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.

Monday, March 31, 2008

A primer for poseurs

I decided I'd have a little fun at someone else's expense. See, earlier this evening Hugh Hewitt took a call from a seminar caller who was outed in an instant. So, for all the seminar callers out there that want to call him up, and challenge him, I'd like to offer a little piece of advice to you. STUDY up on your subject before you call.

The call started off on the wrong foot when the guy called him "Mike." He spun it away as he had just finished listening to Michael Medved, and was calling into talk to him. The guy claimed he listened all the time. So Hugh hit him with a softball --"What's my name?" He missed that one.

The man's name is Hugh Hewitt. He was born in Warren, Ohio on 22 February 1956. He graduated from Havard and University of Michigan Law School. He worked in the Reagan administration in the 80's. He oversaw the establishment of the Richard Nixon library in California; a man he ghost wrote for early in his career. His work with KCET in LA earned him three Emmy awards, and he conceived and hosted a 1996 PBS program called "Searching for God in America." He is the author of nine books, including his most recent "A Mormon in the White House?"

He is a fan of Ohio State and Notre Dame, and utterly despises and regularly ridicules USC. He is a Cleveland Indians fan and a Cleveland Browns fan. The man who produces his show is Generalissimo Duane Patterson, and his other minions behind the glass are Robby, Moses, and Adam. His wife is referred to as "the fetching Mrs. Hewitt" (who recently spent nine hours in traffic class after getting clocked at 89 mph).

His titles include Master of the Horse in Minnesota, the Archon of the Twin Cities, and he is the Minnesota Commissioner of Hockey.

REGULAR guests on his show include Congressman David Dreier, Congressman Hohn Campbell, James Lileks, Christopher Hitchens, "Columnist to the World" Mark Steyn, Deans John Eastman and Erwin Chemerinsky (the Smart Guys), Mike Allen (of Politico), Mort Kondracke, Fred Barnes, Larry Kudlow, Emmitt of the Unblinking Eye, and Tarzana Joe -- the official poet laureate of the Hugh Hewitt Show.

He has been in attendance of the Minnesota State Fair, and yearly travels to Disney Land. (While at Disney Land, he forces Duane to go through some convoluted "test" of stamina and strength -- the most hilarious one being doing the "It's a Small World" ride fifty times in a day; a feat he was unable to accomplish.)

This is just an overview of the man. I've never met him, and he knows me only through the times I call into his show. If I can amass this much knowledge of one person, the seminar poseurs should be able to at least pass his test regarding how much they know of him. So, my advice to those who call in claiming they listen to his show "all the time" is bone up on him. It's not that hard. Otherwise you're going to sound like a buffoon on the air like this poor soul did this past afternoon.

Publius II

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Media shocked by poll results; Hollywood yawns

A recent poll conducted by the media shows that "millenials" -- kids between the ages of 21 and 29 -- have a far better moral compass than Hollywood has portrayed them in recent years. (HT to Mark Steyn at NRO's The Corner.

From UPI:

Young Americans have a reverence for national institutions, traditions and family values, a U.S. survey indicates.

A survey of so-called "millennials" -- those between 21 and 29 -- revealed the group overwhelmingly said they support monogamy, marriage, the U.S. Constitution and the military, The Washington Times reported Sunday.

"We were completely surprised. There has been a faulty portrayal of millennials by the media -- television, films, news, blogs, everything. These people are not the self-entitled, coddled slackers they're made out to be. Misnomers and myths about them are all over the place," said Ann Mack, who directed the survey and is the official "director of trend-spotting" at J. Walter Thompson, the nation's largest advertising agency.

In addition to indicating 94 percent of millennials respect monogamy and parenthood and 84 percent revere marriage, the survey found 88 percent said they respect the U.S. Constitution, 84 percent respect the military and more than three-quarters believe in the "American dream."

Now while a lot of people will follow Hollywood's suit, and yawn at this poll. it means a little more to me. See, Marcie falls into that age range, and she shares much of the same opinions. She has nothing but respect for the Constitution (hence her desire to be a lawyer specialized in Con Law); she has the utmost respect for the military (her brother is an Army Ranger in Afghanistan); and her views of marriage are spot-on with regards to monogamy, and the institution itself (I wouldn't have married her otherwise, guys).

The idea that we think all these kids are slackers without any respect for the nation or the rule of law is preposterous. Sure there are a few (liberals, trust me) that act like the people on Friends, or the OC, or what have you (pick a frelling show where Hollywood represents the millenials as sack-jumping hormones with legs that dislike the nation, and have no respect for the rule of law), but for the most part the millenials have a great deal of respect for this nation, and the underlying morals it exudes.

This goes hand-in-hand with the theory that politics, like weather, moves in cycles. The Greatest Generation knew what it took to run the nation, and the generation that followed knew it as well. It's the baby boomers from the 1960s that screwed things up, had an utter disregard for respect and law and order. The following generation -- my generation -- also knows what it takes to preside over a nation and it's citizens. (Remember that Bobby Jindal is my age, and he's superb.) The next generation -- the millenials -- seem to be following in our footsteps, for the most part.

I'm not saying they'll be perfect, but they'll be better off than the doom-and-gloomers keep wailing about. I know people who say they weep for the future of this nation. And yet I can only take heart with the generations that are about to take over, and guide this nation into a bright and shining future.

Publius II

Questions surround Obama questionnaire

Politico has a bombshell report that is causing much consternation in the Obama camp. It seems that a couple of questionnaires that Obama's handwriting appeared on, which paints a much different view of the candidate, is in dispute as to whether he filled them out, or a staffer did:

During his first run for elected office, Barack Obama played a greater role than his aides now acknowledge in crafting liberal stands on gun control, the death penalty and abortion — positions that appear at odds with the more moderate image he has projected during his presidential campaign.

The evidence comes from an amended version of an Illinois voter group’s detailed questionnaire, filed under his name during his 1996 bid for a state Senate seat. Late last year, in response to a Politico story about Obama’s answers to the original questionnaire, his aides said he “never saw or approved” the questionnaire.

They asserted the responses were filled out by a campaign aide who “unintentionally mischaracterize[d] his position.” But a Politico examination determined that Obama was actually interviewed about the issues on the questionnaire by the liberal Chicago nonprofit group that issued it.

And it found that Obama — the day after sitting for the interview — filed an amended version of the questionnaire, which appears to contain Obama’s own handwritten notes added to one answer.

The two questionnaires, provided to Politico with assistance from political sources opposed to Obama’s presidential campaign, were later supplied directly by the group, Independent Voters of Illinois — Independent Precinct Organization. Obama and his then-campaign manager, who Obama’s campaign asserts filled out the questionnaires, were familiar with the group, its members and its positions, since both were active in it before Obama's 1996 state Senate run.

Through an aide, Obama, who won the group’s endorsement as well as the statehouse seat, did not dispute that the handwriting was his. But he contended it doesn’t prove he completed, approved — or even read — the latter questionnaire. “Sen. Obama didn’t fill out these state Senate questionnaires — a staffer did — and there are several answers that didn't reflect his views then or now,” Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for Obama’s campaign, said in an e-mailed statement.

“He may have jotted some notes on the front page of the questionnaire at the meeting, but that doesn't change the fact that some answers didn't reflect his views. His 11 years in public office do.” But the questionnaires provide fodder to question Obama’s ideological consistency and electability.

Those questions are central to efforts by Obama’s presidential rival Hillary Clinton to woo the superdelegates whose votes represent her best chance to wrest the Democratic nomination from Obama. Taken together — and combined with later policy pronouncements — the two 1996 questionnaires paint a picture of an inexperienced Obama still trying to feel his way around major political issues and less constrained by the nuance that now frames his positions on sensitive issues.

