1. The Berlin holocaust memorial
2. The Wynn hotel casino
3. The southern border of Northern Cyrpus
4. China’s railway to Tibet
6. North Korea, at night, as seen from satellite
7. The Green Zone
When last we left the new 007, Daniel Craig, he was announcing he had been scared out of his wits by a ride in a fast boat with some Royal Navy guys. I kiddingly prophesied that this new version of the coolest tough guy on the planet would go way too far, given his renunciation of booze, cigarettes and guns. Sometimes the jokes I make are made unfunny by subsequent events. I really hate this one.
According to this report, Monsewer Craig appears in the new version of In Cold Blood in which he plants a homosexual kiss on another character. Cubby Broccoli must be turning over in his grave. At this rate, Craig will make Bond unrecognizable. It’s like the NY Times. The brand will be worthless soon.
Don’t go away mad, Mr. Craig. Just go away. Soon.
Here in DC, with a hurricane a comin’ or tropical storm or whatever it is, this new worldwide contest/survey should provide at least a good half an hour of entertainment on this rainy, windy, and quite unlovely Friday: new7wonders.com.
Kofi Annan has now announced that the Syrians have agreed to stop sending arms to Hizballah in Lebanon, even adding that they’d conduct border patrols to prevent smuggling. This will, surely, be bandied about in the Security Council as proof positive that no steps need be taken against Syria. It’s not accompanied by any complaints from Nasrallah, which tells all.
Kofi’s off to Tehran tomorrow. And more results like that will follow.
I spoke this morning to a senior administration official who said that Syria is still the route “a lot of bad guys” are taking into Iraq.
Note to Dr. Rice: please remember Casey Stengel. At a rather low point in the Mets’ history, he asked, “Can’t anybody here play this game?” That’s a question we ask of the State Department.
Quin: last night’s U.S. Open match-up was unbelievable. To go back and forth in the fifth set between deuce almost every game (I counted close to 15 in one game) was true agony, especially knowing that Agassi could have easily destroyed and ended the match when Baghdatis’ leg cramps set in. Agassi demonstrated (along with questioning the ref on a call) that he has become a true gentleman in his older age (remember the good ol’ days of yelping and bandanas). Perhaps it is the love of a good woman (isn’t that always the way really) that is the cause. Thanks Steffi.
But my favorite part of the match was the interview afterward between Agassi and John McEnroe. Mr. Obvious noted that in order for Agassi (age 36) to win the big enchilada he has to win five more matches, or in other words, conquer five more youngsters. Whatta doll.
I never thought I would see, again in my entire life, a tennis match as gripping as the one Jimmy Connors played in beating Aaron Krickstein on Labor Day of 1991, Connors’ 39th birthday. But the incomparable Andre Agassi and the highly entertaining, heart-filled, and ultimately incredibly classy Marcos Baghdatis at least equalled that Connors event in their U.S. Oepn match last night. It was so nerve-wracking just watching that I felt my chest tightening and my temperature rising. Both players overcame pain and myriad challenges, both played unbelievably high-level tennis throughout, and both deserved the support of the crowd. In the end, with Agassi having barely hung on while Baghdatis suffered horrible cramps in both thighs, Baghdatis’ comments in defeat were a heartfelt paean to Agassi’s place in the history of the game. Bravo! And may Agassi continue his improbable match through this, his last tournament.
Lawrence Henry makes an interesting suggestion in saying that Allen Doyle should have been named to the Ryder Cup team, but it’s just not practical. He may be a gritty competitor, but really, there’s just no way that he’s even among the best 150 golfers on the planet. Beating the geezers and hanging around the cut line at the US Open just doesn’t equate to competing with the top players in the world. But Larry’s column was a fun read, anyway!
In his Washington Post column today, Charles Krauthammer counters the conventional wisdom that Hezbollah won, joining Amir Taheri, who made similar points last week. The gist is, Hezbollah's military suffered heavy causualties, and it lost politically because the Lebanese people blame the terrorist group for bringing so much devastation to the country. This view was bolstered by the following statement by Hezbollah's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, which Krauthammer cites in his article:
"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 … that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not."
While both Krauthammer and Taheri make strong cases, in my view Hezbollah won because it is still around, and because Nasrallah lives to make such statements.
Krauthammer concludes his article by writing:
Middle East, however, promising moments pass quickly. This one needs to be seized. We must pretend that Security Council Resolution 1701 was meant to be implemented and exert unrelieved pressure on behalf of those Lebanese — a large majority — who want to do the implementing.
But Krauthammer is obviously smart enough to know that the chances of 1701 being implemented are nonexistent. Lebanon has already said it won't disarm Hezbollah and Kofi Annan has said that U.N. peacekeepers won't disarm Hezbollah either.
Over at Andrew Sullivan's blog, David Weigel pokes fun at Kathryn Jean Lopez for poking fun at Jack Reed. Reed, in a conference call with Chuck Schumer, had this to say about the term "Islamofascism":
This is not a nationalistic organization that is trying to seize control of a particular government. It is a religious movement. It is motivated by apocalyptic visions. It is something that is distributed. Most of these terrorist cells seem to be evolving through imitation, rather than being organized. And again, I think it goes to the point of that their first response is, you know, come up with a catchy slogan, and then they forget to do the hard work of digging into the facts and coming up with a strategy and resources that will counter the actual threats we face.
I tend to use terms such as "Islamism" "radical Islam" and "Islamic fundamentalism" myself, but Reed is dead wrong to claim that Islamists are not "nationalistic" and are not "trying to seize control of a particular government." Weigel, by claiming that "this is the most perceptive thing I've ever heard Jack Reed say," is dead wrong by association.
Modern Islamic fundamentalism, from its very start in
This is a tradition that was inherited by bin Laden and Zawahiri, a tradition that led to the Taliban in
Yes, Islamic fundamentalists may have "apocalyptic visions," but apocalypse is only seen as a fallback should the conquest of Islam not prevail. In a recent article, Bernard Lewis cited a very telling quote on this precise subject from the Ayatollah Khomeini that appears in an 11th-grade Iranian schoolbook. It read:
Sounds pretty nationalistic and expansionistic to me.
"I am decisively announcing to the whole world that if the world-devourers [i.e., the infidel powers] wish to stand against our religion, we will stand against their whole world and will not cease until the annihilation of all them. Either we all become free, or we will go to the greater freedom which is martyrdom. Either we shake one another's hands in joy at the victory of Islam in the world, or all of us will turn to eternal life and martyrdom. In both cases, victory and success are ours."
