Thursday, October 05, 2006

A Tale of Two Foleys

Mark Foley is not the first Foley to create problems in the House of Representatives at a time when a shift in party power seemed to be looming.

Tom Foley (D-WA) was the House Speaker in 1994, and was amid a series of very relevant controversies which Republicans used very effectively to communicate that there existed a system in Congress where abuse of power was the norm and where the needs of the American people came second to the individual member's desire for privilege.

Specifically, Foley fought term limits. And when the State of Washington passed a law limiting terms, Foley sued to overturn it in what became an very useful development for Republicans and a PR disaster for him and a symbol of all that the Republicans were saying was wrong: "Tom Foley v. The People of the State of Washington".

Coupling that with the check-bouncing scandal, the disaster of the House Bank, a Congress that seemed filled with out of touch self-servants, dissatisfaction with the Clinton Administration, a Republican minority that publicly offered a very appealing plan to Americans, and any number of local factors, Both Foley and the Democrats were tossed.

Twelve years later, we see something not all that different. A President who allowed himself, through years of ineffective PR management to fall prey to what would have been feckless attacks against a much better organized communications team, rendering him a liability to his party, a Republican Congress no less disciplined than its Democrat predecessor of a dozen years before which has gladly allowed spending and government to continue to grow, a Congress that appears too cozy with lobbyists, including one who was paying off some of its members, a House Speaker with a hands-off management style, and now, another Foley who has touched on a very relevant issue of the day: pedophilia.

By itself, Foley's acts are his own, with the consequences being likewise. But along with the constellation of other difficulties the Republicans are dealing with this election cycle, this is one more unneeded complication. And rather than hitting the party, the Dems have gone after Speaker hastert, who is unquestionably the most high-profile weak link in this matter.

Part of the problem is that nobody but Hastert knows what the real story is. And the Hugh Hewitt take on the matter seems the most appropriate (focusing on the Dem's double standard in these matters, and the fact that this is several years old, with the IMs only surfacing on the eve of an election--the media's concern for the youths involved would be more believable if this had come out right away). But if Hastert's staff bungled the handling of this, it still creates problems for him, as the principal is liable for the failures of the subordinate.

And it's a big deal if it looks like Hastert ignored the acts of a pederast congressman, or at the very least gave an ineffective response. But regardless of what really happened, the Dems need to be careful here, because their behavior differes from that of their successors 12 years ago.

The Republicans of 1994 were much more effective than those today in their message, delivery, and sincerety. But the Democrats really haven't gained much in the way of credibility since then, and have very obviously been a very angry party out of power who seem to have a tin ear when it comes to the major issues of the day, and who have actually fought efforts to secure the nation from terrorism. And while it is a remarkably effective tactic to play Hastert as being careless in his duties, it is quite the opposite to go the usual hysterial route that they have been going, alleging intentional misbehavior, conspiracies and the like. It's the tactic of Nancy Pelosi, which is just as effective as having a "Twin Peaks" San Francisco Congresswoman at the top of the party's leadership.

And it's just like every other missed opportunity they have had over the past six years. They upped the populist rhetoric, accused Republicans of being conspirators of evil, and downplayed the threat of enemies in order to worship at the altar of political correctness, and generally gave Americans reasons to look to other candidates. They offer nothing other than "We're the least worst party." Not a winning strategy, but it may win them enough to secure a bare majority, and enough time to remind Americans why the Democrats of the 21st Century are a party best ignored on election day.

And perhaps the removal of a few Republicans might be a good thing. Because the 1994 revolution wasn't about party, but rather a movement. That movement died in 1998. And it may take a very cold two years to correct some unfortunate attitudes.

One Foley was part of the end of the Democrats. This Foley might be part of the end of the Republicans for a while. But we need not worry. A Congress of Republicans who now behave like the Democrats they ousted is likely one not worth keeping anyway.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

No Apology Will Suffice for the Islamist World

We all know by now that Pope Benedict XVI made a series of remarks, quoting a text from the Middle Ages which was critical of Islamo-Jihadism.

We also know that many Muslims took offense to those remarks. This BBC link has a series of the kind of responses that the Islamist world felt were appropriate. Protests are fine--responses in kind in a battle of ideas. But the church burnings and the threats to Christians, including the murder of a nun as retaliation are likely not what the "Religion of Peace" needs right now if it is to improve its image.

