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Archive for February, 2007

Isn’t it time we told Cindy Sheehan to shut up?

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

I just ran across a story that touched a little close to home. Pillsbury Baptist Bible College is experiencing a slowdown & is in need of help. Here’s a better explanation of what’s happening:

For the school to continue operating, Crane said, it needs an enrollment of at least 200 students. Currently, 170 students attend the school.

This touches very close to home for me because an old neighbor of mine, Pastor Sandahl, used to serve on the board at Pillsbury. Pastor Sandahl is one of the most genuine, most humble, most Godly men I’ve ever met. It’d be accurate to say that Pastor embodies the beliefs of Pillsbury. I know many graduates of Pillsbury, too. Some are relatives of mine. Pillsbury is one of the finest Bible colleges in the nation.

I’d appreciate it if my readers would pray for extra wisdom for Pillsbury’s leaders.

Following the very accurate Minnesota budget forecast, this AP article quotes Margaret Anderson-Kelliher. Here’s what Anderson-Kelliher is quoted as saying:

“There are still going to be a lot more `No’s’ than `Yes’s’ at the end of the day,” House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher said last week.

Here’s more from the article:

Before the 2007 session opened, lawmakers set ambitious goals of expanding full-day kindergarten across the state, building up toddler education programs, making sure all children have health insurance, helping colleges rein in tuition and providing property tax relief to homeowners.

Since then, leaders have suggested it would be tough to do it all this year. For instance, there’s been increasing talk that the kindergarten initiative would have to be phased in several years.

TRANSLATION: Democrats made big promises to their special interest groups to keep them energized before the election. Now reality sets in because they know they can’t fulfill all of their promises because they’d be a one term majority. They know that because people voted against Republicans more than they voted for the DFL’s agenda.

The reality is that Democrats are in the process of overplaying their hands, both here in Minnesota & in Washington, DC. Despite this midterm election’s results, conservatism is still the most dominant force in American politics.

The reality is that people prefer fiscal restraint over lavish promises. The DFL doesn’t offer fiscal restraint, despite Kelliher’s stating otherwise.

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Check out King’s post about the new Minnesota budget forecast projections that were announced this morning.

I totally agree with King. Now that the forecast is out, Democrats will be saying that our surplus is artificial because we aren’t factoring in inflation.

The combined surplus is $2.163 billion, just $7 million off the forecast. I’m not an economist but that seems like extremely accurate forecasting.

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This Washington Post article provides additional insight into how divided the Democrats are on what their option is toward Iraq. The title of the article is “Iraq Bill Vexes Democrats”. I’d say a better title might be “Democrats Caught Betwixt and Between”. Here’s what I said in this post:

After showing signs of unity of mission during the campaign, Democrats are splitting in all directions on Iraq policy. This was predictable because their Nutroots campaign contributions base is demanding that they end the war, a move that would cost them the 2008 elections. Their desire to please the Nutroots’ demands is countered by the understanding that they’d be swept from office. That self-preservation instinct still runs strong.

Here’s how the Washington Post put it this morning:

House Democratic leaders offered a full-throated defense last night of their plans to link Iraq war spending with rigorous standards for resting, training and equipping combat troops, saying that they would hold President Bush accountable for failing to meet those readiness tests. But after a fractious meeting of the House Democratic caucus, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said Democratic members still have not united around the proposal.

That self-preservation instinct is still functioning. The Nutroots gang thinks that the American people are on their side, which they aren’t. I suspect that the Nutroots crowd would even prefer defeat in 2008 over ‘infidelity’ within the ranks on this issue.

The truth is that Democrats don’t have alot of options on this. Yes, they can run roughshod on Republicans in the House but they’re in a position of relative weakness in the Senate. House Democrats know that many of them are in what I’d call ‘borrowed seats’, seats that they don’t stand a chance of keeping in 2008. If they push unilateral defeat too hard, they’d likely lose marginal Democrat seats in 2008, too.

More than a week after Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA) detailed plans that he said would curtail deployments to Iraq, Pelosi and other Democratic leaders said the coming debate on war funding would be about forcing the administration to live up to existing military requirements. War funds would be redirected toward equipment, such as night-vision goggles, that some troops lack. Democrats would insist on giving combat troops a year off between deployments, and they could impose restrictions on Pentagon policies that extend combat tours.

