Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

This blog is devoted to a variety of topics including politics, current events, legal issues, and we even take the time to have some occasional fun. After all, blogging is about having a little fun, right?

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

A better test for John McCain

Aside from his irritating comments about "reaching across the aisle" or "bipartisanship," the primary ire amongst those opposed to John McCain comes down to one, simple issue: McCain/Kennedy. He can't spin his participation in that legislation away. Everyone knows the role he played in it. But in recent debates, and even on the talking-head shows, the moderators are basically allowing him to spin his way out of it by asking him if he'd sign the bill if it arrived on his desk. His obvious spin-meister answer is "no, because that bill is dead and won't come back," or something to that effect.

Over at NRO's The Corner, Mark Krikorian received an e-mail with a far better test of John McCain's newfound stance on immigration and one, in which, provides him the least amount of wiggle room:

An e-mail passed on to me from Brent raises a great question:

Why is it that Russert/Cooper et.al. keep asking McCain if he would sign the hated S.1639 as President if given the opportunity (allowing him to weasel out of a direct answer by claiming it won't ever happen? Why not ask him this instead:"Senator McCain, there are currently two Senate versions of HR 4088, Rep. Heath Shuler's "SAVE Act", which focuses exclusively on border security and interior enforcement, and enjoys bipartisan support in the House. In light of your commitment to 'securing the borders first', will you work to assure passage of that bill, and would you sign it into law as President if granted the opportunity?"

Try to make him say yes or no, and see how he reacts. I simply don't understand why they keep bringing up the issue in a way he can weasel out of stating unequivocally what he will do if elected.

I'm ashamed I hadn't thought of this myself. People on the Hill have told me that the House Democrat leadership may actually move
Shuler's enforcement-only bill to give their vulnerable members a better chance in November. So unlike a big amnesty bill that McCain keeps telling us isn't going to happen, it's perfectly plausible that he would have to decide whether to vote for Shuler's bill this year or sign it next year. Would he do it? I know what I think, but someone needs to ask him. ...

I, of course, don't believe McCain either, and nor should you. But if McCain does want to placate immigration critics, he can take Mickey Kaus's advice and pledge not to promote or sign any legalization bill during his first term, focusing exclusively on enforcement, and reserve legalization and a "temporary" worker program as issues for his reelection campaign — at which point the voters could assess his progress in clamping down on illegal immigration, not the border governors, who would gladly lie for McCain to get an amnesty through.

Everytime he's asked the stupid question of "would you sign the amnesty bill," it allows him to weasel out of the answer, and deflect the simple fact that he was involved in it. The press is purposefully giving him these opportunities in an attempt to shore up his paltry image amongst conservatives.

The above question goes more to the heart, and would make him truly stand up for his 180 degree turn ont he issu. Likewise, Mickey Kaus' advice should be taken to heart. Get a commitment out of him that his first term will focus on enforcement and security first, and regularization and a guest worker program second, and only if he has a second term. At the very least, he can maintain voters in this respect, and should he only run for one term (he would be 76 at the end of his first term, and he's barely got the energy now for the campaign), his veep might be able to move forward on the second part of the immigration problem.

Remember, this is what killed him in 2007. This is what many pundits claimed would be the nail in his political coffin. (We weren't wrong, but we sure as Hell were not expecting him to change direction, and we weren't sure how the media was goingto give him cover on the issue.) IF a commitment to such an idea can be promised by him, and a promise of vetoing any sort of regularization for illegals until after ALL enforcement and secutrity provisions had been met, then he might have a chance with voters in the general.

Notice that I said in the general election. The primaries are far from over, and I'm only looking at McCain in the general. We'll be voting for Romney this coming Tuesday, and that's only because we really don't trust John McCain. But if he were to make these promises to voters, and if he were the nominee, then he might be able to pull some of those Republican voters out of their homes on election day.

Publius II

Thomas Sowell vs. John McCain: Blowing up the "straight talk express"

Thomas Sowell is easily one of the ten most brilliant writers/pundits on the face of the planet. He'll maek you laugh, he'll make you cry, but above all he'll make you think. And today, he hammers the Hell out of John McCain:

We have been hearing for years that Senator John McCain gives "straight talk" and his bus has been endlessly referred to as the "straight talk express." But endless repetition does not make something true.

The fact that McCain makes short, blunt statements does not make him a straight-talker.

There are short, blunt lies — and he told a big one on the eve of the Florida primary, when he claimed that Mitt Romney had advocated a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

Even the Washington Post, which supports McCain, said that the Senator "has distorted the meaning" of what Governor Romney said, that Romney "has never proposed setting 'a date for withdrawal.'" During Mitt Romney's ABC News interview that Senator McCain twisted, Governor Romney was asked by the interviewer whether he agreed with President Bush's veto of Congressional legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal, and whether Romney as President would veto similar legislation.

"Of course," was Romney's reply. There was no ambiguity.

Confronted with his lie on Wednesday night's debate, McCain blustered and filibustered in a manner reminiscent of Captain Queeg in "The Caine Mutiny," when he was caught in a lie during a navy inquiry.

When confronted with any of his misdeeds, Senator McCain tends to fall back on his record as a war hero in Vietnam.

Let's talk sense. Benedict Arnold was a war hero but that did not exempt him from condemnation for his later betrayal.

Being a war hero is not a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card. And becoming President of the United States is not a matter of rewarding an individual for past services.

The Presidency is a heavy responsibility for the future of the nation, including generations yet unborn. Character and integrity are major qualifications.

The passing years and a friendly media have allowed Senator McCain's shortcomings in the character and integrity department to fade into the background.

McCain was one of "the Keating five" — Senators who used their influence to try to protect a failing savings & loan company, which also became the subject of a corruption investigation.

During the 2000 primaries, the Associated Press reported Senator McCain's joking about people with Alzheimer's.

This went beyond bad taste because (1) it was known at the time that Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's and (2) the media to whom McCain was pandering hated Ronald Reagan.

It is especially ironic now to see McCain wrapping himself in the mantle of President Reagan.
With the momentum of his Florida primary win behind him, going into the "Super Tuesday" primaries, John McCain has now been restored to the position of front runner that the media gave him at the outset.

Other Republicans are jumping on his bandwagon. This may have less to do with McCain's own qualities than with the prospect of getting Cabinet posts or Supreme Court appointments as rewards for their political support.

It may all look like a done deal. But the McCain-Kennedy bill giving amnesty to illegal aliens looked like a done deal two years ago — until the public realized the truth behind the spin and brought that sell-out to a screeching halt.

Super Tuesday may be the voters' last chance to bring the so-called "straight talk express" to a screeching halt.

It should be called the "sell-out express" because McCain has sold out not only with amnesty for illegal aliens but also sold out the First Amendment with the McCain-Feingold "campaign finance reform" bill that was supposed to take big money out of political campaigns, but blatantly has not.

McCain also sold out on judicial nominations by making his own side deal with the Democrats, undercutting Republican attempts to stop Democrats from filibustering judicial nominees instead of voting them up or down.

This is quite a record for someone running as a straight talker.

John McCain's "straight talk" has always been BS; a snowjob for Republicans in the hopes they won't notice the knife he just plunged into their backs. But the Republican base has been aware of his shenanigans for far too long. Ever since he lost in SC in 2000 John McCain has had it out for the Republican party, and he's trying to remake the party in his image instead of allowing the party's main platform mold him into a better Republican.

Lying comes naturally to him. He lies with an arrogant ease, and if challenged, expect to see that "spark" from him -- the infamous McCain temper. In fact his temper is so much of an issue for many voters that Team Romney assembled a top ten list for his outbursts, complete with cross-referenced reporting of the incidents.

See John McCain can spin himself anyway he wants, but he can't change the fact that the base is well aware of his predilections for working with Democrats, his temper, and his conceited audacity. If it's one thing John McCain has is an ego in believing he is the "only conservative" in this race.

Senator McCain, you have no concept of what the term means.

Publius II

AQI strikes pet bazaar in Baghdad

After months of substandard tactics by AQI, the animals finally made headway in using two females with downs syndrome to kill 73 people today:

Remote-controlled explosives strapped to two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring.