And after the Pope apologized for whatever misunderstanding his remarks may have created, the Middle Eastern Islamist population was not satisfied. They are demanding even more apology. Which is interesting given the fact that the Prime Minister of Malaysia, which chairs the Organization of the Islamic Conference found the apology from benedict acceptable. Notwithstanding that, the Prime Minister's acceptance of the apology was less than comforting. In part, he stated,
I think we can accept it and we hope there are no more statements that can anger
the Muslims
In other words, the problem is getting these people upset by disagreeing with them publicly. And while this is technically an acceptance of the Pope's apology (which in truth was an apology for their overreaction and inability to behave in a civilized manner, not for his choice of words), the Pope need not waste further effort apologizing to a people who have no intention of accepting anything short of a capituation and surrender. And to a significant degree, the Islamist reaction to the Pope's remarks more or less proved the point of the words he chose.

They responded to what they interpreted as an accusation of barbarism with...well, barbarism. And their demand for apology after apology indicates that Islamism is possessed of a peculiar arrogance. If you disagree with them, you will feel their wrath. You cannot offend even their least sensibility for fear of becoming their next target.

So what good will further apology do? It will simply reward the medievalist behavior and show that the West can indeed be intimidated by their anti-civilization agenda. And it's yet another example of the stakes in the global terror war.

Because Kristallnacht is happening all over again. And the signs don't just read "Juden" anymore. We ignore the implications and attempt to appease this enemy at our own peril.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blogging Paradigm Shift

Anyone who visits this blog more than once in a blue moon will note that my blogging frequency has dropped off in the past month. There are reasons for that that are personal to me, including a very busy month or two with work, family obligations--first things first, of course--but also what I would describe simply as a complete disconnect between what I was doing and what I had been wanting to do with the Blog.

I began this blog with a very serious mission: I wanted to call out leftism in America, because I believed then, and believe even more so now that it infringed upon the liberties of the free world in general and upon Americans in particular, while conferring no benefits of any kind on the people upon whom such policies are inflicted. Just ask anyone who lived in the Soviet Union. I also wanted to advance the conservative movement, as I believe that it is the key to personal prosperity and individual freedom.

I also believe in originality, and became very concerned that the blog was, in order to lend the appearance of activity, merely parrotting what was already floating around. There's nothing worse than not having the time to hew out original thoughts about the problems facing the world, and in that regard, I have begun to feel like today's Democrat leaders, but that is beside the point, of course!

But beyond anything else, I have dealt with a major dissatisfaction with the Israel/terror question, and I am most concerned that the good guys in this most important battle have been dealt significant setbacks in the past month, to the point that if I were a jihadist, I'd be quite jubilant. Nothing sets one back like a significant disappointment, and perhaps even a feeling of betrayal. In short, I have been quite depressed to the point of wanting to give up, for fear that nobody was listening, that the good fight that we are fighting is being set aside in favor of easy answers and momentary comfort, and that there was nothing to be done about it.

But giving up isn't really in my blood.

I'm a fighter. And to that end, I am proposing to deliver a better product to my readers. Posts will be less frequent, and fewer per week, but I hope to put up posts that are significantly more insightful and cutting. And I hope that you all continue to read.

Thanks for your patience with me, and your support is always.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

As Goes Lieberman, So Go the Dems

Joe Lieberman lost the Democratic primary last night to the Kos-netroots far left wing of the Democratic party by nominating the anti-security candidate Ned Lamont. And while they are celebrating the defeat of a candidate whom they believe was disloyal, for failure to reflexively oppose anything George Bush does, in killing their Senator from their ticket, the Dems may have done the same to themselves for a number of reasons.

First, when Lieberman wins in the general as an Independent, that's one less Senate seat for the Dems. And given that Lieberman's fellow Connecticut Senator, Chris Dodd is now pulling a turncoat operation and supporting Ned Lamont in the general election, Lieberman may very well spend his next six years as an independent without switching party affiliation. It's the loss of a seat that the Dems simply can't afford in a year when they need every single race to retake the Senate.

Second, it tells moderate Democrats like Lieberman, Evan Bayh (IN), Bill Nelson (FL), Ben Nelson (NE), Tim Johnson (SD), Max Baucus (MT), Mary Landrieu (LA), and perhaps even the up-and-coming Bob Casey (PA) and Harold Ford (TN) that they are not welcome in the party unless they goose-step with the rest of the Kos-acks. It will have the effect of electing more and more far left candidates from among the Dems.

