Showing posts from February, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr.

WFB Jr. has passed away at the age of 82. Mr. Buckley’s greatest achievement was making conservatism — not just electoral Republicanism, but conservatism as a system of ideas — respectable in liberal post-World War II America. He mobilized the young enthusiasts who helped nominate Barry Goldwater in 1964, and saw his dreams fulfilled when Reagan and the Bushes captured the Oval Office. To Mr. Buckley’s enormous delight, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., the historian, termed him “the scourge of liberalism.” In remarks at National Review’s 30th anniversary in 1985, President Reagan joked that he picked up his first issue of the magazine in a plain brown wrapper and still anxiously awaited his biweekly edition — “without the wrapper.” “You didn’t just part the Red Sea — you rolled it back, dried it up and left exposed, for all the world to see, the naked desert that is statism,” Mr. Reagan said. “And then, as if that weren’t enough,” the president continued, “you gave the world something diff

The Perfect Storm: 2008

On May 17th, 2003, Joe Trippi posted a blog entry at the unofficial Dean Nation weblog entitled simply, The Perfect Storm . In that post, since reprinted many times elsewhere, he wrote like the prophet he is: never -- until now -- would there ever have been any hope of 1 million Americans contributing $100 each to take back their country and promote a common vision for the future of the nation. Maybe it will be 2 million who contribute $50. But the Internet makes that possible. Or maybe it will be 5 million Americans contributing $20. The tools, energy, leadership and the right candidate, are all in place to create the Perfect Storm of Presidential politics -- where millions of Americans act together and organize their communities, their neighborhoods and their precincts. It is ironic I think that the Perfect Storm may indeed be made possible by the internet -- but in the end the real storm it may create is the largest grassroots/election day get-out-the-vote -- shoe leather/door knock

Nader's Nadir

Ralph Nader is back ! Ralph Nader goes on NBC’s Meet the Press tomorrow morning, stoking speculation that the consumer advocate is gearing up for another presidential bid. [...] An email to supporters from Nader’s presidential exploratory committee ticked off a list of issues that have been “pulled off the table by the corporatized political machines in this momentous election year,” including defense budget cuts, opposition to nuclear power, and a single-payer national health insurance system. well, single-payer would be great, but opposition to nuclear power? defense budget cuts? It's like he's stuck in 1962. He's the candidate for Counterpunch, and exhibit A of why I think the Progressive movement is fundamentally conservative (and stands apart from the liberal mainstream). As I argued previously, in one sense Nader's run will benefit the Democratic nominee , because it will permit them to distance themselves from the ultraleft fringe and make a more compelling case

now, Michelle Obama is Hitler

Today's Day by Day cartoon by Chris Muir: It didn't take long, did it? This just goes to show how terrified of the Obamenon the right wing has become. (Obviously, Obama has never proposed that Americans be forced to labor in camps. The context was about taking action, about giving something to your country, about being more than just a passive observer in your nation's affairs. This is the sort of definition of patriotism that conservatives used to value highly).

the muslim smear was so last month

now they're calling Obama a commie jew bastard. Or more specifically, a " half black/half Jewish, red diaper baby " and yet, all of my mixed race, black/white classmates throughout my youth, some of whom I am still in contact with, were the product of very culturally specific unions. They were always the offspring of a white mother, (in my circles, she was usually Jewish, but elsewhere not necessarily) and usually a highly educated black father. And how had these two come together at a time when it was neither natural nor easy for such relationships to flourish? Always through politics. No, not the young Republicans. Usually the Communist Youth League. Or maybe a different arm of the CPUSA. But, for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958, or 60, there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics. (During the Clinton Administration we were all introduced to then U. of Pennsylvania Professor Lani Guinier -- also a half black/half Jewish, red diaper