The chief Iraqi military spokesman in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, claimed the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control, indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker said the bombings showed that a resilient al-Qaida has "found a different, deadly way" to try to destabilize Iraq.

"There is nothing they won't do if they think it will work in creating carnage and the political fallout that comes from that," he told The Associated Press in an interview at the State Department.

The first attack Friday occurred at about 10:20 a.m. in the central al-Ghazl market. The weekly bazaar has been bombed several times since the war started but recently had re-emerged as a popular place to shop and stroll as Baghdad security improved and a Friday ban on driving was lifted.

Four police and hospital officials said at least 46 people were killed and more than 100 wounded. Firefighters scooped up debris scattered among pools of blood, clothing and pigeon carcasses.

About 20 minutes later, a second female suicide bomber struck a bird market in a predominantly Shiite area in southeastern Baghdad. That blast killed as many as 27 people and wounded 67, according to police and hospital officials.

This just shows the utter depesration and depravity of our enemy. Thjey've used hostages in the past, and even children. Now they're relying on mentally handicapped people to do their dirty work. I've heard of detonating your way to paradise, but to use mentally handicapped people? Come on, that's low.

AQI is definitiely facing hard time in Iraq. Not too long ago, an Iraqi minister pronounced that 75% of AQI was destroyed in the wake of the surge, and the deployment of Iraqi forces. Aside from a few minor skirmishes, and an occasional bombing, AQI had been relatively quiet. Now this happens.

We still have surge troops in Iraq, and the Iraqi forces are getting larger and stronger everyday. So let's go get these animals before they do anymore damage, or cause more innocent lives to be lost.

Publius II

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Cyber Storm scenario

This report from the AP (please take it with a grain of salt) gioves us an idea of some of the things that keeps the White House up and pacing the halls at night:

In the middle of the biggest-ever "Cyber Storm" war game to test the nation's hacker defenses, someone quietly targeted the very computers used to conduct the exercise.

The surprising culprit? The players themselves, the same government and corporate experts responsible for detecting and fending off attacks against vital computer systems, according to hundreds of pages of heavily censored files obtained by The Associated Press. Perplexed organizers sent everyone an urgent e-mail marked "IMPORTANT!" instructing them not to probe or attack the game's control computers.

"Any time you get a group of (information technology) experts together, there's always a desire, 'Let's show them what we can do,'" said George Foresman, a former senior Homeland Security official. "Whether its intent was embarrassment or a prank, we had to temper the enthusiasm of the players."

The exercise was a big deal for all concerned.

The $3 million, invitation-only war game simulated what the U.S. describes as plausible attacks over five days in February 2006 against the technology industry, transportation lines and energy utilities by anti-globalization hackers. The government is organizing a multimillion-dollar "Cyber Storm 2," to take place in early March.

Among the mock disasters confronting officials in the previous exercise: Washington's Metro trains shut down. Seaport computers in New York went dark. Bloggers revealed locations of railcars with hazardous materials. Airport control towers were disrupted in Philadelphia and Chicago. Overseas, a mysterious liquid was found on London's subway.

The list of fictional catastrophes — which also included hundreds of people on "No Fly" lists suddenly arriving at airport ticket counters — is significant because it suggests what kind of real-world trouble keeps the White House awake at night. Railway switches failed. Planes flew too close to the White House. Water utilities in Los Angeles were compromised.

The Homeland Security Department ran the exercise, with help from the State Department, Pentagon, Justice Department, CIA, National Security Agency and others.

Imagined villains included hackers, bloggers and even reporters. In one scenario, after mock electronic attacks overwhelmed computers at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, an unspecified "major news network" airing reports about the attackers refused to reveal its sources to the government. Other simulated reporters were duped into spreading "believable but misleading" information that confused the public and financial markets, according to the government's documents.

The upcoming "Cyber Storm 2" in March also will simulate electronic attacks against chemical plants and communication lines, and include targets in California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.

"They point out where your expectations of your capabilities may be overstated," Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told the AP. "They may reveal to you things you haven't thought about. It's a good way of testing that you're going to do the job the way you think you were. It's the difference between doing drills and doing a scrimmage."

The AP obtained the Cyber Storm internal records nearly two years after it requested them under the Freedom of Information Act. The government censored most of the 328 pages it turned over, marked "For Official Use Only," citing rules against disclosing sensitive information. The government is still reviewing hundreds more documents before they can be turned over to the AP.

"Definitely a challenging scenario," said Scott C. Algeier, who runs a cyber-defense group for leading technology companies, the Information Technology Information Sharing and Analysis Center.

For the participants — including government officials from the United States, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and executives from technology and transportation companies — the mock disasters came fast and furious: hacker break-ins at an airline; stolen commercial software blueprints; problems with satellite navigation systems; trouble with police radios in Montana; school closures in Washington, Miami and New York; computer failures at border checkpoints.

The incidents, designed to tax responders, were divided among categories: computer attacks, physical attacks and psychological operations.

"We want to stress these players," said Jeffrey Wright, the former Cyber Storm director for the Homeland Security Department. "None of the players took 100 percent of the correct, right actions. If they had, we wouldn't have done our job as planners."

How did they do? Reviews were mixed. Companies and governments worked successfully in some cases. But key players didn't understand the role of the premier U.S. organization responsible for fending off major cyber attacks, called the National Cyber Response Coordination Group, and it didn't have enough technical experts. Also, the sheer number of mock attacks complicated defensive efforts.

A wqord to readers, this was only a simulation, but for the past couple of decades war-gamers have constantly looked at cyber attacks that could do significant damage to not only infrastructure, but also, as the report states, hampering defensive and emergency response efforts.

Now, being bloggers ourselves, we can't fathom the idea of blogger revealing any sort of national security secrets if they get their hands on them. Most bloggers we know of, have spoken with, etc., wouldn't reveal such things to the public where our enemy could obtain such things. Chances are, bloggers would link with one another, and work to help coordinate information and response efforts. Maybe the government forgot this, but there were plenty of bloggers during Hurrican Katrina who stayed behind, and helped disseminate over-hyped media reports. They also helped National Guard and FEMA responders locate those that were left behind, and hiding in what those people believed were safe places. That is a flip side of the scenario I don't think the gamers actually figured in.

This is interesting reading. It's good to know that we're doing what we can to prevent such nasty attacks. But it takes more than wargames to accomplish this. It takes planning, and having the best "cyber fighters" in our own arsenal.

Publius II

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A trip down memory lane

HT to Ace at Ace of Spades for this one:

While many conservatives are down on Bush and haven't been true supporters for some time, The Anchoress reminds us of his many virtues and accomplishments in a long, thoughtful essay.

It's fair to note the many ways in which he's failed us. And we do this frequently. But it's also fair to remember the ways in which he's done good, not just for us conservatives, but for the country and indeed the whole ungrateful world.

The essay is entitled "Bush rescues his own SS agent," and opens with that video. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend you go there and view it. In a foreign land, he was separated from one of his agents, detained at a doorway, but foreign security officials and protesters outside. The president does an about face when he realizes the agent isn't there, goes back into the crowd, and drags him through the doorway. I recall when this happened. I believe Marcie actually blogged on it at our old site, though I can't seem to find it there (problems with error pages; I guess Blogger's having a problem with our old site).

Regardless, their is also another video of the president throwing a perfect strike at the opening game of the of the World Series in New York City, all while wearing body armor that is anything but comfortable.

The essay is long, yes, but it's well worth reading. We always tend to bring up the things we disagree with when it comes to the president. But that's the way news goes. It's nice to see someone actually remind people that he's been a good president, for the most part, for this nation. Honestly, I can't see how history scholars wouldn't give him a favorable view twenty years down the road.

But please, give it a read. I think you'll recall many of the events that she cites. It's definitely, as Ace points out, a timely and appropo trip down memory lane.

Publius II

No one-on-one debate for McCain, Romney

Which really sucks for voters who have been wanting to see these two go at it since their little war started. From The Politico's Johnathan Martin:

NBC invited John McCain and Mitt Romney onto “Meet the Press” Sunday for a final debate before Super Tuesday. Romney, now the underdog and eager for opportunities to take on the frontrunner, immediately accepted. McCain, who appeared on the show last week and is looking to protect a lead, declined.

