Both here and here, the Wash Post's David Ignatius, who is not exactly a Bush-o-phile, reports that things are looking up in Iraq. Meanwhile, I expect many interesting things to come from the release of the gazillions of pages of documents discovered in Iraq. In short, I think this whole thing could still be a success.
The Spectacle Blog
It really might be time for conservatives to sit out elections. Better to do it this fall, so the Dems get the blame for the next two years and we can come back in 2008, than to work for a bunch of big-government cretins to maintain a bare GOP majority this time, only to have the good guys go down in flames at all levels of government in 2008.
What makes me conclude that it's not even worth the effort for conservatives this year? The latest in a long, long, LONG, LONG string of spineless, unprincipled votes by a congressional GOP utterly unwilling to act like conservatives. Already the Senate GOP had decided to ignored President Bush's call for further savings (from projected increases) in entitlements. Yesterday, they went further, voting to bust the proposed discretionary budget caps by an astonishing $16 billion. And that's $16 billion not spread over five years, but in just the one fiscal year beginning October 1.
These people are hopeless fools. (Actually, the words that come to mind are stronger than that, the sorts of words that in comic strips get represented by symbols like this: %&*%%$*$#.)
For all the talk in Memphis about reining in spending, even the Post couldn't help noting the irony in reporting yesterday spending spree. And the man ruling the roost in the Senate -- that's Arlen Specter, not Bill Frist -- is downright exultant, writes Dana Milbank.
"The Republican Party is now principally moderate, if not liberal!"
That's Specter himself. Remind me why Pennsylvania Republicans were told they needed to reject Pat Toomey to save the Senate?
More Arlen for you:
"All the talk in Memphis doesn't comport with reality.... I don't have any apologies to make for this 7 billion [in extraneous domestic spending]. I'm still not satisfied."
If conservatism isn't dead in this Senate, it sure has seen better days. Those 55 Republican Senators just aren't 55 Tom Coburns, unfortunately.
House leadership lumped war spending and Katrina relief into the $92 billion supplemental that passed yesterday, by a vote of 348-71. Conservatives wanted to separate the two so as to pass military emergency spending, and then debate the rest (there were extraneous projects attached to the bill). The President had sent the two expenses as separate bills, but Congressional leadership lumped them, probably to guarantee passage.
Rep. Mike Pence's office tells us in a press release that he supports the war supplemental, but could not vote for a bill that weds non-military emergency spending to a military emergency spending bill. Pence and other conservatives are trying to hold the line on Katrina spending, but the House leadership shows little interest in doing so. In addition to Pence, 18 other Republicans voted against the bill. Most of them are members of the House Republican Study Committee.
FOX's Special Report tonight suggests, re: my post below, bingorama. When it comes to Iraqis taking charge, style is substance.
In Iraq: Operation Swarmer gives the US and Iraqi nationalists an alternative to Moqtada al-Sadr in the unity-and-order department. How much is establishing that alternative the whole point?
In Florida: I wish to declare for the Golden Bear. Tournament time makes it all seem fortuitous in a sportsmanlike, buzzer-beater sort of way, and Battier for President is a long way off.
Just because Katherine Harris has proved herself to be extremely bullheaded (and that's not the only bovine word that comes to mind), that's no reason for other potential candidates, or the state or national GOP grand poobahs, to defer to her without a fight. At the very least, Florida's Republican voters deserve a choice. And that's all the more reason for wise party elders to prevail upon Jack Nicklaus to run for the Senate -- if not instead of her, then against her. I could even write his basic campaign message, which would not have to sound wonkish, but just full of good mainstream conservative common sense coupled with the Golden Bear's legendary integrity (and with Barbara Nicklaus' legendary graciousness and kindness). Run, Jack, Run!
The Family Research Council is holding a press conference now at the National Press Club announcing a "Value Voters Summit" for September. They're also presenting the results of a March 9-12 poll, focusing on value voters, conducted by bipartisan firm Riehle-Tarrance.
We had an early look at the numbers this morning, which we can now relate. There's a flood of data here, so we'll pull out what strikes us as most important. The sample seems evenly distributed among Republicans and Democrats (31 to 28 percent), and among Republicans and Democrats including "leaners" (36 to 40 percent). Eighty-five percent of respondents were registered voters.
Forty-one percent described themselves as born again or evangelical Christians, versus 52 percent who said they were not. By party, this breaks down into 53 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Democrats self-identifying as evangelicals. Fifty-six percent of conservatives and 20 percent of liberals report being evangelical.
By the issues: