Monday, October 14, 2002

More on Torchgate's revenge: D.J. Tice of the Pioneer Press has a timely and brilliant column on the Pawlenty fiasco, "Campaign board ruling illustrates how law is flawed." Stay tuned...
Not to worry, Trunk. Pawlenty is fine. There will be enough money to finish out the campaign, and he is up by six points in the latest (post-finance problem) polling. This should be a bump in the road, not exactly minor but by no means fatal.
Torchgate's revenge: While I was out of town visiting Little Trunk, the campaign of Minnesota's Republican candidate for governor, Tim Pawlenty, melted down. Having agreed to abide by statutory spending limits, Pawlenty's campaign was found by the state's campaign finance practices board to have coordinated illegally with the Republican party to circumvent the applicable spending limits. The board's finding was reported last Friday in a Star Tribune story by Dane Smith, "Pawlenty campaign takes a big hit on ads." The penalties associated with the violation that has been found have not been imposed yet, but they are being negotiated with the Pawlenty campaign. On Saturday, the Star Tribune reported that the Pawlenty campaign would not contest the campaign practices board ruling. As these stories make clear, the impending financial penalties are staggering. We like Tim, we may be wrong, and we say with absolutely no joy that anyone who can add will deduce that the Pawlenty campaign is dead in the water. Read the linked stories.

Under Minnesota law, the party can substitute candidates in the event that the previously endorsed candidate withdraws, virtually up to the day of the election. In 1990, Arne Carlson waged a successful seven-day campaign for governor after the previously endorsed candidate withdrew. We predict that within the week, Tim will withdraw and our friend Brian Sullivan, who lost the endorsement by a hair to Tim, will be asked to take his place. We emphasize that we convey these predictions as simple deductions from the reports above. We ask you to stay tuned to the Power Line as events unfold. As Matt Drudge says, impacting...

More on Mister Peanut: Thank you, Rocket Man. Carter proves my newly minted adage: once an ass clown, always an ass clown. Now let's move on to the Swedes. Remember? As between Hitler and Churchill, they were neutral...
The Trunk thought we weren't quite tough enough on Jimmy Carter. OK, here is a photo that sums up Carter's ignominious post-presidential career; he's sucking up to a murderous tyrant while also staging a self-promoting photo op.

Someone should tell Carter that team is about to be contracted.
Right, Deacon. Saying that going after Iraq is bad for the war on terror is incomprehensible, like saying that going after cancer is bad for the war on disease. Beyond the obvious--Iraq is one of several sources of terrorism--lies another dark reality. Since the fall of the Soviet empire, terrorists have had no protector powerful enough to give them a safe haven. However, should Saddam Hussein stay in power and obtain nuclear weapons, he would be able not only to "harbor" terrorists as the Taliban did; his nuclear deterrent would allow him to actually protect them from retaliation, as the Taliban could not. Avoiding this situation is essential to ultimate victory in the war.
Reuel Marc Gerecht responds to the argument that a war with Iraq would compromise America's war on terrorism. Gerecht argues that the war will not impair our ability to obtain European assistance in countering terrorists because the Europeans understand that they too are the targets of Al Qaeda and thus have a strong interest in cooperating with us. The Europeans might like to make a behind-the-scenes deal with Al Qaeda, but they realize that this is impossible. As to Middle Eastern cooperation, Gerecht contends that it will actually increase with a victory over Iraq. Fear of the American power is what motivates whatever cooperation we get from the dictators in this region. Defeating Iraq will increase that fear. Not fighting Iraq would demonstrate that there is no reason to cooperate with us and, indeed, nothing to fear from cooperating with Al Qaeda.
The latest Zogby poll showing Paul Wellstone with a nine-point lead over Norm Coleman in Minnesota's key Senate race has caused something of a stir, especially since his last poll, done in September, showed Coleman up by six. Local insiders, however, give the Zogby numbers little credence. Both the Republicans' polling and the Democrats' polling have consistently shown Coleman and Wellstone within a point or two of each other, with no major recent shift. The race remains a toss-up and will likely be determined by which side does a better job of turning out its voters.
Clayton Cramer (via InstaPundit) explains why the Islamofascists cannot be appeased and must be fought. Check out the last paragraph.
The South Dakota voter fraud scandal appears to be expanding. Initially a single "contractor" was said to be involved, now at least three are found to have submitted fraudulent Democratic registrations.
Brian Sullivan points out that in the latest Senate Zogby polls, as reported at Real Clear Politics, John Thune has edged into a narrow lead against Tim Johnson and Jim Talent has opened a significant lead over Jean Carnahan. On the negative side, Zogby reports Paul Wellstone with a sudden nine-point lead over Norm Coleman. This kind of a swing is hard to explain; nothing has happened recently to explain such a dramatic change other than, perhaps, Wellstone's vote against the Iraq resolution. I don't believe Zogby's numbers, but if they reflect a real trend in Wellstone's direction, it may support my speculation of a few days ago that Wellstone voted against the resolution out of political calculation.
More on Mister Peanut: While on campus this past weekend I learned a new term that I think will frequently come in handy. The term recognizes students who are more than mere brownnosers. Students who suck up to their professors with notable intensity over a long period of time are dubbed "ass clowns." Peter Schweizer is a scholar of the Reagan presidency who has been digging in the archives related to Reagan's predecessor. He has written a new book ("Reagan's War," out tomorrow) on Reagan's strategy for the defeat of Soviet Communism. In a column based on the book, Schweizer demonstrates with considerable restraint that as president Mister Peanut was an ass clown for Communist tyrants. The column is entitled "Troubling Trophy."

In addition to "Troubling Trophy," National Review Online carries two other columns that should not be missed. In "Remembrance of Things Past" Victor Davis Hanson reviews the recent criticism of President Bush made by German politicians in the election that was just concluded. Hanson's piece is powerful and provocative. Also not to be missed is the column "Like an owl exploding" by John Derbyshire. In the column Derbyshire gives a careful reading to the the sickening 9/11 "poem" by New Jersey's poet laureate (sic), Amiri Baraka, the former Leroi Jones. I have read a lot about the poem, which has become something of a cause celebre, but Derbyshire's column is really in a class by itself. The column concludes with a parody of Baraka's poem that I will take the liberty of quoting in its entirety:

Somebody Stuck It To New Jersey Taxpayers
by John Derbyshire

Who took help from Jews when getting his scam started
Then turned and spat on them when a cozy sinecure came along
Who praises despots, wreckers of nations
Murderers, despoilers of innocence — Kabila, Lumumba, Lenin, Che
Who thinks Nkrumah was a benefactor of anyone but himself
Who believes the most transparent driveling anti-Semitic lies about 9/11
Who thinks "Tom Ass" is a really, really funny way to write "Thomas"
Who mau-maued the governor
Who put one over on the guilty white liberals at those fool Art Councils
Who's an illiterate moron
So stupid he can't even keep his racism straight...

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Studies in liberal governance: As predicted by Mark Helprin, the "homeless" have made a major comeback since the inauguration of a Republican president. In New Haven, the homeless now are allowed to pitch their tents on the New Haven green in the middle of downtown. The green has been the traditional center of town since its founding in the seventeenth century. Now the liberal powers-that-be suck their thumbs as they try to figure out whether anything can be done to resolve this highly complex issue. In short, as reported in the Yale Daily News story"In city on the Green, no simple answers," the answer is, well, "no."

This is of course not an isolated phenomenon. Today's New York Times carries a similar story, "New York's homeless, back out in the open." Can the squeegee men be far behind?
When former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak spoke at Yale last Thursday, he drew a packed audience of interested students. And his remarks seems to have lived up to the expectations of his audience. What I found most interesting in the story on his speech carried in the Yale Daily News was the account of the security precautions.

Competing with Barak for the attention of the students on Thursday was retired Princeton Professor Robert Fagles, the most prominent living translator of Homer. Fagles spoke to an an enthususiastic audience of freshmen students in Yale's Directed Studies program in the classics of Western civilization. Students hung banners over the ledge of the balcony avowing their love of Fagles.
"Fagles feels the love from D.S. students" tells the story. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe it. But I did.
Some say that we are too simplistic in viewing the war against Islamist terror as a straightforward case of good against evil. I don't think so. Here is a reminder of the stark contrast between terrorists and normal, sometimes heroic, people.

