Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: GOP Reform, Palin, Politics, conservative reform — Rick Moran @ 12:44 pm

There are few on the right who have thought more about where conservatism is and where it should be going than David Frum. Frum is a former Bush speechwriter, National Review writer, author and columnist. He just started a new blog called The New Majority which features a wide range of conservative opinion mixed with some nuts and bolts politics.

Along with Ross Douthat, Marc Ambinder, David Brooks, and a precious few other conservatives, Frum is looking deeply and seriously at conservatism’s flaws, strengths, and perhaps most importantly and relevantly, how to translate conservative principles into actionable political ideas that can win elections and establish a sound basis for governance.

In short, Frum and his new blog will almost certainly be one of the focal points in the conservative movement for the foreseeable future - or at least, it should be. The New Majority is where ideology and practical politics will merge as various strains of conservatism wrestle with ways to become relevant in the Age of Obama.

That Age is well underway, having begun even before Obama was elected. There was nothing subtle about the media’s clear preference in the November election, the consequences of which have yet to play out. The only thing certain is that to a degree not seen since the early 1960’s, conservatism as an ideology is being dismissed by the political class as irrelevant. When politicians start running away from basic conservative principles and embrace the milquetoast center or center- left, including bailout mania and other manifestations of creeping statism, you know it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work rebuilding a shattered conservative polity.

As I see it, there are several tracks to a conservative revival, all working toward the same goal but in strikingly different ways. You have the generalists like Frum and his cohorts who are seeking to infuse conservatism with new ideas and a new frame of reference for the old ones. Then there are the web gurus like Patrick Ruffini and his stalwart band at The Next Right who are trying to drag the Republican party and conservative movement into the 21st century by creating an army of connected, online activists. The libertarian conservatives have entered the fray with a new blog called The Secular Right which features a group of excellent writers and thinkers like Heather McDonald, Andrew Stuttaford, Walter Olsen, and National Review’s John Derbyshire. Reason Magazine is a little more independent but still has some solid conservatives contributing.

The libertarians perhaps have the longest way to come back and thus represent the greatest challenge to all who are interested in rebuilding the movement. The long-simmering tensions between social cons and libertarians exploded in open warfare over the Terry Schiavo issue and continued with the Harriet Meyers fiasco, immigration, and finally, the presidency of George Bush himself. Many libertarians abandoned Bush even before the 2006 electoral debacle - something which the social cons will not soon forget. Nor did libertarians care much for Sarah Palin which ended up splitting the movement into two spitting, warring factions where some believed Palin the second coming of Reagan while others shook their heads in disbelief over such nonsense.

It is a breach that will not soon be healed. Palin will remain a talisman for social conservatives into the foreseeable future. And as long as she is a figure of importance to the social cons, it is doubtful most honest libertarians (or right leaning centrists) will want to have anything to do with conservatives politically.

And that brings us to the social conservatives, many of whom are perfectly happy with how conservatism is defined although they are not pleased with how it is perceived. There appears little in the way of a reform movement for social cons. For them, conservatism needs a face lift - cosmetic changes that will keep their core beliefs about abortion, gay rights, and other cultural issues front and center but perhaps soften or reframe the debate. But as far as rethinking or even redefining conservative principles, social cons simply don’t see the need.

I apologize if I have unnecessarily been too general in my analysis of social cons because there are brilliant social conservatives who are thinking about the future and how to bring the warring factions together. The problem as I see it is with a relatively small but vocal and somewhat influential subset of social conservatives who fancy themselves gatekeepers and arbiters of conservative dogma. I call them “Splenetic Conservatives” for obvious reasons. And to my mind, they are the biggest obstacle to a conservative revival. More than any other faction, splenetic conservatives are fiercely resisting the idea of “Big Tent” conservatism and wish to purify the movement, purging it of alien ideas and personalities that espouse positions on issues at variance with their own.

This has not only had a deadening effect on intelligent debate but has placed a roadblock in the way of uniting the movement at a time when the actual numbers of people identifying themselves as “conservative” is falling. Whole swaths of the American electorate abandoned the Republican party and conservatism in the last election and now identify with the more tolerant, less dogmatic Democrats. How long this will last is an unknown. But even the failure of Obamaism will probably not be enough to win them back as long as splenetic conservatives feel they can dictate who can join their little club. Pro-Choice? Not in my house! Pro-Gay marriage? Surely, you joke. Immigration reform? Round ‘em up! War on Terror? Kill the Muslims!

Is this the way to a conservative majority? Is this the path to reforming the conservative movement so that once again we can tolerate our differences without lining someone up against a wall because they have strayed from the straight and narrow path set down by the splenetic conservatives?

The face of conservatism used to be a happy face, a confident face, an optimistic face. I suppose its easy to be happy if you are winning elections but there was more to it than that, more to it than even the fact that the naturally sunny disposition of Ronald Reagan was at the head of the movement. That optimism and happiness was born in the give and take of debate when Big Ideas - consequential, important ideas - were the stuff of bull sessions, conferences, panel discussions, and papers published at the various think tanks. All factions of conservatism had their say. There was passionate disagreements over everything. But somehow, we never lost sight of the goal - building a conservative movement where ideas translated into government action.

Somewhere along the way, we gave into the temptation to use conservative ideas to divide rather than unite. This tactical decision brought electoral success but at a price. It gave social conservatives and their splenetic base a platform to dominate the movement and the Republican party. The price for that mistake is still being paid.

I will give the splenetic conservatives credit where credit is due; they vote. And they contribute money to the movement and the Republican party. And in many parts of the United States, they are the Republican party, supplying not only funds but volunteers for campaigns who do the hard, slogging work of trying to get Republicans elected.

It is ironic that they are a larger group than most give them credit for but smaller in numbers than they themselves believe. They dominate the right side of the internet as well as many local Republican organizations (I have quit three different GOP groups because I got tired of people telling me I wasn’t a conservative). And if you cross them, you are in for much unpleasantness as many of the anti-Palin conservatives discovered. Is it important? The press has chosen to make splenetic conservatives the face of conservatism - for obvious reasons. Anything that can make conservatism look intolerant, bigoted, dangerous, and ignorant will gleefully be used to portray all conservatives in a negative light. We saw this in the waning days of the campaign when the press began to focus on “angry” crowds at McCain and Palin rallies, thus tarring all McCain supporters unfairly as yahoos and haters.

Ridding ourselves of these meddlesome and problematic screamers is not the issue. Opening their minds to the possibilities of compromise is a useless exercise - not when they see compromise as apostasy deserving of excommunication. Attempting to marginalize them would be playing their game. Besides, cutting off one’s legs as a way to heal the body is a strange way of reforming the movement. There must be a place for them at the conservative table - even if they have to be strapped down and force fed some hard truths about the exigencies of power and how futile their campaign to purify the movement when it comes to the raw exercise of democracy at the ballot box. Elections are about numbers; your side needs one more vote than the other side to win.

Michael K. Powell explains:

believe the Republican Party is on the precipice of irrelevance if it cannot rebuild a respect for civil debate-including self-criticism. The formation of powerful ideas requires the push and pull of varying viewpoints testing and informing one another. The litmus test politics that has abducted the party, has dulled the edge of its ideas, discourages those who respond to intellectual rigor, and repels too many from the party who are unwilling, as a condition of admission, to sign an oath of allegiance to a set of talking points.

Additionally, to have a future an institution must appeal to generations of the future. Appealing to youth is vital for rebirth. Yet, we seem trapped in a time warp. The Party has failed to fully comprehend how the young interact and communicate in an era transformed by the digital revolution. We do not yet appreciate their passions and their fears, nor pause to look at the world through their eyes. Battling to be a voice of technology and innovation is vital. In the world of youth, you must first “get it” before you are listened to.

The Party also must be more sober about the demographic transformation that is taking place in America. We are a browning nation, but a Party seemingly incompetent in connecting with America’s diversity and its ascendant multiculturalism. We are stuck in antiquated notions of race. My kids saw Barack Obama not as black but as modern. His race and enlightened manner of dealing with it captures how the young see themselves.

Allah (who links to a fascinating interview with Rudy Guiliani at Frum’s New Majority where hizzoner states that de-emphasizing social issues is the way back for Republicans) answers the question of what to do about the divisions in the movement quite nicely, giving the bleak alternatives:

[T]he key bit comes near the end of the second clip. He’s not asking the party to abandon social conservatism, just to nudge it towards the background and make foreign policy and fiscal responsibility the core of the platform. Which … is essentially the approach McCain took.

He’s right about the dwindling numbers of the base, though. I think the GOP’s tacit strategy now is to wait and hope for (1) a messianic figure of its own to emerge and build a new coalition through the sheer force of his/her charisma and/or (2) Democrats to overreach so egregiously that even minority voters who wouldn’t dream of voting Republican today will run screaming for the embrace of small government. All of which is fine, but the opposite of proactive. I wonder how long we’ll be waiting.

If I were Allah, I wouldn’t hold my breath for either of those eventualities. Palin is not acceptable to a large portion of the GOP if not a majority. Besides her bona fides as a “messianic figure” are not very impressive. Bobby Jindahl is an interesting man with a fascinating story but pinning hopes for a revival on the young man may be premature.

If no messiah, what then? First things first and that means uniting the movement with or without a dominant personality. Much more difficult if the latter but until someone comes along, someone has to do something to build bridges and not burn them.

Political strategist John Avlon on the Big Tent:

Somehow Republicans have lost common ground – Reagan invoked the Big Tent constantly as a way of collecting libertarian conservatives, national security conservatives, economic conservatives and social conservatives under one banner. But the spirit of outreach and inclusiveness has been drummed out of the GOP – disagreement is seen as disloyalty, and the search for heretics has become a hobby. Libertarians are losing any logical reason to affiliate with the GOP, while centrist Republicans are seen as suspect almost by definition. When Senators like Olympia Snowe or John McCain win re-election with over 70% of the vote, they are considered sell-outs rather than successes. I’ve debated conservatives on TV who were rooting for Norm Coleman to lose, because they considered him insufficiently conservative. This road leads not just to political disaster, but party suicide. Republicans who have won statewide in the Northeast tend to be centrist on social issues, especially on a woman’s right to chose and gay civil rights. Republicans must welcome social moderates into the big tent of the GOP, focus on finding common ground and not treat them as second class citizens. Remember: In a place where everyone thinks alike, nobody is thinking very much.

What do you do when reason does not work on the unreasonable? How can you be inclusive when a minority insists on using what power it possesses to maintain exclusivity?

What in God’s name is to be done with the Splenetic Conservatives?

I have taken much abuse on this site and others I write for from these galoots. I have not been shy about returning the invective either. Clearly, it doesn’t get anybody anywhere for us to shout and call each other vile names. But even when I am calm and rational about debate - not as often as I should be, I’ll grant - it’s worse than talking to a stone wall. In fact, the milder my response, the more outraged these pinheads get. It’s as if their minds function on only one level and trying to appeal to reason or even charity only enrages them further.

So I bear at least half of the blame for any untoward comments that come my way. But, after bouncing off the walls blaming each other or slinging epiteths back and forth, we end up in exactly the same position we were before: A battered, dispirited, and leaderless movement desperately in need of some kind of uniting expedient. Perhaps Obama and the Democrats will, as Allah suggests, prove to be so outrageously an anathema to conservative ideals that we will be forced to put aside our differences and unite to save the country.

Don’t bet on it. Obama is one smart, savvy pol with a gift for making even radical ideas sound reasonable. Unless the country falls apart economically, it is doubtful that anything the Democrats do will serve to bring the movement back together.

Therefore, we must look to ourselves and our own weaknesses and failings in order to re-establish Ronald Reagan’s Big Tent and find our way out of the wilderness where our own neglect and hubris has placed us. The journey to that goal has begun. How and when we get there is anyone’s guess.



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 6:24 pm

As surely as a moth is drawn to  flame and Democrats to bailout money, I am pulled by some unseen force to this website and forced by dint of habit - and out of a desperation born of ennui -  to catalogue my thoughts about the world as it is revealed to me by our new President, Head of State, Commander in Chief, and, we are informed by a doe-eyed, worshipping media, our hero and savior Barack Obama.

The outpouring has been astonishing. About all that’s missing is laying palms in his path as he rode on the back of an ass into Washington. No, Robert Byrd was feeling poorly so he ended up riding in a monstrosity of an automobile nicknamed the “Obamobile” or, more prosaically, Cadillac One.

Now I love Caddies - the older the better. My dad bought a new Cadillac every two years for the last 12 years of his life and let me tell you, it was like riding in the most comfortable bed you’ve ever slept in. Going 90 MPH up US 31 to Michigan, gliding over pot holes as if they weren’t even there, it was like flying in space. You were almost weightless. A doctor could have operated in the back seat so smooth it was.

That was then. Compare this beautiful monster of a Sedan DeVille with the pug-like face of the Obamonstrosity. It almost makes me ashamed to be an American to think what GM has done to the Cadillac. If cars were dogs, we would have euthanized most American autos years ago.

