Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Democrats STILL Contesting Congressional Election Losses?

Remember the gracious concessions of Senator's Burns and Allen? In Allen's case, there was an especially strong case for a state ordered recount. The margin for Webb's victory was razor thin.
Anyone hoping Democrats would learn something from Allen's example are fooling themselves.

Three weeks after the election and we STILL have one Democrat contesting a loss in the election and others only now conceding.

The lesson here is that a demonstration of grace and civility only serves as an example for those who already possess those characteristics. And that doesn't include the sore losers, or sore winners, in the Democrat Party.

If these folks behave with such bad manners when they win, imagine how they will behave when they lose.

UPDATE: Speaking of grace and civility, The Washington Post reports that Senator Allen's example was wasted on the man who beat him, Senator-elect James Webb:

At a recent White House reception for freshman members of Congress, Virginia's newest senator tried to avoid President Bush. Democrat James Webb declined to stand in a presidential receiving line or to have his picture taken with the man he had often criticized on the stump this fall. But it wasn't long before Bush found him.

"How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
The President of the United States goes out of his way to inquire about your son and you behave in such a boorish manner. Is this an example of what we can expect from victorious Democrats?

Mike's America CHRISTmas Decorating Tips

Here at Mike's America the Christmas season is getting into full swing. The tree goes up today, the wreaths and garlands are being made (by hand with local eucalyptus, hyrangea and pine cones with the Fraser Fir).

As a paen to conservation, I've cut the 1,000 watt string of large C-7 bulbs in the Sycamore to 700. Will I win a prize from the global warming crowd?

Even in my hey day of illuminating the entire neighborhood, I can't hold a candle to this guy:

How would you like to live next door to THAT?


(especially our Muslim friends)

Iran/Syria/Hezbollah Axis Behind Iraq Violence

It would be difficult to ignore the stories of growing sectarian violence in Iraq between Sunnis (many former Saddam loyalists) and Shiite Mahdi Army led by Moqtada al-Sadr.

If so many innocent people didn't get caught in the crossfire, there would almost be a sense of justice in letting these two bands of thugs and murderers kill each other.

But the larger issue here is the future of Iraq. The last thing the world, let alone most Iraqis want, is a return of Saddam style government or that of a new Taliban led by Sadr.

We've done a fair job of keeping the Al Queda terrorists on the run, as well as containing the Sunni Saddamists. What we have failed to do is neutralize the Mahdi Army and capture Sadr, who is wanted on murder charges for the death of an opponent (excellent background piece in Newsweak.)

In 2004 US troops surrounded the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf and ripped the Mahdi army to shreds. They did the same in Karbala. But they were stopped from arresting Sadr by the then Iraqi Governing Council some of whose members threatened to resign if Sadr were arrested.

A "Hezbollah" in Iraq?

Reports this week suggest that both Iran and Syria have been facilitating training of Mahdi Army militia members at Hezbollah camps in Lebanon. The last thing that Iraq or the Middle East needs is another armed extremist state within a state with Iran pulling the strings.

It's a shame we didn't take the smaller risk involved in settling this problem earlier when we had Sadr and the Mahdi Army surrounded in Najaf. Surely, the cost now in lives, not to mention the risk to the entire Iraqi enterprise is much greater because of inaction.

The lesson here is: Do the hard thing now before things get worse.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Why Liberals Should Not Forecast the Weather

Or, How Scare Science Got It Wrong Again!

Image from Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth" attempting to make the connection between global warming and increasing hurricanes.

The 2006 Hurricane season ends officially on Thursday, November 30. It will go down as one of the quietest hurricane seasons on record. Good news for coastal residents like myself who faced anxiety or in some cases extreme loss in the previous season. Compare the maps of storm tracks from this year with last year. Quite a remarkable difference.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. Readers may recall that at the beginning of the hurricane season alarmists took to the airwaves to insist that this year could be as bad as the previous year, or worse.

Take a look back at the hurricane forecast from "Accuweather:"
One in Six Americans Could be Directly Impacted by 2006 Hurricane Season
AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center Forecasts Potential Ripple Effect for All Americans

May 15, 2006-The AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, led by Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi, today released its 2006 hurricane season forecast. An active hurricane season appears imminent, which could have major repercussions for the U.S. economy and the one in six Americans who live on the Eastern Seaboard or along the western Gulf of Mexico.

For the 2006 Hurricane Season-which traditionally runs from June 1 through November 30-Bastardi and his team are forecasting that six tropical cyclones will make landfall in the U.S. Five of these landfalling storms are likely to be hurricanes, with three being major hurricanes of Category 3 or greater.
"There are few areas of the U.S. East Coast and Gulf of Mexico that will not be in the bull's eye at some point this season," said Ken Reeves, AccuWeather's Director of Forecast Operations. Ironically, though, the region that was hammered the hardest last year-the central and eastern Gulf Coast-has one of the lower probabilities of receiving another major hurricane strike in 2006."
How the 2006 Hurricane Season Will Compare to the 2005 Season
Following on the heels of 2005's record-shattering hurricane season, 2006 will feature fewer storms, but will still be a season of above-average storm frequency.

Well, they sure blew that one didn't they?

But the weather forecasters were not alone. The shrieking high priests of environmental scaremongering used the unusually bad hurricane season of 2005 to launch another salvo in their bid to impose socialist economic principles on the United States masquerading as environmental science.

lined up to insist that manmade global warming was the cause of the unusually bad hurricane season of 2005 and that we are all doomed unless we agree to their radical prescription for change. This same flawed reasoning was parroted by Democrats who have always had a weak understanding of science. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. went so far as to blame President Bush for the severity of Hurricane Katrina.

Let's not forget the protestors who demanded the resignation of Max Mayfield, Director of the National Hurricane Center because he and other serious climate scientists refused to endorse the scaremongering of "environmental" (socialist) activists.
Strong arm tactics haven't stopped with Hurricane Center scientists. Richard Linzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT writes of a chilling campaign against scientists who fail to worship at the global warming altar:

Climate of Fear
Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence
Opinion Journal
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

...Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis.
In 1992,[Al Gore] ran two congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism. Nor did the scientific community complain when Mr. Gore, as vice president, tried to enlist Ted Koppel in a witch hunt to discredit anti-alarmist scientists--a request that Mr. Koppel deemed publicly inappropriate. And they were mum when subsequent articles and books by Ross Gelbspan libelously labeled scientists who differed with Mr. Gore as stooges of the fossil-fuel industry.

Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg. In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U.N.'s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions.

And then there are the peculiar standards in place in scientific journals for articles submitted by those who raise questions about accepted climate wisdom. At Science and Nature, such papers are commonly refused without review as being without interest.
Indeed, there is a strange reluctance to actually find out how climate really behaves. In 2003, when the draft of the U.S. National Climate Plan urged a high priority for improving our knowledge of climate sensitivity, the National Research Council instead urged support to look at the impacts of the warming--not whether it would actually happen.

Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding. And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers.

The real alarming trend here is the active campaign to politicize science and punish scientists who commit the heresy of pursuing scientific research which questions the validity of global warming baloney.
One also wonders if the scaremongers who blamed President Bush for the increase in violent hurricanes will now apologize?
Don't hold your breath.
Also posted at the Wide Awakes.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Focus on IRAQ

In the previous two posts we address the larger question of what failure of our Middle East policy could mean. As important as Lebanon, Israel and Iran are to the solution of the current geo-strategic crisis, all of them hinge on Iraq.

I've often said that our policy in Iraq is a "keystone" to unlocking the endless cycle of violence in the Middle East and building the foundation for a better world. Lately, the bad news has outweighed the good (none of which is reported) and Democrats flush from their election victories are only too keen to adopt the mantra that the Bush policy has "failed" without offering an alternative.

But the moment soon approaches when just saying "NO" is not enough. Already the political battle lines are forming. In the next few months the debate will decided whether we turn things around or face the horrific consequences of defeat.

Let's review some recent opinion on the matter as we move forward with the debate:

Speaking of Democrats with no plan, Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska calls himself a Republican but few people understand why. Writing in Sunday's Washington Post he advises US withdrawal from Iraq then goes on to declare that: "that regional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest -- without the United States. This is the most encouraging set of actions for the Middle East in years." The adsorption of Iraq into the Iranian/Syrian orbit is the "encouraging" Chuck?