Consider the question of whether minors should be required to get parental consent — or at least notify their parents — before having abortion. The first version of Obama’s questionnaire responds with a simple “No.”

The amended version, though, answers less stridently: “Depends on how young — possibly for extremely young teens, i.e., 12- or 13-year-olds.”

By 2004, when his campaign filled out a similar questionnaire for the IVI-IPO during his campaign for U.S. Senate, the answer to a similar question contained still more nuance, but also more precision.

“I would oppose any legislation that does not include a bypass provision for minors who have been victims of, or have reason to fear, physical or sexual abuse,” he wrote. The evolution continued at least through late last year, when his campaign filled out a questionnaire for a nonpartisan reproductive health group that answered a similar question with even more nuance.

“As a parent, Obama believes that young women, if they become pregnant, should talk to their parents before considering an abortion. But he realizes not all girls can turn to their mother or father in times of trouble, and in those instances, we should want these girls to seek the advice of trusted adults — an aunt, a grandmother, a pastor,” his campaign wrote to RH Reality Check.

Now the people who conducted the surveys agree he probably didn't answer the questions himself, and that staffers might have done it for him. This led them to stalemate their endorsement of him or Clinton. They shrug this off as a candidate "modifying" their positions; all politicians do this, they say. While that may be true, Obama's track record regarding firearms and abortion are well known to those in Illinois.

He supported a bill that would have banned the sale of semi-automatic firearms -- the primary firearm used by regular people for their own protection. He also was in favor of a bill that would have allowed doctors the ability to let fetuses in failed abortions simply die. Those are two points that he can be hammered on by John McCain. Forget Hillary because she shares similar views. (While she has never supported a bill regarding fetuses of failed abortions, everyone knows she favors abortion.)

The Obama campaign is right to say that these surveys will provide "fodder" for his critics and for John McCain. But if they didn't want this out in the open, he shouldn't have worked on either survey, or made it implicitly clear that no one in his office was to fill out any sort of position survey. They did, and now he's catching heat for it. He can't spin positions he's taken in the past, especially if they are consistent with his views today.

Publius II

Who saved John McCain's candidacy?

According to Stephen Dinan, we did. That is bloggers, in general, not specifically Marcie and I. As he explains, while talk radio was ripping him a new one, bloggers did what the GOP is doing right now:

Even as talk radio was brutalizing Sen. John McCain in the Republican presidential primaries, conservative bloggers reached a respectful truce with the Arizona senator over touchy issues and gave him what the campaign called a "tremendous positive psychological" boost.

The main reason: Mr. McCain's blogger outreach, the most extensive of any presidential campaign in either party, helped keep him afloat in the dark days last summer when the major press was sizing up his campaign grave. During those times, Mr. McCain got attention and digital ink from the bloggers he invited to biweekly conference calls, and got a chance to talk policy.

"During the unpleasantness, whenever Senator McCain put himself in front of reporters, the question was always, 'How much did you raise today, when are you dropping out,' " said Patrick Hynes, a conservative blogger who Mr. McCain hired in 2006. "And then we'd put him on the phone with bloggers, and they'd want to talk about Iraq, and pork and chasing down al Qaeda."

For the campaign, it came down to deploying the campaign's best asset — Mr. McCain himself — in a forum where he can excel.

Mr. Hynes said the back-and-forth with bloggers took "a great deal of sting out of the criticisms" over immigration, Mr. McCain's push for campaign-finance changes and other areas where conservatives have registered their discontent with the senator, who has secured enough delegates to win the Republican Party's presidential nomination.

"It gave him a microphone when others had already left the building," said David All, one of the Republicans' Web pioneers who runs Slate Card.com and who said Mr. McCain has benefited from Mr. Hynes' ties to bloggers. "That very much symbolizes the role of bloggers: We don't have editors to report to, and there isn't a big meeting with editors every morning. What that comes down to is personal relationships."

It also helped that Mr. McCain treated bloggers similar to other reporters, including repeatedly inviting them to travel on the campaign bus with the press, said Matt Lewis, who blogs at TownHall.com.

"If anybody needed the blogosphere it was McCain," Mr. Lewis said, adding that Mr. McCain recently told bloggers he would continue to give them access throughout the campaign. "He essentially said, 'How could I not — there for a while this summer, you were the only people who talked to me.' "

See, here's the problem from where I sit. Talk radio -- Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham -- they all kept telling their audiences why they didn't like John McCain. With the exception of Ingraham, who first dallied with Fred Thompson and then Mitt Romney, the other two refused to pick a candidate. They kept reminding people that they don't make a choice in the primaries. That was costly for whichever candidate they had supported, but refused to reveal. Those on talk radio were tossing hammers at McCain, and he was able to weather it by going to the next level of the alternative media.

It's obvious that helped him. And he didn't shy away from the tough questions. As Captain Ed pointed out in the numerous conference calls he participated in when he blogged over at Captain's Quarters. He faced the questions regarding immigration, and didn't blow his stack. He explained himself for those willing to actually listen.

Do we have reservations about him? Of course we do. But that doesn't change the fact he is the nominee, and that out of the three running for the presidency, he is the better man for the job. Talk radio and self-described conservatives might have believed he was dead in the water. But given the fact that Thompson dropped out (a no-brainer, really, as he seemed to lack the excitement one needs for a national campaign) and that Romney dropped out, the only one left standing that had a chance was McCain. But it took more than blogs to put him over the top. It took a base which swallowed it's pride, and accepted him.

We know a lot of conservatives will still say they'll stay home on election day. The "cold-day-in-Hell" crowd is going to sit at home and pout. They'll try to convince their friends and family that McCain isn't the right man. These people will cut off their noses to spite their face. And in the end, they'll see their efforts were for nothing because the GOP base will turn out for John McCain. This isn't about a tantrum in a mid-term. We're electing the president here. The GOP base knows it, and they know if they stay home, we'll either have Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama as the next president. Personally, that's not a prospect any Republican would be happy with.

Publius II

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Correcting the myth over Basra campaign

A few on the Left have made the efforts in Basra out to be something they're not. Namely, they point to the rise of Sadr's Mahdi militias as a sign that the Surge has failed, and Iraq stands on the brink of a civil war. (How many civil wars is that? I forget.) As Captain Ed explains when the Brits left Basra, the thugs down there fought for control. Mookie al-Sadr's boys won, and decided to push their limits. The Iraqi forces weren't up to snuff in 2005/2006, at least not on par with what was needed to take on the Shi'ite militia. However this time around the security forces, working in concert with US forces, were ready. Guess who lost this fight?

Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on Sunday ordered his fighters off the streets nationwide and called on the government to stop raids against his followers and free them from prison.

The Iraqi government quickly welcomed al-Sadr’s apparent move to resolve a widening conflict with his movement, sparked Tuesday by operations against his backers in the oil-rich southern city of Basra.

Al-Sadr’s nine-point statement was issued by his headquarters in the holy city of Najaf and broadcast through loudspeakers on Shiite mosques.

“Because of the religious responsibility, and to stop Iraqi blood being shed ... we call for an end to armed appearances in Basra and all other provinces,” Sadr said in a statement. “Anyone carrying a weapon and targeting government institutions will not be one of us.”

Al-Sadr also called for an end to “random arrests” of his followers and for them to benefit from an amnesty law passed by parliament in February aimed at freeing thousands of prisoners from Iraqi jails.

