Friday, November 09, 2007

Lieberman on Democrats

The Democratic party I grew up in was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders.

[Today's Democrats] are inclined to see international problems as a result of America's engagement with the world and are viscerally opposed to the use of force - the polar opposite to the self-confident and idealistic nationalism of the party I grew up in.

•   •   •   

"The Democrats' guiding principle is distrust and disdain for Republicans in general and for Mr Bush in particular."

Read more here.

Saturday, March 25, 2006


The war crime perpetrated by American and British commanders this week compels a comment.

Risking the lives of American and British soldiers to rescue members of the so-called "Christian Peacemaker Teams" from Iraqi insurgents should shock the conscience of any reasonable observer. Predictably, the Christian Peacemaker Teams organization greeted the news with open contempt for the rescuers:

"We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq.  The occupation must end. ...

We pray that Christians throughout the world will, in the same spirit, call for justice and for respect for the human rights of the thousands of Iraqis who are being detained illegally by the U.S. and British forces occupying Iraq. ... "

You can read the CPT's complete statement here.

The young men and women who volunteer for the US and UK armed forces represent the highest values and the finest of the citizenry of both nations. To put such lives at risk knowingly for the likes of CPTers was an unconscionable act of negligence and even recklessness. This is not ordering a prisoner out of his clothes or scaring him with a really, really mean dog. This is a genuine war crime.

The commanders who ordered the mission should be removed and court-martialled. The Pentagon and the Ministry of Defense should order forthwith that CPTers, and others giving aid and comfort to the enemy, when taken by insurgents should be left in situ.

"Christian Peacemaker Teams" are in Iraq expressly to inject themselves into a situation of danger.  Dare we make their example meaningless by not allowing it?

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Some support for the theory discussed here recently on the Democrats' "message" problem.

James Traub writes in today's New York Times Magazine:

"Perhaps, in short, the problem is with the song, not with the way the Democrats are singing."

"When I went to see Mike McCurry, Clinton's former spokesman, he said, 'I see a lot of wishful thinking that we can return to an earlier day, that the thinking of the 60's will be in vogue again — we just have to say it better.' It's viscerally appealing to play to the base, he said, but 'it's very hard to get the liberal base to acknowledge that the liberal base is as small as it is.' "

Full article here.

Thursday, March 02, 2006



Hurricane Katrina looks like a birthday party next to this astonishing natural disaster, as reported in The Onion.  And Bush knew about it beforehand!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Jeff Jarvis and his correspondents react to a BBC commentary about mainstream media bias and the message of the U.S. Democratic Party in relation to it. Jeff focused on media bias. He's right, but beyond certain aspects it's difficult for me to become too engaged in the subject of left/liberal media bias -- no doubt for the same reason I don't get intellecually excited about the sun rising in the east, or grass being green.

More interesting is the BBCer's claim that, "Democrats do not have a message on the key issues of our time. Or, more precisely, they have several mutually exclusive messages…." You hear this every now and then, just as you hear Democratic politicians, strategists and media apologists agonize over the need to find a message that readily can be conveyed and understood.

All of them are wrong. The Democrats' big problem isn't that they have no message, but that they do. Not that it's obscure, but that it's clear. Not that it's lengthy and complicated and nuanced, but that it's brief and crisp and to the point. Nor that it changes.

The message of the Democratic Party has been remarkably consistent for nearly 40 years:

Socialism at home.
Appeasement abroad.

Hence the consistent dynamic of national and many other elections over the same period: Republicans and conservatives win to the extent they succeed in conveying their core values clearly; Democrats and liberals win to the extent they succeed in concealing theirs.

The Democrats who agonize over "message" and "framing" and the like are looking for something -- anything -- to deflect attention from their core message, or to obscure it, long enough to win an election. The problem for the rest of us is that sometimes they find it.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


The administration of George Bush the Elder was notorious for its thoroughgoing political tone-deafness. The best remembered incident is the tax cave-in to Congressional Democrats which, on one melancholy afternoon in August of 1990, irreparably split the Reagan coalition and delivered the '92 presidential election to the Democrats.

Justice Souter is another example -- perhaps more of political negligence than a political tin ear. And many remember repeated episodes of the White House making a policy announcement pleasing to conservatives, only to withdraw it later the same day. After the first few times you could practically form an office pool to guess by what hour of the afternoon the Official Retraction would come out.

Memories of this era and its unhappy consequences made many Republicans shy away from the current President Bush when he sought the party's nomination in 2000. Such reluctance has turned out to be unjustified. Whatever mistakes the incumbent President Bush has made, errors in the nature of Dad's politically tone-deaf decisions have not been among them. Except once in a while.

First there was Harriet Meirs. But the President atoned for this so shiningly that it doesn't count.

Now there's the sale of port operating rights to Dubai Ports World, owned by the United Arab Emirates.

How could an administration so politically savvy get something so basic so wrong?

Forget about the merits. In the post-9/11 political environment, you just don't let America's most important eastern ports be run by United Arab Anything. As the administration recently accused some of its Democratic critics, that's pre-9/11 thinking. Its also a welcome gift to those very Democrats, now doing a creditable job of mitigating their weakness on defense by posturing mightily on this one. Hillary Clinton could have written the script for the whole episode and she may be the chief beneficiary. In this way the port sale fiasco looks a lot more like Papa Bush's tax capitulation than the Meirs nomination. The Meirs episode outraged conservatives without really helping Democrats much. The port sale is a gift on the doorstep of Democratic Headquarters, wrapped in a pretty ribbon.

Now the President is busy defending the sale. Tough luck, Mr. P. Even if you're completely right in all your arguments, you still lose on this one. In political life, sometimes being right, without more, is insufficient.

This is one of those times.