The Giuliani Advantage? Really?

November 28, 2007

Maybe Ed Morrissey (Captain’s Quarters) just hadn’t had enough coffee when he posted this morning, but it seems to me there’s a problem with this statement:

Even more, Giuliani can argue that big wins in the coastal states give Republicans an opportunity unseen in two decades — a chance to force Democrats to spend money in traditionally blue states, which not only helps Republicans in the presidential race but down-ticket as well.

Well, maybe. This argument really depends upon whether or not Democratic voters can be swayed by Giuliani’s social moderation. If one assumes that they can, one is necessarily assuming that many Democratic voters choose Democratic candidates based on social issues. I think that’s an iffy assumption to make. Many Democratic voters choose Democrats for economic reasons, and many Democratic voters will be choosing Democrats in 2008 based on the Iraq War and other foreign policy issues. Does anyone really think that voters fed up with the Iraq War are going to turn toward Giuliani because he’s pro-choice? That’s not even going to be on the radar screen.

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President for a Year

November 28, 2007

If you were president for a year, what would you do? Apparently believing that he is faced with the same question, President Bush plans to negotiate a treaty with Iraq that would lead to the withdrawal of approximately 2/3 of U.S. forces by the end of 2008 (H/T: Captain’s Quarters). He also expects the Israelis and Palestinians to sign a peace treaty by the end of 2008. One does wonder why Bush has decided to wait until the last year of his presidency to actually govern.

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The Experience Factor

November 28, 2007

It seems that all manner of media have decided to rip Hillary Clinton a new one for claiming to be more experienced than her leading opponents because of her time as first lady. People are asking if Laura Bush’s status as first lady qualifies her to run for president, without acknowledging that various first ladies have different ways of serving as first lady.

A better question in this case might be whether or not Eleanor Roosevelt’s time as first lady qualified her to run for president, and there are many who might answer yes to that question. Hillary Clinton was more active than most as first lady. Comparing her to Laura Bush, who has been a fairly inactive, figurehead type of first lady, is like comparing an apple to an orange – or at least like comparing a grocery store apple to one fresh out of the orchard.

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The Coalition Just Got Smaller

November 26, 2007

If you haven’t heard, Australia’s Labor Party has unseated the ruling Liberal Party, and Kevin Rudd will take John Howard’s place as Australian prime minister (H/T: The Washington Note). What does this mean for us? It means that a former Bush ally has been replaced by a Bush skeptic, and that Australia’s commitment in Iraq has become tenuous. John Howard’s unrelenting support of the Bush administration’s policies probably won’t be matched by Kevin Rudd.

It may also mean that the much heralded conservative wildfire said to be sweeping the globe has just been extinguished by a nice bucket of ice water. After the victories of Angela Merkel in Germany and Nicolas Sarkozy in France, many conservatives boasted that global opinion was turning back toward conservatism in general and the Bush administration in particular.

But with Gordon Brown replacing Tony Blair in the United Kingdom, with Donald Tusk replacing Bush ally Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland and promising the withdrawal of Polish troops from Iraq by the end of 2008 (H/T: Think Progress), and now with Kevin Rudd’s victory in Australia – it seems that the right was wrong. In the two latter cases, nations that were once thoroughly conservative have lurched to the left. I’d imagine a lot of conservative columnists and bloggers are eating some serious crow right now, as it becomes clear that the world is never going to be either a conservative or a liberal “utopia” in which everyone thinks the same way.


Losing Afghanistan

November 26, 2007

As the right continues to insist that we are winning in Iraq despite little supporting evidence, we are quietly losing the war against Osama bin Laden and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Matthew Yglesias and Think Progress both provide commentary on a National Security Council report which admits that we are not meeting our strategic goals in Afghanistan, and that the Taliban is getting stronger even as the Karzai government is weakening.

Why are we losing? There are several reasons. Chief among them is our distraction in Iraq, a distraction that should never have occurred. It’s hard to win one war when the entire nation from the government to the average joe is focused on another. Another reason we’re losing is because – I know this may come as a surprise – the Bush administration is inept. The administration either can’t or won’t deal with the underlying problems in Afghanistan, most of which lead back to Pakistan and President Musharraf’s failed policies.

Until we wrap up in Iraq and redouble our efforts in Afghanistan, and until national attention turns back to winning the real war on terror, we can expect that more of Afghanistan will end up back under the control of the Taliban. This is the real national security issue of our day and it’s one that politicians on both the left and the right need to start focusing on.


Blame America First?

November 26, 2007

Ann Althouse links to a New York Post article in which it is sensationally asserted that “‘Blame U.S. for 9/11’ Idiots” are actually in the majority. Their evidence? A Scripps Howard/Ohio University (OU? Oh Yeah!) poll which shows that 62% believe it’s either “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that the federal government turned a blind eye to warnings about the kind of attacks that occurred on September 11.

Where do you even start with this? Okay, well, since I have to start somewhere: I think it’s pretty ridiculous that the New York Post equates blaming the Bush administration with blaming the United States in general. When exactly did that happen? Yes, obviously, the Bush administration represents the United States, but that doesn’t mean that it embodies the entire nation. To me, blaming America means blaming our culture or our people for 9/11, which is exactly what ultraconservatives like Pat Robertson and the late Jerry Falwell did immediately following the attacks.

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