My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Before I sat down to write this article, I pinched myself just to make sure I was awake and today’s subject wasn’t some weird dream. But alas, talking heads on both sides of the political spectrum really are seriously entertaining the possibility of President Donald Trump.
At the Daily Beast, Jim DeFede reports on why several Florida Tea Partiers have said they’re backing the Donald:
“We need a real businessman,” said Linda Kogelman, 63, a retired postal worker. “The lawyers don’t know how to run the country. They bow down to too many people.” Kogelman said no one else in the Republican field excites her.
“There is no one there,” she continued. “Romney is old hat. Newt is old hat. It’s just the same old same old. We need new blood.”
Her husband, Ken, 64, who closed his crane business in 2009 because of the downturn in the economy, nodded in agreement.
“They’ve destroyed this country,” he spit. Who?
Standing nearby, 78-year-old Richard Walters was holding on to a letter he had written. He was hoping to be able to hand it to Trump.
“I used to be the Rolls Royce dealer in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach,” said Walters, who is now retired. “And he was one of my customers.”
Fond memories of The Donald?
“I didn’t like him,” Walters said. “He was an arrogant bastard. But I love him now. He is the only person in this country who can right the ship.”
Lest you think DeFede has cherry-picked some outliers to exaggerate Trump’s popularity, note that The Donald has some formidable poll numbers in the Republican primary field (he fares worse, however, in general election match-ups). Among the conservative punditocracy, the reaction is more mixed—Sean Hannity has been giving Trump substantial interview time, while Mark Levin has been intensely critical, and with good reason—Trump has flip-flopped on abortion, healthcare, and his party affiliation, used to be far more favorable to Barack Obama (calling George W. Bush “evil” in the process), and has donated substantially to Democrats.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
The Left has a problem. Attacking countries that haven’t attacked us first is a major no-no, but the president who’s initiated the latest campaign in Libya, Barack Obama, is their standard-bearer, not a warmongering right-winger. What to do?
On the Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb, Assistant Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter, has an analysis of the situation which liberals eager to give Obama cover might find useful: the neocons made him do it!
Neocons and liberal interventionists stampeded Obama into imposing a no-fly zone against Libya—despite the absence of vital U.S. interests there […]
The manufactured crisis in Libya is a prime case in point. No foreign states have vital interests at stake in Libya. Events in this rather odd and isolated land have little bearing on the rest of the tumultuous Mideast region. Also not to be dismissed, there are far, far worse humanitarian horrors elsewhere. Yet, U.S. neoconservatives and liberal humanitarian interventionists have trapped another U.S. president into acting as if the opposite were true.
Obama’s been “trapped” into ordering airstrikes? How?
Once this terrible duo starts tossing out words like “slaughter” and “genocide,” the media goes crazy. Then, the chorus begins to sing of heartless inaction by the U.S. president, blaming him for the deaths. White House common sense crumbles into insanity. The reason why neither President Obama nor his coalition partners in Britain and France can state a coherent goal for Libya is that none of them have any central interest in the outcome there. It is only when a nation has a clear vital interest that it can state a clear objective for war. They’ve all simply been carried away by their own rhetoric.
The drama usually starts when leaders and thinkers are seduced by the feeling they must do good. Sometimes, they essentially ignore the killings, even as deaths climb into the hundreds of thousands, as in Rwanda and millions as in Congo. Other times, the deaths number in the hundreds or so, as in Libya—and the guy doing the killing is someone they have good reason to dislike, and so they want to do good and stop him. It was just so with the irresistible trio of Senators—John McCain, John Kerry, and Lindsey Graham—and with their counterparts in foreign-policy land.
And just like that, interventionists insist there’s “no time to deliberate,” and the president helplessly complies with their calls to arms.
There are a couple problems with this theory, though. First, polls show that, on the whole, Americans approve of the action now that we’re in it, but their support is far from overwhelming. On Capitol Hill and among the Tea Party, the battle lines are similarly muddied, with politicians of Obama’s own party blasting him for intervening while his sworn enemies in the Tea Party are more open to the idea. So if Obama really thought getting involved was a bad move for the United States, there’s certainly enough political cover for him to withstand interventionist condemnation for staying out.