Somehow turning Iraq over to the architects of Islamic terrorism would be an "honorable" conclusion to U.S. efforts in Iraq. Hagel goes on to suggest that such an outcome would allow the U.S. to " lead a renewal of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process" presumably after we did the "honorable" thing and watched as every Jew in Israel was killed or forced to leave.

Bill Kristol (we're not always a fan, but this is spot on) writes with Robert Kagan in the Weekly Standard of the renewed emphasis on the foreign policy school of Realism. "Surrender as 'Realism' Retreat would win us no friends and lose us no adversaries." Here's an excerpt:
Foreign policy realism is ascendant these days, we are told. This would be encouraging if true, because our foreign policy must indeed be realistic. But what passes for "realism" today has very little to do with reality. Indeed, if you look at some of the "realist" proposals on the table, "realism" has come to be a kind of code word for surrendering American interests and American allies, as well as American principles, in the Middle East.
So let's add up the "realist" proposals: We must retreat from Iraq, and thus abandon all those Iraqis--Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, and others--who have depended on the United States for safety and the promise of a better future. We must abandon our allies in Lebanon and the very idea of an independent Lebanon in order to win Syria's support for our retreat from Iraq. We must abandon our opposition to Iran's nuclear program in order to convince Iran to help us abandon Iraq. And we must pressure our ally, Israel, to accommodate a violent Hamas in order to gain radical Arab support for our retreat from Iraq.

This is what passes for realism these days. But of course this is not realism. It is capitulation. Were the United States to adopt this approach every time we faced a difficult set of problems, were we to attempt to satisfy our adversaries' every whim in order to win their acquiescence, we would rapidly cease to play any significant role in the world. We would be neither feared nor respected--nor, of course, would we be any better liked. Our retreat would win us no friends and lose us no adversaries.

What our adversaries in the Middle East want from us is very simple: They want us out. Unless we are prepared to withdraw, not just from Iraq but from the entire region, and from elsewhere as well, we had better start figuring out how to pursue effectively--realistically--our interests and goals. This is true American realism. All the rest is a fancy way of justifying surrender.
The reality of the new "Realism" is a Middle East dominated by America's enemies and an ever larger "no go" zone where the U.S. has LESS influence, not more. Those who think such a policy would be a good idea are in company with Osama bin Laden who has repeatedly stated that as his initial goal on the path to radical Islam dominating the world.

The American electorate did NOT choose that outcome in November's election. But will victorious Democrats be able to rise above years of obstruction and denial to address the issue in positive, practical and effective measures?

Losing the War

Recommended reading in full.
The Gemayel warning
Jerusalem Post
Nov. 24, 2006

Tuesday saw another nail driven into the coffin of US President George W. Bush's vision of a free and democratic Middle East. The Syrians aren't even trying to hide their involvement in the assassination of Lebanon's Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel.

Hours after Gemayel was murdered, his killers issued a communique calling themselves the "Fighters for the Unity and Liberty of Greater Syria." They said that they killed Gemayel because he was "one of those who unceasingly spouted their venom against Syria and against [Hizbullah], shamelessly and without any trepidation." Gemayel, they threatened, would be the first of many victims. As they put it, "Sooner or later we will pay the rest of the agents their due..."

The hit this week was not a bolt from the blue. For the past several weeks Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah and his bosses in Syria and Iran have made it brutally clear that they intend to bring down the anti-Syrian government of Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and replace it with a pro-Syrian, pro-Iranian coalition led by Hizbullah.
Lebanon is a front in a regional war being waged against the US, Israel and their allies by Iran and Syria. Iraq is another front in this war and Gemayel's murder is intimately tied to developments in Iraq.

The Democratic Party's victory in the November 7 Congressional elections convinced Iran and Syria that they are on the verge of a great victory against the US in Iraq. Iranian and Syrian jubilation is well founded in light of the Democratic leadership's near unanimous calls for the US to withdraw its forces in Iraq; Bush's firing of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his appointment of his father's CIA director Robert Gates to replace him; and Bush's praise for the Congressionally mandated Iraq Study Group charged with revisiting US strategy in Iraq, which is being co-chaired by his father's secretary of state James Baker III.

Although his committee has yet to formally submit its recommendations, Baker made clear that he will recommend that the administration negotiate a withdrawal of US forces from Iraq with Iran and Syria. That is, he is putting together a strategy not for victory, but for defeat.

Baker fervently believes that US foreign policy should revolve around being bad to its friends and good to its enemies. Consequently he thinks that the US can avoid the humiliation of the defeat he proposes by buying off Syria and Iran, the forces behind most of the violence, instability, subversion and terror in Iraq. If the US accepts their conditions, they will temporarily cease their attacks to enable a US retreat that will look only mildly humiliating to the television viewers back home.
Another similarity between Israel's retreat from Gaza and northern Samaria last year, its withdrawal from south Lebanon in 2000, and the proposed US retreat from Iraq today are the obvious consequences of such a retreat for the US, the region and the world. Far from bringing peace and stability, as the champions of the withdrawal policy mindlessly claim, a retreat will cause more war, more instability and more suffering in Iraq, in the region and throughout the world.

In the wake of a US (and Coalition) withdrawal from Iraq, the country would become an Iranian-Syrian-controlled base for global jihad. Battle-tested, heavily armed terrorists, cocky after their victory over the Great Satan, would use Iraq as a stepping-off point for attacks throughout the region and world. Israel and Jordan, as allies of the defeated great power, would be first on the list of targets.

Moreover, as was the case with soldiers and officers of the South Lebanon Army after the Israeli withdrawal, and with Palestinians who assisted Israel in counter-terror operations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza before the establishment of the Palestinian Authority, Iraqis who worked with Coalition forces will likely be killed, arrested and tortured by their new mafia-like terror masters.

Israel will find itself beset by an emboldened, nuclear weapons building Iran, an exhilarated Assad and by Iranian proxies from Gaza to Ramallah to Beirut.

BOTH ISRAEL'S decision to vacate Gaza, northern Samaria and south Lebanon and the current push in the US to leave Iraq are informed by the same strategic confusion. In choosing the strategy of retreat, Israel and the US have ignored the regional and indeed global nature of the war being waged against them. In such a war, it is impossible to view conflicts as discrete campaigns. Everything is related.

Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 inspired the Palestinian jihad. Its withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria caused the two-front war this summer with Iran and Syria in Gaza and Lebanon. That war in turn inspired the current chaos on Lebanon, the Iranian-Syrian brinkmanship in Iraq, and Iran's emboldened sprint to the nuclear finish-line.
Although a great blow to Bush's vision of democracy in the Middle East, Gemayel's murder can still serve as an opportunity for the reinvigoration of that vision. If Bush sees this murder as the warning sign it is of what awaits Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq and indeed the entire world if the US removes its forces from Iraq or is perceived as moving in that direction; if he finally recognizes that Iraq is not a separate war, but a great battle in a larger struggle, then Bush will be able to formulate a new strategy for victory.
I would just correct Ms. Glick on that last paragraph. President Bush does understand that Iraq is the central front of a larger war. It is the Democrats, whose elevation is cause for much elation in terrorist circles, who willfully ignore that fact.

The Gemayel assassination is proof that the terrorist states of Iran and Syria feel free to do act with impunity. The question is whether Democrats can support a policy which strongly counters that threat.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

History Repeating Itself?


The Lesson

Violating the "peace" treaties signed after World War I, Germany rearmed. The world did nothing but talk. Hitler again violated "peace" accords by remilitarizing the Rhineland. Again, the world talked.

David Low published the above cartoon July 8, 1936, wondering what would be next. He got his answer soon enough. Less than two years later, Hitler annexed Austria. The world talked. Following more talk from Neville "Peace in our time" Chamberlain Hitler swallowed Czechoslovakia.

By the time Hitler invaded Poland, there was no more talk. But by then it was too late. A war was unleashed which scarred the planet forever and caused the horrific deaths of over 60 million human beings.

Talk and diplomacy only served the interests of those bent on war. "Peace in our time" gave people short-term false hope which led them to be ill-prepared for the nightmare that came later.

Repeating History?

When "students" in Iran took Americans at our embassy in Tehran hostage in November 1979 it was an act of war. Yet all the world did was talk.

When Saddam Hussein violated every UN resolution demanding disarmament, the world talked again.

As Iran founded and funded Hezbollah's private army in Lebanon, the world talked. When that army launched attacks against Israel the world acted by pressuring Israel to stop before defeating Hezbollah. UN "peacekeeping" troops now watch as the Iran and Syria violate more UN resolutions and rearm Hezbollah. Still nothing but talk.

