Archive for July, 2006

That’s the headline of Susan Page’s analysis of the Michigan gubernatorial race. The essence of Granholm’s campaign is easily encapsulated here:

She usually finds herself playing defense. “In the four years you’ve been governor, Michigan has certainly taken some hard knocks,” host Alex Albritton notes as he opens In Depth, a call-in show on WHPR-TV in Highland Park. Granholm blames “unfettered free trade” that has cost Michigan jobs and Bush for turning “a blind eye” to automakers’ travails. Michigan jobs have “gone on a slow boat to China and on the Internet to India,” she says, then adds a slap at two trade accords: “NAFTA and CAFTA have already given us the shaft-a.”

TRANSLATION: “It isn’t my fault. It’s the fault of NAFTA, CAFTA, Bush, China and problably a few other things. A governor is hostage to outside forces.”

The bottom line is that she’s lost this race already. She’s admitted that she doesn’t have a path out of Michigan’s economic mess. Think that’s what Michigan’s unemployed auto workers want to hear? They aren’t sitting there analyzing global economics. They’re sitting there wondering if their elected officials have a path to prosperity. And they aren’t hearing about a path to prosperity from Granholm.

If the Michigan GOP isn’t outworked, this race is over.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

What a difference a major winning streak can do for a team’s confidence. The Twins’ confidence is soaring for good reason. The Twins got another stellar pitching performance from staff ace Johan Santana, who won a pitchers’ duel with Chicago’s Jose Contreras, improved to 12-5 on the season. Contreras fell to 9-3, losing for the third straight time after running off a 17 game winning streak over two seasons. Again, the Twins got some clutch relief pitching from Juan Rincon and Joe Nathan, who each pitched a scoreless inning.

But all those superb efforts would’ve been for naught if it wasn’t for the big nights by DH Jason Kubel, who hit a game-tying homer in the top of the second, the timely hitting and solid defense of Jason Tyner and the monster game of Jason Bartlett. Bartlett went 2 for 4 with a wind-aided three-run homer that just barely cleared the leftfield fence in the seventh. If that wasn’t enough to make him tonight’s hero, then his incredible back-handed diving stab of a bouncer in the hole off the bat of pinch-hitter Scott Podsednik, coupled with a laser-shot throw to first to nail the fleet-footed Podsednik on a bang-bang play cemented that honor.

The game was played with a hyper-charged playoff atmosphere, with the game seemingly hanging on every pitch. True baseball fans were treated to one of the most entertaining games of the season. In the end, the Twins and ChiSox played great, with the Twins playing just a bit better.

As a Twins fan, I’ve marveled at how much this team’s youngsters have matured in the course of two months. The Twins didn’t get stellar offensive performances from Mauer, Morneau and Cuddyer but they still won. I’ve been impressed with Jason Bartlett’s defensive range and his laser arm, both of which he flashed against Mr. Podsednik. I’ve been impressed with Nick Punto’s range and tenacity defensively.

I’ve been heartened by this team’s depth in winning through the injuries to Torii Hunter and Shannon Stewart. Those guys go down, they recall Rondell White and Jason Tyner just in time for the biggest series of the season thus far. The net result is that the Twins barely miss a beat. They didn’t read the press clippings that they shouldn’t be winning through the injuries. Good for them.

As a result, the Twins have a chance to jump into a tie for the lead in the wild card race with the ChiSox when they take the field against lefty Mark Buerhle at 1:00 Wednesday afternoon. They shouldn’t have a shot at sweeping the ChiSox in Chicago, especially without Torii and Shannon Stewart. Hopefully, they won’t realize that either. Hopefully, they’ll just keep on winning.

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Much to the chagrin of the Agenda Media, Condi Rice did her best to lower expectations for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli-Hezbollah war:

Officials from the United Nations, Europe and other Arab countries have already urged an end to the fighting. Rice and Bush have rejected calls for an immediate cease-fire, saying it does not make sense if the terrorist threat from Hezbollah is not addressed. They have said Israel has a right to defend itself from terrorism and Hezbollah must return two captured Israeli soldiers and stop firing missiles and rockets into Israel if they want the fighting to stop. For years, the Saudis have been among the United States’ closest allies in the Arab world, despite strains from U.S. pressures aimed at increasing democracy in the conservative kingdom.