When the Basra operations commenced, the media breathlessly reported this as some sort of rebel uprising. The sort they had been used to reporting since, oh, about 2003. They were reporting it as an oversight on our part, and were willing to lay the blame of such an outbreak of violence at our feet; an effort, no doubt, to paint the Surge as a failure when in fact that was the furthest thing from the truth. But the media has never let the truth get in their way before, now have they?

Worse, they seem reluctant to report that Mookie al-Sadr has hung his men out to dry. They don't want to admit that, once again, they were wrong in assessing this as another mother-of-all-battles fight where they were secretly rooting for Sadr's goons to really pull out the whoop @$$ on our troops and the Iraqi forces. (Um, hey guys, next time pray that the militia fighters have something extra, like maybe air power?) The truth is that when the Basra operations commenced, we hit the Mahdi targets with precision-guided bombs. We brought in Apaches to provide air cover for advancing troops in Basra. As the violence popped up across the country, almost like it was pre-planned, US and Iraqi forces swept in, and dealt with the Mahdis quickly and efficiently. And now, just like before, on 20 March Mookie al-Sadr has announced he's a failure.

Bye Mookie. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Publius II

Democrats -- the gift that keps on giving

This primary season has been one that us conservatives have thoroughly enjoyed. Our side got it's nominee finished up quickly, and now John McCain is in a war-footing; he is ramping up his campaign to begin the general election run. On the Democrat side, however, the internecine civil war going on has a lot of us smiling. We don't like to kick someone when they're down, but the Democrats are doing a fine job of kicking one another. Chalk the following up as a result of that squabble on the Left, and a possibility that we've floated on more than one occasion:

Plans for Al Gore to take the Democratic presidential nomination as the saviour of a bitterly divided party are being actively discussed by senior figures and aides to the former vice-president.

The bloody civil war between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama has left many Democrats convinced that neither can deliver a knockout blow to the other and that both have been so damaged that they risk losing November's election to the Republican nominee, John McCain.

Former Gore aides now believe he could emerge as a compromise candidate acceptable to both camps at the party's convention in Denver during the last week of August.

Two former Gore campaign officials have told The Sunday Telegraph that a scenario first mapped out by members of Mr Gore's inner circle last May now has a sporting chance of coming true.

Mr Gore, who was Bill Clinton's vice-president and has since won a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for his work on green issues, remains an influential figure eight years after he beat George W Bush in the popular vote but lost the White House after the Florida recount fiasco.

The opening has emerged because opinion polls show Mr McCain stretching his lead over both Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton, whose campaigns are engaged in a daily cycle of attacks, character assassination and mutual recriminations on religion, race and the economy.

Between a quarter and a third of Obama and Clinton supporters say that they would not now vote for the other in November.

The prospect of a new Gore candidacy was raised last week in Time magazine by Joe Klein, the doyen of American political writers, and discussed on the main cable news networks, CNN, Fox and MSNBC.

If neither Mr Obama nor Mrs Clinton has the 2,025 delegates needed to win the nomination, and if both appear unable to beat Mr McCain, under one scenario a group of about 100 party elders - the "super-delegates" - could sit out the first ballot in Denver, preventing either candidate winning outright, and then offer Mr Gore the nomination for the good of the party.

Tim Mahoney, a Democrat congressman from Florida, said last week: "If it goes into the convention, don't be surprised if someone different is at the top of the ticket." This suggests the party would accept a Gore-Clinton or a Gore-Obama pairing.

Following a brief flurry of speculation that he might jump into the race last year, Mr Gore claimed he had "fallen out of love" with politics, but he has pointedly refused to rule out another tilt at the White House and said that the only job in public life that interests him is the presidency.

Let me correct the Telegraph record here. Both Obama and Hillary have been deeply wounded in recent weeks by their own stupidity. First, for Obama, came his denial of Jeremiah Wright; claiming he'd never heard any of the controversial sermons. That is a point he directly contradicted in his infamous non-speech on race. He admitted to lying to the public about that, and because of that, it cost him ground against Hillary in Pennsylvania. It also forced his unfavorable numbers up, over fifty percent, which is a record for him.

For Hillary "Rambo" Clinton, it was the Tuzla lie, and the subsequent spin afterwords that cost her. ("Mrs. Clinton misspoke"; "I was sleep-deprived".) She also saw an uptick in her unfavorables, but not nearly as drastic a swing as Oabama's underwent. She also has her true stance on NAFTA on the record, and her schedule as First Lady shows that after the health care fiasco that cost the Democrats their control of the House, she was little more than a "greeter" at the White House, much in the same vein as Walmart greeters.

As for the idea of the Goracle being the "consensus candidate," I'm not sure how far that's going to go. It would make sense for the Supers to choose Obama to be on the ticket as he clearly is winning in the primaries. To not choose him would create a rift in the party that's not likely to be repaired for awhile, if it's ever repaired at all. But the question is what does he bring to the table other than environmental issues? You can't trust him on economic issues because his green issues trump that, and they would surely wreck an economy that needs a boost right now. Additionally, our economy isn't just tied to us. It's tied to the world's markets.

His stance on defense is disgustingly paltry, and due to his dislike of our invasion of Iraq, he would most assuredly pull and Obama or a Hillary in calling for and implementing a withdrawal. He will not use the military for it's intended purpose, nor would he work to increase it's size. The latter has been needed since Reagan left office.

And we know the sort of judges he would appoint to the high court. We'd get more Ginsburgs and Breyers rather than more Alitos and Roberts. And many of his choices to the federal bench would most likely be environmentally-minded lawyers that would pass fiat from the bench on US environmental policy.

Bear this in mind. If they run him, he will put all of his focus and energy into pimping a lie in an effort to backdoor Kyoto on an unsuspecting America. We can laugh and snicker at how asinine he sounds, but if we give this man the power, he's going to wreck this nation for generations. If he's the guy they opt to run, John McCain had better speak as little about the environment as possible, and continue his message of a stronger America, a more energy-independent America, a fiscally-strengthened America, and one that will not walk away from the Islamofascist terrorism that still wants to destroy us.

Publius II

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Leahy to Clinton -- Get out of the race already

Of course this comes out a day after Hillary supporters told Nancy Pelosi to stay out of the race, so consider Patrick Leahy's statement a return salvo over their bow:

Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vermont, the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a high-profile supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, has called for Obama's opponent to drop out of the race.

an interview on Vermont Public Radio, said "There is no way that Senator Clinton is going to win enough delegates to get the nomination. She ought to withdraw and she ought to be backing Senator Obama. Now, obviously that's a decision that only she can make frankly I feel that she would have a tremendous career in the Senate."

Leahy said he was fretting about the impact of the protracted Democratic race.

"I am very concerned," he said. "John McCain, who has been making one gaffe after another, is getting a free ride on it because Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have to fight with each other. I think that her criticism is hurting him more than anything John McCain has said. I think that's unfortunate."

Gee, Pat, is it unfortunate because voters are seeing the truth? The truth that neither Obama or Hillary are seen as a good choice based on their positions on Iraq, taxes, the economy, and national health care? Or is he just ticked that the bloodletting going on between the two stooges is more newsworthy than McCain is? He claims that McCain has made "one gaffe after another," yet he doesn't cite them, and the media hasn't been reporting on them. One would think that if McCain may a serious misstep, the MSM would smell blood in the water, and go on an all-out feeding frenzy. But they haven't, so obviously McCain's gaffes aren't as big as Leahy alludes them to be.

Personally, I think this is just a disgruntled Obama supporter who wanted to get his name in the spotlight for a second, coming out to complain that Hillary won't go quietly into the night. See, when the democrats interfere with our choices for a candidate, it's cool. But when we turn the tables on them, and use the same tactics to keep this primary fight alive, they cry foul.

