The Spectacle Blog

High Stakes December in the House

By on 12.6.05 | 10:05AM

The House of Representatives returns from its Thanksgiving recess today with an agenda full of crucial items. Moderate Republicans have grown bolder in recent weeks, with their eyes on defeating the modest, $50 billion cuts in the budget increases as well as drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. ANWR will be resolved in conference.

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No SecDef Lieberman

By on 12.6.05 | 7:40AM

Dave: All that speculation is coming from those, such as Chris Matthews, who can't imagine any Dem saying what Lieberman did without first having been bribed with a job offer. Couple that with their hatred of Rumsfeld, and voila, you have the imaginary SecDef Lieberman. Methinks it's very, very unlikely.

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SecDef Lieberman?

By on 12.6.05 | 7:28AM

Instapundit notices an increasingly popular Democratic talking point: Lieberman as Secretary of Defense. Of course, there's a slight problem with that rumor. The job's taken, for now. Reynolds links to Kos on this, who acknowledges that such a move would mean Lieberman was switching sides and Gov. Jodi Rell could turn his Senate seat into a Republican incumbency. Still, Kos would be only too happy to "finally get rid of Lieberman."

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In Hunter We Trust

By on 12.6.05 | 7:14AM

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) leads the House negotiators on McCain's torture amendment. With Hunter on the job, we should see a compromise product that doesn't neuter our troops and intelligence agents.

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Re: Changing the Regime

By on 12.5.05 | 5:40PM

John: Perplex away. As I said in my earlier posting, there is substantial popular support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. No matter who knocks it off, there will be a substantial backlash that -- by covert action -- we can help redirect against the mullahs.

And there is nothing about the existence of any regime that threatens the USA. It is not existence or even policy but only intent and capabilities that turn a loud noise into a threat. Iran's intent is to restore, by violence, their idealized Muslim caliphate. Its capabilities -- by the oil it sells to fund terrorism -- is one kind of threat. It is another entirely if it achieves its nuclear weapons ambitions.

There would be no lessening of anti-American feeling in Iran or anywhere else in the Muslim world if Israel were to make an attack. In fact, it might actually be worse if the Israelis did it than if we did. They are regarded as our proxy in the Middle East. At least when they are not merely labeled the Zionist enemy by the arabs and others.

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Re: Changing The Regime

By on 12.5.05 | 5:16PM

First off, Jed, I think you misunderstood my question. I know that a strike on nuclear facilities won't result in regime change; I'm worried that it would retard regime change, and I'm wondering if Israel doing the deed would limit anti-American backlash.

And second, I'm a little perplexed by this sentence: "It matters not who rules Iran if they are no threat to us." The current Iranian regime is by its nature a threat to us -- a terror master, to use Michael Ledeen's phrase. I take it you get this, since you call for covert action to destabilize the regime. What I'm concerned about is the tension between, on the one hand, keeping nukes out of the Mullahs' hands, and on the other hand toppling the Mullahs entirely.

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Delayed Justice

By on 12.5.05 | 4:32PM

Despite what the mainstream media and Democrats are saying now on TV, there is no glass-half-empty message in the decision by a Texas judge to toss the conspiracy charges against Republican leader Tom DeLay, and keep the moneylaundering charge in place. Sure, it would have great if the second charge had been tossed, but in the end, it's one less charge to worry about. This is a win for DeLay without a doubt. He's half-way home. According to one Democratic Hill source, their House leadership acknowledged that this was good news for DeLay on a conference call, "Then they mapped out how they would spin the media on how this was really a huge defeat for him," says the source. "When someone pointed out that this might be tough given that it was one of two charges, the response was, 'The media already hates him, we aren't going to have to sell bad news very hard at all.'"

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Efficiency

By on 12.5.05 | 4:20PM

First Christmas card of the season arrived in today's mail. Who gets this year's prize for the fastest-after-Thanksgiving card? George and Laura Bush. Just a tad faster, if memory serves, than his Dad and Mom's cards from the same address. I have no Christmas card efficiency data on 43's immediate predecessor. I was on their other list.

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Proud Moments

By on 12.5.05 | 4:06PM

As a Connecticut native, I was darn proud of Senator Lieberman last week. Bucking his party on Iraq was the most courageous act by a Connecticut Senator since the 1950s, when a Republican criticized Joe McCarthy, a member of his own party. That senator was Prescott Bush -- grandfather of the President. I haven't seen the current Edward R. Morrow movie, but I'm guessing that Senator Bush's heroism is not referenced there.

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Re: Iranian Nukes

By on 12.5.05 | 2:54PM

John: several points. Yes, Iran is waging a proxy war against us. But it needs nukes to do three things. First, to deter us from taking effective action against them and stopping the proxy war. Second, to threaten Israel and Europe with nuclear-armed missiles. And third, to eventually use them -- through their proxies -- against us to finish their war.

The issue isn't whether we or Israel strike the Iranian nuke facilities. Regime change is not likely to result from either, as there is a substantial portion of the Iranian population that supports the nuke program. The issue is entirely defensive for us or the Israelis. It matters not who rules Iran if they are no threat to us. They are now a threat through their proxies. And that threat will be magnified a hundredfold if they possess deployable nuclear weapons.

What we need to do is -- as I've written several times -- both overtly (as in air strikes to prevent them from achieving nuclear weapons) and covertly (to prevent delivery of Russian SAMs and to destabilize the regime). A thorough plan for action against Iran has to include both. And it had better be put in motion pronto.

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