Cliff May notes that he was on TV today arguing with Pat Buchanan about the propriety of the term “Islamo-Fascism.” Part of Buchanan’s argument? “[H]e said, the term is offensive to Muslims.” That’s Pat Buchanan for you: Always ultra-sensitive to the feelings of minorities.
Today, the Washington Post recounts how Magen David Adom, the Israeli equivelent of the Red Cross, finally became a member of the international Red Cross, after nearly 60 years of being denied entry because it wanted to use the Star of David as its emblem. Missing from the article was a recounting of a 1999 incident, in which Cornelio Sommaruga, former head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was quoted as saying, “If we’re going to have the Shield of David, why would we not have to accept the swastika?”
Everyone seems to expect President Bush’s unpopularity to be a huge drag on Republican candidates in November. But the funny thing about Bush is how closely his approval ratings correlate to gas prices. So if it’s true that the price at the pump is poised to keep falling for months, shouldn’t we be more optimistic about the GOP’s fortunes this November?
Given our Giuliani discussion, I thought it would be worthwhile to point out some data from the latest Cook Political Report/RT Strategies Poll. It backs up what I've been saying about Rudy's chances of capturing the Republican nomination.
The headline number is that Giuliani is the first choice of 32 percent of Republicans, McCain, his closest rival, is at 20 percent. Meanwhile, Gingrich at 10 percent, Frist is at 8 percent, Romney is at 5 percent and Allen is at 4 percent.
There have been questions raised as to whether Giuliani can succeed in the South, given his liberal social views. Well, a separate question asked respondents how they like certain politicians "as a person," on a scale from 0 to 100. In the South, Giuliani scored 62.4, which is higher than anyone else on the list, including McCain and President Bush.
People may like Giuliani as a person, critics may contend, but their support will errode once they learn of his liberal social views. However, yet another question in the poll asked:
Thinking about Rudy Giuliani. Some people say he really cleaned up
New York City as Mayor and made it a safer place, and then he showed real courage as a leader after the attack on the World Trade Center. Other people say that his views on some issues-because he is pro-choice on abortion, and supports gun control and gay rights-makes it hard for them to support him for President. Having heard that, which of the following two statements comes closer to your opinion: The Republicans should nominate Giuliani for President, or the Republicans should not nominate Giuliani for President.
Among Republicans, 55 percent said he should be nominated, compared with 39 percent who said he should not.
Sure, there's the obvious caveat that there's a long way until 2008, but I think this another blow to the conventional wisdom that Rudy can't win.
It happens every once in a while. You discover something that is really special, that should be incredibly successful, but unaccountably, isn’t. A very well read friend made me aware of the fiction of Lars Walker. He writes mostly about Vikings during the period when Christianity contended with pagan religions, but he also has a contemporary novel (which happens to deal with Viking lore!).
I cannot give a high enough recommendation to Lars Walker’s The Year of the Warrior. I had to wait for it, but it was completely worth the wait. The narrator of the story is a young Irishman taken captive to sell as a slave by Vikings. They give him a tonsure to make him look like a priest so he’ll fetch a higher price. A newly converted Viking nobleman buys him because he needs a priest for his village. The Irishman decides to play the part of the priest in order to survive and the action flows from there.
Wonderful historical saga. Interesting insights about the Christian faith and its relationship to political power. Some beautiful battle sequences, too. Fully developed characters. Worth reading in every way.
So why the lack of bestseller status? I have a guess. The Lars Walker novels are published by Baen, which really specializes in sword and sorcery/science fiction. The covers of the Walker books have that look to them, but they are actually much deeper. I think the normal Baen reader is disappointed by the lack of standard genre stuff when they buy the book. But you, dear reader, will not be disappointed. You shall be blessed.
From the Washington Post:
In a speech Monday to the General Assembly’s money committees, Kaine again offered a laundry list of transportation projects that need more money, including improvements to Interstate 66, the Capital Beltway, Metro and Virginia Railway Express. But he conceded that the public strongly opposes the tax increases he proposed earlier.
“They are aware that solutions will cost money,” Kaine said, citing recent polls of the public. “But they don’t want to pay more taxes.”
That grinding sound you hear is the Post editorialists gnashing their teeth.
I’ll be on tonight (about 5:45 pm) debating Larry Korb on the Rumsfeld speech yesterday. Interesting part of that is the AP story which kicked off the misreporting of what Rumsfeld said. Kudlow’s producer sent the first to me yesterday, and it didn’t sound right. Checking with the Pentagon proved it materially wrong.
Their first version — since rewritten at least twice — said Rumsfeld, “…accused critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq and counterterrorism policies of trying to appease a ‘new type of fascism.’” But Rumsfeld never made that accusation.
After the Pentagon raised hell with AP, the third re-write said, “Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday the world faces ‘a new type of fascism’ and warned against repeating the pre-World War II mistake of appeasement.”
The third version is accurate: the first was agenda-driven fiction. The reporter - Robert Burns - is a good guy. But this is only the latest of AP’s ventures into fiction and intentional mis-reporting of Rumsfeld. Who’s responsible? Editor Alan Fram? Bureau Chief Sandra Johnson? AP needs to fess up and fix a problem that’s ruining their brand. They’re rapidly becoming the Jayson Blair Wire Service.
Hunter, I grew up in and around New York city. I remember it at its (pre-Bloomberg) worst. Trash everywhere, gangs on the streets, pedestrians unable to have a conversation because of all the horns blowing. The broken warehouse window should have been copyrighted as the city’s trademark. Then came Rudy.
Clean streets, a city once again a pleasure to walk in, and much safer to do just that. He proved his worth long before 9-11. And now Bloomberg is ruining it all over again.
But does all of Giuliani’s good translate into a warfighting president who can lead the nation and the world? Is he dedicated to being a small government conservative? Will the right-to-lifers even let him compete for the nomination?
I’d like to like Rudy. So far, there are too many unanswered questions to make any judgment other than he’d be better than McCain. ABM voters unite.
