February 28, 2007

History lesson for Patrick Kennedy

... the headline of an op-ed of mine running in yesterday's Providence Journal and found by following this link ...

In recent remarks on Iraq from the floor of the House, Kennedy quoted his uncle, the late Robert F. Kennedy, in criticizing Lyndon Johnson's handling of the Vietnam War. Fair enough -- until Kennedy claimed that from March 1968, when RFK make the remarks later cited by his nephew, another five years would pass "before an American president" began withdrawing US troops from Vietnam.

But as I point out in the op-ed, Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon, didn't wait five years to start pulling American troops out of Vietnam -- he waited five months.

February 27, 2007

Revisiting an awesome Gore cartoon

... by the ever-timely Henry Payne

Self-esteem suffers from low self-esteem

Not surprising in the least, new research finds that an endless mantra of "You Are Special" to children from parents, teachers, etc., may eventually result in shallow, narcissistic adults with little tolerance for challenges or rejection.

Prediction: school boards around the country will debate whether to allow discussion of the research in their schools, lest it hurt their students' self-esteem.

Come to think of it, when you look at Sharpton in profile ...

Perennially pombadoured race-baiter Al Sharpton wants DNA testing to determine if he is related to late paleo-segregationalist Strom Thurmond - follow this link for the skinny, so to speak -- this is not a parody -- repeat, this is not a parody ...

If true, Reverend, look at the bright side -- those hardy Thurmond genes.

February 26, 2007

Last one leaving the party shuts off the lights

Joe "Last Democrat Standing" Lieberman threatens to bolt to the GOP if Democrats vote to revoke earlier resolution authorizing force against Iraq ...

Timeless wisdom

"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would do us harm" -- George Orwell

Send lawyers, guns and money

Michigan Senator and armchair generalissimo Carl Levin describing his proposed Senate resolution on his appearance yesterday on "Meet the Press" --

The new resolution would "modify" the previous resolution in October 2002 that authorized the use of force against Iraq, Levin explained to MTP newsman Tim Russert, "so that we would be in a supporting role rather than a combat role."

A surge in grief counselors comes to mind ...

"Things have changed in Iraq," Levin stated further.

Yes, the Baathists are now slaughtering people right out in the open, instead of in dungeons like they used to ...

"We don't believe it would be possible to remove all our troops," Levin said ...

Such a strategy bearing an awkward resemblance to retreat ...

" ... but there is going to be a purpose that they are going to need to serve," Levin said, "included continued training of the Iraqi army, support for the logistics of the Iraqi army, a counterterrorism purpose, or a mission ..."

Purpose, mission, whatever ...

" ... because there is 3,000 in al-Qaeda in Iraq ..."

Once again refuting the claim that Iraq and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with each other ...

" ... so we want to modify, we want to transform ..."

Micromanage, tie the commander in chief's hands ...

" ... the earlier resolution to a more limited purpose."

Thereby limiting our nation's prospects for success but saddling a huge debacle around Bush's neck for eternity ...

Russert asked, why not just cut funding for the war?

Levin's response -- bad for the troops and would help Bush if rejected by Congress, a likely scenario - "So it's the wrong thing to do and it would also strengthen the president's hand and we don't want to do that, we want to change the president's course. He is on a course that is leading to defeat."

God forbid that Democrats do anything to "strengthen the president's hand" in time of war. This runs the risk of making them appear ... what's the word I'm looking for? ... patriotic?

Hardly a week passes that the Democratic Party does not confirm something I've suspected for years -- that defeating Bush is more important to them than destroying the threat from radical Islam.

Don't take my word for it

From Garrison Keillor's weekly column, "The Old Scout," published yesterday:

"The problem with liberals in our time, even though we'd like to think we're riding high at the moment, is that we're not so much fun to eat lunch with. We carry an air of self-righteous sorrow about hunger, global warming, homelessness, tax inequity, the heartlessness of big corporations, and a list of crises as long as your arm. You eat lunch with a liberal and you are ashamed to order dessert."

February 24, 2007

Wasn't Jayson Blair fired years ago?

