He's real. Kerry is so fake, in contrast, I cannot believe that Democratic primary voters will continue to support him in such numbers. Dean gave arguments. Kerry spoke in packaged Shrumisms. Dean has a vision. Kerry has ambition. If I were a Democrat, I'd vote for Dean over Kerry in a heartbeat. To my mind, this is a battle between the Democratic party's soul and its fear."

Well said. A friend of mine and I were discussing the other day how she fell in love with Dean the candidate early, before he sprinted to the extreme left, and how frustrated she's been with his campaign generally. Her comments on last night were that his speech reminded her strongly of what she knew of him way back when.

What I think Kerry did by winning in Iowa, strangely, was opening up the move to the center early. Conventional wisdom had suggested that Dean would win because he was pulling the party to the left, and while Kerry didn't win because he seemed more moderate, the fact that he did allows Dean to move back to his true beliefs. I was tempted last night to count him out, but we're going to have to wait until at least next week before any accurate estimates can be made.

From today's Political Diary (email me for a copy)

Gen. Clark continues to make errors typical of a first-time candidate. Last night, he came out to deliver his speech at the same moment as John Edwards. The TV networks blew him off and focused on showing Mr. Edwards' stirring "Two Americas" speech instead. The Washington Post even noted that clumsy staging by General Clark's staff had two supporters so close behind the candidate at the podium that they looked down him. The result was that the general appeared dwarfed by his own anonymous supporters.

Amateur mistakes. Somebody should get fired for each. | 2004 New Hampshire Presidential Primary Results

The globe's comprehensive list of New Hampshire Democratic and Republican primary results. Some interesting information, particularly in the write-ins on the Republican side - that's a bit scary.
What I want to point out, though, is the difference between Clark and Edwards. When I last checked, 97% of districts had reported, with a total of 217,346 Democratic votes cast. Clark squeaked ahead of Edwards with 705 votes, or, 0.32% of the total vote.
This tells me a few things: 1)Clark's campaign is imploding now that a "stop Dean" candidate is unnecessary, and b)Edwards could still have a shot with a strong Carolina showing, but he needs to make sure that he doesn't get pulled into a race with Clark. He needs to win there strongly enough that people don't say "well, he's still not as strong as Kerry in the rest of the country," or he might be marginalized as Clark's counterpart. If that happens, he's done for.

So Where's the WMD? - Anti-Bush partisans aren't listening to what David Kay is saying.

This is a great piece that expounds on why it's premature to say that WMD won't be found in Iraq, and posits some good theories as to why we may not.
I, for one, will come right out and say it: I don't care if we find WMD or not. No, this is not because I am a blind follower of the Bush White House, or even of the man himself. In fact, as many of my friends can attest, I was so turned off by last week's SOTU that as of right now I'm not even sure I'll vote for him.
That being said, I maintain that Saddam was or could soon be a threat. He may not have been conspiring with Al Quaeda (I think he was), but terrorism is not an Al Quaeda monopoly. This is a man capable of great evil, who made no bones about his desire to turn that evil towards the rest of the world, particularly the United States. Do you think he cared if he had to deal with a few muslim terror groups toward the common goal of attacking us? Not likely.
That he was not capable of lashing out in the moment we attacked, and that he seems to have been contained (though, according to Mr. Kay by his own scientists, not by inspections and sanctions) does not mean he couldn't avail himself of future opportunities. Yes, this was preemptive. Yes, I believe it was necessary - even if we don't find any weapons.

UPDATE: Prompted by this article, I was also reminded of this paradox: if we can't attack Kim Jong Il because he already has WMD, and we shouldn't have attacked Saddam because he didn't have them, when can we depose murderous dictators who want to attack us? Seriously, I know no one is reading this blog yet (and may never) but anyone who opposed (or still opposes despite the fact that it already happend, you Kucinich lunatics), please tell me: under what circumstances could we have invaded Iraq to safeguard the world?

So, we're gonna give this another shot. My first two attempts at a solo-post blog have failed, and it looks like elmivy might be dying too. So, this is going to be an Andrew Sullivan, or Glenn Reynolds type of blog. That is, I will link to things I find interesting or funny, and make comments. The format will likely change over the next few days/weeks, but hopefully I'll make this a regular thing for once...