There has yet to be a head-to-head debate between the two frontrunners and likely won't be one before voters in 21 states go to the polls next week.

McCain and Romney will be joined by Mike Huckabee and Ron Paul tonight at the Reagan Library in a forum sponsored by Politico, CNN and the Los Angeles Times.

Romney was willing, and McCain opted out. that says something about the current frontrunner. I wonder if it's a lack of confidence in himself, or the fear that he might actually get his butt kicked in a debate, which could influence the vote on Super Duper Tuesday? Let's face hard facts here about the candidates. The Huckster and Ron Paul won't take the nomination. Aside from the Iowa win, the Huckster hasn't won squat since. Ron Paul has won NO primaries at all, and probably won't win any on Tuesday. (Expect him to be the next one bowing out on 6 February after a trouncing he won't recover from on SDT.)

So, we basically do have a two man race right now between these two, and the voters should see them debate one another for the coveted prize of the nomination. If not, then it falls to them to put their message out in ads. The problem is that neither one of them is really doing that. Both are taking swipes at one another, which leaves many voters cold and indifferent to both of them.

The presidential election is about ideas, and always has been. Reagan, in his bid, made voters look to the future, not the past, and not to his opponents. He stayed on message, and was a brilliant communicator. Both Romney and McCain share similar traits (other than McCain's incessant redux that goes back to Reagan rather than looking to the horizon). His refusal to do a one-on-one with Romney is denying the voters what they need, right here and right now, before SDT. They need to see what both men stand for, and a debate would have been the easiest way to show their strengths to voters.

Publius II

Mukasey on waterboarding; Dems throw hissy fit

Yeah, I'm about to dive into this subject again, which prompted a lot of ticked off e-mailers when it came up back in November, and that issue is waterboarding. Now, before anyone goes off half-cocked, let me cite the story from the WaPo first: (Please pay attention to where I put the emphasis, TY.)

Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey told skeptical senators today that it is "not an easy question' to determine whether waterboarding constitutes illegal torture under U.S. law, but he said there is no need to provide a clear answer because the tactic is no longer employed by the CIA.

During his first appearance at the Senate Judiciary Committee since becoming head of the Justice Department, Mukasey also refused to say whether it would be illegal for another country to subject a U.S. citizen to waterboarding overseas.

"If this were an easy question, I would not be reluctant to offer my views on the subject," Mukasey said, referring to the debate over the legality of waterboarding, an interrogation tactic that subjects the victim to simulated drowning. "But with respect, this is not an easy question."

Mukasey's lawyerly and limited responses prompted sharp criticism from the committee's chairman,
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who complained that "it is not enough to say that waterboarding is not currently authorized."

"Torture and illegality have no place in America," Leahy said.

Mukasey said that waterboarding appears to be clearly prohibited by current law in some circumstances but that other circumstances would present "a far closer question." He did not elaborate on what circumstances he was referring to, and said that any such discussion could reveal potential interrogation methods to America's enemies.

Under questioning from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), Mukasey said that some interrogation methods, such as maiming or raping prisoners, are clearly outlawed by statute.

Waterboarding is not specifically forbidden by law, however.

The waterboarding question became the central issue surrounding Mukasey's appointment, which was nearly derailed in November because of his refusal to render a firm legal judgment on it.

Mukasey testified that waterboarding is not part of a "limited set of methods" used by CIA interrogators. He also said he has found the current methods, which he did not specify, to be legal.

"I understand the strong interest in this question, but I do not think it would be responsible for me, as attorney general, to provide an answer," Mukasey said.

Kennedy complained about Mukasey's reasoning. "It's like saying you're opposed to stealing but not quite sure whether bank robbery would qualify," Kennedy said. "The CIA did use waterboarding and nobody is being held accountable."

First, to Senator Blowhard (and Barack Obama's new favorite friend), waterboarding isn't torture under the definition of the law. Congress had the chance to forbid the practice back in 2006, with the Military Commissions Act, and they balked at it. (The last speculated/reported time that waterboarding was used was back in 2003.) It's been used three times, and has been highly effective.

Michael Mukasey was right to hesitate in answering whether it's torture or not. Under US law, it's not. It hasn't specifically been outlawed. While there are some legal wranglings involved, such as whether the person believes they're in "imminent danger," the legal analysts like John Yoo have explained that waterboarding wasn't only covered by US law, at the time of it's use, but is considered to be in the purview of the president's war powers. He can order it to protect the nation, if he believes it will net him the necessary intelligence to act on behalf of national security.

Personally, I find those declaring waterboarding as torture to be partisan in their opinions. The letter of the law says this doesn't constitute torture. And Mukasey shouldn't be compelled to state what new techniques are used by our intelligence agencies to obtain real-time, workable intelligence. The Democrats have thrown hissy fits before, but this one takes the cake. They can be outraged all they want, but in no way should they be able to bully an administration official into saying something that can be used against them. And that's what they were trying to get out of him.

This wasn't about what was right and wrong, or whether something was legal or not. They wanted to beat on Mukasey in the hopes that he'd act like a self-loathing Republican, and apologize, or let slip something he shouldn't. These guys know that waterboarding could have been made illegal, but they didn't do it. Instead of kvetching about the issue, maybe they should have actually done something; maybe they should have done their job. That's the easiest way to end this debate, but they don't seem eager to do that, which proves, once again, that Democrats can't provide a solution. They just b*tch about the problems.

Publius II

If Captain Queeg thinks this is going to be easy, think again

OK, I didn't intend today to be a McCain day here, but that seems to be all anyone is talking about (except of course for the outbreak of global warming in the Middle East that I highlighted earlier). The Washington Times is no exception as they highlight talk radio's "war" on John McCain. And yes, they cite our favorite host who is aware of the race as it sits right now, and what might happen in terms of a worst case scenario. From the Times piece:

Conservative talk radio is ganging up on presidential candidate John McCain, attacking him for joining Democrats to push liberal legislation and opposing bedrock Republican positions from tax cuts to immigration.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appears to be the favorite of conservative talk-radio stars and stands to benefit from their distaste for the Arizona senator, who is running neck and neck with Mr. Romney in the race for the presidential nomination.

While most polls show the two men in a dead heat in key primary and caucus contests across the nation, the campaign battle on talk radio has turned into a lopsided offensive against Mr. McCain, whose positions on illegal aliens, President Bush's tax cuts, oil exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and campaign-finance regulation have infuriated conservative commentators.

"I don't think talk radio has changed their core views. Look at Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, Mark Levin and myself, all center-right conservatives generally supportive of the Republicans," talk-radio host Hugh Hewitt told The Washington Times.

"I think if you were to poll that universe of talkers, you would find they would be anti-McCain-Feingold [on campaign finance]; anti-McCain-Kennedy [on immigration], except for Medved; pro-oil exploration in ANWR; and supporters of the Bush tax cuts," Mr. Hewitt said as he ticked off bills the Arizona senator has championed or opposed in the Senate.

"So the hostility toward the McCain legislative record shouldn't surprise anyone," the founder of the conservative Townhall Web site said.

Mr. Hewitt also told the Associated Press yesterday that "Senator McCain is a great American, a lousy senator and a terrible Republican. He has a legislative record that is not conservative. In fact, it is anti-conservative." He said he would support Mr. Romney "if I was voting today."

For weeks, Mr. Limbaugh, the king of talk radio, also has pounded Mr. McCain as a Republican who deserted his party's positions on core issues — from his earlier opposition to the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 to his support with Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, for an immigration bill that would have given illegal aliens a path to citizenship.

Captain Queeg needs to get this through his thick skull, and damn quick: You have honked off the people you absolutely need to win. without us, you stand no chance against Hillary or Obama, and I could care less what the bloody polls show. (HT to Allah over at Hot Air for those numbers, BTW.) He needs the base, and he'll have to make amends, and meet us halfway to achieve our support. I haven't listened to Limbaugh in well over a decade, so his spat with McCain is neither here nor there. He is the most influential host on talk radio right now, and it's amusing to see the media breathlessly reporting on this tit-for-tat between him and Captain Queeg. (Incidentally, I'd love to see the Arbitron numbers while this is going on. I'm sure Rush is laughing at the media all the way to the bank. Keep hyping it you MSM morons.)

