December 28, 2005

Some Dems Worried About Their Party's Current Tactics

And they should be. Donald Lambro spoke with several "centrist" Democrats who are concerned when their party's leaders make efforts to weaken the Patriot Act and challenge President Bush's Executive authority to spy on the U.S.'s enemies.

"I think when you suggest that civil liberties are just as much at risk today as the country is from terrorism, you've gone too far if you leave that impression. I don't believe that's true," said Michael O'Hanlon, a national-security analyst at the Brookings Institution who advises Democrats on defense issues.

"I get nervous when I see the Democrats playing this [civil liberties] issue out too far. They had better be careful about the politics of it," said Mr. O'Hanlon, who says the Patriot Act is "good legislation."

Oh boy, Kos is going to have a field day with that statement. But it highlights a fundamental difference between the people who are in charge of our security who understand the threat and the people who want to be in charge but refuse to acknowledge the threat.

White House deputy press secretary Trent Duffy puts a finer point on the matter of the current surveillance operations:

"This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings and churches."
The vast majority of Americans instinctively understand this. Blinded by Bush-hatred, the kook-fringe Left never will. Which is why this is a loser as a political strategy.

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December 21, 2005

Christmas Comes Early

Noemie Emery speculates in the Weekly Standard online that Darth Rove must be behind the latest New York Times story and the Democrats' subsequent caterwauling:

Short-sighted Republicans raged that the Times had done this on purpose to dilute the good news from Iraq, and drive it off the weekend chat shows and front pages; Rove on the other hand must have had the good sense to realize that the Democrats, driven mad by the good news of the Iraqi elections, would pick this up and run with it into a wall. Talk about Christmas! Santa came early.

Bush now has three gifts: (l) he has an out, in case there's another attack on the homeland (he tried, but his hands were tied by the Times and the Democrats); (2) he has still more sound bites--"We killed the Patriot Act!"--to add the pile that he had already, and (3), he has the chance to draw still more distinctions between the party of force and of public security; and the party that nitpicks, that is too legalistic, and that somehow always gives the benefit of the doubt to the criminal and/or the accused. In a showdown like this, put your cash on the party of force and security. Willie Horton was not a play on the race card, but a metaphor for the larger use-of-force issue. Does anyone doubt that if Dukakis were president when Saddam Hussein crossed the border, Kuwait and perhaps Saudi Arabia would be permanent parts of Iraq? Remember the Homeland Security Act in the 2002 midterms?

And then Karl Rove topped it all by getting Democrats to go round the bend on impeachment, such as Barbara Boxer on the advice of John Dean. The Times, our own little France in the heart of Manhattan, doubtless thought it was dealing a mortal blow to the Nixon redux in the White House, that monstrous figure devouring liberties. Instead, it gave both parties the chance to redefine themselves in ways that do not seem to favor its allies. We think that on a Wednesday morning November 8, 2006, Republicans will give a big "thanks" to the Paper of Wreckage. And nobody more than Karl Rove.

Of course Emery is being tongue-in-cheek here, but you'd swear the way it always turns out to the GOP's benefit whenever the media and the Dems go on the offensive that somehow the "architect" must be behind it all.

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December 20, 2005

The "Domestic Spying" Kerfuffle

Politically, this is a non-issue for two reasons:

1) The Pajamahedeen are all over this, debunking claims that spying on domestic terrorists is illegal or unconstitutional. There is plenty of legal precedent to show that it is legal and constitutional. Those trying to prove otherwise don't have a leg to stand on. This is another one of those baseless charges that will blow up in the Democrats' faces.

2) The vast majority of the American people are smart enough to understand that it's been exactly this kind of surveillance that has broken up terror cells in the United States and prevented another major attack. They're all for it. And any politician who comes out against it communicates that they're more concerned about the civil rights of terrorists than the safety of the American people. Keep going, guys. You're only hurting yourselves.

Take the very real example of the Brooklyn Bridge incident, as explained by Dick Morris in his column today:

In 2002, the feds (presumably the NSA) picked up random cellphone chatter using the words "Brooklyn Bridge" (which apparently didn't translate well into Arabic). They notified the New York Police Department, which flooded the bridge with cops. Then the feds overheard a phone call in which a man said things were "too hot" on the bridge to pull off an operation. Later, an interrogation of a terrorist allowed by the Patriot Act led cops to the doorstep of this would-be bridge bomber. (His plans would definitely have brought down the bridge, NYPD sources told me.)

Why didn't Bush get a warrant? On who? For what? The NSA wasn't looking for a man who might blow up the bridge. It had no idea what it was looking for. It just intercepted random phone calls from people in the United States to those outside — and so heard the allusions to the bridge that tipped them off.

In criminal investigations, one can target a suspect and get a warrant to investigate him. But this deductive approach is a limited instrument in fighting terror. An inductive approach, in which one gathers a mass of evidence and looks for patterns, is far more useful.

John McIntyre's take on the situation sums it up pretty well:

If Democrats want to make this spying “outrage” a page one story they are fools walking right into a trap. Now that this story is out and the security damage is already done, let’s have a full investigation into exactly who the President spied on and why. Let’s also find out who leaked this highly classified information and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. If the president is found to have broken the law and spied on political opponents or average Americans who had nothing to do with terrorism, then Bush should be impeached and convicted.

But unlike Senator Levin, who claimed on Meet The Press yesterday not to know what the President’s motives were when he authorized these eavesdropping measures, I have no doubt that the President’s use of this extraordinary authority was solely an attempt to deter terrorist attacks on Americans and our allies. Let the facts and the truth come out, but the White House’s initial response is a pretty powerful signal that they aren’t afraid of where this is heading.

The Liberal side of the blogosphere is in a frenzy over this. Still smarting over the Fitzmas flop, they are hoping like hell that they can push yet another conspiracy theory to damage the President. And they're pushing even harder now that his poll numbers have been rebounding. And the Democrats are following their lead at their own peril.

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December 16, 2005

Pelosi: OK, So We Have No Position On Iraq

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Defeatocrat - CA) has basically come out and admitted that her party is unable to articulate one coherent position on the war in Iraq.

There is no one Democratic voice . . . and there is no one Democratic position," Pelosi said in an interview with Washington Post reporters and editors.
What prompted this?

While just a few weeks ago she was able to sign on to Rep. John Murtha's "cut and run" strategy, that position apparently must not be going over well with their internal polling. And as we head into the 2006 mid-term elections, it would seem that it's safer politically to just avoid the topic altogether. Perhaps one of these days they'll wet their finger and hold it in the air and feel comfortable putting something out there. As Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Defeatocrat - IL) says, "As for Iraq policy, at the right time, we'll have a position."

What else is new. Democrats aren't in favor of anything (short of abortion-on-demand). But they're really good at opposing things and beating down the opposition. Pelosi and the Dems can boast of a few accomplishments this past year, like blocking Social Security Reform:

"Not only did we take [Bush] down on that, but we took down a lot of his credibility as being somebody who cared about 'people like me'. ", she said.
What is this? WWE? For crissakes, whatever happened to advancing an agenda to benefit the American people? It's been so long since Democrats actually did that, it's become a foreign concept to them.

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December 08, 2005

Is Lieberman Pentagon-Bound?

The NY Daily News is pushing rumors that Rumsfeld is ready to retire early next year. It would make logical sense for him to leave shortly after next week's Parliamentary elections in Iraq, if he were to leave at all. And the idea that Sen. Joseph Lieberman would be his replacement is whipping it's way through Washington circles.

Rumors that Lieberman could replace Rumsfeld started flying early this week, and Bush and Vice President Cheney fanned the flames by quoting the former Democratic veep candidate's pro-war statements.

The mention of Lieberman's name prompted some Democrats to whisper that he is lobbying for the job.

"Lieberman seems to be coordinating his statements on the war with the White House," a Senate Democratic source said.

The source pointed to a news conference this week where Lieberman urged his party not to undermine Bush. The timing of Lieberman's pitch, also this week, to form a bipartisan "war cabinet" to aid Bush was cited as well.

But Lieberman and Team Bush dismissed the rumors.

I'd say such a possibility is 50/50. I certainly wouldn't blame him for wanting the job, he's certainly no longer welcome within his own caucus. If this pans out, here's how it affects 2006: Republican Governor Jodi Rell will appoint GOP Congresswoman Nancy Johnson to fill the Senate vacancy. The seat itself is up for grabs in 2006, so she will have to go immediately into campaign mode. A special election will be called for the House seat and the 5th Congressional District gets a new Representative in Congress.

But this makes it interesting for Democrats. They've already geared up to challenge Lieberman for the nomination. Now they would have to front a candidate out of nowhere with no one paying attention to the primary fight. And Nancy Johnson, even though she is a Republican, is popular in Connecticut and a known quantity (and mostly Liberal, to boot). Beating Johnson with her already occupying the seat would be an uphill battle even in a state as Blue as Connecticut.

Should be interesting. Stay tuned.

h/t: Memeorandum

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December 07, 2005

Putting Country Before Party

Well, Sen. Joe Lieberman is pissing off his party again. Calling on the White House and congressional leaders to create a special "war cabinet" to provide advice and direction for the war effort, he was quoted as saying:

"It's time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge he'll be commander-in-chief for three more years," the senator said. "We undermine the president's credibility at our nation's peril."
And the Liberal blogs are not happy with the CT Senator.

A reaction that is typical of what I've been reading this morning comes from John in DC at AmericaBlog:

You see, bipartisanship to Joe Lieberman means YOU need to just shut up and stop criticizing the president. If you would just act like a good citizen and let your government do whatever it wants, unchecked, and without a public debate over the merits of their actions, America would be doing great.

You see, when YOU openly disagree with your president, even when he's caught lying to the country and now wants to leave our troops to die in a quagmire of his own creation, YOU are the one putting our country "at peril." So the acrimony in Washington, according to Joe Lieberman, is the fault of the Democrats.

Joe Lieberman needs to get the hell out of our party. I don't know if he thinks he's running for president or what, but it better be as a Republican, because if he dares run as a Democrat, he's toast.

I find it interesting that John in DC is so sensitive to the idea of shutting down dissent within the ranks yet because Lieberman is not marching in lock-step with the rest of the Democrats he needs to "get the hell out of our party". Apparently, pushing aside other opinions is OK as long as they don't conform to your own.

Lieberman understands that the need for the U.S. to be successful in Iraq trumps the need for the Democrats to succeed politically. And if the best you can hope to succeed by attacking a sitting President who can't run for reelection is to cripple him then how can you rationalize that you are acting in the best interests of your country which, oh by the way, is at war.

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December 06, 2005

Is Howard Dean On Karl Rove's Payroll?

Once again, DNC Chairman Dean fires a couple of torpedoes into the hull of the S.S. Democrat by publicly saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong".

Here his party is trying to make Iraq THE issue for the mid-term elections and the same guy who said in December 2003 that the U.S. wasn't safer with Saddam Hussein out of power is now declaring defeat in Iraq.

But it doesn't stop there. He goes on:

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

Dean says the Democrat position on the war is 'coalescing,' and is likely to include several proposals.

"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Dean didn't specify which country the US forces would deploy to, but he said he would like to see the entire process completed within two years. He said the Democrat proposal is not a 'withdrawal,' but rather a 'strategic redeployment' of U.S. forces.

"The White House wants us to have a permanent commitment to Iraq. This is an Iraqi problem. President Bush got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was a great thing, but that could have been done in a very different way. But now that we're there we need to figure out how to leave. 80% of Iraqis want us to leave, and it's their country."

Dean also compared the controversy over pre-war intelligence to the Watergate scandal which brought down Richard Nixon's presidency in 1974.

Now you have to understand, Dean really does believe in all this nonsense and he's under the delusion that the majority of Americans believe it too. He's not about to back away from these comments.

So The RCP Blog asks the question: Does Dean speak for all Democrats?

Dean hit all the highlights: Comparison to Vietnam. Check. Call for immediate withdrawal. Check. Bush lied. Check. Comparison to Watergate. Check.

In all seriousness, Howard Dean is not some yahoo, he's the national voice of the Democratic party and his comments - saying Iraq is unwinnable and calling for the immediate withdrawal of 80,000 troops less than two weeks before Iraq goes to the polls - unquestionably furthers the perception that Democrats are the party of cut and run. This is a horrendous political mistake and it puts even more pressure on Democrats like Clinton, Biden, et al to respond to the question: Does Howard Dean speak for your party?

And Captain Ed notes that even the MSM is smart enough to realize that these statements are damaging to the Democrats.
The embarassment of Dean's military analysis would make clear that the Democrats have no business conducting foreign affairs and national security for the US in this age of Islamofascist terrorism. That's why the newspapers buried Dean's comments on their web sites. They had plenty of time to write their own copy, or at least to include the AP story in their print edition. However, the NYT and the Washington Post obviously hope that Dean's comments get quickly forgotten. (The Los Angeles Times doesn't bother to mention it at all, despite the longer lead time for their newspaper.)
Now from a political perspective, this is huge windfall for the GOP. And those of us who understand how important it is to national security that Democrats keep losing, should be elated. But the problem is that these comments are not a "gloomy" assessment of our efforts in Iraq. They are outright lies and distortions. And they send the WRONG message to the American people, to our military and to our enemy.

Reliapundit at The Astute Blogger brings it home in his post yesterday, aptly titled "Howard Dean Is A Misinformed, Lying Defeatist Traitor". If a Democrat "leader" like Dean can so negatively affect U.S. foreign policy when he's out of power, imagine the damage that he and his cohorts could do if they were actually IN power.

The only upside is that if they just keep it up, they won't be. As Reliapundit writes:

In any case, the more he opens his mouth the better. He's the best thing to happen to the GOP in YEARS! He's as wrong as McGovern and one of the crappiest communicators to come along in decades.

The biggest political thing he ever did on his own was LOSE IOWA - and he lost it BIGTIME - after holding a huge lead in the polls and in fundraising! Which proves that he is a loser and an ass. And therefore, Howie is the perfect leader for the Dems - whose mascot is an ass, and who always LOSE! Thank God!

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