Al Qaeda appears to be back with a vengeance. Beginning with Zawahiri's taped statement on al Jazeera a week ago, we have seen the attack on the oil tanker Limburg; the suicide attack on American marines in Kuwait; a bombing in the Philippines; three separate attacks in Indonesia; and, perhaps, a suicide bomber in Finland. We do not yet know how many of these attacks are attributable to al Qaeda, but that is a pretty academic question. The Islamofascists are a loosely organized coalition more than a single, tightly controlled organization. The timing of these attacks seems calibrated to Congress' vote to support the Administration on Iraq, which may suggest Iraqi involvement with al Qaeda, or may just be another manifestation of the many links of sympathy and tactics among the Islamofascist groups. The most horrific of these attacks was the car-bombing of the Sari Club in Bali, Indonesia. The Sari Club was a hedonistic, western-oriented bar that was described in an online review as "a bit feral." As such, it was a prime Islamist target. More people were killed at the Sari Club than in the Oklahoma City bombing, and the death toll is sure to rise, as there are more than 200 Australians alone still missing. I haven't done the math, but undoubtedly Australia lost more citizens, as a percentage of its population, than the U.S. did on September 11. So far the Australian reaction has been strong; see the coverage in the Sydney Morning Herald. The immediate effect will be to make Australia a stronger supporter of the war on terrorism. Australia has already offered to help Indonesia search for the killers. Indonesia has more Muslims than any other country; despite this fact (or because of it), it has consistently denied that terrorist groups operate there. The photo below shows the Sari Club on fire after the bombing.

More on Mister Peanut: Steven Plaut of Haifa University delivers a serious fisking to Mister Peanut in "Dishonoring America and Peace." The piece is too short either to help us in our anger management therapy or to do full justice to events, but it is a helluva beginning: "Carter's stupidity is still a matter of bitter humor. We recall his infantile attempt to be an Alpha male and talk about his lusting after women, a matter which led to that famous cartoon of him gazing at the Statue of Liberty and imagining her naked. This was the peanut-brain from Plains, the dumber brother of Billy Carter."
More on "Barbershop": Today's New York Times has a good profile of Cedric the Entertainer, the comedian who brought Eddie the Barber to life. In "Cedric the Entertainer, the Old School Comedian," A.O. Scott observes: "Cedric's rotund frame, clearly built for comfort, not for speed, nonetheless moves with a smooth agility that recalls Jackie Gleason, and he shares the Great One's gift for quick changes of mood and character."

Elsewhere in the Times today, editorialist Brent Staples also pays homage to the movie in "Lessons in Brutal Honesty at the Barbershop." Staples's political correctness is so finely tuned that you can be assured his defense of the filmmakers is unnecessary at this point. Jesse Jackson has been routed in his attack on the movie.
I have just returned from a long Parent's Weekend in New Haven with Little Trunk, where I went cyber cold turkey. Ouch! This afternoon I have been catching up with our blogs since my Wedndesday morning, 4:00 am pre-departure post for Brian Sullivan. To paraphrase the proprietors of the Hair Club for Men, I am both a "customer" and "owner" of the Power Line. Hats off to Rocket Man and Deacon for the awesome coverage of the past five days!

I don't think we have yet done justice, either through our links or through our commentary, on the Jimmy Carter/Nobel Peace Prize phenomenon. Jimmy Carter is easily one of the worst presidents in American history, but observing that places him on a continuum with other more respectable though execrable past presidents such as James Buchanan. His post-presidential career, however, clearly reveals him to be something like the first anti-American, postmodern president--a president who has "transcended" his country in favor of world citizenship. In so doing he has become a useful idiot to every left-wing dictator, tyrant, and butcher holding power in the world today, even including such classic third world kakistocrats as Libya's Mohammar Khadaffy, whose thugocracy lacks the leftist ideological component Carter otherwise esteems.

In honor of Jimmy Carter winning the Nobel Peace Prize, National Review Online has republished this piece from Jay Nordlinger. Deep into the piece Nordlinger makes the essential point that Carter has never met an anti-U.S. dictator he doesn't like. The list of such dictators includes Romania's barbaric Ceausescu, North Korea's Kim Il Sung, Daniel Ortega, anyone associated with China and, of course, Arafat. Nordlinger also reminds us that Carter's one positive foreign policy accomplishment, the Camp David accords, was worked out by Sadat and Begin before Carter was ever approached. This was after Carter had publicly taken the position that any worthwhile deal would have to include the Palestinians.

It doesn't bother me that a few Scandinavian socialists have given Carter the discredited Nobel Prize. But it is a bit annoying to hear American talking heads endlessly calling Carter "our best ex-President." Let's give these commentators the benefit of the doubt and put this assessment down to stupidity, rather than a shared-love of anti-western strongmen. By the way, my candidate for best ex-president is also an odd one-termer, John Quincy Adams. JQA landed in Congress where he became a tireless enemy of slavery. The difference between Adams and Carter is the difference between the moral and the moralistic.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

The link Rocket Man perceives between the Islamofascists and the left was also drawn by Francis Fukuyama in the September issue of Commentary. I summarized Fukuyama's discussion in a blog on September 1. (I couldn't link to the article and still can't). Fukuyama traces Al Qaeda back to the Muslim Brotherhood whose roots, in turn, can be found in European fascism and its cousin European communism. He also contends that both Islamism (to use Fukuyama's term) and the European totalitarian ideologies stem from the same sort of social transformation caused by villagers moving en masse to large cities.
Rocket Man, your insight that the Islamofascists and the American left are animated by the same thinking is profound. It probably explains, among other things, why the American left is constantly imploring us to consider what animates the Islamofascists.
The Middle East Media Research Institute performs an invaluable service by translating excerpts from the Arab press. Yesterday, MEMRI posted a number of Arab responses to Condoleezza Rice's call for freedom and democracy in the Middle East. The responses come from a number of countries and from both government and independent (to the extent it is possible to be independent in an Arab country) sources. They are well worth reading in their entirety, but the thing that was most striking to me is how familiar the anti-Americanism of the Islamofascist press sounds. Virtually the entire anti-American catechism has been lifted wholesale from the teachings of the American left. It is all there: slavery, oppression of the Indians, Viet Nam, segregation, the Montgomery church bombing, Hiroshima, racial profiling of Muslims, and on and on. Oh yes, and Rice's boss, the President, is a cowboy. Nor is Marxism left out: "Democracy is an idea for the road to power...and nothing else. It is the ideology of the greatest power on earth." From Cairo to Riyadh, these editorialists sound amazingly like Noam Chomsky. It is hard to escape the conclusion that for the Islamofascists, as for western leftists, notwithstanding the supposedly vast gulf that divides their ideologies, the real animating passion is sheer hatred for America, for freedom, and for democracy.
David Tell weighs the Democrats on national security and finds them wanting.
Here is more on the voter South Dakota voter fraud scandal from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader. The Democrats hired up to 100 independent contractors to register new voters, particularly Indians, and paid a bounty for each purported new voter who was registered. Apparently the bounty was paid whether the registration was valid or fraudulent, and regardless of whether the new "voter" actually existed. Appoximately 17,000 new voter registrations have come in since the primaries, an extraordinary number in a state whose population is only around 700,000. So far, it is unknown how many of those registrations are fictitious. It is also unknown how many fake absentee ballots have already been received. A Democratic spokeswoman said that "the Democratic Party thinks that every eligible voter needs to exercise their right to vote and participate." No reference to the fact that to be an "eligible voter" you have to be a human being who actually exists and is not deceased. The chairman of the state Republican party said, "We have known for some time that there is a lot of fraudulent voter registration taking place. There is some indication there's ties to the Democratic Party in this."

Friday, October 11, 2002

Rocket Man has asked me how we're getting along in suburban Washington D.C. where sniper killings have become an almost daily event. The killings started at two locations less than three miles from where I grew up in Montgomery County. They have spread as far as Fredericksburg, Virginia near where I attended a debate tournament with my younger daughter on Saturday. However, I don't detect the kind of general panic that is being portrayed in the media. That said, my wife reported that downtown Bethesda, Maryland was awfully quiet for a Friday night.

I don't have any particular insight into what's going on, nor do I know much about law enforcement. I should like to follow the excellent example of Big Trunk during the recent Minneapolis race melee and report on local print media coverage of the shootings. However, that coverage has been mostly unexceptionable apart from this preposterous headline from the Washington Post early in the affair -- "Five Shooting Victims Reflect Montgomery's Growing Diversity."

The Washington Post has also jumped on our County's top law enforcement officer, the excellently named Chief Moose. His sin is rudeness to journalists. Here, a local Post columnist informs us that Chief Moose has a history of "anger management" problems and difficulties handling pressure. But it isn't just the Post that one hears raising questions about the Chief. Moose is African-American and it may be that some of the unease stems from concern about whether he was hired due in part to his race -- a concern that would be heightened if the Post's reports about problems in past jobs are true. That's one of the insidious things about affirmative action. Its widespread use tends to create these sorts of doubts even when they are entirely unjustified, as they may well be in this instance. In any case, the problem now encompasses all of the Washington area and extends half way to Richmond. Thus, little depends on Chief Moose anymore.

Television coverage seems fixated with "profiling." Profilers are endlessly interviewed and seem to have nothing much to say other than that the killer isn't a nice individual. Actually, they say he isn't a nice man. I haven't heard any of the television profilers opine about the killers race, athough it may be that the real profilers are guessing about this too. No one seems to find profiling objectionable here, despite its bad name in the press. What I'm hearing tends to reinforce my view that, generally speaking, profiling (including racial profiling) can be a legitimate, but not terribly helpful, investigative tool.