The simple fact of the matter is that pundits such as Hugh and Rush, along with the bevy of other conservative talk show hosts, are far from burying the hatchet with McCain (unless they'd like to proverbially bury it in his back). Neither are we. We've known this man for far too long, and we know far too much of his legislative history. Mona Charen rightly acknowledges that Captain Queeg has spent far too much time sticking his fingers in our eyes for the last eight years, and setting aside differences with him isn't going to be easy. Will talk radio come around? If they heed the warning from Hugh they will.

Sitting out the election because you don't like him, and you can't stand the Democrats is a sure way to ensure a Democrat president. Given that the congressional elections this year look bleak (at least for the GOP in the Senate with 23 seats up for reelection or special election), the idea of a Democrat president like Hillary or Obama, and a Democrat controlled Congress might have many Republicans contemplating suicide. So it's imperative to win, at the very least, the White House. Even though Captain Queeg likes reaching across the aisle in favor of the over-hyped idea of bipartisanship, he can befuddle the Democrats as much as President Bush has. (Remember that he is, supposedly, a fiscal hawk.)

Similar sentiments are being issued across the 'Sphere but a number of pundits, and many of them concede that while they'll likely vote for him in the general, they're not ready to make nice with him just yet. And we shouldn't. This race is far from over, and with Super Duper Tuesday right around the corner, things could change drastically next week. So yes, while many of us won't sit at home, and we would be willing to vote for him to stave off a Hillary or Obama victory, we're still holding out hope that all is not said and done, and we might actually get someone that isn't hostile to conservatives. Captain Queeg has shown that irritability with us, and I still think that ire comes from his loss in 2000.

Publius II

Middle East rocked by global warming; someone call the Goracle!

I wonder if the Goracle realized that he'd be the focus of ridicule in years past and present with this global warming alarmist rhetoric. If he does, do you think he would have done it to begin with? Probably. He wasn't exactly the brightest bulb in the box. And today, the Middle East was the site of an outbreak of global warming:

A rare snowstorm swept the Middle East on Wednesday, blanketing parts of the Holy Land in white, shutting schools and sending excited children into the streets for snowball fights.

The weather in Jerusalem topped local newscasts, eclipsing a government report on Israel's 2006 war in Lebanon.

Men in long Arab robes pelted each other with snowballs in the Jordanian capital, Amman, and the West Bank city of Ramallah, seat of the Palestinian government, came to a standstill.
"I'm originally from Gaza where snow never falls," said Bothaina Smairi, 28, who was out in Ramallah taking photographs. "The white snow is covering the old world and I feel like I am in a new world where everything is white, clean, and beautiful."

Jerusalem's Old City was coated in white. A few ultra-Orthodox Jews, wearing plastic bags over their hats to keep them dry, prayed at the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site.

Snow falls in Jerusalem once or twice each winter, but temperatures rarely drop low enough for it to stick. The Israeli weather service said up to 8 inches of snow fell in the city.

By late morning, the snow changed to rain, turning the city into a slushy mess. But forecasters said temperatures were expected to drop, and the snow would continue through Thursday morning.

Heavy snow also was reported in the Golan Heights and the northern Israeli town of Safed, and throughout the West Bank.

In Ramallah, residents were surprised to see snow when they awoke. For some, it was their first time.

"I am just astonished with the snow. When I saw the snow this morning, I felt happy, my heart was laughing," said Mary Zabaro, 17.

In Amman, where a foot of snow fell, children used inflatable tubes as sleds. Some roads were temporarily closed.

Snow covered most mountain villages and blocked roads in Lebanon. The storm disrupted power supplies in most Lebanese towns and villages, exacerbating existing power cuts. Parts of the Beirut-Damascus highway were closed.

Temperatures in Syria dipped below freezing and snow blanketed the hills overlooking the capital, Damascus.

The AP forgot to note that the Goracle was unavailable for comment. Here's a link to the photos of the snow on the ground. I do miss the snow. I've lived in Arizona since 1981 after moving here from Illinois. I see it every once in a while when we take a trip up north, but man, I do miss waking up on those winter mornings and being greeted with a fresh blanket of new-fallen snow.

Publius II

NRO talks McCain

On the heels of McCain's win in Florida last night, National Review has put up a symposium to discuss his candidacy, and possible nomination. Here are a couple of highlights from Mona Charen and Victor Davis Hanson:

Mona Charen
McCain’s phosphorescent patriotism (including his sacrifice for the country) has always been his greatest selling point and will continue to win respect and affection from conservatives as the general election approaches. Though admittedly he has a sense of humor, he has delighted in sticking his finger in our eyes on many occasions. Also, his ferocious defensiveness about his own honor often takes the shape of impugning the motives of those who differ with him.

On domestic policy he is not a conservative. As between Romney and McCain, Republican voters in Florida were asked to choose between a recent convert (if you will) and a false flag. Take abortion: McCain has touted his Senate record, but that misses his tone and affect. In 2000 he told The San Francisco Chronicle that “certainly in the short term or even in the long term I would not support the repeal of Roe v. Wade.” He backed off after conservatives howled, but the same lack of commitment on the question was revealed in his support of stem cell research.

McCain/Feingold was an assault on the constitution. The immigration bill was utterly heedless of the concerns of the majority of the conservative electorate. Yes, he’s been fine on spending, but let the New York Times show a little ankle and McCain gets weak in the knees.

On foreign policy, McCain remains a most admirable hawk. All honor to him for being right about the surge. But then there are weird failures of understanding on other matters. McCain believes Bush wasted seven years by not seeking negotiation between Israel and the Palestinians sooner! You simply cannot get more conventional Washington, D.C., thinking than that.

I don’t think McCain will reach out to conservatives. He probably believes (not without some justification at this juncture) that it’s up to us to come to him. But every time I take a step in his direction, I’m reminded of some other apostasy (taxes!) and I recoil.

I believe Ms. Charen's final point is poignant: He won't be reaching out to us. He'll be telling us that if we want him, we'll have to come to him. McCain is not the sort of person to go to his constituents with hat in hand trying to cajole them to his side. He is a true maverick in every sense of the word. The question for voters is can they set aside their differences with him -- as we have maintained that we will -- and make sure a Democrat doesn't win the White House. In the long run (and it's a long way to November) we believe most will. They won't like it. Some may even, literally, hold their noses in the polling place while voting for him. Maybe even a couple might have to be dragged kicking and screaming. But the choices are slim -- vote for McCain, or vote for a Democrat; either of which right now have espoused Euro-socialist agendas.

Victor Davis Hanson
I pray that John McCain can rally the base — since whatever anger conservatives hold toward him should pale in comparison to the specter of 16 years of the Clintons or Barack Obama’s European-style democratic socialism (with John Edwards as a possible attorney general). His acceptance speech seemed designed to do just that by references to tough judges, magnanimity shown his rivals, the evocation of conservatism, and a promise to stick to its principles, and I expect that will continue.

He might also:

1. Either overtly or privately assure conservatives that his vice presidential pick will be a base conservative — someone, for example, like Fred Thompson. A possibility at a future date would be to consider the arch-rival Romney (in the manner that Reagan selected the younger bitter rival “voodoo economics” George Bush) as a VP candidate (especially key, given McCain’s age and Romney’s robustness).

2. Drop the names of the sorts of Cabinet appointments he might make — Rudy Giuliani as attorney general, Joe Lieberman as secretary of defense, Romney as secretary of treasury, etc.

3. Meet head on with the Right media — go on with Hannity, Rush, etc., talk with National Review, etc. — and take the blows and acknowledge past differences, occasional rifts, and promise conservative principles — and do so in a gracious manner.

4. Stress the common adversary, especially the far left-agenda voiced by Obama and Edwards, and the reprehensible tactics of the Clintons.

5. Seek out more piling-on with Republican-establishment endorsements, which is a real likelihood given the human propensity to align with a perceived winner. Expect Thompson to fall in line soon.

A final note: Conservatives who are skeptical of McCain should realize that their reconciliation with him should be easier than that of moderates and independents with Clinton. The former disagrees over ideology, but considers McCain a principled person and a hero; the latter have no problem with Clinton’s politics, but are quite repelled by the lack of character and principles shown by Billary.