American cars used to be big, smelly, swaggering, get the fu*k out of my way, powerful, unbelievably comfortable, and virtually indestructible machines of glory. So what if they only got 8 miles to the gallon? About 95% of your trips were going to be less than 8 miles anyway so what’s a gallon of gas when you can ride around in a Chariot of the Gods? Then government got into the business of designing cars and the result is what Obama is forced to ride around in - something that looks like a French interior designer with a taste for cubist art might come up with.

I remember when the first Toyatas started to appear on the roads. It was like frightening - for the person driving the American car. You were afraid to pass the little Celicas on the highway for fear of blowing them into a ditch. In the city, pulling up to one of those tin death traps at a stop light was to elicit a sneer or a giggle. Of course, Toyota has the last laugh today and Detroit is designing cars that look like the old Trabants that belched smokey oil and puttered around the streets in East Germany 20 years ago. Same boxy, useless look about them.

So our hero and savior no doubt wishes he could at least have something really kewl to ride around in but got stuck with a car that can withstand bomb and chemical attacks but lacks any style or elegance whatsoever. What’s a Messiah to do?

It certainly hasn’t stopped the press from piling on the hero worship and granting our new president Hall of Fame status before even throwing his first Major League pitch. Imbuing a politician - even a good one - with superhuman qualities is not a healthy thing in a republic. As this video shows, some even have taken to pledging to be a “servant” to The One. I think supporting Obama is just fine, a truly patriotic thing to do in this crisis to be sure. But I think it is unamerican to kneel in service to anyone - especially a politician and most especially a politician who has only been in office two days.

Two freaking days! Already the press is swooning. “HE’S DIFFERENT!” Oh my God, he’s working in his SHIRTSLEEVES in the Oval Office! He’s already “overturned the entire architecture of the Bush Torture Regime.” Democracy has been restored! Good has triumphed over evil!

Meanwhile, his tax dodging Treausry Secretary (Turbo Tax has denied he could have possibly missed not paying the taxes he owed) is elevated to the status of Wizard. He is Gandolf the Green, Holy Arbiter of the Sacred Scrolls of Bernanke, High Priest of the Bailout. Depending on which genuflecting senator you talk to, he is either “irreplaceable,” or “uniquely qualified.”

I don’t care if he’s an alchemist who can turn pork into gold, just give me an honest public servant please. Or are we to use crooks and liars to get us out of this morass? If that’s the case, get me Michael Milkin on the double! Anyone who can sell the crappy paper he ended up dumping on the unsuspecting rich twits on Wall Street is the kind of guy we need running this bailout thingy. I bet he has the economy humming along in no time.

Glad to see Hillary made it. I would send her first to Russia. There she could respond to the leader of the Liberal Democratic party in Russia who said that Condi Rice needed sex - badly. The reason for our Secretary of State’s “anti Russian statements” were because she was a single woman and hadn’t had a man in a while.

There is absolutely no doubt that anyone would say something like that about Hillary. First, who would have the nerve? Secondly, we know Bill Clinton and the idea that Hillary is lacking anything in her sex life is ludicrous. So I hope that Hillary makes even tougher anti-Russian statements just to tell of that sexist pig who insulted Condi.

Seriously, it hasn’t been a bad couple of days for Obama - quite good in a couple of respects. But are we to endure 4 or 8 years of this over the top, out of control, masturbatory media overkill? Everything about him his so perfect that any criticism at all seems harsh. Obama doesn’t necessarily invite this sort of thing but it seems to happen anyway. I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to examine this phenomenon as the months pass and reality sets in.

Until then, I guess we’ve just got to make fun of it whenever we can…



Filed under: Government, History — Rick Moran @ 1:40 pm

Oath of Office - take two?

Several constitutional lawyers said President Obama should, just to be safe, retake the oath of office that was flubbed by Chief Justice John Roberts.

The 35-word oath is explicitly prescribed in the Constitution, Article II, Section 1, which begins by saying the president “shall” take the oath “before he enter on the execution of his office.”

The oath reads: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

In giving the oath, Roberts misplaced the word “faithfully,” at which point Obama paused quizzically. Roberts then corrected himself, but Obama repeated the words as Roberts initially said them.

A do-over “would take him 30 seconds, he can do it in private, it’s not a big deal, and he ought to do it just to be safe,” said Boston University constitutional scholar and Supreme Court watcher Jack Beermann. “It’s an open question whether he’s president until he takes the proper oath.”

This is truly a fascinating little tidbit of Americana. The oath, according to law, must be administered word for word. Since Roberts and Obama flubbed it, legally speaking, Obama had not fulfilled the Constitutional requirement to take the oath before assuming the presidency.

But then there’s the little matter of the 25th Amendment that made Obama president at 12 noon regardless of whether he had taken the oath or not. The amendment was passed to deal with crisis in a nuclear age with the death of a president and the immediate ascension of the Vice President to the office. The reasoning goes that the office of president can never be vacant, that if the president dies (or if both die) the next Constitutional officer in the line of succession automatically becomes president.

The article notes that both Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur took the oath twice. But both men were vice president at the time and Arthur, who was sworn in immediately, decided on a formal swearing in when he got back to Washington.

Coolidge, on the other hand, had his father, a notary public, swear him in upon hearing of the death of Harding. At the time, it was uncertain if a notary could actually swear in a president. To avoid confusion, Silent Cal had the Chief Justice swear him in when he got back to Washington.

In both of those cases, those men were following a tradition set down by John Tyler who ascended to the office of president following the death of William Henry Harrison in 1841. Constitutional scholars argue to this day whether Tyler was required to take the oath at all. (There was also a huge to do about whether Tyler was “Acting President” or actually possessed the office of president). There is nothing in the Constitution that clears up the matter and all vice presidents who have ascended to the presidency have followed Tyler’s example “for greater caution.” There is also great symbolic meaning to taking the oath which, in time of national emergency as when Kennedy was killed, can be an effective balm for the country.

But this situation is without precedent - flubbing the words of the oath. Is Obama really president? Yes, that much is clear. He was duly elected by the electoral college and the Congress certified it. From 12 noon yesterday, he was the legitimate president in the eyes of the law.

But challenges could still be forthcoming. If I were him, I’d give Roberts a call and invite him for lunch, taking the oath with a couple of witnesses “for greater caution.”

This blog post originally appears in The American Thinker


President Obama had a very difficult task yesterday. It wasn’t just the stratospheric expectations for his inaugural address engendered not only by his previous performances but also because of the frenzy whipped up by his sycophants in the press. I doubt whether even something along the lines of the Sermon on the Mount would have been good enough to live up to the build up given him by his cultists in the media.

Obama’s primary task to my mind - what I wanted to hear from him - was a commitment to bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a successful conclusion while maintaining the pressure on al-Qaeda around the world.