It seems to me that it becomes a no-brainer. In other words, look, here we have a mass slaughter of people going on, and we have military jets bombing innocent civilians. The country is going down the tubes. And Qaddafi obviously has to go. And the U.S. doesn’t have the moral authority to lead and it is hesitant and it’s slow to react? I’m having a hard time understanding why?
The president said in Rio, you know, we are going to make the world safe from tyrants. Are we going to Sudan? Are we going after Mugabe? Are we going to go in Bahrain, Yemen? Are we going to insert ourselves in Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia? Are we going to insert ourselves in Saudi Arabia? I mean, what is — how do we define success here? What is our mission here? And what is the new Obama standard here?
When — I don’t know what to make of this. Is this now the Obama doctrine? That if there is a potential humanitarian crisis about to take place and the international community is onboard, that we can’t standby with empty words, we have to take some action. Does that apply to Mugabe, Sudan, taking him out? Does that apply to, you know, Syria, Lebanon? You know, where do we take this? Is it Bahrain? Saudi Arabia? What does that mean?
If you guys had your way, the torture chambers and mass graves would continue […] Your way would appease evil.
March 7: The United States doesn’t need anybody’s permission. We don’t need to have NATO, who frankly, won’t bring much to the fight. We don’t need to have the United Nations. All we have to say is that we think that slaughtering your own citizens is unacceptable and that we’re intervening. And we don’t have to send troops. All we have to do is suppress his air force, which we could do in minutes.March 23: I would not have intervened. I think there were a lot of other ways to affect Qaddafi. I think there are a lot of other allies in the region we could have worked with. I would not have used American and European forces.
[T]he relative lack of Tea Party angst over the no-fly zone has been surprising. There is no discussion of Libya happening at Ginni Thomas’ Liberty Central, no statement from Tea Party Patriots or the Tea Party Express.
Quite a few liberal Democrats have come out and criticized the president. There were more Democrats who criticized President George W. Bush during the run-up to Iraq, but there have been enough to generate real heat for the White House. It was Kucinich, rather than a Republican, who first floated the idea that the strikes on Libya might be grounds for impeachment; Newt Gingrich, who mused that Obama could be impeached for failing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, hasn’t gone that far. Half a dozen Republicans who identify with the Tea Party have criticized the Obama administration’s shoot-first-ask-Congress-later approach, but most Republicans haven’t […]
There could be more Tea Party criticism of the Libya strategy if the conflict drags on. On Monday, Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots told me that the group may poll members to determine whether they should take a stance. If CNN’s poll on Libya is right, TPP might find itself taking the pro-Obama, anti-Ron Paul line on Libya. The poll, conducted from March 18 to March 20, found 70 percent of all voters favoring a no-fly zone. Among “Tea Party supporters,” it was 73 percent. Fifty-four percent of all voters favored attacks “directly targeted at Gaddafi’s troops who are fighting the opposition forces in Libya.” That number rose to 58 percent among Tea Partiers.
There are individual Tea Party leaders, like Williams or Rand Paul, who wince at a military intervention undertaken like this. The Tea Party is libertarian in plenty of ways. But if it has one defining characteristic, it’s that it’s nationalist. If there’s a way to remove Qaddafi decades after he aided the Lockerbie bombers, then that’s more important than a debate over the deep thoughts of the founders. In a Saturday interview with Fox News, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., one of the most popular politicians to win the support of the Tea Party, explained that his problem with the intervention was about grit, not the Constitution.
“Back two or three weeks ago,” said West, “we could have taken care of this situation if we had done the exact same thing that Ronald Reagan did back in the early ’80s to Muammar Gaddafi, when he dropped the bomb in his back yard. Muammar Gaddafi didn’t say a word for the next 30 years.”
Tim Pawlenty is set to make his presidential bid official today. Yawn.
On federal spending and government shutdowns, Russ Vought makes the case for drawing a line in the sand.
Mark Levin has an excellent comparison of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush’s conservative credentials.
And it turns out that Mitch Daniels is even worse than you (and I) thought.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
You want a surefire way to cause a cable news stir? Just pit old foes like Sean Hannity and Rep. Anthony Weiner against each other, throw in Rep. Michele Bachmann for good measure, and voila! The battle gets picked up by everyone from Mediaite and The Blaze to News Hounds and the Huffington Post.