Early on, Montgomery County publicized the fact that it had obtained a "geographic profile" of the killer which located his base of operations not far from where I grew up. This too had a "no sh_ _, Sherlock" quality to it, since this was the area where the murders to date had occurred. To the extent, if any, that the profile was insightful, one also wondered why the police would tell the killer where they were looking for him. Since then, the killer has not struck again in our county, which may have been Chief Moose's intent. Who knows? In any case, the killer seems to feel invincible and thus should be caught soon. Let's pray that this happens before anyone else is murdered.
This may be a huge story: the FBI is investigating "massive voter fraud" in South Dakota. The fraud centers on Indian reservations and surrounding areas, where the Democratic Party has mounted a "voter registration" drive in anticipation of a close race between Tim Johnson and John Thune. The Democrats are denying responsibility for the fraud, the full extent of which is not yet known. It involves, among other things, registration of dead and non-existent people as Democrats. We can add this to the list of things the Democrats are willing to do to retain control of the Senate. But it shouldn't be a surprise. The real story of the 2000 election, which was unfortunately overshadowed by the Florida election contest, was voter fraud in a number of states, perhaps the most extensive ever. There is no reason to expect fraud to diminish this year, as nothing has been done in most states to assure ballot integrity. It will be interesting to see whether the South Dakota scandal hurts the Democrats there, and whether voters around the country will start to see a pattern.
Did Carter seek U.N. permission to attempt to rescue our hostages in Iran? Come to think of it, even a U.N. mission would surely have been better conceived than the one Carter launched. I doubt that the Democrats are pleased to see Carter getting "air time" just now.

Speaking of the election, my cousin from New York tells me that he saw an ad for Forrester in which a high school student about to take an exam asks his teacher if Frank Lautenberg can take it for him if he fails. Not bad humor, but I wonder if the ad will help Forrester. My cousin also reminds me to "beware of Lincoln Chafee" when it comes to regaining control of the Senate. Indeed, it seems quite possible that Chafee will pull a "Jeffords" if the Republicans get back to 50 seats.
Further Update: Sure enough, Jimmy Carter's first act upon being awarded the Peace Prize was to announce on CNN that he would have voted against the Iraq resolution. He said he agreed that the United States has an obligation to ensure that Saddam does not possess weapons of mass destruction, but that "it should all be done through the United Nations and not unilaterally by the United States." So the U.S. has the "obligation," but can only carry out its obligation with the permission of France, Russia and China? President Bush has repeatedly made it clear that his preference is to proceed under the U.N. umbrella. The question is, what happens if France, Russia or China, for whatever reasons of perceived self-interest, makes that impossible? As usual, Carter has nothing beyond platitudes to contribute to the debate.
Right, Deacon. We'll see how the French respond to having one of their ships attacked. As I recall they reacted strongly when it was done by Greenpeace. But the Islamofascists are a lot more formidable than the greens.
It's now official. Traces of TNT and pieces of the boat that delivered it have been found inside the French oil tanker Limburg. An American official has confirmed that the explosion was a terrorist act, likely carried out by al Qaeda. Which again raises the question posed here a couple of days ago: Why is it that government officials seem to have a reflexive desire to deny terrorist links to violent acts? The photo below is a close-up of the hole that was blown in the Limburg's hull by a small boat loaded with explosives.
Rocket Man, I checked out your post from yesterday's Times of London about France. I think the Times got it mostly right -- France is moving "considerably closer to Washington's position on Iraq." Why? Because, realizing that Saddam has no future, it wants to be a player in the post-Saddam Iraq. In this respect, France is a less stand-up version of Pakistan, which worked with the Taliban for years until it saw the writing on the wall. In short, with apologies to my french wife, France is not a true ally but rather a supremely opportunistic nation that we can occasionally work with.
Trent Lott has announced that he will not be attending the Oct. 24 dinner for Harry Belafonte, on account of the singer's vicious attack on Colin Powell. I hadn't realized until this recent outburst that Belafonte is a Stalinist.
Jimmy Carter has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The timing could hardly be worse; it shows how out of touch the Nobel committee is. The Wall Street Journal has re-run Gabriel Schoenfeld's review of Carter's book, Living Faith. It pretty well sums up Carter's cluelessness, both as President and thereafter. In recent years, some of Carter's actions, especially concerning Cuba, have been borderline treasonous. I wouldn't be surprised if the award becomes the occasion for some outrageous statements by Carter about Iraq and the war on terrorism generally. Nor would I be surprised if that's what the Nobel committee had in mind.
Update: That's exactly what the Nobel committee intended. The committee's chairman has confirmed that the award to Carter was made "relevant" by the situation in Iraq, and that the award was intended to "send a message to Washington." Disgusting.
OK, here is a link to the Baucus/Taylor ad, courtesy of The Smoking Gun. It definitely contains a couple of gay moments. But I still say the story here is more about inadequte candidate recruitment by the Republicans than homophobia by the Democrats.
The most recent poll data, as collected by Real Clear Politics, indicate that the Carnahan/Talent race in Missouri is a dead heat; Forrester may have a shot against Lautenberg in New Jersey; Allard, the Republican, has regained a slight lead in Colorado; Shaheen may have pulled into the lead in New Hampshire; and Cornyn is burying Kirk in Texas, where hopes of a Democratic pickup were always far-fetched. In Iowa, the illicit taping scandal has cut into Harkin's lead, but probably not enough to matter. With the local prosecutor declining to take action, the issue has probably peaked. Here in Minnesota, our friend John Kline holds a narrow lead over the incumbent Democrat, Bill Luther, in what is now a strongly Republican district. Among voters who know who the candidates are, John's lead is overwhelming. This should be a Republican pickup in the House.
In these pages and elsewhere, Trunk has written of the State Department's studious efforts to ignore or explain away Yasser Arafat's terrorism against U.S. targets. Here, Jim Hoagland, the Washington Post's foreign policy columnist, writes about past "attempts by officials to bury or explain away menacing information about Iraq." Hoagland, who is hardly a conservative, has been writing of Saddam's atrocities for years. He has found the State Department and the CIA "institutionally wary and dismissive of the extensive intelligence about Saddam Hussein and his crimes." In fact, Colin Powell last year publicly dismissed information published by Hoagland about the increasing tempo of Iraq's efforts to shoot down American and British pilots over no-fly zones. Hoagland also describes the "exasperation" of his editor at the Post with Hoagland's efforts to to describe Iraq's "unique evil." Hoagland concludes that, while there was "little new" in President Bush's speech to the nation about Iraq, our government's willingness to pay attention to old news about Iraq is indeed new.
I agree with you on the Montana race, Rocket Man. When I first heard the story, I thought it wasn't so bad because Taylor apparently wasn't providing real competition anyway. But, as you point out, how can the Republicans not be competitive in Montana, one of the most conservative states in the nation? And against a liberal like Baucus, China's friend in the Senate. Amazing.
Yesterday's strangest story was the withdrawal of the Republican Senate candidate in Montana, Mike Taylor, after the Democrats released an ad showing Taylor--who owned some salons during the 1980's--working as a hairdresser. Taylor denounced the ads as a slur, intended to suggest that he was a homosexual, and dropped out of the race against Max Baucus. Baucus will now presumably be unopposed, since the deadline to replace Taylor has passed. Some commentators, most notably Andrew Sullivan, have joined Taylor in denouncing the ad as a homophobic slander. I'm not so sure; I haven't seen the ad. If I run across it later in the day, I'll link to it. From descriptions I've read, the ad would make Taylor look dumb, but homosexual? I don't know. The more fundamental story appears to be that the Republicans have once again run a weak candidate in an important race. Baucus was not unbeatable and there is no shortage of Republicans in Montana. This was, after all, not a race for some obscure local office, but for the United States Senate. And the best the Republicans could do was a guy who could be driven out by the revelation that he used to be a hairdresser? It is a basic rule of politics that if you run against a Democrat, you should be prepared to be slandered. It is hard to understand how the Republicans nominated someone who didn't see this one coming.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