The sticking point, as always, is to define “success” in Iraq and Afghanistan. I must confess to cringing whenever I hear one of my fellow conservatives praise George Bush for bringing “democracy” to Iraq and how our efforts have created a “strong ally” in the war on terror.

Iraq may be a democracy some day. But it is far from being a free country today and even our own ambassador thinks things are still balanced on a knife’s edge. The situation is much better than it was two years ago but, all things being relative, Iraq is still a violent place that needs American assistance to keep from flying apart at the seams. Also, the latest Freedom House ranking for Iraq, based on very specific criteria is “not free.” Granted it is difficult to create a functioning democracy following so many decades of brutal dictatorship and there is no doubt that there have been some improvements even in the face of violence by terrorists who wish to destabilize the country. But for anyone to claim that Iraq is “free” or even close to being free is being disingenuous or ignorant. Holding elections does not make a nation free or democratic by itself. One glance at Gaza proves that.

We have yet to even see the beginning of the end game in domestic Iraqi politics that will play out among the various factions of Shias as they vie for power. Some of those factions are loyal to Iran or at least look to Iran for protection and leadership. The idea that Iraq will be an ally in the war on terror is still up in the air and it may yet devolve into a religious dictatorship like the one next door. The chances of that happening are ebbing but who can tell?

In short, Iraq is still messy - about what you’d expect from a nation that has gone through what the Iraqis have had to endure these last 6 years. Therefore, a definition of “success” in Iraq at a bare minimum would have to include a functioning Iraqi government capable of handling its own security. The longer we stay on in numbers capable of assisting the Iraqi government in achieving this goal, the better the chance for success. Right now, a clock is ticking on our presence in those kind of numbers with the alarm set to go off by the end of 2011. And it appears Obama wishes to speed things along. Do not be surprised if, after meeting with his military chiefs, the new president sets his own timetable for withdrawal.

In his speech yesterday, Obama said nothing about “success” regarding Iraq or Afghanistan:

We are the keepers of this legacy, guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort, even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We’ll begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard- earned peace in Afghanistan.

Indeed, it is difficult to succeed if one does not wish to. This is especially true in Afghanistan where it is becoming increasingly clear that no positive outcome will be possible there as long as al-Qaeda and the Taliban are using Pakistani territory with impunity to attack NATO troops and train suicide bombers to wreak havoc in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. I will watch with great interest as Obama deals with Pakistan. I predict he will have even less success than President Bush in getting the Pakistanis to reassert sovereignty over their own territory and kick the terrorists out. The post-Musharraf government is disinclined to make the all out effort required to defeat their enemies which means they will be at constant risk of being overthrown themselves either by the military or, less likely, a combination of forces sympathetic to the extremists.

Meanwhile, Afghanistan bleeds. And given the great reluctance most other NATO countries have shown to carry their weight in this war and commit their troops to combat, the burden of “forging a hard earned peace” will fall squarely on the shoulders of the US and the few nations who are already fighting. Will this mean that President Karzai will be forced to treat with the Taliban? He may have little choice if President Obama decides that the war is unwinnable and starts withdrawing US forces.

The key to Obama’s foreign policy can be found in this passage from his speech:

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with the sturdy alliances and enduring convictions.

They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use. Our security emanates from the justness of our cause; the force of our example; the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

Welcome words for the rest of the world - including our enemies. He is right when he states that our military power alone cannot protect us. But it goes a damn sight farther in doing so than “humility and restraint.” In fact, it appears to me that Obama is saying that “doing as we please” - protecting our own interests first which may not fit his definition of “justness” - is a mistake and that we should be “humble” and practice self-abnegation in abjuring what is in our best interests to show the world we will allow our nose to be blown off to spite our face.

An exaggeration but apropos of what Obama and the New Left have been spouting for years. If there is the stink of self-interest involved in a military action (or any other application of hard power), it is likely to be opposed. Darfur or the Congo is where we should be sending troops thus showing our selflessness to the world. Anyplace where war fighting advances or protects American interests is evil.

Just how “humility and restraint” will do anything besides make liberals feel good that the rest of the world doesn’t despise us anymore because we have subsumed our own interests to some other “higher” interest, including humanitarian goals or perhaps the will of the United Nations escapes me.

And then, there’s the idea that fanatics and thugs were just itching for George Bush to leave office so they could turn over a new leaf in our relations with them:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.

To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society’s ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy.

To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

On my radio show last night, Rich Baehr of the American Thinker pointed out that in the last decade we have freed Muslims from persecution and tyranny in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Praytell why is it the United States who should be coming hat in hand to the Muslim world? What more could we possibly do to prove our “respect?” Time for the moderate Muslims to stand up and start reciprocating. That is the true way forward with US-Muslim relations.

And who but a liberal could actually believe that the thugs and fanatics care one whit about “the people” in their countries and what they think? All they care about is if someone looks sideways at the regime, they are lined up against a wall and shot. Being “on the wrong side of history” is an occupational hazard for the Assads, the Castros, the Chavez’s, and the fanatical mullahs of the world. They seem to be surviving just fine, thank you.

And why should any of those peace loving gentlemen “unclench their fist” when they can achieve so much more dealing with a president who wishes to approach them with “humility and restraint?” Most of the animosity directed against America by the brutes of the world is, as Obama points out, manufactured internally in order to justify oppression. Only Iran has broadened their anti-Americanism to include proxies like Hezbullah and, potentially, Hamas. The question remains why should our enemies extend a hand in friendship or even civility? As we have already seen, the inauguration of Obama has changed nothing, altered no positions, softened any hearts.

I will not refer to Obama as naive in deference to my friend and frequent commenter Michael Reynolds who has almost convinced me that the new president has a realistic take on our enemies. But will approaching Iran with “humility and restraint” actually do anything except risk the overture being thrown back in your face with the typical derisiveness demonstrated by the Iranian leadership?

I have a feeling we will find out over the coming months.



Filed under: The Rick Moran Show — Rick Moran @ 4:15 pm

You won’t want to miss tonight’s Rick Moran Show,, one of the most popular conservative talk shows on Blog Talk Radio.

Tonight, I welcome Rich Baehr of the American Thinker, Jennifer Rubin of Commentary Magazine, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, and Stephen Green of Vodkapundit to talk about the inauguration.

The show will air from 7:00 - 8:00 PM 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.

Click on the stream below and join in on what one wag called a “Wayne’s World for adults.”

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


Filed under: "24" — Rick Moran @ 2:01 pm

If the writers aren’t going to give us much to talk about, I suppose it’s up to me to breathe some life into this show.

