You are currently viewing archive for June 2007
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
John Podhoretz writes today:

"[T]he parlous decision to revive the dead immigration bill and fight for it, only to see it go down to defeat again, was an act of political suicide from which this White House will not recover."


"[A]s someone out of step with my fellow conservatives on the issue, as someone with a very liberal view of immigration, including illegal immigration...the more I read about the bill, the more it was clear to me it was an unholy mess and that the nation would be far better off without it."

With regret, I agree wholeheartedly with both assertions.

Read the full Podhoretz piece here.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
From the Washington Post:

Judge Won't Delay Libby's Prison Term for Appeal

"A federal judge today ordered I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to report to prison within weeks to begin serving a 30-month sentence ...."

"U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton rejected defense attorneys' request to allow Libby to remain free on bond while they appeal his conviction for perjury and obstructing justice."

"Walton...said he disagreed with defense attorneys' contention that Libby's trial had generated a series of close legal questions and judicial rulings that might well be reversed by higher courts."

Full story here.

Already today, I have heard repeatedly on several different media outlets this chestnut of conventional wisdom/analysis/punditry/blather:

"President Bush will not pardon Libby because the political fallout will be too intense."

WHAT!?! Are you kidding?

This is the same George Bush who refuses to budge on Iraq against the backdrop of a disapproval rating in the mid-60s; he continues to support Alberto Gonzales in the face of increasingly vocal consternation; and he intends to resubmit the bone-crushingly divisive and destructive (to Republicans) comprehensive immigration reform.

But, we are told that he is skittish about some bad press over a Libby pardon?

That is completely ridiculous. Seriously, even if you weren't the most stubborn person on the planet, how much lower can any president expect to dip than 29 percent approval?

In truth, a Libby pardon would bring his numbers back up. Bush's steep decline is the result of GOP anger. A Libby pardon, and the ensuing firestorm among the mainstream media and Democrats in Congress, would re-energize the formerly faithful.

But I predict he will not pardon Libby. Why won't he do it?

My Speculation: it is mostly a desire to not be Clinton. Of all the things that have gone to hell for Bush, he still sees himself as superior to his predecessor in terms of modeling virtuous behavior.

In Bush's view, pardons and vitriolic attacks and procedural assaults on the justice system are Clintonesque. I am afraid Bush is going to let Scooter fry--rather than compromise this principle.

Of course, it is easier to hold to your principles when other people are going to jail. I would not be shocked if the President found a way to alleviate Libby's suffering (commutation has been floated as a moderate measure). On the other hand, I would be surprised if Bush pardoned Libby Clinton style.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
My Mantra for Campaign 2008: Nobody Knows Anything.

On the other hand, George Will knows more about politics than most, and he is smart enough to ask intelligent questions. Will writes today in Newsweek to caution against Thompson mania, reminding us that we still have much to discover about the stately and celebrated senator from Tennessee.

Anyhow, Will offers several points and rhetorical flourishes worth noting:

1. Some say he is the Republicans' Rorschach test: They all see in him what they crave. Or he might be the Republicans' dot-com bubble, the result of restless political investors seeking value that the untutored eye might not discern and that might be difficult to quantify but which the investors are sure must be there, somewhere, somehow.

A bit off the subject, but this borrowed gem applied to Ronald Reagan and his recent posthumous rebirth as a near-great president with gravitas is priceless and absolutely true:

2. "The four stages of the highbrow treatment: first, he was derided, then ignored, then accepted, then discovered."

And then this paragraph in which Will agrees with my analysis from a while back is perhaps my favorite (and, truth be known, a compelling reason for this post; if you don't toot your own horn--who's gonna do it?):

3. When the resolutely uncharming John McCain ran in 2000, only four of his Senate colleagues supported him. Thompson was one. Today Thompson is John McCain without McCain's heroism, Vesuvian temper and support for the current immigration legislation. Although Thompson presents himself as a strict constitutionalist and an advocate of limited government, he voted for, and still supports, the McCain-Feingold law, which empowers the government to regulate the quantity, content and timing of speech about government.

Read the full version of Will here.

Don't get me wrong. I still like Fred and remain fairly optimistic. But Will makes an important point. Nobody Knows Anything.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
I cannot vouch for these, I can only report that they were expressed on the floor at our national denominational meeting this week:

"When I die, I want to be buried in Chicago so I can remain politically active." Charlie Rangel.

"Good government is no substitute for self-government." Gandhi.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Some on-the-ground reporting. From a conversation with a small group of Iowa Dems, including an elected official active in the party at the state level.

They had the following thoughts: (1)Anyone the Democrats nominate in 08 can beat the Republican candidate, except Hillary. So, Hillary must not be nominated. (2)When the dust clears Edwards will be the strongest candidate for the Democrats to put forward.

But, as Farmer comments, repeating his 2008 Mantra: Nobody Knows Anything.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
I am blogging this week from the General Synod meeting of the Reformed Church in America. We have been kept so busy that my production is low, but maybe tonight which they have promised will not last until 11pm.