Eye-opener of a correction in today's New York Times, invariably my favorite part of the paper --

"An article on Page 50 of The Times Magazine this weekend, about Sam Nunn, head of the Nuclear Threat Initiative and former chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, misstates the name of a company on whose board he serves. It is Chevron, not Chevron Texaco. The article also misspells the surname of a former secretary of state with whom Nunn and others wrote a recent op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. He is George P. Shultz, not Schulz. And the article misspells the surname of the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in several references. He is Mohamed ElBaradei, not ElBaredei."

Thrusting that fist into the 21st century

Bill Clinton's campaign wisdom, as conveyed by John Dickerson this week in Slate -- "Your opponent can't talk when he has your fist in his mouth."

Peggy Noonan's clear-eyed reaction to this, in her column in today's Wall Street Journal -- "Among Democratic political professionals, this kind of talk is considered tough and knowing, as opposed to, say, startingly belligerent and crude."

Any Republican saying the exact same thing is quickly labeled by the libs as -- you got it -- "mean-spirited."

Vilsack drops out of race

... Tom Vilsack was running for president...? Damn! I blinked and missed it ...

Devil costumes remain a perennial favorite

News last night out of Philadelphia -- the family of a 10-year-old boy not allowed to wear a Jesus costume to his school's Halloween activities is suing the school district, alleging the boy's religious and free-speech rights were violated.

First Cat Stevens ... now this

Michael Jackson is likely to convert to Islam, according to his brother, Jermaine, as reported by the AP. What the heck, he's tried everything else.

February 22, 2007

Refreshing intelligence on intelligence

... as stated by former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith last week on "The Charlie Rose Show" -

"One of the things that I think would be useful for your viewers to understand is that intelligence often gets talked about as if it is a matter of objective truth, but intelligence is almost never a matter of objective truth (emphasis in the original). It's sketchy information, it's bits and pieces, it's analysis, it's speculation, and there's an enormous amount of ground for reasonable people to interpret the bits and pieces of intelligence in different ways."

The crucial caveat - "reasonable people" - which rules out Islamic fanatics and their Western liberal apologists.

Wish I'd thought of that

A headline in today's Jerusalem Post - "NASA, Virgin to Collaborate on Space Flights" - and the tongue-in-cheek response - "A Novel Way to Avoid Love Triangles."

Or this headline from yesterday's Denver Post - "Lawsuit Attacks Booze, Frat Life" -- followed by the sly allusion to a John Belushi line in the movie "Animal House" -- "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?"

Where are they coming from? A great daily email sent out by the Wall Street Journal called "Best of the Web Today." If you look forward to Esquire magazine's Dubious Achievement Awards issue every January, this is right up your alley. Follow this link if you'd like to sign up (and no, I don't get a cut - yet).

You remember, the guy who outed Plame

Yet another story from the Associated Press (excuse me, The Associated Press) about the Scooter Libby trial that once again makes no mention of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage -- the government official who disclosed Valerie Plame's identity and job description to columnist Robert Novak.

I'm beginning to wonder if AP reporters and editors are running some kind of betting pool on this.

Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger weighed in today with a column today on "prosecutions that wreak ruin on a lifetime." Read the full transcript of theis "mock trail," Henninger suggests, "and one will see that the real subject is not justice, but the humiliation of the defendant."

Libby's trial, in "the national capital of illogic," has been exemplary in this regard, Henninger writes. "In December 2003, the prosecutor purports a crime has been committed by revealing a 'covert' CIA agent's identity to the press -- despite knowing then what the outside world learned nearly three years later -- that the revealer of the agent was a State Department official, Richard Armitage."

Details, details.

Obama to Clinton: back of the bus is thataway

How about that, looks like Barack Obama might be running for president after all -- and not vice president.

Still, eternities to go before this thing is decided and the Obama-Clinton dust-up over David Geffen is one of many we're sure to see.

I'm not surprised in the least that Billary reacted the way they did -- without Hollywood, they're toast!

We are not amused

Deval Patrick as quoted in the Boston Globe story mentioned in the preceding post:

"I am so sorry that we have all spent the kind of time we have on what we have spent time on, and I am sorry that I have been responsible for that.

Is it my imagination or does Patrick rely a tad too abundantly on use of the royal "we"? Oui?

Then again, maybe that's just we, ah, me ...

