13 June, 2008

McCain's Iraq Problem (It's Not What You Think)

The Democratic Party swept to power in 2006 based largely on using Iraq as an albatross around the necks of their Republican opponents.

Their original plans for the White House in 2008 centered around much of the same strategy. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), while in opposition to the President in many things, has been a strong supporter of the war and the "surge" from the very beginning.

The Democratic mantra of "we can't win, and in fact, we've already lost" has become so entrenched in the minds of most Americans that it's nearly impossible for them to see anything else.

And, if that were true, it would be a disaster for John McCain.

But, it's not true at all. The story in Iraq is getting amazingly better. Almost day-by-day. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been nearly defeated, and Iraqis are largely handling the final stages themselves with Americans relegated to a supporting role.

And you'd think that would be good news for John McCain.

You'd be wrong.

In some ways, Iraq has become too much of a success story. And while the truth of that makes the Democratic party look ridiculous, no one knows. And no one's going to know. And if they do know, they're not going to care.

When was the last time you saw something significant about Iraq in the news?

That's because the only news coming out of Iraq right now is good news.

Which largely takes the issue off the table for the 2008 elections.

John McCain's strength is foreign policy and experience. His weakness is domestic policy and the economy.

With Iraq doing so well and not being in the news, it's an "out of sight, out of mind" situation for most Americans. Currently Americans are far more worried about the economy than the situation in Iraq.

Which makes things much easier for Senator Barack Obama.

McCain must find a way to make the point that he's been right about Iraq all along, and his opponent has been wrong, and that there's still plenty more to do to ensure stability there. Further, he must make it clear that it's foolish to expect someone who's been wrong on Iraq all along to suddenly get things right. Lastly, he has to make all of this evident to an American public that is far more concerned about their jobs and their wallets.

Naming Names: Who's Holding Up Drilling for U.S. Oil?

Yesterday, the House Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies voted on party lines on the issue of "Drill Here. Drill Now. Pay Less." The Democratic party is against lowering gas prices for the American consumer and is against energy independence.

Here are the names. This is a House committee, so all of these folks are up for re-election.

Chair: Norman D. Dicks (D-WA)
James P. Moran (D-VA)
Maurice D. Hinchey (D-NY)
John W. Olver (D-MA)
Alan B. Mollohan (D-WV)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Ben Chandler (D-KY)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Dave Obey (D-WI), Ex Officio

Hat Tip: Glenn Beck

Ignoring the Supreme Court

Yes, I know all about the SCOTUS decision on Gitmo yesterday. I'm not going to comment. Everything worthwhile has already been said. Yes, I think it was wrong, but I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

I realize given the intent of this blog that a discussion would fit well here, but I just don't have anything interesting to say on the subject.

However, on Tammy Bruce's blog today, a poster named Maynard has a post that's at least tangential to this issue. And, while I don't think anyone's recommending that Bush follow Lincoln's lead, the parallels are interesting.

To wit, Lincoln illegally suspended habeas corpus for 2 years with regard to military detainees in spite of a SCOTUS decision against him.

Lieutenant John Merryman, leading a unit of the Maryland cavalry, destroyed a bridge vital to troop movements. Lincoln's army detained him. Held at Fort McHenry, he filed a writ of habeas corpus. The Chief Justice ruled that Merryman must be freed.

Lincoln ignored the court. The Union army marched into Baltimore and declared martial law. Mayor Brown and others were imprisoned for the duration of the war. Lincoln's unauthorized suspension of habeas corpus continued until 1863, when Congress validated his actions.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Someone asked me if George W. Bush (R-USA) could ask Congress to suspend habeas corpus for Gitmo detainees? It's unclear to me, but a better question might be, would they? Given that it's a Democratic controlled Congress and Bush is a lame duck, you'd expect the answer to be 'no'.

However, given that it's an election year, Congress might, but only if it were politically expedient.

11 June, 2008

Quote of the Day Part II

From the AP and Jonathan Martin:

[Congressman ZZZ] said Tuesday Barack Obama [(D-IL)] is "the most liberal senator" in Congress and he has no intention of endorsing him for the White House.

Who is "Congressman ZZZ"? Why, none other than Dan Boren (D-OK02).

Another beautiful quote from him:

Our nominee is not my first choice.

And about Obama:

[H]is record does not reflect working in a bipartisan fashion.