The London Times says France maybe isn't so bad after all. I'm not sure I buy it, but judge for yourself.
Thanks to Steve Nygard, my good pal, Power Line reader and amazing techno-whiz for help with our recent site upgrades.
Bret Stephens is a brilliant columnist for the Jerusalem Post but is, I think, little known in America. Today he brings us bad news from Latin America: "It is no small thing when an entire continent goes the way of Africa, not that many of us have given more than passing notice. How did it happen?" Along the way, Stephens has kind words for Augusto Pinochet. Check it out.
Joel Mowbray has written several articles critical of the State Department's issuance of visas to Saudis and others who turned out to be terrorists. Now National Review has obtained copies of the September 11 hijackers' actual visa applications, and Mowbray, writing in National Review Online, has analyzed the applications and concluded that 15 of the 19 applications should have been denied. The article includes links to photos of six of the applications, so you can see for yourself how absurd it was to accept them. One application omits such basic information as age and gender. Most of the applications gave only the vaguest indication of where the applicant intended to live in the United States: "California," "New York," "Hotel." One applicant identified his destination in the U.S. as "No." He was issued a visa anyway. One applicant indicated he intended to stay in the U.S. for three years; this was a problem because the longest legal stay is two years. Not to worry: he returned a few days later with a new application that indicated an intent to stay for one year, and the visa was issued. Anyone who reviews these applications will conclude that the application process was strictly pro forma, and that anyone who asked for a visa got one. Clearly no one was thinking about security.
The Jerusalem Post reports on a poll regarding support for Israel among subgroups in the U.S. The poll finds that 62 percent of Christian conservatives and 67 percent of Republicans say they support Israel. Only 46 percent of Democrats say the same thing. The survey finds that President Bush is making significant headway among Jewish voters. 53 percent of American Jews now have a favorable view of him. While this number is far lower than that for Americans as a whole, it represents progress nonetheless.
The House passed the President's Iraq resolution by a vote of 296-133. About 60% of House Democrats opposed the resolution; almost all Republicans voted for it.
Rocket Man, the Ann Coulter piece you posted is terrific. Here's an article by the Weekly Standard's Noemie Emery on why President Bush drives Democrats like Tom Daschle crazy. As Emery notes, "Bush has a history of driving people who are sure they're much smarter than he is to incredibly silly and sefl-immolating acts." Ask Ann Richards or Al Gore. Despite this history, Bush's opponents still feel certain that "if Maureen Dowd turns the smirk up one notch, if Frank Rich reviews Bush like another bad movie, the unwashed will awake and see reason." When this doesn't happen -- when the vast majority of the public refuses to regard Bush as a lucky, out-of-touch moron -- the reaction from Bush's adversaries isn't at all pretty.
Here is video footage of Paul Wellstone inciting union thugs to rough up a Republican who was filming Wellstone's campaign appearance with a camcorder. The scariest thing about the video, though, is Wellstone's 60's-era rant about "marching" and "fighting."
The Zawahiri tape "appears to be genuine," according to the Administration, and--although I still haven't seen a complete transcript--is said to contain references that are clearly contemporary. The news reports haven't indicated whether Zawahiri's identity has been verified by voiceprint analysis, but I assume that's what Administration spokesmen mean when they say it is apparently genuine. If so, Zawahiri is, regrettably, alive. It is interesting, however, that the alleged bin Laden audio tape that recently surfaced contains no contemporary references at all, suggesting that it was made a long time ago. If Zawahiri's tape is genuine, it means that the al Qaeda leadership has access to recording equipment and is willing to take the risks inherent in surfacing, at least to that extent. That being the case, the fact that they have not been able to produce a recent bin Laden tape likely confirms that he is dead, as was recently reported by a pair of Tora Bora survivors.
Ann Coulter carpet-bombs the Senate Democrats on Iraq.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Byron York reports on another ambush by Senate Democrats of a Bush judicial nominee. This time the victim is Dennis Shedd, who has been nominated to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and has served as a federal district court judge for more than ten years. According to York, Senator Leahy had promised that the Shedd nomination would get through the Judiciary Committee, but changed his mind after "civil rights" groups increased their attacks on Shedd. Imagine that.

Meanwhile, Michael Kinsley contends that Senators should oppose judicial nominees with whom they disagree over ideology and/or judicial philosophy. According to Kinsley, this will force presidents to compromise with Congress, leading to the appointment of moderate judges. Does anyone recall Kinsley making this argument when a Democrat was President and the Republicans controlled the Senate? I don't.

On the merits, Kinsley's approach has superficial appeal. And Republicans eventually could probably live with it since, in the future, the Republicans are at least as likely to control the Senate as the White House. However, there are sound objections to a regime in which Republican presidents may be unable to appoint mainstream conservative judges and Democratic presidents may be unable to appoint mainstream liberals. First, Kinsley's assumption that presidents will compromise with Congress is questionable. In some situations, presidents may well hold out for nominees who share their philosophy, while hoping that control of the Senate will pass to their party and using recess appointments to fill some vacancies. Second, in Kinsley's world the permanent federal judiciary will tend to be comprised disproportionately of judges appointed during periods of ascendency by one party. For example, in the year 2020, an unusually large percentage of judges may be appointees from 2011-2013. It seems better to have judges, liberal and conservative, who reflect organic shifts in political trends over time. Third, there don't seem to be a lot of high quality "moderate" judicial candidates out there today. Most top lawyers and legal thinkers have strongly held beliefs and are either liberals or conservatives. This is particularly true of those who are likely to sponsored for appointment to the federal bench. Typically, these individuals are friends of the senator from their state (nowadays almost invariably a liberal or a conservative senator) or people who have come to the attention of the president's top lawyers through service to the party or its favorite causes. Would we be better off with a Supreme Court made up of nine non-opinionated hacks or a Supreme Court divided roughly equally between top-notch liberals and conservatives? I'd prefer the latter.

Finally, a system where judicial nominees are vetoed or approved largely on straight party line votes would tend to de-legitimize the judiciary in the public's mind. Courts decide many of the most divisive issues we face as a society. Their decisions need not, and should not, end public disagreement over these matters. However, the decisions must be accepted at some level or else the rule of law will fail. To some extent, federal judges are political creatures and should be viewed as such. But it is not healthy if they are viewed as nothing more than political creatures. The regime that Senate Democrats seek to impose, and that Michael Kinsley now applauds, will foster that perception and thus go too far in undermining public confidence in the federal judiciary.

Rep. James McDermott is the most disgraceful of all the Congressional Democrats. A week ago I saw John McCain being interviewed on Fox News; he was asked to compare the McDermott/Bonior treachery to Jane Fonda's appearance atop an anti-aircraft gun while McCain was a POW in Hanoi. McCain's response was measured but devastating; he said that he thought McDermott and Bonior were worse. After all, Miss Fonda was just a "troubled young actress," whereas the Democratic trio were not only adults but Congressmen, one of them, Bonior, a long-time member of the Democratic leadership. Here you see a photo of McDermott marching in Seattle in front of a sign labeling President Bush a "terrorist." In the accompanying article from the Seattle Times, McDermott says that President Bush is carrying out a "silent, bloodless coup" to "become an emperor." I agree with McCain. This is worse.
Like most bloggers, we have linked to InstaPundit from time to time, and Prof. Reynolds has linked to us as well. This time, rather than linking, I am reproducing in its entirety an email the Pundit received from an active-duty serviceman commenting on the faux concern for his safety expressed by certain anti-war Congressmen:

"As a servicemember, I'm continually amazed by the lengths that some will go to 'use me' as a prop for their point of view. To wit, the quote from Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas, commenting on the President's speech last night: 'If the quality of his evidence matched the quality of his oratory, I'd be "ready to roll." But his repeated references to 9/11, despite his advisers' admission that no such link to this terrorism exists, show how very weak the case for war now really is. My concern is that a near-unilateral land invasion of Iraq will endanger thousands of young Americans now while exposing our families to terrorism for years to come in what will be perceived by too many as a new crusade against Islam.'
My primary beef, aside from the usual 'weak case' rhetoric, is with this rather shameless use of the 'young Americans' scare tactic. It pains me to be seen as a pawn in this game, especially since the servicemembers that I know are not really interested in how much danger we might face -- as long as we can go in with the right tools, support and mission, we don't mind danger. After all, isn't that what we're trained for?
However, Rep. Scaremonger has no interest whatsoever in my well-being, or else he'd have complained more vociferously about the last president's little escapades. The rhetoric is not matched by any sign of real concern, such as seeing to it that my ships get the gear they need or my men get the support they need. Guess that wasn't on his 'to do' list.
Bottom line: The Armed Forces of the United States are ready, willing and able to take out the targets directed by the President. No amount of armchair QB'ing by the donks will change that, nor will their shameless use of the 'danger' that I may face affect my readiness."

The Trunk has written an excellent expose of the State Department's longstanding whitewashing of Yasser Arafat's murder of Americans; see the "Arafat" link to the left. Now the State Department praises religious tolerance in the Palestinian Authority. Yeah, the PA is highly tolerant of infidels, as long as they aren't pigs or monkeys. This illustrates what a daunting task the Administration faces in attempting to implement rational policies over the resistance of a deeply entrenched and reality-free bureaucracy.
As we predicted, Tom Daschle has indicated that he is "inclined to support" the Iraq resolution. Opposition appears to be crumbling, consisting now of a handful of Democrats with safe seats, a few hard-left relics like Paul Wellstone, and the eternally clueless Lincoln Chafee.
This piece by Michael Kelly combines insight with fallacy in discussing the Bush Doctrine. Kelly is insightful in drawing the analogy between the foreign policy of President Bush and that of President Kennedy. And Kelly is surely correct in arguing that the Bush Doctrine is neither imperialistic nor an extreme departure from American practice and American values. However, I believe that Kelly is wrong to refer to the President's policy as "armed evangelism," just as he would be wrong to call President Kennedy's policy that. As far as I can tell, Bush is not out to "make the world safe for democracy." His goal is to make the world safe for our democracy. To be sure, we are safer in a world full of democracies. But that does not mean we are, or should be, on a crusade to bring democracy to the world. In Iraq, for example, our goal is to topple Saddam Hussein and to rid his country of weapons of mass destruction. We hope that, in the process, Iraq and maybe even its neighbors will become far more democratic, and we may be willing to devote considerable effort to try to bring that about. However, the extent to which we will do so has yet to be determined, as far as I can tell. Presumably, it will depend on the "facts on the ground." And nothing in the Bush Doctrine, as it has been publicly articulated, commits us one way or another on this matter. Thus, Kelly is wide of the mark in comparing the President's policy with the selective "evangelism" of President Clinton as manifested in Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Tony Blankley provides a characteristically insightful piece about the statesmanship of President Bush and the maturity of the American public -- "the world's bulwark against chaos" -- that supports him.
Last night we discovered that our favorite Minnesota businessman/politician, Brian Sullivan, is a faithful reader of the Power Line. He came within a hair of being the Republican party's candidate for governor of Minnesota this year, and we suspect that even more important political missions than being governor of the state lie in his future. We predict that in at least one of those missions his success as a businessman will be an asset rather than a liability.