Shawn, fair enough if we’re talking about things from a philosophical, rather than purely political perspective. I agree that Republicans can use a healthy dose of anti-statism. With that said, it’s worth adding that there’s a lot libertarians could do to gain more influence within the Republican Party. The reality is that politicians are primarily interested in winning elections, and the only way to gain influence is to convince them that you can help them win. Religious conservatives weren’t always a major part of the party, but once they proved themselves a dependable voting bloc, willing to volunteer and turnout on Election Day, they won a seat at the table. Sure, they haven’t gotten much of what they wanted, but they are surely better off than they would have been had they sat on their hands for the past several decades (if nothing else, look at Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts). In contrast, libertarians tend to be a cynical bunch not likely to get involved in the cheesy elements of bumper-sticker politics that dominate elections. They often brag about not voting or hold out hope for gridlock, which, at best, moderately restrains the rate of growth of government spending. As John pointed out, there are a lot of splits within libertarianism, so it’s hard to think of them as a clear voting bloc. All of these are totally understandable reactions to contemporary politics and the statist Republican Party, but the real world result of this is that libertarians have not proven themselves a potentially active, loyal, voting bloc capable of swinging close elections. Therefore, a vicious circle ensues in which Republicans don’t try to appeal to libertarians, and libertarians become more disaffected. Taking a more fatalistic view, I could see libertarians regaining influence once the looming entitlement crisis actually materializes. Just as neo-cons held more sway after 9/11 because they had a ready made philosophy well-tailored for the terrorist threat, libertarians are best-positioned to offer solutions to the entitlements mess.
Phillip writes: I have done a lot of writing about how
frustration over spending may hamper turnout among conservatives
and swing control of Congress to the Democrats (see the March issue
of TAS and also here), but my basic point earlier
today was that the type of libertarians Tierney found in Amsterdam
already defected from the Republican Party. So, I don’t think
Gillespie’s statement that, “Most of the libertarians I know have
given up on the G.O.P” means much for November, because I’m sure he
would have said the exact same thing two years ago.
Well, you’ll find reams upon reams of my complaints about spending in Spectator back issues as well, but my point was while we might not want to adopt the position of this or that sect of libertarians on the issues of our times (defining or otherwise), there is a clear and undeniable statist impulse in today’s GOP that needs to be countered lest the party become more a mirror image of the authoritarian left than it already is. That’s why libertarians giving up on the GOP is a problem, not how many digital votes they bring to the e-ballot box. Would the GOP’s diverse constituencies writ large ever want to convert to the Church of Classical Liberalism? Hell, no. Nevertheless, to allow the libertarian influence to wither on the vine completely will have effects far outside the fiscal realm, although it should be noted that almost every post-9/11 boondoogle has been labeled a matter of national security. (Farm subsidies against al Qaeda, right?) If the last six years have proven anything, it’s that the GOP already lacks watchdogs in its ranks. The other liberal side of the fence provides mostly demogouery in service of election strategy. Who else can provide that dissent and oversight without being seeing as granstanding for the next election but libertarians?
There is no reason to trust the GOP itself to have any philosophy other than winning. Hence, conservatism with any soul is not necessarily (or even usually) Republicanism. In many instances Bushism has just proven to be liberalism with a face and name tag the home team can root for. So I don’t welcome the further diminishment of influence from libertairians or any other segment of the coalition making up the GOP that would still know an ideal if they bumped into one on the street, whether I agree with everything they espouse or not.
I recall visiting New York City for the first time about eight years ago. I was working in the greater Washington D.C. area (meaning Reston, VA!) and a good friend prevailed on me to make the trip.
As a small-town southern boy, I was frankly terrified in anticipation. I’d grown up on a steady diet of cop shows on television and comic books that portrayed NYC as a concrete jungle with terror lying in wait around every corner.
Imagine my surprise when I drove into town and found that walking around Brooklyn and Manhattan was significantly less fearsome than the same stroll through downtown Atlanta. Way fewer panhandlers, too. I’ve never been panhandled less in any major city than in NYC. We’re talking zero in my two visits there, versus about twenty times in a recent trip to Vancouver.
I remember thinking on that trip to the city and on a subsequent venture to a hotel in Times Square, “This is Rudy Giuliani’s New York. This guy is a leader.”
When it comes to a president, ideology isn’t everything. As long as Rudy is a little right of the democrat, I’ll support him.
Dave, based on your two earlier posts, we agree on at least two things: 1) The terrorism/national security issue will prove crucial in 2008. 2) Giuliani is the best-positioned Republican on this issue. I will not attempt to deny that Giuliani has taken liberal stances on many (if not most) social issues, and that for some social conservatives this makes him simply an unacceptable candidate. But, given his advantage on national security, he doesn’t have to be the ideal social conservative candidate. His much narrower task is to win over some social conservatives and prevent an all out revolt against his candidacy by those who don’t like him. I think this is achievable.
Before breaking it down issue by issue, it’s worth pointing out that there’s a lot that Giuliani can do to soften social conservatives opposition to him. Aside from his leadership during 9/11 and bona fides on the terrorism issue, he is unlike any politician in that he doesn’t speak out of both sides of his mouth. Whether you agree or disagree with Giuliani, you’ll never have any doubt where he stands on a given issue. When he takes a stand, he’ll explain exactly why he took it. As mayor, he would face down the New York media in hostile press conferences without apology. In 1999, Giuliani cut off the Brooklyn Museum of Art’s public funding and sought to evict it when an exhibition featured a portrait of the Virgin Mary smeared with elephant dung. For those who aren’t from New York, it’s hard to express what an incredibly gutsy stance this was to take in an ultra-liberal city that loves its publicly subsidized art.
Continuing on the theme of what can soften opposition to a Giuliani candidacy, I would point to the spending issue. Now, I know this is not a social issue, but I think that many social conservatives are also very concerned about runaway government spending. Giuliani could run on a platform of spending cuts, given his reputation as being a tough leader as well as the history of the budget wars during his time as mayor. No, this wouldn’t win over the most hardened social conservatives, but (combined with national security) it could make Giuliani more palatable. If he can convince conservatives that he will restrain spending and be tough on the War on Terror, it will be easier for them to swallow his positions on social issues.
Okay, so those are a few examples of what Giuliani can do to soften opposition, but Dave’s question still deserves an answer: “how will Giuliani answer for his greatest liabilities in a Republican primary?”
Immigration: Giuliani can draw from his experience as crime fighting mayor and make a vow to secure the borders and improve documentation so that we know who is actually in the country. He’ll be pro-legal immigration and will support something along the lines of a guest-worker program. This will be seen as amnesty to many conservatives, but other than Tom Tancredo, I don’t see other Republican candidates moving that far to the right of Bush on immigration.
Abortion: Giuliani can say that he’ll support judicial nominees that respect the constitution, in the mold of Scalia, Thomas, etc. While McCain is pro-life, he clearly has other problems with conservatives. Romney will have to overcome statements such as this in 1994:
“I believe that Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years, that
we should sustain and support it, and I sustain and support that
law and the right of a woman to make that choice. And my personal
beliefs, like the personal beliefs of other people, should not be
brought into a political campaign.”
