Saturday, May 31, 2008

Cannibalism on display

I've said it before, and it's time to say it again:

The Democrats are eating their young.

Watching today's marathon pissing match among members of the DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee -- with supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton doing virtually all of the pissing -- has been a real treat.

Puerile tantrums from the likes of Harold Ickes guarantee that it'll take Herculean spin to salvage party unity, even the perception of unity. And no one should be surprised if Sen. Clinton keeps kicking this dead ass all the way to the convention in Denver.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Candor liberated

A soon-to-be-released memoir by former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan confirms what many of us already know -- that the Bush administration employs a “permanent campaign approach” to paper-over its incompetence.

The book, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception, chronicles more than just a disengaged President.
"I still like and admire President Bush. But he and his advisers confused the propaganda campaign with the high level of candor and honesty so fundamentally needed to build and then sustain public support during a time of war. In this regard, he was terribly ill-served by his top advisers, especially those involved directly in national security.”
Another excerpt.

"The most powerful leader in the world had called upon me to speak on his behalf and help restore credibility he lost amid the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. So I stood at the White house briefing room podium in front of the glare of the klieg lights for the better part of two weeks and publicly exonerated two of the senior-most aides in the White House: Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.

"There was one problem. It was not true.

"I had unknowingly passed along false information. And five of the highest ranking officials in the administration were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice President, the President's chief of staff, and the President himself."

McClellan knows that incompetence and propaganda cannot flourish unless given permission to do so, and he acknowledges the absence of scrutiny.

"If anything, the national press corps was probably too deferential to the White House and to the administration in regard to the most important decision facing the nation during my years in Washington, the choice over whether to go to war in Iraq.
“The collapse of the administration’s rationales for war, which became apparent months after our invasion, should never have come as such a surprise. In this case, the ‘liberal media’ didn't live up to its reputation. If it had, the country would have been better served.”

Is McClellan's book a scathing indictment of the Bush administration? Absolutely. Does it paint an embarrassing picture of the news media? Sure.

If that's all we see, however, we miss the point. This chain of evidence leads past the President and his cronies, past the press, and lands in a pile at our feet.

The empty suit that occupies the Oval Office wasn't self-appointed -- he was elected (and re-elected).

His propaganda campaigns? They've worked. His policies, along with hundreds of billions in funding, have been rubber-stamped by legislators that we don't hold accountable.

And as long as the media serves us a steady diet of Britney Spears and Anna Nicole Smith, we don't much care what else they do.

We truly do get the government we deserve.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

This weekend, remember

There's a reason we have three days off at the end of May -- and it has nothing to do with water parks, barbecues and auto racing.

I urge every American to take the first minute of every day this weekend to remember our fallen warriors. Fly the flag. Visit a veterans cemetery. Attend a ceremony at the local VFW post.


They gave their last full measure of devotion to preserve our freedoms. Acknowledging their sacrifice is the least we can do.

From the writings of John Adams

"Posterity! You will never know, how much it cost the present Generation, to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make a good Use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it."

(in a letter to Abigail Adams, April 26, 1777)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Paying for a pulse

For the last few months, some Georgia high-school students have earned eight dollars an hour to attend study sessions.

Handing teenagers cash for actual academic achievement would be disturbing enough -- but these leeches-in-training were rewarded for the simple act of showing up.

I can't think of a better way to cultivate a ravenous appetite for government entitlements, at the expense of encouraging the ethics of hard work and accomplishment.

Don't blame the kids. The real oxygen thieves here are the sponsors and supporters of this idiotic program, along with the community that allowed it to poison further our nation's future.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Local government at work

In Central Ohio today, there was a reported eight-minute delay between the National Weather Service issuing a tornado warning and the sounding of the first tornado sirens, which are activated by the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency.


According to the agency's deputy director, the EMA emergency-communications center isn't staffed weekends and holidays.

Wait -- there's more.