Truly, the series has never gotten off to such a slow start. There are a couple of reasons for that, in my opinion. First, too many plot threads and not enough of them are really converging. That means a lot of exposition and build up. Whether this means that in a few weeks we are going on a roller coaster ride, I don’t know. The potential is still there but if we get a few more episodes like the one last night, they are going to bleed viewers like someone cut their arm off with a hacksaw.

Secondly, let’s face it; not enough action. For an “Action Series” there have been few explosions, fewer gun fights, and little in the way of suspense. I would hate to think that this is in deference to critics who have been saying the show is too violent for years but in the Age of Obama, anything is possible.

Thirdly, the story is just not very compelling - yet. The CIP Module has only been used once and that for only a demonstration. The threat is real but hardly the kind of danger that makes one shudder. “Uh-oh…the power is out…” is not the stuff of terror (unless you’re in a darkened bedroom, in the sack with Janeane Garafalo and don’t know it until it’s too late).

But Jack is Jack and that counts for something. He is still the best hope to grab the module before something really bad happens - like Dubaku mixing sewage in with our drinking water and giving everyone an upset stomach. And in this episode, he even proves how valuable he is to the terrorist Emerson by figuring out how to get Moboto and his wife out the safe room.

This is the Tao of Jack. That he has always had the potential for both good and evil in equal measures. That in some alternate universe, he is no doubt the world’s #1 terrorist. His skills as a warrior and a killer could be put to equal use by both the good guys and the bad guys. It is his loyalty and sense of duty that keep him on the straight and narrow and give him his mission in life; defeat the evil designs of evil men who would harm us for their own selfish ends.


In what has to be the unintentionally comic moment of the series to date, Moss finds out that Renee Walker tortured Tanner in order to get the info about the Moboto snatch. What’s funny is that the Attorney General, after receiving a complaint from Tanner’s lawyers, has sent over a couple of bureaucratic flunkies to question Walker - right in the middle of a terrorist crisis - and they insist that they absolutely must talk to Janis since she was involved in this crime.

The flunkies make several appearances throughout the episode, each one more hilarious than the last. Their tiny bureaucratic minds can’t seem to grasp that FBI counter terrorist employees might be a touch busy during a crisis that threatens millions of Americans. Their cluelessness is priceless.

Meanwhile, it is apparent that the few hours Walker spent with Jack did her a world of good. Not only did she torture Tanner to get information, she has become quite adept at telling her boss to take a long step off a short porch. In her conversation with Moss (who definitely has the hots for her), she ignored his orders to come back to headquarters in favor of “making things right” by recapturing Tony and, we assume, putting a bullet in Jack. Perhaps if she spent even more time with Jack, she would be capable of not only ignoring her boss but even killing him as Jack reluctantly was forced to do to Ryan Chappell in season 4.

At Moboto’s house, the former Prime Minister and his wife are in the safe room where it dawns on the future American puppet in Sangala that he might be willing to die for his country but perhaps his wife has other ideas. He tries to buck her up but we can see that she is going to be a weak link.

Emerson tries the old “I’ll give you one minute to come out or the trusted aide gets it” bit but it doesn’t work. But before Emerson can pull the trigger and get blood and brains all over his beautiful camel hair coat Moboto’s aide gets a call on his cell from the FBI, thus alerting Emerson to the fact that they better get out of there before the feds storm the place.

Tony reminds Jack out of earshot of Emerson that they need Moboto in order to get close to Dubaku so Jack convinces the terrorist that he can get the Prime Minister out of the safe room by introducing poison gas into the ventilation system. Where Bauer acquired the knowledge to turn relatively harmless household cleaning products into a weapon of mass destruction we don’t know. But Jack proves he knows his way around a kitchen - at least where the cleaning stuff is kept - and finds the chemicals he needs.

After cooking up the mix of what I am told in the forums is probably a combination of bleach and ammonia-based glass cleaner and placing it in the vent, the gas begins to enter the safe room. Quite quickly, Moboto and his wife begin to choke on the mixture. “Close your eyes and let it happen,” her loving husband whispers to his terrified wife. Her eyes get as big as saucers as she is obviously thinking, “Speak for yourself, darling.” She crawls to the door and opens it thus effecting her husband’s capture.

SM Walker shows up just as Jack and Emerson are escorting Moboto and his wife to the van and, predictably, is caught as she is talking to Moss. Emerson is ready to kill her right there but Jack points out they need to know what she knows in order to determine how much damage Tanner’s blabbing did. The terrorist calls his contact working with Dubaku who promises to pump their FBI source to determine the extent of the fed’s knowledge of their plans.

The First Gentleman, having been informed by his dead son’s former fiancee Samantha that the kid had indeed been murdered and did not commit suicide, gets his trusted Secret Service agent Brian (who is obviously bent and hip deep in the conspiracy) to find someone who can decode the memory stick Sam gave him. Brian takes the FG to an apartment.

Back at the White House, the President has decided to go ahead with the military action in Sangala even though it will cause Dubaku to use the CIP Module and kill Americans. National Security Advisor Kamin (who opposes the invasion) not so gently points out that she was elected to protect American livese, not Sangalese. Her answer is that she is protecting Americans by “not giving in to blackmail and threats.” She also makes the Obama arguement that by invading Sangala and getting our young men killed even though we have no vital interests in that bloody country, we have re-established our “moral authority” in the world.

This is nuts and typical liberal baloney. The only people who care about our “moral authority” are European leftists who don’t grant us any such thing no matter who the president is. And the idea of sacrificing American lives in order to make us feel good about ourselves is insane. But I suppose we better get used to it. Our military actions will now be done for the good of the world and not because it protects American lives and American interests.

Bad news for Walker when the American traitor working with Dubaku calls Emerson back telling him that Tanner only spilled the kidnapping plot and that he should now kill Renee before he arrives. Dubaku is getting impatient. He wants to kill Americans (what genocidal killer worth his salt wouldn’t want to) and is chafing at the delay by the White House to pull the troops back. The American traitor suggests he use the CIP Module in order to show the president how serious he is. That seems to calm him down a bit.

Meanwhile, the FG Henry and Brian arrive at the apartment where Taylor expects the memory stick to be decoded. Immediately, Henry sees that he is at Sam’s apartment. Alas, Brian has spiked Henry’s Starbuck’s double shot latte with extra milk and whipped cream with a nerve agent that paralyzes him. While lying prostrate, the FG hears Brian tell another agent who is covering Sam to bring her over so they can arrange a murder-suicide scene for the authorities. Sam seems reluctant but obedient when the other Secret Service agent gets her to follow him.