Family matters: Yes, Giuliani has had three marriages and a very public, messy divorce. There’s not much he can do about this other than appear happy with his current wife. Also, not to excuse him, but his situation is different than Clinton’s in several respects. Clinton lied directly to the American people, first about Gennifer Flowers and then about Monica Lewinsky (the latter under oath). Also, Clinton took advantage of a young intern, whereas Giuliani was estranged from his wife and became involved with a mature, professional woman. But, either way, there’s no doubt that Giuliani’s personal background will turn off some voters. I just don’t see it as a deal breaker.
Gay marriage: Giuliani doesn’t support gay marriage, but he does support civil unions and would oppose a federal marriage amendment (which McCain voted against). I think Romney has effectively positioned himself to the right of Giuliani on this issue.
Guns: Giuliani clearly supported gun control as mayor and won’t be the NRA’s candidate, that’s for sure. However, McCain has his own problems on guns, because his disregard for the First Amendment on McCain-Feingold has made conservatives nervous about whether he would be protective of Second Amendment rights. Also, Romney has expressed support for the federal assault weapons ban, so I think he’s just as vulnerable on this issue.
So, to sum up, Giuliani will clearly not be the first choice of conservatives who vote primarily on the issues discussed above. However, given his strength on national security and other attributes, I think he’ll be able to win over some social conservatives, and placate enough others, to capture the nomination (especially because his chief rivals will encounter their own problems with conservatives).
P.S. Sorry Wlady for the long post!
John, fair enough that there were 10 Bush voters in that informal Reason poll, but I also counted 47 participants. So, with only 10 votes out of 47, I’m willing to stand by my statement that “most everybody” did not vote for Bush (I didn’t mean to imply everybody).
Shawn, I totally agree that libertarianism (to the extent that it means a principled defense of small government) is central to the Republican Party. There was a time when I would have referred to myself as a libertarian. But, since 9/11, there has been a clear split among libertarians over fighting terrorism. There are those, such as myself, who have sided with the administration on Iraq and civil liberties issues such as wiretapping, and those who are indistinguishable from the left on these issues. There are those, such as myself, who see the fight against terrorism as a defining issue of our time, and as I recently wrote, there are those libertarians, such as Reason’s Ronald Bailey, who say that terrorism “doesn’t really matter.” As a pre-9/11 libertarian, I may still believe that marijuana should be legalized, but it’s just much lower on my list of important issues these days, whereas for orthodox libertarians (for lack of a better term) it’s still a central issue.
I have done a lot of writing about how frustration over spending
may hamper turnout among conservatives and swing control of
Congress to the Democrats (see the March issue of TAS and also here),
but my basic point earlier today was that the type of libertarians
Tierney found in Amsterdam already defected from the Republican
Party. So, I don’t think Gillespie’s statement that, “Most of the
libertarians I know have given up on the G.O.P” means much for
November, because I’m sure he would have said the exact same thing
two years ago.
It’s about more than voting blocks. In a 1975 interview with Reason no less a conservative than Ronald Reagan said, “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism.” Now, obviously the power dynamics and constituencies are different these days, but the truth is the more Republicans win, the more the philosophical backbone of the party seems to weaken under the understandable if not particularly admirable desire to hold onto power. So libertarians may not win Republicans elections, but it’s difficult to look at the behavior of this Congress and White House without getting the sense that we could use a little more principled opposition in the ranks. Right-leaning libertarians carry more worth than a simple vote.
Here’s more Reagan from that interview, by the by:
The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is. Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.
Philip: It’s not really true that “most everybody quoted in that informal poll of libertarian-ish people either said they would vote Libertarian, vote for Kerry, or stay home.” Count them: There were 10 votes for Bush, and one who was waffling between Bush and the Libertarian candidate. But we libertarians are an eccentric and fractious bunch; we’re divided amongst ourselves on issues as central as foreign policy, judges, and immigration. It doesn’t really make sense to talk about a single libertarian voting block.
Larry, from that point of view, he probably won’t hurt me. But by that standard, neither would just about any president who promised not to raise taxes. If you throw in constructionist judges (and there is room for improvement over Bush on the lower courts), that is a bonus. But there are still many social areas besides the courts in which I would want a more reliable guy in the office.
Philip, you are correct that Giuliani has the best stripes on national security. I would say he bests McCain in light of McCain’s torture resolution. So if national security is your trump issue, then Giuliani is your guy.
As for Romney’s flip-flopping, I am not sure what to make of it. For me, it could be sincere. I believe people can change for the better, and I hope this is a case of that. Flip-flopping has a bad rap. If it is strictly for political purposes, it is dishonest and cynical. If it is honest, and for the better, wonderful. Politically speaking, Romney may be able to convince enough pro-lifers that his change is sincere.
The fuss over “electability” is an interesting question. You have a lot of bluffers out there. Many will write that one candidate doesn’t have a shot because they like another candidate. Control the conversation, and psyche the opponent out.
The flip side is that electability is a legitimate discussion. Giuliani makes a great mayoral candidate in NYC. What about the country? Who knows? But sheer boosterism by Giuliani partisans is not convincing. Not only do I need to be convinced that Giuliani is the right guy, but I need to be convinced that he can get to the finish line. When boosters do not honestly consider a candidate’s weaknesses as well as his strengths, sometime about the support seems contrived. So… how will Giuliani answer for his greatest liabilities in a Republican primary?
Wizbang has a FANTASTIC post that explains what really happened in New Orleans. Hint: It wasn’t the fault of the locals, but of the federal Corps of Engineers — usually a good, overburdened operation — dating back 40 years. Read Wizbang, and learn. Oh… for some reason I can’t get the web link to work right now. But here’s the address: http://wizbangblog.com/2006/08/28/the-katrina-video-congress-didnt-want-you-to-see.php
Quin, some years ago, Pete Sampras was scheduled to meet Andre Agassi the the final of the Lipton tournament. Sampras got sick and could not take the court at the appointed time. Agassi insisted on waiting until Sampras felt good enough to play, though he was entitled to win through a forfeit. “I don’t want to win that way,” he said.
On the Giuliani issue, I point everyone to my column of several months back, “Giuliani Time” (here), in which I made the point that pro-life conservatives would probably ask themselves, “How much could this guy hurt me?” And the answer would be, “Not much,” especially if he pledges to appoint consructionist justices, and especially if George W. gets to make another pick for the SCOTUS.