Last night’s topic of debate was the United States’ current financial mess:
HANNITY: All right, Congressman, here’s why we are in this position. This is just a fact. You had both Houses of Congress last year — run by the Democrats. You had White House. You guys didn’t pass a budget. It is your responsibility. You should have passed the budget. You didn’t pass a budget. Now we find ourselves at this impasse.
All the Democrats are offering — it’s $4.5 billion in cuts. We have a $1.65 trillion deficit this year, after nearly three trillion of Obama debt in his first two years. And we also have, you know, $3.7 trillion budget.
You can’t find more than $4.5 billion to cut?
WEINER: Well, frankly, let’s get the history right. The Bush administration drove the economy into a cliff and we’ve been digging out ever since.
HANNITY: Blah, blah, blah.
WEINER: Well, let me answer the question. It’s true we also did add a trillion dollars of additional debt and deficit by giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires — something many of us opposed. But the fact is, if you look at the president’s budget –
Once again, Bush Derangement Syndrome rears its ugly head. We’re in Barack Obama’s third year as president; it’s remarkable that Democrats still don’t feel embarrassed to lay the blame for all of America’s woes, including the Obama job losses, at the feet of his predecessor. If you still think Obama has little to do with all the red ink we’re drowning in, check out this post at Maggie’s Notebook, which highlights a couple unnerving analyses of Obama’s fiscal policies. They point out that Obama’s gotten credit for the repayment of TARP loans that should go to Bush, and that “the latest Obama budget is his third straight budget calling for over a $1 trillion in spending – which no other president has ever done, and in fact no president has even asked for half that. And get this: Anderson says Obama’s three year spending binge is 37% higher than G.W.’s ENTIRE 8-YEAR PRESIDENCY.” (I’ve tackled Obama’s drunken-sailor ways before here.)
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
Attempting to paint one political opponent as undermining another is an especially tempting line of political attack, sometimes so tempting that a propagandist will settle for the most contorted, threadbare argument to that effect. Such is the case with Media Matters’ latest attack on Sean Hannity. Seizing upon Hannity’s latest interview with GOP Congressman Steve King about Congress’ current tax bickering, Media Matters claims to have caught Hannity admitting that the Bush tax cuts were “madness”:
Speaking with Rep. Steve King about the estate tax, Hannity made the following complaint:
HANNITY: If you died last year it was 45 percent, if you die this year it’s zero percent, if you die next year, it could be 55 percent: Only Washington could think of this madness.
That’s so true. Only in Washington could such a crazy plan be hatched. Only in the Bush White House, to be specific. Bush, and a Republican led Congress chose to have the Bush tax cuts “sunset” on the last day of 2010, largely because Republicans neglected to propose any way to pay for the hugely expensive cuts, and letting them expire after nine years mitigated the enormous price-tag that accompanied these cuts (because price estimates are calculated over a 10-year period).
First, our leftist friends apparently hope none of their readers will stop to think about what a sunset provision is. Sunset provisions set a date by which a measure will expire, unless it’s reauthorized. Note well the last part: politicians know when something is going to happen well in advance, and have to act to decide whether or not to do anything about it.
Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.
Those of us who were paying attention already knew this, but it’s always good to have more voices and revelations corroborating the same thing. From Larry Elder:
Wired magazine’s contributing editor Noah Shachtman — a nonresident fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution — researched the 400,000 WikiLeaked documents released in October. Here’s what he found: “By late 2003, even the Bush White House’s staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction (emphasis added). … Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield. Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained. Jihadists, insurgents and foreign (possibly Iranian) agitators turned to these stockpiles during the Iraq conflict — and may have brewed up their own deadly agents.”
In 2008, our military shipped out of Iraq — on 37 flights in 3,500 barrels — what even The Associated Press called “the last major remnant of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program”: 550 metric tons of the supposedly nonexistent yellowcake. The New York Sun editorialized: “The uranium issue is not a trivial one, because Iraq, sitting on vast oil reserves, has no peaceful need for nuclear power. … To leave this nuclear material sitting around the Middle East in the hands of Saddam … would have been too big a risk.”
