Archive for May, 2006
Based on this AP report, that’s what it sounds like. I’ll bet that Nancy Pelosi won’t be outraged by this:
The FBI arrested two aides to a powerful state senator Wednesday for allegedly deleting “electronic evidence” including e-mail to thwart a federal investigation of their boss. Leonard P. Luchko and Mark Eister had been assigned to do computer work for state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, a Philadelphia Democrat. Both were charged with obstruction of justice, federal prosecutors said.
“This was a deliberate, systematic, and ultimately successful effort to interfere with a federal investigation,” U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan said. Fumo has not been charged with wrongdoing. The affidavit does not name Fumo directly but refers to an unidentified senator. Federal authorities said the inquiry focuses on whether Fumo “used his authority and official position to attempt to demand and obtain payments” from corporations to a South Philadelphia nonprofit. Investigators are trying to find out if the senator “benefited both politically and personally from expenditures made by the organization,” according to the court documents.
To be fair, we’ll give Luchko and Eister the benefit of the doubt until trial but I can’t believe that the FBI just goes around arresting or investigating congressmen without having something compelling to point them in that direction. It’s also worth noting U.S. Attorney Patrick Meehan’s wording “This was a deliberate, systematic, and ultimately successful effort to interfere with a federal investigation.” Unlike grandstanding Pennsylvania congressmen, U.S. attorneys aren’t in the habit of making such categorical statements.
The nonprofit, Citizens’ Alliance for Better Neighborhoods, has obtained millions of dollars in donations from powerful entities that lobby the Legislature. Federal investigators said they have been looking into the charity since 2003. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Fumo and Peco Energy Co. had a secret deal under which Peco donated $17 million to the charity, and prosecutors say they have numerous e-mails from third-party sources that show Fumo used the nonprofit to funnel money to projects and causes important to him.
That doesn’t sound good for Mr. Fumo. If they’ve collected “numerous emails” showing that “Fumo used the nonprofit to funnel money to projects and causes important to him”, then he’s in a bunch of trouble. Assuming that the FBI obtained a valid search warrant for collecting these emails, there’s only one way that a jury won’t hear them and that’s if Mr. Fumo pleads guilty before trial.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
If this article is indicative of the race, then I’d say that Baghdad Jim McDermott’s getting a run for his money from Steve Beren. After my interview with Steve a couple weeks ago, I can’t say that that surprises me, though. Let’s take a look at this Seattle interview:
Steve Beren admitted to 34th District Republicans on May 16 that challenging Washington’s “congressman for life” is a daunting task. But, Beren declared, “There’s no candidate I’d rather run against than [Seventh District Democratic Rep.] Jim McDermott. In King County, in the Seventh District, for too long we’ve had a controversial, extremist congressman” who has given his constituents “a lack of representation.”
This rating isn’t just Beren’s opinion. According to Knowlegis’ power rankings, Jim McDermott ranks 212th amongst House legislators. Breaking it down further, McDermott scores 1 point on legislation and 0 points on influence. He isn’t influential because he’s one of the most liberal legislators in the last quarter century. If there’s anything that I’ve learned in watching politics, it’s that conservatives and centrists have influence because their votes matter most.
A good example is retired Sen. John Breaux, (D-LA). Breaux’s intellectual centrism made him a swing vote on most issues. A whip had to sound him out to know where he’d come down on an issue-by-issue basis. The House Democratic Whip knows where McDermott is and just keeps on going to the people that swing back and forth.
Another reason why McDermott isn’t influential is because some of his policy beliefs are so far out there that, if they were put into legislation, they wouldn’t gather 50 votes on the floor of the House. For instance, he used to be a proponent of the Canadian-style single-payer healthcare plan. That plan, if it were brought up in the House, would have Democrats fleeing for the tall grass faster than they ran when the Murtha “immediate redeployment” plan was put to a vote. I recall that one ‘losing’ by a 403-3 vote.