Shawn, looking through that article, I see that the author uses statistics like infant mortality and overall mortality to compare the health care systems of Canada and the U.S. Sigh. Such statistics tell us next to nothing about the quality of a health care system.
But, hey, California is raising the stakes.
Turns out that there is another problem with the Romney-Care, namely how it will treat Christian Scientists. The Christian Scientists’ insurance policy…
…is offered directly through the church and covers faith healing. It pays 90 percent of the cost of treatment by faith healers, who pray for patients in an effort to heal them of physical and spiritual ailments. The plan also features 90 percent coverage for home care by Christian Science nurses, who provide practical help such as changing bandages, but do not administer medication or any other type of medical care. Annual out-of-pocket expenses for participants in the Christian Science plan are capped at $1,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families.
If the officials in Massachusetts define the regulations refer to “medical services,” then the Christian Scientist policy won’t count as health insurance in satisfying the mandate. So, the Christian Scientists only want the regulations to refer to “health care.”
What really caught my attention, though, was this passage:
The law also requires Massachusetts residents to enroll in a health insurance plan or face penalties such as the loss of personal tax deductions. It exempts those who do not because of “sincerely held religious beliefs,” but there is no such provision for employers.
So, there is a loophole in the mandate big enough to drive a truck through. I wonder how many folks in Bay State will suddenly find “sincere religious beliefs” in the next year?
Anybody who wasn’t obsessed enough to stay up until 12:30 last night to watch US Open tennis missed an increasingly rare joy in today’s sports world: a truly admirable athlete showing what real champions are made of.
Most people are by now aware that this is Andre Agassi’s last tournament. Most people are aware of how he has evolved from punk to sportsman and even statesman, how he is now the model of decorum on the court and the model of a charitable, public-spirited citizen off the court, complete with a mostly self-financed, incredibly successful charter school that he founded and oversees.
And many, if not most, are aware of how he has struggled with back problems and sciatic nerve problems all year; how he has not been healthy enough to play enough tennis to get his game sharp.
So it was last night that when I turned on the match he looked down and out. After losing the first set 6-7 and winning the next 7-6, he was in the process of losing his fourth straight game to fall behind 4-0 in the third set. He looked lost, and he seemed to be moving stiffly. But then it was as if he turned on an inner switch. All of a sudden, his look changed. I swear his pupils got smaller, almost as if focusing inward. He started moving so fast BETWEEN points it was as if he was an Everready Bunny. And he started slogging his way back.
Boom, bing, bang: From 0-4 he moved to 4-4. His opponent, the powerful and quick-wristed Andrei Pavel, steadied himself a bit, but Agassi would not be denied. Agassi pulled out another tie-breaker, 8-6, and that was effectively the end. Agassi then won the first four games of the next set and eventually prevailed 6-7, 6-6, 7-6, 6-2. The sheer grit of the comeback was astonishing. And he did it with class, with self-control, with decorum. Let’s hope he can continue such performances for an entire fortnight.
In a column in today's NY Times (subscription required), John Tierney, reporting on Reason's libertarian shindig in
The G.O.P. used to have a sizable libertarian bloc, but I couldn’t see any sign of it at the conference. (
South Park creators) Stone and Parker said they were rooting for Hillary Clinton in 2008 simply because it would be weird to have her as president. The prevailing sentiment among the rest of the libertarians was that the best outcome this November would be a Democratic majority in the House, because then at least there’d be gridlock.
“We’re the long-suffering, battered spouse in a dysfunctional political marriage of convenience,” said Nick Gillespie, the editor in chief of Reason. “Most of the libertarians I know have given up on the G.O.P. The odds that we’ll stick around for the midterm election are about as good as the odds that Rick Santorum will join the Village People.”
Andrew Sullivan, the blogger who coined “South Park Republican,” was at the conference with a preview of “The Conservative Soul,” his new book on the spiritual corruption of Republicans. He said he now prefers to call himself a
South Park conservative, not Republican.
“The Republicans have got to be punished for destroying conservatism,” he said, explaining why he’s rooting against the party this November. “If it requires an idiotic Democratic House to stop these people from doing what they’re doing, then good.”
I have a hard time believing that if Republicans lose this November, it will be because libertarians stay home. Don't get me wrong, the free-spending ways of Republicans will definitely hamper turnout among conservatives, but I think that most self-described libertarians had already left the Republican Party by 2004, either because of government spending, social issues, or the War on Terror.
When asked who he would vote for in back in 2004 for this Reason survey, Gillespie said, "Probably no one but maybe Badnarik (the Libertarian Party candidate), if only to register dissent from the Crest and Colgate parties." In fact, most everybody quoted in that informal poll of libertarian-ish people either said they would vote Libertarian, vote for Kerry, or stay home. Sullivan, who can't vote because he is not a U.S. citizen, vocally endorsed Kerry the last election. So, before I'm convinced that a libertarian exodus is going to hurt Republicans, I'd need to see more evidence of libertarians who still supported Republicans in 2004 now saying that they've changed their minds.
Giuliani is certainly vulnerable to an attack from the right. There’s no doubt about that, but he is extraordinarily likeable and an outstanding speaker. I fall into the religious conservative category, myself, but I enjoyed his convention speech immensely and recognize within him outstanding qualities of leadership. If he were to make the nod toward originalists/textualists on the Supreme Court, I think he could have my support.
It is impossible to underestimate how frustrated people are with the inarticulateness of Bush and how much they would like to see a GOP candidate who is actually capable of defending himself and advancing a point of view. The War on Terror should have been an easier sell than it has been with Bush. His terrible communication skills are part of the problem. I supported the man whole-heartedly, but I’d rather watch a bunch of guys dig a ditch (or really, anything) than catch one of his speeches with those three and four word salvos followed by weird shoulder shrugs.
Rudy offers a lot of hope on this front. I think he could keep Americans united on the problem of Islamo-fascism. He’s got a Teddy Roosevelt thing going on that can light some fires. Unlike the GOP types who run from pro-life in blue states, he can run from pro-choice and pledge his own version of Romney-esque abortion status quo-ism.
David, I wouldn't ignore social issues, I would just say that they won't play as dominant of a role in 2008. Yes, social issues will still be very important, but they will just be relatively less important than they have been in the past. For all the praise that is heaped on Mitt Romney (his boosters call him brilliant, attractive, charismatic, a business man, a problem solver, a good guy) I haven't seen many people praise him on the basis of his capabilities as a wartime leader. To me, his lack of credentials on terrorism and national security should be seen as a huge liability, one that cannot easily be made up by simply saying the right things. Yes, he may now be on the right side of the abortion issue, but his total about-face on the issue once his political ambitions moved beyond the state of
I'm not saying that Giuliani will have an easy path to the nomination, but what I don't understand is how people are writing off his chances despite the fact that he is the best positioned on the most important issue of our time.