Patrick breaks from spending spree to state the obvious

What follows is the headline of a story on front page of today's Boston Globe, accompanied by photo of Deval Patrick with horde of pesky reporters --

'We screwed up' on spending'

Subtext: There, you happy?! ... Now leave me alone!

February 21, 2007

ACLU members disconsolable

Amazing story in today's Boston Globe about yesterday's police shooting of an alleged carjacker outside Barnstable Superior Court, a setting I know well from my days as political reporter at the Cape Cod Times and as a stringer for the New York Post last fall covering the Christa Worthington murder trial --

Amazing for two reasons -- a well-written and detailed account of how a 22-year-old Cambridge man "bolted out of [a] jail van in front of the courthouse, pulled the driver out of a nearby car, and commandeered it, triggering a frenetic chase across Route 6A that ended with police shooting him as he tried to drive away," write Globe reporters Brian R. Ballou and Raja Mishra.

One of the numerous witnesses to the incidents, which started outside the district court in Barnstable village and ended about 100 yards away outside the superior court, was none other than Cape and Islands' District Attorney Michael O'Keefe.

Amazing for a second reason -- the eye-opening list of suspect Anthony Roberts' (no, not the actor) previous alleged offenses. Roberts was arrested on Friday after a hit-and-run accident, according to the Globe, which was why he was being brought to district court yesterday.

But Roberts was also "facing trial on four separate incidents totalling more than 10 alleged felonies, including drug dealing, assault on a police officer, identity fraud and burglary," the story states (emphasis added).

Before he tried to fly the coop, Roberts was to be arraigned yesterday on charges of receiving stolen property, driving with a revoked license, drug possession, leaving an accident scene after property damage and forgery "stemming from the Friday accident, according to the Globe.

But wait ... there's more! When police arrested Roberts on Friday, "they found a stolen wallet, stolen credit cards, and stolen checkbook," the Globe said. "In April, Roberts was arrested after making a ruckus in several hotel lobbies, according to court documents."

But according to Roberts' lawyer, Drew Segadelli, "there have been no convictions, just simple allegations." Hate to break it to you, counsellor, but your client's streak may have just ended. And what's with the curious use of "simple," by the way?

"Some judges would say that his slate is clean," Segadelli went on to say, as quoted in the Globe. Yeah, some lawyers too. And so long as slates like that are kept "clean," who knows how long ambulance-chasers can avoid working for a living.

Howie Carr nails it

"From Together We Can to Together We Con" -- one of several laugh-out loud lines about Deval Patrick in Carr's column in today's Boston Herald.

Military fatalities in Iraq exceeded by military deaths in peacetime - under Clinton

You'd never know it from the sky-is-falling media coverage out of Iraq, but the American military suffered more fatalities in peacetime under Bill Clinton from 1993 to 1996 than we have in the last four years fighting in Iraq, as Alicia Colon pointed out in an outstanding column in Tuesday's New York Sun.

"The total military dead in the Iraq war between 2003 and this month stands at about 3,133," Colon writes. "This is tragic, as are all deaths due to war, and we are facing a cowardly enemy unlike any other in our past that hides behind innocent citizens. Each death is blazoned in the headlines of newspapers and Internet sites. What is never compared is the number of military deaths during the Clinton administration: 1,245 in 1993; 1,109 in 1994; 1,055 in 1995; 1,008 in 1996. That's 4,417 deaths in peacetime but, of course, who's counting?"

Tip of the hat to Rush Limbaugh, who cited Colon's column on his show yesterday.

A photo op is being arranged of the governor's new Crown Vic

A folo-up to the preceding post, from the lead story in today's Globe about Deval Patrick ponying up -- "Aides declined to permit a Globe photographer to photograph the new furniture or the draperies, hung at the enormous windows overlooking Boston Common."

Patrick's aides, in unison -- "Together we can't!"

Cadillac Deval -- it gets worse

... and to think it once appeared limited to a couple chopper rides.

Then came the news that new Bay State governor Deval Patrick wanted a leased Cadillac DeVille for his official vehicle, instead of the mundane Crown Vic used by Mitt Romney.

