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5/20/2008
NO SERIOUS BLACK GOP CANDIDATES

The Party of Lincoln has officially become The Whitebread and Cracker Party. According to Politico, there are no African American Republican candidates given a serious chance of winning in the House, the Senate, or a governorship:

At the start of the Bush years, the Republican National Committee — in tandem with the White House — vowed to usher in a new era of GOP minority outreach. As George W. Bush winds down his presidency, Republicans are now on the verge of going six — and probably more — years without an African-American governor, senator or House member.

That’s the longest such streak since the 1980s.

Republicans will have only one minority governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an Indian-American, when the dust settles on the ’08 elections. Democrats have three minority governors and 43 African-American members of Congress, including one — Illinois Sen. Barack Obama — who is their likely presidential nominee. Democrats also have several challengers in winnable House races who are either black or Hispanic.

Despite having a Spanish-speaking “compassionate conservative” in the White House, Republicans’ diversity deficit seems to have only widened.

“In 1994, when I first ran, we had 14 African-American Republicans running for Congress. ... I was the only one that won that year, but we had 14, and we had some good candidates,” said former Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, one of the party’s most recognized African-American voices. “I am grateful for what Ken Mehlman did when he was RNC chairman, but I knew that wouldn’t last — that was one person. I’ve never gotten the impression that it was institutionalized.”


Mehlman worked tirelessly in his outreach programs to try and build bridges to the African American, Hispanic, and Asian communities. But J.C. Watts – a man much to good for the Republican party and for politics in general – hits the nail on the head when he talks about institutionalizing that kind of outreach. The GOP never followed up or tried very hard to maintain those bridges so it’s perhaps no surprise that they would have totally collapsed due to a combination of factors but mostly just a lack of effort.

There were high hopes when the Mehlman project began:

Bush’s share of the black vote went from 8 percent to 11 percent between 2000 and 2004, according to exit polls. Despite the small increase, Bush doubled his share of the black vote in Ohio and Florida.

“There are some obvious signs that we are on the verge of a breakthrough when you look at what we have to do to be successful,” said Michael Williams, a black Republican elected to the Texas Railroad Commission, a statewide energy board. “If we can just move to 20 or 25 percent of the African American vote, that is a cataclysmic change in vote count.”

Seeking to build on successes in Ohio and Florida, Mehlman has intensified the recruitment of black candidates for statewide and national offices. The Rev. Keith Butler announced his candidacy against Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Michael S. Steele, Maryland’s lieutenant governor, is widely expected to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Paul S. Sarbanes (D), and former Pittsburgh Steelers star Lynn Swann® is considering running for governor of Pennsylvania.


That was three years ago. In the interim, Karl Rove decided that white evangelicals were the key to GOP victory and worked on getting anti-gay marriage referendums on state ballots in 2006 believing, as was the case in 2004, that such measures would energize the religious right and send them to the polls in droves.

Unfortunately for Rove and the GOP, things didn’t quite work out the way they hoped. The anti-gay marriage referendums passed handily but rather than voting for Republicans, those opposed to gay marriage were just as likely to vote for the Democrat, leading to the loss of 30 seats in the House. Mehlman’s hard work went for naught as the Democrats picked up 90% of the black vote and 70% of the Hispanic vote.

No serious effort has been made by any nationally organized Republican group to reach out to African Americans since then. Indeed, the GOP candidates for president hurled an insult to the NAACP when they refused to show up at a debate sponsored by the organization. True, the candidates would have been entering hostile territory and the questions were liable to have been pretty testy. But at the time, it smacked of cowardice to me as it does today.

The GOP has much to answer for as far as African Americans since the 1960’s. Long gone are the days when a coalition of northern Democrats and Republicans passed landmark civil rights legislation. Since then, Republicans have sought to use race as a wedge issue in the south, effectively polarizing the electorate so as to maximize the white vote. And there have been some disgraceful attempts over the years to try and tamp down the African American turnout in some parts of the country.

But beyond that, it is my opinion that the GOP’s candidate recruitment efforts suck and their efforts with regard to recruiting minorities to run for office is, if possible, worse. Indeed, we are seeing a repeat of 2006 as far as the relative abilities of the two parties to recruit candidates of all races. In most competitive races, the Democrats have been able to field strong House candidates with district-wide name recognition who are well funded and well organized. The GOP, not so much. Admittedly, it is a tough sell trying to get a popular state senator or state official to run on the GOP label in what promises to be a Democratic year. It must be even harder to convince a black candidate to run when the likely Democratic nominee is himself an African American.

There’s another reason why blacks aren’t running as Republicans and you won’t find it mentioned on any lefty blog. The hostility shown by Democrats toward black GOP candidates is nauseating and certainly plays a role in their refusal to stick their necks out. Michael Steele had Oreos thrown at him. Black GOP candidates are openly called “Uncle Toms” and race traitors. Even if they win, they face the same fate that befell J.C. Watts; being kept out of the Congressional Black Caucus and ostracized by those of your own race.

So perhaps it’s not surprising that there are no serious candidates of color running for any GOP House, Senate, or Governor’s seat. But if the party ever wants to achieve majority status anytime soon, it is not going to be done by appealing solely to male white, middle aged, church loving gun owners. A way must be found to broaden the GOP coalition to include more women, more blacks, more Hispanics, and turn a rather monochromatic party into something more like a rainbow.

Otherwise, get comfortable on those back benches boys. Might want to buy a pillow and set a spell because it will be a long time in the political wilderness for the GOP otherwise.

By: Rick Moran at 8:17 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (13)

Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Convention Chief Resigns Over His Firm's Work for Burma...
5/19/2008
THE ‘MAN ON A WHITE HORSE’ SYNDROME

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75,000 at Obama Rally in Portland Yesterday

What could possibly be wrong with 75,000 people attending a political rally?

Admittedly, not much on the surface. And perhaps if the times weren’t so perilous and the candidate who was the beneficiary of that huge crowd wasn’t so problematic, we could really celebrate such an outpouring of support, free from the nagging doubts that plague many of us about Barack Obama and his past associations and present ideological beliefs.

Except my republican soul (note the small “r”) is a little frightened at this mob scene. Politicians should be plebeian in their appeal – being one of us and not standing above us, Caesar-like in their beguilement of the masses. Truman and Eisenhower were plebes; modest in their habits and with no illusions regarding their own failings. There is something to be said for such solid republican values in a presidential candidate and when someone such as a Kennedy or Obama rises above the masses, presenting themselves as perhaps something more than a servant of the people, we are bound to look in askance at such a phenomenon.

Joseph Kennedy told his family at the beginning of JFK’s campaign that they were going to sell the candidate “like soap flakes.” Papa Joe wasn’t just talking about advertising. He was revealing a strategy that for the first time joined the talents of Madison Avenue with the power of Hollywood celebrity to create powerful, irresistible imagery that would elevate Kennedy to hero status and place him on a different plane altogether than any other politician in the country.