Third, this will embolden other such cannibalistic efforts to bump off other office holders in primaries such as the persons mentioned in the above-paragraph if they tinker enough with the impossibly intolerant left by daring to think independently. The net will be, as above, the rise of a much more pink Democratic party with candidates who are more and more outside the American mainstream, reminding most voters why they have kept that party out of power for the better half of a decade.

Lastly, and probably much less likely is the demographic effect that this could have. American Jews are currently at a political crossroads. They tend to be socially liberal for the most part, but economically conservative, and for obvious reasons are pro-national security in general and pro-Israel in particular. And in many respects, the far left has abandoned those causes. The rising left tends to support Islamism over Israel, every tinpot dictator over the United States, and has a less and less restrained anti-Semitic streak running through it. In very many ways, the Dems have done their best to push away Jewish voters. The question is whether their abandonment of an observant, likeable and apparently very pious Jewish Senator will be the thing to either keep them home or switch them to a Republican party that is ardently pro-Israel, pro-security, and whose members are Jews, Christians and others alike.

The Dems did significantly more than they think by ousting Lieberman. The problem for them is that, even if one assumes that they did nothing to aid the Republicans in this effort, they almost certainly harmed themselves, all in an effort to purify their ranks in a display of political cleansing.

UPDATE

By way of my final point regarding anti-Semitism and the Democrats, I missed this little tidbit: Lamont is campaigning today with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and both were on his victory stage last night. Everyone will remember Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" remarks of the 1980s, and Sharpton's "Jew bloodsucker" remarks and the fact that he presided over the destruction of a Jewish business in New York where employees inside were killed.

And while many may blow off the significance of this, I find it chilling and just a little odd that the Democrats missed the irony: A prominent Jewish Senator is slandered so that a far leftist can pick him off the ticket. Then, the winner parades around with two of the most prominent anti-Semites in American politics today in order to gain momentum for the general election.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but the far left seems to be sending a pretty clear message about how welcome (or otherwise) Jews are in the party.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Bad News for Congress, but Does it Mean Anything?

Ryan Sager at RealClearPolitics offers this rather ominous post, citing to WaPo poll that indicates that people's favorable feelings toward their own Member of Congress has fallen seven percentage points in three months to 55%--a significant drop.

And while Sager notes that that number doesn't translate into anything significant for the Democrats either, the biggest issue to me is whether it translates into getting people to the polls.

In 1994, Americans responded very favorably to the Contract With America. It was a positive offering to the nothing that the Democrats in power were offering, and it was a smashing success. Republicans were swept into office by voters who had the hope of specific things better. People had a reson to get excited. But general ennui and disregard does not necessarily translate into a vote for some other guy. More often than not, it translates into someone who chooses not to vote. Major things move people to vote, not what seems to be an alternativeless contest in the eyes of many voters.

Is less satisfaction enough to shift control of Congress? If you're a Democrat, it had better be.

Predictions: Incumbents Lose Today

The two big races for today involve the but liberal but admirable Joe Lieberman and the execrable but hopelessly ineffective Cynthia McKinney.

Lieberman will lose his Democratic primary race to Kos-ack far leftist Ned Lamont. He will lose because he was not completely pure in his leftist ideology, because he had the audacity to take an independent view of the Iraq War. And if he loses, it's a good thing for conservatives and Lieberman and a disastrous thing for the Dems.

For conservatives, it will show that the Democrats are little more than a strictly orthodox, far left enclave led by the netroots crowd. Worse yet, it may alienate some Jewish voters. The Dems have not done much to welcome more moderate Jews, and in fact, have done their best to alienate them. The far left is significantly pro-Islamism and anti-American, which generally also means anti-Israel and anti-Semitic. So in all, this is a fairly shortsighted approach on the part of the left that will indeed energize the granola crowd, but which will push away swing voters. Lieberman will win as an independent in the general election, proving that he has enough political mojo that he doesn't need the party of Cynthia McKinney to give him legitimacy.

And speaking of the insane Congresswoman from Georgia, McKinney will repeat her primary disaster of 2002. Her constituents would rather have a respectable representative who brings positive attention to their Atlanta-area district rather than embarrassment. But her removal is unfortunate for a number of reasons.

