Earlier this week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington released it’s annual list of the “most corrupt members of Congress.” Rep. John Doolittle (R-CA), who is currently under federal investigation, received prominent placement on the list. Doolittle is now calling the group “underhanded and vile.” “There’s nothing responsible or ethical” about CREW, said Doolittle, who is currently under investigation by the Department of Justice for ethical improprieties.
On Thursday, best-selling author John Grisham said in an interview with the Des Moines Register that the Bush administration is built around “bad people with evil intent.” “The war is an immoral abomination that we’ll pay for for decades to come,” added Grisham. “We’re paying for it now at the rate of 100 kids a month while Bush plays politics with it.”
from July, you can finally read the testimony at the committee web site. The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming has also revamped their site with some nice graphics and info. Check it out.
John D. Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, gave a talk last week to National Association of State Treasures. Here are some key points:
You have seen the overdue shift in the global warming debate: from whether climate change is real to a sense of urgency about how to address it.
The science and the economics are conclusive: doing nothing about global warming presents a far greater cost than addressing it.
Global warming, if not reversed, will consume our national resources and threaten the well-being of future generations, and volatile energy prices and more extreme weather will devastate our economy.
The urgency of this issue demands a president and a Congress willing to make climate challenge a centerpiece not only of their energy policy but also of their economic program, to produce broad-based growth and sustain American economic leadership in the 21st century.
Society faces mounting physical risks, and businesses face grave financial risks if they fail to adapt to a changing policy climate because of the rapidly changing physical climate.
The challenge we face is nothing short of transforming our economy from a high-carbon model–which is putting both our economy and planet at risk–to a low-carbon model that can create new markets and a healthier environment.
He has an important point to make on the politics:
So what to do? Remember that Kristol’s loyalty to the Republicans often trumps national security. How else to explain his support for the GOP last November, even though a Republican victory would have prevented the surge in the first place and kept Rumsfeld in the Pentagon? One option: Change the subject by launching wars against Syria and Iran, and so polarize the country that the choice is framed as: MoveOn or America? That’s much better than having, you know, an actual debate about the merits of the war in Iraq and the war against Islamist terror. On that, Republicans lose. If the war is far wider and more terrifying, if the enemies can be multiplied and amplified, then the dynamic plays to the advantage of the GOP. It’s for us or against us again.
I really think that’s wrong. Kristol wants military action against Syria and Iran because Syria and Iran are both countries in the news and Kristol’s only idea about foreign policy is that the United States should deploy more military force. He’s also, clearly, a committed partisan Republican, but I think any fair reading of the record shows that his commitment to maximum military action all the time trumps petty considerations of partisanship. Recall that back in April 2001 Bush disappointed Kristol by not launching a war with China and got this treatment:
The profound national humiliation that President Bush has brought upon the United States may be forgotten temporarily when the American aircrew, held captive in China as this magazine goes to press, return home. But when we finish celebrating, it will be time to assess the damage done, and the dangers invited, by the administration’s behavior.
Now, that was idiotic. Our temporary forgetting of this “profound” humiliation will extend until the end of time because Bush, listening to Colin Powell and other sensible members of his administration, handled a sticky situation rather well and advanced our key interests at basically no cost. Kristol, by contrast, wanted to engage in a risky game of brinksmanship over nothing because, basically, he thinks war is great. Which, again, is profoundly dumb, but not in a partisan way. He’s just a one-trick pony.
I’m not sure I really ever gave my diavlog with Daniel Drezner a proper plug. I tend to think Dan and I have reasonably different political views, but we wound up with disappointingly little to disagree about. The crux of the problem came when we were discussing the fact that essentially everyone who went to work for Bush wound up with a worse reputation than he had going in. Maybe a few second-tier people (Zelikow, e.g.) have so far escaped unscathed, but the only people to enhance their reputations have been whistle blowers.
Dan called this the “ultimate indictment of Bush,” which it really is, but now that we’re at a point where most all reasonable people see things this way, what’s left to argue about. The best we could really up with was me not buying Alan Greenspan’s attempt at an exculpatory confession for his role in the Bush tax cuts rather than a straightforwardly confessional one.
Yesterday, Fox News aired “American Commander: Gen. David Petraeus,” a one-hour biographical account of the top commander in Iraq. The program, a narrative of Petraeus’s life from birth until his controversial Congressional testimony, featured stories from old neighbors to high school buddies to fellow military officials.
One of the most prominent interviewees was Brookings Institution analyst Michael O’Hanlon. Fox highlighted the fact that O’Hanlon has enjoyed a 20-year personal relationship with the general, extending back to graduate school:
O’HANLON: Petreaus certainly was distinctive and noteworthy.
FOX: Michael O’Hanlon is with the Brookings Institution. And in 1987, he attended Princeton with Petraeus. [...]
O’HANLON: Petraeus was trying to learn lessons [from Vietnam], so that with humility, and a willingness to do things differently, then next time, the military could stay out of that predicament. So that’s Petraeus’s style. He is very self-critical of himself and the institutions that he represents.
In his notorious New York Times op-ed, O’Hanlon did not mention the friendship but called Petraeus a “superb commander.” In subsequent interviews, he again glossed over his long relationship with Petraeus. In a Washington Post story entitled “The Work Behind Our Iraq Views,” O’Hanlon did not state that the work behind his Iraq views may be biased by his friendship with Petraeus.
The traditional media has regularly hosted O’Hanlon but has also ignored O’Hanlon’s inability to assess Petraeus’s work in an unbiased manner, choosing instead to call him a “vocal critic” of the war.
O’Hanlon has alleged that no one can question the “forthrightness” of Petraeus and has since attacked reputable critics of Petraeus as “flat-out sloppy.” Both the mainstream media as well as O’Hanlon have ignored the possibility that his judgment of Iraq may be clouded by his friendship and deep-admiration for Petraeus.
According to Newsweek magazine, Vice President Dick Cheney considered a plan to allow Israel to conduct missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites “in an effort to draw a military response from Iran, which could in turn spark a U.S. offensive against targets in the Islamic Republic”:
[T]he magazine quoted David Wurmser, until last month Cheney’s Middle East advisor, as having told a small group of people that “Cheney had been mulling the idea of pushing for limited Israeli missile strikes against the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz — and perhaps other sites — in order to provoke Tehran into lashing out.”
According to the report, “The Iranian reaction would then give Washington a pretext to launch strikes against military and nuclear targets in Iran.”
Newsweek said that it had corroborated Wurmser’s remarks, which it said were first published by Washington foreign-policy blogger Steven Clemons.
UPDATE: The U.K. Sunday Times writes that the U.S. Air Force has set up “a highly confidential strategic planning group” tasked with preparing the perfect plan for Iran.
The LA Times‘s Mark Babarak takes a look at the shoe that hasn’t dropped in the campaign yet: attack ads on television. The candidates don’t like to bust these out, because in a multiple-person race negative ads can easily backfire and mainly serve to benefit a third candidate. At some point, though, someone’s going to decide he (or, in principle, she, but Clinton almost certainly won’t shoot first) needs to go for it.
That kind of thing can transform a race. Most people who follow politics closely have already gotten a little bored with this super-long fight, but most voters still have only very hazy notions about the campaign and the evidence is that attack ads really do make a big difference — I expect this to especially be a problem for Giuliani. What’s more, even relatively small ad-induced changes in the polls would inject dynamism into the competition and bring renewed attention and enthusiasm from the junkies.