Tuesday, March 27, 2007

See An Enemy: In case you were unaware, our enemies have had a "pernicious impact on American democracy" through a "culture of fear" that has created damage "infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks".

This enemy, of course, is President Bush and his evil cronies. By using 9/11 as a call to arms to wage a War on Terrorism, he has become more of a danger to us than Al Qaeda. All this, according to Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security advisor to President Carter.

Some Lefties seem to be lacking a sense of irony. Mr. Brzenzinski is condemning Bush's culture of fear by creating his own fear mongering. To him, Bush is evil for drawing attention to those who have repeatedly attacked us in hopes of destroying us. Instead, the writer says, we should be afraid that Dick Cheney may kidnap us and ship us to Gitmo. One threat is real, the other is hypothetical.

It's unfortunately true that President Bush has used the War on Terrorism for political ends. This should be a bipartisan war, but it seems to have become a Republican one. As a result, few Democrats even bother mentioning our enemies, the real ones, terrorists. Bush is partly to blame for this, by treating this war as a partisan issue. But Democrats seem to be too willing to play along with this role. I'm still waiting for Barak Obama to tell us how, if elected president, he plans to wage the War on Terrorism, other than withdrawing from Iraq. And if he has no plans, then he doesn't deserve to be commander in chief.

Sure, terrorism is a broad term. It's a form of violence that can never be stopped completely. But it's as much of a threat as Communism was. We were able to win the Cold War without destroying all of Communism (still there in China, Cuba, etc.). We can also defeat radical Islamic terrorism without having to end it completely. Our goal is to reduce the threat to our country and our interests. And that involves fighting back.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Digging In: The biggest problem with the presidential election heating up so early is that people are going to get sick of the frontrunner before the elections. That doesn't bode well for Giuliani, who appears to be leading in the Republican primary and the general election. That's just going to make him an extra juicy target, both for rivals and for the news media. And, from what I understand, the man has a lot of dirt that the American public has yet to learn about. Whether the dirt has any substance will remain to be seen, but it's going to be messy nonetheless.

Why Not: For those of you who still don't give a damn about who the next president will be, you could have something else to watch on TV. The Geico cavemen may get their own sitcom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Let's Do It: I guess it's not too early for presidential politics. Not only is the media already hyperactively covering every drop of mud flung in this premature race, the public is actually paying attention, according to one poll.

We have a combination of the first wide-open presidential election in years, with neither a president nor a vice president running, mixed with rock-bottom poll numbers of the current president who has become a divisive figure. Now the public is ready for whatever is next.

I like Giuliani. And apparently I'm not alone. I'm not making an endorsement because, again, it's way too early. But he's a pro-choice hawk -- in terms of policy, I'm probably not going to get much better than that. The Right-wing GOP primary voters may not like his stance on social issues, and that makes him all the more attractive a candidate. Of course, we'll have to see how his views change during the campaign. So far he has rebuffed his pro-choiceness by promising to nominate more Scalias to the Supreme Court. And he referred to his crackdown on gun ownership in New York City as a local solution for a local problem. No need to take away hunting rights away from all Americans, he says. Hopefully that's the case, but I wonder whether he would try to outlaw assault weapons again if he were working with a Democratic Congress.

The media credits John McCain for being a moderate, but in reality he's much more conservative than Giuliani. In addition to being a hawk, McCain is opposed to abortion rights and gay marriage -- although he at least voted against a federal constitutional amendment on gay marriage, opting instead for states to decide. But what really doesn't sit well with me is McCain's carelessness with the First Amendment. The McCain-Feingold Act puts too many restrictions on political speech, exactly what the First Amendment is designed to protect. What's worse, the law hasn't succeeded at all in cleaning up political campaigns. Unaccountable 527s are now getting all the money and running more dirt than ever before. At least under the old rules, the candidate had some control over the political message, and therefore faced political pressure to not cross the line.

Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper. Nobody cares that he's a Mormon. He doesn't have too many wives, he's had too many policy changes.

The Democrats haven't been exciting me. Barak Obama is a vibrant, charismatic candidate. The whole debate over his blackness or his possible Muslim background is nonsense. He's a prototype red-white-and-blue American who could probably do some great things for this country. But he's not a moderate, as some people claim. He's a liberal. And I haven't heard him make any comments about winning the War on Terrorism. He spends all of his time talking about how fast we should withdraw from Iraq. That may please a lot of people, given how the popularity of the Iraq war has sunk given the problems over there. But we are electing a commander in chief in a time of war. And he doesn't talk like someone who wants to win.

Hillary Clinton has positioned herself as a hawk from day one. But the cynic in me has trouble believing that her views are more than poll-tested positions to counter her liberal reputation. She has a trust problem. I'm not one of those hateful Clinton bashers. And while I could live with Hillary in the White House, I don't plan to help her get there.

John Edwards is an underweight. He's going to play the Iowa-New-Hampshire political game perfectly and still lose. But it's always good to have a few candidates like that in the mix. It keeps the front-runners honest.

We've got a long way to go. The main issues in this race will be the War on Terrorism, which Americans still want to win, and the Iraq War, of which Americans are growing weary.

I didn't think it possible at first that Republicans would nominate a moderate for '08. But after losing the '06 Midterm Elections, Republicans may go with someone they consider electable. If the GOP retained the majority last year, Republicans would have continued to push to the Right. As of now, they realize that they won't be able to.

But a lot may change over the next year or so. Just like when Howard Dean was the Democratic front runner for the 2004 race until Saddam Hussein was captured, outside events are going to significantly impact this race. In addition, we have two years of dirt to dig through as well. This will be an exciting election, even though we will be sick of it by the time it comes.

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