Mr. Beren takes McDermott to task on the issue of supporting the troops, saying
“He says he supports the troops but doesn’t support the war on terror…That’s like supporting fire fighters but letting the fire burn.”
I couldn’t agree more. You can’t separate what the military does from who they are. They’re inseparable. Only can a looney leftist liberal differentiate.
Think of it like Kerry saying in the final presidential debate that he’s a religious man who takes his faith seriously but doesn’t think it should inform any of his policy beliefs. As Democratic legislators remind us every presidential election, “faith without works is dead.” I won’t say that McDermott’s beliefs are dead, though I won’t guarantee that they aren’t comatose.
Beren added, “if ever there was a congressman who should pursue an exit strategy, it is Jim McDermott.” He also criticized McDermott for saying that Iran is not a threat to the U.S., and for earlier statements that Afghanistan and Iraq were not threats.
How on earth anyone with a recorded brainwave can say that Iran isn’t a threat to the U.S. is beyond me. I know McDermott’s brain is functioning because he’s hosting a radio show this week. That doesn’t mean, however, that his brain is functioning properly.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
That’s my first, albeit cynical, reaction to this Washington Post analysis of the Kennedy vs. Klobuchar race.
Rep. Mark Kennedy (R) continues to represent Republicans’ best chance at a pick-up this cycle, but his road is not an easy one. Hennepin County Attorney Amy Klobuchar (D) cleared the primary field with remarkable ease over the past six months and has performed admirably on the fundraising front, raising more than $3.7 million by the end of March.
This part badly needs updating, especially since Ford Bell decisively beat Ms. Klobuchar in their debate on Almanac. In fact, it isn’t overstating things to say that that was a Klobuchar meltdown moment. That doesn’t mean I think this dooms the Klobuchar campaign. I do think that Klobuchar’s admitting that she prefered a Candadian-style healthcare system will come back to bite her this fall much like Kerry’s “global test” line killed him after the first debate.
The conventional thinking that night was that Kerry won the foreign policy debate, a belief I shared until the “global test” line. I knew then that Kerry had misspoke and that Mssrs. Rove, Bush and Cheney wouldn’t let him forget that line.
I believe that’s what will happen with Klobuchar’s statement about Canadian-style rationed healthcare. That type of plan is only like by moonbats like Baghdad Jim McDermott and Socialist Bernie Sanders. I’ll guarantee that that isn’t where Minnesotans are on the issue.
To be fair, though, the Post’s analysis is relatively fair. Here’s a couple examples:
It’s hard to see how a Republican House member beats a well-known Democrat in a blue state in the current political climate, but Kennedy deserves kudos for the solid campaign he has run to date.
Klobuchar campaign pollster Anna Greenberg released a survey this week that showed her candidate with a 50 percent to 42 percent lead over Kennedy. More interesting than the head-to-head number, however, was that 66 percent of the sample said the state was on the wrong track and 58 percent voiced disapproval of the job President Bush is doing. Since the numbers were provided by Klobuchar’s pollster, one should take them with a grain of salt.
I think most anyone to the right of Klobuchar took those poll results with a grain of salt, which means alot of people because it doesn’t take alot to be to the right of Klobuchar.
I’d disagree that “it’s hard to see how a Republican House member beats a well-known Democrat in a blue state in the current political climate”, though. Kennedy’s run a very strong race thus far and he’s got a reputation of being a strong campaigner. I haven’t attended any Klobuchar rallies but I don’t get the impression that she’s the campaigner that Kennedy is.
The truth is I think she might not be a strong campaigner based on her “You made a promise. You said you would abide by the endorsement” line from her Almanac performance. It’s like she expected a coronation. I might be misreading her reaction but it isn’t a stretch, either.
That’s what John Murtha statements sounded like. The conviction in his voice made it sound like there could be no doubt about what happened in Haditha nor what should happen to the guilty Marines. But as I suspected, there’s more than one side to this story. As Paul Harvey says “Now you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” Or at least another side to the story than we’ve heard from Jihad Johnnie Murtha.