We've accepted your choice. We're lining up behind McCain. Time for Pat and company to shut up and accept who is chosen on their side. Besides, both are adults. Both knew what they were getting into. Let them fight it out. After all, whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, right Pat?

Publius II

They want out, but don't question their patriotism

Fine, we won't question that. How about their intelligence on the subject of Iraq? The WaPo reported on a number of antiwar Democrats, again making a run at the Congress, and they carry the pledge of withdrawing troops from Iraq:

More than three dozen Democratic congressional candidates banded together yesterday to promise that, if elected, they will push for legislation calling for an immediate drawdown of troops in Iraq that would leave only a security force in place to guard the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Rejecting their party leaders' assertions that economic troubles have become the top issue on voters' minds, leaders of the coalition of 38 House and four Senate candidates pledged to make immediate withdrawal from Iraq the centerpiece of their campaigns.

"The people inside the Beltway don't seem to get how big an issue this is," said Darcy Burner, a repeat candidate who narrowly lost to Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) in 2006.

The group's 36-page plan does not set a specific deadline for when all combat troops must be out of Iraq. "Begin it now, do it as safely as you can and get everyone out," Burner said.

The starkest difference between the group's proposal, dubbed a "Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq," and those embraced by many senior Democrats and the party's presidential candidates is that it rejects the idea of leaving U.S. troops on the ground to train Iraqi security forces or engage in anti-terrorism operations. The group instead calls for a dramatic increase in regional diplomacy and the deployment of international peacekeeping forces, if necessary.

One of the signatories, Donna F. Edwards, who bested Rep. Albert R. Wynn in his Prince George's County-centered district in the Democratic primary on Feb. 12, said the candidates are offering "real leadership." She also gave credit to "some in the Congress who are prepared to demonstrate the political will" to end the war, signaling that she disagrees with Democratic leaders who have been thwarted in their legislative efforts to reshape President Bush's Iraq policies.

Let me help Ms. Edwards, and I'll try to use small words so she can understand me. The reason that Democrats have been unable to withdraw troops the sixty-plus times they have tried is because the president vetoes the bill. Nancy Pelosi doesn't have the supermajority to override it. I thought people from Congress were supposed to be smart. It's apparent that she's not, and neither are the rest of the nutters. Of the other candidates mentioned in the piece, aside from Ms. Edwards, none of them have won.

They ran on antiwar platforms before, and it lead to their defeat. And again, this year, they will be defeated again. Anyone care to guess why? Anyone? Bueller?

Gee, the Surge is a good starting point. When the Surge began last year, everybody in Congress with a "D" next to their name claimed it would fail. It didn't. The success is more than we could have hoped for. And things are still going good over there. For the most part, that is. The Iraqi forces are entering a dangerous test of their will, and so is the Iraqi government. Basra has become the face-off point for the Iraqi forces and a resurgent Sadr militia. And Democrats are talking about withdrawals on the eve of this confrontation.

This should send a clear message to America that not only do these people not have a clue about how to fight and win a war, but that, yes, they're unpatriotic. What person in their right mind would withdraw soldiers from mission before the job was done, and pat themselves on the back for being patriotic? The soldier wants to finish the task at hand, not cut and run halfway through because a group of weenie politicos in DC get cold feet.

The antiwar movement is not as big as these nutters believe. If it were, troops would have already been pulled out of Iraq. It is nowhere near the size of the movement from the Vietnam era. Don't fall for these jokers. As a matter of fact, if these yahoos are still in the primary phase of their election, make sure none of them survive to face off against who they're challenging in the general. Maybe then these moonbat peacniks will get the hint and shut the Hell up while the adults handle the situation in Iraq.

Publius II

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

"McCainocrats?": John McCain's cross-aisle appeal

It may not seem like a big deal for most, but given the fact that he's not really liked all that much by a conservative base, John McCain needs help from somewhere, and based on a some new polls, that could come from Democrat ranks:

A new analysis of March polling data suggests that John McCain's cross-party support surpasses that of either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton.

According to data provided by the Gallup Organization at Politico’s request, in a hypothetical contest between McCain and Obama, McCain wins 17 percent of Democrats and those leaning Democratic, while Obama wins 10 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners. In a potential contest with Clinton, McCain wins 14 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaners while Clinton wins 8 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaners.

By way of comparison, exit polls in 2004 reported that George W. Bush won 11 percent of Democrats and John F. Kerry won 6 percent of Republicans.

The new analysis, calculated from a compilation of the Gallup Organization’s daily polls between March 7 and 22, seems to indicate that there are more “McCain Democrats” than the much-ballyhooed “Obama Republicans” — or “Obamacans,” as they are sometimes referred to.

The polls were aggregated at Politico’s request as part of an effort to assess the cross-party appeal of each candidate. The compilation created a larger sample size, allowing pollsters to more accurately decipher voting patterns by party affiliation.

McCain’s potential to win more crossover votes than either of the Democrats, a finding that also surfaces in surveys conducted by Fox News/Opinion Dynamics and in private GOP polls, could upend the political calculus for the November general election.

There are plenty of conservatives who have decided they won't vote for him, and they won't vote for the other two. They'll go and vote, but not for the presidency. We can understand that. We're not thrilled with him either, but the way this race is shaping up, like I said above, he needs all the help he can find. The numbers don't lie. Democrats aren't happy, and if supporters are alienated by the choice, they could lose in November. Not because John McCain is the best candidate, which we believe he is, but rather because they won't like who is chosen.

Obama's supporters don't like Hillary. Hillary supporters don't like Obama. To them, it doesn't matter who is chosen because one or the other will cause some of the Democrat base to stay home OR they'll choose to vote for McCain. Now yesterday I speculated that could help him. Today we learn that he could very well pull a significant number of them over to his side to give him the boost that could very well compensate for the loss of conservative voters.

Does this boost our morale for the general? A little, but not much. The general is still eight months away, and anything could happen between now and then. In fact, he made a mistake yesterday with the speech he gave in Los Angeles when he touched on the global warming hoax, and presented it as a "must-do-something-about-it" instead of stepping back and laying of the topic. It's a sore spot with the GOP right now because many are listening to the scientists saying that the thing has been vastly overblown. (Of course with a blowhard like Al Gore pimping a movement, what can you expect other than a bunch of hot air?)

He hit the right buttons with the rest of the speech, including isolating Russia, and wanting them out of the G-8. He focused on the war, and the fact that this war will last a while longer. The need for us to stay on offense is imperative, and this is where McCain has his strongest points. They directly contrast the Democrats, and make them look incompetent and reactionary. But to blow off Democrats and independents would be foolhardy on his part. Reagan appealed to a wide variety of voters, and he never pandered to one party, group, or demographic specifically. McCain shouldn't either, but he does have to speak to the nation as a whole rather than focusing on one aspect of the nation.

Publius II

Working without a net in Pakistan

Captain Ed calls it waling on a tight-rope, and he is quite correct. See, some might not be aware that we have been hitting targets in Pakistan in the past few weeks, but we have been. And while Musharraf doesn't want us targeting the Taliban, nothing is stopping us from shaking the tree a little to take out the foreign fighters:

The United States has escalated its unilateral strikes against al-Qaeda members and fighters operating in Pakistan's tribal areas, partly because of anxieties that Pakistan's new leaders will insist on scaling back military operations in that country, according to U.S. officials.

Washington is worried that pro-Western President Pervez Musharraf, who has generally supported the U.S. strikes, will almost certainly have reduced powers in the months ahead, and so it wants to inflict as much damage as it can to al-Qaeda's network now, the officials said.