He further explained that, "The unfortunate thing was normally we have a tornado watch, which gives us a little bit of time to know that something might pop up. Unfortunately, this time there was nothing before the warning..."

Yet another reason not to rely on our bureaucrats and elected officials.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hoosiers & Tar Heels

Two days ago, skeptical about voters' ability to see through Sen. Hillary Clinton's pandering, I made a pessimistic prediction:
"(Sen. Clinton will) likely win Indiana and she'll make it close in North Carolina."
I'm glad to say that yesterday's results proved quite the opposite -- Sen. Barack Obama trounced Sen. Clinton 56%-42% in North Carolina and lost the Indiana primary by just two points.

I'm seldom encouraged by our sheepish electorate, but today I am.

Because Sen. Obama is addicted to entitlements and has a record of undermining American citizens' Second Amendment rights, he won't get my vote in November. But for the sake of our country and the upcoming conversation about its future, I believe it's in our national interest that he wins the Democratic Party nomination.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lou Dobbs: Populist or parody?

Watching "Lou Dobbs Tonight" is a daily ritual for me. I like Lou Dobbs.

Check that -- I want to like Lou Dobbs.

I respect his record of independent thought, and I happen to agree with his fundamental positions on illegal immigration and other issues.

Problem is, Lou is becoming more parodical every day, as if he's bucking for a prime-time slot on Cartoon Network. The more seriously he takes himself, the less seriously I can take what he says.

"I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a depression. Everybody's out of work or scared of losing their job. The dollar buys a nickel's work, banks are going bust, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Punks are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that today we had fifteen homicides and sixty-three violent crimes, as if that's the way it's supposed to be.

"We know things are bad -- worse than bad. They're crazy. It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my steel-belted radials and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone.'

"Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot -- I don't want you to write to your congressman because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the depression and the inflation and the Russians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you've got to get mad!"

No, Lou Dobbs didn't say that -- it was Howard Beale, "Mad Prophet of the Airwaves," in the eerily prescient 1976 movie Network.

These days, though, Lou Dobbs is sounding a lot like Howard Beale. He proclaims himself a populist for populism's sake, regularly citing Sen. Hillary Clinton -- of all people -- as a prime example. He summons righteous anger because his formula calls for anger -- and, of course, he must use the word "unconscionable" at least three times during his allotted hour.

Along with the host, every segment, guest and "poll" tilts madly toward the formula. Lou doesn't purport to offer a pure news program, mind you, but what he's doing isn't commentary, either. It's not advocacy. It sure isn't populism and, sadly, its independence is strained.

It is, in a word, thin and getting thinner. It's disappointing to see such a capable independent citizen-patriot become a caricature of his former self.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fools' Holiday

When Democrats cast their ballots in tomorrow's Indiana and North Carolina primaries, many will be voting on Republican Sen. John McCain's "gas-tax holiday" proposal -- either aye (for Sen. Hillary Clinton) or nay (for Sen. Barack Obama).

Sure, Sen. Clinton tweaked Sen. McCain's original plan by making those "big oil companies" pick up the tab. Either way, however, the "gas-tax holiday" proposal is pure, unfiltered, Grade A crap.

First, such a plan has no shot at being enacted before the summer travel season. Second, if it were, oil companies surely would shift higher costs onto the consumer. And third, each motorist's three-month savings would amount to little more than a financial crumb -- about two hand-tossed pizzas (delivered) and a case of beer.

It's meaningless gimmickry, and countless financial analysts have said as much. Hell, anyone with a working calculator can figure that out.

Because most voters are easily fooled, of course, the proposed shell game is actually working for Sen. Clinton. She'll likely win Indiana and she'll make it close in North Carolina.

Maybe pandering shouldn't move voters, but it does. Maybe voters should be smarter, but we aren't. And maybe we don't like foolery in our politics, but as long as we keep voting for it, that's what we're going to get.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Pierce's perspective

"After the White House, what is there to do but drink?"

(Franklin Pierce, 14th President of the United States, the only elected president who wasn't nominated by his party for a second term)