This morning's Pioneer Press carries D. J. Tice's weekly column. His column this week is devoted to an assessment of the candidates in the Minnesota race for governor. Brian, this one's for you.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

The end of Torchgate: As previously announced, I'm not getting over it. I'm not moving on. And I am frequently consulting Diana West's hilarious column "Last Rites for Torricelli" to help me stay focused.
Fred Barnes' take on the battle for control of the Senate. The Republicans need a net pick-up of one seat. Barnes identifies four states where the Republicans could gain a seat (New Jersey, Missouri, Minnesota, and South Dakota). Barnes sees Lautenberg as the probable winner in New Jersey and the other three states as basically toss-ups. There are also four states where the Democrats could pick-up a seat (New Hampshire, Colorado, Arkansas, and Texas). Texas is a long-shot, but Barnes sees the other three as toss-ups. Thus, if he is correct in his assessment of the individual races, the math narrowly favors the Democrats. However, there is still a long way to go.
Beginning with his great book on the Lincoln-Douglas debates, "Crisis of the House Divided," Professor Harry Jaffa has taught many of us virtually everything we think we know about American politics. Professor Jaffa's long-awaited sequel to that book is "A New Birth of Freedom." Professor Diana Schaub's review of "A New Birth of Freedom" brilliantly explicates the book and lucidly explains why you must read it.
Steve Sailer's thoughtful and informative review of the book "The Emerging Democratic Majority" is worth reading. The book and the review address the political effects of current demographic trends. The review can profitably be read in conjunction with Michael Barone's most recent discussion of "Latino voters and American politics."
Whatever one thinks of Dick Morris, he is an expert on the uses and abuses of polls. Here, he exposes the latest New York TImes poll about Iraq and the public's concern over the economy as a "push" poll. As Morris explains, push polling is the use of polls "to generate a predetermined result, and so to vindicate a specific point of view." Politicians sometimes use this technique, but clearly jounalists never should. However, if taken seriously by politicians, the poll could backfire by causing Democrats to over-estimate the value of talking about the economy. Morris claims that similar polling led the Democrats astray during the summer when they lost ground by criticising President Bush's policy on Iraq. So, if Morris is correct, in deliberately misleading the public, the Times risks misleading its Democratic allies as well.
This piece by James Robbins compares President Bush's speech to a prosecutor's closing argument in a jury trial. The analogy is useful and prompts the question, what would the "defense's" closing argument sound like. I'm not talking about the kind of carping questions that I heard following the speech ("why now" and "what happens after"), but a real full-blown argument, of a seriousness comparable to the President's, against taking military action in the near future. Maybe we'll hear it when Senator Wellstone speaks in the Senate. But, to paraphrase Tom Daschle, so far the opponents of military action haven't made their case.

Monday, October 07, 2002

President Bush's great speech this evening, on the first anniversary of our strike against the Taliban, seems to me to mark something like the end of the beginning. I listened to it live on the radio and only want to note four points that struck me while listening to it. First, it was the speech of a serious leader. The president's statement that we will not live in fear must itself strike fear into the heart of our enemies. Second, the speech was a war speech. The president's warning to Saddam Hussein's generals that they will be held accountable for war crimes suggests that action is imminent. Third, in drawing the character of Saddam Hussein, President Bush made the striking point that Saddam is a student of Stalin. This point forms the heart of Mark Bowden's article in the Atlantic Monthly last spring, an article that we posted on the Power Line at the time of its publication. Fourth, when making the case that the war against Saddam Hussein is "crucial" to the war on terrorism and not a diversion from it, President Bush noted that Saddam Hussein is sheltering terrorists. He specifically named Abu Abbas, the head of the Palestine Liberation Front who is holed up in Baghdad, and recalled Leon Klinghoffer, his American victim. This is a connection that we have seen drawn nowhere else previously and it speaks volumes to us about the terrible truth at the heart of the president's speech, as well as the awesome character of the speaker.

God bless President Bush, and the United States of America.
For those of you who remember the Trunk's post on the Museum of Sex--I know, our memories aren't what they used to be either--here is a photo of a costume display at the museum, courtesy of Yahoo news photos.
Debka File says the explosion of the French oil tanker Limburg was a copy of al Qaeda's attack on the U.S.S. Cole two years ago, and was carried out by al Qaeda with possible assistance from Iraq. The governments of Yemen and France were quick to say that there is no evidence of terrorism; the Yemenis claimed the explosion resulted from an oil leak. However, the captain and other witnesses on board the Limburg reported seeing a small boat strike the oil tanker just before it exploded. Why a two-year-old, double-hulled tanker would suddenly spring a leak has not been explained by Yemen or France. (The photo below shows the Limburg. On a more general note, I do not understand why governments around the world seem to reflexively deny that violent incidents are connected to terrorism. Recall the Hadayet case at the Los Angeles airport, for example. Violent incidents may or may not be terrorist, and may or may not be connected to al Qaeda, but where this heavy presumption of non-terrorist origin comes from, I don't understand

Right, Trunk. Before starting with the sarcasm, I should have commended you for posting the Star Tribune article which, as you said, is very revealing.
For those who think media bias thrives only in New York, Washington and Los Angeles, check out the Sioux Falls Argus Leader's lengthy (interminable, actually) tribute to the virtues of Tim Johnson. Note, too, the emphasis on Johnson's ability to bring home the bacon for South Dakota. No one's taking the chance that the voters might vote on principle.
Deacon, the "reality" I was alluding to as creeping through in the Star Tribune's article on immigration was that our current wave of immigrants does not appear to be overflowing with patriots. Like you, I'm pretty sure we don't need a lot of help from recent immigrants in understanding why the rest of the world doesn't like us, even if it is what the Star Tribune thinks it is what they have to offer.
Here is the New York Times' take on the neck-and-neck Senatorial race between Norm Coleman and Paul Wellstone. The Times is right that the race is being dominated, at least for now, by Iraq. And although the Times would never put it this way, their report is also consistent with my theory, articulated here a day or two ago, that Wellstone calculates that his opposition to the Iraq resolution may represent his best hope for re-election. I also enjoyed the article's description of Gordon Shumaker--formerly an excellent trial judge in St. Paul, now an excellent appellate judge--as one of a group of "bearded men in black leather" supporting Coleman at a "freedom rally" sponsored by the Minnesota Motorcycle Riders' Association.
Trunk, I take a back-seat to no one in wishing to understand the "deep-rooted reasons" why "foreigners don't like us." I'm just not sure that we need mass immigration to get to the bottom of this. First, we have our own indigenous liberals who are perpetually eager to enlighten us on this score. Second, why can't we just let in a few virulently anti-American immigrants (preferably good restauranteurs) from each country? While we're at it, maybe we could find some immigrants who can explain the deep-rooted reasons why so many American liberals don't like America.
Two news stories over the weekend purported to add credence to the claim that bin Laden is still alive. The first related to an intercepted cell phone conversation involving Mullah Omar. There were numerous headlines like this one in the U. K. Observer: "Bin Laden still alive, reveals spy satellite." However, the article indicates that this claim is based entirely on Omar's statement to the other participant that "The Sheikh sends his [greetings]." The Observer claims that "voice analysis appears to corroborate the identification of bin Laden," but this is incomprehensible since bin Laden's voice was not on the tape. (The most interesting question is: who leaked this news about an interception by an American spy satellite, and why?) The second news item was al-Jazeera's broadcast of a two-minute audio recording, purportedly made by bin Laden. Here again, the report was accorded considerable credibility; the UPI story was headlined in the Washington Times: "Bin Laden Threatens More Attacks." But again, the story concedes that "United Press International has not been able to determine whether the speaker is bin Laden or when the tape was recorded." My guess (and it is purely a guess) is that the voice will prove to be bin Laden's. But there is nothing in the tape to prove that it was made subsequent to last December, the last time bin Laden was known to be alive. The tape refers to the September 11 attacks, but, so far as news accounts have indicated, nothing thereafter. In short, these stories contain little or no hard information. I still think he's dead.
In his weekly Wall Street Journal column this morning Robert Bartley addresses the issue I have been trying to raise regarding (to put it one way) the proper relationship between the United States and the United Nations. All honor to him for beginning his column at the beginning--with the founding of the United States on the self-evident truths recognized in the Declaration of Independence. His column, "Who elected the UN?," is mandatory.
Richard Poe answers the question: "Why is the blogosphere conservative?" His piece, with lots of links, is a good introduction to the blogosphere for those who are just becoming familiar with the phenomenon. The essential answer, of course, is that the blogosphere is mostly conservative because it is a free, competitive medium in which only ideas matter.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