Rice and President Bush won’t push for a ceasefire for at least another week because it’s like telling Israel to stop eliminating the people who want to destroy them. At some point, I expect President Bush to be amenable to a ceasefire but only after the Israelis dramatically degrade Hezbollah’s capabilities, at minimum. I’m confident that President Bush isn’t near that point yet.

A White House spokeswoman, Eryn Witcher, would not comment on the Saudi proposal. She said Bush and the Saudis have “shared goals of helping the people of Lebanon and restoring sovereignty of the government of Lebanon and building stronger Lebanese armed forces.” “They discussed the humanitarian situation and reconstruction and putting conditions in place for an end to violence,” Witcher said.

TRANSLATION: We know that Israel is killing people and breaking things. We won’t tell them to stop but we’ll send humanitarian aid to ease the suffering of Lebanese innocents.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Under the guise of putting forth an agenda, ‘moderate’ Democrats instead just kept talking about what terrible shape America is in. Whining is as much a part of a Democrats’ DNA as ncreasing taxes is. Here’s a sample:

Sadly, Vilsack said, many of America’s children nowadays don’t have faith in the idea of an American dream. “They don’t believe in the notion that somehow they’re going to have a great life, and many adults are just hoping that their kids have it as good as they have it. Deep down in America’s psyche that troubles a lot of us,” he said. “I don’t want to be part of the generation, the first generation in this country’s history, to basically look my kids in the eye and say: ‘Sorry. Hopefully you’ll have it as good as we have it.’ And, I don’t think too many American parents want to have that conversation with their kids either,” Vilsack said. Additionally, the Iowa Democrat said: “We are a competitive nation. We don’t like losing and if we’re going to compete in the global economy, we’re going to have to do things differently.”

I know Vilsack can’t praise the President much but it’s pretty sickening when he paints a picturewith that much doom and gloom. Unemployment & taxes are down. Home ownership is at an all time high. Productivity is high. We’re winning the GWOT because we aren’t giving it the ostrich treatment like the Clinton administration did. Those sound like radical improvements over the Clinton era.

At heart, Vilsack’s message is the same as the Democrats’ 04 yapping about the Great Depression. It failed then. It’ll fail now.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who led the yearlong effort and also may run for president, will outline the specific proposals in a speech to nearly 400 local elected Democratic officials from more than 40 states attending the organization’s annual meeting in Republican-leaning Colorado. The site underscores the organization’s contention that the party must broaden its appeal and reach out to voters in rapidly growing areas of the country if it wants to win control of Congress this fall and the White House in 2008.

Ms. Sidoti would be well-advised to take those rose-colored glasses off because she doesn’t see things clearly. Hillary “also may run for president”? NO. Say it ain’t so. Give me a break.

They can pick Colorado as a place to announce their agenda but their kook fringe ‘base’ turns people off in droves. The Nutroots gang is hastening the destruction of the Democratic Party. The sad thing is that they don’t even know it. Good riddance.

Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada, his counterpart in the House, Nancy Pelosi of California, and Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean say voters have a clear choice, more of the same under Republicans or a new direction with Democrats in charge.

This is a major strategic mistake for Democrats. The only time they win is when they blur the differences between themselves and Republicans. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi don’t appeal to voters like Newt did in 1994. Instead, they’ll turn people away from the Democratic Party.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

There’s an old saying that goes “A wise man is someone who has something to say. A fool is someone who has to say something.” Based on this article, it’s pretty easy to identify which camp John Kerry’s in.

