Over at Ankle Biting Pundits Pat Hynes has sparked an interesting/intense debate on immigration policy by basically saying that the absurd rhetoric/actions of warring factions on both sides of the debate is making it difficult to voice support for anything. Who wants to throw their lot in with either side when they're behaving so poorly? (I can say I certainly feel similar trepidation after the apoplectic emails I've received for suggesting we shouldn't refer to human beings as "parasites" in my McCain column today.) Anyway, Hynes' post is well worth checking out and the comment string that follows it is disturbing, to say the least, if it stands as a portent of the what sometimes seems inevitable mega-clash ahead.
The Spectacle Blog
Reuters has a fawning story today on Sen. Ted Kennedy's role in the immigration debate and rally. Actually, "fawning" doesn't do this adulation justice: Kennedy is "the leading liberal voice in the U.S. Congress," and "long seen as a crusader for America's poor and downtrodden." News to me. Did Kennedy's office edit the reporter's copy?
The rather amusing report on Brit news that the MI-6 folk are creating a research center modeled after the Desmond Llewelyn character in the James Bond movies -- "Q" -- is a bit backward historically.
I've been searching for my copy of "Of Spies and Strategems" by Dr. Stanley Lovell. Lovell -- nicknamed "Dr. Moriarty" by OSS leader Wild Bill Donovan in World War 2 -- was the real "Q" long before Ian Fleming wrote the first Bond adventure novel.
Lovell and his team's record of diabolic invention spanned everything from the OSS spike (a four-pointed sharp tool that landed one point upward no matter how it was thrown on a German runway) to a totally silent and flashless small-caliber assassination pistol that Donovan demonstrated thusly.
Blogger Will "Dignan" Hinton lives in Georgia's 4th congressional district, and is fed up with being represented by Cynthia McKinney:
Cynthia McKinney is not unfit for her job because she is liberal. There are plenty of liberal Democrats in this country who serve their constituents well, even though I often disagree with their positions.
Cynthia McKinney is unfit for her job because she is a do-nothing demogogue whose apparent goal in life is self-promotion through race-baiting and conspiracy theories.
So I am throwing down the gauntlet.
Unless a better candidate appears, I will run for Congress against Cynthia. If I have to spend every day after work knocking on doors in my district for the next 20 years, I will do what it takes to defeat her. If I have to places calls to every person in this country asking for donations to the campaign, I will do it.
I have a creeping fear that in 2008 I may find myself in the utterly horrifying position of supporting McCain for president. I find McCain's signature domestic project of circumscribing political speech through campaign finance "reform" to be vicerally repugnant and downright un-American. On the other hand, there are two key qualities that I'm looking for in a Republican nominee in 2008: a serious commitment to a muscular foreign policy with political change in the Middle East as its lynchpin, and the ability to win the general election. On both counts, McCain threatens to tower over the GOP field. What a terrifying thought.
The New York Times’ lead piece on their web site right now, written by Maria Newman, provides a good distillation of how the use of the term “immigrant” has become an interchangeable term to describe both people who are here legally and those who are not. Her opening paragraph:
In rallies that appeared to be exceeding the expectations of organizers and the police, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and their supporters marched today in more than 100 cities throughout the country, casting off the old fears of their illegal status to assert that they have a right to a humane life in this country.
To say nothing of that last line; if they didn’t think they would achieve a "humane life in this country," they wouldn't have come here in the first place.
John Fund in OpinionJournal today joins the lament about the implosion of the congressional GOP, as earlier discussed in this post. He, too, is correct. And Rich Lowry at NRO makes some good suggestions on the subject. But what it really comes down to is, as Morton Blackwell often argues, good principles ARE good politics. If we fight for our principles and explain them well, we win. All too often, elected officials spend so much time trying to figure out HOW to be popular, and what positions to take and how to spin those positions, that they don't realize that the public A) tends to agree, more often than not, with conservative principles and B) tends to respect officials more if they (the public) sense that the officials are acting out of conviction, even if they disagree with their stance, than if they think the officials are pandering.
To the great credit of the editorial board of the Washington Post, its Sunday editorial on Bush's declassification of some intelligence material is right on target. Actually, I was sitting for dinner with a college pal of mine this past weekend and he was ripping into Bush for the declassification and was incredulous that I was defending it. So I particularly appreciated the Post's editorial the very next day, because the Post said it far better than I had done the night before.