progressives are conservatives

I was forwarded this by a reliably leftist progressive acquaintance. Do you think that Barack Obama is going to fight for the common man, or will he - like every other candidate in the race - be beholden to corporate interests? Well, guess who is the number one recipient of campaign funds from the following industries: computer and Internet companies, commercial banks, health professionals, health services and HMOs, hospitals and nursing homes, lawyers and law firms, miscellaneous health care interests, pharmaceutical and health product producers, securities and investment interests (groups with serious cash), and television, movie, and music companies? If you guessed Hillary Clinton, you're right! Guess who's in second place? A man by the name of Barack Obama. If you think that BO is going to work for the common good of the common man, you may be a moron. I assume the text above is excerpted from the counterpunch link appended , though I've no stomach to really click

prediction: Obama takes Wisconsin, Texas

It's a tight race in Wisconsin but I think Obama will eke out a win here. Given the way the primary mechanics work in Texas , I also think that Obama is going to win there, largely because Clinton's campaign didn't seem to be paying attention (and truthfully never expected to have to fight beyond Super Tuesday). In Ohio, even though the polls show Obama slightly ahead , I still think Hillary has an advantage. Let's see how it all pans out. The chips begin to fall tomorrow.

news flash: liberal blogsphere doesn't like Obama

A Bizarro World article in The New Republic by Brad Plumer argues inexplicably that the netroots favor Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama. The article appears to have been written prior to Edwards' dropping out, even though it was just published last week. As such it is hopelessly out of date, even if it's central premise were true, which Plumer strains mightily to prove with quotes from various netroots chiefs like Stoller, Markos, Hamsher etc. It's true that Obama has been heavily critiqued by the left for pursuing an inclusive, post-partisan theme rather than a transformativem hyper-partisan theme, but to conclude that there's some kind of rift from this is really letting the thesis drive the story. Well, it made RedState happy , at least. Let them take whatever solace they can.

More from Colin

More from Colin: "I will vote for the candidate I think can do the best job in America. Whether that candidate is a Republican or Democrat or an independent," Powell told CNN's "Late Edition." "Frankly, we lost a lot in recent years," Powell added in a swipe at the administration of President George W. Bush, under whom he served as secretary of state from 2001 to 2005. Powell, a top general and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said he would vote for the candidate with a vision "that starts to restore confidence in America. That starts to restore favorable ratings to America." "I am going to be looking for the candidate that seems to me to be leading a party that is fully in sync with the candidate and a party that will also reflect America's goodness and America's vision." As others have pointed out, though, it's more likely that Powell will simply endorse McCain and play it safe. Betting on Colin Powell to

Starbucks TWISI #258: George F. Will

I usually don't pay much attention to my Starbucks TWISIs (though I do occasionally document the ones I receive on my twitter ). Today's triple venti latte, though, had quite an interesting TWISI on it, which I found highly relevant to the political drama of the times. The author? George F. Will, "Pulitzer-Prize winning author and columnist" (the cup reminds us helpfully). The topic? "true" conservatives. (and, of course, liberals, because how else do they define themselves?). Here's what TWISI #258 says: Because true conservatives are pessimists, they are happier than liberals, for three reasons. First, pessimists are rarely surprised. Second, when they are wrong they are delighted to be so. Third, pessimists do not put their faith in princes - in government. They understand that happiness is a function of fending for oneself. Happiness is an activity ; it is inseparable from the pursuit of happiness. Deep thoughts indeed. I am fascinated by the compul

Which way will McCain swing?

I've been arguing that McCain is probably going to pick Fred Thompson as his running mate, mainly because I've bought into the conventional wisdom that he needs to pick a conservative to solidify the base and encourage turnout. However there is an alternate theory out there that no matter what McCain does, he will never placate the core conservatives. So, the argument goes, McCain will pick a liberal veep to try and compete for the independents against Obama: Barack Obama has become his party's front-runner because he has expanded the Democratic Party. His big rallies draw crowds of nearly 20,000, unheard of for a primary campaign. In 2004, President Bush beat John Kerry by expanding the GOP base in conservative areas. This is a strategy that simply won't work for McCain because there is a certain bloc of core, loyal and principled conservatives who will never vote for him no matter what he says now, who he picks to run with, or who the Democratic nominee might be. Th

a new Citizen Wausau

Since ten blogs isn't enough, I decided to put all my Wisconsin-centric blogging under the aegis of Citizen Wausau. My new blog there, Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Howard Dean , will be part politics and part life in Wisconsin from the perspective of an ex-Texan. Stop by or subscribe to the feed!