When Iran's proxy Syria assassinated Lebanese pro-democracy leaders, more talk. When Iran and Syria fund and arm terrorists to go into Iraq and attack civilians the reaction is to blame the United States and call again for more talk.

Again the world community talks and watches as another nightmare slowly unfolds.

The enemy has learned it's lesson from history. There are no masses of tanks and aircraft 193446291_d8afa68452threatening neighboring states. Just the slow withering away of the institutions and peoples who oppose Islamic tyranny.

Cancer Returns

Whether you wish to admit that this is the cancer left over from the Nazi era that we missed at the end of World War II, It's clear from the public statements and ACTIONS of Islamic fascists in Iran or Al Queda that the goal is nothing less than the world domination which Hitler sought.

If you haven't see the videos of groups like the Islamic Thinkers Society in the U.S. or those presented in Obsession, or by Glen Beck, ask yourself why the mainstream media would withold the statements of these radicals from you when they open each night's newscast with the latest bombing in Baghdad?

Throughout the 1930's Winston Churchill warned of the gathering danger. He was ignored, impugned and ridiculed. At the very moment when the survival of Britain was at stake the British turned to him for leadership. What a price they paid. Hundreds of thousands of troops lost, tens of thousands of civilians dead. Nearly all of which was avoidable.

When we think about the threat today, at what point do we say "let's stop it now" while there is still time to avoid a calamity? God forbid the worst should happen two, five or ten years from now. No one can say they were not warned, no one can say they didn't know, or that government didn't "connect the dots." The dots are all lined up in a row for anyone with an appreciation of history and human nature to connect.

What's needed is leadership to honestly and directly address the threat before it becomes the nightmare that history promises will return to those who ignore the lesson.

Still in denial?

Watch this video excerpt of an Imam in pre-invasion Baghdad:

The remainder of this program is available here, here and here.

From that opening clip there are ominous parallels between the speaker and crowd reaction to the infamous speeches of that monster of the 20th Century (video here).

My greatest fear is that some in this country have so succesfully neutered the aggressive military and security posture needed to resist the gathering storm that we face a repeat of the horror which befell the world at a time before most of us were born.

My most fervant hope is that there is still time to head off the danger at small cost and risk before that happens.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Mike's America Poet Laureate Thanksgiving Rhyme

Thank you Scarlett, the official Mike's America Poet Laureate, for a holiday rhyme:
Giving Thanks

Roast the turkey, cook the peas.
Make the dressing, roll up my sleeves.
Set the table, uncork the wine.
When all is done, it'll be divine.

What did I miss, my mind's a blank.
Oh yes, dear Lord, I have you to thank.
For all our blessings on this holiday.
And the gift of living in the U.S.A.

God Bless the United States and a Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

A Thankful Blogaversary

As usual, my "blogaversary" came and went and I forgot. The first post at Mike's America, dated November 18, 2004 was this reminder about the savage nature of the enemy we face in Iraq. If anyone has any doubt about the good that Americans are doing in Iraq, let them consider the alternative offered in that post.

And as Thanksgiving is just days away, it's appropriate to remember and be thankful that so many brave men and women VOLUNTEER to serve our country and sacrifice so much in Iraq, Afghanistan and many other places for the noble goals of freedom, safety and a better world. Without them, there would be no Thanksgiving.

As you eat your dinner in the comfort of your home, remember their service in far off places.

Let us be thankful also for the fruits of a growing and prosperous economy that continues to make this nation a magnet to others who wish to share the American dream. It seems we get a lot of grief from those in other countries who don't always like the way we do things here, or how we help throughout the world. Strangely, many of them still want to live here. Our economy continues to be the engine for the train that pulls them all along to better lives. And for that, let us be thankful.

Also, let us be thankful that we live in a country where we have the right to vote and express ourselves. We don't always make the right decision, but we do have the right to change our minds and correct the problem next time.

And speaking just for me, I am thankful to those who read my thoughts at Mike's America and are kind enough to invite me to do the same. As always, I am thankful for YOU, the reader, fellow blogger and contributing commenters.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

1960's Anti-War Democrats Want to Reinstate the Draft?

CBS's Face the Nation hasn't issued the transcript yet, but here's the opening line from their report on Congressman Charlie Rangel's (D-NY) performance this morning:

Rangel Will Push To Bring Back The Draft
N.Y. Dem Says U.S. Needs More Military To Face Iraq And New Challenges
Face the Nation
Nov. 19, 2006

A senior House Democrat said Sunday he will introduce legislation to reinstate the military draft, asserting that current troop levels are insufficient to sustain possible challenges against Iran, North Korea and Iraq.

"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq, especially on the flimsy evidence that was presented to the Congress, if indeed we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) said on CBS News' Face the Nation.

Rangel, a veteran of the Korean War who has unsuccessfully sponsored legislation on conscription in the past, said he will propose the measure early next year.

At a time when some lawmakers are urging the military to send more troops to Iraq, "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft," he told Bob Schieffer.
Anyone else notice the problem here? On the one hand, Rangel is saying we need additional forces to counter "challenges against Iran, North Korea and Iraq" and immediately afterwards, admits that his draft proposal is nothing more than an effort to cripple any future U.S. military activity.

You would think that the last thing these dinosaurs of the 1960's, who witnessed first hand the burning of draft cards or exodus to Canada (or in Bill Clinton's case: England), would want is a return to a policy that was so divisive and destructive.

Put aside for a moment the weighty body of evidence showing the quality of our current forces, how representative they are of the population as a whole and how committed they are to their mission.

If Rangel really believed we needed a STRONGER military, than why does he consistently vote against funding it? The Center for Security Policy ranks him at ZERO in terms of supporting US National Security.

Rangel's advocacy of a renewed draft would be laughable if Democrat's didn't currently hold both houses of the legislature. But the anti-military, anti-security attitudes Rangel's idiotic proposal represents will soon find some form of expression.

Finally, Charlie says "I don't see how anyone can support the war and not support the draft." Are we to take it that the converse is true, and that since Charlie supports the draft, he now supports the war?

I say let Rangel and likeminded Democrats push this proposal. Let all the people who voted for Democrats to gain power realize that doing so might mean forced conscription to Charlie Rangel's wars in Iraq, Iran and North Korea.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

As the Dust Settles....

Now that the initial shock of Black Tuesday's events are behind us, some greater reflection and analysis is in order. Here are a few items that I previously overlooked:

  • What's left of the House GOP Caucus voted to keep John Boehner (OH) and Roy Blunt (MO) as their leaders. Those hoping for new faces were disappointed. But both men had only been in the job since February when Tom Delay stepped down. Question: will the Democrats adopt the "Delay Rule" which requires a leader to step down if he or she is indicted? Don't bet on it.
  • Much of the focus this week has been on how the new balance of power will shake out. Newt Gingrich writes that we could either wind up with a center-left coalition where GOP liberals in both the House and Senate join liberal Democrats, or the preferred outcome, where the traditional center-right coalition is restored.
  • Peggy Noonan asks a similar question in "Who'll Claim the Center?" She wonders whether Democrat's will embrace the opportunity they have been given, or whether their leadership will degrade into a left wing freak show. She also has some rather harsh words for President Bush, and appears to take the side of some of the sheep in the GOP Senate who never agreed on anything but blaming President Bush.
  • John McIntyre at Real Clear Politics analyzed the issues where he felt Republicans hurt themselves: 1.No fiscal restraint, earmarks and candy for everyone, 2.Terry Schiavo and stem cells made it appear the religious right was dictating policy, 3.Angry GOP rhetoric over immigration turned off Hispanics, 4.Corruption. There's some good news in his piece, but you'll have to look hard for it.
  • Jed Babbin warns that the lamestream media is just warming up efforts to tar and feather only Republicans. Babbin refers to the Democrat friendly media as the "527 media" who are ready to work with House and Senate Democrats as they "investigate" every facet of the Bush Administration with one aim in mind: creating a series of damning soundbites and drive-by media hysterics as a prelude to the 2008 presidential campaign which has already begun.

Nancy Pelosi deserves some expanded attention here. Her claim on election night that "The American people voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington. And the Democrats intend to lead the most honest, the most open and most ethical Congress in history" reminded many people of a similar phrase from President Clinton's first days in office. And we all know how that worked out don't we?