Virtually every week the Minneapolis Star Tribune runs an article regarding immigrants in Minnesota, always with a subtext of how wonderful they are and how wonderful the transformation of Minnesota or the United States by these immigrants is. Today's story--"Africans struggle to make new home"--is utterly typical. It discusses the burgeoning population of Somalis and Ethiopians in the Twin Cities. One of Minnesota's main attractions for such immigrants--Minnesota's Swedish style welfare system--is cloaked in euphesism. The expressly touted advantages these immigrants bring to Minnesota are--what else?--confined to their "diversity" ("diversity of immigration enriches the Twin Cities area, said Carol Engebretson Byrne, executive director of the Minnesota International Center"). And even though the reporters' intentions are otherwise, reality does creep through if the reader sticks with this very long story to the end:

"Eric Damien, a Frenchman who serves as executive director of the Alliance Francaise de Minneapolis-St. Paul, said he was surprised to arrive here after stints in India and South Africa and find such a profusion of different nationalities.

"'I wouldn't have expected as many Hispanics or Hmong or Somalians,' he said. 'I didn't know they were coming to Minnesota.'

"The presence of foreigners, he said, can widen the horizons of Americans as they try to understand the rest of the world.

"'I was very surprised that the reaction of so many Americans to 9/11 was "''Why don't they like us?'" he said. 'There are deep-rooted reasons for this, and immigrants can help Americans to understand.'"

I spent yesterday in Fredericksburg, Virginia at a Student Congress tournament for high schoolers. It was somewhat depressing listening to otherwise intelligent kids insisting on "hands off Iraq," calling the U.S. arrogant and a bully, and fretting over our "lack of friends" in the world. One guy even attacked my hero, Charles Krauthammer. At the end of the day, though, two out of three Congresses were won by good conservatives, one of whom is my daughter.
I'm not getting over it. I'm not moving on. They want to discuss the "issues," but the New Jersey perps and their Democratic enablers are the issue. Nevertheless, while I sort it out, I'm trying to lighten up.

Steve Dunleavy of the New York Post is a crusty columnist who specializes in punchy one-sentence paragraphs and self-deprecating humor. His column today--about New York's newly opened "Museum of Sex"--made me laugh. The column is headlined "Getting some was so easy--or so my friends tell me." Here's his lead: "Because of the cruel, unforgiving gallop of the calendar, the name 'Museum of Sex' appears apt for so many of us." The rest of the column will keep you smiling.

Saturday, October 05, 2002

Mickey Kaus delivers a fisking to Paul Krugman, formerly a bad economist, now a bad columnist for the New York Times. Uncovering Krugman's many errors has become a staple of the blogosphere. Among other things, Kaus points out that Administration critics like Krugman, who accuse Bush of inaction on the economy and call for "fiscal stimulus," never acknowledge that the economy is benefiting right now from the fiscal stimulus provided by Bush's tax cut. In enacting the tax cut, partly, as he said, to stimulate the economy, Bush was ahead of his liberal critics. (By the way, Mickey, thanks for linking to us on Thursday.)
This past summer we corresponded with a gifted young man named Josh Chafetz, founder of Oxblog, to express our admiration for his site; we link to the Oxblog site over to the left. Josh is a Yale grad studying politics on a Rhodes scholarship at Oxford. Today Josh is justifiably proud that his brilliant piece "The Immutable Laws of Dowd" (originally published on Oxblog) has been published in the new issue of the Weekly Standard, out this morning. We extend Josh our sincere congratulations. In our correspondence with Josh this summer we urged him not to forget to return to the US when he completes his studies at Oxford; his country needs him.
I get the impression, probably mistaken, that Mark Steyn may be losing or stifling his sense of humor as the war with Iraq comes closer. I have been hoping he would address himself to the shenanigans in New Jersey in a way that would help me "move on." In his weekly Spectator column today, however, he discusses European anti-Americanism, and he sounds utterly fed up with it: "America could project itself anywhere and blow up anything, but it doesn’t. It could tell the UN to go fuck itself, but it’s not that impolite." He taunts the kakistocrats of Europe to act in a manner consistent with their anti-Americanism. His column is helpfully headlined "Put up or shut up."
A number of states, including California, have filed amicus briefs in the Supreme Court, urging the Court to overturn the New Jersey decision allowing candidate-switching after the deadline has passed. They make excellent arguments, but I still think the Court's wariness of becoming a full-time election referee will prevent it from acting.

Friday, October 04, 2002

Peter Ferrara in NRO highlights Tom Daschle's role as a sponsor of corporate corruption and crony capitalism. But this isn't the worst; Daschle is an old-fashioned bribe-taker, which is why he steadfastly refuses to release his tax returns. He has the checks made out to his wife, who is a "lobbyist," i.e., his wife.
The Star Tribune's James Lileks is a brilliant satirist who saves his best stuff for his Web site. He also has an incredibly high threshold for pain that has allowed him not only to read Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone's rumimations on Iraq in their entirety, but also to parse them in detail. Lileks places his comments on Wellstone's speech under the part of his site he calls "The Screed (a sporadic attempt to disassemble the indefensible)." In the following paragraph he's just getting warmed up as he addresses a point we have been seeking to articulate today and in several of our previous items, but the whole piece is just terrific:

"[T]here are two parties nowadays: the US party, and the UN party. The former includes Republicans and Democrats who have an inordinate, romantic, and almost quaint attachment to the Constitution and the notion of national sovereignty. The latter regard nation-states as subsets of a global construct that values unanimous impotence over individual effort, and values procedure over results. The US party calls in mortar fire on the enemy positions. The UN party stands up, climbs over the lip of the trench, and recites Robert’s Rules of Order as it approaches the machine-gun positions. Yea, though I walk through the shadow of death I shall fear no evil, for evil is specifically prohibited under Article 4, subclause B."
Meanwhile, Jonathan Rosenblum, writing in the Jerusalem Post, emphasizes the religious roots of President Bush's staunch support of Israel and the continuity between the President's world-view and that of the Founders. Echoing comments we have made on this site, he sees Bush's vision for the Middle East as one of liberation, comparable to Reagan's successful effort to liberate Eastern Europe.
Even the most casual Power Line reader has noted that we are strong defenders of Israel. We have viewed with alarm the worldwide tide of anti-Semitism that has risen over the past several years. I, for one, fear that the United States may be the only power standing between the Jewish people and another calamity. If this sounds alarmist--and I certainly hope it is--check out this item from The Volokh Conspiracy. Canadian customs authorities have seized pamphlets advocating Israel's right to exist as possibly illegal "hate propaganda." The seized materials can be viewed here. This is the kind of sinister effort to undermine Israel's legitimacy, presumably as a prelude to its obliteration, that is going on in many countries. It also offers a glimpse of where America's current infatuation with the concept of "hate speech" will lead if it is unchecked.
Ramesh Ponnuru agrees with Rocket Man's view that New Jersey Republican Doug Forrester should take on the Lautenberg candidacy before the voters, not the Supreme Court. Otherwise, Ponnuru contends, he will play into the hands of Democratic charges that he has nothing to offer other than not being Torricelli. Robert Levy of the Cato Institute also believes that "recourse is better left to the judgment of New Jersey voters than to the U.S. Supreme Court."
I concur with Gene Allen's excellent analysis of why the current three-member coalition against Iraq is ideal. I also perceive another advantage to proceeding with that limited coalition -- to show our enemies that we are willing to go it more or less "alone." The only real defense that our enemies in the Middle East have against our power is the ability to hide behind "world opinion" to the extent that we are willing to be restrained by it. If our actions with respect to Iraq show that we are not willing to be so restrained, they are more likely to convince countries like Iran and Syria to become part of the solution to anti-American terrorism instead of remaining part of the problem.
Paul Wellstone, as expected, has come out against the Senate resolution authorizing the President to act against Saddam Hussein. The interesting question is why. Wellstone's principal argument is that we should take action as part of a coalition, not alone; he appears to be the last person to notice that we already have a coalition, and it is sure to grow (although, as Gene Allen points out, this is a mixed blessing). Given his arguments--which ritually acknowledge the desirability of getting rid of Saddam and are not explicitly pacifist--Wellstone could easily have signed on to the resolution with a furrowed brow and grave muttering about "concerns," as Tom Daschle will do when the time comes. Why did he oppose it? Two possibilities: maybe he is so reflexively opposed to the United States that he just can't help himself, logic be damned; or else he did it out of political calculation. This last possibility is intriguing. Wellstone has always been more popular in Minnesota for his personality than for his left-wing views. Many people who disagree with him on various issues have been tolerant, and willing to vote for him, because he has been perceived as honest, principled, a fighter for the underdog, determined to do the right thing regardless of political consequences, etc. Whether this image was ever accurate is debatable, but more to the point, the image has lately lost much of its luster. In this election cycle, Wellstone has appeared old and tired, with nothing new to add to the public debate. Worse, his violation of his two-term pledge has taken away the aura of the disinterested outsider that was the key to his early popularity. Right now, he looks like just another tired pol fighting to stay in office. As a result, he is trailing Norm Coleman--a younger, fresher and more vigorous face--in the polls. Wellstone's speech announcing his opposition to the Senate resolution was poorly written; in fact, scarcely coherent. And as he delivered the speech in a surprisingly flat monotone, he sounded tired. I couldn't help thinking that this speech represented a last effort to revive his image as a maverick and a crusader, and fire up his troops for one more election.
Here is the Charles Krauthammer piece that Trunk tried to post earlier (when I clicked on the link I got the Podhoretz column). Krauthammer is wrong in one respect. He finds no logic in the Democrats' insistence on permitting Security Council members to serve as arbiters of American national security policy. In fact, there is a coherent logic, although one the Democrats won't articulate. Many Democrats view America as a menace. They fear any projection of American power except for purely "humanitarian" purposes (to establish the purity of our motives, the victims we are protecting should be Muslims, Africans, or other people "of color," such as Haitians). Essentially, they view America as a giant Gulliver that needs to be tied down by the less powerful nations of the world. If one holds this view, it is entirely logical to grant countires like France, Russia, and China veto power over America's right to intervene militarily.
Our faithful reader Gene Allen has his own reflections on unilateralism/multilateralism that may help up pursue the issue in a way that will clarify our thougts. Gene's analysis distinguishes between the instrumental use of mulitilateralism--multilateralism pursued with the sole intention of achieving America's national objectives--and multilateralism in principle--mulitilaterlism pursued for its own good even when it conflicts with America's national interest. We believe in the former; the latter is the ideology of national suicide, i.e., liberalism. Gene writes as follows:

