Fresh from saving Rick Santorum’s job — he said getting Santorum reelected would be his number one priority — Sen. Arlen Specter now goes out of his way to defend the reputation of Rep. John Murtha, “a friend of mind for three decades.” It’s all there in his letter to the Washington Post, published today.
“All I know about Mr. Murtha’s situation is what I have read in the press,” Specter writes — a curious statement for a former crime-fighting district attorney to make. Surely in his earlier guise he would have been professionally negligent had he failed to avail himself of an extensive surveillance tape in which a target quite readily implicated himself.
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m at my parents’ house, getting ready for the meal. Because I was sooo cool as a teenager, there’s a copy of Newt Gingrich’s To Renew America on the shelf in my childhood bedroom. Given the rumors about the presidential race swirling around this week, this paragraph from the foreword to the 1996 paperback edition makes for interesting reading:
Rudy Giuliani has begun an historic renewal of New York City. His commitment to prosecuting criminals and supporting the police has led to an immediate reduction in crime and a dramatic increase in the sense of safety. Within months of Giuliani’s election people began telling me they had a new sense of security in walking around New York City. These very real changes reveal how strong leadership can change a society. Giuliani’s more recent efforts at cutting spending, eliminating red tape, shrinking the city’s bureaucracy, privatizing some city services, and lowering taxes to lure businesses to New York City (while keeping existing businesses from moving away) are great examples of this new vision of government.John McCain and Mitt Romney are nowhere in the book’s index (though Tommy Thompson is).
Tomorrow my family will be frying our turkey for the fourth year in a row-and our experiences over the years serve as important lesson on the beauties of capitalism. The first year we fried the turkey, everything went smoothly-until we were confronted with the task of pouring several gallons of used peanut oil from the huge turkey frying pot into the narrow opening of the plastic oil container. My brother and I tried to be as steady as we could, but it didn’t prevent us from spilling oil onto his grass (to this day there’s still a section of the lawn that doesn’t grow properly). The following year, not wanting to do any further damage to the lawn, we decided to make the cement patio our base of operations-however, when we spilled the oil again, it required a hose and a ton of detergent to clean it up. Last year, however, my brother discovered that someone had invented a turkey frying oil pump for the express purpose of sucking peanut oil from a turkey frying pot and cleanly transferring it through a tube back into the oil container. I could not think of a more perfect demonstration of the brilliance of the market system to match supply with demand. You cannot imagine a government planner in a Soviet-style command economy saying, “You know what, we really could use a turkey frying oil pump.” God bless capitalism! And a Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Phil, Paul, let me add a passage from my column of October 7, 2005, “Giuliani Time”:
After all, what can a President do to affect abortion politics? Most important, appoint judges. By the end of George W. Bush’s term, he will have appointed two, perhaps three, justices to the Supreme Court. Would Giuliani appoint a Ruth Bader Ginsburg, either to SCOTUS or a lower court? Given the ex-mayor’s bent toward free-market reform and stout crime enforcement, no. A judge conservative on economic and criminal justice matters is likely to take a conservative view of social issues, too.
Some of my religious confreres will not be able to
stomach Giuliani having marched in drag in gay pride parades or his
stated pro-choice opinions. But many of us will take a practical
look at him and at the office of President and ask, “How much could
he hurt our cause?” The answer would be, “Not
Newt responds. The bottom line, from a Gingrich spokesman: “He has no plans to run for president and will not even make a consideration about running until later next year.”
Philip, there will be a bevy of issues to consider in a year-and-a-half to two years, with (I’m sure) unexpected candidates and other surprises. And I don’t discount the possibility that Rudy could change his mind on some things after spending time talking to conservatives on the stump. After all, Romney has, so why not the mayor?
We’ll have to see what is weighing heaviest when the time comes. If we’ve had another three or four 9/11-like attacks by then, it changes priorities on a lot of issues.
Paul, I appreciate your input, and fair enough if you can’t support Rudy in a primary. From my perspective, I often support socially conservative candidates even though I may disagree with them on some issues. If the candidate who I believed to be the best leader available to fight the War on Terror favored the Federal Marriage Amendment, which I vehemently disagree with, I’d still support that leader.
Perfect weather for baking Thanksgiving pies tonight.
Romney was less charitable to McCain, who on Sunday told ABC News: “I believe that the issue of gay marriage should be decided by the states.” McCain also said, “I believe that gay marriage should not be legal.”
Romney seized on the remarks.
“That’s his position, and in my opinion, it’s disingenuous,” he said. “Look, if somebody says they’re in favor of gay marriage, I respect that view. If someone says — like I do — that I oppose same–sex marriage, I respect that view. But those who try and pretend to have it both ways, I find it to be disingenuous.”
A spokesman for McCain could not be reached for comment Monday.