Emerson directs the van to a construction site that is conveniently empty in the middle of the day. Still not trusting Jack entirely, he orders Bauer to kill Walker. “Jack - the ditch,” is all he says. The terrified FBI agent tells Jack she won’t beg for her life and is understandably reluctant to move very quickly. Jack whispers in her ear to trust him and she will live which no doubt was the nicest thing Jack ever said to her. With Emerson watching closely, Jack orders Walker to kneel and pulls the trigger.

Of course, he didn’t aim for her head but her neck which not only knocked her over convincingly but caused a lot of blood to be visible. Jack throws a plastic tarp over Renee and she appears safe.

Now, we know that SM Walker is one tough cookie but tell me true, if you were shot in the neck could you keep from screaming bloody murder? Renee doesn’t utter a sound - even when Emerson orders Tony and Jack to bury her. This they do a little reluctantly, throwing dirt over the FBI agent while she looks on in horror. The final shot - a POV from Renee’s eyes - shows Jack flinging a bunch of dirt over her eyes which blacks out the scene and leaves us wondering how she is going to breathe.


Not even a sniff of gunpowder in this episode. Strangely (and unrealistically) Emerson leaves one of Moboto’s security guys alive.

Jack: 1/2
Show: 7


Filed under: History, PJ Media, Politics — Rick Moran @ 8:28 am

My latest at PJ Media is up. It examines the historic nature of Obama’s inauguration; that we have gone from “Whites only” drinking fountains to toasting an African American president in the White House within the span of my lifetime:

A sample:

Is it really possible we have gone from “Whites Only” drinking fountains to toasting an African American president in the White House within my own lifetime? I can easily recall the civil rights story told nightly through the grainy news film of the time. Images both unforgettable and horrifying were a nightly staple of the news. The dogs and fire hoses being let loose upon children. The beatings of demonstrators who sat stoically, knowing full well the blows were coming and refusing to fight back. And always, the dour, glowering faces of the southern authorities who resisted to the last.

The hate in those faces and so many others would have convinced anyone that it would be many generations before the majority of whites would have accepted equality, even in the abstract. And yet …

We forget how truly remarkable a nation we are. We forget the courage of those who stood up to the hate, the evil traditions, the 300 years of abominable history that saw African Americans as slaves, serfs, and second class citizens. In the end, what they did mattered. Their sacrifices were not in vain, despite the idea that at times it must have seemed the mountain was too high and the path too steep.

We didn’t realize it at the time, but they were not only carrying the hopes of a race up that Everest, they were redeeming all of us who, through neglect apathy and ignorance, had failed utterly in making the words of the Declaration of Independence come alive and actually mean something. “All men are created equal” sounded hollow indeed to someone forced to sit in the back of a bus, or stay at a “Coloreds Only” motel, or who ran into barriers in employment and education due to the color of their skin.

No, the election and inauguration of President Obama does not banish racism or discrimination from America. That happy event is still in the future. But inaugurating Obama allows us a glimpse of such a future on the distant horizon, barely discernible but now a definite form shimmering in the morning sun. And a clear path to that goal is in front of us just waiting for us to take the first step.

Read the whole thing.



Filed under: Politics — Rick Moran @ 9:03 am

As George Bush toddles off into the sunset, his problematic legacy an issue for historians to hash out, I find myself in a deep depression - a full-blown, down in the dumps, near-suicidal, serotonin choking, crusher case of the blues. It is at times like this I wish I still had my Zoloft prescription although I could do without the weight gain and zombie-like side effects.

No more George Bush means no more daily dose of liberal derangement about him. And no more liberal derangement about Bush means I will have to find some other avenue that can match the sheer entertainment value of watching while otherwise (nearly) normal Americans made gargantuan fools out of themselves by blaming the president for everything from acts of God to the acts of terrorists.

Toward the end, the left hit upon an explanation for their out of control moonbattiness; Bush was so awful that anything said about him was probably too good for him. He bollixed things up so badly, the reasoning goes, that it can hardly be called “derangement” when these truths are pointed out.

If that were only true. Clearly, reasoned critiques of the Bush presidency - many of which you will find on this site - do not denote “derangement” in any sense of the word. The problem is, even respected voices on the left like Yglesias, Klien, and Drum all succumbed to wild exaggeration, gross hyperbole, and outright falsehoods to describe what they saw as the president’s failings.

Filling the Justice Department (and most of government) with cronies and party hacks is stupid governance, not criminality. Initiating controversial programs to spy on overseas terrorists and their American contacts, interdicting and tracking the flow of money to terrorists, and tearing down artificial walls between domestic and foreign intelligence is not “shredding the constitution.” It never was and it never will be. If the Constitution were “shredded,” I daresay liberals who pointed this out would not be free to continue to spout such inanities for many years but would instead be comfortably ensconced in those camps built for American “subversives.”

No matter. If intelligent critiques of these and other programs were forthcoming from the left (and there have been precious few) an arguement could be made that “Bush Derangement Syndrom” is nothing more than conservative push back against the vitriol - a way to dismiss criticism and not grant it legitimacy.

But Holy Baby Jesus, how can anyone with a scintilla of reason and logic not have read lefty blogs - all major lefty blogs - for the past 8 years and not come to the rational conclusion that the folks engaged in unreasoning conspiracy mongering, exaggerated warnings about a coming dictatorship, proclaiming imminent attacks on countries like Iran, North Korea, and Venezuela, and ascribing evil intent to either innocent or inept actions, should be taken seriously by anyone with half a brain?

BDS has nothing to do with criticism of Bush. Those who practice BDS are marked by the gross contradictions in their “analysis.” Bush is both an incompetent clown and an evil genius - and interesting combination and, when you think about it, a logical fallacy. And beyond the wildly exaggerated rhetoric, there lies a resolute shallowness - an inability to grasp ideas in more than one dimension. Hence, you get obscenity-laced screeds like this one:

People HATE George W. Bush. A lot. Why? Because he’s a hideous little shit who fucked everything up, that’s why. He made a lot of people dead and even more people poor. And everyone knows it.

Our country has had problems acknowledging how black people are humans with brains and ability; we’ve had difficulties admitting the same when it comes to women; I’m not taking anything away from Obama’s skills in asserting that if Hillary Clinton had won the Democratic nomination, she’d have approval ratings in the same ballpark as his are now. And I’m not taking anything away from either in saying that if we’d nominated Bill the Motherfucking Cat it would be about the same.

Looking back through the Bush years for his Positive Accomplishments is, for me, like picking through my toddler’s diaper for the undigested corn. Everyone hates that asshole. Bush Derangement Syndrome, it emerges, was sanity all along.