I double dare them to try this option. They’d be crushed for it because Murtha let the cat out of the proverbial bag when he said this:

The Murtha plan, based on existing military guidelines, includes a stipulation that Army troops who have already served in Iraq must be granted two years at home before an additional deployment, Marines must be given 14 months at home, and any troops sent to Iraq must be those deemed fully trained and equipped under existing military standards. The idea is to slowly choke off the war by stopping the deployment of troops from units that have been badly degraded by four years of combat.

“They won’t be able to deploy troops unless they extend troops overseas. And if we limit the extension, then it’ll be very difficult for them to continue this surge, which the American people are against and the Iraqis don’t want,” Murtha said yesterday on National Public Radio.

Democrats started fleeing from that proposal the instant he said it. Some people were mightily upset with Murtha, not because they disagreed with the policy, because he gave away their plan. It’s irrelevant because Democrats will be asked to vote on a supplemental spending bill to fund the war. Once they pass the bill, the President can sign it and ignore the stipulations that get into micromanaging the war because Congress can’t play commander-in-chief. They have the option of defunding the troops but they’re too gutless for that.

That’s why I’m positive that they’re in ‘God’s little acre’: west of the rock, east of the hard place. That’s right where I want them to be.

They would also condition some war funding on benchmarks for the government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, (D-IL).

Emanuel is a smart operator but he’s pushing it there.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

According to this article, testimony was taken on whether Somali Muslim taxi drivers can refuse rides to airport customers who are carrying alcohol. Here’s what we’ve found:

For Abdi Mohamed, it’s not a question of whether he’ll carry passengers with alcohol in his cab. The question is whether he’ll get punished for refusing to do so. “I am Muslim. I’m not going to carry alcohol,” Mohamed, a driver for Bloomington Cab, told a Metropolitan Airports Commission panel that gathered public opinion Tuesday regarding proposed penalties for cabbies who refuse service to passengers carrying alcohol.

Dozens of cab drivers showed up for the hearing at a hotel near the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Commissioners are charged with setting a new policy by May, when airport licenses for cab drivers are set to expire. Under the proposal, drivers who refuse service for any reason would have their license suspended for 30 days. A second refusal would mean a two-year revocation of the license.

I’ve got a suggestion for the commissioners. It shouldn’t be a matter of whether these cabbies get fined. Rather, it should be about whether their licenses should be permanently revoked after their second violation. As I’ve said before, what happens here sets the precedent for the entire Twin Cities. Lest anyone forget, this isn’t just about transporting fares who have alcohol. This fight first started when cabbies turned down fares for people with seeing eye dogs. The explanation given was that Muslims consider dogs in much the same way as Jews view pork: as an animal that is unclean in their religion.

This issue should be dealt with harshly & immediately. Cabbies shouldn’t have the right to tie up cabbie licenses if they’re refusing service based on religious criteria. They’re working in a secular world & they should abide by the rules of that society. If they don’t like the rules of that community, then they can get a different job or they can move to countries where ‘friendlier’ rules exist.

Hassan Mohamud, a Muslim imam and adjunct law professor at William Mitchell College of Law, said the Muslim cab drivers are only trying to support their families, both here and in their strife-torn home country, and are being placed in an impossible situation. “If we pass this (policy) it means cutting off the lifelines of thousands of people,” Mohamud said.

Mohamud isn’t telling the people the entire story. The Strib’s Katherine Kersten did in this article:

At the Starbucks coffee shop in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, a favorite Somali gathering spot, holidaymakers celebrating Eid, the end of Ramadan, filled the tables on Monday. Several taxis were parked outside. An animated circle of Somalis gathered when the question of the airport controversy was raised.

“I was surprised and shocked when I heard it was an issue at the airport,” said Faysal Omar. “Back in Somalia, there was never any problem with taking alcohol in a taxi.” Jama Dirie said, “If a driver doesn’t pick up everyone, he should get his license canceled and get kicked out of the airport.”