I would expect National Review to continue with its endorsement and promotion of Mitt Romney, but also I anticipate that should McCain win, and I think that he will, NR will rally to unify behind the nominee whom the Clintons rightly fear.

Even though McCain may despise doing it, hopefully his campaign people are urging him to do something to reach out to the conservative base to repair the rift. Talk isn't going to do it unless he hits the right notes. Mr. Hanson is spot-on with his suggestions of naming possible Cabinet members, emphasizing the ideological differences between liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, and by reminding people that over the course of the next four years as many as three to four justices will be leaving the high court. Would Republicans favor the Democrats making those choices, thereby condemning the high court to decades of activist darkness and enforced socialist ideas (Kelo, Lawrence, Roe, anyone?), or will we trust him to appoint the right jurists. (He can actually help his situation here by adding someone like Ted Olsen to his campaign, and have him as an advisor in such decisions, as Rudy Giuliani said he would for his campaign.)

Of course the other point that was made by Ms. Charen, and it's one that I thought of last night, is that there is still a war going on. Now, he doesn't have the stellar record of others (stating that waterboarding is torture, creating new torture guidelines in an attempt to trump the president, throwing a hissy fit of no habeas rights for detainees, calling for the closing of Gitmo), but he is a powerful hawk who would stay on offense against our Islamofascist enemy. Why bring this up?

America knows it's still at war, and they know this enemy can't be given an inch of breathing room. To do so would allow them to regroup and reconstitute. It would also give them time to work with some of the worst regimes in the region, such as Iran and Syria. Furthermore, letting up on them will allow them to counterattack in Iraq and Afghanistan with renewed vigor. The Democrats are hyping just such a tactic by calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, and we know that a withdrawal from Afghanistan won't be far behind.

John McCain's record as a hawk, and the nation's continued support of our troops in harm's way and their mission stand in stark contrast to Democrats calling for retreat and withdrawal. IF McCain is the nominee, it will force the war back to the forefront of the debate thereby exploiting a significant weakness of the Democrats. Remember that a lot of conservatives weren't too pleased with President Bush in 2004, but they voted for him over John Kerry because Kerry was pledging the "over the horizon redeployment" strategy in the war. Conservatives rallied to that call, and made it clear they didn't want a losing strategy.

America hates to lose and loves to win. If John McCain makes that a primary point of his campaign, and couples it with the suggestions from Mr. Hanson, he could very well make peace with the conservative base. At the very least, less conservatives would be inclined to hold their noses. But it comes down to him and how he handles this. We'll meet him halfway. His half should come in reassuring voters that he would be the best man to lead this nation, should he win the nomination.

Publius II

Rudy to drop out; will endorse Captain Queeg

And to all of e-mailers who are supporting McCain, no I will not drop the moniker of "Captain Queeg." It's my nickname for him, so quit asking me to stop using it. I dislike the man because of what he's done over the last eight years.

But my guy, Rudy Giuliani, will drop out of the race today:

Rudy Giuliani told supporters Wednesday he's abandoning his bid for president and backing Republican rival and longtime friend John McCain.

"I spoke with Rudy Giuliani this morning and he confirmed that he is dropping out of the race and will endorse Senator John McCain for president," New York Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno said in a statement.

Once the Republican presidential front-runner, Giuliani suffered a debilitating defeat in Tuesday's Florida primary.

The former mayor finished a distant third to the winner, McCain, and close second-place finisher Mitt Romney. After the results, Republican officials had said Giuliani would endorse McCain on Wednesday in California.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in advance of the public announcement.

Speaking to supporters Tuesday night, Giuliani stopped short of announcing he was stepping down, but delivered a valedictory speech that was more farewell than fight-on.

"I'm proud that we chose to stay positive and to run a campaign of ideas in an era of personal attacks, negative ads and cynical spin," Giuliani said as supporters with tight smiles crowded behind him. "You don't always win, but you can always try to do it right, and you did."

I really wish that Rudy would stay in it. By leaving now, he's tossing aside Super Duper Tuesday, where I think he could still pick up a number of states. Romney's staying in it. He's looking ahead. He knows he's facing an uphill battle against McCain, and these two are going to toss barbs back and forth at one another up through SDT.

The irritating part of Rudy's departure is that he's endorsing McCain, but if people didn't see that coming, then they haven't been paying attention. After all, who praised McCain in nearly every GOP debate? That's right, Rudy did.

So what do Rudy supporters do? Where do they go? I can assure readers that we're not jumping on the McCain bandwagon. We'll both be voting for Romney on 5 February here in Arizona. (Yes Marcie was gloating last night when word first came down from Marc Halperin last night; gloating because she's been right since October last year when Rudy started his stumble.)

Rudy voters should move to the best camp, which is Mitt, not McCain. Mitt is a conservative, unlike McCain, who continues to boast of conservative credentials he doesn't possess. He can talk about how he's learned his lesson on immigration, but we don't think he has. He can say he's a fiscal hawk, but given the climate change bill, and the attempted immigration bill, the idea of being fiscally responsible is preposterous. (Explain, please, Senator McCain the gas taxes involved in the climate change bill. Explain that to people who are already paying almost three dollars for a gallon of gas.)

With any luck, Mitt will pound him on SDT, and we can watch McCain go through a meltdown. If not, and he does become the nominee (thereby confirming the Biblical miracle), we will support him by voting for him. It'll hurt, but we're not going to waste our vote on a third-party candidate. We're not voting for a Democrat. And we're not taking our bat and ball, and sitting at home in a snit. This election is too important. If McCain goes on to be the nominee, and he is elected, the alternative media is going to have a busy four years keeping an eye on him, and keeping him in check.

Publius II

Edwards out -- "It just became clear it wasn't going to happen"

Yes, everyone get their hankies out because our favorite metrosexual is dropping out:

ABC News' Raelyn Johnson and Ed O'Keefe Report: Former senator John Edwards, D-N.C., will drop out of the Democratic presidential race on Wednesday.

"It just became clear it wasn't going to happen," as senior Edwards advisor tells ABC News.

Edwards, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination in 2004 then joined Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., as his vice presidential candidate, had placed poorly in several early contests,lagging behind rivals Senator Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill.

The former North Carolina senator will end his bid during a speech on poverty in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he began his White House campaign in December 2006.

His family, including wife Elizabeth, who is battling a recurrence of cancer and has been absent from the campaign trail since New Hampshire, is expected to be present.Edwards fought an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination, with a campaign focused on fighting poverty, uplifting the working middle class and guaranteeing universal healthcare for all Americans.

After being shut out of contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and his home state of South Carolina, Edwards was forced to defend continuing his campaign.

"I am in this through the convention and the White House," said Edwards in a recent interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos.

Those words became a standard line of defense.

But news of a decision to drop out of the race ends speculation that Edwards was aiming to be a kingmaker at the convention by collecting a significant amount of delegates to be able to have a say in who would become his party's nominee.

I wish I could say that this is a surprise, but it's not. It was clear that on the Democrat side, it was a two person race. Obama and Hillary have been going at each other from the word go. Hillary clearly sees Obama as a threat (Lord knows why, given his relative inexperience), and has been on the attack for the past several weeks. Obama's been firing back, but like I said Edwards has never had a shot.

Hopefully he will fade from the political stage, and retire to that mansion, and live in his America. Lord knows that our America has had enough of this shyster.

Publius II

Monday, January 28, 2008

George Will drills McCain

And I thought we had some pent up anger towards "St. John," but apparently we're not the only ones. Today, George Will unloaded on him, and despite the spin that Captain Queeg has put on criticism from the conservative pundits, he can't say that this is some form of flattery or jealousy. Key graphs:

That cloud has been a constant accoutrement of their careers, and has been influencing the nation's political weather for 16 years. But by the time Bill Clinton brought the Democratic Party in from the wilderness in 1992, the party had lost five of the previous six, and seven of the previous 10, presidential elections. Democrats were so grateful to him, and so determined not to resume wandering in the wilderness, that they averted their gazes to avoid seeing, and hummed show tunes to avoid hearing, the Clintons' routine mendacities.

