At a private gathering on Friday, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) told supporters that immigration is “an issue that is so much broader than all that, so much more serious. It is the issue of our culture itself, and whether we will survive.”
U.S. News reports “there could be a brand of Bush 101 taught in business schools soon” if Babson College business professor James Hoopes has his way. Hoopes has landed a publisher for his book, Hail to the CEO: The Failure of George W. Bush and the Cult of Moral Leadership. “His premise: President Bush, a Harvard University M.B.A. grad, is proof that business schools focus more on leadership than on management.”
That seems to the point, and actually explains my Spiderman-related perplexity. Introspecting a bit, I think I’m harsher than most movie fans on highbrow indie stuff and also on Hollywood comedies, but also much, much, much more forgiving of summer popcorn movies.
This morning on CBS’s Face the Nation, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich advised fellow conservatives not to talk about President Bush’s record. “President Bush is not the future. He’s not a solution. He doesn’t solve Social Security. He doesn’t solve Medicare. He doesn’t solve the economy. He doesn’t solve the environment. He doesn’t solve education. He’s a current fact,” Gingrich said.
It’s also a “current fact” that the conservative agenda has failed to “solve” these important issues over the past six years.
Gingrich went on to say that conservatives “have to say, this is not what we want to debate. It’s not in Baghdad, it’s not in Katrina, it’s not at Walter Reed, it’s not with the U.S. attorneys, but I have a better plan for a better solution that fits your values.” When Host Bob Schieffer suggested that Gingrich seemed to advocating steering clear of President Bush, Gingrich responded, “Well, I think that’s clear.”
Gingrich’s “hush-hush” list will only grow as the American public learns more about the fallout from policies that the administration has pursued. And as the Congress continues to provide the type of aggressive oversight that uncovers these administration failures, it becomes more obvious that conservatives have served as silent enablers, refusing to correct course when they had the opportunity to do so.
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New polls show John Edwards and Barack Obama both crushing either Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, while Hillary Clinton is in tight races with both of them, and Mitt Romney gets demolished by everyone.
Drawing lessons will be left as an exercise for the reader. I have to say, though, that if Romney’s going to be a kind of fake conservative and really unpopular, that it’s hard to see what the rationale for his candidacy is supposed to be.
John Quiggen makes an important point. An awful lot of the recent changes in American history can be understood as efforts to graft a proper two-party dynamic onto a country that thanks to both an unusual institutional set-up and the legacy of the Civil War and Jim Crow didn’t really have one. The rise of the “New Right” essentially turned the GOP into one half of a two-party system, at which point it became devastatingly effective because the opposition was still behaving like one half of the old, more fluid system. Much recent progressive activism has centered around trying to turn the Democrats into “the other party” of a two-party system.
Yesterday, a new videotape from al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri was released, in which he expresses opposition to the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and says he wants 200,000-300,000 U.S. troops killed before the America pulls out.
Zawahiri says Congress’ proposed Iraq timetable is evidence of American “failure and frustration,” but adds, “This bill will deprive us of the opportunity to destroy the American forces which we have caught in a historic trap.”
This morning on Fox News, host Chris Wallace attempted to spin the Zawahiri tape. He repeatedly said Zawahiri “says the Democrats’ troop pull-out bill is proof of a U.S. defeat,” never once mentioning the fact that Zawahiri also advocated Bush’s strategy of staying the course in Iraq. Watch it:
The fact that Zawahiri views Bush’s Iraq policy as a failure is not news. The American people, in one poll after another, view Iraq as a failure. The significance of Zawahiri’s tape is his stated concern that a withdrawal would deprive al Qaeda of its ambition to inflict sustained and gradual losses against U.S. troops.
As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog writes, “He wants the US to remain in a quagmire where our troops are killed and killed and killed, i.e., he likes the [Bush] plan for Iraq.” Wallace chose not to report this aspect of the Zawahiri’s tape.
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I sort of feel like I should be hyping Atlantic content, but all the real articles are subscription-only, so what’s the point? Brian Mockenhaupt talking about his article on military training in the latest issue is interesting, though less interesting than the actual article:
But at the same time the drill sergeants are going to explain that situations will arise when shooting is not the answer because it will turn against you down the road. It might be really hard, especially when you’re under fire, and you’ve been taking casualties, and you feel that a neighborhood might be against you. But to win in the end you need to exercise extreme prudence and restraint. For someone who has only been in the military for a short time, this can be a difficult lesson.
To my mind, probably the big thing that makes me skeptical about the idea that better manual and training regimes will make counterinsurgency viable is that this lesson is not only hard to teach, but needs to be taught almost perfectly. Say 95 percent of your soldiers take the training and act perfectly. Well, if you’re got 100,000 soldiers in Iraq, that means 5,000 guys who are two quick to open fire. Over the course of six months or so, 5,000 heavily armed trigger-happy soldiers can kill and main a lot of people and destroy a ton of property. There’s your alienated population right there. And yet, a 95 percent success rate is very high.
Last week, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) compared the war to a Cardinals-Cubs baseball game. Reinforcing the notion that conservatives are deeply out of touch with the realities of the war, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today compared Iraq to the small plastics and packaging company he used to run in Ohio.
Boehner used his analogy to justify setting teethless benchmarks for the Iraqi government. “I owned a small business. I have benchmarks every month, but if I didn’t meet the benchmarks and if I missed the profit margin, I didn’t shut down the business. I didn’t yank the funds and close up the door.”
The war in Iraq isn’t a small business, and 100 U.S. soldiers weren’t killed every month if Boehner couldn’t sell enough bubble wrap. This war is threatening U.S. security, crippling the U.S. military, and drawing resources from other critical priorities. Conservatives just can’t wrap their heads around those facts.
Indeed, they actively ignore U.S. intelligence. Boehner said this morning, “At the end of the day, Chris, Iraq is not about a civil war. Iraq is about al Qaeda… It is not a civil war.” This directly contradicts the findings of both the U.S. intelligence community and the Pentagon.
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“Weeks after radio personality Rush Limbaugh began airing a parody song entitled ‘Barack the Magic Negro,’ the piece about African-American Sen. Barack Obama’s popularity with many white voters is drawing fire from critics who say it is racist. … For his part, Obama has been the subject of explicit, angry comments not only in emails and letters but in web postings. Samples of those writings were reviewed by members of Congress earlier this week when they recommended that Obama get a U.S. Secret Service detail.”