Three’s a Coalition, Four’s a Crowd

Senator Paul Wellstone took to the floor of the Senate on Thursday to criticize President Bush’s Iraq policy and argue that the United States should not invade Iraq without first exhausting every possible diplomatic effort, and then only by assembling a large coalition to conduct the operation. The time for diplomacy has passed and the task of forming a coalition is already complete.

Saddam continues to thumb his nose at the United Nations and the United States. Meanwhile President Bush has already assembled a coalition comprising Great Britain, Israel and the United States. Adding any more members at this juncture would exponentially increase the political and military risks associated with the operation. However, there is virtually no added benefit to expanding the coalition beyond what is already the most powerful and cohesive military alliance in the history of the world.

Military risks include information leaks, lost time, increased casualties and an ever-expanding list of nations for whom the United States must provide protection. Each addition to the coalition increases the possibility that there will be security breaches, miscommunication or casualties from friendly fire.

The political risk of adding more coalition members is that members may disagree about the scope, timing and duration of the mission. Thus anytime a coalition member disagrees with U.S. policy it has the potential to split the coalition or delay essential action.

Finally, being a member of the coalition presents risks to potential member nations. A nation may wish to join the coalition but, especially for neighbors of Iraq, there may be a price to pay in terms of potential unrest and terrorist activities in those nations. It would be best for all nations if the United States, Great Britain and Israel conduct the operation. After the mission succeeds there will be plenty of time for other nations to ratify the mission and sign on after the fact without subjecting their respective countries to the political and military risks associated with bringing about a regime change in Iraq. These nations may then take part in the humanitarian efforts associated with rebuilding Iraq and improving living conditions for the Iraqi people who will then be free from Saddam’s oppression.

The United States of America has all of the military and political power necessary to conduct the military operation to neutralize Saddam and rid the world of his weapons of mass murder. Great Britain and Israel are capable and trustworthy partners. A coalition of three is the perfect size.
John Podhoretz details how President Bush outsmarted the Democrats on Iraq.
Like me, George Will is angry about the Democrats' New Jersey shenanigans. Unlike me, he is capable of shedding both heat and light on them. Will's column, "Brewing up recipe for electoral anarchy," climaxes with this rousing statement: "A political party's enthusiastic embrace of the likes of Torricelli should be like getting drunk -- a wretched excess that carries its own punishment. The party should stay locked in the embrace it voluntarily entered into with a reprobate, until voters are given a chance to render their judgment on the party's judgment." Will also draws the link between these shenanigans and the party's attempt to hijack the past presidential election.

John Podhoretz comes this morning to praise President Bush for his skill in outmaneuvering the evil geniuses of the Democratic party to secure victory for the congressional resolution regarding Iraq. His column, "'Strategery' Triumphs," also has the humorous bite we are looking for this morning to leaven our anger at the partisans who fiddle while America burns.

Charles Krauthammer's column this morning pursues the issue of unilateralism versus multilateralism that so far has lacked the kind of serious analysis that Krauthammer always contributes. In "The Myth of 'UN Support'" Krauthammer states home truths with historical context that is devastating to the utterly frivolous arguments advanced by the Democrats.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Democrats are trying to fend off outrage at their New Jersey maneuvering by citing alleged precedents involving Republicans. The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz relies on one of the low points in recent Minnesota history as Exhibit A:

"By the way, before Republicans get too indignant, they might recall (as CNN's Jeff Greenfield noted) that in October 1990, Jon Grunseth withdrew as the GOP nominee for Minnesota governor after reports of an affair and swimming naked with two teenagers. He was replaced on the ballot by Arne Carlson, who won the election."

As an analogy, this is extremely lame. Grunseth dropped out thirteen days before the election. Under Minnesota law as it then existed (Sec. 204B.13(2)), "A vacancy in nomination of a major political party may be filled by filing a nomination certificate not later than four days before the general election...." Further, the statute provided that vacancies could be filled by a specified committee of a political party, or if no such committee has been formed, "the vacancy shall be filled by the candidate who received the next highest number of votes at the primary for that office...." (Sec. 204B.13(3)) When Grunseth dropped out, Carlson--who was already running a write-in campaign--promptly applied to the Minnesota Secretary of State (a Democrat) to replace Grunseth on the ballot, since Carlson was the second-place finisher in the Republican primary. His request complied fully with Minnesota's election laws, and the Secretary of State put his name on the ballot in place of Grunseth's. The difference between this scenario and what is happening in New Jersey is obvious. In Minnesota, the nominated candidate withdrew within the deadline provided by law; in New Jersey, he did not. In Minnesota, the election laws were scrupulously followed; in New Jersey, they were not. We have here the subtle distinction between following the law and ignoring the law--a distinction that Democrats increasingly find mystifying.

Later today, the Republicans apparently will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to stay the New Jersey Supreme Court's decision in the Torricelli case. I think this is a mistake. I don't think the Supreme Court will get involved, and if they don't their inaction will be perceived as validation of what the Democrats have done. Also, the Supreme Court appeal is too reminiscent of Florida. Everyone talks about how the New Jersey situation is like Florida two years ago, but the key difference is that in Florida the Democrats tried to steal the election after it was over. Here, they are bending the law for the same purpose, but before the election takes place. In Florida, the Republicans had no alternative but to fight in the courts. In New Jersey, they do have an alternative: to take their case to the voters and try to rally public sentiment against the Democrats' corruption and lawlessness. That's what they should do. See also
Andrew Sullivan's excellent analysis.
Astute reader Gene Allen points out that I prematurely retired Governor Bill Janklow of South Dakota. He is both a former governor, having served from 1979-1987, and also the current governor, having been elected again in 1994 after a tour of duty in the private sector. Gene agrees with me that Governor Janklow is going to win the South Dakota House seat.
John Fund has sobering reflections on the tide of election-through-litigation that Al Gore may have unleashed through his contest of the 2000 Florida results.
Stuart Rothenberg runs the numbers and concludes that unless the dynamic changes dramatically, the Democrats can't retake the House. Among other things, his analysis highlights the importance of our friend John Kline's race in Minnesota's 2nd. He also agrees with Deacon that Connie Morella will probably be defeated, but thinks she still has a chance. In at least one instance, I think Rothenberg's analysis is too favorable to the Democrats. Crediting recent poll numbers, he gives Stephanie Herseth the edge over ex-Governor Bill Janklow in South Dakota. I will have to see this to believe it; Janklow has been the most popular politician in South Dakota for the last twenty years, and has done nothing to forfeit that popularity. I don't believe he can be beaten by a Democratic rookie.
The Washington Times explains how President Bush outmaneuvered Tom Daschle on the Iraq resolution.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