Military investigators piecing together what happened in the Iraqi town of Haditha on Nov. 19, when Marines allegedly killed two dozen civilians, have access to video shot by an unmanned drone aircraft that was circling overhead for at least part of that day, military defense lawyers familiar with the case said in interviews.
I’ve read that UAV’s aren’t a military asset that get used on anything except high priority operations. That tells me that if UAV’s were being used, the military conducting operations thought there was something of substantial value in Haditha.
In addition to video from the drone, investigators have records of radio message traffic between the Marines and a command center, said military defense lawyers who have discussed the investigation with Marines who were at Haditha but who have not yet been formally retained by them.
“There’s a ton of information that isn’t out there yet,” said one lawyer, who, like the others, would speak only on the condition of anonymity because a potential client has not been charged. The radio message traffic, he said, will provide a different view of the incident than has been presented by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) and other members of Congress. For example, he said, contrary to Murtha’s account, it will show that the Marines came under small-arms fire after the roadside explosion.
If this radio traffic shows that Marines came under “small-arms fire” right after the IED blast, then that tears a big hole in Murtha’s account. That doesn’t mean that they reacted properly but it does mean that Murtha’s ‘briefing’ is factually challenged at best. It might also mean that Murtha’s account was just a cheap political stunt aimed at criticizing the Bush administration’s Iraq policy.
Two of the lawyers said the message traffic will show officers in higher headquarters knew early on that a large number of civilians had been killed and that they did not raise alarms. “The chain of command knew about it,” said one, and “the number of deaths was reported” by the commander of the company involved, Capt. Lucas M. McConnell of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion of the 1st Regiment of the 1st Marine Division.
If this paragraph is accurate, then the next logical question I’d ask is “How likely is it that Marines and their entire chain of command would lie”? This seems shaky at best to me because the tapes talk about gunfire immediately after the IED blast. We also know from past reporting that the IED that exploded was the type that needed detonation.
So let’s timeline this:
- An IED that needs detonation from short range explodes.
- The Marines come under small-arms fire.
- The Marines’ commanders (a) “knew early on that a large number of civilians had been killed” and (b) “the number of deaths was reported” by the commander of the company involved, Capt. Lucas M. McConnell of Kilo Company.
Murtha’s made statements that this was covered up. This report indicates that civilian deaths were reported up the chain of command. That’s an odd way to cover something up, isn’t it? The only other explanation for Murtha’s opinion is that he thinks everyone in the chain of command is covering it up. We haven’t seen proof of that at all.
Frankly, I find Murtha’s version of events suspect at best. Here’s what we know:
- Murtha hasn’t read any of the Marine investigation’s reports.
- There’s video- and audio-tape of the attack, something that Murtha didn’t bother mentioning.
- The civilian deaths were reported up the chain of command, something that Murtha infers didn’t happen. He said that Marines are covering Haditha up. Color me extremely skeptical of Jihad Johnnie’s version of events.
Cross-post at Murtha Must Go
Cross-posted at California Conservative
What happened in a day? After all, the AP ran a story titled “Democrats Eye November Landslide”. Of course, it was filled with caveats how this landslide might not even take Republicans out of power in the House. (Question: If they’re talking landslide, how is it that they might screw it up and not even retake the House? After all, landslides are pretty overwhelming events, characterized with lots of proof beforehand.) That headline is refuted by the Washington Times’ Donald Lambro’s article this morning. His article is titled “Takeover of House, Senate not likely”.
“The 2006 midterm elections are a political analyst’s nightmare. The national climate seems to portend big changes, yet race-by-race analyses reveal formidable odds against a Democratic takeover of either the House or the Senate,” veteran elections tracker Charlie Cook says in his latest National Journal election preview.
Charlie, there’s a reason for that. The generic ballot is worthless in predicting the outcomes of elections. It’s the equivalent of the right track/wrong track numbers. Secondly, there’s an anti-incumbent mood but it’s mostly people not liking other peoples’ incumbents.