Unlike McCain and Giuliani, Romney supports amending the U.S. Constitution to ban gay marriage. He also wants to amend the Massachusetts Constitution, although the state legislature this month balked at putting the question of gay marriage to voters.
It makes perfect political sense for Romney to try to position himself to the right of McCain, but I have a hard time seeing how it's "disingenuous" to believe that it would be better to allow individual states to make their own laws on divisive issues rather than take the drastic step of amending the constitution to impose one set of views on the entire nation. Support for state's rights used to be a central tenet of conservatism.
What's more, in defending his decision to veto the
"I understand that my views on laws governing abortion set me in the minority in our Commonwealth. I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of
America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate."
It seems that by his own definition, Romney was being "disingenuous" and "pretending to have it both ways" because he didn't say he supports a constitutional amendment to ban abortion.
Of course, when he ran for governor in 2002, he said:
"The choice to have an abortion is a deeply personal one. Women should be free to choose based on their own beliefs, not the government's."
Even if we give him the benefit of the doubt that he truly is a born again pro-lifer, that means that he believes that abortion is murder. Despite these personal beliefs, he supports a federalist solution to abortion that in practice would keep abortion legal in most—if not all—states. So somehow, allowing gays to marry is more objectionable than killing unborn fetuses. How else to explain supporting a constitutional amendment to ban one practice and not the other?
The American League MVP trophy resides on the island of Dr. Morneau.
Philip, I’ll tell you what I think reality is among social conservatives (OK, evangelicals, of which I am one) pertaining to their perception of Giuliani — and it’s not one of a “northeastern liberal who dresses in drag.” Those visions are for the likes of Lincoln Chafee and Chris Shays.
Frankly, I think I am representative of these social conservatives when I say that we tremendously admire the former mayor. He did great things in New York, cleaned up the place, made it livable again, led it through its worst disaster ever, and is clearly a leader people will rally around. There is no question he will defend our country and provide strong, hopeful leadership. My heart could support him very easily.
But because of his views on abortion and same-sex marriage, we are tremendously disappointed. When I think of Rudy I think, “dang, why does he have to be so liberal on these vital issues?” And that’s when our minds take over, we look at the other options, and will probably support someone else — in the primaries. If he happens to become the nominee, though, there is no doubt in my mind he would be supported against Hillary (or anybody else the Democrats put up).
The conventional wisdom is that even though Giuliani leads in just about every Republican primary poll for 2008, once conservatives learn more about him (especially his liberal social views), they'll be turned off. There's a chance, however, that the reverse will be true. Once conservatives learn more about Giuliani's record and see him speak, they'll realize that he doesn't fit this caricature of him as some sort of northeastern liberal who dresses in drag.
Deroy Murdock, in an article up at NRO, provides some anecdotal evidence that Rudy is winning over some conservatives who were once hostile to his candidacy:
SayNoToRudy.Org’s online retreat also impresses. As the Ohio-based website’s self-described, social-conservative organizers stated November 5: “We sought to do everything legally possible to prevent [Giuliani] from becoming the Republican presidential nominee…Unexpectedly, as we began to see more and more of who Mr. Giuliani really is…we found that Mr. Giuliani is truly a committed Republican and an accomplished conservative on many issues…Therefore, the creators of this organization, with much humility and apology, beyond all probability, hereby announce that we are willing to endorse Mr. Giuliani for the Presidency in 2008.”
prosecutor Steve Giudicci says by phone that he launched SayNoToRudy.Org late last summer, along with a few dozen fellow grassroots conservative activists, mainly in Cincinnati . Ohio
“I am about as socially conservative as you can get — on everything from abortion, to gun rights, to smaller government, and less taxes. You name it,” he says. The website offered T-shirts, refrigerator magnets, wall clocks, boxer shorts, and other items with a logo featuring “Giuliani ‘08” and a circle and red line running through it. “Nominate a REAL Conservative,” the merchandise demanded.
But the more Giudicci and his colleagues learned about Giuliani, the more they realized they had misunderestimated him.
“We were researching Mr. Giuliani and some of his speeches and writings,” Giudicci says. “The turning point was when we read a book by Fred Siegel called The Prince of the City. That’s when we started to realize there was more to Mr. Giuliani than we initially anticipated. We felt he was a really accomplished conservative and committed Republican. It raised our level of respect for him, and opened our eyes.”
Giudicci saw Giuliani speak at a
campaign stop on November 3 and was sold. The former Rudy foe is now a Rudy fan who hopes to swing more grassroots activists his way. New Hampshire
“If a President Giuliani meant the same thing as Mayor Giuliani — namely innovative and competent leadership, less government, lower taxes, a strict-constructionist judiciary, and bad guys brought to justice — then I’m all for it.”
Read the whole thing.