Then came the news that Patrick's administration had hired a $72,000-a-year staffer - a major fundraiser in Patrick's campaign, go figure - to handle the trickle of media calls and event scheduling needed for Patrick's wife.

Next comes the lead story in today's Boston Globe under this headline - "Patrick to repay taxpayers for decor: $10,000 spent for drapes; governor to offset car costs."

"Governor Deval L. Patrick spent more than $10,000 on damask drapes for his State House office as part of a $27,387 makeover that also included a new desk, settee, and other furnishings paid for with taxpayer money," write Globe reporters Frank Phillips and Andrea Estes. "Yesterday, after an inquiry from the Globe, Patrick abruptly announced that he would repay the state for the draperies and furnishings."

"At the same time, Patrick said he would contribute $543 each month to the lease of the Cadillac DTS he uses for state business," Phillips and Estes write, "bringing the cost to the public in line with the more modest Ford Crown Victoria used by Gov. Mitt Romney."

The story quotes Patrick as saying, "I realize I cannot in good conscience ask the agencies to make those choices without being willing to make them myself."

And who knows, maybe Patrick would have come to this decision without that annoying inquiry from the Globe -- after all, together we can!

February 20, 2007

A photo you won't see in the MSM

... with a tip of the hat to monica's memo. (click on the photo to enlarge and better read the cutline)

Dovetailing with that 28 percent who've been comatose in recent years

An Associated Press story today under the headline, "Poll: Few see clash between Islam, West - Only 28 percent believe cultures are doomed to conflict," as published in today's (Quincy, Mass.) Patriot Ledger --

LONDON -- A majority of people around the world do not believe the world is locked in a 'clash of civilizations' that will lead to violent conflict between Islam and the West, according to the findings of a poll being published today.

The British Broadcasting Corp. World Servive poll of more than 28,000 people found that 56 percent believed that 'common ground can be found' between Muslims and Westerners, while only 28 percent said violence was inevitable.

"... said violence was inevitable" -- huh?! Hate to break the news to the poll's respondents, but this genie's long been out of the bottle.

Guess I'm among that remaining 16 percent who believe lack of common ground between radical Islam and the West is the cause of frequent violence, the vast majority of which is Muslims slaughtering other Muslims. Which is not to say I disagree with the 56 percent seeing potential "common ground." This assumes, however, that you're dealing with rational people, thereby excluding jihadists and their hand-wringers in the West.

Something tells me the BBC neglected to include Islamist fanatics in their poll. But as they showed on Sept. 11, it takes only 19 people in a world numbering nearly 6 billion to demonstrate that "violence was inevitable."

Stop the presses! Liberal expresses doubts about recycling ...

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her remarks on Iraq last week:

"The stakes in Iraq are too high to recycle proposals that have little chance of success."

February 17, 2007

Cadillac Deval

Word out of Beacon Hill via an Associated Press story earlier tonight that new Bay State governor Deval Patrick apparently wants more than chopper rides when it comes to taxpayer-funded percs. The AP is reporting that Patrick has decided on a Cadillac DeVille for his work vehicle, rather than the all too common and less expensive Crown Victoria (the car used by half the cops in America).

The AP also reports that a staffer has been brought on board -- at a $72,000 annual salary -- to handle media inquiries and public appearances for Patrick's wife. Curiously, the administration spokesperson quoted in the story was uncertain as to how many media inquiries and public appearances for Patrick's better half are currently being handled.

You'd think at least one person close to the "newly minted" governor would have pointed out the unfortunate similarity between Patrick's first name and vehicle of choice.

Potential tabloid headline for vote on Iraq resolution


February 15, 2007

Watching the House debate

Another bogus claim by Bush's critics in Congress -- expressing opposition to his policies doesn't embolden our enemies, it demonstrates what a robust democracy we have. Which is true, if our enemies viewed the world from the same rational, post-Enlightenment perspective -- which they don't. Rather than seeing efforts to undermine Bush as evidence of our strength, the jihadists see it for what it is -- confirmation of weakness.

The audience is far larger than that, Congressman

This from a statement made by Congressman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., about congressional debate on the war in Iraq, and posted on McGovern's website:

"Madame Speaker, the American people are watching. They want to know where each member stands on the issue of escalating the war in Iraq" -- as if there's the least doubt where any member of the Bay State's congressional delegation stands on this.