I am afraid that today will be remembered as the day when the midterm electoral tide turned decisively in the Democrats' favor. Lautenberg should be a shoo-in to defeat Forrester; news coverage of Torricelli will no longer be an albatross; the Democrats' Congressional leadership has taken a major step toward getting Iraq off the table as an election issue; the stock market continues to slide; and the economy shows no signs of recovery. As noted here previously, generic Congressional preference polls turned sharply toward the Democrats two weeks ago. Over the next month they will pull out all the stops, and it is much easier to imagine last-minute developments that will hurt the Republicans--setbacks in the war, further erosion of the economy--than the Democrats. I hope I'm wrong, but the picture appears to be darkening.
The latest Maryland poll, commissioned by the Baltimore Sun and the Bethesda Gazette, shows the state's two key races "too close to call." Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend leads Bob Ehrlich 45-43 in the gubernatorial race. In my congressional district, Democrat Chris Van Hollen leads Republican incumbent Connie Morella 43-40. Morella's campaign says that its internal poll puts her ahead by a margin of 48-42. Morella has much more money left to spend than Van Hollen does. However, my guess right now is that the reconfiguration of the district by the Democrats, coupled with the polarized political climate, will see Morella lose in this overwhelmingly liberal district.
The House leadership has now agreed with President Bush on a perfectly acceptable resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq if necessary. A bipartisan group of Senators including John McCain and Joe Lieberman have introduced the same resolution in the Senate, where it seems certain to pass easily. Tom Daschle was left out in the cold as, the Washington Post reports, "senior members of both parties and chambers praised Bush's leadership."
The New Jersey Supreme Court has just ruled that the Democrats can replace Torricelli on the ballot.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for linking to us. Nothing like an InstaPundit link to spike a blog's hits.
Thomas Sowell on the taboo subject of race and IQ scores. Sowell points out that, if successful, the attempts of black "leaders" and their white "friends" to block research in this area would have prevented the discovery of evidence that large IQ differences between blacks and whites need not be attribued to genetics. In others words, as Sowell concludes, allegedly racist researchers like Arthur Jensen had more faith in black children than "black leaders" do.
The Trunk reminds me of these genuine lines from Julius Caesar:

"O pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers!
Cry 'Havoc!' and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial."
Yet another hoax in the news: You've probably heard that Barbra Streisand, at the Democratic fundraiser in Hollywood, purported to quote Shakespeare in support of her anti-war position and later admitted that she had fallen for an internet fabrication. Until today, however, I hadn't seen the quote that she attributed to Shakespeare. Here it is:

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind…And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded with patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader, and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."

Putting aside the fact that Shakespeare wrote never wrote anything this pedestrian, the language employed is obviously contemporary, not Elizabethan. No one who is even slightly familiar with Shakespeare could be deceived by this hoax for a moment. Attributing this quote to Shakespeare is like crediting a Guns'n'Roses song to Mozart; it requires a spectacularly deaf ear. Just another indication of the cultural level that prevails in Hollywood. And these are people who look down on conservatives because they think we're dumb.
Wow, this is a relief. Another hoax debunked. I must say the readiness of reporters to fall for these hoaxes is unnerving, even to skeptical conservatives like us.
Here's an analysis of the Texas races for Senator and Governor by David Guenther, managing editor of the Lone Star Report. Guenther sees Republicans winning both. The Senate race was neck-in-neck most of the year, but Republican John Cornyn now is 12 points up in the Zogby poll. Particularly gratifying to me is Guenther's suggestion that the defeat of Bush judicial nominee Priscilla Owen (a Texan) played an important role in the decline of Democrat Ron Kirk. However, Kirk's biggest problems apparently have centered on the issue of Iraq, which is also gratifying. Guenther predicts a five to ten point victory for Cornyn.
Deacon has posted some interesting comments about whether Al Gore's opportunistic flip-flops on Iraq, and national security policy generally, are the most shameless in American history. Here, courtesy of Vin Weber, is more evidence:

Al Gore on Monday:

"Now, back in 1991, I was one of the handful of Democrats in the United States
Senate to vote in favor of the resolution endorsing the Persian Gulf War, and I
felt betrayed" -- betrayed! -- "by the first Bush administration's hasty
departure from the battlefield even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of
the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south, groups that we had, after
all, encouraged to rise up against Saddam."

Al Gore on April 18, 1991:

"I want to state this clearly: President Bush should not be blamed for Saddam
Hussein's survival to this point. There was throughout the war a clear consensus
that the United States should not include the conquest of Iraq among its
objectives. On the contrary, it was universally accepted that our objective was
to push Iraq out of Kuwait, and it was further understood that when this was
accomplished, combat should stop."

Via Instapundit, blogger Shiloh Bucher explains how Torchgate validates her decision, several years ago, to leave the Democratic Party: "This time control of the Senate is at stake and the 'party of the people' is again attempting to use a state supreme court loaded with Democrats to shamelessly keep themselves in power." Following her post is a long series of comments by fellow party-switchers. It's pretty heart-warming.
The end of Torchgate: As the Democrats invite the courts to commit fresh outrages as part of the Torchgate denoument, today's columns provide both entertainment and instruction regarding the Torch's flameout. My new must-read guy is the perfectly named Cragg Hines of the Houston Chronicle. He rises to the occasion with a burst of perfectly fitted cruel hilarity. Michael Barone has a characteristically dead-on assessment in this morning's Wall Street Journal.

To our surprise, this morning's New York Times has a powerful condemnation of the Democratic maneuvering to change the New Jersey match-up by Professor William Mayer of Northeastern University. Professor Mayer concludes by stating: "[T]he failures of Mr. Torricelli should not be used to confer an unfair advantage on a party that deserves to be held accountable for its past decisions." I guess I don't need to remind you what party that is. In "The Old Switcheroo" on the Weekly Standard's online site Fred Barnes does a nice job of decrying the shenanigans of--which party was that again?--the Democrats.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Courtesy of a kind deed by a good friend I attended Bruce Springsteen's concert last night at St. Paul's Xcel Center. The concert was laced with powerful renditions of Springsteen's 9/11 songs from his current recording "The Rising." I was struck by how many in the packed audience of 19,000 already knew the songs from "The Rising" and were able to sing along with the performances. Add to the wallop of those songs the impact provided by Bruce being backed by the E Street Band, all the folks he played with in the '70s and '80s as he made his reputation and became famous: Steve Van Zandt, Roy Bittan, Danny Federici, Nils Lofgren, Garry Tallent, Max Weinberg, and the Big Man, Clarence Clemons. It felt a little like a historic occasion.

Given Bruce's songbook and his gift for writing anthemic songs, it was inevitable that lines from his old songs would find a new resonance in this show. Thanks to the venue and the sentiments expressed in the song, Bruce's performance of "Badlands" brought down the house: " ain't no sin to be glad you're alive."
Brian Lambert's review in the Pioneer Press comes closest to capturing the experience. We also ran into Pioneer Press reporter and Bruce fanatic Rick Linsk, whose "The Rites of Springsteen" had helped get us in the right frame of mind.
More on the "melee:" We have sought to follow the money trail from the politicians to the race hustlers at The City Inc. since Minneapolis's first race riot in ten years this past August. Following the riot, the Hennepin County Board promptly funnelled $25,000 to Spike Moss and the gang to pick up trash in north Minneapolis, where several white reporters were assaulted in connection with their coverage of the execution of a search warrant at a notorious crack house. One of the reporters who successfully hid herself from the rioters and escaped unhurt is our friend Judy Borger of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Judy's car wasn't so lucky; to borrow a term from our continuing scandal coverage, it was torched by the rioters.

We almost missed Judy's story today in the Pioneer Press. According to Judy's story, The City Inc. trash pickup netted 90-100 bags of trash. By our calculation, that works out to roughly $250 per bag of trash. (Thanks to our faithful reader Ed Patton for pointing the story out.)
This ridiculous New York Times editorial has rightly been greeted with derision throughout the blogosphere. The Times argues that "[t]he Democrats, led by Gov. James McGreevey, must move quickly to find a credible replacement. The courts must then expeditiously approve the ballot substitution, which in turn will clear the way for an energetic one-month campaign that, with Senator Torricelli out of the picture, can focus tightly on loftier issues than his seamy behavior." (Emphasis mine.) The Times' opinion as to what the courts "must" do is not based on any reference to, you know, anything so prosaic as the actual "law." On the contrary, the Times opines that "legal wrangling over ballot access cannot be allowed to obscure the central issue, which is one of democracy." Following the law is now "legal wrangling." I suppose this gives us some insight into the Times' rabid support of Al Gore during the 2000 post-election proceedings. The law can be inconvenient when it isn't on your side, but you can't let that stand in your way when political power is at stake. The Times has turned into a bad joke.
Mark Steyn's latest on the Democrats and Iraq. This one had me laughing out loud.
The end of Torchgate: I am mourning the end of Torchgate. Given the Democrats' high-minded execution of the Torch and their prospective shenanigans to replace him on the ballot, all in honor of the sacred imperative of maintaining their Senate majority and obstructing the war effort, I want to say this is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end, of Torchgate. But in fact the coming events in New Jersey will deserve a nom de scandal of their own. We shall see.

I have previously written about the outstanding young Ivy Leaguers who have signed up for summer training in the Marines' Officer Candidate School. This story from the Yale Daily News, "A military life for some Yalies," tells a piece of the story; I commend it to your attention as a mood lifter.