Pelosi backed Iraq surrender advocate Murtha for House Dem leader and lost. Will she now stick with her rumored plan to put an impeached Federal Judge, Alcee Hastings as head of the Intelligence Committee? Marc Shepard has all the background on this issue and it leads one to wonder if Pelosi could be dumb enough to go through with appointing Hastings.

But then again, there's a precedent for Pelosi in another Democrat role model:

Nancy Pelosi Carter
By Jeffrey Lord
American Spectator
November 11,2006

It was the first hint of things to come, and it did not bode well.

President-elect Jimmy Carter, over the objections of everyone from the AFL-CIO to conservative Democratic Senators (think Robert Byrd), had just nominated former JFK speechwriter and noted liberal Theodore Sorensen to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Democrats, flush with their first presidential victory in twelve years were suddenly divided, appalled and decidedly angry -- at each other.

It was December, 1976.

What could the new president possibly be thinking? All of the tons of positive press, the absolute glow that surrounded the Man from Plains, the ex-Naval officer and successful Georgia businessman/farmer who had just defeated incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford, was suddenly being turned upside down. Before Carter had even been sworn in there were worried whispers about his competence, the startling revelation of a decided and previously unnoticed tendency to left wing politics.
[jumping forward to today]There is a reason for the unsettled reaction of Democrats not only at Pelosi's backing of Murtha, but her apparent imminent support of the once-impeached Florida Congressman Alcee Hastings to be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Rank and file Democrats rallied to Pelosi's nemesis, Maryland Congressman Steny Hoyer, over Murtha as Majority Leader. But just as Democrats were unable to stem one Carter disaster after another they now face another dilemma. Will they -- can they -- prevent the promotion to one of the most sensitive positions in the War on Terror to a man earlier Democrats decided was, essentially, a crook worthy of impeachment?

The Carter experience is instructive here. Regardless of what increasingly uncomfortable Democrats did or said as the Carter presidency unrolled -- or unraveled -- they found themselves confronted with a leader who personified a deadly combination. Jimmy Carter proved to be both weak yet unstoppable within the rank and file of Democratic activists. Salivating at the prospect of a supposedly "extremist" Reagan candidacy, Democrats to this day are reeling under the devastating impact of Carter's presidency and his uncanny ability to make one bad personnel and policy choice after another.

As Democrats stagger forth after abruptly overruling their new leader's choice of Jack Murtha, Nancy Pelosi's Ted Sorensen, they are clearly beginning to look at the soon-to-be reality of Speaker Pelosi and shudder at the realization they have are about to have a Carter-like Speakership.

One awaits the mantra of Democratic disaster to emerge from the past of the 2000 election as the Pelosi-sponsored Alcee Hastings gets his moment in the sun, a mantra that no doubt already has Karl Rove chuckling.

The Pelosi legacy begins.
Writing at Slate.com, Timothy Noah suggests that Democrats may want to Dump Pelosi or at least put the new House speaker on probation.

Things do not look so bleak after all.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Montana Voters Learn the Hard Way

Just another example of voter's getting a surprise:

Promises, promises
By John McCaslin
Washington Times
November 16, 2006

Two weeks before Election Day, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada issued a statement promising Montana Senate candidate Jon Tester a seat on the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee if he could defeat Republican incumbent Conrad Burns.
Such a win was crucial, Mr. Reid knew, if Democrats were to retake control of Congress. And while Mr. Reid didn't say exactly when Mr. Tester would be seated in the coveted chair, his pledge assured Montana's voters that the state wouldn't lose out on much-needed funding by rejecting Mr. Burns, who during his dozen years on the Appropriations Committee delivered hundreds of millions of dollars to the state.
"This is big news," boasted Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat, who read Mr. Reid's promise at a press conference in Billings, Mont. "This is going to help Montana even more."
Republicans who were quoted in the Billings Gazette the next day weren't buying Mr. Reid's promise. The newspaper even quoted Mr. Reid's spokesman, Jim Manley, as conceding that it would be "somewhat unusual" for a freshman senator to sit on such a lofty panel.
As it was, Mr. Tester won a very close race. And yesterday, Mr. Reid announced his committee assignments for the upcoming 110th Congress. Wouldn't you know, Mr. Tester didn't make the cut.
The Appropriations Committee will be chaired by Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, who will be joined by Democrats Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Patty Murray of Washington, Byron L. Dorgan of North Dakota, Dianne Feinstein of California, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, Jack Reed of Rhode Island, Frank R. Lautenberg of New Jersey and Ben Nelson of Nebraska.

Putting doddering old "Exalted Cyclops" of the KKK Byrd back in charge of Appropriations is another Democrat signal that it's business as usual with the taxpayer's money.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Murtha Defeated for House Dem Leadership

Noon here on the edge of the Atlantic and news just broke that Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has defeated Jack Murtha (D-PA) as Leader of the Dems in the U.S. House.

No doubt a blow to Pelosi, who staked her prestige on Murtha with unprecedented support. And also makes us wonder about the comment by a House Dem Freshman: ""When the Speaker speaks, you listen." Perhaps Pelosi has laryngitis.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Abramoff Scandal Noose Tightening Around Harry GReid?

This shouldn't surprise anyone. The lamestream media waits until AFTER election day to do stories linking Democrats like Senator Harry Reid, elected yesterday as Senate Democrat Leader, to the Abramoff corruption scandal:

Abramoff Reports to Prison; Officials Focus on Reid, Others
By Brian Ross and Rhonda Schwartz
ABC News
November 15, 2006

As convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff reported to federal prison today, a source close to the investigation surrounding his activities told ABC News that Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) was one of the members of Congress Abramoff had allegedly implicated in his cooperation with federal prosecutors.

A spokesperson for Reid, elected yesterday as the Senate Majority Leader, said the senator had done nothing illegal or unethical.

"We have no idea what Abramoff is telling prosecutors to save his skin, but I do know that these kind of old allegations are completely ridiculous and untrue," Sen. Reid's spokesman Jim Manley told ABC News.

Abramoff has reportedly claimed the Nevada senator agreed to help him on matters related to Indian gambling.

The Associated Press reported earlier this year that Reid wrote at least four letters helpful to the tribes that had contributed money to his campaign. [Mike's America insert: See full story here.]

Reid has denied there was any connection between the letters and the contributions and has said he is a longtime opponent of certain kinds of Indian reservation gambling.

The AP reported that Reid acknowledged "routine contacts" with Abramoff's lobbying partners and intervening to block rival tribal casinos.

The AP also reported that Abramoff's billing records showed extensive contact with Reid's office over a three-year period in which Reid collected more than $68,000 from Abramoff's firm, partners and clients.

Most voters can't be blamed for not knowing about GReid and the Democrat corruption problem. After all, if the media didn't print it, voters couldn't read it. That never seems to be a handicap when it comes to tarring Republicans with the scandal brush. There are 724,000 Google hits for the search term ""Tom Delay" Abramoff scandal" and only 297,000 for ""Harry Reid" Abramoff scandal."

Of course most Mike's America readers were well aware of the ethical problems of Senator GReid. And there's more to Reid's greed than Abramoff funny dealings. In case you missed it, click on the chart below to learn how every male member of his family has become rich lobbying Dad:

Pelosi "Pulling Out the Stops" for Murtha as Dem House Leader

At first I thought Pelosi's support for Jack Murtha (D-PA) as Democrat Leader in the House of Representatives might just be a ruse to make the nutroots of the party think she was listening, while winking at the election of Steny Hoyer (D-MD) to make the House a safer place for the newly elected so-called "conservative" Democrats.

But apparently, moderation and respecting the tone of the voter's sentiment as expressed by so many new middle of the road members is not the way it's going to work.

This report from The Hill should cheer the hearts of Republicans everywhere who were worried that Democrats in the House might actually try and continue fooling voters with their newfound conservatism:

Pelosi pulls out the stops for Murtha
By Josephine Hearn
The Hill
November 15, 2006

...But by yesterday, her intent was clear, several lawmakers said; she hopes to oust her onetime rival Hoyer from the leadership.
"She's committed. If they thought she was just going to endorse his candidacy, they were mistaken," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a Murtha ally. "She didn't have to do this. It's called courage."
[N]ine other incoming full committee chairmen are supporting Hoyer. Reps. John Dingell (D-Mich.), Barney Frank (D-Mass.), Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.), Jim Oberstar (D-Minn.), Tom Lantos (D-Calif.), John Spratt (D-S.C.), Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) signed a letter yesterday backing Hoyer.
Rep.-elect Tim Walz (D-Minn.), [...] was "still undecided" but appeared to be leaning toward Murtha. "To be honest, I was waiting for the Speaker," Walz said. "When the Speaker speaks, you listen. I take that into heavy consideration."
Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), a Murtha supporter, said Monday night that Pelosi is playing for keeps.
"She will ensure that they [the Murtha camp] wins. This is hardball politics. We are entering an era where when the Speaker instructs you what to do, you do it," he said. "Yes, she's making calls to people. She is contacting people and letting them know that it's an unequivocal letter."
Another House Democrat supporting Hoyer was incensed that Pelosi was exerting her influence in the caucus, asserting that it will further divide House Democrats.