Hate to break it to you, Congressman, but it's not just the American people who are watching this debate in a world where C-SPAN coverage can be delivered live onto cell phones -- bin Laden and al-Zawahiri are watching too. As are the murderous Baathist thugs in Iraq slaughtering innocent people by the thousand. As are jihadists from Morocco to Indonesia. As are the Chinese and Russians while chortling at the prospect of a humiliated and defeated America.

God forbid we foster dependence on government

Another part of the Democrats' script on Iraq, as exemplified by Sen. John Edwards on "Meet the Press" last week: Edwards not only opposes President Bush's plan to reinforce US troops in Iraq, but wants an immediate withdrawal (or would that be "redeployment"?) of 40,000 troops.

Borrowing from the tough-love lexicon of the therapeutic culture, Edwards said of Bush's plan that "all this does is enable continued bad behavior, political bad behavior, that we've see over the last several years" (the flag went up for me with "enable").

"What we need to do instead, in my judgment, is to shift this responsibility to them," Edwards said, referring to Iraqis. "It is the most likely way to create this political reconciliation."

I'd have an easier time believing that Edwards and other Democrats are sincere in this claim if they'd show a semblance of willingness to extend this principle beyond Iraq -- seeing how the Democratic Party's primary basis for existence is to foster greater, and endless, dependence on government (let me amend that -- a twofold basis for existence - government dependency and thwarting Bush at every opportunity).

The correlation has been clear for decades -- less dependency on government, fewer Democrats. They need big government the way a vampire needs blood, and turn in horror when anyone casts sunlight on the correlation.

"Wasted" purged from Democratic script

Post-Obama's "wasted" gaffe, a new buzzword for Democrats to describe the deaths of American troops in Iraq -- they "sacrified" their lives in the war. Got that? "Wasted" is to be purged from the script. They say the war is a monumental failure built on lies without any chance of success, but the lives of our fallen troops weren't "wasted."

Another example of Democrats not daring to give voice to what they really believe, and when one does, as with Obama, a quick retreat to the sanctity of euphemism.

What a shock -- Grammy voters hate Bush!

Then again, rumor has it that many of those voting to award five Grammys to the Dixie Chicks actually listened to the trio's most recent album, and many of them are said to have liked it.

Who are these people kidding? The Grammys have always been the major award most difficult to take seriously -- is there any reason, to cite one example, for a distinction between "Album of the Year" and "Record of the Year" except to drive up slumping sales? With this transparent farce, the politicization of the Nobel, Oscars, Grammys, et al., is all but complete.

Truth be told, I have yet to hear the Dixie Chicks last album, having been disappointed by the last one I bought, long before they criticized Bush with war looming against Iraq. And if it turns out there's a song or two on there that I like, or all of them for that matter, I'll be the first to admit it. Not that I'll be rushing to the record store or iTunes any time soon. As I recall, the Chicks sounded like twangy, warmed-over Bangles nursing hangovers.

Does anyone really believe the DCs would have snagged five Grammys, including those considered the top three, had they not thrown meat to the lions in the entertainment industry by lamenting that Bush is president?

February 12, 2007

An example well worth emulating

The start of Chapter 16, "A New Birth of Freedom," from David Herbert Donald's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, "Lincoln" --

"The weeks after the battle of Chancellorsville were among the most depressing of Lincoln's presidency. Everything went wrong -- at Charleston, at Vicksburg, in eastern Tennessee, and, especially, in northern Virginia. Failure of Union arms led to renewed protests against the war and to demands for peace negotiations. Controversy over the arrest of Vallandigham and the suppression of civil liberties mounted. So did complaints about the incompetence of Lincoln's administration. At one end of the political spectrum a Democratic politician addressing a huge peace rally in New York City characterized the President as a donkey in a china shop and urged, 'You must get rid of him or he will smash the crockery.'