Defending one’s derangement in a deranged way may be a first - even for this lefty. But to those who take me to task for regularly lumping all liberals in with the worst of them, I would point out that this is not an isolated case nor is it atypical of the kind of exaggerated, unsupported nonsense one hears from the left about Bush. From Krugman, to Yglesias, to T-Bogg, the primary view of Bush is that of a cartoon character - Snidely Whiplash, Elmer Fudd, and Boris Badanov all rolled into one. Of course, there is a little wider vocabularly employed to describe this one dimensional Bush stick figure by “respected” lefties. But the theme remains the same; George Bush has never done anything good, is not capable of doing anything good, and in fact, is an evil monster of a president.

President Obama is not a BDS sufferer. He proves himself a better man than all of Bush’s deranged critics put together:

“If you look at my statements throughout the campaign, I always thought he was a good guy,” the Democratic president-elect said on CNN about the Republican president whom he replaces Tuesday.

“I mean, I think personally he is a good man who loves his family and loves his country. And I think he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances.”

Best decisions he could? Obama lambasted Bush on the campaign trail for his decisions on a wide range of issues, including the Iraq war, financial regulation, climate change and the treatment of prisoners.

Obama made reference to those, too.

“Over the last several years, we have made a series of bad choices and we are now going to be inheriting the consequences of a lot of those bad choices,” the president-elect said.

“That does not mean that I think he’s not a good person. And his White House staff has done an extraordinary job in working with us for a smooth transition.”

A rather more nuanced and realistic view of Bush that shows the man is not lacking in class. Politics is politics - a mudwrestling match where twisting knees and eye gouging are legal - but let’s give Obama credit for having more than a one dimensional view of his predecessor. That kind of reasoned acknowledgement of fact - a view the American people agree with - bodes well for the future.

But when their deranged memes are proved wrong, they simply move on to another without acknowledgement that they made a collosal blunder in logic and reason.

To wit:

In traditional electoral terms, that may also be the case in 2008. Should things proceed as they are now, it’s hard to imagine any Republican candidate going into the election within striking distance. The potential variations are many, but the graffiti on the wall is clear.

What’s also clear is that this administration has a deep, profound and uncompromised contempt for democracy, for the rule of law, and for the US Constitution. When George W. Bush went on the record (twice) as saying he has nothing against dictatorship, as long as he can be dictator, it was a clear and present policy statement.

Who really believes this crew will walk quietly away from power? They have the motivation, the money and the method for doing away with the electoral process altogether. So why wouldn’t they?

The groundwork for dismissal of both the legislative and judicial branch has been carefully laid. The litany is well-known, but worth a very partial listing:

The continuation of the drug war, and the Patriot Act, Homeland Security Act and other dictatorial laws prompted by the 9/11/2001 terror attacks, have decimated the Bill of Rights, and shredded the traditional American right to due process of law, freedom from official surveillance, arbitrary violence, and far more.

No, the 2008 election was not canceled - despite assurances from numerous lefties that such would be the case if it appeared the GOP was going to lose.

Nor has there been a military draft as was promised in the weeks leading up to the 2004 election.

Nor have the aforementioned “concentration camps” built by Haliburton been activated to house dissidents and anti-war protestors.

Nor has any proof whatsoever emerged that anyone in the United States government had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks.

Nor has there ever been proof of a plot by the Bushies to silence critics, intimidate dissidents, or eliminate dissent. No one who has spoken out against government has ben sent to jail for doing so.

Then why? Why the hyperbole, the overwrought invective, the tortured language, the sheer nuttiness from so many on the left?

In their worship of Obama is the answer. By pumping up the evil of the Bush Administration, it reflects that much better on them when they ride to the rescue to save us. The bigger the evil, the more aggrandizement befalls them as they stand upon the battlements, waving the bloody shirt while the rest of us peasants look up at them in doe-eyed gratitude.

Already we have read that the US has been saved, constitutional government restored, the rule of law reimposed, and American democracy rescued from the clutches of the evil Bushies.

I sure will miss that kind of idiocy.


It’s easy to ascribe evil to your political opponent when you never grant him the legitimacy of his office. Even after 2004, the majority of the left accused the president of stealing the election.

Why this would be true while the GOP lost so many close Congressional races in 2006 (14 races decided by less than 3 %) and especially in 2008 when 8 states were won by Obama by less than 5%, simply makes no sense. So of course, the left posits the meme that the GOP tried to steal those elections but were so far behind they fell short.

No explanation for why a bunch of evil election thieves would care what the margin might be. And if the GOP was so good at stealing in 2000, 2004, what the hell happened in 2008? Did they lose their mojo? Or did Democrats find ways to steal their votes back?

Bush Derangement has never, ever been about making sense. It has always been about self-aggrandization by elevating one’s opposition to an heroic level, far above the mundane of simple political disputes. It is a world that many on the right will now inhabit when it comes to Obama - a fate for which they will suffer as much as the left has suffered these last 8 years.



Filed under: Financial Crisis, Government, Politics, Presidential Transition — Rick Moran @ 12:50 pm

Barack Obama continually promised on the campaign trail that if elected, he would change the way that Washington works.

Yes, we shouldn’t pay too much attention to the rhetoric used by a candidate when he is running for office - especially someone like Obama whose Cotton Candy Candidacy was short on specifics and long on meaningless drivel.

But when you consider that the man made such a huge deal about bringing a “new kind of politics” to Washington and reforming the government, Obama’s attachment to Treasury Secretary Designate Timothy Geithner is both puzzling and troubling.

The DC Examiner thinks Geithner should get the hook:

Timothy Geithner, President-elect Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, didn’t pay his federal self-employment taxes for four years because he “forgot.” That is no longer a credible explanation in view of yesterday’s reporting by National Review’s Byron York. The claim that he forgot simply doesn’t square with the fact that for four years Geithner accepted reimbursement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cover federal taxes he had not paid, according to Senate confirmation documents examined by York. The IMF is an international agency and as such does not pay federal or state taxes owed by employees who are U.S. citizens.
More specifically, he failed to pay self-employment taxes - Social Security or Medicare - while employed at the IMF until he was audited by the IRS in 2006. At that point, Geithner made good on his 2003 and 2004 obligations, but still failed to pay the amounts due for 2002 and 2001. It was only after he was named by Obama to succeed Henry Paulson at Treasury that Geithner took care of the obligations for 2001 and 2002.

This is especially damning because on the IMF’s Annual Tax Allowance Request, Geithner promised to “pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments…” If, as The Wall Street Journal reported, Geithner was told by one of his accountants that he wasn’t obligated to pay the taxes, he shouldn’t have signed the IMF document promising to make the payments. Clearly, he should not have accepted the reimbursements.

Geithner also received an annual reminder from the IMF that he was responsible for paying his taxes. He applied for a reimbursement each year from 2001 through 2004, but then pocketed the cash instead of forwarding it to the IRS. Doing so four years in a row is not merely an “honest mistake,” as the Obama transition team maintains.