It’s kinda like when people are asked about the economy and they say the outlook’s gloomy. Then they’re asked if they’ve got a job. The person says that he’s got a job and isn’t worried about losing it but he’s worried that other neighbors might lose their jobs. The gloom is based on the perception that the media is portraying, not reality.
Let’s admit something else here, too, Charlie. The generic Democrat is always more appealing than the reality Democrat. The generic Democrat is filled with all the things that that voter likes and doesn’t carry the baggage that a real Democrat will.
Finally, let’s remind ourselves of something hugely important in all this, namely that campaigns matter. Here in Minnesota, Amy Klobuchar hasn’t been an effective campaigner thus far. Can she turn it around? Possibly, though I doubt it. She talks too much in ‘bureaucratspeak’. On the other hand, Mark Kennedy talks in what might be best titled ‘mainstreetspeak’.
Ms. Klobuchar dodges issues like they’re the plague. Just think back to Friday night’s debate with Ford Bell. It was like pulling teeth before Ms. Klobuchar said she prefered a Canadian-style healthcare plan. It’s that type of thing that caused me to write something titled Does Klobuchar Stand For Anything? It doesn’t appear she does.
Klobuchar’s campaign website has a page titled Amy on the Issues. I predict that you won’t know more about Klobuchar’s stand on the issues any better after you’ve read it. Here’s a sampling of what’s found there:
Securing our Nation and Changing Course in Iraq
Whether it was their categorical (but false) assertions about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or their repeated (but unsupported) claims of Iraq’s ties to Al Qaeda, or their frequent (but untrue) assurances that America would go to war only with broad international support, or their constant (but divisive) attempts to “spin” the war by going after those who disagreed with them, the Bush-Cheney administration did not give honest information to the American people. This conduct has not only damaged America’s credibility throughout the world, but also undermined the American people’s confidence in our own government.
Klobuchar did say that she didn’t support going to war with Iraq. She devoted one sentence to that. She immediately launched into a “Bush lied, people died” diatribe.
This sounds like the typical response by Democrats. It’s certainly what Rahm Emanuel was peddling in his LA Times op-ed this weekend.
That’s why Democrats won’t retake control of either chamber of Congress.
“Democrats have a remote chance of winning,” Mr. Cook says. Making matters worse, the Democrats were able to recruit only second- or third-tier challengers in many key districts where the Republicans looked vulnerable.
As opposed to the GOP recruiting Michele Bachmann types to run in Republican open seats. Frankly, that’s a substantial disadvantage to the Democrats and it isn’t being talked about by the national media. That’s why you need to get your election analysis from blogs like this one and from the indispensible KvM, Bachmann v. Wetterling and MDE, though this list isn’t comprehensive by any means. A new blog that’s a surefire winner is Powerline BOTW Wizbang Politics, featuring Lorie Byrd and Alex McClure.
At the end of the day, Democrats will be crying in their beer and dreaming up nutty conspiracy theories as to how the Republicans ‘stole the election.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Said Pace: “This investigation is ongoing. It would be premature for me to judge the outcome.” Asked how such a thing could have happened, he replied, “Fortunately, it does not happen very frequently, so there’s no way to say historically why something like this might have happened. We’ll find out.”
Though Gen. Pace didn’t think commenting was appropriate, that didn’t keep Murtha from playing judge, jury and executioner on ABC’s This Week.
“I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened,” he said. “This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterward and it should have been made public and people should have been held responsible for it.”
Forgive me but isn’t that statement proof that Murtha’s ‘case’ is falling apart? When he first talked about Haditha, he told everyone that “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” How can they be overwhelmed by the pressure of being deployed too long and still be able to intentionally kill someone? Murder carries with it the highest evidentiary hurdle and with good reason.
But that legal hurdle apparently means nothing to Murtha. Is it because he’s out to destroy a presidency and win control of Congress? Or is it that he’s labored in anonymity all this time in the lower chamber of Congress and now he wants his 15 minutes of fame? Is it because he doesn’t care if innocent peoples’ reputations are destroyed in his quest for the Chairmanship of the House Armed Services Committee? Is it all of the above?
