Quin: I'm with you, almost. The president does, on the facts, deserve much more support than he receives from conservatives as well as others. But he has to do more. There are so many things he could do easily - veto a horrendous spending bill, do something (anything) serious about closing the borders to illegal immigrants, start bringing possible 2008 presidential candidates in for consultations, I could (and will) go on and on. If he meets us less than halfway, his polls will skyrocket. Next move has to be from La Casa Blanca.
The Spectacle Blog
Jed, this is all getting bizarre. I have been a frequent critic of this president, but for the general public to give him such low ratings is absurd. By all normal indicia, this nation is in terrific shape. Unemployment, interest rates, inflation: All at levels that by historical standards are incredibly low. Crime down. Home ownership up. Stock market back up, while stock ownership is, too. Taxes low. No domestic terrorism since 9/11. Success in Afghanistan. The end of Ghadafi's nuke program. Solid relations with both India AND Pakistan at the same time. Very solid relations with Japan and Great Britain and Australia and with much of Eastern Europe. More countries rated "free" (and more "somewhat free" as opposed to "not free") by Freedom House that at any time in recorded history. But Americans are spoiled. We don't realize just how good our lives are today. I may have to write a column on this.
What personage, what veilwork of reasons, could lurk behind Jaafari's decision to make himself removable as Prime Minister of Iraq? AP reports:
Key to al-Jaafari's change of heart was pressure from U.N. envoy Ashraf Qazi and his meetings Wednesday with the most powerful Shiite cleric in the country, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, and Muqtada al-Sadr, a radical cleric who has backed al-Jaafari, said Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman.
"There was a signal from Najaf," Othman said, referring to al-Sistani's office in the Shiite holy city. "Qazi's meetings with (al-Sistani) and al-Sadr were the chief reason that untied the knot."
The May issue of The American Spectator is now up for digital subscribers. Among many other fine pieces, Roger Scruton kicks off his monthly column with an article on modern Islam's abandonment of its own culture and Shawn Macomber considers his fortune to return to the United States while brave Iraqis and American troops sort out the mess there.
If you're a print subscriber, access the online edition here. Not yet a subscriber? You're missing out: the digital subscription is a mere $19.95 a year, and the print/digital subscription is $39.95. Subscribe today.
Thanks to Harry Reid - speaking for the party of Cynthia McKinney - we now know that the United States lacks a military option on Iran because we're too tied up in Iraq. Funny. No one I know among the nation's senior military leaders would say that. Maybe Harry wouldn't listen to his senior military advisors. Oh, sorry. I forgot. That's not the province of Dems who brought us Blackhawk Down, US soldiers wearing UN berets and so forth. That, according to the Dems, is the province of Don Rumsfeld.
Why, oh why, does anybody take Reid seriously about anything, especially national defense? Thanks, Harry babe, for proving to the world that the Iranians are entirely free to pursue nuclear weapons if they can outwait GWB.
Quin, your cite to Burke at once brought to mind a few lines from Philip Rieff, of whom I am a great and all-too-rare enthusiast:
A culture in control needs first of all to preserve that control by not reaching its legal arms too far into the labyrinths of public life. The guardians of any culture must constantly protect the difference between the public and private sectors -- and encourage forms of translation between the two sectors; that is the meaning of ritual in all traditional cultures.
For the reader who'd like to read deeper, I've put together a sort of concordance of my glosses and commentaries on Rieff and culture here.
The latest attack on Big Dog Don Rumsfeld has run its course, with predictable results. The Big Dog stays, and his enemies remain frustrated by the fact that the president remains confident in the man who's doing precisely what he was hired to do: shake up the Pentagon.
Stephen Herbits has an interesting take on the revolting -- actually, quite so - generals in today's Wash Times. Very much worth a look.
Courtesy of reader Bob Keiser of Wilkes Barre, PA, in response to my column yesterday about coarseness in American culture and especially on the Left, comes this wonderful, wonderful quote from the great British statesman Edmund Burke: "Manners are of more importance than Laws. Upon them in great measure the Laws depend. The Law touches us but here and there, and now and then. Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, invisible operation, like that of the air we breathe in. They give their whole form and colour to our lives. According to their quality, they aid morals, they supply them or they totally destroy them."
I just thought the quote bore repeating, and I thank Mr. Keiser for sharing it.