"It's an incredible display of hubris," the member said, using a phrase Pelosi herself sometimes employs. "It's incredibly egotistical. We all got us here. We all got us to the promised land and Steny's not going to the promised land?"

The member said regardless of who ultimately wins the Thursday election, the effect of Pelosi actively getting involved in the race would reverberate for some time.

"Either way, it's damaging," the member said. "She will have a tremendous road to hoe to repair the damage she's done."

So it's "courage" when Pelosi plays hardball? Remember all the unkind appellations tossed at Tom Delay when he lived out his role as the "Hammer?" The word "courage" was never used.

And what about that bit "when the Speaker instructs you what to do, you do it?" Didn't the Dems just get through running a campaign where they called the House GOP a "rubberstamp?"

Murtha: Leader of the Culture of Corruption
Pelosi "House Cleaning" or Sweeping Under the Rug?

During the campaign, Nancy Pelosi speculated that "maybe it takes a woman to clean the House." Could it be that she was misquoted and meant to say "Clean only the GOP side of the House and leave the garbage in the living room on my side?"

It certainly seems that way. But then, Mike's America readers are among only a handful of Americans well enough informed to know that Congressman Murtha is no Mr. Clean. As the only unindicted co-conspirator in the infamous ABSCAM bribery scandal which broke in 1980 (Google timeline with archive source material) Murtha's unpunished involvement ranks righunindictedith another infamous uninindicted co-conspirator, Richard Nixon, pardoned for his role in Watergate.

Murtha may have escaped prosecution because he was not, as so many were, actually videotaped accepting bribes, but questions remained why he wanted the mysterious Arab sheik to deposit money in banks in Murtha's district. There are also numerous questions regarding Murtha family members enriching themselves as defense lobbyists.

John Fund has the rundown in today's Opinion Journal. And as we're talking about a Democrat here and not Tom Delay, it's unlikely the average American is going to hear too much about this:

Meet the New Boss
John Murtha and Congress's "culture of corruption."
By John Fund
Opinion Journal
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

...[S]everal members are privately aghast that Mr. Murtha, a pork-barreling opponent of most House ethics reforms, could become the second most visible symbol of the new Democratic rule. "We are supposed to change business as usual, not put the fox in charge of the henhouse," one Democratic member told me. "It's not just the Abscam scandal of the 1980s that he barely dodged, he's a disaster waiting to happen because of his current behavior," another told me.

As for Abscam, a recent book by George Crile, a producer for CBS's "60 Minutes," provides damning evidence that Mr. Murtha escaped severe punishment for his role in the scandal only because then-Speaker Tip O'Neill arranged for the House Ethics Committee to drop the charges, over the objections of the committee's outside prosecutor. The prosecutor quickly resigned in protest.

Outside observers are equally aghast that Mr. Murtha could win tomorrow's election. Thomas Mann, a Brookings Institution scholar who is co-author of "The Broken Branch: How Congress Is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track," told the Los Angeles Times that "John Murtha is not the right poster child" for a Democratic House that says it wants to sweep away corruption.

Melanie Sloan, the liberal head of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was cheered on by Democrats six weeks ago when she helped reveal the Mark Foley scandal. Now she says that "Ms. Pelosi"s endorsement of Rep. Murtha, one of the most unethical members of Congress, show that she may have prioritized ethics reform merely to win votes with no real commitment to changing the culture of corruption."

Former members are also speaking out. Chris Bell, a former Democratic House member from Texas who was his party's unsuccessful nominee for governor this year, told the Washington Post that Mr. Murtha was instrumental in making Rep. Alan Mollohan of West Virginia the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee. Mr. Bell says Reps. Mollohan and Murtha both helped to slow ethics reform to a crawl for much of the last two years. This spring, Mr. Mollohan was forced to step down from his Ethics Committee position after The Wall Street Journal reported that he had underreported personal assets and steered earmarks to various West Virginia entities founded or controlled by his close political allies.

Mr. Murtha has also been front and center in the controversy over earmarks, the individual portions of pork members of Congress often secretly secure for their districts or favored constituents. Mr. Murtha is the ranking Democratic member of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee and for the past three years has been the House's top recipient of defense industry cash. Few in Washington are surprised that his lobbyist brother, Robert "Kit" Murtha, was until his retirement this summer an enormously successful "earmark specialist" for the Beltway firm KSA Consulting. In recent years, Kit Murtha brought in a mother lode of earmarks for at least 16 defense manufacturers with business before the Appropriations Committee.

Last year, the Los Angeles Times reported that "most of KSA's defense contractor clients hired the firm in hopes of securing funding from Rep. Murtha's subcommittee, according to lobbying records and interviews. And most retained the firm after Kit Murtha became a senior partner in 2002." Kit Murtha told the Times that he saw Rep. Murtha only infrequently, but said the congressman knew he was a KSA lobbyist. "I don't think that influences him," Kit said of his brother. "I certainly would hope not."
Mr. Murtha was among those who were offered the Abscam bribe money. He declined it, but the late columnist Jack Anderson said the Pennsylvania congressman's conduct was "perhaps the saddest scene on the secret Abscam videotapes. He refused to take the money, but his reason was hardly noble."

The 54-minute Abscam tape shows Mr. Murtha functioning as a cynical backroom operator, telling the FBI undercover agents: "You know, you made an offer. It might be that I might change my mind someday." Later, he explained how that might happen: "I want to deal with you guys awhile before I make any transactions at all, period," he told the fake sheiks. "After we've done some business, well, then I might change my mind. I'm going to tell you this. If anybody can do it--I am not BSing you fellows--I can get it done my way. There's no question about it."
A few moments later in the tape, Mr. Murtha continues his discussion of how "a business commitment" in his district would be structured: "A business commitment that makes it imperative for me to help him. Just, let me tell you something. I'm sure if--and there's a lot of things I've done up here, with environmental regulations, with all kinds of waivers of laws and regulations.
It appears that what Mr. Murtha was referring to was a form of investment not for the sake of investment, but because "that's the secret" to how you can take a bribe and get away with it. Mr. Murtha was never indicted for his role in Abscam, even though he testified in federal court that he had called his "immigration guy" to determine what could be done to help the fake sheik with his immigration problems.

But in 1981, the House Ethics Committee became concerned that Mr. Murtha had, at a minimum, violated House rules that required he report any attempt at bribery, which he had not. A special prosecutor, Barrett Prettyman, was appointed to oversee the committee's investigation. He soon expanded his probe beyond the six House members who were directly involved and began moving against Rep. Murtha. He was also rumored to be offering deals in exchange for testimony that would take the scandal inside the office of Speaker O'Neill.

That was the final straw from the irascible O'Neill. He determined to shut the investigation down, and the story of how he did it makes up a fascinating part of Mr. Crile's book, "Charlie Wilson's War" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2003).

Crile reported that in early 1981 Speaker O'Neill called Rep. Wilson into his office and told him he wanted him to join the Ethics Committee right away. The Texas congressman had been pestering him for years to get a lifetime seat on the board the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. "It's the best perk in town," Mr. Wilson told Crile. "It means that I get the box right next to the president's box for the ballet when I want it. I get to go to all the cast parties, meet all the movie stars, and I get an extra invitation to the White House every season."

O'Neill made it clear he would appoint Mr. Wilson to the board he coveted, but that he would have to join the Ethics Committee to take care of the Murtha matter. "It's a package deal, Chally," O'Neill is said to have told Mr. Wilson.

"The word on Charlie was that he didn't talk," ex-Rep. Tony Coelho, who became majority whip after O'Neill's retirement, told Crile. "From time to time the speaker needed to mount irregular operations, and Wilson was one of those irregulars Tip could count on." Mr. Wilson didn't need any prodding for his task: "He was a happy warrior as he raced to the rescue of his imperiled friend John Murtha," Crile wrote.