Over the past two months, U.S.-controlled Predator aircraft are known to have struck at least three sites used by al-Qaeda operatives. The moves followed a tacit understanding with Musharraf and Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani that allows U.S. strikes on foreign fighters operating in Pakistan, but not against the Pakistani Taliban, the officials said.

About 45 Arab, Afghan and other foreign fighters have been killed in the attacks, all near the Afghan border, U.S. and Pakistani officials said. The goal was partly to jar loose information on senior al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants, by forcing them to move in ways that U.S. intelligence analysts can detect. Local sources are providing better information to guide the strikes, the officials said. ...

The administration's intensified effort against al-Qaeda also has benefited from shifting loyalties among residents of the border region. Some tribal and religious leaders who embraced foreign al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters as they fled from Afghanistan in 2001 now see them as troublemakers and are providing timely intelligence about their movements and hideouts, according to former U.S. officials and Pakistan experts.

"They see traffic coming and going from the fortress homes of tribal leaders associated with foreign elements, and they pass the information along," said Shuja Nawaz, a Pakistani journalist in Washington and the author of a book on Pakistan's army. "Some quick surveillance is done, and then someone pops a couple of hundred-pound bombs at the house."

For some, mainly in Pakistan, they'd prefer these strikes were curtailed a bit. The tribal leaders have told the Pakistani government to leave the Taliban alone, and to negotiate with them to bring them into the political process. I don't know if that's going to work, but it might be worth the effort if it keeps them from carrying out suicide bombings and other acts of violence against Pakistan. And why ramp this up now?

Because Musharraf's days are numbered in Pakistan. He doesn't have a lot of friends left in Pakistan, and he still wants to work cooperatively with DC. In fact, the WaPo even makes mention of the fact that Musharraf probably has more friends in the Beltway than he does at home. More the likely, they're right.

And the military agrees that while this might not net them a big fish like Zawahiri or bin Laden (who we still believe is dead), it'll knock loose a few others that we've been looking for. The strike last month did nail the AQ #3 guy. So to say these Predator ops are worthless isn't true. They are helping to take out the bad guys.

Publius II

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bill Clinton -- Toughen up, you whiners

Stop the presses; contact Guiness. I'm about to post something favorable about Bill Clinton. It seems that he has revealed that if you want to be in politics, you need more than flowery rhetoric. As Ace would say, you need b*lls of solid titanium:

Don't like the tenor of the Democratic contest?

Don't look to former President Bill Clinton for consolation.

Speaking to voters in Parkersburg, West Virginia, the 42nd president Wednesday said, "I don't give a rip about all this name-calling that's going on. They've been going on ever since Iowa. I've heard them say all these things about her.

"Apparently it's okay to say bad things about a girl," he said laughing, in an apparent reference to his 60-year-old wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, per ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf.

"The only thing that matters is, what happens to you?" said Mr. Clinton. "That's all that matters. If a politician doesn't wanna get beat up, he shouldn't run for office. If a football player doesn't want to get tackled or want the risk of an a occasional clip he shouldn't put the pads on."

Clinton also had a word to say about all the surrogates of both his wife's and Sen. Barack Obama's campaigns whom had been ejected, including former Obama campaign adviser Samantha Power, and former Clinton campaign finance committee member Geraldine Ferraro.

"I don't think any of these people oughta be asked to resign," said the former president. "All these guys that say bad things about any other campaign, they say should they resign? My answer is no, they're repeating the party line. They oughta stay right where they are.

"Let's just saddle up and have an argument," he continued. "What's the matter with that? That's what America's about, right?

"All this moaning and groaning -- none of these politicians are gonna have anything like the tough time half the people in this audience have already had for the last seven years. This is about you. Don't you let anybody take this election away from you."

Politics, by nature, involves having intestinal fortitude and testicular fortitude. If you want to be in politics, you better bring a fat bag of knuckles with you because your opponents aren't going to play nice with you. If you haven't been in the know since this campaign started, everyone has been throwing hammers at each other. It could challenge even the strongest of men (or women). People have opined as to why anyone would want to work int he government, let alone be an elected official, in this sort of visceral, vitriolic environment.

I occasionally joke that I'd be willing to accept an appointment to the Supreme Court because I think I'm pretty damn good at figuring out constitutional jurisprudence. I have studied the Constitution, and Supreme Court cases, for the last twenty-one years of my life. I couldn't do any worse than the worst jurists that have served on the court, and people could be confident that I would rule based on an originalist philosophy. But would I want to go into the pool of sharks known as the Senate Judiciary Committee? Would I want my life scrutinized by the media? Would I like to be slandered by liberal activists?

Those are questions I ask myself every time someone brings up the subject of my non-ascent to the high court. I'm not sure.

But Bill's right. There is no whining in politics just like there's no crying in baseball. You want to whine? Stay out of politics.

Publius II

The lack of an Obama paper trail

HT to Captain Ed for this one. It appears that Judicial Watch, despite FOIA requests, has discovered that Barack Obama doesn't have a paper trail, and likely didn't want to leave one behind:

The president of a prominent watchdog group said Wednesday that he believes Democratic presidential frontrunner Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) “intended to leave no paper trail” during his time in the Illinois Senate.

Judicial Watch, which has been seeking access to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) records from her time in the White House, argued Wednesday that the Illinois senator, who has criticized the former first lady for a lack of openness, has his own “records problem.”

“The more we learn about the Illinois Senator, the more obvious it becomes that he is anything but the ethically upright outsider he purports to be,” said Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch.
The group rose to prominence when it repeatedly took on former President Bill Clinton during his time in office. It also sought records from the Bush administration regarding Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force.

In a statement, Fitton noted that his group has sought access to Obama’s records as a state senator and questioned whether the presidential candidate has been forthcoming with regard to what happened to those documents.

He said that “nobody knows where they are, if they exist at all” and claimed that “Obama’s story keeps changing.”

However, the Obama campaign said the senator’s records are available.

“All of Sen. Obama’s correspondence with state agencies and records of requests Obama made to them on behalf of his constituents are available to the public and have been accessed by our opponents and members of the news media,” said Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt. “Illinois State senators have limited staff – Obama did not have a scheduler – and so no detailed record exists of all of his daily activities in Springfield.”

Fitton argues that Obama’s public accounts of what happened to his records do not mesh with information from the Illinois Office of the Secretary of State. He added that the Judicial Watch investigation “suggests” that the senator could have had his records archived in a way that would grant the public access to them.

“It appears that Obama never kept records of his time in the Illinois state legislature, or he discarded them,” Fitton stated. “Either way, he clearly intended to leave no paper trail.”

With an already paper-thin resume right now, Obama has a problem. He has no record of accomplishments, and the only accomplishments that do seem apparent are those of his community activism days. As he was a "rising star" in the Democrat party, with much higher aspirations that being a mere congressman, it seems plausible he would deliberately leave no record behind for opponents to use as firepower.

No records = no position that he can be accused of flip-flopping on.

But because he has none, people, like Hillary and like McCain, can point to the lack of a record to gauge a sensible voter decision on. Instead he runs on the rhetoric of "hope" and "change." Problem is that rhetoric doesn't mean squat when it comes to the presidency. You have to know what you're doing, and it's clear that Obama doesn't have a clue regarding what the president is supposed to do.

We think the other reason why he left no trail was so that his supporters would be provided with the perfect defense against critics. Without being able to nail him down on a particular issue, his supporters can play the racism card against detractors; claiming that those who don't support him are inherently racist. As readers can attest, our criticism of this man has nothing to do with his race, at all. It's all about his lack of experience, the insane agenda he's promoting, and past positions we have nailed him down on, such as abortion and gun control, especially on semi-auto firearms. And if you're a blog reader, no respected blogger has gone after Obama on his race. It's always been about his record and agenda.