And that brings me to another observation. I don't think I can ever recall more debate, and more written, about how a candidate has no shot of winning than the case of Rudy Giuliani. If his candidacy is truly that hopeless, why all of the fuss?
Philip, you are absolutely correct to highlight the importance of 9/11, terrorism in general, and national security in the 2008 vote. We haven’t had a Republican presidential primary since 9/11, so this one is hard to call. But anyone who ignores that does so at his own peril.
That said, anyone who ignores social issues is similarly foolish. Hawkins’s case didn’t need anything new about Giuliani’s record. His record in public office ended more than four years ago. So there are not many new things to say there or point out. But a lack of new material does not negate the old stuff.
And boy, is there a lot of it. Kate O’Beirne’s recent comment, that the Mormon is the only candidate in the race who has only had one wife, comes to mind. I was surprised that Mr. Murdoch failed to mention Mr. Giuliani’s problems in this area, especially seeing as one of the headings in his article was “Family Affairs.” The whole business with a judge barring his girlfriend from the Gracie Mansion — where his wife and kids were living — won’t pass quietly.
This is the same Republican Party that was shocked at President Clinton’s habit of stepping out, and rightly so. Hopefully the desire for winning doesn’t fool the pundits into thinking social issues will not play heavily in this presidential race, as they usually do.
None of the candidates are perfect — far from it. Yet if I had to choose between Giuliani, who Hawkins points out has opposed partial birth abortion bans and presumably still does, and Romney, who is now on the right side of the issue, I would choose Romney.
You may have noticed the welcome lack of coverage TAS has devoted to the John Karr arrest. (Even Fox succumbed to the Jon Benet frenzy. They actually had a man on the plane with Karr coming back from Thailand). And we have also resisted so far any comment on the (yawn) arrest of Warren Jeffs who, though alleged a polygamist and rapist, managed to get on to the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list. Ah, gone are the days of Baby Face Nelson and Dillinger. Bin Laden was probably insulted by sharing post office wall space with the likes of Jeffs.
The point of all this is that while the broadcast media and much of the punditry is consumed by these things, we are on hotter trails.
BBC is making a new “Robin Hood” series. In Hungary, of course. The master tapes have apparently been stolen and are being held — according to one report — for about $2 million in ransom. We cannot confirm any connection with the Plame leak investigation, but there is an aspect the Fitzgerald-Javert staff may want to look into. According to another report, the character of Guy of Gisbourne, the Sheriff of Nottingham’s partner in crime, is being played by an actor named Richard Armitage. I kid ye not, squire.
Looking through the comment thread trailing this article on the virtues of Canadian single-payer health care, I found the following:
The Bushies love our current system of care because it kills off poor “worthless” people faster than rich folks. That is why they so fervently push no change in our current health care system and no withdrawal from mass murder in Iraq. Another reason they love our current “health” system is that it makes the rich richer and the poor poorer which is the major push of the Cheney presidency (for he really calls all the important shots in their path toward doomsday).
Wait, wait. I thought the whole point of the Bush Adminstration’s economic policies was to transfer the tax burden from “wealth” to “work”? How are they going to do that if the “poor ‘worthless’ people” are all dead? How much taxable income comes out of the sick or near-dead? Or is this a proletariat-chicken-or-the-golden-egg type conundrum? Is a itsy bitsy bit of consistency too much to ask for these days?
Just a reminder, I will be on the “Organization Watch” internet radio program, run by my old employer at CRC, tomorrow to discuss my (and Sarah Haney’s) recent piece on the political giving of the Fortune 100 (go here for an abbreviated version). You can hear the program on Rightalk Radio, from 3-4pm EST.
While I am on the subject, Matt Vadum of CRC sent this link at Philanthropybeat, where an An anonymous author criticizes. I wish I could say that once you get through the ad hominem attacks there are actually quite a few legitimate points. However, I can’t.
“Anonymous” throws around the word conspiracy a bit to describe our piece, but nowhere did we use the term. And for good reason: All the giving is a matter of public record. The foundations have to release their tax returns, and you can view them at Guidestar by creating a free account.
Anonymous also pulls the amazing feat of undermining himself in back-to-back sentences. Criticizing how I defined political left and right, he states:
On the right are the Cato Institute [which just published a book titled, Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government], and [correctly] James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. It offers a convoluted explanation of what constitutes “right” and what constitutes “left,” saying “we also put on the right groups that defend traditional values…” Now, that’s objective.
I wonder, how does Anonymous determine that we “correctly” designated Focus on the Family as being on the political right? In other words, is Focus on the Family known for its strong stance on taxes, regulation, government spending, and so forth? Or does Anonymous put Focus on the Family on the right because it defends “traditional values”? Funny thing is, Anonymous uses the term “right” in that same “objective” fashion in this previous post.
In that same paragraph, Anonymous has his one legitimate point. He questions why we put the Cato Institute on the right and the Brookings Institution on the left. These were judgment calls, but using the definitions we did (see page 2 of the article), they are very defensible. While Cato certainly takes some positions on the left regarding social issues, on the whole it falls on the right, since it opposes higher taxes, higher spending, more regulation, and favors gun rights. It was much the same with Brookings. While it occasionally takes a position on the right, it usually favors more government involvement in the economy.
Then there is this section:
Also playing a role in the liberal corporate philanthropy conspiracy, according to the article, are matching gifts programs, which allow employees to give to their favorite charities while having their employers provide a match. As evidence the article offers up a single $300 and a single $50 matching gift processed through the Bank of America Foundation. The $300 gift went to the Sea Sheperd Conservation Society, which CRC accuses of sinking fishing vessels, and the $50 went to International A.N.S.W.E.R., the leaders for which CRC accuses of “supporting the communist dictatorships of Cuba and North Korea” [note: this may be true].
The point is, $350 does not a conspiracy make. But when you’re trying to prove a point …
That is: (1) a distortion, and (2) proof that at least one mother is derelict in her duty to confiscate the crayons and other writing utensils from her child before he leaves for the house for the day. The examples of the matching gifts to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and International A.N.S.W.E.R. were used to support the charge of “indifference” on the part of corporations to oversee their matching gift programs. (See page 6 of the article.)