I now know what the word search
assignment given by the Islamic Spanish teacher looks like,
thanks to News & Observer reporter
Marti Maguire, who e-mailed me a copy that a student had scanned
and sent to her.
You can see where “Sharon killed…” starts in the fourth row.
Philip, Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback sounds like he is likely to jump into the presidential race also, calling himself a “full-scale Ronald Reagan conservative.” Meanwhile, Mitt Romney burnishes his conservative credentials. Could turn out to be a good debate after all. But I hope it doesn’t turn into a race about loyalty and repaying favors, like the recently-completed GOP congressional minority leadership competitions did.
A lesson in understanding one’s limitations from the Rocky Balboa blog:
Craig Zablo: After “Rambo IV” concludes, what will be your next project?
SYLVESTER STALLONE: I’m gonna direct “Edgar Allen Poe” [without] being in it. “Yo, Poe!” doesn’t work. I’d like to direct some nice young actor in it who can get the soul of Poe.
I don’t know exactly what this assignment looked like, but a (now former) Spanish teacher at a high school in my county gave students an extra-credit “word search” that “required them to translate vocabulary words and find them in a grid of letters,” The News & Observer of Raleigh reports. The teacher, named Khalid Chahhou, included the words “destroy” and “terrorist,” and also included this paragraph:
I’m sure by now most people have seen the news that Newt Gingrich is running for president, or, as he put it:
“I am not ‘running’ for president. I am seeking to create a movement to win the future by offering a series of solutions so compelling that if the American people say I have to be president, it will happen.”
I think his entrance in the race, or at least him being the picture, is a huge positive because it will force a serious debate on a number of important issues, especially his favorite topics: energy independence, health care reform and national security. It’s hard to imagine him overcoming the stigma attached to him from the 1990s and actually appealing to a broad enough coalition to get elected, but his mere presence makes it far more likely that the primary season will feauture engaging debates about ideas. While it’s way too early to know how his entrance will affect the primaries, there are a few possible scenarios that come to mind. In one sense, he can hamper Romney’s ability to position himself as the conservative alternative. On the oither hand, he could take national security votes away from McCain and especially Giuliani. Either way, it’ll be fun to watch.
Just in time for the release of the star-studded ensemble exploration of the RFK assassination Bobby, AlterNet reprints a Guardian story pinning the murder on the CIA’s Manchurian Candidate Office:
Sirhan’s notebooks show a bizarre series of “automatic writing” - “RFK must die RFK must be killed - Robert F Kennedy must be assassinated before 5 June 68” - and even under hypnosis, he has never been able to remember shooting Kennedy. He recalls “being led into a dark place by a girl who wanted coffee”, then being choked by an angry mob. Defence psychiatrists conclude he was in a trance at the time of the shooting and leading psychiatrists suggest he may have be a hypnotically programmed assassin.
Only a moment previously, however, author Shane O’Sullivan argued “autopsy report suggests Sirhan could not have fired the shots that killed Kennedy. Witnesses place Sirhan’s gun several feet in front of Kennedy, but the fatal bullet is fired from one inch behind. And more bullet-holes are found in the pantry than Sirhan’s gun can hold, suggesting a second gunman is involved.”
Now, granted, I’ve never been part of a CIA plot to overthrow or undermine the United States government, but I’ve always operated under the assumption that the entire premise behind brainwashing/hypnotizing an assassin would be A) so that CIA agents don’t have to take the shot, B) to make sure some poor sap without any connection to the conspiracy takes the fall, and C) not waste valuable appropriation dollars on magic bullets. I can’t imagine a “We’ll Hypnotize A Faux Killer So Various On-Scene, Photographed, Well-Known CIA Agents Can Get Off A Clean Shot” plan would have been popular even in the darkest smoke-filled rooms at Langley.
As a secondary thought, if the CIA really had been able to “disappear” politicians it didn’t like so easily and without those conspiracies ever coming to light, it seems to me we would have seen quite a few other politicians brutally murdered over the years. It’s not like foresight and restraint were standard issue attributes of the 60s, 70s, or even 80s CIA.
Yes, the University of North Carolina hired John Edwards to head its new Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity a couple of years ago, but that hasn’t impressed the Education Trust, which gave the university a “D” grade on educational opportunities for the poor and minorities. I guess Edwards hasn’t spent enough time in Iowa working on the problem.
Israel’s Haaretz reports that President Bush said he would “understand” if Israel attacks Iran over its nuclear program. The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh, meanwhile, has a new piece out speculating whether Bush is more or less likely to attack Iran in the wake of the Democratic electoral victory.
Just back from Londonistan, I’ll be back on with Larry Kudlow tonight talking about Charlie Rangel’s idea to bring back the draft, prospects for Iraq and lots of other stuff. Hope you can catch it, CNBC about 5:15 EST.