Murtha said high-level reports he received indicated that no one fired upon the Marines or that there was any military action against the U.S. forces after the initial explosion. Yet the deaths were not seriously investigated until March because an early probe was stifled within days of the incident, he said.
Who gave Murtha these “high-level reports”? Is he willing to name the names of these briefers? Or are they like-minded snitches who hate President Bush as much as Murtha? Are these briefers or are they leakers who want to put out a one-sided version of the Haditha incident? Until there’s a name and/or face connected with these ‘reports’, I won’t trust them at all. For all we know, they might be people whose objectivity is questionable.
Here’s some of Mr. Douglass’ reporting in “Iraq Killings May Hurt War Effort”:
The deaths of as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians and an ensuing cover-up threaten to do more harm to U.S. efforts in Iraq than even the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, a prominent congressman and war critic says. “This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people,” Rep. John Murtha, (D-PA), said Sunday. “And we’re set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib.”
As I said in my previous comments, I’m not willing to believe Murtha’s version of events. He’s been badly wrong before, making me question his credibility and motives. Furthermore, aren’t Murtha’s accusations, if they turn out to be wrong, doing more damage to our winning over the hearts and minds of Iraqis?
Murtha’s statements also imply that we aren’t winning over Iraqis hearts and minds. I’m not willing to concede that because of all the reports that I’ve read about how American troops are viewed. Check out Ralph Peters’ ‘post-Civil War’ series to see how Iraqis react to Americans.
A defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, told the AP on Friday that evidence gathered so far strongly indicated that the Haditha killings were unjustified. Early this year, a videotape of the aftermath of the incident, showing the bodies of women and children, was obtained by Time magazine and Arab television stations. The military then undertook another investigation.
People speaking “on condition of anonymity” aren’t trustworthy at all. Furthermore, whatever happened to the legal principle that the accused gets to confront and attempt impeaching his accusers before the jury deliberates? It seems, at minimum, that Murtha is tainting the jury pool and violating these Marines’ due process rights. If anything, shouldn’t that be a source of embarassment for Murtha?
Cross-posted at Murtha Must Go
That’s the headline of Ron Fournier’s latest propaganda piece for the AP. Let’s take a look at the article.
Republicans are three steps from a November shellacking, each a grim possibility if habitually divided Democrats get their acts together.
First step: Voters must focus on the national landscape on Nov. 7 rather than local issues and personalities that usually dominate midterm elections. That would sting Republicans, who trail badly in national polls.
Actually, this is ‘conventional wisdom’ at its worst. Nationalizing this election on the issue of who’s serious about fighting the GWOT casts Democrats in an awful light, whether it’s Dean’s “We can’t win”, Pelosi’s endorsement of Murtha’s “immediate withdrawal” plan or Teddy Kennedy’s quagmire.
Nationalizing the economy would also be a smart move on Republicans’ part. Unemployment is low, productivity is high, home ownership, both overall and amongst minorities, is at record levels. Peoples’ 401(k) plans are growing. The deficit is dropping, with it likely to come in under $300 billion this year. And the Bush tax cuts are working.
Nationalizing this election on immigration and border security is a winner for Republicans if they get a solid bill out of conference. People see that Kennedy, Dodd and Durbin aren’t serious about border security. If they had their way, they’d start with amnesty and then work to create open borders. Durbin was on FNS yesterday and he’s said that the Dodd Amendment, which requires we consult with Mexico on the national, regional and local levels, is the way to go. Jim Sensenbrenner and the vast majority of Republicans say that’s nonsense. The Kennedy/Dodd/Durbin approach simply isn’t where most people are at with immigration.
Second step: Voters must be so angry at Washington and politics in general that an anti-incumbent, throw-the-bums-out mentality sweeps the nation. That would wound Republicans, the majority party.