It worked beyond expectations. The Kennedy image makers took a sickly, rather bookish 42 year old manchild known for his excesses of the flesh and turned him into a vigorous, glamorous, serious man with a patrician’s attitude of noblesse oblige and a “star quality” unique for its time among politicians.

Of course, this image making worked out quite well until Kennedy was forced to confront Kruschev in Vienna where the peasant -a survivor of a brutal war and numerous murderous purges under Stalin – took the measure of the patrician and found it wanting. The Russian was so certain of his moral ascendancy over Kennedy that he browbeat the younger man, drawing Kennedy into a debate over the superiority of communism over capitalism where the American’s stammering answers to Kruschev’s harangue convinced the Russian that if he placed missiles in Cuba, Kennedy would do nothing in response.

Kennedy spent a considerable amount of time in Hollywood when he was younger and became fascinated with the science of celebrity. What makes one person a movie star and another an extra? As far as JFK could see it wasn’t looks – many extras floating around at Hollywood parties that he and his brothers frequented were as good or better looking than the movie stars of the age. Kennedy decided it was the star’s ability to “project” personality on to the movie screen. He believed that by surrounding himself with movie stars like Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Marylin Monroe, and his brother in law Peter Lawford, he would unlock their secrets and, like a magic talisman, their celebrity would rub off on him.

Obama needs no such lessons in how to be a celebrity. He has learned along the way to project his personality (or the personality he chooses to affect) on to an audience, drawing them in to his arms as a mother draws her children. He uses rhetoric to both soothe and ignite his audience. His words are passionate but the candidate himself remains “cool;” a nice trick that makes him extremely accessible to those listening to him. Where most politicians try and instruct the listener, Obama asks questions that the audience already knows the answers. And that answer is him.

Perhaps that is what gives me the most unease when I listen to Obama. It is not the power of the party or his ideas that he attempts to win his audience to; it is a very personal power to which he seeks to wed his fans to his campaign. The solution to our problems, he tells us, is belief; a belief that he can change the country, that he can heal our wounds, restore our soul, and make our cup runneth over.

Any other politician trying this would fall flat on their face and we’d either laugh at them or identify them immediately for the demagogues they are. But because he never fails to include his “empowerment” mantra with his “belief” shtick, one gets the feeling that by joining his campaign, you are entering a privileged society of believers. I don’t want to call it a religion because it is not. But the atmosphere at many of his speeches certainly approaches that of a revival meeting where one’s belief in the preacher will lead them to paradise.

Reading what many Obama supporters say about it their candidate, it is easy to see that they view him as the classic knight on a white charger where he and only he can rescue us from our own folly. Given all that we don’t know about this man, does that make him dangerous? Perhaps no more so than any other candidate. No one saw Nixon as the white horse type and look what he turned out to be.

But dangerous he is – for his beliefs, not for his personality or the character of this mass movement he has inspired. So when I see 75,000 people screaming his name with the kind of abandon reserved for rock stars or religious figures, I worry more that the candidate won’t be able to live up to the lofty expectations he has engendered in his legions than he would use such a movement for nefarious purposes.

And given his incredible lack of experience and zero track record in getting anything done, I would guess that if he is elected he would generate more disappointment among his followers than any other president in memory.

By: Rick Moran at 12:05 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (37)

5/18/2008
MORE WHINING FROM OBAMA

Just what office is Barack Obama running for? Commander in Chief? Or perhaps Keeper of the Constant Whine? Or maybe Lord High Commissioner of the Bitch?

To Obama, it’s always something. Bush challenges his foreign policy positions and he whines about a “political attack” rather than responding.” McCain rightly points out that Obama has absolutely zero foreign policy experience (except that advanced course in foreign relations he took when he was 8 years old and living in Indonesia – or whatever Obama’s claim to superior experience is this week) and the candidate weeps like an 11 year old girl, complaining about McCain using the “old politics” to diss him.

Now Obama is whining about not being able to win in Kentucky on Tuesday. First, he blames Fox News (?). Then he fingers an email campaign in the state against him. Finally, he lamely explains that he just doesn’t have the time to sit down face to face with the good folks from Kentucky and work his magic spell on them:

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, facing a likely defeat in next Tuesday’s primary election, won’t travel to Kentucky before the voting, but said he hopes to have much more time to win over Kentucky voters before the November general election.

He also blamed Fox News for disseminating “rumors” about him and said that that and e-mails filled with misinformation that have been “systematically” dispersed have hurt him in Kentucky.

“When we’re able to campaign in a place like Iowa for several months and I can visit and talk to people individually, I do very well. That’s harder to do at this stage in the campaign,” Obama said in a brief telephone interview Friday. “And once we get past the primary, we’ll able to focus more on those states where we need to make sure people know my track record.”

In contrast, Obama’s rival, Sen. Hillary Clinton, will make five stops in Kentucky over the weekend, including appearances at two university campuses.

Obama spoke to more than 8,000 supporters in Louisville Monday night — his first time in the state since August. He said he had hoped to spend more time in Kentucky earlier this week but was called back to Washington, D.C. for votes on Tuesday.


He even whines about having to serve the people of Illinois while he’s campaigning for president. The fact that he’s missed 40% of senate votes since the beginning of 2007 (McCain has missed 58%) sort of makes his excuse about not being able to spend more time in Kentucky because he had to rush back to Washington and vote ring a little hollow.

But it is his carping and whining about Fox news doing him in as far as Kentucky is concerned that really takes the cake. It couldn’t be that you are hugely unpopular in the state now, could it senator? And yeah, go ahead and play the race card – we fully expect it by now and look forward to you wearing it out in the general election – but the fact is senator it’s not so much that there aren’t racists in Kentucky; there are. It’s just that there are hundreds of thousands of more people who think you are too inexperienced, too liberal, too much of an elitist, and too dangerously naive to vote for you.

The truth hurts, Barry. You can get your minions in the press to write articles between now and the election about the reason you lose so spectacularly is because the good folks in states like Indiana, West Virginia, and Kentucky all keep white robes and hoods hidden in their closets and really can’t stomach the idea of a black man becoming president. That kind of analysis is about as deep as your thinking on foreign policy – which judging by the thugs in the world who look forward to your election victory is not only incredibly shallow but reflects a dangerous self-denial on your part as to just what the endorsement from groups like Hamas really means.

In your arrogance, you tar those who find your positions on the issues wanting with the label of racist. There is no legitimate reason to oppose you, in your opinion. Only racists, fear peddlers, rumor mongerers, and other low life scum refuse to vote for you.

But hey! Once people get to know you, they love you. You will melt the opposition in their hearts by the magical healing powers of your silky smooth, mellifluous voice. You will over come the hardness of their opposition by the sheer goodness of your bi-racial soul.