What a pathetic little blog post. It’s almost as though Anonymous just can’t handle the fact that someone challenged his preconceived notion that the political right is bought and paid for by corporate America. In fact, that’s exactly it.
1. It appears that Anonymous didn’t read our article very carefully, as he states, “I was not aware that CRC published on its Web site the entire list of the recipient organizations of the corporate foundations it examined. As standard practice, it’s helpful to mention in a print article the fact that additional data is available online.” Well, we did mention that on page 2 of the article. Anonymous had to acknowledge that fact after Vadum pointed it out to him.
2. He also states, regarding our definitions of political left and right, “It’s not that I don’t like the definitions themselves.” Uh, in his original post he notes, he sneers at our use of the term “traditional values.” Clearly, he does not like the definition, so he is either backtracking or he does not know what he wrote in his original post.
3. Next he states, “Given CRC’s political philosophy, it’s not too far-fetched to believe that the tiniest of liberal indicators landed an organization on the “left” side of the fence regardless of the organization’s overall focus.” Now that Anonymous knows the entire list is online, could he please give us some examples of this instead of mere insinuations?
4. More distortions: “Maybe the reason corporations won’t give CRC data on their contributions that aren’t made through their foundations is that if they do CRC will find a $50 employee match as reason to call them eco-terrorists.” We never referred to any corporation as an eco-terrorist. Again, those cases were used as examples of indifference.
5. Referring to Vadum’s post, he concludes: “Finally, it’s always helpful to have a free spell check service. We bloggers are well aware that our credibility is rooted in our grammatical correctness.” That’s amusing since Anonymous mispelled “Shepherd” in his original post.
The Hawkins' post that David linked to has absolutely nothing new to say about Giuliani's record — it's just a rehashing of what has been said over the past several years about his liberal stances on social issues making him unelectable in a Republican primary.
As I have argued before, while all of those issues may be obstacles for Giuliani, ultimately the issue of terrorism is going to dominate the Republican primary season, and Giuliani is the best positioned on that issue. 2008 will be the first contested Republican primary since 9/11, so while pundits have been focusing on Giuliani's lack of social issue bona fides, what they should spend more time focusing on is the fact that Mitt Romney and George Allen (the theoretically "conservative" options) have very few credentials on the defining issue of our time.
No doubt, Giuliani will have his work cut out for him and there are some voters who will simply never accept his candidacy, but I think he can placate enough social conservatives to win. For instance, vowing to appoint judges in the mold of Scalia, Thomas, Alito, Roberts would help — because when it comes down to it, that's about as much power as the president has over the abortion issue. On the immigration issue, he can tap into his law enforcement background as a tough prosecutor and crime-fighting mayor to emphasize the need to secure the borders for national security purposes. Securing the borders was not part of his role as mayor, as he pointed out in this 1997 speech at
"Illegal immigration is a very real problem—but it is one that lies outside of the responsibility of cities and states of this country.
"Controlling our borders is a core function of the federal government and it is a problem that requires serious attention…"
For those conservatives who vote on the basis of immigration, anybody to the left of Tom Tancredo is going to be unacceptable to them anyway. If there were a candidate who was the clear consensus choice of conservatives, I'd give Rudy lower chances. But right now, McCain — the candidate believed to be the front-runner— is even more disliked among conservatives than Giuliani. George Allen is in a tough fight for re-election, and if the Macaca incident reveals anything, it's that he isn't ready for prime time. As recently as 2002, Romney ran as a pro-choice candidate in
With no clear front-runner, and with terrorism sure to be the dominant issue in 2008, I don't see how people can still be dismissing Giuliani's chances. They are handicapping the 2008 race as if 9/11 never happened.
John Hawkins explains why America’s Mayor would be a terrible choice for the GOP nomination in 2008.
Also see his case against John McCain.
I will be on the “Organization Watch” internet radio program, run by my old employer at CRC, tomorrow to discuss my recent piece on the political giving of the Fortune 100 (go here for an abbreviated version). You can hear the program on Rightalk Radio
Maureen Dowd famously did it. So have many other intellectually dishonest so-called journalists. Now some dude in Maine—L. Sandy Maisel the director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College—has done it in a local paper up there, probably making my name mud (unfairly) at the Bush family compound in Kennebunkport. If I get time tomorrow, I will try to track down the columnist to demand a retraction in person. Meanwhile, here is a public demand for the same.
By “it,” I mean deliberately and dishonestly leaving words out of a quote in order to completely skew the intention of the person being quoted.
Here’s the story: Eight days ago, I was quoted by the Wash Post’s excellent Peter Baker in this article. Baker got the quote correctly, and like a good reporter he tried to put it into proper context. Baker was quoting this column of mine from this very AmSpec web site. Baker put it thusly:
Quin Hillyer, executive editor of the American Spectator, cited Lowry’s column in his own last week, writing that many are upset “because we seem not to be winning” and urging the White House to take on militia leaders such as Moqtada al-Sadr. Until it does, he said, “there will be no way for the administration to credibly claim that victory in Iraq is achievable, much less imminent.” Even more to the point, my purpose in the column as a whole was crystal clear: NOT to say that we cannot win in Iraq, but to urge a renewed commitment to winning.
I went on to write: An all-out drive for victory is necessary not just for short-term politics, but for the long-term security of this nation. But because the American people instinctively understand that so much rides on victory, they also will reward politically an administration that actually ramps up the fight in order to finish the job.
It is beyond doubt that I believe victory is achievable; I merely laid a condition for victory, which is to stand up to Moqtadr al-Sadr. Baker got that right: He accurately quoted me as saying that victory will not be achieved “until” we do so.
So far, so good. Baker’s story quoting me and others was picked up elsewhere around the country, and I didn’t see anybody else messing it up. Indeed, it took a deliberate effort to mess it up, a deliberate elimination of a key part of Baker’s paragraph. But that’s what this bleepedy-bleep named Maisel did. To wit: The American Spectator’s Quin Hilyer cited Lowry in a recent editorial and continued that there is no way “to credibly claim that victory in Iraq is achievable, much less imminent.”
In addition to misspelling my name, note how cleverly Mr. Maisel eliminated the “until” part of my statement. He turned a subjunctive (I think that’s the word for it; I mean something that is dependent on something else, as in “if-then”)—and, moreover, a subjunctive about how we can win—into a definitive statement of inevitable loss. The most charitable interpretation is that Mr. Maisel was INCREDIBLY sloppy. The more likely one is that he was being incredibly dishonest.