This “throw-the-bums-out mentality” sweeping “the nation” is misleading at best and intellectually dishonest at worst. The truth is that, for the most part, people like their incumbent fine but would love to throw out someone else’s incumbent. There’s nothing in the polling I’ve seen that says a “throw-the-bums-out mentality” is sweeping the nation.
Third step: Americans must view the elections as a referendum on President Bush and the GOP-led Congress, siding with Democrats in a symbolic vote against the Iraq war, rising gas prices, economic insecurity and the nagging sense that the nation is on the wrong track. That would destroy Republicans, sweeping them from power in one or both chambers and making Bush a lame duck. Less than six months out, most Democratic and Republican strategists say the first two elements are in place for now, a national, anti-incumbent mind-set, and all signs point to the third.
That isn’t happening. Clearly, here in Minnesota, people are seeing how inept Amy Klobuchar is. By the time Election Day arrives, they’ll see Mark Kennedy as the superior candidate because he’s the only serious candidate in that race. Michele Bachmann, running to replace Mark in the U.S. House, faces child advocate Patty Wetterling. As I’ve said in the past, Wetterling’s done some good work on child safety issues but her positions make her unelectable. In a religious, conservative district, Ms. Wetterling is pro choice, pro gay rights and supports getting all American troops home by this Thanksgiving.
The truth is that Republicans have done a better job of recruiting candidates than have Democrats. Candidates and campaigns matter, a lesson lost on the moonbat left and Mr. Fournier.
“The fear I have as a Democrat is that if we are making this solely a referendum on the Republicans, we are not giving people a reason to turn out,” said Democratic strategist Chris Lehane of California. “Having said that, I think all these other elements are so bad for the Republicans that ‘Had enough?’ should be enough.”
That’s a major mistake, Mr. Lehane. That’s a fatal mistake, in fact. It might be different if this were more like 1994, when a perfect storm happened. That year, people had a positive image of Republicans and a bad image of Democrats. This year, most people are disgusted with both parties to a certain extent. The people don’t think Democrats are more trustworthy ethically than Republicans. The people don’t think that Democrats are more trustworthy in setting war policy than Republicans.
Inside the DNC, some officials point to internal polls that show voters holding both the Democratic and Republican parties in equally low esteem. The fact that most voters, when forced to choose, tell pollsters they want Democrats rather than Republicans to control Congress is not a sign of strength, these officials say. Rather, it’s evidence that voters are simply giving Democrats a chance to win them over, a chance that can be blown unless Democrats stand for something other than attacking Bush, these officials said.
The generic poll is useless. It should be banned from appearing in articles until Democrats reestablish some level of coherence. The truth is that the generic numbers drop precipitously when actual Democrats are plugged into the equation. At this point, ‘generic’ Democrats poll far better because each voter can ‘create’ their dream candidate. That stops the minute they see some of these moonbat candidates. That sends them running for the hills.
NATIONAL ELECTION: Among the two dozen Republican and Democratic strategists interviewed in the last two weeks, there was unanimity that the fall campaigns will be national in scope. Voters will give local issues less attention than normal, a bad sign for the GOP. “If we keep it local we win; if they nationalize issues, they win,” said Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis.
Saul, keeping this local in Michigan is smart politics because Jennifer Granholm’s stunning failure and Debbie Stabenow’s “dangerous incompetence”.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
If you’re searching for some Monday humor, check out this AP article on Minnesota disgrace Mark Dayton.
In February, upset about a plan by a South Dakota railroad to run coal trains close to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Dayton said the clinic “is worth a hell of a lot more than the whole state of South Dakota.” He later apologized for the remark. The following month, he called fellow Democratic Sen. Russ Feingold’s proposal to censure President Bush over a warrantless surveillance program “an overreaching step by someone who is grandstanding and running for president at the expense of his own party and his own country.” Dayton did not apologize for that.
He even told a Minnesota high school group he’d give himself an “F” if he had to grade his accomplishments in the Senate. “And I would give the entire Congress, of which I’m a member, an F for results,” Dayton said in an interview. He pointed out that he also told the students he’d give himself an “A-minus” for effort.