NRO has an interview up with Egyptian-born Nonie Darwish, who immigrated to American and began to question her own culture's incitement of violence and anti-Semitism. She's out with a new book, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for
It took me many years to change, evolve, and realize that I was indoctrinated with a lot of propaganda and outright lies about
Israel. I owe my change to America. I appreciated the tolerance, respect for minorities and equality under the law that America stands for. When I heard church and synagogue sermons I realized how different the message was from the hate speech, cursing, and incitement advocated in many mosques across the world. Many of us who immigrated to America thought we had escaped jihad, hateful propaganda, intimidation, and mind control, but we found that even in America, there are powerful radical Muslim forces who are trying to silence us. For the sin of criticizing terrorism — not Islam, just terrorism — we are threatened. Terrorism is like the elephant in the room that no one is supposed to talk about, especially if you are an Arab American. But when 9/11 happened, it was no longer about me or my culture of origin; it is about the safety and security of the country that I now call home; America. When I pledged allegiance to the flag of the United States I took this pledge to heart and I decided to speak out of respect for the 3,000 Americans who died on that day. I speak out of empathy for Israel; a country that has lived under severe terrorism, boycott, and war. Israel deserves our respect and not our hatred. I also speak out of love for my culture of origin in desperate need for reformation. I speak out. That is why to radical Muslims, I am now part of the Zionist conspiracy.
I’ve written about Baylor University for the websites of Christianity Today, National Review, and American Spectator. During the struggle for control of the university a couple of years back I interviewed several of the key players and eventually wound up working in the university relations department in addition to my graduate research work for Francis Beckwith and another prof. who dislikes publicity.
Because of my scholarly interest in a battle that was essentially defined by how one felt about Baylor’s stated goal of being simultaneously Christian and a comprehensive research university, I was asked to write a chapter for a book on the topic to be published by Baylor University Press. Contributors were drawn from both sides of the controversy. I was more favorable to the vision. Others were more opposed.
Since that time, I have heard that Baylor University Press would not publish the book because it was too controversial. That was okay because Baylor University would publish the book separately from its press. Then, I heard some contributors were making unhappy noises about the book, which was really hard to understand because they had written chapters for it. After hearing the administration would still publish the book and that copies had already been printed, I have now been informed the book will not be released.
The cherry on top of this unhappy story is that a former Baylor president (not Robert Sloan, who initiated the school’s vision and was forced to resign) has written a charged email threatening those responsible for the book. He mentions his skill in psychological warfare and his willingness to release damaging information that he has passed on to some mysterious third party. The threatening email has been widely circulated. It looks like he got his way because the book has been suppressed.
The object lesson may be that academic freedom is an untrustworthy virtue. Those who cried out against Robert Sloan and Baylor’s Christian vision regularly complained that the vision would circumscribe academic freedom and Baptist freedom. They don’t like a new book — a balanced book — and have now suppressed it. There are apparently copies lying around. Will they be burnt?
More to come if there is more …
George Will had a column in yesterday’s Washington Post about why NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg won’t run for the presidency. That shouldn’t come as much as a surprise. But one part of the article warrants mentioning for its sheer absurdity:
Bloomberg credits his crusade against smoking with the decline in heart attacks that has helped make the life expectancy of city residents higher than that of the rest of the nation.
For the sake of argument, let’s grant Bloomberg that second-hand smoke inhalation can lead to heart attacks (even though the evidence is suspect) and let’s further grant that his policies of banning smoking in the bars and raising cigarette taxes encouraged more people to quit smoking. This still doesn’t change the fact that heart disease takes decades to develop, and any government actions taken three-and-a-half years ago to reduce smoking-even if they could be effective in the long-term-would not have an immediate impact on heart attack rates or life expectancy. I’m surprised that George Will would allow Bloomberg to advance such a canard without challenging him.
Over at Reason Nick Gillespie peruses Charles Rangel’s resurrected not-necessarily-just-a-military-draft proposal and notes, “The only thing more nauseating than a Cold War-style military draft is one based on ‘national service’ that is inevitably defined as some sort of public-sector job.” Good stuff. The rest is here.
You’ve heard of the “Bridge to Nowhere.” Well, with the election of Rep. Heath Shuler, you can bid farewell to Western North Carolina’s “Road to Nowhere,” the $600 million project pushed by the now-removed Republican Rep. Charles Taylor.
He was so proud of his pork, too.
The Cohen Research Group tacks some presidential preference questions
(.pdf) onto the end of a market research survey about a dog-related
When asked whom the dog owners would vote for as the next President, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) won out by a more than seven percent margin of 38.5% to 31.3% over Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY). However, when asked if their dogs could vote, Doggie Moms and Doggie Dads predicted their best friends leaned more to the Left giving Clinton a very slight edge over McCain (29.3% to 28.7%).Um, okay…
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