Not a soul has complained to me about the Maisel column. I found
it on Google. I am not reacting to any pressure or criticism; I am
just reacting out of sheer desire, proactively, to set the record
straight, and to demand a correction from this Maisel guy. So, to
set the record straight: I believe that Iraq IS indeed winnable for
the U.S., and I believe we WILL win the peace there just as we
already won the war three years ago. I merely believe that the way
to victory involves more aggressiveness and more willingness to cut
al-Sadr down to size.
NRO’s John Derbyshire has an amusing and appreciated blog post on The Corner concerning our September cover story by Deroy Murdock. To all you non-subscribers out there, the excellent story by Mr. Murdock provides one more good reason to subscribe to our mag. See the “Subscribe” link on our home page to do so! Meanwhile, it’s worth noting that Giuliani is as Reaganite as they come when it comes to taxes, spending, unions, political correctness (i.e., he’s not), law-and-order, and leadership. On the social issues, though, we still await solid promises from him that no matter what his policy preferences, he will appoint strict constructionist/originalist/textualist judges. If believable, such promises might reassure conservatives at least a little bit…..
Hear, hear. I read about the plane crash and then watched the Emmys, and didn’t even make the connection between the Lost parody and the news until I looked at the Drudge Report afterwords. I understand why the Lexington affiliate would have rather put a test pattern over part of the opening skit, and maybe the producers slipped up by not thinking of warning them. But I wouldn’t have thought of it, either.
Speaking of the Emmys, kudos to Edie Falco and James Gandolfini: When the Sopranos leads took the stage to present, they gave a shout-out to our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. They were the only ones who thought to do that.
That Zogby poll isn’t a traditional phone poll — it is the “Interactive” version, a self-selected sample of junkies through email. Zogby defends the methodology, but I will wait for the next SurveyUSA poll to weigh the extent of the Macaca damange.
Latest WSJ/Zogby poll has Webb at 47.9 percent and Allen at 46.6 percent. If that’s the Macaca effect alone, I can’t see those numbers holding come November. Then again, I’m surprised that Macaca-madness made such a splash in the first place.
As much fun as it is to make fun of Hollywood liberals, I’m not going to join the pile on over the plane crash skit at the Emmy’s that came hours after the real plane crash in Kentucky. It may have been less-than-desirable timing, but I don’t see a need for conservative bloggers to create a whole controversy out of it — that’s what liberals are supposed to be for.
So CBS has engaged Uncle Walter to prop himself up in a chair and introduce Katie the Serious on her first night anchoring CBS Evening News next week. Nice to know she’ll have a support group around her to make sure she survives all 22 minutes of broadcast time.
According to Drudge, CBS is promising a “who’s who of Americana” to make a big splash. Who else could be among the hyperlib glitterati welcoming Katie? Hillary, for sure. Probably McCain as the token Republican. Will Jimmy Carter be on to flak his new book? How many of the usual suspects will join in? Maureen Dowd, Harry Reid, Barbra Streisand, Nancy Pelosi, and Ned Lamont all seem likely. One face you’re sure to not see: Dan Rather won’t be visible anywhere that night, unless it’s on Hardball with Matthews. Let the games begin. I only wish it were tonight. This is going to be the greatest source of amusement we’ll have until Hillary announces her presidential campaign.
One guy in my offices guesses he was in high school and still under 4’9”. According to the government, he might need a booster seat for his car.
Hotline reports that the Republican 72 hour program has been activated to help Sen. Lincoln Chafee in his primary against Club for Growth-backed conservative Stephen Laffey:
I think the Chafey-Laffey race also highlights something else. For all the David Brooks and Andrew Sullivan talk about a Lieberman-McCain party, the electorate seems to be sending the opposite message so far this election season. Whether it’s Lamont vs. Lieberman, Chafee vs. Laffey, or Walberg vs. Schwartz in Michigan, people seem to want more polarization and real differences between the two parties, rather than more bi-partisanship.
Michael Totten, reporting from southern Israel, near Gaza, writes:
“How many rockets are hitting the city right now?” I said.
“Not as many today,” he said. “Because of the war in Lebanon.”
“What does Lebanon have to do with it?” I said.
“All the journalists forgot about us during the Lebanon war. So the terrorists are waiting for the media to come back before firing rockets again. They don’t want to waste those they have.”
“That can’t be the only reason,” I said. “The IDF has been active in Gaza this entire time. Surely that has something to do with it.”
“Yes,” he said. “Also because of the IDF.”
Later two more Israelis repeated what Shika said about Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooling their rocket launchers while the media’s attention was elsewhere. I haven’t heard any official confirmation from either side that it’s true.This doesn’t strike me as hard to believe. Terrorism feeds off of the media and couldn’t be an effective tool were it not for the media’s ability to magnify terrorists’ attacks and draw attention to their greivances (not to mention any counteroffensive). Many people will trace the origins of modern terorism back to the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics — and it’s no coincidence that those terrorists chose to attack at an event that the whole world was watching.
Link via RealClearPolitics.
A great article in yesterday’s Washington Post described the internal debates in Israel over targeted killings of terrorists, specifically the conflict over risking Palestinian civilian casualties to kill terrorist leaders whose deaths would mean saving Israeli lives. The article focuses in on one specific incident in 2003, in which a “who’s who” list of Hamas leaders (including current Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh) was meeting in one house. The dilemma? “A half-ton bomb wouldn’t finish the job, the air force chief said. A one-ton bomb would blow out the neighboring apartment building, which was filled with dozens of families.” Eventually, the Israelis found out that the curtains were closed on the top floor of the house, so they decided to take a chance that the leaders were meeting on that floor. They used a quarter-ton bomb to destroy only that floor, but it turned out that the terrorists were meeting on the ground level, and so the terrorists escaped.
It’s hard to think of another country — other than the United States — that would go to such lengths to protect civilians’ lives even when their own security is on the line. Yet Israel is still the pariah of the world.
For what it’s worth, Robert Novak said on “Meet the Press” that he never reveals a source unless that source reveals himself, but added that he thinks it’s time for his source to come forward.
David Corn and Michael Isikoff have a new book which confirms that Richard Armitage was the original Plame leaker. Close observers had already figured this out; Tom Maguire, for one, zeroed in on Armitage months ago. Maguire’s most recent post on the topic, noting Armitage’s (vague) association with the McCain campaign team, came just this Tuesday.
The corollary to this revelation has been equally clear all this time: Pace the anti-Bush storyline, the Plame kerfuffle was not a case of the White House intentionally blowing Plame’s super-secret cover to attack her husband.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online