Now the mainscream media no longer deem yellowcake — the WMD Bush supposedly lied about — a WMD. It was, well, old. It was degraded. It was not what we think of when we think of WMD. Really? Square that with what former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean said in April 2004: “There were no weapons of mass destruction.” MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow goes even further, insisting, against the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that “Saddam Hussein was not pursuing weapons of mass destruction”!
Bush, hammered by the insidious “Bush Lied, People Died” mantra, endured one of the most vicious smears against any president in history. He is owed an apology.
When Hollywood makes “The Vindication of George W. Bush,” maybe Sean Penn can play the lead.
Still doesn’t make Julian Assange any less of a cretinous wretch. Throw the book at him.
My latest NewsRealBlog post:
In Achieving Our Country: Leftist Thought in Twentieth-Century America, leftist Stanford University professor Richard Rorty says something that reveals a great deal—perhaps more than Rorty intended—about the psyche of the Left:
I do not think that there is a nonmythological, nonideological way of telling a country’s story […]Stories about what a nation has been and should try to be are not attempts at accurate representation, but rather attempts to forge a moral identity. The argument between Left and Right about which episodes in our history we Americans should pride ourselves on will never be a contest between a true and a false account of our country’s history and its identity. It is better described as an argument about which hopes to allow ourselves and which to forgo.
If leftists operate under the assumption that nobody’s version of history is, or can be, objectively true anyway, then it follows that no amount of evidence or counter-argument will persuade them to abandon factually-unsustainable positions. Accordingly, leftists cling to many falsehoods that, no matter how many times they’re killed, just won’t die: the rich aren’t paying their fare share (wrong), human life doesn’t begin at fertilization (wrong), Saddam Hussein had no WMDs or ties to terrorism (wrong and wrong), the Founders didn’t care about slavery (wrong), the Red Scare was much ado about nothing (wrong), women still face pay discrimination in the workplace (wrong), the science is settled on global warming (wrong).
The latest example comes from left-wing media apologist Eric Alterman, who on the Daily Beast decides to revisit the 2000 presidential election, in which, according to leftist mythology, the Supreme Court helped George W. Bush steal the White House from Al Gore. Naturally, Alterman can’t resist opening with a dig at Dubya for being the worst president ever. But “even if Bush had been a great president,” he insists, “Bush v. Gore would have been a disgraceful decision”:
To prevent a careful recount of the vote, the self-professed conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the decision of lower federal courts, which four times had rejected similar stay requests from the Bush campaign. As a result, the majority could not cite any real, germane Florida statutory law to support its contention that the counting must be ended immediately. Instead, the court chose to overturn a state court’s election laws as interpreted by that state’s supreme court on the basis of a legal theory that the justices simply made up on the spot: that different counting standards violate the equal protection and due process provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
First, some background: Bush won Florida’s initial vote, albeit narrowly enough to trigger a full machine recount. This recount was conducted. Bush won again. Gore requested a manual recount in four heavily-Democrat counties, as he was legally entitled to do. However, as Mark Levin explains in Men in Black, under the law that would only lead to a full recount in those counties if a partial manual recount—“1 percent of the county’s total votes in at least three precincts”—indicated a vote tabulation error, which it didn’t. Therefore, Levin argues, “there was no statutory authority for the four counties to conduct full manual recounts of all the votes.” But two of the counties went ahead anyway. Thus, the recounts Bush’s lawyers sought to stop and Alterman’s esteemed lower courts sought to continue, weren’t legally authorized. Further, state law placed a clear deadline, 5PM on November 14, by which recounts had to stop and results had to be turned in. In following the deadline, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris was only doing her job and letting the process take its course. It was the Florida Supreme Court, not the federal one, which “chose to overturn a state court’s election laws” by ruling not only against Harris and for Gore’s recounts, but by also ordering additional recounts—without bothering to provide either a deadline or standards of procedure.
I appreciate that Rove is called “the architect” by his admirers – possibly by virtue of transforming what should have been a walkover against an empty suit like John Kerry into a squeaker and meeting the attacks and slanders against the Bush administration with some of the most tepid and ineffectual responses in modern history (effectively surrendering the narrative to the Left) – but I’m sure this time he’s onto something.