So he doesn't have a paper trail? Fine. Fair enough. We'll just just keep blasting away at him over the issues that pop up on a day-by-day basis.

Publius II

You knew this was coming -- fractured Dem base could cross over in the general

As Hillary and Obama keep tearing into each other, their supporters are being asked the "what if" question regarding their preferred candidate. What if Hillary gets the nod over Obama and vice versa. The Washington Times reports that the divide in the party could help John McCain:

Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have each said they would support the other should they lose the Democratic nomination themselves, but two new polls suggest their devotees don't feel the same way.

A Gallup poll showed a staggering 28 percent of Clinton supporters would back Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in the general election should the former first lady end her own bid.

“This suggests that some Clinton supporters are so strongly opposed to Obama (or so loyal to Clinton) that they would go so far as to vote for the "other" party's candidate next November if Obama is the Democratic nominee,” Gallup wrote in its analysis. “The data suggest that the continuing and sometimes fractious Democratic nomination fight could have a negative impact for the Democratic Party in next November's election.”

Among Obama supporters, 19 percent would vote for Mr. McCain should Mrs. Clinton be the nominee.

Gallup interviewed 6,657 Democratic voters via telephone from March 7 through March 22 and has a margin of error is plus or minus 2 points.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released this morning showed 22 percent of Democrats said Mrs. Clinton, of New York, should drop out of the race. The survey also found an identical percentage of Democratic voters think Mr. Obama of Illinois should drop out. The Rasmussen poll showed 62 percent want both candidates to remain in the race, a sentiment echoed by voters in states such as Montana and Oregon, who have not been seriously courted for their presidential vote in many years.

As these two keep throwing hammers at each other, their supporters are becoming equally polarized. We saw this coming. the animosity between the two camps, and their supporters, could bring bad tidings to the nominee to be chosen. Should the Denver convention give the party Hillary as a nominee, the prospects of her winning are even less that Obama's chances. Obama's demographics int he primaries show that he commands the black vote, the youth vote, and is making inroads with white voters, as well. And while we can basically rule out a high youth turnout (historically they don't turn out in the general in the numbers that candidates rely on), if Hillary gets the nomination many blacks are saying they'll stay home, or simply not vote for a candidate for the presidency.

This report from the Times shows that the other option for disgruntled Democrats maybe in crossing over. A vote for McCain is one less that either of them would have in their columns. Could the boost be big enough for McCain? That's tough to say. It does depend on how many disgruntled Democrats are willing to cross the line. It's obvious that if Obama's the nominee, Hillary supporters won't turn out in the numbers that McCain would need to help his bid. But if Hillary were the nominee, Obama supporters could bring McCain a very robust boost in the general as the animosity they have towards Hillary is quite visible and highly visceral.

Either way, Democrats voting for the GOP candidate would show party leaders just how dissatisfied they really are. Many in the Democrat party aren't happy with the way this primary is going. The GOP side is all sewn up as John McCain has the required amount of delegates to be the nominee. The Democrats, however, do not have a solid nominee yet. Obama is closer than Hillary is, however if either sweeps the remaining contests there won't be a brokered convention come August. And we do so hope for a brokered convention.

But if this continues to be a slog, and neither is the "heir apparent," then the fighting in Denver will be nothing compared to the fight between supporters in the general election in November.

Publius II

I'm shocked -- SHOCKED! Hillary seems dishonest?

It would appear that's the gist of this ABC News story which is in relation to her Bosnia-no-sniper story. They also point out that this is something she's been trying to outrun since she started her run for the presidency:

Sen. Hillary Clinton is dodging bullets. Not from Bosnian snipers but political opponents and pundits who have assailed her recent "misstatements" about a trip to Bosnia 12 years ago.

An apparent contradiction in statements Clinton made about a 1996 trip to Bosnia as first lady, which she claimed last week included the threat of sniper fire before later recanting, has raised the specter of dishonesty and untrustworthiness that has plagued her campaign from its beginning.

The backlash put Clinton on the defensive early this week, and not for the first time. Her campaign dealt with a perception of dishonesty long before the Bosnia trip became an issue.

In a USA Today/Gallup poll from March 16, 44 percent of Americans polled called Clinton "honest and trustworthy," compared to 67 percent and 63 percent respectively for Sen. John McCain, R–Ariz., and Sen. Barack Obama, D–Ill.

In an ABC News exit poll after the most recent primary March 11, half of Mississippi Democratic voters said Clinton was not honest and trustworthy. By contrast, 70 percent of voters found Obama honest and trustworthy votes.

Part of Clinton's perceived untrustworthiness no doubt stems from her association with her husband, former President Clinton, who was embroiled in a 1998 sex scandal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

As the campaign season began heating up, even former supporters questioned the couple's honesty.

"Everybody in politics lies, but they do it with such ease, it's troubling," one-time supporter and Hollywood mogul David Geffen said of the Clintons in The New York Times in February 2007.

When David Geffen made that remark, a lot of people nodded their heads. While it's true that a lot of politicians lie -- even with little white lies -- the Clintons do it with such ease that one would have to suspend disbelief in not agreeing with the fact that they seem to be pathological liars. I mean, this goes beyond Bill trying to weasel his zipper out of the Lewinsky affair. Hillary claimed that she wanted to join NASA, she wanted to join the Marines, she was named after Sir Edmund Hillary, that she opposed NAFTA, and now we have the Bosnia fib.

Now some will look at these and say "It's not a big deal. It's not like she's lying about anything important." Sure. Right. But with this much fibbing going on, can we really trust her to be honest and trustworthy? Bill launched a cruise missile attack on Iraq in 1998, just days before the Lewinsky scandal was to hit news outlets. Did he really fire them because he was targeting WMD sites in Iraq, or did he do it to take the eyes off his sordid sex scandal? You have to ask yourselves these questions regarding the trustworthiness of people asking to be the president of the United States.

If we don't have the most honest person elected to that office, how are we ever going to trust them? And I'll remind readers that trust is earned. We don't just hand it over arbitrarily.

Publius II

Today is Medal of Honor Day

Yes, today is the day to honor and remember those that received the Medal of Honor, the highest award any soldier in the US military could receive. Michael Ledeen reminds us of this today and points us to a letter penned by recipient Mike Thornton:

Sailor John Finn manned an exposed a.50-caliber machinegun at Pearl Harbor. Wounded many times by strafing Japanese planes, he stayed at his post returning fire with telling effect.

He is World War II’s first Medal of Honor recipient. He is with us at 98, and is one of only 105 living men who earned our nation’s highest tribute for valor under fire.

I am one of them.Today, as our country marks the first anniversary of National Medal of Honor Day, the date the first medals were awarded during the Civil War, I and the other living recipients are humbled by this remembrance. We thank the nation and welcome this day on behalf of the 3,446 before us and the untold others who will follow.

Each of us has a story of valor. Each of us had a different reason at that moment or days of courage – but remarkably it is also the same underlying reason.

Our reason was to defend and help the other man in the foxhole, on the ridge, in the boat, the ship, the fighter plane, the bomber, the helicopter – and some of us for unflinching courage and leadership as prisoners of war, one of whom was Vice Admiral James Stockdale, one of the most highly decorated officers in the Navy’s history, who passed in July 2005.

We wear the Medal of Honor for those who served at our sides and died bravely in defense of our nation.

So, who are we?

We are ordinary men. We come from across the nation, from different social backgrounds, different occupations and professions, different religions, different races, different political philosophies. But we have four things in common – putting another ahead of ourselves, represented by the Medal of Honor, a devotion to freedom, a love of country, and a humbleness that surprises those we meet.