"At the other end Missouri Radical Republicans attacked Lincoln for his compromising, indecisive course and for refusing to put abolitionist generals like Fremont and Butler in command of the armies. Even more disturbing were reports that some army officers, like Major Charles J. Whiting of the Second United States Cavalry, were denouncing this 'damned abolition nigger war,' claiming that 'the President had exceeded his authority in proclaiming the niggers free, and in suspending the writ of Habeus Corpus, and that Republicans would not have the war cease, if they could ... They were all making money out of it, and consequently it was for their interest to prolong the war.'

"Grimly Lincoln informed his critics that it might be 'a misfortune for the nation that he was elected President. But having been elected by the people, he meant to be President, and to perform his duty according to his best understanding (emphasis in the original), if he had to die for it.' But the downward spiral of events during the past six months finally convinced the reluctant President that he had to exert more active leadership, both in the conduct of military operations and the shaping of public opinion. Firmly taking the lead, he recovered much of the ground he had lost during the previous months of indecision and inaction."

February 10, 2007

Great, another woman not teaching science

Harvard University's getting a new president, its first female at the helm, according to today's Boston Globe ...

Poisoning opponents with radiation is so much more efficient

As reported today by the Associated Press -- Russian President Vladimir Putin "warned Saturday that the United States' increased use of military force is creating a new arms race, with smaller nations turning toward developing nuclear weapons."

... and creaky kleptocracies like Russia aiding and abetting in that endeavor. Gee, what a shock that a Russian leader would be worried about an arms race with America.

February 9, 2007

This time the witches are real

A story out today from the New York Times News Service, under the headline "Brit police arrest Islamic militant" --

"LONDON -- British police have arrested an outspoken advocate of fiery Islamic views, a week after seizing nine people accused of conspiring to kill a British Muslim soldier.

"The arrests brought accusations of a witch hunt against Muslims, but high government officials rejected the idea.

"Arrested yesterday was Abu Izzadeen, 31, a former spokesman for the militant, and now outlawed, Ab Ghurabaa, group ..."

Izzadeen "seized headlines in September," according to the story, "when he confronted Home Secretary John Reid at a meeting in east London. After Reid had suggested that British Muslim parents should watch their children for signs of radicalism, Izzadeen accused him of being 'an enemy of Islam and Muslims.'

"Referring to Izzadeen's arrest, one of his allies, Anjem Choudhury, said, 'The Muslim community are subject to a witch hunt, and I see this as a continuation of that witch hunt by the regime."

This will surely come as a shock to radical Muslims and American liberals, their ideological brethren, but the right to free speech does not extend to yelling fire in a crowded mosque.

Another thing the two share in common -- both become apoplectic when anyone dare suggest they rein in the Lord of the Flies behavior of their spawn.

You remember, the guy who outed Plame

Surfing online this morning, I came across the second Associated Press story in a row this week on the trial of former Cheney chief of staff Scooter Libby with the same glaring omission -- any mention of Richard Armitage, the former Deputy Secretary of State who was columnist Robert Novak's source in identifying Valerie Plame as the CIA operative who suggested sending her husband, Joe Wilson, on his mission to Niger.

Yeah, probably just a coincidence, and one that won't happen but several times more.

February 8, 2007

That's odd, usually he's so smarmy

John Edwards, responding to a question from Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" this past Sunday as to whether as president he would accept a nuclear-armed Iran:

"I -- there's no answer to that question at this time. I think that it's a -- it's a -- it's a very bad thing for Iran to get a nuclear weapon. I think we have -- we have many steps in front of us that have not been used. We ought to negotiate directly with the Iranians, which has not, not been done. The things that I just talked about, I think, are the right approach in dealing with Iran. And then we'll, we'll see what the result is ... I think -- I think the -- we don't know, and you have to make a judgment as you go along, and that's what I would do as president."

But as James Tarantino pointed out in an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, less than two weeks before appearing on "Meet the Press," Edwards spoke by satellite to Israel's annual Herzliya Conference and stated the following: "Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons ... To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table. Let me reiterate -- all options must remain on the table."

Of course, to the McGovernite wing now controlling the Democratic Party, all options is translated thus: negotiate, negotiate more if this doesn't succeed, call for yet more negotiations (preferably multilateral at this point), and as a last resort -- negotiate really, really hard with a lot of emphasis in what you say, like you mean it and all. That'll show 'em!

February 7, 2007

Clinton's the One!