U.S. Sen. John Kerry, (D-MA), who was in town Sunday to help Gov. Jennifer Granholm campaign for her re-election bid, took time to take a jab at the Bush administration for its lack of leadership in the Israeli-Lebanon conflict. “If I was president, this wouldn’t have happened,” said Kerry during a noon stop at Honest John’s bar and grill in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. Bush has been so concentrated on the war in Iraq that other Middle East tension arose as a result, he said. “The president has been so absent on diplomacy when it comes to issues affecting the Middle East,” Kerry said. “We’re going to have a lot of ground to make up (in 2008) because of it.”

Mr. Kerry hasn’t noticed but Democrats have far more ground to make up if than he thinks. If they don’t stop carping about President Bush and offer an alternative, they won’t even get a whiff of the White House or Congress. His claim that the Israeli-Hezbollah war wouldn’t have happened had he been in the White House is utterly laughable, too. The biggest reason why he isn’t in the White House is because people saw him as being too wishy-washy on national security.

As a foreign policy realist, his ‘solution’ to the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict would’ve been to either pressure Israel into a ceasefire that would’ve allowed Hezbollah to restock or to send in more UN ‘peacekeepers’ into southern Lebanon. (By the way, the ‘truth-in-advertising’ label for UN peacekeepers is ‘SPEEDBUMP.”) That’s hardly a solution.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the conclusion of Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Here’s what he has to say:

The most interesting question about the possibility that Connecticut Democrats could deny Joseph Lieberman renomination is whether that would help or hurt the senator’s political prospects. Or, for that matter, the Democratic Party’s. That’s because even if Lieberman loses the Aug. 8 Democratic primary, and the newest polling data says that is a real possibility, he would be a huge favorite for re-election as an independent come November. And if that is the case, it would not be hard to write a scenario in which the real loser from a Lieberman defeat to anti-war candidate Ned Lamont might be the Democratic Party itself.

That’s what you’d call a lose-lose-lose big situation for Democrats, both in Connecticut and nationally. You can bet that people across the nation are watching this primary. The thing is, Democrats have already lost by this being such a close race.

The average American out in the Heartland is thinking “Why would they dump a man who came withing 500+ votes of being the Vice President of the United States”? If Markos’ gang thinks that they’re taking back their party, I say “Go for it. By the time they get done with it, it won’t be worth a hill of beans.” Make no mistake about it: Kossacks are destroying the Democratic Party, though it was on the road to ruination before the Kossack/ crowd showed up. The Nutroots gang just sped up that ruination.

The anti-Lieberman effort has become a cause celebre for Internet gadflies who are a rising power in Democratic politics. Among Lamont’s major backers is the brother of Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, whose 2004 presidential candidate was the darling of the blogger set that disdains Lieberman for his cordial relationship with Bush. The defeat of Lieberman, among the Democrats most conservative senators, would again raise the specter of a Democratic Party dominated by a liberal wing unwilling to tolerate dissent.

As I’ve said numerous times, purist parties are minority parties. It’s obvious that that’s the future of the Democratic Party. They bought it. They paid for it. Now it’s their’s to destroy. And destroy it they shall.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

How do I know this? Well, (a) she’s trailing Dick DeVos in all the latest polling and, more importantly, (b) she had to resort to having a fundraising visit by John Kerry. Imagine the indignity of having to resort to such a third tier never was as Kerry.

Seriously, I’ve seen this race as heading downhill for Granholm since May. Kerry showing up is another reason why Republicans are in much better shape than the Agenda Media will ever admit. Republicans can bring in a Giuliani or McCain or Rove or Laura Bush or Lynne Cheney, all of whom appeal to more than the mythical Republican base. Kerry doesn’t even inspire Democrats, much less expand the non-existent Democratic base. (Yes, I know about the Nutroots gang but I’d bet that Democrats would rather not have to deal with them. Welcome to campaign finance reform, Dems.)

When you look at the Democrats’ ‘big guns’ to send out the last month, they’re all polarizing figures. Hillary? Bill? Schumer? Reid? Pelosi? Oh yeah, that’s a bunch with appeal. The only Democrat that has any appeal is Barack Obama and he can’t be everywhere.