Then, last week, came the radio ad that even South Carolinians, who are not squeamish about bite-and-gouge politics, thought was one brick over a load, and that the Clintons withdrew. It was the one that said Obama endorsed Republican ideas (because he said Republicans had some ideas). The Clinton campaign also accused Obama of praising Ronald Reagan (because Obama noted the stark fact that Reagan had changed the country's trajectory more than some other recent presidents -- hello, Bill -- had done).

This was a garden-variety dishonesty, the manufacture of which does not cause a Clinton in midseason form to break a sweat. And it was no worse than -- actually, not as gross as -- St. John of Arizona's crooked-talk claim in Florida that Mitt Romney wanted to "surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do" in Iraq because Romney "wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster."

Imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, the Clintons should bask in the glow of John McCain's Clintonian gloss on this fact: Ten months ago Romney said that President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki should discuss, privately, "a series of timetables and milestones." That unremarkable thought was twisted by McCain, whose distortions are notably clumsy, as when Romney said, accurately, that he alone among the candidates has had extensive experience in private-sector business. That truth was subjected to McCain's sophistry, and he charged that Romney had said "you haven't had a real job" if you had a military career. If, this autumn, voters must choose between Clinton and McCain, they will face, at least stylistically, an echo, not a choice.

But that dreary scenario need not come to pass. Romney seems to have found his voice as attention turns to the economy, a subject on which McCain seems neither conversant nor eager to become so. And in South Carolina, Obama, more than doubling Clinton's 27 percent, won a majority of the votes, becoming the first person in either party to do so in a contested primary this year. He won a majority of men and of women, which pretty much covers the rainbow of genders. And he used his victory speech to clearly associate the Clintons with "the idea that it's acceptable to say anything and do anything to win an election" (hello again, Bill, you political ethicist who famously said "you gotta do what you gotta do") and "the kind of partisanship where you're not even allowed to say that a Republican had an idea -- even if it's one you never agreed with."

Obama is running against two Clintons -- or one and a fraction of one, given how much she has been diminished by her overbearing spouse. Romney is marginally better off running against a Clinton impersonator.

Now, let's add this tidbit to the mix. McCain has decided to use robo-calls to slam Mitt Romney. The transcript is below:

"I'm calling with an urgent Mitt Romney voter alert. We care deeply about traditional values and protecting families and need someone who will not [inaudible] in the White House, ending abortion, preserving the sanctity of marriage, [inaudible] the trash on the airwaves and attempts to ban God from every corner of society. These issues are core to our being. Mitt Romney seems to think he can fool us. He supported abortion on-demand, even wrote a law mandating tax payer funding for abortions. He says he changed his mind but he still hasn't changed the law. He told gay organizers in Massachusetts he would be a stronger advocate for [inaudible] rights than even Ted Kennedy, now it's something different. Unfortunately, on issue after issue, Mitt Romney has treated special issues voters as fools, thinking they won't catch on. Sorry Mitt, we know you aren't trust-worthy on the most important issues and you aren't a conservative. Paid for by John McCain 2008."

Johnathan Martin of Politico has confirmed that these calls have come from the McCain camp, therefore McCain has gone negative. It started with his disingenuous slap over the claim that Mitt was in favor of a withdrawal timetable. Now they're using slanted oppo-research to go after Mitt.

Look, McCain was bound to do this regardless of who was ahead or on his heels. I have said this repeatedly that he is running a very arrogant campaign, much like Hillary Clinton's (I'm happy to see that Mr. Will picked up on the similarities) and that's because he believes he deserves the nomination. He feels he was robbed in 2000, and if he loses the nomination this year, he'll claim he was robbed.

the presidency isn't for arrogant, condescending people, and shame on McCain for even thinking that he can run this sort of a campaign and get a pass. Not even his precious media is doing that for him.

Publius II

State of the Union thoughts

We watched it from beginning to end, then we printed out the speech to pour over it. All I can say is that for the most part we were fairly unfazed by it. It was the typical rhetoric to be expected of a president entering his final year. There were a few things that we took note of and enjoyed.

-- He again made a call for his judicial nominees to receive swift and fair treatment, and their appropo up-or-down vote.

-- He made it concisely clear that he wasn't going to tolerate this earmark malarkey from Congress any longer. Of course, our gripe about this point is that he swallowed his veto pen for five years while pork and earmarks went unchecked, and boondoggles like No Child Left Behind and the Medicare bill sailed through.

-- He highlighted operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, and he also stated that there will be minor troop withdrawals in the coming months; a draw down of surge forces, as he promised. But he qualified that with a reminder that the commanders on the ground will have the final say. Additionally, the recently dispatched Marines to Afghanistan are being sent for a surge of sorts there to help coalition and NATO forces that are still dealing with cross-border raids.

-- On the subject of immigration, he sounds far more believable that John McCain does when he talks about security and enforcement first. He still wants a guest worker program, which we do support. Time will tell if he's serious about this point.

To be honest, we found ourselves yawning at a couple of points. It's not that we weren't interested, but the thing just seemed so blah-blah. We expected to see a bit more fire from a man that has just befuddled Congress for the last year. The overall gist of the speech was simple:

"If you think I'm a lame duck, think again."

That's what we wanted to hear, but did it take forty-plus minutes? Nope, it could have been summed up quicker and easier. But, then again, this is DC where hot air is prevalent. We'll continue to support this president, regardless of what was said, provided he's standing up for what he believes in. We believe he is sincere regarding pork, judges, and security-first on the borders. And he clearly isn't going to let the Democrats run roughshod on him. He's going to fight them, and if they think they're going to be able to blow the budget off they are sorely mistaken.

Publius II

Sunday, January 27, 2008

More on McCain -- A warning to K-Lo

John McCain has quickly become a focus for us in the house as we see him surge in the polls and take dirty, underhanded swipes at Mitt Romney. But there is also a level of foolishness from McCain supporters/cheerleaders. K-Lo at NRO's The Corner received the following e-mail; the premise of which is patently absurd:

I know a lot of people who are a political or are lifelong Democrats who will vote for McCain over Hillary or Obama. Has it ever occurred to "conservatives" that they might sit out and McCain might still win? What happens then? If there is a surer path to irrelevancy I can't think of one. I will tell you what, if Hillary slimes her way past Obama and it is McCain versus Clinton, I am not sure McCain will need the conservatives. Something for the right wing punditocracy to chew on as they declare jihad against McCain.

I say it's absurd because McCain will take a victory as a mandate for himself, not for conservatism. He's a rank political opportunist that doesn't support what conservatism is. He supports populism, and you can't lead a nation through such means. Clinton tried from '92-'00 to do this, and it meant he governed and "lead" through the use of polls. That doesn't lead anything except the people whose lives revolve around polls. That means that he's appealing to those that change their minds as quickly as the wind changes direction.

But by stating that he'll pull Democrats into his camp is a veiled slap at conservatives that he doesn't need us. And should he win without us (fat chance in Hell) then he'll treat us like he treats those who opposed him or criticized him. We'll be the "fringe." We'll be the unhinged masses that stand in opposition to the status quo, which is exactly what we don't need in DC. He's an insider and will never change his stripes.

But if we help him win -- if we support his candidacy -- then we will be labeled as those persuaded by his recent statements. The simple fact of the matter is that IF he is the nominee, many in the GOP base would end up holding their noses to vote for him. It's not that we buy his statements, but rather we understand that a Democrat in the White House would be significantly worse than a McCain presidency. At least with McCain he could be reasonably kept in check by the people. (It was the people of this nation, in conjunction with talk radio and bloggers that stopped McCain/Kennedy.)

The statements that he is for enforcement and border security first, now. The debate that is raging over at The Corner between the best and brightest of NRO dealing with McCain staffers and supporters claiming that his statements in John Fund's piece today were incorrect. (The argument is that they haven't been verified. What people need to remember about Fund is that he's not going to toss out a quote without corroboration. As yet, Fund has yet to issue a correction or retraction.) His statements of late are contradictory to his record.

Furthermore, the base isn't likely to forget what he has done over the last eight years. His record is out there and in the open. All people have to do is research him, and then ask themselves if they can support him as a first choice, or a second choice.