Geithner is lying when he says he “forgot” to pay his taxes. This is a given. It also insults our intelligence when he claims that his failure to pay the IRS what he owes is an “honest mistake.” We will now see if the rest of the Washington Democratic establishment plays along with Geithner and pretends they believe his lies, thus perpetrating a “business as usual” climate in the Obama government rather than the promised reform that so many believed so passionately he could bring about.

It is a little lie, a white lie, but telling nevertheless. And like Republican lawmakers preaching “family values” who get caught with their pants down around their ankles, anyone who preaches reform and changing the way Washington does business and then tolerates the bald faced lying of Geithner can and will be rightly accused of rank hypocrisy if they don’t do the right thing and yank this tax dodge from consideration for any high office in the Obama Administration.

Or are Democrats to be allowed a different standard of hypocrisy because of bad economic times? Politico’s Alex Burns thinks so:

It’s not that the usual voices are silent. But faced with a made-to-order personal financial scandal, there’s been only a half-hearted response in the political echo chamber, and the consensus among Washington and media elites seems to be that the economic moment is too serious to be distracted by Geithner’s tax problems.

It’s easy to imagine how things could have turned out differently.

Bill Clinton saw two nominees for attorney general go down when the public responded with fury to revelations that they’d hired illegal nannies. George W. Bush lost a cabinet nominee in the same way. And in 2006 members of Congress found themselves on the wrong end of totally unexpected outrage over a deal to lease American ports to a foreign company, Dubai Ports World.

In many or most of these cases, media commentators and even members of Congress initially reacted with shrugs. Only later, after public anger flared, did Washington join the frenzy.

To date, only a few major voices have spoken out to criticize Geithner. And if there’s a reserve of populist resentment over his appointment, it hasn’t yet erupted into the national media, as in previous nomination controversies.

Perhaps the “consensus” (read, Groupthink) among the press is that Geithner is irreplacable, that the Treasury position is so vital in these perilous financial times that any and all transgressions committed by the nominee must be overlooked for the good of the country.


I don’t think even the Bush Administration would have made that argument and they had a few doozies over the years. But incredibly, even Republicans agree with it:

Revelations that Timothy Geithner failed to pay some of his taxes have derailed Democrats’ efforts to install him quickly as President-elect Barack Obama’s treasury secretary, but senators in both parties say his tax problems won’t torpedo his chances for confirmation.

Obama said Wednesday that the disclosures that Geithner had failed to pay $34,000 in taxes between 2001 and 2004 were embarrassing, but added that Geithner’s “innocent mistake” shouldn’t keep him from taking the helm of the new administration’s urgent efforts to revive the economy. Several Republicans agreed that Geithner would get Senate approval and said their party had little appetite for a partisan fight at a precarious time for the economy.

GOP opponents of Geithner should “think this through,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah., a member of the Senate Finance Committee that’s considering his nomination. “They’re not going to get anybody better than him from this administration for treasury secretary.”

GOP Senators won’t make a stink because the issue of Geithner’s taxes isn’t on the radar. And the reason its not on the radar is because the press is not covering the issue the way they should and frame it as an “Epic Fail” (a term we will be using a lot over the next 4 years I suspect) of the Obama Administration to live up to their own campaign promise to reform Washington and change the way the government does business.

In a smart political move, the new Administration has put a temporary hold on Geithner’s confirmation hearing. They are waiting for the issue to blow over when, we assume, both Republicans and Democrats can spend the hearings trying to outdo one another in praise of the candidate’s qualifications and integrity.

Welcome to the new Washington. Same as the old Washington.


Filed under: History, Politics — Rick Moran @ 11:37 am

Lots of talk yesterday about comparing Bush to Lincoln. My PJ Media column this week responds that notion not unsympathetically but rejecting it nevertheless:

Some Bush supporters, while agreeing that things have not been exactly peachy these last eight years, nevertheless try and compare Bush to Lincoln — at least as it relates to the idea that both men faced serious challenges and remained steadfast to their beliefs in the face of virulent opposition. (My PJM colleague, the lovely Kyle-Ann Shiver, makes that point in her piece opposite this one.)

This is an emotionally appealing allegory and, on the surface, offers some compelling comparisons. The Emancipator had to deal with an active conspiracy to overthrow the lawful government and set up another nation. George Bush was faced with defending the American people from a murderous, implacable enemy hell-bent on our destruction. Both men chose force of arms to defeat the forces arrayed against them. Both men suffered numerous setbacks in the pursuit of their goals. Both endured the worst kind of personal invective hurled against them by their political foes.

But does Bush have any of Lincoln’s crying need for self-examination — a wrenching introspection where Father Abraham could recognize his failures and change course not once, but several times? Lincoln agonized over emancipation despite the fact he entered office never dreaming he would take that position. It went against his own inclinations and he did it in opposition to most in his cabinet, many of his supporters, and the army.

Bush gets credit for changing strategy in Iraq. But a good argument can be made that this change came three years too late and long after many experienced hands in and out of the military were telling him to dramatically increase troop strength. The difference between the two is that Lincoln knew when steadfastness was necessary and when hanging on to a policy was simple stubbornness. For Bush’s part, even in the face of total chaos, sectarian bloodletting on a large scale, and daily acts of horrific terror and violence in Iraq that only got worse and worse over the months, he would not alter strategy. The inability to admit error that gripped President Bush and prevented him from exercising sound judgement that would have allowed a change in tactics almost cost the United States the war. As it is, the issue is still in doubt despite encouraging improvements.

There are other fallacies with the Lincoln-Bush comparison. For example, I think that if one were to weigh the challenges faced by both men, Lincoln’s problems and burdens were much the heavier given the extraordinary carnage and destruction of the war. President #16 also had the issue of slavery to resolve — perhaps the most intractable problem our nation has ever imposed upon itself and more tangled and complex than anything with which President #43 had to face.

The money graf is earlier:

Not lacking in brains and possessing a confidence that bordered on arrogance, President Bush would probably have thrived in less interesting times. But the challenges that emerged beginning with the attacks on September 11, 2001, right on through today’s financial meltdown of which we still haven’t glimpsed bottom, showed a man out of his depth, lacking in judgement, unable to come to grips with the forces that were reshaping the world and America. He is not without gifts. But when a president is proved wrong by events as often and as consistently as Bush, there is little alternative but to conclude that he was the wrong man at the wrong time for America.

I think it can safely be said that in contrast, Lincoln was the right man at the right time for America. So much for comparisons between Bush and The Great Emancipator.

(BTW - Kyle Ann Shiver took the “pro” Bush as Lincoln position opposite my piece on the website.)

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