Phooey!

The more I see and hear Barack Obama, the less I think of him as a man and as a candidate. He hides behind his race as if it was his momma’s skirts. Nothing is ever his fault or the fault of the positions he has taken on issues vital to the safety and security of the United States. It’s either people who don’t vote for him are racists or war mongering fascist neocons who refuse to get with his new program of not being so beastly to our enemies. He is thin skinned, quick to anger, overly sensitive, and a whining, sniveling child who can’t take criticism like a man and respond as an adult.

The more he whines the more the press bends over backwards to cover for him. He makes a statement about there being 57 states and gets a pass. McCain confuses Shias and Sunnis and he’s a senile old man. He calls a reporter “sweetie” and his apology is accepted – end of story. McCain apologizes for anything and it’s never enough.

I hate the idea of having to defend McCain but the fact is, the press coverage of the 2008 campaign is even more lopsided than it was in 2004 – something I thought could never be topped. And as long as Obama cries crocodile tears whining Foul! every time he is criticized, the press will continue to back his outrageous claims of “unfairness” and dirty politics.

By: Rick Moran at 9:57 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (58)

McCain Blogs linked with Obama To Tennessee GOP: Waa Waa Waa!...
This Goes to 11 linked with The Best Barack Hussein Obama column...evah! ...
5/17/2008
IRAN’S PROXY WAR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES IN LEBANON
CATEGORY: Lebanon, Middle East

While the dust is beginning to settle over last week’s armed thuggery by Hizbullah against the Sunni community in West Beirut and the Druze in Chouf, several Middle East analysts have come to the conclusion that Iran was behind the violence in Lebanon:

Increasingly, prominent Middle East analysts and observers are suggesting that the past week’s events in Lebanon were part of an attempt by Iran to impose a new order in the Middle East through Hezbollah’s weapons. Raghida Durgham, al-Hayat daily’s reporter in Washington, wrote on May 16 that the party’s arms offer a doorway for Iran to enter Lebanon, one that does not require sending a foreign army like the Syrian troops that entered Lebanon after the civil war. “Iran today is like a border to Lebanon because of Hezbollah’s arms and Iran’s continuous support,” she wrote. “Syria is the important link between Iran and Hezbollah’s arms. However, the strategic decision is made by the Iranians.”

Durgham also quoted a high ranking Arab source who stressed that the best explanation for Lebanon’s recent crisis is that Iran feared a US military attack this summer, which it sought to preempt by mobilizing Hezbollah.


If this is true – and I have doubts about just how much the Iranians really “control” Hizbullah – it represents a radical shift in Iranian strategic thinking. Previously, Iran has been perfectly content to basically sit back and watch the United States get bogged down in Iraq while we were slowly losing influence among the Sunni states in the region. Their assistance given to the Iraqi terrorists, militias, and insurgents has not altered the military situation in Iraq. It wasn’t designed to. It was designed to keep the US pinned down while they plowed ahead with their enrichment program.

Now that they are on the cusp of being able to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, they have apparently decided to put the hammer down and go for broke in Lebanon.

Former 12-year Hezbollah member and fighter Rami Olleik, now an instructor of Agriculture at the American University of Beirut, also suggested, based on his own experience with the party, that the past week’s confrontations are part of the war between the US and Iran. “The difference is that March 14 did not merge organically with the US project as much as Hezbollah did with the Iranian project. Hezbollah and Iran’s projects are inseparable,” he added.

Likewise, Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh also indicated to NOW Lebanon that the Lebanese opposition’s military operations last week were obviously an Iranian decision. “However, moving the front to Lebanon was a trial that has turned against Iran, as it opened the issue of [Hezbollah’s] arms,” Hamadeh said.

According to Hamadeh, the Arabs, led by the Arab League, have taken back the political initiative and decided to stop the military takeover of Lebanon. “The battle in the Chouf made [the opposition] stop and think, but even in Beirut, they couldn’t have stayed longer,” he stressed.


Appearing on my radio show last Tuesday, Professor Barry Rubin suggested that one way to counter this Iranian thrust was to have the United States become much more active in its support of the government. To date, the US (and France) have remained largely in the background, letting Saudi King Abdullah carry most of the diplomatic load. But should the US then try to “organically merge” with the pro-democracy Sunnis in Lebanon to match the Iranians and Hizbullah?

I can give 5 good reasons off the top of my head why such a move would be incredibly dangerous – backlash against the government, being asked to arm and train Sunni militias, risking our reputation in a civil war situation, the high cost of failure, and the potential of being dragged into another war.

In fact, I can give only one good reason we should get much closer to the March 14th government; Iran is there and so far, we have not engaged. We are giving Iran a cheap victory because of our reluctance to support the government. If Iran does indeed want to make Lebanon a proxy site for a war, we refuse them at our own peril. A Lebanese government dominated by Hizbullah under Iranian control and buttressed by Syrian muscle would at the very least scramble Middle East politics but good.

With the government revoking its two controversial decisions, Hezbollah’s quasi-state now appears stronger than the Lebanese government.

“Negotiations took place under pressure and threats of escalating the military operations. The government from now on will be under the command of Hezbollah, and it would never dare to make any decision that is not in Hezbollah’s interests, otherwise they will occupy the country,” Asaad stressed. He added that dialogue should now focus on one issue: either the arms go, or Lebanon goes.


If that is the choice, it will almost certainly be Lebanon that “goes.” Despite the Arab League’s efforts at mediation in Doha this weekend – and the question of Hizbullah’s arms will be discussed – not much will be accomplished if only because Hizbullah is now seen as an occupying force in its own country. They promised not to use their guns on the Lebanese, that they were only to be aimed at Israel. Now that the great lie has been exposed, they have become isolated. No longer a state within a state, they are simply a rogue militia that seeks to impose its will by the barrel of a gun.

And standing behind the curtain urging them on is Tehran who understands that bringing down the democratically elected government backed by the US and the west would deal a blow to our entire position in the region. If other players see the US fail to engage and pick up the Iranian gauntlet, they will draw the necessary conclusions and make their own peace with the Iranians as best they can.

While Sunni leader Said Hariri swears that he will not try and recruit a Sunni militia to fight Hizbullah thus avoiding what would be a catastrophic civil war, his followers may have other ideas. As Druze leader Walid Jumblatt found out to his chagrin last week, people being attacked do not always follow orders. Even after ordering the Druze to lay down their arms and allow the army to take up their positions, the fighters refused and ended up dealing Hizbullah a stinging defeat. Thus, it is becoming apparent that the political leaders have a tenuous hold over their followers and that the next round of violence may spin out of control to everyone’s detriment.