McCain doesn't treat the base with respect. When people raised their voices over McCain/Feingold, his answer was "trust me, I know what I'm doing." Yes, he knew what he was doing, and it took seven years to get part of that law overturned by the Supreme Court. With the Gang of 14, again it was "trust me." That deal threw seven very qualified jurists under the bus in favor of bipartisan support for an illegal filibuster. When it came to McCain/Lieberman, his only answer to the base is "climate change is real and something needs to be done." He disregards the fact that there is no consensus on the subject, and in fact many climatologists are stating the global warming nonsense was overblown to begin with. McCain/Kennedy was met with ire from across the nation -- both Republican and Democrat -- and he lashed out at us; chastising us for some perceived, unconfirmed bigotry.

Yes, he's a maverick. He's also a good American. But given his stance on recent issues, and how he is willing to side with Democrats rather than his own party when it really matters, it makes voting for him very difficult. I'm not saying we won't do that should he, by some miracle, get the nomination. But it's going to be a tough decision. There is this to ponder when it comes to a McCain presidency: When he takes the oath, there will be an awful lot of people paying close attention, and he will be given no quarter should he decide to lead via populism rather than conviction.

Publius II

John Fund on John McCain

Today John Fund has a thoughtful piece on John McCain in the WSJ that's well worth reading. Here's a snippet:

David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union and a key organizer of CPAC, says that Mr. McCain may find it easier than he thinks to make peace overtures to the CPAC attendees. "They are electorally focused like a laser beam on keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House," Mr. Keene told me. "McCain shouldn't talk about the past, but the future. If he emphasizes his record fighting pork-barrel spending and Islamic fanaticism, he will remind conservatives of where they agree rather than where they differ."

Mr. McCain can mention other issues, too. Bob Moffit, a Heritage Foundation official who worked closely with Mitt Romney when the then-Massachusetts governor passed a statewide plan mandating the purchase of health insurance, still likes Mr. Romney. But he calls Mr. McCain's health-care proposals "transformative, and the best of any candidate running." Sen. Tom Coburn, perhaps the most fiscally conservative U.S. senator, notes that Mr. McCain fought President Bush's 2003 Medicare drug entitlement plan. Florida conservatives admire Mr. McCain's refusal to support a federal insurance program to bail out Florida homeowners threatened by natural disasters--and his ability to secure the endorsement of the program's biggest booster, Gov. Charlie Crist, without retreating on the issue.

But Mr. McCain could further bolster his case by forthrightly addressing issues on which he can legitimately bridge issue differences he's had with conservatives. He told The Wall Street Journal's editorial board last month that he now recognizes the 2003 Bush tax cuts, which he voted against, helped spur economic growth. But he has seldom repeated that in public. He can and should acknowledge that scientific advances in adult stem-cell research have weakened the case for federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research that he has supported in the past.

Then there is the issue of judicial nominations, a top priority with conservatives. Nothing would improve Mr. McCain's standing with conservatives more than a forthright restatement of his previously stated view that "one of our greatest problems in America today is justices that legislate from the bench." Mr. McCain bruised his standing with conservatives on the issue when in 2005 he became a key player in the so-called gang of 14, which derailed an effort to end Democratic filibusters of Bush judicial nominees. More recently, Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief Justice John Roberts to the Supreme Court. But he indicated he might draw the line on a Samuel Alito, because "he wore his conservatism on his sleeve."

Therein lies the problem that many conservatives have with John McCain. It is the nagging feeling that after all of his years of chummily bonding with liberal reporters and garnering favorable media coverage from them that the Arizona senator is embarrassed to be seen as too much of a conservative.

This is the key point that we're stuck on regarding John McCain. In 2005 this poor old fool assembled the Gang of 14 to deliberately undermine the president's ability to appoint judges. It's irritating that he accuses Samuel Alito of being too conservative. My Lord, where was Johnny when Alito was being confirmed? WE watched the hearings, and Samuel Alito didn't wear a damn thing on his sleeve other than his judicial philosophy. Had he actually pushed his conservative ideals, Arlen Specter never would have voted for him. Susan Collins wouldn't vote for him. Olympia Snowe would have voted for him. The moderate/liberal Republicans in the Senate wouldn't have gone along with him.

The second part might actually be true -- that he's embarrassed to be seen as a conservative. If that's true, then it's time for him to shut up about his being like Reagan. Reagan was proud of his ideology, and fought for what he believed in when it came to his ideology. No one can say that Reagan didn't believe that conservatism and the Republican party was the right way to go. John McCain obviously doesn't believe that. And if he doesn't believe that he should be a staunch, strong conservative, then how can he be trusted to abide by his word now.

He claims to have "learned my lesson" about McCain/Kennedy, and that he wants enforcement first. Yet he said yesterday that he'd sign the bill if it arrived on his desk as president. (The exchange was rather testy with him coming very close to losing his temper on Tim Russert.) He has not one but rather two open borders advocates on his campaign. So it's impossible to trust him on the immigration issue.

Given that McCain/Lieberman and McCain/Kennedy are two bills that would end up costing the people of this nation a great deal of money with little, if any, benefits for Americans. The Lieberman bill is supposed to help this nation with non-existent global warming, and would end up costing us more money in terms of the taxes proposed. McCain/Kennedy was such a sham to begin with that no one believed that those that would fall under the provisions would get anything more than a slap on the wrist in terms of punishment. Based on this, and the fact that he was against the tax cuts, he can't be trusted on the economy.

He has called for the closing of Guantanamo Bay, using the same talking points that Democrats have about the base. That it's "an embarrassment" to America because of the "torture" that went on down there. (This shows you how much of a shill McCain is for the Democrats. He WAS tortured as a POW, and what we do now isn't torture.)He has tried to get waterboarding banned as a form of torture, which it isn't. Even the military admits that it's not torture. He was also very irate over the fact that Military Commissions Act of 2006 lacked habeas corpus rights for detainees. (He joined Sen. Arlen Specter in complaining about that; Specter claimed that without that it was unconstitutional.) As of right now the Supreme Court is deciding two such cases which challenge the lack of the habeas rights of detainees. (If the USSC follows the DC Circuit Court, the idea of such rights for detainees with neither “property or presence within the United States” will remain as is; that they have no Constitutional rights.)

He can't be trusted on immigration, or the economy, or on judges, and he's not as strong on the war as people believe. In short, John McCain isn't the sort of conservative that Republicans can count on.

Publius II

ADDENDUM: I have been challenged by e-mailers and one commenter that I'm misrepresenting John McCain's stance about McCain/Kennedy -- that he never said he would sign the bill. This comes directly from the Meet The Press transcript:

MR. RUSSERT: If the Senate passed your bill, S1433, the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Bill...

SEN. McCAIN: Mm-hmm.

MR. RUSSERT: ...would you as president sign it?

SEN. McCAIN: Yeah, but we--look, the lesson is it isn't won. It isn't going to come. It isn't going to come. The lesson is they want the border secured first. That's the lesson.

There's his response. "Yeah." Yes, he goes onto say what the lesson is, and that he's learned it, but again we are being asked to trust him. This is a man who has spent the last eight years sticking his fingers in the eyes of the base. When it comes to trust it has to be earned, and even though we will support whoever the nominee is, asking us to trust him is virtually impossible. I concur with Ace's succinct observation regarding this issue:

The fact is that if McCain had bowed to the conservative majority on a single issue -- immigration -- he would easily win the nomination. He refuses to do so. So appeasing and reassuring conservatives is not a priority.

Publius II

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Terror plot foiled

This is news that appears to have been, again, ignored by the MSM here, but the Australian Daily Telegraph has the scoop on a plot that would have erupted across Europe in a wave of terrorist bombing:

A GROUP of alleged Islamist extremists were planning a wave of suicide attacks across Europe before they were detained in Barcelona last weekend.

The group intended to carry out three attacks in Spain and one each in Portugal, France and Germany, an unnamed man who infiltrated the group told top-selling daily El Pais.

The report comes one day after Spanish judicial sources said that three of the six members of the group, who allegedly planned to blow themselves up, were still at large.

The preferred targets were public transportation networks, especially metro systems because of the difficulty which emergency services would have in reaching the injured there, according to the newspaper.

The attacks would be claimed in the name of al-Qaeda by Islamist warlord Baitullah Mehsud from Pakistan's tribal region of South Waziristan.