Let’s remember, too, that the last month of a campaign is crucial. As Mr. Rove told the MOB bloggers, the notion of a base election is silly. You win by constantly expanding your base by appealing to more people. And that’s where Democrats suffer. By mid-October, I suspect that we’ll be playing on an ever-shrinking map for Democrats and an expanding map of opportunities for Republicans.

That’s why Ms. Granholm and Ms. Stabenow are both heading for defeats.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Jean Francois Kerry got out his pack of spitballs and attacked Rush Limbaugh for Rush’s statement that President Bush is the best friend that the Israelis have ever had. Here’s Kerry’s official statement from his website:

“Rush Limbaugh’s ignorance and willingness to divide Americans knows no bounds. His latest statement about Israel is beyond offensive to all of us who have fought to protect Israel in the face of enemies committed to its destruction.”

Kerry’s got a French definition of fighting for Israel. Here’s Kerry’s statement to the Arab American Institute in Michigan:

“I know how disheartened Palestinians are by the Israeli government’s decision to build the barrier off of the Green Line, cutting deep into Palestinian areas. We don’t need another barrier to peace. Provocative and counterproductive measures only harm Israelis’ security over the long term, increase the hardships to the Palestinian people, and make the process of negotiating an eventual settlement that much harder.”

That doesn’t sound like he’s being supportive of Israel. I’d doubt that Israel is looking for that type of ‘support’. Here’s what Kerry told a Jewish group right before the NY primary:

“Israel’s security fence is a legitimate act of self defense. No nation can stand by while its children are blown up at pizza parlors and on buses. While President Bush is rightly discussing with Israel the exact route of the fence to minimize the hardship it causes innocent Palestinians, Israel has a right and a duty to defend its citizens. The fence only exists in response to the wave of terror attacks against Israel.”

I think we could call that Kerry’s ‘I supported Israel after I supported the Palestinians’ moment.

“Rush Limbaugh needs to pick up a history book instead of a donut.”

Another shining example of Democratic graciousness in the face of GOP meanspiritedness? Thankfully, most Democrats aren’t into personal attacks. Oh wait….

“It was a Democratic president who first recognized the State of Israel. It was a Democratic President who first sold Israel defensive weapons. And it was a Democratic President who first sold Israel offensive weapons.”

True enough, Mr. Kerry. I wonder if he’d recognize today’s version of his party? I’d doubt it.

“The people of Israel and the Jewish community don’t need Rush Limbaugh to tell them who stands with them, and no one has time for right wing trying to score cheap political points while Israel fights to defend its very existence.”

Wasn’t Mr. Kerry happy with the notion of badgering Ehud Barak into surrendering large chunks of land to Yassir Arafat in the 90’s? Israel doesn’t need that type of support. They need a president that won’t cave to the ‘international community’ just to keep his popularity ratings up.

That’s why President Bush is seen by Israel as the best friend Israel’s ever had in the White House. That isn’t just Rush’s opinion. It’s part of the official record since at least 2002:

Who says that there are no more miracles today? US President George W. Bush’s long-awaited speech on the Middle East, in which he upset the entire applecart of cherished assumptions upon which Middle East diplomacy has been based for more than a decade, certainly qualifies. At least if you believe the pundits, not one of whom came close to predicting what the president would say.

If a speech can be judged by those it ticks off, then Bush’s was a smasheroo. Foreign Minister Shimon Peres was reportedly so revolted that he could not bear to listen to the end. No doubt he was indignant at the snub the president administered to his erstwhile “peace partner” and co-Nobel Laureate. In calling for a new Palestinian leadership, Bush did not even deign to mention Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat by name.

That was written by Jerusalem Post columnist Jonathan Rosenblum in July, 2002. That isn’t the only person saying it. Many is the time that Ed Koch has said that President Bush has been Israel’s best friend.

Instead of Kerry telling Rush to pick up a history book, I’d suggest that he pick up a newspaper. Better yet, he should start reading the Right Blogosphere so he finally gets a clue.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the title of Michael Goodwin’s column in this morning’s NY Daily News.