This isn’t the endgame in Lebanon. But unless the US decides to throw its weight behind the moderate, pro-democracy Sunnis in Lebanon soon, it could all be over before we even realize it started.

By: Rick Moran at 5:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (6)

WHEN WILL OBAMA RESPOND TO ‘APPEASEMENT’ CHARGE?

I don’t buy the argument circulating on righty blogs that because Bush didn’t specifically name anyone in his “appeasement” remarks before the Israeli Knesset he was not really talking about Obama, or Democrats. It’s pretty disingenuous not to acknowledge who exactly Bush had in mind when making the comment. Indeed, the American people know full well who Bush was referring to because they believe the same thing about Democrats and Obama – that they are hopelessly naive when it comes to the true nature of our enemies and that Obama’s careless remarks about meeting with those nations who harbor us ill will without preconditions smacks of nothing less than a Chamberlainesque eagerness to engage in diplomacy simply for diplomacy’s sake.

The fact that everyone knows who Bush was referring to and the fact that the substance contained in the remark reflects the widely held belief of a very large percentage of voters should have given Obama an opening to retract the remark and share his thoughts on engaging Iran, Syria, and other terrorist supporting nations in a useful dialogue.

Instead, Obama and the Democrats hit the ceiling, calling Bush every name in the book and whining about their hurt feelings. Their reaction reminded me of a line from the movie All The Presidents Men where the Washington Post has published an article accusing the White House of wrongdoing and the reaction to that article from the Nixonites. Ben Bradleee observes “They doubt our ancestry, but they don’t say the story isn’t accurate.”

Obama called Bush’s words “an appalling attack,” “dishonest,” divisive, “fear-peddling,” fear-mongering,” but for some reason, never got around to responding to the substance of Bush’s charge; that Obama and the Democrats cannot be trusted with running American foreign policy because their outlook on the world is is based on false assumptions about, our friends, our allies, our role in the world, and most of all our deadly enemies.

Bush actually did Obama a favor. He gave him a golden opportunity to lay out his “realistic” ideas on American foreign policy so that it would get the widest possible hearing. The problem, as Obama and the Democrats well know, is one of perception – a perception they try their best to finesse rather than tackling head on. It’s not about talking tough and making threats. It is about calling our enemies, well, enemies . They could try that for starters.

And it doesn’t help when Obama gives an interview to David Brooks of the New York Times and talks about satisfying the “legitimate grievances” of Hamas and Hizbullah as if giving one inch to those terrorists wouldn’t put our “friends” (another word the Democrats have a hard time annunciating) in Israel and Lebanon in danger. To even recognize those terrorists have anything “legitimate” in the way of an agenda is as close to appeasement as you can get without going over the line.

After all, that was Chamberlain’s problem. He believed (like Seattle Times editor Bruce Ramsey) that all Hitler wanted was to unite the “German speaking people of Europe” under one flag. The problem, of course, is that those pockets of German speakers lay outside of Germany’s borders – in fact, had always been separate from Germany – and therefore made Hitler’s claim on the Sudetenland and Danzig illegitimate if Chamberlain had bothered to check.

Actually, it wouldn’t have made any difference. Chamberlain was bound and determined to give Hitler everything he wanted in what has to be considered the most spectacular misjudgement in the history of diplomacy. The British Prime Minister believed there was a limit to Hitler’s appetite for conquest. Too late, he realized the truth.

As far as Obama, he seems to have an enemy identification problem – as do most Democrats. They reserve their harshest criticism for their own president while taking it relatively easy on the beasts and thugs who should come in for the bulk of their disapprobation. Do they have a clue how warm and fuzzy that makes people like Hugo Chavez or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad feel? With their over the top, exaggerated, bitter attacks on Bush’s policies and Bush the man, (deserving of plenty of criticism but not the personal hatred thrown his way by so many in the Democratic party), the Democrats play directly into the hands of our enemies.

Do they think the American people haven’t figured this out already? Evidently no. So instead of responding to Bush like adults, Obama and the Democrats whine about how Bush hurt their feelings by calling them “appeasers” which he didn’t but for the sake of Democrat’s high blood pressure, we’ll grant them that small point.

And the obedient servants of Obama and the Democrats in the media are beside themselves with joy. Here is a Democrat who “hits back.” Here is a Democrat who won’t take these “smears” lying down. The media is so pleased at Obama’s tantrum that they can barely contain their glee.

But while they are hugging themselves perhaps they should ask why the candidate couldn’t have hit back and rebutted the charges made by President Bush? Substantively, the charge is still out there, hanging over the campaign and the Democratic party. And until someone, somewhere in the party starts talking about defending America’s vital interests in a way that doesn’t sound like we would sacrifice some of them on the altar of being well thought of by the rest of the world, Obama and the Democrats will continue to have their national security bona fides called into question.

By: Rick Moran at 9:29 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (23)

5/16/2008
OBAMA FLUBS HAMAS, HIZBULLAH MULLIGAN

In golf, if you step up to the tee and proceed to hit the ball out of bounds, there is a fine tradition on public link courses that you are allowed a do-over, or “Mulligan” so that you can try to hit the ball a little straighter and not be penalized for your wayward swing.

There’s no such thing in politics, of course…that is, unless you happen to be an inexperienced liberal Democrat campaigning for president who is vouchsafed such luxuries as getting to “clarify” a monumentally stupid statement that demonstrated a dangerous cluelessness about a vital part of the world.

Barack Obama’s statement on the crisis in Lebanon fell as flat as 3 week old champagne in Israel and Lebanon, and probably other places where reformers are seeking to overturn the established order in the Middle East and bring more freedom to the people there. It’s bald faced ignorance about Hizbullah, about the Lebanese people, and what has been going on for more than 2 years in the streets in that tragic country underscores a dangerous naivete on the part of the candidate as well as a shocking lack of perspective on the true nature of groups like Hizbullah and Hamas.

In an eye-brow raising interview with the New York Times David Brooks, Obama was offered a chance to amend his mealy mouthed, pusillanimous statement on Lebanon made over the weekend and substitute instead thoughts that might connect to some semblance of reality regarding Hizbullah and their threat to whatever is left of democracy in Lebanon:

First, Obama’s initial swing that duck hooked clean out of bounds for a 2 stroke penalty:

He called on “all those who have influence with Hezbollah” to “press them to stand down.” Then he declared, “It’s time to engage in diplomatic efforts to help build a new Lebanese consensus that focuses on electoral reform, an end to the current corrupt patronage system, and the development of the economy that provides for a fair distribution of services, opportunities and employment.”

I took the candidate to task for his naive belief that “those who have influence with Hizbullah” care one whit what happens to Lebanese society and in fact, were encouraging Hizbullah in their violent efforts to undermine the legitimacy and authority of the elected government.