Hillary coming to Wausau

Even though Obama seems to be bypassing us, Hillary will not be : Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign has announced which cities she will visit on her Saturday night-through-Tuesday morning tour of the Badger State, though no details on times or dates. Her campaign will take her to: Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Eau Claire, Wausau and Oshkosh. Depending on when she will be here, I might well bundle the baby up and go to Wausau to hear her speak. Who knows, without Obama to make his case in person, maybe Hillary can seal the deal :)

ah, my vote matters!

Having spent 9 years in Texas, I am unused to the idea that my vote will actually count for much. But now that I live in Wisconsin, which votes next Tuesday, it seems that my vote has real power - practically every candidate running for President is here this week: With less than a week to go before Wisconsin's primary on Tuesday, candidates from both parties were on the ground Wednesday. The Republican field made its first stop in Wisconsin, with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee asking a crowd in Waukesha to help boost his bid for the presidency and saying he would maintain the party's core principles in a way front-runner John McCain, a U.S. senator from Arizona, could not. For his part, McCain will campaign in Wisconsin on Friday. Meanwhile, Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois visited Janesville, Waukesha and Racine, talking about inequality in the global economy and his plan to address it. In Racine, Obama's campaign pumped some dollars into the local econo

Al-Qaeda in Iraq is not the issue

At RedState, Pejman takes Andrew Sullivan to task for an assertion that McCain would withdraw troops from Iraq. I am not defending Andrew's assertion (if anything, the opposite seems more likely, that Obama will not withdaw from Iraq, nor would any Democratic president ). However, Pejman makes the following statement in the course of his argument: al Qaeda will consolidate itself in an anarchic Iraq and use it as a staging ground for the next terrifying attack on the United States and on American interests--think Afghanistan in the run-up to 9/11 is simply misinformed. No one who reads Michael Yon or Michael Totten on a regular basis will believe that Al Qaeda will ever be able to reconstitute itself in Iraq, not with the infrastructure (weak and fledgling though it remains at present) of the Iraqi forces and the tribes. Whatever leverage AQ-Iraq had in the past has been squandered and they are hated fiercely. Afghanistan is another matter, and there is where the true danger of

McCain-Thompson '08

not exactly a surprise: Fred Thompson, the one-time Republican presidential candidate, endorsed Sen. John McCain Friday, calling on the party to "close ranks" behind the presumed nominee. "This is no longer about past preferences or differences. It is about what is best for our country and for me that means that Republican should close ranks behind John McCain," Thompson said in a statement reported by the Associated Press. I dont know if FDT is angling for veep or not (though it's hard to see his limp and brief candidacy as anything other than a vanity run). But the advantages he'd bring to McCain are undeniable - including the South: The endorsement now may help McCain to coalesce the factions of the party around him. Thompson, who represented Tennessee in the Senate for eight years, is thought of well in the South, an area that McCain has not done well in. Paradoxically, declaring Thompson the VP might help McCain in the general with his base rather than

borders by language and culture

Josh Trevino makes an impassioned plea against the inevitable , ie the pending declaration of independence by the province of Kosovo from Serbia. The following nugget of argument is in a sense the real heart of his argument: The old Wilsonian idea that a geographically-bounded majority population deserves its own sovereignty dies hard. In this decade, with American foreign policy predicated more than ever on quasi-Wilsonian principles, it is especially formidable. It is also a recipe for disaster: with the United States engaged in two wars in multiethnic states, to explicitly affirm this precedent in Kosovo invites more serious problems and bloodshed elsewhere. With Kosovo independent, what grounds do we have for dissuading the independence aspirations of the Kurds, the Pashtuns, the Baluchis, the Assyrians, the Arab Shi’a, et al.? Furthermore, what prevents Russia from seizing upon this precedent to cause trouble in the Caucasus and Moldova? (They say they won’t — for now — but why gi

the delegate game: Romney and Huck

After Huckabee's rout of McCain yesterday, the GOP delegate totals are: (1,191 needed to win) McCain : 714 Romney : 286 Huckabee : 217 Clearly, the social-conservative base is rebelling against the coronation of McCain as the nominee. Josh Trevino argues that these results are more indicative of the general election outcome than the primary: what we see this evening is only partly a preview of a Huckabee surge from conservatives. That surge is yet to fully materialize; it has long odds against it due to the establishment’s scorched-earth campaign against Huckabee of one month past; and even if it comes to pass, it is unlikely to deny McCain the nomination. This evening’s results are a preview of something else: the root of a McCain defeat in November. In other words, for Huckabee to prevail over McCain, he'd still have to succeed in improbable math . However, others speculate what would happen if Romney threw his support to Huck instead: If Romney were to join forces with Huc

Colin Powell: an Obama Republican?

Interesting comments by Colin Powell : WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican who served under President Bush, said Friday he may not back the GOP presidential nominee in November, telling CNN that "I am keeping my options open at the moment." Powell also offered praise for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, calling him an "exciting person on the political stage. "He has energized a lot of people in America," said Powell, who briefly weighed his own run for the White House in the mid-1990s. "He has energized a lot of people around the world. And so I think he is worth listening to and seeing what he stands for." One of the singular themes in Obama's run has been the unifying message he brings to close the partisan divide - something he rightly acknowledged Reagan was able to do (and got slammed for it by Clinton, let it be noted). Now here comes Colin Powell, who almo

The road to Puerto Rico

Only one conclusion can be drawn from Super Tuesday, as far as the Democratic nomination goes: it was super-inconclusive. Obama and Hillary did not win decisively, but rather are now in a true horserace. Clinton's strategy was to go for the big prizes like California and Texas, whereas Obama's was more to aim for the smaller caucuses and primaries, competing everywhere. The parallel to the dispute between party establishment Clintonites like Rahm Emanuel and DNC Chairman Howard Dean over the 50-state strategy is not accidental. There's a deep rift inside the Democratic Party and Clinton stands firmly on one side, Obama (and Dean, and Al Gore) on the other. In fact the nomination process itself is a proxy battle for this civil war; consider the factors that will determine the outcome: a distributed small-donor base versus big-name backers and bundling a "compete everywhere" strategy vs. a "maximized return" strategy the brewing battle over the delegates f

The McCain Mutiny

The Obama-Clinton horserace on the left seems headed towards fabled " brokered convention" status which has long been the holy grail of preesidential punditry (though in practice, is hardly worth cheering for its anti-democratic nature ). But in many ways the dynamic on the right is more important, since the very future of the Republican Party itself is at stake. The main issue is whether "conservatives" are truly a movement or just another faction within the GOP coalition. Prior to Romney's dropping out of the race, the view among the party elite was that McCain's ascendancy represented raw political expediency over genuinely conservative ideals - witness this roundtable between contributors at where despite a few voices to the contrary, the mainstream answers affirmatively he question, " did the primary process fail conservatives? ". However, Josh Trevino's comments after Romney's withdrawal strikes rather deeply at the p

Huckabee: Romney should drop out

You just have to admire this for its brilliance. Huckabee zings Romney, and zings him hard : "Why doesn't he drop out? Look at how much money he spent to get the same market share that I've got," the former Arkansas governor told a public affairs forum in San Francisco, the Commonwealth Club. "My message is obviously selling a lot better than his because look at how much he's had to put behind it to market it, and it's barely sold. I have fewer resources, but I've sold as much of the product as he has." Mr. Huckabee said Mr. Romney, who founded a business consulting firm, Bain Capital, should be able to recognize the trend lines. "He's an MBA and a smart business guy. If he were applying the same kind of business standard that he applied at Bain Capital, he'd be saying Huckabee's got a more efficient operation. They're getting a better market share than me for less money. Let's invest in him," the former Arkansas gov