McKinney was ardently defended by the Congressional Black Caucus after all of her obnoxious behavior, just as the CBC was doing the same for Rep. William Jefferson who is now under investigation in a bribery scandal. The lesson was that the CBC is little more than a good-old-boys network that defends its members regardless of what they have done, based solely upon those members' complexion and wingnut ideologies. It also showed that people like McKinney, who embrace Cindy Sheehan as an effort to get votes, who make fools of themselves on camera by filibustering when interviewed about allegations that she struck a police officer who was trying to protect her, and who was critical of a staffer while the microphone was on really do represent the party that the Democrats are trying to become in the 21st Century.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lieberman Might Deny the Dems a Majority in the Senate

This year the Dems have high hopes that they can win the Congress. And while their tide isn't particularly high, as they have offered no alternative to the Republicans, the Republicans aren't doing so well nationally either. The problem for the Dems is that House elections are not decided nationally, but rather locally, and people tend to have a fairly decent level of approval of their own Member of Congress, saving their disapproval for everyone else's. That's why Congressional turnover is so rare. But the Senate is much more susceptible to political sway, and this year could be a year of significant pickups for the Dems, but as with everything they try, they may have outsmarted themselves this time.

The Senate seat division is pretty straightforward with Republicans at 55, Democrats at 44, with one independent. The Independent will remain, with Jim Jeffords leaving and socialist whacko Bernie Sanders coming in. So the Dems need seven seats to switch the Senate. But there's more to the math than that. The Republicans may make two pickups in the race, meaning that the Dems will have to take nine seats if the math is right. They have reason to hope for wins in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Tennesee, and maybe Montana, Minnesota, and possibly Missourri. And while they have hopes in Virginia, Ohio, and Arizona, those seats are likely to remain in Republican hands, so a Democrat Senate is unlikely. But let's presume that the Dems score some surprise upsets, given that these same seats broke almost completely in favor of the Dems in 2000. They still must make some surprise pickups and cannot afford even one seat's loss.

And that's where Connecticut comes in.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman is in the primary fight of his life. In an attack from the Kos-sack left, a leftist by the name of Ned Lamont is challenging Lieberman in the Democratic primary, because Lieberman has chosen to take a different opinion on the Iraq war than the far left of his party, never mind the fact that Lieberman has an overwhelmingly liberal voting record.

The problem for the Dems is that if Lieberman loses the primary--as it appears he might(H.T. RealClearPolitics)--he will run as an independent, and likely hold on to his seat. The problem is that the Dems will be left with two independents rather than just one. And so if they do score a miraculous sweep, they may indeed place themselves just one seat out of reach of a working majority, simply because of their own insistence upon dogmatic leftist orthodoxy.

The wheels are running too fast to stop now. The problem is that the Dems may find themselves underneath them.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Some Perspective on Qana

A Primer on Quana- Its a village on the Israeli-Lebanon border, on the Lebanon side. Israel believed that it was a Hezbollah stronghold, and so appropriately targeted it. The Israelis warned civilians to get out, because the place was going to be targeted. They didn't leave, and they died in the attack that followed. But rather than the story being that these people for some reason wanted to be foolish human shields, and willingly risked their children and themselves for terrorists, the story became the many that Israel had killed. And the death toll rose. 54. 63. Women, children, etc. Murdered by Israel. And then there were calls fromt he Arab world for an immediate cease-fire.

But here's the truth.

Only 28 people died. And while that's not great no matter how big the number, the point is that the numbers were inflated.

And the numbers were also not that different from a garden-variety suicide bombing targeting commuters or women and children in the markets in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

And after those suicide bombings, whose targets were intended to be women and children, never did one single Arab country call for any peace process to begin. Never was Hamas or Fatah or Hezbollah called to stand down. After Israeli children were killed in Katuysha rocket strikes in this present conflict, not a peep was heard from a single Islamo-Arab capital. But when a few people die, despite the fact that Israel had the courtesy to endanger its own forces to warn an essentially enemy civilian population to leave because an attack was imminent, smacks of a particularly filthy hypocrisy, and lays transparent the fact that the Islamo-Arab nations of the world have no respect for the lives of peaceful people, but only armed brigands and those who support them.

Qana is a non-issue and is not even close to a basis for a cease-fire. If it were, the Arab world would have forced peace after the first weeks of the initial Intifada started by the Palestinians years ago. If anything, Qana is the window through which we can see the transparent evil of the medieval Islamofacism that grips the Arab world.

Sick and Vacationing

Sorry about sporadic posting. Vacation and minor illness have kept me down. But I'll throw a couple up today.