This article ran on October 25, 2006, about a month before the Flying Imam Fiasco, which was widely deemed a staged event. The taxi issue & the Flying Imam issue should be seen as part of a plan to get House Judiciary Committee Chair John Conyers to write legislation giving Muslims “special civil rights protections”, something that appears likely.

Just like the Flying Imam event was a hoax, so is this taxi issue. Two Somali taxi drivers said that they were surprised to hear that this was an issue and that taxi drivers should “get his license canceled” if they refuse service. It’s time that these taxi drivers understood that they can’t pick & choose which rules they choose to obey.

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Yesterday, I wrote about Tony Sertich’s role in defeating the GOP’s proposals. I now have the official list of Monday’s ‘results’. Here’s the list in its entirety:

House Republicans Lead Fight For Open Government, Fiscal Responsibility, and Public Integrity

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2007 – - In a seven-hour Floor battle, House Republicans forced the DFL majority to take positions on a variety of amendments relating to open government, fiscal responsibility, and public integrity.

The debate was on proposed Permanent Rules for the House. Today’s debate ended when the DFL majority tabled the proposed Permanent Rules until Thursday at the earliest.

A. PUBLIC INTEGRITY

NO LOBBYING BY LEGISLATORS FOR ONE YEAR: Rep. Steve Sviggum (R-Kenyon) persuaded the House to adopt a rule which would bar legislators from registering as a paid lobbyist for the first year after they leave the House. If a former legislator registered as a lobbyist, charges could be filed with the House Ethics Committee and the Campaign Finance Board. The A-36 amendment passed by an 83-50 margin. Rep. Sviggum had been pushing for this reform for 20 years.

NO LOBBYIST OR PAC CONTRIBUTIONS DURING SPECIAL SESSIONS: Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) sought to place a ban on campaign contributions from lobbyists or political actions committees to Representatives during special sessions. Under current rules, such a ban applies only during regular sessions. The DFL killed the A-30 amendment with a procedural motion.

PUBLIC ACCESS TO PER DIEM DATA ON INTERNET: Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) asked the House to provide on-line information on how many dollars in “per diem payments are claimed by each Representative. The DFL killed the A-16 amendment with a procedural motion by a 70-62 vote.

YEAR-ROUND HOUSING FOR A THREE-MONTH JOB: Rep. Joyce Peppin (R-Rogers) asked the House to scrap a proposal that Representatives who live more than 50 miles from the Capitol be paid $1,200 each month (or $14,400 per year) for a housing allowance. Noting that the House met for less than three months in 2006, Rep. Peppin questioned the need for a year-round housing allowance that would add almost 50% to a legislator’s annual pay. The DFL killed the A-37 amendment with a procedural motion by an 80-51 vote.

SHOW RECEIPTS FOR EXPENSES: Rep. Bob Dettmer (R-Forest Lake) asked the House to require Representatives to submit receipts for their daily $77 per diem payments. “That is a lot of money for meals every day,” he said. The DFL killed the A-2 amendment with two procedural motions by margins of 81-50 and 77-54.

EVERY MEMBER SHOULD VOTE FOR THE “PER DIEM” HIKE: Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) asked the House for a direct vote for the increase in per diem payments to $77 per day. Under the DFL’s rules, the decision was made by only 22 members of the House Ways & Means Committee on January 10. The DFL killed Rep. Buesgens’ A-4 amendment with a procedural motion by a 69-60 vote.

EVERY MEMBER SHOULD VOTE FOR FUTURE HIKES: Rep. Mark Buesgens (R-Jordan) asked the House to adopt a rule that would require all 134 Representatives to vote for future “per diem” increases, while allowing an election to intervene after that vote before the higher payments could take effect. The DFL killed the A-19 amendment with a procedural motion by a +74-59 vote. By a 90-43 margin, the DFL also killed a request by Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) to instruct the House Rules Committee to at least consider the Buesgens proposal.

NO POLITICAL HEARINGS: Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) asked the House to bar out-state hearings by House committees after June in an election year, unless the Speaker and Minority Leader agreed. “If there was a need for a field hearing to respond to a disaster or some rapidly-evolving situation, there could be a hearing,” he said. “But if the goal of a campaign-period hearing was just shenanigans, then it could be blocked.” The DFL majority defeated the A-20 amendment by an 85-47 margin.

B. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY

EVERY REPRESENTATIVE SHOULD VOTE ON BUDGET: Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Eden Prairie) offered an amendment to allow all 134 Representatives to vote on the Budget Resolution, which sets ceilings on tax collections and spending levels for each budget area. Under the DFL’s proposed rules, that decision will be made by a 15-member majority of the Ways & Means Committee. The DFL killed the A-22 amendment with a procedural motion by a 76-56 vote.

FAIR NOTICE ON BUDGET BILLS: Under current rules, the majority is required to announce by 5:00 on the preceding day when major finance bills will be considered by the full House. Under the DFL’s proposed rules, that would be cut to two-hour’s notice on the day of the bill hearing. Rep. Dean Simpson (R-New York Mills) asked the House to expand that to six hours’ notice so that citizens with an interest in the bill could be outside the House chamber to provide expertise and guidance to Representatives on the House Floor. The DFL killed the A-32 amendment with a procedural motion by a 79-50 vote.

SIXTY PERCENT MAJORITY NEEDED TO PASS TAX INCREASES: Rep. John Berns (R-Wayzata) asked the House to require a sixty-percent majority to approve any increase in taxes. The DFL majority defeated this proposal by an 86-47 majority.

ALLOW SAVINGS TO BE APPLIED TO BUDGET RESERVES: Rep. Marty Seifert (R-Marshall) proposed to allow Floor amendments to omnibus finance bills that would shift spending reductions to state budget reserve funds, instead of just shifting spending from one program to another. The A-31 amendment was defeated by the DFL on a voice vote.

THE HOUSE SHOULD ONLY MEET IN ODD-NUMBERED YEARS: Rep. Laura Brod (R-New Prague) asked the House to return to its old practice of meeting only in odd-numbered years. The two-year sessions were added to allow large bonding bills in election years. Noting that the House is expected to take up a 2007 bonding bill of over $100 million before writing a $1 billion bonding bill next year, Rep. Brod suggested that all the work could be completed this year. The DFL killed the A-8 amendment by a 90-43 vote.

C. OPEN GOVERNMENT

OBEY THE CONSTITUTION ON “SINGLE SUBJECT” BILLS: Rep. Matt Dean (R-Dellwood) asked the House to incorporate a provision in the House Rules that would underline a provision in the Minnesota Constitution which prohibits legislation from having more that one subject. This has been a touchy subject with the courts for years, as many topics are bundled together in large bills so that they cannot be scrutinized and voted on separately. The DFL defeated the A-19 amendment on a 48-83 vote.

VOTE FOR BUDGET BILLS BEFORE SPECIAL SESSIONS: Rep. Kurt Zellers (R-Maple Grove) offered an amendment to require the House to vote on the last day before a regular session closed on any omnibus spending bill that had not been approved by both houses. If there is a logjam in joint House-Senate conference committees, the House should send the Senate one last chance to avoid a special session, Rep. Zellers said. The DFL killed the A-17 amendment with a procedural motion by a 79-54 vote.

AVOIDING COMPUTER CRASHES AND STEALTH BILLS: Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka) asked the House to reconsider a proposed rule that allows bills to move between House panels without reports being made to the full House on changes made by each panel, and without requiring these changes to be reported on House computers. Rep. Abeler expressed concerns that House computer systems could “crash” during the hectic final days and hours of a legislative session, leaving Legislators unaware of the movement of bills or the changes in each bill. The DFL killed the A-25 amendment with a procedural motion by a 90-41 vote.

LETTING OPPOSING VOICES BE HEARD: Rep. Denny McNamara (R-Hastings) asked the House to include at least one Republican on each House-Senate conference committee that is assigned to work out differences between the two bodies on major bills. “There ought to be at least one voice that brings a different perspective to the negotiations,” he said. The DFL majority defeated the A-18 amendment by an 85-47 margin.

SPECIAL ORDERS: Rep. Paul Kohls (R-Victoria) asked the House to approve a plan to allow special floor proceedings on Monday evenings where Representatives could discuss and debate issues of concern without interfering with work on legislation during the day. The U.S. House of Representatives has conducted similar “special orders” proceedings for decades. The DFL rejected Rep. Kohl’s A-23 amendment on a voice vote.

ACCESS FOR THE VISUALLY-IMPAIRED: Without a roll-call vote, the House adopted an amendment from Rep. Torrey Westrom (R-Elbow Lake) that will make House documents accessible to the visually impaired with each improvement in technology used by the Legislature.

DFL ALSO OPPOSES REP. MARK OLSON’S REFORM EFFORTS

The DFL also rejected seven proposals for reforms by Rep. Mark Olson of Ham Lake.

LEAVE TIME FOR FINAL BUDGET ACTION: By a 78-50 margin, the DFL majority rejected Rep. Olson’s A-15 amendment to leave at least one week at the end of a regular session to deal with conference reports or pass substitutes bills before a special session would be triggered.

SET TAX CEILING BEFORE PASSING SPENDING BILLS: The DFL rejected Rep. Olson’s proposals to require the House to approve a tax bill before passing spending bills if the House’s proposed spending targets were higher than revenue projections in the State’s economic forecast. The amendment lost by an 88-45 margin.

ADVANCE NOTICE ON SPENDING BILLS: The DFL majority rejected Rep. Olson’s proposal to give Representatives at least 48 hours to read bills and 24 hours’ notice before taking up legislation on the Floor. The A-21 amendment lost by an 82-50 margin.

ONE DAY’S NOTICE ON LEGISLATION: The DFL majority rejected Rep. Olson’s proposal to give Representatives at least 24 hours to read bills before taking up legislation on the Floor, by restoring the DFL’s practice from the 1990s to place a bill on a “general orders” docket before giving a bill its third and final House reading. The A-11 amendment lost by an 88-45 margin.

KEEPING FINANCE BILLS SEPARATE: To allow Representatives to focus on single spending bills without forcing them to decide on vast and separate sections of the state’s budget, and to avoid violating the Minnesota Constitution’s “single subject” rule, Rep. Olson asked the House to bar the merging of major spending bills. The DFL majority rejected the A-26 amendment by an 85-47 margin.

PER DIEM PAYMENTS: By a 76-57 margin, the DFL majority rejected Rep. Olson’s A-37 amendment to require a direct vote by all 134 Representatives to vote on the increased per diem payments.

PER DIEM PAYMENTS: By a 60-57 division, the DFL majority narrowly rejected Rep. Olson’s A-31 amendment to require a direct vote by all 134 Representatives to ratify the Rules Committee’s decision on the increased per diem payments.

I find it difficult to believe that Sertich & his allies would be able to defend these votes to Minnesota voters in 2008. It’s a pretty disgusting display of hyperpartisanship & a total refutation of Speaker Kelliher’s claim that the House DFL was “fiscally moderate.”

It’s difficult to imagine a way in which Sertich will justify his defeating the reforms that would mandate all members voting on per diem increases. The blunt truth is that he wants the Rules Committee to have the only say in this to protect the other DFLers. The thinking is that House DFLers could still technically claim that they didn’t vote for the per diem increase. I’d doubt that that’ll fly with voters when they’re told that they voted for giving the Rules Committee final say on setting per diem increases. That’s what’s called “a distinction without a difference.”

It’s impossible to justify Kelliher’s claims of being fiscally moderate when they don’t strike down the year-round housing allowance for a 3 month a year job. That allowance is worth $14,400. That’s in addition to their salary of $31,000+. That’s before including their $10,800 max in per diem. That’s almost $60,000 compensation for a 3 month a year job.

That probably doesn’t sound like much until you consider that any House member how lives 50+ miles from the Capitol is eligible for the housing allowance, which I’ll bet includes about half of the House.

Let’s detail this just another step further. Suppose the housing allowance was for 3 months. Instead of Mr. Sertich mandating a $14,400 housing allowance for outstate members, we’d be dealing with a $3,600 housing allowance. Let’s also call into question the need for a $77 per day per diem. Let’s ask if they couldn’t easily get by with $50 per day. How many voters wish that they’d get a meal allowance of $50 a day?

What this all means is that Mr. Sertich pushed DFLers into not reforming itself, thereby costing taxpayers upwards of $750,000 in housing allowances. Mr. Sertich, with his willing DFL accomplices, also guaranteed that the entire House wouldn’t have to vote on whether they support these expenditures. I wonder how many DFL freshmen voted for letting the Rules Committee take the political hit on the per diem increase. I wonder how many DFL freshmen voted Rep. Peppin’s housing allowance reform to be set by the Rules Committee.

Whatever happened to each legislator being accountable to their constituents? Why did the DFL defeat Rep. Peppin’s reform by an 80-51 margin? If the DFL was truly reform-minded, this should’ve been an easy vote. Does this mean that Sertich is a ‘business-as-usual’ type of legislator? It wouldn’t take much skill to make that case against him. I could do that based on Monday’s session alone.

It’s time that GOP activists/bloggers started voicing their approval for their legislators voting for substantial reforms and for making it more difficult for the legislature to raise taxes. It’s time we started fighting with our reform-minded legislators. Isn’t it time for conservatives to initiate a new era of governmental reforms?

In my opinion, it’s long past time to initiate a new round of reforms. It’s long past time to halt the DFL’s brazen ‘business as usual’ agenda.

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I’ve been closely tracking how conservatives are reacting to Rudy Giuliani’s presidential campaign. I can’t say that I’ve been surprised that Hizzoner has won over significant numbers of social conservatives, leading me to ask this question: Are we watching the first steps of the Rudy Revolution? I suspect we might be, especially if this John Podhoretz column is right.

Many on the right profess amazement at the lead he’s opened up among Republican primary voters, considering his pro-choice views and sloppy personal life. Meanwhile, writers on the left express disbelief at the notion that a pro-choice Republican candidate might be able to win the GOP nomination. According to the best Leftist analyst of American politics, Michael Tomasky, abortion is simply “too fundamental an issue for most Republican caucus goers and primary voters (even in California, with its likely Feb. 5 primary) to work around.”

There’s a perfectly simple answer to the Rudy paradox. When Republican voters look at Rudy Giuliani, they know one key fact about him: They know he’s no liberal.

They may not exactly know why yet, but they know it.

And they’re right.

The truth is that Rudy has staked out some pretty conservative stands on issues like judges, tax cuts and defeating the terrorists. Here’s what Rudy said at the Hoover Institute on taxes:

“I don’t think anything separates us more right now between Republicans and Democrats than how we look at taxes,” the former New York mayor said. “What we understand as Republicans is that, sure, the government is an important player in this, but we are essentially a private economy. What Democrats really believe…is that it is essentially a government economy.”

In the days of President John F. Kennedy, Giuliani said, Democrats understood the concept of the private economy and cutting taxes. But, he said, Democrats have “kind of lost that.”

“It’s one of the reasons that I used to be a Democrat and I’m now a Republican,” Giuliani said before quoting Winston Churchill as saying: “If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart, but if you’re not a conservative by the time you’re 40, you have no brain.”

That type of position will be immensely, and instantly, popular to the GOP base. Here’s another position that he’s taken that will be instantly popular to the faithful:

On the Federal judiciary I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am. I’m a lawyer. I’ve argued cases in the Supreme Court. I’ve argued cases in the Court of Appeals in different parts of the country. I have a very, very strong view that for this country to work, for our freedoms to be protected, judges have to interpret not invent the Constitution. Otherwise you end up, when judges invent the constitution, with your liberties being hurt. Because legislatures get to make those decisions and the legislature in South Carolina might make that decision one way and the legislature in California a different one. And that’s part of our freedom and when that’s taken away from you that’s terrible. President Bush has the great model because I think as the President he appointed some really good ones and both of them are former colleagues of mine, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito. Justice Scalia is a former colleague of mine. Somebody that…I think Chief Justice Roberts is a great chief justice and he’s young and he can have a long career and that’s probably the reason the President and Vice President chose him. I think those are the kinds of justices I would appoint: Scalia, Alito and Roberts. If you can find anybody as good as that, you are very, very fortunate.

These are just a couple reasons why Rudy’s gaining in popularity right now. It’s still to early to give the nomination to Rudy but I don’t think it’s too optimistic to think that we’re seeing the start of a ‘Rudy Revolution.’ Let’s not forget what his candidacy does to the electoral map. George Bush couldn’t open up New England yet a Rudy candidacy opens up all of the northeast. In addition to that, he also has a strong shot at winning Michigan and Pennsylvania.