As members of the Medal of Honor Society we meet a lot of people. Our role is to reach out to our nation’s youth, to explain to them patriotism and the nature of heroism. That nature is selflessness, and we are as proud of that as we are of the Medal of Honor we wear. In our travels we talk to students, and we can tell you the future of our nation is in good hands.

We see selflessness every day in the deeds of men and women who wear our nation’s uniforms, who are at this minute sacrificing and serving our nation valiantly.

Two of them, Marine Cpl. Jason Dunham and Lt. Michael Murphy, a Navy Seal, exhibited selflessness defending their comrades in Iraq and Afghanistan and joined the society posthumously in 2007.

They, like many others, fought and gave their lives because they were there, because it was, to them, the thing to do at the moment.

National Medal of Honor Day is not a celebration. It is a solemn time to remember not only those of us who received the Medal of Honor but also a time to reflect on the freedom we enjoy and its price.

Michael Ledeen also gives us how Mr. Thornton won his medal:

Thornton, as Assistant U.S. Navy Advisor, along with a U.S. Navy lieutenant serving as Senior Advisor, accompanied a 3-man Vietnamese Navy SEAL patrol on an intelligence gathering and prisoner capture operation against an enemy-occupied naval river base. Launched from a Vietnamese Navy junk in a rubber boat, the patrol reached land and was continuing on foot toward its objective when it suddenly came under heavy fire from a numerically superior force. The patrol called in naval gunfire support and then engaged the enemy in a fierce firefight, accounting for many enemy casualties before moving back to the waterline to prevent encirclement. Upon learning that the Senior Advisor had been hit by enemy fire and was believed to be dead, PO Thornton returned through a hail of fire to the lieutenant's last position; quickly disposed of 2 enemy soldiers about to overrun the position, and succeeded in removing the seriously wounded and unconscious Senior Naval Advisor to the water's edge. He then inflated the lieutenant's lifejacket and towed him seaward for approximately 2 hours until picked up by support craft. By his extraordinary courage and perseverance, PO Thornton was directly responsible for saving the life of his superior officer and enabling the safe extraction of all patrol members, thereby upholding the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Each and every recipient of this medal has shown valor, courage, and heroism in ways that most people can't fathom. They have always put themselves second, their comrades first. In fact, it was recently announced that Michael Monsoor, a US Navy SEAL in Iraq will receive the CMH posthumously. His family will be presented with the medal on 8 April at the White House. What did Petty Officer Monsoor do to win this medal? "Greater love hath no man ..."

Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael A. Monsoor had been near the only door to the rooftop structure Sept. 29 when the grenade hit him in the chest and bounced to the floor, said four SEALs who spoke to The Associated Press this week on condition of anonymity because their work requires their identities to remain secret.

"He never took his eye off the grenade, his only movement was down toward it," said a 28-year-old lieutenant who sustained shrapnel wounds to both legs that day. "He undoubtedly saved mine and the other SEALs' lives, and we owe him."

Monsoor, a 25-year-old gunner, was killed in the explosion in Ramadi, west of Baghdad. He was only the second SEAL to die in Iraq since the war began.

Two SEALs next to Monsoor were injured; another who was 10 to 15 feet from the blast was unhurt. The four had been working with Iraqi soldiers providing sniper security while U.S. and Iraqi forces conducted missions in the area.

Take time out today to remember these heroes. Stop by the CMH website and read about the recipients of this hallowed award. These people are owed the utmost respect. They put their lives on the line, and tapped their inner strength to achieve the improbable against impossible odds.

Publius II

Oops, she did it again; Michelle Obama opens her yap

We haven't seen too much of her lately, and we thought it had to do with her views that seem intertwined with Reverend Jeremiah Wright, albeit not nearly as controversial. Jim Hoft and Captain Ed take note of this newest nugget from Michelle Obama. This excerpt comes from a speech she gave at the University of South Carolina in Janury, right before the primaries:

We don’t like being pushed outside of our comfort zones. You know it right here on this campus. You know people sitting at different tables- you all living in different dorms. I was there. You’re not talking to each other, taking advantage that you’re in this diverse community. Because sometimes it’s easier to hold on to your own stereotypes and misconceptions. It makes you feel justified in your own ignorance. That’s America. So the challenge for us is are we ready for change?

I can't speak much for my college times because I wasn't nearly as social then as I was in high school. Yeah, I hung out in college, but it was mostly with the guys I hung out with in high school. I met a few new friends in college, and yes a couple were Hispanic; a couple were black. So the idea that we stay stuck in our own little circles and won't go outside of them doesn't exactly mesh in my world. (Of course, I'm sure that the beginning of that statement is more true than I know.)

But I have a problem with her calling people ignorant because they opt to stick to their own circle of friends. Look at the college campuses around the country, and see how the people segregate themselves. Blacks stick with blacks, Hispanics with Hispanics, whites with whites, etc. Look beyond race, and you see similar cliques. Whether the issue is race, religion, sexual identity, or even hobbies, people stick to the circle of friends they have.

Does that mean they always stick to them, and don't venture out of them? Hardly. I used to play pick-up basketball with guys that I knew from college. I didn't hang out with them regularly, but we did enjoy the time we spent playing basketball. Diversity only comes around when we choose to take that step. Staying within our own circle doesn't come from some latent racism or sexism, but just from the fact that we are comfortable with friends we have.

If anyone is ignorant, it's Michelle Obama for believing that the majority of this nation is still stuck on racism. If that were true, we'd still have sanctioned segregation. We haven't had that in decades, and it's time for Michelle Obama open up her eyes.

Publius II

Al-Maliki -- "You have three days to surrender"

That's what he said in response to the Sadr Mahdi militia's recent explosion in violence in Basra. The Washington Times reports that he's not happy, and he's given them a deadline:

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was in Basra to supervise a crackdown against the spiraling violence between militia factions vying for control of the center of the country's vast oil industry located near the Iranian border.

The violence has raised fears that the cease-fire declared in August by Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr could unravel, presenting the gravest challenge to the Iraqi government in months.

Sadiq al-Rikabi, a chief adviser to al-Maliki, said gunmen in Basra who turn over their weapons to police stations and sign a pledge renouncing violence will not face prosecution.

"Any gunman who does not do that within these three days will be an outlaw," he said.

A resumption of intense fighting by al-Sadr's Mahdi Army militia could kill more U.S. soldiers and threaten – at least in the short run – the security gains Washington has hailed as a sign that Iraq is on the road to recovery.

Officials in al-Sadr's headquarters in Najaf, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the anti-U.S. cleric had sent local representatives to ask al-Maliki to leave Basra and resolve the problems peacefully. The aides also told the government no negotiations could be held until Iraqi reinforcements withdrew from the city.

The burgeoning crisis – part of an intense power struggle among Shiite political factions – will test the skill and resolve of Iraq's Shiite-led government in dealing with Shiite militias, which have close ties with the national leadership.

The Sadrists are angry over recent raids and detentions, saying U.S. and Iraqi forces have taken advantage of the cease-fire to crack down on the movement.

Terrorists in Iraq were warned when we began the surge that they were at the top of out sh*t-list. We were sick of playing ball with our hands tied behind our back. Al-Sadr's Mahdi militia agreed to a six month cease-fire with US and Iraqi forces as we secured Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, and other areas that were hotbeds of violence.

Back in February, al-Sadr extended the cease-fire. We continued to round up foreign terrorists, and any militiamen that decided to take the fight to Iraqi and US forces. Some of them have turned out to be members of the Mahdi militia. So, the fight was taken to them. The Mahdi's aren't happy with this, claiming we broke the cease-fire when it was elements of their own militia that did.