Reading the news accounts in recent days of Senator Hillary Clinton vowing to end the war in Iraq ("It takes more than a village idiot," Clinton was heard to mutter under her breath after the announcement), I was seized with a sense of deja vu. A vow to end the war ... where had I heard that before ...?

Then it came to me -- Clinton is taking her cue from .... drum roll, please -- Richard Nixon. Yes! Richard F. Nixon, or Nick Dixon as Dwight Eisenhower is said to have called him (OK, it was Richard M., as in Milhous, his mother's maiden name if I recall, but I'm trying to be subtly vulgar).

A crucial difference, however -- Nixon was unwilling to turn tail from Vietnam in a hurry, thereby hastening the bloodbath that eventually followed there and in neighboring Cambodia when the communists seized control in 1975.

No, what's most important to Democrats, and Clinton exemplifies this, is that the war in Iraq be remembered as Bush's War, and that it not be remembered as a success. That's not the same as saying Democrats want us to lose -- we didn't "win" or "lose" the Korean War either, for that matter (and speaking of Eisenhower, Clinton and others in the presidential race have him as precedent here, with Nixon as Ike's VP).

But from this observer's perspective, it's clear that Democrats want this war to end in a draw rather than American victory.

Yes, but times were different then

Newly-christened US Senator James Webb, responding to President Bush's State of the Union Address, pointed out that this is the seventh time that Bush has mentioned "energy independence" in a SOTU speech, "but the first time to a Democratic Congress" -- in other words, now we'll finally get something done.

Kinda like Democrats did with health care reform in 1993-94 -- when they controlled both Congress and the White House?

She said what ...?!

Katie Couric's intro on Monday's CBS evening news broadcast, with its first story about the nation's frigid cold snap -- "How's this for climate change ..."

Yes, hardly a meteorological event anywhere in the world is unaffected by climate, ah, "change." One wonders if the weather will ever revert to its alleged erstwhile stability.

Precocious judge of character

February 6, 2007

A governor smarter than expected

One of my favorite anecdotes about Ronald Reagan, from a profile written by historian Garry Wills for the New York Times Sunday magazine and published in August 1996 --

In one of (Reagan's) favorite stories, a student issued him this challenge: "You didn't grow up in an era of space travel, of jet travel, of cybernetics, of computers figuring out in seconds what it used to take men years to figure out."
Reagan's response?
"It's true ... we didn't grow up, my generation, with those things. We invented them."

What Biden meant to say ...

... With Barack Obama in the race, we finally have a Democratic African-American presidential candidate -- or at least the first one since Shirley Chisholm ran in '72 -- who eschews emulating Dr. Seuss when making a speech.

One of Reagan's key insights

From Peter Scheizer's great book, "Reagan's War: The Epic Story of his Forty-Year Struggle and Final Triumph over Communism" --

"What separated Reagan from (Joseph) McCarthy and some of the other anti-communists at the time was his belief in the profound weakness of communism. For McCarthy, communism was a thing to be feared, an ironclad doctrine with strong adherents. For Reagan, on the other hand, communism appealed to the weak. Far from being a sign of intellectual strength or political courage, its wellspring was personal weakness."

Escapee exemplar

Happy birthday, Mr. President. I never had the great honor of meeting you, though how I wish I had. Back when you led our great nation, I had nothing but disdain for you. I'm older now, a bit grayer, a father of two, working hard to do what's best for my family.

I remember feeling guilty after learning that you had passed on. I'd been so wrong about you, 180 degrees off the mark. But my impressions had already begun to shift based on my reading of your letters, and by Peter Schweizer's great book, "Reagan's War," and by wonderful memoirs from Peggy Noonan ("What I Saw at the Revolution") and Michael Deaver ("A Different Drummer").

I bought a round-trip bus ticket for Washington to attend the funeral, but the day conflicted with my son's graduation from pre-school, and I didn't want to miss that either. I remember asking myself, what would Reagan suggest? I could hear your reassuring voice -- go to your son's school, and that's what I did. I eventually almost gave this blog a different name -- What Would Reagan Do? -- but decided on Left Wing Escapee instead. I hope you like it.

Something I wanted to tell you had we met in person -- thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, sir, for restoring our glory.