As for a “diplomatic consensus” on electoral reform I would say to Obama where the hell have you been for 3 fricking years? The Lebanese along with the Saudis, the Syrians, and the Arab League have all been engaged in efforts to reform Lebanon’s archaic electoral laws.

As for the patronage system, have him clean up his homestate’s corruption before he goes over the Lebanon and starts telling them about “corrupt patronage.” Mayor Daley and Governor Blagovetich make the Lebanese look like pikers in that regard.

And what’s with this “New Deal” economic program for Lebanon? He can’t be that dense, can he? When George Bush took office, aid to Lebanon amounted to around $35 million. This year, in keeping with our pledges made at the Paris Roundtable on aid to Lebanon, the President is asking Congress for $770 million which would make Lebanon the third largest recipient of US aid per capita. This is an amount that Iran can’t come close to matching. Clearly, Lebanon has become one of the most important Middle Eastern countries to American interests.

The Roundtable countries pledged upwards of $7 billion to rebuild Lebanese infrastructure pulverized by Israel during the war with Hizbullah. But that aid can’t start flowing until Lebanon has a new government. And Lebanon won’t have a new government until they elect a president. And they won’t elect a president until a new electoral law is passed. And they won’t have a new electoral law until Hizbullah folds up its tents in downtown Beirut and stops threatening to topple the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, joining their fellow countrymen in a national dialogue. And that won’t happen until there is a new government…

And around and around we go with Obama’s laughable ignorance exposed for all to see. He wants to treat Lebanon the same way he would go about reforming a corrupt ward in Chicago. For obvious reasons, this did not sit well with any Lebanese blogger or pundit I have read since he released that statement.

A sample from AK:

Oh the time we wasted by fighting Hizbullah all those years with rockets, invasions of their homes and shutting down their media outlets. If only we had engaged them and their masters in diplomacy, instead of just sitting with them around discussion tables, welcoming them into our parliament, and letting them veto cabinet decisions. If only Obama had shared his wisdom with us before, back when he was rallying with some of our former friends at pro-Palestinian rallies in Chicago. How stupid we were when, instead of developing national consensus with them, we organized media campaigns against Israel on behalf of the impoverished people who voted for them.

Given this reaction, one would think that given the opportunity to play a Mulligan, the candidate would try and make things right.

Guess again:

Right off the bat he reaffirmed that Hezbollah is “not a legitimate political party.” Instead, “It’s a destabilizing organization by any common-sense standard. This wouldn’t happen without the support of Iran and Syria.”

I asked him what he meant with all this emphasis on electoral and patronage reform. He said the U.S. should help the Lebanese government deliver better services to the Shiites “to peel support away from Hezbollah” and encourage the local populace to “view them as an oppressive force.” The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services.”

The U.S. needs a foreign policy that “looks at the root causes of problems and dangers.” Obama compared Hezbollah to Hamas. Both need to be compelled to understand that “they’re going down a blind alley with violence that weakens their legitimate claims.” He knows these movements aren’t going away anytime soon (“Those missiles aren’t going to dissolve”), but “if they decide to shift, we’re going to recognize that. That’s an evolution that should be recognized.”


Obama didn’t only hit his Mulligan out of bounds – the ball made a beeline for the clubhouse and hit the President of the Country Club right in the middle of the forehead.

And while the President of the Golf Club can ban Obama for life, we voters aren’t so lucky. We must deal with this head in the clouds, pie in the sky, completely unrealistic and dangerously naive candidate for the rest of the campaign. All we can do is point out his shocking idiocies and hope that the American people see the danger too.

To take his statement apart, he doesn’t think Hizbullah is a “legitimate” political party. This would come as news to the 24 Hizbullah deputies seated in Parliament and the millions of ordinary Lebanese belonging to what an American presidential candidate has just told them is an illegitimate political entity.

Maybe Obama sees them sort of like Republicans in Chicago’s city hall.

But the real head scratchers in Obamas’s statement have to do with his idea of how government should work in Lebanon. He thinks the Lebanese government should deliver “better services” to the Shia – actually believing that bringing national health care or maybe food stamps to the south will “peel away” ordinary Shias and cement their loyalty to the government. He also thinks we should make the Shias see Hizbullah as an “oppressive force.”

Brooks thinks Obama has been well briefed on Lebanon – that’s a pile of crap. First of all, the writ of Lebanese law does not run in the south – no services, no government officials, just Hizbullah. Perhaps Obama never heard the expression relating to Hizbullah “a state within a state.” How, pray tell, is Obama going to get government services to a people when the terror bosses of Hizbullah control access to the population? How is he going to “peel away” Shias while showing Hizbullah to be “oppressive?”

Of all the platitudinous nonsense ever uttered by Obama, this comes close to taking the cake.

Well, until he said “The U.S. should “find a mechanism whereby the disaffected have an effective outlet for their grievances, which assures them they are getting social services.”

Wha? Who? WTF? The Shias already have an a very fine mechanism that is “an effective outlet” for their grievances. It’s called Hizbullah. And make no mistake, being funded to the tune of $300 million a year by Iran allows the party to set up an entire social welfare infrastructure that addresses the basic needs of the Shia in a way that the Lebanese government never did. Sorry, Barry but if you would return to earth with the rest of us mortals, you would realize your half assed opinions about the situation in Lebanon can only do damage to the very people we are seeking to help.

It only gets more bizarrely stupid the more he opens his mouth. No liberal panacea for what ails Lebanon would be complete without the “root causes” meme – as in, “Gee, if only the terrorists grew up with good food, shelter, heath care, and a 37’ Sony Trinitron, their hearts would melt and the world would be a fine place, indeed.” He believes both Hamas and Hizbullah “need to understand” that they are going down a “blind alley” with violence that “weakens their legitimate (gulp!) claims.”

Can Obama pick and choose which “legitimate claim” Hamas might want to pursue? Maybe they don’t want peace. Maybe they view their #1 legitimate claim to be the destruction of the Jewish state and death to every jew they can lay their hands on. How now, Barry? Will you help Hamas pursue that legitimate claim?

Hizbullah is a slightly different story but only because you can vaguely place their “legitimate claims” in the context of standing up for the Shia underclass – something that this past week’s violence revealed as a sham as Michael Young put so brilliantly in this piece. Basically, Young believes that Hizbullah’s attempted power grab this past week opened a schism between the Shias and the rest of Lebanese society that has made them more isolated than they were.

To even speak of “legitimacy” of claims by Hamas or Hizbullah is outrageously naive. Obama keeps insisting he has a “realistic” outlook on our enemies. And while he makes some of the right noises about Iran and Syria, he more often comes up with ludicrous statements like this that call into question his fitness for the presidency.

Lebanon is not some senate district in Chicago where someone can jump in and butt some heads together, shower a little money, and talk of about economic development as if it were just a question of opening a spigot somewhere and out would pour goodwill and prosperity.