At supper last night I talked politics with a layman from Illinois, a black elder from south of Chicago. I asked him about excitement for the current presidential candidates. He reported that he has not seen much excitement for any of the Republican candidates. His guess is that Rudy might have the most support, but that many are troubled at the thought of putting a man with his personal baggage (he's on his third wife) into the White House. He also reported that there has been some talk about "that Mormon candidate." (Romney)

On the Democrat side, he stated that Obama has generated a lot of excitement. He has heard Barak speak in person and compares his oratorical skills to those of MLK. And, he said that Barak mesmerizes crowds in Chicago and in the south counties of the state. But, he is not sure if Obama can beat Hillary for Illinois delegates, since she has lots of support as well. Edwards has not lit any fires of support.

These are, of course, the opinions of one man. But, a man well-connected in his community and politically aware.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
Gaypatriot has this update on the woes of the Log Cabin Republicans (say it loud, I'm a gay Republican and I'm proud).

At a guess, I would think that Rudy might be the candidate to benefit most from their efforts, if they were able to act.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
All the rule of law guys must be in love with Reggie Walton right now.

Scooter Libby lied under oath. He got his day in court. Now he is going to jail.

End of bitter sarcasm.

Bill Clinton. Sandy Berger. O.J. Simpson. Probably William "Cold Cash" Jefferson.

Why? What happened?

Somebody give me a thoughtful answer.

One caveat: no explanation may characterize Scooter Libby as the absent-minded professor. The ludicrous memory defense is how we got into this mess.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
"What Next for Congressman William Jefferson, Representative from New Orleans, Louisiana?"

This was the question of the day this morning (6-5-07) on C-SPAN's Washington Journal.

After a brief summary concerning the ninety-four-page, sixteen-count indictment, some excerpts from the Washington Post and Times-Picayune editorials (both of which call for the resignation of Congressman Jefferson), C-SPAN's Steve Scully went to the phones:

First Caller from New Orleans, Louisiana:

What about Bush? Why not impeach Bush? He is the biggest liar of all time.

1. Bush stole the election twice.

2. What about Iran-Contra? Bush lied us into Iraq; he has blood on his hands.

3. He is busy smuggling illegal Mexicans into this country for free labor.

We re-elected Jefferson because we know he is going to help the people recover from Katrina. Why not concentrate on Bush and all his lies?

Steve Scully (interrupting with some facts): how do you feel about your hometown newspaper calling for the Congressman to resign? What about the $90,000 in the freezer?

Caller: How do you know the FBI did not plant that evidence? Let me tell you something, darling. This is just another subversion tactic by Bush to make us forget about Iraq and all of his misgiving with Iraq and Halliburton and he and Cheney. Investigate Bush and all his lies.

Steve: Thank you very much.

The next caller offered a salient point: with a jury pool consisting of people like the caller from New Orleans, Congressman Jefferson has every reason to believe he can beat the rap in court in a community in which 57 percent of the registered voters reaffirmed their loyalty to Jefferson and everything he represents.
Category: Politics
Posted by: an okie gardener
The AP has this story listing the faith memberships of the presidential candidates.

We have discussed the church membership of some of the major candidates before here and here and here. Also, I consider Mormons to be members of a New Religion Historically Related to Christianity, not Christians. My explanation here.
Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
A few years ago I called in and reached my hero, Brian Lamb, on a Friday morning installment of Washington Journal. Oh, happy day! Anyhow, Brian, no doubt sensing my ecstasy, asked me a few questions, and I told him about myself and what I did (teach American history) and eventually offered up a theory of how C-SPAN represented a Jeffersonian version of democratic conversation as opposed to a Hamiltonian preference for government by elites.

As I was the last caller for the segment, Brian's in-studio celebrity pundit guest followed me directly. It was John Podhoretz, and he immediately declared the last caller from Waco an "amazing call" and went on to elaborate on my suggestion. It was at that point that I realized Podhoretz was an exceptionally astute observer of people and ideas.

In all seriousness, I like Podhoretz, and he is right on the mark today:

The lesson of the cascading crises for this administration in its second term is a simple one: These crises would have been avoided if it hadn't been for the failure to secure victory against the insurgency in Iraq.

Read the essay in its entirety here.

You may say that this is so obvious as to not warrant a column--but Podhoretz offers several salient points worth considering and this conclusion:

Bush has almost no political capital left with his own base, as the immigration debacle indicates. All his base wants is victory in Iraq.

And it's all he should have wanted, too. But he was seduced by the argument that victory in Iraq could be secured through political progress and not through force.

If you begin a war, you have to win the war. Nothing else matters. Nothing else.

I agree 100 percent. I have long said that the key for President Bush is winning in Iraq. Do that and everything comes together.

One other connected anecdote: This is obviously the week (perhaps even the day) when the worm turned for George Bush. That is, even his friends deserted him in droves this week. Such is life for a President. Such is life.

But the difference between success and failure is often pretty thin, turning on a moment or a decision or a bounce of the ball.

I am reminded of the movie Wall Street, when at the height of his success, Bud Fox listens as his sales manager assures him with a fatherly arm around his shoulder: "From the day I laid eyes on you, son, I knew there was something special about you."

Later, when the federal agents come to take Bud Fox away for illegal doings, the same sales manager spits out with vehemence: "From the day I laid eyes on you, boy, I knew you were no good."

Today it seems that the world of punditry knew from the very beginning that George Bush was no good.