The states that George Bush won in 2004 were worth 286 electoral votes, meaning that Hillary would have to flip 17 electoral votes out of the GOP column. That’s possible against a traditional GOP nominee though I wouldn’t call it likely. Democrats did better again Bush than what they’d do against Rudy because Democrats didn’t have to spend money on New England states. A Rudy candidacy forces them to spend time and money in the northeast, which must scare Democrats to death.

Rudy also puts Michigan’s and Pennsylvania’s 38 electoral votes in play for the GOP, too. If Rudy took Pennsylvania’s 21 electoral votes, that would mean Hillary would have to flip 38 electoral votes out of 2004′s red state maps. Frankly, that’s a ‘bridge too far scenario’ for Hillary.

If you’re in Giuliani’s camp, you have to like what you’re seeing thus far. If you’re in Hillary’s camp, you’ve got to be more than a little worried at this point. That’s just how I like it.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Rich Lowry posted this email at NRO’s website. It’s worth noting that there’s some positive trends coming from Iraq even if the Agenda Media won’t report them. Here’s the content of Lowry’s post:

My “Pentagon intel guy” writes in an e-mail:

Since my job at the Pentagon is to follow and report these kinds of things- there are several trends we are seeing lately.

1) Definite and measurable decrease in number of sectarian killings within Baghdad: From nearly 1,400 to 680 in the last two months.

2) We are killing and capturing increasing numbers of Sunni insurgents and Al Qaeda fighters. And when I say “we”- I mean Multi-National Forces Iraq as well as the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police Commando, and the newer “National Guard”/Territorial Forces in Anbar.

3) The recent bombings in ANBAR demonstrate red on red kinetic operations. Something which has been rare until the last few months. More and more Sunni tribes are pledging fealty to the Iraqi government and the Coalition and turning their back on the insurgents/AQI. This has caused them to be targeted.

We have seen the enemy bomb police recruitment drives, and now mosques of “apostate” Imams and Sheikhs who have sided with the Americans. This has happened twice in the last week. While the mainstream media considers this more proof of failure, it is actually a sign of the precarious position the terrorists are in. They need the Sunni population to protect them and shelter them. If they are now butchering them like everyone else, this could be a turning point in the relationship. This is crucial to watch. We need to protect the tribal leaders who have come over to us, and AQI knows that it is a death sentence for them if they can’t stop it.

The next time a Democrat talks about the need “to change course”, let’s use this information to tell them that we’ve changed course to inevitable victory. Let’s remind them that they pursue defeat at the risk of it destroying them in 2008.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

Slow Joe Biden fancies himself as a serious policymaker. After reading this Boston Globe op-ed, it’s difficult to think of him that way. Here’s a section of Biden’s op-ed that shows his disinterest in defeating the terrorists in Iraq:

We gave the president that power to destroy Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and, if necessary, to depose Saddam Hussein. The weapons of mass destruction were not there. Saddam Hussein is no longer there. The 2002 authorization is no longer relevant to the situation in Iraq. Together with Senator Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will offer legislation to repeal that authorization and replace it with a much narrower and achievable mission for our troops in Iraq.

Good luck garnering the votes, Joe. You couldn’t even get enough votes to stop the filibustering of a meaningless resolution. I suspect that this is just another attempt to pander to the anti-war lefties that Democrats get their campaign contributions from.

Revisiting the 2002 authorization is the right next step but it cannot be the last step. The United States must also answer a two-word test: “What next?”

Joe, Here’s my answer: A) DEFEAT THE TERRORISTS. (B) STABILIZE IRAQ. (C) NEXT TARGET.

The Bush administration has bet everything on a future that will not happen: Iraqis rallying behind a strong central government that protects the rights of all citizens equally.

I hate breaking this news to Joe but the Iraqis just decided to a oil revenue-sharing plan for the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds, thereby incentivizing the parties to work together. This gives them reason to implement a government that holds together. I’d also remind Sen. Biden that it isn’t our decision on what type of government they have. Iraq is a sovereign nation, giving us no ‘final authority’ on what they do.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative