Fulcrum Ruminations

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Un. Bee. Leave. A. Bull.

A splendid example of why politicians are all idiots.

In a transparently political move, the Republicans in Congress introduced a bill for the immediate pull-out of troops from Iraq. Obviously done to force the hands of the Democrats, and in a twisted sort of way understandable as a political gambit, this shameful display nevertheless equates to a stab in the back to our deployed forces.

Political games. Instead of taking on the Democrats directly, pointing out the foolishness of the "withdraw now!" calls, Republican leadership instead went for a hollow gesture - in effect, forcing the Democrats to vote against their own idea. It was probably to prepare the way for another accusation of Democratic intransigence somewhere down the road when a real troop-withdrawal bill is put up, but still . . .

The message to the troops was that Congress in general and the Republicans in particular are willing to play games for short-term political gain at the expense of soldiers in battle. We've given the military a mission, and they're executing that mission with typical skill and fortitude. Then Congress tells them it's all a big joke and they'll be jerked around just to make the other side of the aisle look bad.

Between the Democrats' recent absurd tactics (We voted for the war because we were confoosed! Wah! Bush is a poopie-head!) and now this horribly wrongheaded move by the Republicans, the lesson that I draw from it all is that it's time to vote all of them out of office. We need people on Capitol Hill who are aware that they're up there to do the nation's business, not play these idiotic games. It's gotten too partisan. Too much about scoring points off the other guy and nowhere near enough about "securing the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity."

I'm so disgusted I just want to heave my guts.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Hanoi Jane Must Be Proud

It has begun.

As I noted some time ago, the VietNam Syndrome is slowly playing out again. A President under fire, opposition party members making political grist from it, calls to abandon the people who are depending on us . . . it's the same ugly scenario, with one big difference.

We're winning in Iraq.

Pulling out either immediately or on some arbitrary schedule would plunge Iraq into chaos, destroy US credibility for a generation, embolden the merchants of terror, and invite attacks on American interests all around the world. These things are so self-evident that statements like that issued by Congressman Murtha absolutely boggle my mind.

It doesn't matter at this point how we got into Iraq. Like Colin Powell said, we broke it so now we own it. We cannot leave until things are set to rights. That means Iraq functioning as a nation again, with the ability to police and defend itself from the retrograde insurgents who want to take it back to the twelfth century.

If you look at the situation dispassionately, checking your politics at the door, you can see that progress is being made. Slowly but surely Iraqi society is standing up and functioning again. Executing a VietNam-style cut-n-run would demolish any hope of Iraq becoming anything but a nest of vipers. It would be Taleban Times all over again, only on a larger scale and in a nation much more centrally located. Or worse, it would lead to an Iranian invasion.

Any way you cut it, pulling out now is a disastrously bad idea.

I can only pray that the American people are smart enough to understand this, and will take appropriate action in 2006. If those like Murtha get their way, the next decade will be a black one indeed.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Decision 05

Yeah, I know. Every news outlet in America uses that corny "Decision XX" headline at election time. So I did an homage, leave me alone.

This was my first year voting in Virginia after twenty years of living in Maryland. We went to the polls around 0730. Not terribly crowded. We waited in line for maybe ten minutes. Virginia is using an electronic device to vote now . . . you turn a little wheel to highlight your choice and push "enter". Fairly straightforward.

So the Democratic candidate for governor won. Not suprising, as he was the lieutenant governor under the last guy. Virginia simply replaced one Democrat with another. But, strangely, they also seem to have elected Republicans to the lieutenant governor and attorney general positions. What to make of that?

The campaign veered into the disgustingly negative, as these campaigns seem to do so often these days.

In another gubernatorial race, this time in New Jersey, U.S. Senator Jon Corzine defeated Douglas Forrester to put another win in the Democrats' column. But that was another case of one Dem replacing another, so no net gain. Jersey was also a rather odd story anyway, in that the previously elected governor, James McGreevey, resigned after confessing to a gay love affair.

Meanwhile, Republican Michael Bloomberg easily won re-election as New York City's mayor. And a number of initiatives proposed by California Governator Arnold Schwarzenegger were soundly defeated, which tells me that the people out there are not yet ready to take their state's very real problems seriously.

The weirdest story of the day was the city of San Francisco voting in a ban on handguns. Yeah, don't let that pesky Second Amendment bother you at all . . . The NRA immediately sued to overturn the ban. Usually it's the Left that sues to get in the court what it can't at the ballot box. This time, however, there's an actual Constitutional right being trod upon, so the NRA has the right idea.