Crile reported that prior to Mr. Wilson's arrival on the Ethics Committee, it had largely given Mr. Prettyman, the special counsel, a free hand in his probe. That quickly changed: "Before Prettyman could fully deploy his investigators to move on the Murtha case, he was informed that the committee had concluded there was no justification for an investigation." The Ethics Committee chairman, Rep. Louis Stokes of Ohio, suddenly declared "This matter is closed."

Mr. Prettyman, who had already likened the Ethics Committee to "a misdemeanor court faced with a multiple murder," was furious at the dramatic change of course. He abruptly resigned his post the same afternoon the committee voted to clear Mr. Murtha.

Don't expect the American people to know anything about Murtha's ethical cloud. While stories on the Mark Foley page scandal topped 3,000,000 hits in the Google database, A count of search terms: "Murtha Abscam scandal" currently turns up less than 30,000.

One scandal involved a relatively obscure Congressman, the other a man who stands to be the second most powerful Democrat in Congress. Which is more important?

And for those spinmeisters out there who may wish to insist that the ABSCAM case is old news, we might ask if they were among the chorus who trumpeted President Bush's 1976 arrest for DUI in the final week before the 2000 election? And we might also point out that the search term "Bush DUI" gets 1,580,000 hits in Google.

Good job cleaning the House Nancy! What's next? How about a former federal judge impeached for bribery, corruption and obstruction of justice as head of the House Intelligence Committee? Looks like a safe bet, as only 76,100 stories on Google mention it.

GOP Reassembling Leadership Team

Some good news, some not so good, some neither one or the other:

  • Trent Lott elected Senate GOP Whip -- Master tactician of Senate rules and procedures, Trent Lott, is back in the leadership in a key position. Dick Morris had this to say in a column yesterday: "Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss). Lott is a Lyndon Johnson/Richard Russell kind of character who knows how to use the Senate to get things done and enjoys twisting the Democrats into a pretzel." The Senate GOP Leader and the public face of the our side in the Senate will be Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. I never thought much of Lott as the public face of our Senate team. But as the master behind the scenes he has few equals.
  • In an apparent bid to placate Hispanics upset over GOP concerns regarding illegal immigration, Senator Mel Martinez will stand for election as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Martinez has advocated immigration reform that includes amnesty (or whatever term you want to use) for those here illegally, so this will not heal the rift in the party on that issue. Also, selecting a politician with a full time job is something that was tried early in the Bush years with the selection of then Governor Gilmore of Virginia who resigned after only a short time in the post. Frankly, Michael Steele would have been a better choice.
  • Rudy Giuliani made it official, he's thinking of running for President in 2008. Forming an exploratory committee is the first step. Polls show him as the prime challenger to Senator John McCain.

Monday, November 13, 2006

GOP "Scare Tactics" Become Dem Reality

It didn't even take a week. After claiming that GOP warnings about the Dem agenda (which was well hidden during the campaign) was nothing but scare tactics, the Dems now have to face the reality of appeasing the leftists who voted for them.

Before the balloons and confetti were swept up, Dem special interests lined up demanding their pound of flesh. Here is a recut of an LA Times piece describing the cost of defeat.
Liberal groups expect postelection results
Activists who helped Democrats secure Congress make clear they intend to get their reward."
Los Angeles Times
November 12, 2006

  • "American voters have done their job; now it's time for Congress to do theirs," said former Rep. Tom Andrews (D-Maine), national director of the antiwar group Win Without War. "The message couldn't be clearer. It's time to start the orderly withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. Our eyes are on the new Congress."
  • Lobbyists for the American Civil Liberties Union, for example, are all but counting on Democrats to repeal the most controversial provisions of the Patriot Act, the anti-terrorist law pushed by the White House that some critics call unconstitutional. They also want to end President Bush's domestic wiretapping program. "We are not going to let them off the hook," said Caroline Fredrickson, the ACLU's legislative director, of the newly empowered Democratic leaders in Congress. "We will hold their feet to the fire."
  • Similar vows are coming from lobbyists for abortion rights, who want to expand family-planning options for poor women and scale back Bush's focus on abstinence education..."I honestly believe there was no bigger winner in this election than Planned Parenthood Action Fund."
  • gun-control advocates, who hope to revive a lapsed ban on assault weapons.
  • raising the minimum wage.
  • The day after the election, labor leaders declared a mandate for their causes and called on the new Congress to immediately reverse anti-union policies enacted by the Bush administration and promote affordable healthcare "for all."
Well there you go! Every moonbat/socialist/defeatist idea wrapped up in one giant NUTSHELL!

I wonder how the so-called "conservatives" who sat out this election, or said the GOP deserves to lose feel about defeat in Iraq, making U.S. citizens more vulnerable to terrorist attack, more taxpayer funding for abortion, gun control, socialized medicine and a return to union strangulation of the American economy?

The New "A" Team

Thanks Conservative Intelligence Report for sharing this:

If you have time, drop on over to Conservative Intelligence Review and read his post regarding the departure of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. Apparently, left wing idiots are not content with his removal from office. CIR found Huffington Post responses to Germany's possible indictment of Rumsfeld for war crimes going a bit further and recommending the execution of Rumsfeld, and the re-opening of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz for the gassing of Senator Lieberman:

"As far as the oven at Auschwitz, I don't care if they pump gas into it after Lieberman and his ilk are enclosed,."

And worse yet, CIR's resident moonbat "Rob" out of the blue attempts to equate the rather strong statements of yours truly, Mike's America, as being nearly as bad. Take a peak in the comments section and feel free to re-educate Rob.

Friday, November 10, 2006

The Path Home for Conservatives: Leadership

And what to do with RINOs and Knuckle Draggers.

Years ago when I was working for Congressman John Ashbrook as the Central Ohio Field Coordinator for his ill-fated US Senate Campaign (he died unexpectedly shortly before the primary) part of my duties were to travel around the state either with the candidate or by myself meeting with various GOP and conservative groups to enlist their support.

John Ashbrook was a founder of the early conservative movement along with Reagan, Goldwater and Buckley with whom he had worked in the dark early years before conservatives had tasted national victory.

His conservative credentials were unassailable and his principles rock solid. He refused to waver, compromise or shy away from expressing his beliefs. I recall one late night meeting with a group of supporters in some small Ohio county. The woman who hosted the meeting in her home said: "John, we are all with you, but please don't push the abortion issue. It's too divisive." The Congressman replied that "I cannot compromise on my core beliefs" he had to be who he was.

I was sent alone on another mission to talk to a group of young conservatives. At that gathering a young man and woman came up to me and started talking about the issue most important to them. I don't remember what it was, but it was one which even my candidate did not support. I listened, but played the devils advocate by reminding them that not all conservatives felt the same way. The man turned to the woman and said, meaning me, "he's not one of us."

No I was not, and very glad not to be. Their issue was a prescription for defeat and division. There is no way my candidate, or any candidate, could allow conservative ideals to be hijacked by people with an agenda that was so extreme as to guarantee defeat of the major goals which I believe we all shared.

Back to the Present

When President Bush nominated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court last year, a small band of very vocal and prominent conservatives hit the roof. Perhaps we can agree that such an appointment was a tactical error by President Bush. But if you go back and read my posts at the time (October 2005 archive here) I warned repeatedly that an all or nothing fight over the issue was sure to split conservative unity in a way that assured two horrible outcomes: 1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and 2. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

By insisting on an absolute standard of conservatism defined by a relatively narrow, sectarian group led by Bill Kristol (whose father Irving spoke at Ashbrook's funeral), we gave Democrats a tool to split the conservative base. And they used that tool well. You don't think it was coincidence that Senator Chuck Schumer, successful architect of the DEM Senate victory followed Miers with the flap over the Dubai Ports Deal do you?

And I'm not the only one who thought that perhaps Bill Kristol was perhaps a bit too chipper on election eve as the scope of our losses became clear. The folks who thought it would be better for the GOP to lose got their way. Now what?

Leadership the Absolute Essential

Let's face it. President Bush is now officially a lame duck. He's going to have to compromise with Democrats even more just to salvage the most important goals of his presidency in the next two years. The campaign for his replacement started on Wednesday, November 8.

There's a new GOP 2008 presidential straw poll available for bloggers at GOP Bloggers, (who have changed their masthead to read "STILL blogging for the GOP Majority: We'll be back!").