Like a schoolyard bully who deserves a thorough butt-kicking, Hezbollah needs to be taught a lesson. It can either learn to live in peace, or it can die. But it cannot win by playing the terror card and it cannot be allowed to think it’s going to.

Goodwin is right on the money with that analysis. In light of Goodwin’s analysis, President Bush’s resistance to calls for working diplomatically towards a cease-fire that, at best, would be uneven, looks brilliant. A ceasefire would be disastrous for Israel. Pressuring Israel into a ceasefire would be inhumane to Israel’s population.

The message sent is that terrorists could essentially call ‘Time Out’ everytime they were getting bloodied. The message sent would be that terrorists would be endless opportunities to cry “Cease-fire” whenever they needed to regroup. As must as I hate seeing the pictures of innocent civilians dying, I’d hate giving Hezbollah the opportunity to regroup and re-arm even more.

President Bush is exactly right in essentially saying “Give war a chance.” Weren’t we told ages ago that the so-called ‘Arab Street’ respected winners? Doesn’t caving into Hezbollah’s demands make them the de facto winners? Why give them that victory?

It’s also time to call out the international press on their blaming Israel for the loss of civilian lives. Hezbollah has a history of setting up shop where they’ve got an abundant supply of human shields, shield they use: (a) to protect themselves with and (b) as propaganda tools to the West. Therefore, it’s only logical that they be blamed for starting wars, retreating behind human shields, thereby endangering innocent civilians.

When you think about it, isn’t that a valid argument that they shouldn’t be accorded Geneva Convention protections? It seems to me that they don’t deserve those protections.

At the end of the day, Hezbollah needs to be destroyed and Iran and Syria must pay a price for their complicity in supplying terrorists with Katyushas and other rockets.

At the end of the day, the only that happens is if we give war a chance.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

That’s the question I have to ask myself after reading Salena Zito’s great column on the issue. Blue Dog Democrats fancy themselves as conservative Democrats, though I’m not convinced anymore.

During the 90’s, the Blue Dogs did vote more conservatively. When Nancy Pelosi replaced Dick Gebhardt, that trend changed. In fact, I think Pelosi’s precinct boss mentality, which she got from her dad, is producing more party line votes. It’s also causing more dissension and less participation in the caucus meetings. This doesn’t reflect badly on the Blue Dogs. It’s a sign of the increasing influence of the Nutroots crowd.

Tthat said, there’s something that I’d disagree with from Ms. Zito’s column:

U.S. Rep. John Tanner, (D-TN), is one of the founders of the Blue Dog Coalition. “I think most Americans don’t see the world as ‘left’ and ‘right’ but identify themselves somewhere in the ideological center, which I call the ‘commonsense center,'” he says. “They, like us, have grown tired of the partisan bickering…they want realistic, pragmatic solutions to the problems facing our country.”

Mr. Tanner is right that people want common sense solutions to the nation’s problems. That said, I’ve yet to see conclusive proof that people reject partisanship if the partisan is applying common sense and getting things done.

Take taxes for instance. Most people think that they’re overtaxed. The lone exception I’ve seen were the 203 ‘wealthy’ liberals who paid for an ad in the Strib, saying that they should be paying more. What issue is more partisan than taxation? None.

Take national security. There aren’t many issues that are more partisan these days than fighting the GWOT. While people don’t think that President Bush has done a great job with Iraq, they know that Democrats aren’t serious about Iraq because the Nutroots crowd won’t let them be.

More than anything else, people are looking for leadership. That’s where the Blue Dogs’ reputation falters the most. I can’t think of a single major initiative where they’ve shown leadership.

More than anything else, people are tuning out partisan Democrats who spout that day’s mindless talking points. It isn’t that people tune out partisans. It’s that they tune out blowhards, most of whom are found on what might be called the ‘Bombastic Left’ if they weren’t already called the Nutroots.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative