Re: Jeffrey Lord’s Colin Powell and the Failure of Moderate Republicanism:
“Something should be said here about Powell. Was he a good general? Yes indeed. His leadership in the Gulf War was superb. Is he an American patriot? Dumb question. He is one of the finest. Has he served his country well for his military career? Yes, but of course. Did he deliberately lie to the United Nations about the presence of weapons of mass destruction while Secretary of State? No again.”
Did he know the source of the leak in the Valerie Plame affair and conceal it while allowing an innocent person to be put through hell because of his dislike for the administration? Yes.
Is this a major character problem? You bet it is.
— Ned Schrems
Jeffrey Lord’s essay about Colin Powell and the failure of moderate Republicanism is superb, and should be required reading by anyone urging the GOP to move to the political center.
I hope that someone will share the essay with General Powell. If Powell could articulate the wisdom of classical liberal thinkers such as Friedrich Hayek and Adam Smith as he does that of the military strategists in the excerpt which Lord includes from Powell’s memoirs, he would stop advocating “bread slicing” economics and begin supporting “bread baking” economics, to use the “economic” terms Lord ascribes to the late Jack Kemp.
A truly “keeper” essay.
— Timothy Wise
If Colin Powell was such a superb general in the first Gulf War, how come Saddam stayed in power for years after and he massacred the Kurds and the marsh Arabs after the George H.W. Bush administration encouraged them to rebel and then left them in the lurch? That was a disgraceful act of cowardice; it served George H.W. Bush right that he wasn’t reelected, and Powell should have gone down the tube with him. Powell had a second chance to get it right when George W. Bush went to war with Iraq and Afghanistan, but we all know how well that turned out, don’t we. Powell was closely involved in two Gulf Wars and neither of them does him any credit. Any genius he might have had was thoroughly disguised on those two occasions. Powell’s military abilities are the same as the political abilities Jeffrey Lord correctly identifies — there is nothing there.
— Christopher Holland
What a fascinating age/page. People becoming so emotionally as well as intellectually and publicly involved in a commentary! But to comment on the commentary at hand, I agree with the writer that Powell is not the one to defer for an astute political opinion. Nor should he be considered either a Republican or a conservative, which, in my mind, of which I don’t have much, admittedly, should be one and the same; there should be no such thing as a “moderate” or “progressive, i.e. liberal,” Republican. (On a different tack, how dare the liberals subsume the term progressive!!) Additionally, I wholeheartedly agree with the comment that too much in the article cites Powell’s extraordinary military leadership. I mean, really! Powell reminds me of the Army general who was relegated to greeting the Martians in the movie “Mars Attacks” and I would be willing to bet that Powell was the model for this character. I look forward to reading the opinions of others as time progresses.
— Howard Tiller
WHAT YOU DON’T SEE IS EVEN WORSE
Re: W. James Antle, III’s Running on Empathy:
Sotomayor’s beliefs on the role of a judge are truly frightening. Unfortunately, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Supreme Court nominees get lots of exposure in the press because of the nature of the position. But Obama gets to appoint many federal judges who don’t get the same public scrutiny. These federal judges can do even more damage because relatively few of their decisions get reviewed by the Supreme Court. If the like of Sotomayor is what Obama nominates to the highest court of the land, can you just imagine what is getting nominated to the federal appellate courts?
If Sotomayor gets Senate approval, I know of some great shovel-ready projects for some of that stimulus money: removing the blindfold from the lady of justice statues sitting outside of courtrooms across the country. Those blindfolds will no longer be needed (or appropriate).
— Garry Greenwood
In nominating Sotomayor, President Obama has given the forces of the right a (hopefully singular) gift: a target rich environment. For too long the Grand Old Party has been without a unified voice. By strenuously opposing judicial activism the economic and religious conservatives, along with Libertarians, can form a chorus that will be a clarion call for reason and the foundation for building to party unity.
Sotomayor stating the courts, at any level, is “where policy is made,” is cause enough for all Republican senators to thoroughly and unflinchingly question her thinking. Now is the time to charge bravely forward. Folly is to be less than forceful, firm and philosophical when questioning Judge Sotomayor because she is a woman. Sotomayor brings with her a long history of opinions and rulings that demonstrate her judicial philosophy. This is fertile ground for questioning and opposition. No ad hominem attacks are necessary. The GOP can be soldiers of reason in a war against judicial activism without using the unprincipled methods of their loyal opposition (i.e., no Borking).
As for “what is in a judge’s heart”, The One is completely wrong: empathy and passions are irrelevant factors in analyzing case law, in fact, passion and empathy serve to cloud clear decision making. Aristotle wrote, “The law is reason, free from passion.” He understood that hot passions are impediments to judgment.
All people who write for/to TAS have great passion, but, as can be seen, especially in the comment section of the on-line editions, passion is not sufficient cause for reasoning clearly. Even with time to write, edit and deliberate, some people take positions that are contrary to all evidence and reason. Likewise, a judge who is ruled by passion cannot be reliable, for the heart is an ever changing as a weather vane. Laws are too important to be left to the passions of the heart.
— I.M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
“She has won support — and her first federal judicial nomination — from Republicans in the past.”
Justice Souter got his nomination for the Supreme Court from Republicans. Would that mean he was automatically entitled to their support after what he did on the bench?
— Robert Nowall
Cape Coral, Florida
Re: John Carlisle’s Corporate Sellouts:
Einstein once said, “I know of two things which are infinite: The universe, and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the universe.” Clearly, it is pointless to hope that some natural limit on human stupidity will come to our rescue. From cap-and-trade policies for a country which is already on the ropes, to “we are out of money now,” and therefore must immediately establish a national health service, we are in for a very bad time.
— David Reich
Auburn, New York