Sen. Dayton, I don’t grade idiots on effort. I grade them on results. As for giving “the entire Congress…an F for results”, I’d beg to differ. Republicans have gotten a pair of highly qualified Supreme Court justices confirmed, extended the Bush tax cuts and appropriated the funds to liberate 25 million people in Iraq. I will agree, however, on you deserving an F for your term in the Senate.
Dayton, 59, announced last year that he would not seek re-election, concluding that Democrats could field a stronger candidate. His reputation took a beating months earlier when he temporarily closed his Senate office, citing a secret intelligence report that he said made him fear for his staff’s safety.
Dayton would’ve been a dead duck had he run for re-election. Amy Klobuchar, who calls Dayton a hero of her’s, is currently leading in some polls but her chances of getting elected just took a hit after last Friday night’s meltdown in her debate with Ford Bell. It wouldn’t be unfair to think of Klobuchar as a female version of Dayton: A- for effort & an F for results.
Rahm Emanuel is a smart man most of the time. After reading his LA Times op-ed, it’s obvious that he isn’t a smart man all of the time. Let’s check out his logic on a few statements.
ON OCT. 3, 1993, an American helicopter was shot down in Somalia. Efforts to rescue the downed pilots went terribly wrong, and 18 Americans were killed. It was a humiliating incident for the world’s most powerful nation. It also devastated 18 American families. When President Clinton was told that his commanders on the ground had requested more troops but had been ignored by Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, Clinton acted decisively and fired him.
Mr. Emanuel is rewriting history here. What happened is that commanders on the ground asked for more troops and tanks but Aspin denied the request, citing “political considerations” as the reason for not sending more. At the time, everyone took “political considerations” to mean that the President didn’t want to commit troops for fear that his poll ratings would drop. Clinton did fire Aspin but it was seen as Clinton skapegoating Aspin instead of fessing up that he wouldn’t send more troops.
President Bush has chosen a different course. As criticism mounts over the planning and execution of the Iraq war, eight retired generals have come forward in an unprecedented manner to call for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld. The president has held firm, stating, “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best.”
Talk about hypocrisy. Comparing Somalia with Iraq is shameless and intellectually dishonest. Somalia was an American embarrassment of the highest order. No progress was made. When we cut and run, the warlord who ran Mogadishu was still in power. Rush frequently belittled Clinton’s ineptitude, citing the military’s not capturing Aidid as Clinton’s failure. I remember Rush saying that Clinton looked like a fool for not finding Aidid when Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather conducted interviews with him on the nightly network news. I might add that we cut and run at John Murtha’s urging.
On the other hand, though we’ve suffered setbacks, we’ve deposed a dictator and killed his sons in a gunfight, turned over sovereignty to the Iraqis, seen three elections, helped in the writing of a new Iraqi Constitution while training a military capable of defending Iraq against terrorists and hostile neighbors like Syria and Iran.
In other words, Emanuel is comparing Somalia, where nothing got accomplished and our military was humiliated and defeated to Iraq, where a free nation has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of a repressive dictatorship as a symbol of hope to that troubled region. Emanuel’s comparison isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
Congress had a constitutional responsibility to oversee the president’s actions. Instead, it has spent the last three years on the sidelines, approving every funding request, nearly half a trillion dollars, no questions asked. The glaring mistakes made at every stage of the war were ignored in favor of feel-good speeches about staying the course.
Is Emanuel suggesting that we shouldn’t stay the course? Is Emanuel suggesting that Congress shouldn’t have approved the military supplementals? What’s the point that he’s making? Is it that he’s agreeing with Dean’s statements that we can’t win the war in Iraq? Or is he saying that spending all that money isn’t worth it? I don’t know the point he’s trying to make. I suspect, though, that he’s just trying to rip on the President’s administration to score cheap political points. I don’t think he’s trying to make legitimate policy points. It wouldn’t be the first time that a Democratic politician thought that a diatribe could be taken as a serious policy statement.