Al-Maliki is right to order them to surrender their weapons. They'd be smart to do so. If he turns the Iraqi forces loose, and they work in conjunction with US surge forces, the Mahdi militia won't have much left when the surge into Basra is all said and done.

Publius II

Phil Bredesen hands down a warning; too bad he's too late

You don't recognize the name, and that's fine. Most people don't know who he is. But let me help you with that.

--He's the two term governor of Tennessee.

--He's a superdelegate.

'Nuff said? I thought so. He spoke to Jonathan Martin and Mike Allen from Politico and his warning is to the Democrats to "avert" disaster in Denver:

Democrats are increasingly nervous about their party’s protracted nomination fight, and some prominent figures are publicly warning that the party needs to act fast to avoid disaster.

Chief among these voices is Phil Bredesen, the two-term governor of Tennessee who is uncommitted to either Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) or Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.). I

n an interview this week with Politico, Bredesen said flatly that if the contentious slog continues until the Democrats’ late-August convention in Denver, the party would have a vastly diminished chance of recapturing the White House.

“They have a much steeper, rockier hill to climb if it goes to the convention,” the governor said over a dinner of rockfish and red wine. “You’re going to spend this whole summer — and lots of money and time and effort — trying to convince people that whoever isn’t eventually nominated, isn’t electable.

"That’s a heck of a hole to climb out of come the first of September,” he added. “What’s been going on for the last 90 days just gets worse and worse as the summer goes on.” Bredesen also joined House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in warning that superdelegates should not overturn the outcome from primaries and caucuses.

If Obama were denied the nomination by Democratic insiders after winning the party’s popular vote, Bredesen said, “There would be hell to pay in the party for a long time to come.”

Bredesen is doing something about his concerns. He was in Washington this week to promote his idea for holding a “superdelegate primary” in June, in which the 795 party bigwigs would gather to hear one last time from Clinton and Obama before casting a final vote. Rather than allow the horse-trading and bloodletting go on all summer, he’d get it over with during a two-day business meeting in a neutral, easily reached city like Dallas.

“Invite the candidates to come and talk if they want, and then literally call the roll,” he explained. “We should not go through the summer and have a divided and exhausted Democratic Party. The inescapable conclusion is: OK, you’ve got to find some way to bookend and bring it to closure earlier. How do you do that? Do it in June rather than August."

The governor said he decided to push the plan because of what he called a “sea change” in opinion among Democratic elites. What once appeared to be a once-in-a-generation blessing — having two strong candidates with significant appeal among Democrats — seems more like a burden now, as the race drags on toward April and May contests that are unlikely to offer any more clarity than the muddled results of the past three months.

“Ninety days ago, everybody was talking in warm terms about both the candidates: ‘Isn’t it wonderful? Whoever’s president is going to be great,’” the governor said. “It has gotten vastly more polarized now, and that really concerns me.”

To Bredesen, an even-keeled political pragmatist, superdelegates are certain to ultimately decide the nominee, so it makes no sense for them to do it later rather than sooner.

This is a nice idea, but if he thinks the Clintons will go along with this, he's got another thing coming. Hillary has no intention of letting the superdelegates make this decision before Denver. Think about this, folks: Hillary raised Rezko during a debate just weeks before he was officially indicted and arrested. Obama has spun his connection to Rezko, which isn't working. Almost daily in that case, Obama's name comes up in the trial. Granted, it's in a way which connects him to no wrongdoing, but it still connects him to the corrupt, sordid world of "Chicago Way" politics.

Then as the Jeremiah Wright controversy was dying down, Hillary leaped into it yesterday with her comment about how Jeremiah Wright wouldn't have been her pastor, and that you can't choose your family, but you can choose your church. Now, of course she's about a week late in using that line (we were using it as the affair broke a week or so ago), but give the old girl a break. She's been timid going after Obama out of fear that his campaign will call her racist.

But there is no way Hillary is letting this go. She's buoyed by the fact that Republicans rescued her sorry butt in Texas and Ohio. She thinks she still has a shot. Hillary won't approve of this plan because she's simply too prideful. She doesn't want to hear that the superdelegates aren't for her before the convention.

In addition, Bredesen can't make this binding. The superdelegates decision is a non-binding one until they reach the convention. This is the argument that Hillary will use. Even if the superdelegates met in Dallas and have this vote, she's going to court the ones that are against her in an effort to secure the nomination. Hillary will do anything -- absolutely anything -- to win the nomination. She's been focused on the presidency since 1992, and she still believes that this primary fight shouldn't have been going on, and she should have simply been anointed.

We warned people about this. We told people that Hillary wouldn't idly go into the night. She's here to fight, and no one -- not Obama, not Bill, not Governor Bredesen -- is going to tell her different.

Publius II

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Clinton campaign -- She "misspoke" about the landing in Bosnia

This is what happens when Hillary is caught in an outright lie -- Spin, spin, spin:

The Clinton campaign says Senator Hillary Clinton may have “misspoke” recently when she said she had to evade sniper fire when she was visiting Bosnia in 1996 as first lady.

She has been using the episode as an example of her foreign policy bona fides.

“I certainly do remember that trip to Bosnia,”
she said last week. “There was a saying around the White House that if a place was too small, too poor, or too dangerous, the president couldn’t go, so send the First Lady.

“I remember landing under sniper fire. There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base.”

But her account has been challenged,
first by Sinbad, the comedian, who traveled with her, and then by news organizations, most notably the Washington Post, which awarded her four “Pinnochios” which it gives for major “whoppers.” ...

Asked today to square her recent descriptions with these accounts, Howard Wolfson, her spokesman, referred to several contemporaneous news accounts that described the region as hostile. He then added: “It is possible in the most recent instance in which she discussed this that she misspoke in regard to the exit from the plane, but there is no question if you look at contemporaneous accounts that she was going to a potential combat zone, that she was on the front lines.”

Asked at a later point in the call to clarify his comment, Mr. Wolfson said that news accounts at the time made clear that the area in which she was landing was “a potential combat zone and was hazardous.”

He said that in her memoir, “Living History,” she wrote about sniper fire in the hills and “clearly meant to say that” when she brought it up last week. He said she had described the event many times the same way and that “in one instance she said it slightly differently.”

A third reporter then asked about it, prompting Mr. Howard to read the relevant passage from her book, in which she wrote: “Due to reports of snipers in the hills around the airstrip, we were forced to cut short an event on the tarmac with local children.” He repeated that this was the one time in which she misspoke.

But this formulation was at least the second time in recent weeks that she described the sniper fire. She
mentioned it on Feb. 29 in Waco, Tex., when she was rolling out her “red phone” commercial, recalling the trip to Bosnia and saying that the welcoming ceremony “had to be moved inside because of sniper fire.”

The ease with which this woman lies, then has her surrogates defend it by saying she "misspoke" is appalling. I know they're supposed to be her loyal little soldiers, but at some point somebody has to tell her to quit embellishing her bona fides. Why? Because they don't exist. She's trying to paint herself as the more experienced and qualified candidate, even above John McCain, and it just isn't so.

She was removed from any sort of dealings in her husband's administration after she horribly botched the health care initiative. She wielded her power like a blunt instrument, refusing to listen to the advice of others telling her it wouldn't pass. And the attitude she presented to the nation was of an uncompromising b*tch. (I hate to use that word, but the truth is what it is.) Thanks to her, she cost the Democrats control of the House. This is why she was kept away from any sort of policy matters that President Clinton was dealing with.

Furthermore, if more of these lies come out, she's going to have a helluva time convincing the superdelegates that she's the more electable candidate.

Publius II