Mehsud is accused by Pakistani officials and the US Central Intelligence Agency of orchestrating former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto's killing in a gun and suicide bomb attack at a political rally on December 27. He has denied any involvement.

The informant arrived recently in Barcelona from France by train to help prepare the attacks, but then tipped off police to the group's plans, leading to the arrest on January 19 of 14 men - 12 Pakistanis and two Indians.

A US National Intelligence Estimate report released last year warned that al-Qaeda was training scores of recruits in the tribal regions of Pakistan.

Spain was the site of Europe's worst Islamic-linked terror attack when bombs went off on four commuter trains during the morning rush hour on March 11, 2004.

Last year 21 suspects, mainly from north Africa, were convicted of terrorism and other charges related to the bombings.

Isn't that funny? None of the nations targeted have anything to do with our war. Spain was the only one who had sent troops to Iraq, and was an active member of our coalition. After the bombings in Madrid in 2004 though they pulled out. They had been struck, the choice was clear, and the new government in Spain opted to bow out of the conflict out of fear that the attacks would continue should they stay.

But then what are these attacks about? Let this serve as one more lesson that appeasement with these animals NEVER works. They will continue to attack the West because their wholly intolerant of our way of life. They believe us to be decadent; sinful even in the eyes of Allah. Thyey don't care if these nations were involved or not. those nations aren't Muslim. They don't adhere to shari'a law. Therefore they are the enemy, and must be destroyed.

That's what this is about, and it also points out that we do have a serious problem in Pakistan, as this cell can be directly traced to that nation. We should, again, offer our assistance to President Musharraf in an effort to help him clean up the mes in the Waziristan region. If he refuses the assistance, then we need to apply pressure on him to break these Taliban/AQ cells in Waziristan. The tribal leaders there are turning on these animals, and maybe we could broker a deal with them to give them a hand. (Musharraf has repeatedly claimed it's difficult for him to control that region. A third-party deal could be brokered.)

But this plot just illustrates that this war is far from over, and appeasement never works the way some people think it will.

Publius II

John McCain's pre-emptive Dean Scream ... "Senator jumps shark, loses mind"

You gotta hand it to politicos like McCain that when they go off the rails, they really jump the tracks. Today, he jumped the shark in a way that would make Fonzie jealous. He wasn't content with just making a closing argument in Florida. Nope. Today, McCain leveled a bogus, deceitful charge at Mitt Romney.

The accusation? That Mitt Romney was in favor of withdrawing from Iraq. Follow the second link above to see what Allah has to say over at Hot Air about the ad. The AP got the scoop on the new line of attack and it's so damned dishonest that McCain supporters ought to question why their man is lying like the Clintons do:

Opening a new line of criticism in Ft. Myers as the two candidates campaigned along the state's southwest coast, McCain told reporters about Iraq: "If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher."

Minutes earlier, he took a slap at Romney without naming him during a question-and-answer session with Floridians, saying: "Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster."

Asked about the comment in Land O' Lakes, Romney balked. "That's dishonest, to say that I have a specific date. That's simply wrong," he said. "That is not the case. I've never said that."

"I know he's trying desperately to change the topic from the economy and trying to get back to Iraq, but to say something that's not accurate is simply wrong — and he knows better," Romney said.

Governor Romney is correct to defend himself. Hugh Hewitt has posted the following on his site. It's a press release sent out by Team Romney today:

Governor Romney Criticized Withdrawal Timetables And Instead Talked About Setting Metrics To Measure Progress:

Governor Romney: "You want to have a series of things you want to see accomplished in terms of the strength of the Iraqi military and the Iraqi police and the leadership of the Iraqi government." (ABC's "Good Morning America," 4/3/07)

Governor Romney: "Could you imagine the setting where during the Second World War we said to the Germans, 'Gee, if we haven't reached the Rhine by this date why we'll go home,' or if we haven't gotten this accomplished we'll pull up and leave?" (ABC's "Good Morning America," 4/3/07)

Governor Romney Has Warned About Bringing American Troops Home Too Quickly:

Governor Romney: "Well, there's no question we all want to see our troops home as soon as we can possibly have them home. But we have to recognize that if we bring them home too quickly or in a way which leads to a collapse of the country or perhaps the Iranians grabbing the Shia south or Al-Qaeda playing a dominating role among the Sunnis or a Kurdish population destabilizing the border with Turkey, you could then end up with a regional conflict which would cause Americans to somehow have to get involved again – this time at a much more ugly situation with more casualties." ("Laura Ingraham Show," 3/9/07)

Governor Romney: "I Don't Think We Should Run Our Foreign Policy Based Upon Elections, Election Schedules Or Anything Of That Nature."

"But Mr. Romney said he did not agree with Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, the New York Democrat, that President Bush needed to resolve the war he started before he left office and not hand it off to his successor, as she said while campaigning in Iowa on Sunday. 'She can do what she likes – but I take exception to her conclusions,'” Mr. Romney said in an interview while campaigning across this state today. 'I don’t think we should run our foreign policy based upon elections, election schedules or anything of that nature.'" (Adam Nagourney, "Romney: Clinton's Wrong About Bush," The New York Times, 1/29/07)

Governor Romney Has Consistently Said There Must Be "Clear Objectives And Milestones":

Governor Romney Said There Must Be "Clear Objectives And Milestones" In Iraq. "This effort should be combined with clear objectives and milestones for U.S. and Iraqi leaders." (Romney For President, "Governor Mitt Romney On Iraq," Press Release, 1/10/07)

President Bush Has Himself Talked About The Importance Of Setting Benchmarks In Iraq:

President Bush: "Iraq's Leaders Must Continue To Work To Meet The Benchmarks That Have [Been] Set Forward." "As we help the Iraqis secure their capital, their leaders are also beginning to meet the benchmarks they have laid out for political reconciliation. … There's been good progress. There's a lot more work to be done, and Iraq's leaders must continue to work to meet the benchmarks that have set forward." (President George W. Bush, Remarks On The Fourth Anniversary Of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Washington, D.C. 3/19/07)

President Bush "Pleased" Iraqi Government "Meeting Benchmarks."

"I was pleased that he's meeting benchmarks that he had set out for his government. One of the benchmarks was to move Iraqi troops into the city of Baghdad – troops that will be complemented by our own troops. He is meeting those obligations. A second such benchmark is that he would change the rules of engagement so that criminals, regardless of their religion, would be brought to justice in equal fashion. He is meeting that benchmark. Thirdly, he passed a budget of which $10 billion is available for reconstruction. He said he would do that; the budget has been passed, he has met that benchmark." (President George W. Bush, Remarks Meeting With Ambassador Ryan Crocker, Ambassador-Designee To Iraq, Washington D.C., 2/16/07)

Senator McCain's view of the facts are clearly obscured. Why is that? Because just like in 2000 he's lashing out at those who are beating him. Captain Queeg is looser than a goose, and he's taking potshots at Romney because the polls don't look good for his success in Florida. His candidacy is jeopardized if Mitt takes one more state, and he fails to. Given the fact that Rudy has just an outside chance of winning Florida, conservatives are flocking to Mitt, and giving John McCain the well-deserved gesture that has won him tons of "fans" int he GOP base.

See, the base doesn't like him. No New York Times endorsement will change that. As a matter of fact, unless Ronald Reagan is going to rise from the grave to endorse McCain, not endorsement will matter. the base isn't listening to him anymore, and they're determined to make sure that he's not the nominee. Hugh is right to point out that the Clintons are playing the '96 strategy all over again. Dole was no more of a conservative than McCain is. He was weak and ineffectual. For lack of any other understanding of the '96 nomination, it was Dole's "turn" to take a stab at the presidency. McCain thinks, like Hillary, that he is owed the nomination. That's why he's acting the way he is.

Honestly, if you're a McCain supporter, feel free to comment, and lay out your case of McCain's "conservative" credentials. He's not one, and no other candidate -- even on the Democrat side -- has been more openly hostile to the Constitution. No way in Hell can anyone vote for this man in good conscience. Worse, holding your nose isn't the answer on election day if he's the nominee, and you stand behind the GOP. You'll need a bottle of Jack Daniels to wash that nasty taste out of your mouth.

Publius II