To date, Congress has held no hearings on the conduct of the war, and Wilson’s question remains unanswered. Three years of worsening news have eroded the public’s faith in the war.
TRANSLATION: Three years of worsening news have eroded the public’s faith in the Agenda Media. After all, they’re the ones who’ve done everything in their power to paint Iraq as an unmitigated disaster. The NY Times running above-the-fold front page articles of Abu Ghraib 53 straight days was the most telling sign. Michael Isikoff saying on Softball with Chris Matthews that “We don’t do school openings. We do bombings” was another telling moment.
Meanwhile, readership of serious bloggers like the Belmont Club, Black Five, Michael Yon and the columns from Austin Bay and Ralph Peters have attracted substantial readerships.
The president must be held accountable for deciding to stick with failed leadership, at a tremendous cost to our nation. And this Congress must be held accountable for letting him get away with it. After three years, nearly 2,500 lives and half a trillion dollars, it’s clear we went to war with the leadership we had, not the one we needed.
How do we hold the President accountable, Mr. Emanuel? He’s run his last campaign. And if the buck stops with the President, why should the American people take it out on Congress? Let’s also look at what holding Congress accountable means.
It means installing ‘Cut-and-Run’ John Murtha as House Armed Services Committee Chairman. Would that mean he’d have weekly trials of Marines based on the selective leaks of people close to the Haditha investigation? It’d also mean Speaker Pelosi, who supported, even encouraged Murtha’s “immediate redeployment” stunt. That’s something to hold unserious Democratic politicians accountable for, not the President.
In the end, Emanuel’s op-ed is nothing more than the latest episode of Democrats coming unhinged at the thought of Republicans being in charge. Don’t mistake it as a serious policy statement.
That’s a mistake only a moonbat Democrat would make.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I’ve written often about RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman’s outreach events and the effects that outreach is having. Bob Novak’s Townhall.com column offers proof that Mehlman’s efforts are paying off.
Richmond Myrick, the principal of Largo High School, is a registered Democrat in overwhelmingly Democratic Prince George’s County next to Washington, D.C. He has not been active politically and is not recorded as having made any contributions to candidates for federal office. Yet recently, he stood in the parking lot of Prince George’s Community College adjoining his school to introduce Republican Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, whom he has endorsed for the U.S. Senate.
Myrick is African American, as are most students at Largo High. So is Steele. If enough non-political blacks follow Myrick’s course, Steele will become the first black Republican elected to the Senate in 32 years. That is the Democrats’ worst nightmare. Democratic dominance in Maryland has been based on maintaining a hammerlock over the state’s substantial African-American vote. Steele threatens that domination.
Alot of Democratic leaders heard about Mehlman’s efforts and ignored it. One who didn’t was Donna Brazile, Al Gore’s campaign advisor. She warned the DNC that this effort would have an effect. Howard Dean made his infamous remark that
“You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room?,” Dean asked to laughter. “Only if they had the hotel staff in here”
Hillary Clinton made her plantation comments. But they didn’t do a thing to connect with the concerns of black voters. That won’t win them continued support from the rising black middle class.
Democratic leaders were not happy when Steele, as running mate in 2002, helped pull even a mere 5 percent of the black vote for Robert Ehrlich, the winning Republican for governor. Running by himself for the Senate, Steele will surely do much better. His own surveys show 14 percent, with an upside potential of 44 percent. If Steele gets 25 percent of the black vote, he is probably the winner.
Forget that last sentence. If Steele wins 25 percent of the black vote, he will be Senator-Elect Steele. PERIOD. Not only that but perceptions about the GOP and minorities will change substantially. That isn’t saying that they’ll win a majority of black votes anytime soon but people will notice and behavior will change. Also worth noting is the belief amongst many Republicans that the Democrats will lose more face if they pick white Congressman Ben Cardin over former NAACP chairman Kweisi Mfume. I’m one of those who are convinced that’ll matter, too.
Cross-posted at California Conservative