We must also stop and take a moment to think of the victims of the latest terrorist outrage, a series of suicide bombs in Amman, Jordan which have killed at least 23 people and injured well over a hundred more.

Some day, gentle reader, the human race will outgrow this sad habit of murdering one another. Today, it seems, is not that day.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

For Your Consideration

Ran across this today in the course of my blog surfing. Santy articulates some ideas that I've had rattling thru my own head for a while . . . namely, that "liberals" and "conservatives" have almost traded places on the ideological spectrum since the early to mid twentieth century.

I renew my call for a "neoliberal" movement to take back and re-engergize that school of thought. The modern Left needs desperately to come to grips with the fact that it's been hijacked by its extremist fringe. The modern Right, tho sliding in that direction, has not yet fallen completely out of touch with reality in the same manner.

Maybe it's some kind of psycho-social death throes of the failed Marxist school of thought, I don't know.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

You Say You Want a Revolution

Apparently there was a series of gigantic anti-war demonstrations all around the country yesterday.

Or not.

It seems this massive call to arms from the "Bush Is Evil!" bunch drew a few hundred here and there, protesting or picketing or whatever in desultory fashion.

Yeah. Tidal wave of popular sentiment. Takin' it to the streets. Stickin' it to the MAN. Even the press seemed not to notice, and usually they're up for anything that can make Bush look bad.

Oh, by the way, that's a pretty far-right fringe site in that link up there. I picked that one because I thought the captions were funny. There's a bunch more out there. If you want to google it or something. I dunno, I don't really want to give it much more effort than the protesters themselves put out. Meh.

In counterpoint, here's a piece from The National Review Online's Michael Rubin with some highlights about what's going right in Iraq. Here's a quote to tantalize you:

"Iraq's per capita gross domestic product is today almost twice that of Yemen and nearing that of Egypt and Syria, hardly a sign of failure in a country in which, just three years ago, antiwar groups insisted children were starving en masse. Statistics aside, the Iraqi economic boom is apparent to anyone who visits an Iraqi market. Not only are appliances and luxuries in the stores, but customers are actually purchasing them."

It kind of amazes me how different the stories are between what the press reports here in the States and what gets reported by people who have spent time on the ground in Iraq, outside the Green Zone. This is not to say that there aren't problems, of course . . . a lot of the money earmarked for reconstruction in Iraq has been diverted to security matters, a lot has been wasted, a lot has simply gone poofie . . . but progress continues to be made, milestones like the (barely covered) vote on the Iraqi Constitution are passed, things get better little by little.

Patience, gentle reader. Patience. We, and they, will get there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

One Strike, One Home Run

Miers is out, Alito is in. Reactions to the new nominee are following sadly predictable lines. Do any of these guys actually think, or do they just jerk the ol' knee?

Here's a typical piece from the left, in this case The Daily Kos. Note the dripping vitriol and unrelentingly foul language.

Here's one from the right, this being Michelle Malkin. Not a whole lot of swear-words in this one.

Apparently Alito is near the top of the list of the right's dream choices for Supreme Court (as opposed to Miers, who came completely out of the blue). Looking over his record, he seems a solid jurist with a good respect for constitutional law. So of course the left hates him. The Democrats may be overestimating the willingness of the public to put up with their nonsense this time . . . if they filibuster, it will likely be widely perceived as pure obstructionism. Best bet is to have a couple weeks of hearings and then an up or down vote.

There's a reason I named my blog "Fulcrum Ruminations". One of the big themes in American political life I've noticed is that everything is very much on a pendulum. The country swings back and forth between being conservative and liberal (in the classic sense of those words, not the modern corrupted versions). The stuffy uptight Fifties, for example, were followed by the wild "anything goes" Sixties. The "me" decade of the Eighties is followed by the kinder, gentler Nineties. And so forth.

The Supreme Court has swung to the left in the last few decades. Now it's correcting back to the right. Ten, fifteen, twenty years from now it will go back the other way. The important thing to remember is that this is not the end of the world. Just because your particular political philosophy is not in ascendance at the moment does not mean America is about to dissolve into chaos. Get over yourself. For the side that's on the downward swing, this is the time to self-examine (which the Left desperately needs to do right now, as far out of touch as they've gotten) and reconsolidate. Get your house in order, because you need a better argument than "well, those guys suck and we're not them!" to win elections.

And for God's sake, if you ever expect to be a force in politics again, stop telling half of the electorate that they're stupid. The red state/blue state rubbish has to stop.