Our friends in Lebanon are very worried about this man becoming president. They fear he will sell them down the river in order to get a peace deal with Iran or broker a Middle East peace with Syria and Israel. The temptation will be great to do so no matter who is president – McCain or Obama – to give in to Syria’s demands on Lebanon and leave the Lebanese people to the tender mercy of Hizbullah and Gangster Assad’s henchmen.

So far, it doesn’t appear to me that Obama has grasped the essential truth of what is at stake in Lebanon and may not see much wrong with abandoning the tiny country to its own, tragic fate.

And in the game of nations, no Mulligans are allowed.

By: Rick Moran at 1:11 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)

5/15/2008
AREN’T THERE ANY GROWN UPS IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY?


Lefties speak out against Bush calling Obama policies “Appeasement”

That wet spot you see forming under the chair of Will Bunch, Michael D., and even the normally reasonable Joe Gandleman is a sure sign that the brand of diapers these people are using just ain’t cuttin’ it. Might I suggest “Huggies Super Absorbent” for those times – like now – when you need that extra protection against leaks and overflow?

What has many on the left squirming in their toddler seats due to the uncomfortable dampness in their tush was a speech made by our President to the Israeli Knesset celebrating the State of Israel’s 60th birthday.

Now it is probably a good thing that no one asked our President to blow out the candles on the cake since his wind is probably not what it was a few years ago – having expended all that hot air in the meantime telling us what a success his excellent adventure in Iraq had become. But no matter. Bush delivered a speech to a people under daily threat of terrorism that was designed to reassure them that America would not sell Israel down the river in the interests of making peace with other, less friendly regimes in the region.

This is pro-forma stuff when it comes to an American president speaking in Israel, hardly headline grabbing fodder for the wires. Except Bush added a little something extra – a necessary warning given we have a putative candidate for president whose ideas about diplomacy include sitting down with Syria and Iran “without preconditions” and talk about peace in the Middle East.

It does no good to try and deny Obama said this and meant it. It was not taken out context, twisted, distorted, or otherwise folded, spindled, or mutilated in any way. If the candidate wants to change his position that’s fine. He can say he made a mistake, that he realizes now he should probably have thought that answer to the debate question through a little more.

But no. Obama insists he never said what he obviously said – in other words, either a man divorced from reality or a bald faced liar. And of course, his worshipful sycophants on the left have bought into this ludicrousness. Hillary has been using this very same idea of Obama wanting to talk to Assad and Ahmadinejad without preconditions as a hammer to demonstrate her opponents lack of foreign policy (one could add it also demonstrates a lack of sanity but that might be for a shrink to decide).

At any rate, Bush had this to say about Obama’s scathingly brilliant idea:

“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” said Bush, in what White House aides privately acknowledged was a reference to calls by Obama and other Democrats for the U.S. president to sit down for talks with leaders like Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“We have heard this foolish delusion before,” Bush said in remarks to the Israeli Knesset. “As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American Senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.”


Many on the left went into apoplectic fits, bringing out the most laughable, over the top, insanely over dramatized rhetoric we’ve seen from them in – oh, about 48 hours.

Will Bunch:

But what Bush did in Israel this morning goes well beyond the accepted confines of American political debate, When the president speaks to a foreign parliament on behalf of our country, his message needs to be clear and unambiguous. Our democracy may look messy to outsiders, and we may have our disagreements with some sharp elbows thrown around, but at the end of the day we are not Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives.

We are Americans.

And you, Mr. Bush, are the leader of us all. To use a diplomatic setting on foreign soil to score a cheap political point at home is way beneath your office, way beneath your country, and way beneath the people you serve. You have been handed an office once uplifted to great heights by fellow countrymen from Washington to Lincoln to Roosevelt to Eisenhower, and have plunged it so deeply into the Karl-Rove-and-Rush-Limbaugh-fueled world of political destruction and survival of all costs that have lost all perspective—and all sense of decency. To travel to Israel and to associate a sitting American senator and your possible successor in the Oval Office with those who at one time gave comfort to an enemy of the United States is, in and of itself, an act of political treason.


First of all, there was nothing cheap about that political point. That, sir, is a 100 carat, gold plated, diamond encrusted, million dollar zinger of political shot.

Secondly, I note that many on the left really hate it when you bring up appeasement. They curse Chamberlain for turning it into a dirty word. After all, Sir Neville had the right idea, just the wrong execution. Now if we were to negotiate with Hitler today, we wouldn’t make the same mistakes Chamberlain did, say the lefties. We would have gotten an arms control deal first and tied it in with concessions on the Sudetenland. And, of course, recognizing the Nazi sphere of influence in that part of Europe with all those little countries and their unpronounceable names would have been a price for making peace. But anything is better than a World War, right?

Obama was not long in responding with a carefully measured, balanced statement…Just kidding! He whined like a 5 year old who is told he must go to bed early:

It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack. It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel. Instead of tough talk and no action, we need to do what Kennedy, Nixon and Reagan did and use all elements of American power – including tough, principled, and direct diplomacy – to pressure countries like Iran and Syria. George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists, and the President’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel.

“Extraordinary politicization of foreign policy?” Holy Christ! Only a dimwit doesn’t think what the Democrats have been doing for 5 years in Iraq and this entire campaign season isn’t using foreign policy as a political club to beat this president and the GOP over the head. Is he really that stupid. Are his followers really that naive? Of course not! They know full well that they’ve been politicizing foreign poicy – which makes Obama’s and Free Willy’s whining all the more hypocritical.

And I wonder if Willy Boy’s outrage extends to calling to account ex-presidents or ex-vice presidents who regularly go on foreign soil and all but call the president of the United States a traitor. Where the f**k are you people when those two characters pop up in Switzerland, or Saudi Arabia, or Great Britain and make the most personal, hurtful, politically motivated attacks on Bush?

Spare me your fake outrage. When you come around to criticizing Carter and Gore for the swipes in foreign countries they’ve taken at Bush then you may have earned yourself a measure of standing to hurl your infantile charges at Bush.

This is the mindset Obama would have going into talks with Assad and Ahmadinejad. Assad will make peace with Israel if we let him back into Lebanon – bottom line. Delusions to the contrary are not allowed. Would sacrificing Lebanon on the altar of the Obama Doctrine be acceptable?

The trouble is, the Israelis don’t think so. They might be wondering if the American president might sell them out for a deal on Iranian nukes or something else – perhaps peace in Iraq. Given the extraordinary pro-Palestinian bias of many of his advisors, why would this be so shocking?

The Israelis aren’t stupid. You don’t live to be 60 and face what they’ve had to face from the minute of their birth without a keen sense of who their friends are. And when the Israelis see their mortal enemy Hamas embracing Obama’s candidacy, they might be wondering who this fellow is and just what does he have in store for Israel if he gets elected.

Bush was chastising Obama as an appeaser before an audience that understood better than anyone else on the planet what appeasement can lead to. It is now up to Obama to prove that he understands the threats facing us and our allies. It is time for him to abandon his idea to meet with Assad and Ahmadinejad without preconditions by making it clear that he misspoke during the debate and that upon reflection, he realizes he erred and that he now supports a much more cautious approach.

He won’t do it, of course. Why should he when he has the New York Times running interference for him, telling the world that what he said, he didn’t actually say? Instead, we will get more whining from the candidate of “change.”

Bush zinged Obama by pointing out the obvious shortcomings of his proposed policy. It might not be appeasement – at least the left wouldn’t use that word. It would be “constructive engagement” or some other mealy mouthed words dreamed up by our striped suit, topped hat nitwits at Foggy Bottom. The number one issue is would Obama sell out Israeli security for a deal elsewhere – either with Syria and Iran. We don’t know the answer. The Israelis don’t know the answer. And Obama himself probably doesn’t either.

If these lefties would stop their fake whining jag long enough to look at it from the perspective of the Israelis, some of us might start believing the grownups had returned to the Democratic party’s foriegn policy team.

So far, no such luck.

By: Rick Moran at 3:21 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (39)

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MICHAEL YOUNG ON LEBANON - WITHOUT THE SPIN

Oh my God, Moran…not another article on Lebanon. Puh-leeez!

Yes, I can hear the groans from many of my faithful, long suffering readers out there. Give us Obamamama! Give us Hillarybash! Give us baseball! But don’t give us anything more about that crazy-quilt collection of conniving, endearing, brave, cowardly, confusing mish mash of sects, political parties, alliances, and individuals that make up the tragic nation of Lebanon.

Why write about it? Right now – as I am writing this post – the fate of the Middle East is being decided in that little country. Don’t believe me? Read Michael Young, opinion editor for the Beirut Daily Star newspaper. Iran’s most important proxies – Syria and Hizbullah – are up to their necks in trouble as a result of their actions in Lebanon. And the fall of Hizbullah would send shockwaves throughout the region, dealing a grievous blow to the plans of Iran and could threaten the stability of the Assad regime in Syria. 

Syria – the first true gangster state – has tried to reclaim what they consider their rightful place in Lebanon by simply murdering enough opposition lawmakers and ministers like a Chicagoland crime boss so that the political opposition friendly to them will have a majority of their own in parliament and thus enable them to wrest control of the country from the elected majority.

Why does Syria want back in after getting kicked out by an outpouring of democratic outrage at their excesses? Like any good “boss of the yards,” Syria was using Lebanon as a cash cow – a font of extorted money, crooked partnerships in major businesses, and outright theft of Lebanese assets. This booty, properly distributed by Syrian President Bashar Assad, kept his corrupt regime afloat by paying off the army, the Baath party, and other elements in the Syrian hierarchy.

Given all of that, if there is any other way to describe Syria except as a “gangster regime,” I cannot think of it.

And the pointed end of the stick Syria was using to do its bidding in Lebanon was the Iranian-created terrorist group/political party/Shia social service agency Hizbullah. A confluence of interests between the two guaranteed that cooperation in Lebanon was a foregone conclusion.

But the recent violence perpetrated by Hizbullah when the legitimate government tried to exercise its authority over the party has changed the game considerably – and not to the advantage of either Syria or Hizbullah.

What’s that you say? I thought the Hezzies were crushing the weak resistance put up by Sunnis to stop their military advances into West Beirut and elsewhere. The media is making it appear that Hizbullah has won a huge victory and that for all intents and purposes, Hizbullah is in control of the country.

To quote John Wayne; not hardly.

First of all, there has not been much in the American media about Hizbullah’s stinging military setback in the rugged terrain north of Beirut where fierce Druze fighters refused to back down and basically handed the hezzies and their allies their butts in a sling. Michael Young explains:

A solution appears to have been found for the immediate crisis that began last week. The airport and roads have been opened, but there never was a way for Hezbollah to emerge successfully from the conflict it created. Militarily, the only way the party could have momentarily broken the deadlock in the mountains was to mount a massive invasion of Aley and the Chouf, using thousands of men and its most sophisticated weaponry. The Druze would have remained united – as Talal Arslan’s supporters and other Druze opposition members were united with Walid Jumblatt’s followers at the weekend. There would have been carnage, and had Hezbollah prevailed, it would have had to hold unfriendly territory indefinitely, locking down resources and manpower. Then what? An invasion of Metn? Kesrouan? Jbeil? The North? Not even the most ardent Hezbollah believer would have seriously argued that such a project was feasible. Military stalemate would have prevailed, and even if the stalemate had collapsed in one area, it would have been followed by myriad stalemates.

Young is writing of the real tragedy represented by Hizbullah’s apparently unplanned but long prepared for military move; the fate of the Shias in Lebanon:
There is great poignancy in the fate of the people of Qomatiyeh. With Kayfoun, the village is one of two Shia enclaves in the predominantly Druze and Christian Aley district. The inhabitants, far more than their brethren in the southern suburbs or the South, must on a daily basis juggle between a past in which they coexisted with their non-Shia neighbors and a present and future in which the neighbors view them as an existential threat. That story written large may soon be the story of Lebanon’s Shia community after the mad coup attempt organized by Hezbollah last week. In the past decade and a half, Hezbollah has injected regional animosities and an antagonistic and totalistic ideology of confrontation into tens of thousands of Shia homes, quarters, towns and villages where such attitudes have no place. Whatever brings the Iranian concept of wilayat al-faqih – the guardianship of the jurisconsult – to Qomatiyeh? Suleiman Jaafar may have been a Hezbollah member, but he was more than anything else a village boy caught in a fight far bigger than him, than all of us.

Young points out that Hizbullah’s major problem is ignorance – they don’t have a clue about the reasons behind the political compromises necessary for the Lebanese state.

Lebanon is a polyglot collection of religious sects, clans, and powerful families kept together by a tradition of compromise and an awareness that one sect or another should not dominate. Young shows where Hizbullah really blew it with their attempt to use their militia to throw all those carefully wrought living arrangements between the parties out the window:

The Shia community is obeying a leadership that cannot be said, in any way, to have ever understood the essence of the Lebanese system. Hezbollah and its secretary general, Hassan Nasrallah, will often insist that sectarian compromise requires handing the party, and Shia in general, veto power over political decision-making. But that’s not what the consociational system is about; the point of the sectarian arrangement is not to build a system based on mechanisms of obstruction. It is to force the different communities to reach compromises in order to avert mechanisms of obstruction. Hezbollah has repeatedly tried to ignore this by imposing its will in the street or through its guns. The result has been a gathering, strengthening alignment of adversaries that will fight hard before allowing Hezbollah or the Shia to gain hegemonic power.

But wasn’t this reaction always obvious? Apparently not to Nasrallah and his Iranian sponsors, who never had any liking for the baroque but necessary give and take of the Lebanese order – let alone respect for the retribution that has always crippled those ignoring its fundamental rules. Through its contempt for Lebanon, Hezbollah has left itself with two stark choices: either to integrate fully into the state or to control the state. But since it will or can do neither, we are in for a long and harsh standoff between Hezbollah and the rest of Lebanese society.


There is some speculation that the government of Fouad Siniora maneuvered Nasrallah into taking the drastic military steps that have brought Lebanon to the brink of civil war. Indeed, by challenging Hizbullah’s status as a state within a state by trying to reclaim an absolute monopoly on telecommunications in the country, Siniora and the government gave Nasrallah little choice; the offending ruling must be revoked or it would only be a matter of time when the government would go after Hizbullah’s arms.

That is now a virtual certainty. And it is clear that Siniora will have the rest of the country supporting him in that effort. The fact is, without its militia, Hizbullah is just a political party with little chance of becoming part of a majority coalition.

Will Nasrallah see the writing on the wall and start to integrate his “resistance” into Lebanese security forces?

The clock began counting down in May 2000, when Israel withdrew from Lebanon. This threatened to deny the party its reason to exist, even though it tried to keep “resistance” alive through the Shebaa Farms front. In 2005, once the Syrians departed, everything collapsed. The party found itself having to justify its private army against a majority of Lebanese that opposed Hezbollah’s state within a state and its lasting allegiance to the Syrian regime. In 2006, as the national dialogue prepared to address the issue of Hezbollah’s weapons, Nasrallah sought to turn the tables by kidnapping Israeli soldiers and imposing his version of Hezbollah’s defense strategy on March 14. The plan backfired when Israel responded by ravaging Lebanon and the Shia in particular. And now, having fully discredited its “resistance” in the eyes of its countrymen, having ensured that an antagonistic population will be to its rear in the event of a new war with Israel, having weakened its non-Shia allies, Hezbollah, as both an idea and a driving force, is in its death throes. The party may yet endure, but the national resistance is finished.

Unfortunately, Hizbullah will not go quietly into that goodnight. And here is where the international community can be of most help. Not in forcing Hizbullah to give up its arms but by drastically strengthening the Siniora government. The recent Hizbullah offensive caused the Lebanese people to ask themselves “who is on our side” when only pro-forma denunciations were forthcoming from the US, France, and the United Nations. By doing everything we can to prop up Siniora – openly supporting his government with money and arms – Hizbullah will find itself isolated and unable to effect national events the way they have recently.

If, as Young says, the “national resistance” is finished it may be that a much stronger central government will help Hizbullah see the truth in that statement and attempt to integrate themselves into the rest of Lebanese society. It won’t come easily nor probably without bloodshed. But Hizbullah has painted itself into this corner and has only itself to blame if it can’t find an easy way out.

By: Rick Moran at 9:44 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

5/14/2008
WHY HILLARY WON’T GIVE UP

My latest column at Pajamas Media is up and I am getting socked around by everyone for my less than hateful portrayal of Hillary Clinton’s motives for staying in the race:

A sample:

For all the talk of “glass ceilings” and “old boys networks” — and there are still significant barriers to professional women who seek power and influence in the political and corporate world — Hillary Clinton’s candidacy has shattered a few of those ceilings as she has elbowed her way into the oldest and most male of all networks: serious consideration for the most powerful office on the planet.

So she bows her neck and keeps charging not so much because she still has a slim chance at the nomination, but because she feels an obligation to the millions of women who are out there now and who will follow in her footsteps. She is still in it for the shining faces of teenage girls who look back at her from the audience and who see beyond the dream of becoming president and can now taste the reality of it. She is in it for the seniors who she cultivates so assiduously and who see in her perhaps a culmination of all their hopes and dreams that never materialized in their lifetime because of the barriers that Hillary has now smashed to pieces, never to be erected again.

This is not a quest for the nomination as much as it is the road to a validation of her place in history. One can hardly fault her for trying to keep faith with the millions who see her as a living icon and a harbinger of things to come. For that reason, she may decide to stay in the race until the last primary has been held so that every woman who believes in her and, more importantly, what she represents, can be heard.

I have heard from conservative women that they feel exactly the same way so maybe I am channeling my feminine side today. Or maybe I see Clinton as a historical figure rather than the rapacious, power hungry harridan that many rightly claim also dominates her personae.

People are three dimensional – they are not cartoons. To find absolutely good or evil people is extremely rare. Reagan was not a good father and could be distant with people – even his wife. FDR was a philanderer and wished to transform America into something approaching communism. To accept the good and bad in people is to recognize that they are human beings – imperfect, prone to mistakes, and not always living up (or living down) to our expectations.

I see Hillary as a historical figure standing astride two eras in American history. Her campaign will open the door to other women running for president so that the next time, the fact that a candidate is a woman will hardly be noticed. This is incredible for someone my age who grew up with June Cleaver as the model mother – a model I saw in my mother and the mothers of all my friends at that age. To travel from there to here in my lifetime is a journey that demands its own story, its own narrative. And Hillary Clinton is supplying that story.

In another decade, it will be commonplace for women to be running Fortune 500 companies, starting their share of new businesses, and running for president. This will not take place because of Hillary Clinton. But her campaign is a very significant milestone along the road we have travelled to give women the respect and dignity – and the power – that men demand for themselves.

By: Rick Moran at 11:06 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator linked with Analysis: Clinton's decisive win...
5/13/2008
“THE RICK MORAN SHOW: ALAS, LEBANON”

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio. Tonight’s show will be co-hosted by American Thinker’s Political Correspondent Rich Baehr.

Tonight, the duo will take a break from politics and concentrate on the crisis in Lebanon as they pick the brains of two of the more knowledgeable experts on that part of the world in a roundtable discussion of the unfolding tragedy in the Levant.

Professor Barry Rubin (who dissects Barack Obama’s pusillaminous statement on the violence in Lebanon in a devastating piece in today’s AT), Director of the Gloria Center will be joining us well as another frequent AT contributor Dr. Walid Phares who is a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

The show will air from 7:00-8:00PM Central time. You can access the live stream here. A podcast will be available for streaming or download shortly after the end of the broadcast.

For the best in political analysis, click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.” A podcast will be available for streaming or download around 15 minutes after the show ends.

The Chat Room will open around 15 minutes before the show opens,

Also, if you’d like to call in and put your two cents in, you can dial (718) 664-9764.

Listen to The Rick Moran Show on internet talk radio

By: Rick Moran at 6:45 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (1)

Peace Like A River linked with Cables, dispatches and memoranda...