After you go through the usual drill of selecting which candidates you would find acceptable, or unacceptable, and which would be your first choice, you're asked to describe yourself as either an "economic conservative," a "social conservative" or a "war on terror conservative." Sorry, you can't be all three, I tried.

I picked the "war on terror" box because in the final analysis, if we don't win the war, we'll have bigger problems than arguing over tax cuts or abortion.

Both Newt Gingrich and Rudy Guiliani continue to score well in these straw polls. And frankly, I could be happy with either one. I know that Rudy has some baggage in conservative circles, but as he said during the campaign when he was stumping for Rick Santorum "I don't even agree with myself 100% of the time" and he doesn't expect anyone else to do so either.

For me, leadership is the fundamental quality during these difficult times is the goal as we move forward. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with either a Newt or a Rudy 100% of the time, or even 80%. It does mean that I prefer their style of leadership on the most important issues over a candidate like John McCain, whose leadership style is dedicated to compromise for the sake of unity (giving Dems what THEY want).

Speaking only for myself, the bottom line is that I am looking for leaders with a leadership style that seeks to bring other people to support our point of view, not compromise our values in the vain hope that Democrats will like us or support us.

I'm not in the mood to toss every RINO under the bus. However, the efforts of those like McCain, Graham and Chafee failed to achieve any "unity" among the two political parties and only served to weaken, not strengthen, the conservative position.

That's basically how I'm cutting the cake at the moment. Strong leadership, without an absolute litmus test on every issue.

Click Here to check results for Mike's America readers.

Some Good News: Michael Steele To Take RNC Job, or Cabinet Post

As much as I admire the work Ken Mehlman has done at the Republican National Committee, I'm not surprised with the news he will be leaving.

But I am surprised, and pleasantely so that Michael Steele, candidate for Senate in Maryland, will be taking his place.
RNC asks Steele to replace Mehlman
By Ralph Z. Hallow
November 10, 2006

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, whose party just lost both chambers of Congress, will leave his position in January, and the post as party chief has been offered to Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.
"It is true," Mr. Mehlman told The Washington Times when asked about reports last night that he would resign. "It's something I decided over the summer. No one told me I needed to. In fact, folks wanted me to stay."
Mr. Mehlman said he "told the White House over the summer it was my decision" to leave the RNC post, "win, lose or draw."
Also last night, Republican officials told The Times that Mr. Steele, who lost his bid for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday, has been sought out to succeed Mr. Mehlman as national party chairman. Those Republican officials said Mr. Steele had not made a decision whether to take the post, as of last night.
Other Republican Party officials said some Republican National Committee (RNC) members, including state party chairmen, have mounted a move to have Mr. Steele succeed Mr. Mehlman.
But they said that President Bush's political adviser Karl Rove, who is Mr. Mehlman's mentor, would rather see Mr. Steele serve in the president's Cabinet, perhaps as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. These officials said no one has actually offered Mr. Steele either the RNC post or a Cabinet post.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Election Message: Lead When You Win, Or Else You Lose!

Hugh Hewitt is on a roll here. I usually excerpt only portions of an article but every word of this needs to be read:

The Road Not Taken: Forfeiting a Majority
By Hugh Hewitt
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

The post-mortems are accumulating, but I think the obvious has to be stated: John McCain and his colleagues in the Gang of 14 cost the GOP its Senate majority while the conduct of a handful of corrupt House members gave that body's leadership the Democrats.

The first two paragraphs of my book Painting the Map Red --published in March of this year, read:

If you are a conservative Republican, as I am, you have a right to be worried. An overconfident and complacent Republican Party could be facing electoral disaster. Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, and a host of others could be looming in our future and undoing all the good we've tried to do.

It is break the glass and pull the alarm time for the Republican Party. The elections looming in November 2006 are shaping up to be disastrous for the GOP as the elections of 1994 were for the Democrats. Most GOP insiders seem unaware of the party's political peril. Some are resigned to a major defeat as the price we have to pay for a decade of consistent gains, which, they think, couldn't have gone on forever.

As cooler heads sort through the returns, they will see not a Democratic wave but a long series of bitter fights most of which were lost by very thin margins, the sort of margin that could have been overcome had there been greater purpose and energy arrayed on the GOP's side. The country did not fundamentally change from 2004, but the Republicans had to defend very difficult terrain in very adverse circumstances. Step by step over the past two years the GOP painted themselves into a corner from which there was no escape. Congressional leadership time and time again took the easy way out and declared truces with Democrats over issues, which ought not to have been compromised. The easy way led to Tuesday's result.

The criminal activities of Duke Cunningham, Bob Ney and Mark Foley were anchors around every Republican neck, and the damaged leadership could not figure out that the only way to slip that weight was by staying in town and working around the clock on issue after issue. The long recesses and the unwillingness to confront the issues head on --remember the House's inexplicable refusal to condemn the New York Times by name in a resolution over the SWIFT program leak?-- conveyed a smugness about the majority which was rooted in redistricting's false assurance of invulnerability. Only on rare occasions would the Republicans set up the sort of debate that sharpened the contrast between the parties. In wartime, the public expects much more from its leaders than they received from the GOP.

In the Senate three turning points stand out.

On April 15, 2005 --less than three months after President Bush had begun a second term won in part because of his pledge to fight for sound judges-- Senator McCain appeared on Hardball and announced he would not support the "constitutional option" to end Democratic filibusters. Then, stunned by the furious reaction, the senator from Arizona cobbled together the Gang of 14 "compromise" that in fact destroyed the ability of the Republican Party to campaign on Democratic obstructionism while throwing many fine nominees under the bus. Now in the ruins of Tuesday there is an almost certain end to the slow but steady restoration of originalism to the bench. Had McCain not abandoned his party and then sabotaged its plans, there would have been an important debate and a crucial decision taken on how the Constitution operates. The result was the complete opposite. Yes, President Bush got his two nominees to SCOTUS through a 55-45 Senate, but the door is now closed, and the court still tilted left. A once-in-a-generation opportunity was lost.

A few months later there came a debate in the Senate over the Democrats' demand for a timetable for withdrawal for Iraq led to another half-measure: A Frist-Warner alternative that demanded quarterly reports on the war's progress, a move widely and correctly interpreted as a blow to the Administration’s Iraq policy. Fourteen Republicans voted against the Frist-Warner proposal --including Senator McCain-- and the press immediately understood that the half-measure was an early indicator of erosion in support for a policy of victory.

Then came the two leaks of national security secrets to the New York Times, and an utterly feckless response from both the Senate and the House. Not one hearing was held; not one subpoena delivered. A resolution condemning these deeply injurious actions passed the House but dared not name the New York Times. The Senate did not even vote on a non-binding resolution.

Nor did the Senate get around to confirming the president's authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of al Qaeda contacting its operatives in the United States. Weeks were taken up jamming the incoherent McCain-Kennedy immigration bill through the Judiciary Committee only to see it repudiated by the majority of Republicans, and the opportunity lost for a comprehensive bill that would have met the demand for security within a rational regularization of the illegal population already here.

And while the Senate twiddled away its days, crucial nominees to the federal appellate bench languished in the Judiciary Committee. The most important of them --Peter Keisler who remains nominated for the D.C. Circuit-- didn't even receive a vote because of indifference on the part of Chairman Specter.

(The National Review's Byron York wondered why the president didn't bring up the judges issue in the campaign until the last week, and then only in Montana. The reason was obvious: Senators DeWine and Chafee were struggling and any focus on the legacy of the Gang of 14 would doom DeWine's already dwindling chances while reminding the country of the retreat from principal in early '05.)

As summer became fall, the Administration and Senator Frist began a belated attempt to salvage the term. At exactly that moment Senators McCain and Graham threw down their still murky objections to the Administration’s proposals on the trial and treatment of terrorists. Precious days were lost as was momentum and clarity, the NSA program left unconfirmed (though still quite constitutional) and Keisler et al hung out to dry.

Throughout this two years the National Republican Senatorial Committee attempted to persuade an unpersuadable base that Lincoln Chafee was a Republican. For years Chafee has frustrated measure after measure, most recently the confirmation of John Bolton, even after Ahmadinejad threatened and Chavez insulted the United States from the UN stage. Chafee was a one-man wrecking crew on the NRSC finances, a drain of resources and energy, and a billboard for the idea that the Senate is first a club and only secondarily a body of legislators.