This is a Democrat talking, folks. Dean needs to get these folks in line. So much for party unity and Obama being a "uniter, not a divider". As Martin points out:

[I]t gives [John] McCain [(R-AZ)] and the GOP a handy talking point from a non-[Joe] Lieberman [(D-CN)] Dem. "Even some Democratic congressmen..." will surely go the refrain when making the case about Obama's purported liberalism.

Quotes of the Day Part I

About the budget:

I can’t support a budget, from either party, that raises taxes on the middle class. I campaigned on a platform of middle-class tax relief, and I was elected to Washington to bring about change. When asked to choose between my party and the people I represent, I will choose the families of the [my] district every single time.


I voted against [the budget] because it allows tax cuts to expire in 2010, raising taxes on most American taxpayers, I promised the people of the [my district] to vote with my party when they are right, and vote against them when they are wrong. My vote today was the right vote for my constituents.

Who said these things? The first is from Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL-14), and the second is from Congressman Dan Cazayoux (D-LA-06). What do these men have in common? They're both Democrats, and they both don't want to raise taxes on the middle class. And both voted against the Democrat budget plan.

Huh. Imagine that.

10 June, 2008

Something I've Never Understood

Why, oh why, does the left hate George W. Bush (R-USA) so much? Why does "Bush Derangement Syndrome" exist?

This is a man who as President, has primarily governed from the center, or even the left. Only on three issues has he been consistently right of center: the War in Iraq, taxes, and Supreme Court Justices.

In every other issue, growth of government, No Child Left Behind, "immigration reform", just to name a few, he's come down on the left side of the aisle.

Is it because of the "stolen election" in 2000?

Is it because he says "nucular"?

Is it because of the way he talks in general?

Is it because he's made a career out of getting people to underestimate him and they have fallen into that trap several times?

If these are the reasons, it's a sad statement about the left, that they would be so petty in their dislike of a person to not even realize that he's aided their cause immensely.

At least if there's an "Barack Obama (D-IL) Derangement Syndrome", it will have a logical basis. There's nothing at all centrist about Obama.

Republicans Blame Democrats For High Cost of Gas

I blame both parties.

However, what they say here is true.

House Republican leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) called it "insane" that the Democrat-led Congress is still refusing to allow increased production of American energy.
"Today marks another dubious day for this Do-Nothing Democratic Congress. On their watch, gas prices have soared to new heights, and by refusing to schedule a vote on a plan to increase American-made energy to help lower gas prices, congressional Democrats are complicit in this unprecedented surge in fuel costs," Boehner said on Sunday.
He called it "inexcusable" that Democrats won't take "meaningful action" to reduce gasoline prices, something that would help the entire economy, he said.

Price of gas in America in January, 2001 (George W. Bush (R-USA) takes office): $1.46.

Price of gas in America in January, 2007 (Democratic Party takes Congress): $2.31.

Price of gas in America in June, 2008: $4.04.

Percent increase in first 6 years: 58%

Percent increase in last 17 months: 75%

Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging, rolling back the billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, tax breaks and royalty relief given to big oil and gas companies, and increasing production of alternative fuels - Nancy Pelosi [(D-CA-08)], April, 2006

Yeah, how's that workin' out?

Senate Investigates Iraq Pre-war Intelligence

This is, what, the 7th, investigation into Iraq pre-war intelligence now? Don't the members of our Congress have anything better to do? Like come up with sensible plans for keeping the economy out of a recession, and for lowering the price of gas?

Apparently not. Apparently, it's worthwhile to investigate Iraq pre-war intelligence one more time and come up with the same conclusions as previous investigations. As Fred Hiatt points out:

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

[S]tatements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information."

This is from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on their investigation. Remember, please, that the party in the majority writes these reports, and that Democrats control the Senate.

The dissenter (minority) view?

The dissenters assert that they were cut out of the report's preparation, allowing for a great deal of skewing and partisanship, but that even so, "the reports essentially validate what we have been saying all along: that policymakers' statements were substantiated by the intelligence."

Another statement from the dissent:

"There has been some debate over how 'imminent' a threat Iraq poses. I do believe Iraq poses an imminent threat. I also believe after September 11, that question is increasingly outdated. . . . To insist on further evidence could put some of our fellow Americans at risk. Can we afford to take that chance? I do not think we can."

Who said this in October of 2002? Was it George W. Bush (R-USA)? No, it was Senator John. D. Reckefeller IV (D-WV), at the time the vice-chairman (now chairman) of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Bush Lied, People Died"? Only in Fantasyland. Even the most partisan Democrats in Washington can find no evidence to support that claim.