The presidential ambitions of three senators ended Tuesday night, though two of them will not face up to it.

The Republican Party sent them and their 52 colleagues to Washington D.C. to implement an agenda which could have been accomplished but that opportunity was frittered away.

The Republican Party raised the money and staffed the campaigns that had yielded a 55-45 seat majority, and the Republican Party expected the 55 to act like a majority. Confronted with obstruction, the Republicans first fretted and then caved on issue after issue. Had the 55 at least been seen to be trying --hard, and not in a senatorial kind of way-- Tuesday would have had a much different result. Independents, especially, might have seen why the majority mattered.

Will the GOP get back to a working majority again? Perhaps. And perhaps sooner than you think. The Democrats have at least six vulnerable senators running in 2008, while the situation looks pretty good for the GOP.

But the majority is not going to return unless the new minority leadership --however it is composed-- resolves to persuade the public, and to be firm in its convictions, not concerned for the praise of the Beltway-Manhattan media machine.

In short, if when you win, you are afraid to lead, then you do not deserve to win. And if you are a McCain, or Graham and abandon principle for the sake of media attention, you don't deserve to win either.

Senators Allen/Burns Concede

With the concessions today of Senator Conrad Burns in Montana and Senator George Allen in Virginia, a race where he could have demanded a state funded recount based on the narrow victory for Webb of 7200 votes.

Both Burns and Allen did the gentlemanly thing and conceded. Again, an example to Democrats that will be entirely wasted on the crowd that promoted Gore's long drawn out challenge in 2000 and Kerry's whining about the loss of Ohio by 60,000 votes in 2004.

Neither Burns or Allen flooded their respective states with teams of lawyers and angry acccusations of vote fraud and voting irregularities.

It's worth repeating again the message from this post yesterday describing how Democrats were leveling multiple charges of vote irregularities up to the minute their victory was clear. Then silence.

Contrast Burns and Allen's conduct with that of many of the Democrats who have commented on GOP blogs lately and give new meaning to the term "sore winners."

Again, Republicans take the high road and Democrats seem content with the gutter.

Picking Through the Pieces

For us to move forward from the ashes of Black Tuesday's defeat, we'll need to do some hard thinking on what led to the disaster.

I don't buy the "culture of corruption" theme as the prime motivator for voters. Both House Member William "cash in the freezer" Jefferson (D-LA) and Senator Bob "Bribes" Menendez (D-NJ) were returned to the legislature. Likewise, if the Iraq war was the prime motivator, how is it that Joe Lieberman, an ardent supporter of the war, was re-elected in Connecticut as an Independent?

The Mark Foley scandal didn't have electoral legs either. With Foley's name still on the ballot, Joe Negron (R-FL), who took his place, came within 1% of winning. Deborah Pryce (R-OH) and Tom Reynolds (R-OH) both members of the House GOP leadership and implicated in the scandal won re-election.

So what was the cause?

Two things. First, Democrats never gave up on the campaign of hate that they begun the day after the 2000 election. The tactic failed in 2002 and again in 2004. But they kept at it and perfected it to an art in 2006.

I posted Daniel Henninger's brilliant op-ed for the Wall Street Journal in February, 2006. It's highly recommended reading if you want to understand the cumulative effect of the Democrats campaign which relied on a willing news media to trumpet every GOP misstep and ignore similar or worse from the Democrats. It was written shortly after the hysteria of the Cheney shooting accident. Here's a short excerpt:

Calculated Outrage
Cheney as toast: Democrats burning down the house.
Opinion Journal
Friday, February 17, 2006

...Have you ever noticed how on a scale of one to 10, every untoward event in the life of the Bush presidency goes straight to a 10?

The Abu Ghraib photos? A 10 forever. Dick Cheney catching a hunting buddy with some birdshot? An instant 10. The Bush National Guard story? Total 10. How can it be that each downside event in this presidency greets the public at this one, screeching level of outrage and denunciation by the out-of-power party and a perpetually outraged media?
Here are some of the political and media bonfires that have been lit on the White House lawn, stoked and reignited the past five years: the "stolen" 2000 election, Halliburton, "Fahrenheit 9/11," Cheney lives in an "undisclosed location," Abu Ghraib, torture at Guantanamo, Bush lied about WMD, secret CIA prison sites, Valerie Plame, the neocons, Rumsfeld, Cheney's "secret" energy task force, Cindy Sheehan, Bush is destroying Social Security, Hurricane Katrina, Jack Abramoff, illegal wiretaps, Bill Frist's stock sales, what else?
If it all seems more than a little tiresome, if you wish it would all just go away, well, maybe that's the point--their point. Induce swing voters to seek respite from the Bush experience.
Absent any fresh or positive message for voters, why not try winning by turning politics under the Republicans into an experience of unrelenting discomfort? The substance of any given issue falls in importance.
Add the more recent example of George Allen's (R-VA) "macaca" remark which the Washington Post put on the front page eight times and ran over 100 other mentions while practically ignoring Jim Webb's (D-VA) kiddie porn fiction.

Republicans validated the Democrat tactic of hate/hysteria and disinformation by either putting up a tepid defense, or in the case of some GOP Senators, actually joining the Democrats in questioning programs like terrorist interrogations (thanks Senator Lindsey Graham (D-SC)).

But had Republicans stood solidly behind and advanced a positive, unabashedly conservative agenda, it's likely we would have been spared Tuesday's result. That's the second point. Our timid strategy, where we were cowed by media hysteria into either watering down or ignoring the conservative principles which took many Republicans to Washington in the first place (ahem, Senator Graham (D-SC)) ended up leaving voters without the clear choice on issues beyond the war and terrorism. And we allowed our strength on taxes and the economy to go unreported.

Dick Armey remembers a time when things were different. As House Majority Leader in the wake of the 1994 revolution which handed the House to the GOP, he reminds us:

End of the Revolution
Advice to Republicans: Don't go back and check on a dead skunk.
BY DICK ARMEY Opinion Journal
Thursday, November 9, 2006

...I've always wondered why Republicans insist on acting like Democrats in hopes of retaining political power, while Democrats act like us in order to win.

I've also wondered why Republicans let their fears and insecurities get in the way of important reforms. They missed the opportunity of a lifetime by failing to embrace retirement security based on personal ownership. Instead, from both parties we heard about "saving Social Security"--to the extent we heard anything at all. Republicans should be for reforms that free individuals and their families from failed government programs. We should not be for "saving" failed government programs.
In 2006, instead of heavy lifting on substantial reforms, House and Senate leaders attempted to rally their political base on wedge issues like illegal immigration and gay marriage. Instead of dealing with spending bills or retirement security, the Senate dedicated two full legislative days to a constitutional ban on gay marriage that no one expected to pass.
Moving forward, my advice to Republicans is simple: Don't go back and check on a dead skunk. The question Republicans now need to answer is: How do we once again convince the public that we are in fact the party many Democrats successfully pretended to be in this election? To do so, Republicans will need to shed their dominant insecurities that the public just won't understand a positive, national vision that is defined by economic opportunity, limited government and individual responsibility.
We need to remember Ronald Reagan's legacy and again stand for positive, big ideas that get power and money out of politics and government bureaucracy and back into the hands of individuals. We also need again to demonstrate an ability to be good stewards of the taxpayers' hard-earned money. If Republicans do these things, they will also restore the public's faith in our standards of personal conduct. Personal responsibility in public life follows naturally if your goal is good public policy.

Besides the obvious impact on the House and Senate, Tuesday's elections will no doubt redefine the Republican field going into early presidential primary states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. It will be up to grassroots activists in those battlegrounds to establish a constituency of expectations that anyone aspiring to be the next president of the United States must satisfy. To voters I say: Demand substance and you will get it. To Republican candidates for office I say: Offer good policy and you will create a winning constituency for lower taxes, less government and more freedom.
Before we get to the 2008 election, we need new leadership in both the House and Senate. Tell the "go along to get along" Republicans like Graham and McCain that they're no longer welcome.

I'll second the motion that Cajun Tiger made on the comment streams in our post-election wrapup and support a return to an active agenda on a national level with the leadership of Congressman Mike Pence, current Chairman of the Republican Study Committee (an inhouse think tank).

Earlier this year Pence pushed a 2006 Contract for America, a bold plan to nationalize the election on bedrock conservative issues. But timid House leaders were too afraid to run the election on a national platform. How'd that work out for us?
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