Archive

  • What Is Success?

    So here's my question for those who oppose conditional withdrawal from Iraq: what is success? We're there now, we will, someday in the future, not be there. What is gained through prolonging the interim period? All I ever hear is that we must "finish the job", "win the peace", "not cut and run", and do a variety of other platitudinous things that don't tell me anything. So when is the job finished? When is the peace won? Do you think we'll somehow crush the insurgency, all evidence of the last few years to the contrary? Will Iraq solve its ethnic conflicts if the US just looks over its shoulder long enough? Assuming we don't set conditions for withdrawal and just remain indefinitely, what are we looking for that'll allow us to wake up one day, judge the war a success, and mosey on back home to ticket tape parades? This is a serious question. And I'd like some serious, thoughtful answers. I don't want to hear from withdrawal supporters telling me how hopeless the situation is, I want...
  • More Newt

    So long as I'm talking Gingrich (see next post), I love this quote from his former press secretary Lee Howell: There is the Newt Gingrich who is intellectual, appealing, and fun to be with. And there is the Newt Gingrich who's a bloodthirsty partisan who'd just as soon cut your guts out as look at you. And who, very candidly, is mean, mean as hell. Newt nostalgia mostly turns on memories of the first guy, the eccentric ideologue who loved dinosaurs, wrote alternative history novels, thought we should blast handicapped folks into space, lived for technology, and was a general cross between a batty poli-sci professor and a 10-year-old. That's the Newt who's been on display since 1998 (save for a mostly-forgotten moment when he basically accused Colin Powell of treason). The other guy, the guy who said the Republican party's problem was a lack of nastiness, who said "Democrats were the enemy of normal people everywhere", who said that following the Democratic foreign policy would mean "...
  • The Party of Gingrich

    The fun thing about writing articles is you get to bury into a topic you never thought much about before. I'm penning a piece on Gingrich, and so I'm deep into everything the guy's written, said, or had written or said about him. Interesting stuff. And some quotes are just too good to pass on, so here's one for you. This comes from Newt's apologetic, post-fall memoir, Lessons Learned the Hard Way : For us Republicans in Congress, one of the most impressive aspects of this assault was the way Democratic activists in the House and Senate could be counted on to march in lockstep with it. The Democratic Party, of course, is much more of a political machine than the Republican Party. Those members of the House who had switched from the Democratic Caucus to the Republican Congress -- there have been something like a dozen of them -- kept remarking how surprising they found the lack of groupthink and intimidation [to be]. This, of course, was right after hundreds of Democrats had bailed on...
  • Check That Box

    As I've been saying, what we need is a serious conversation about how to win the war in Iraq. And the place to find that is Fafblog ! Well Giblets can end it all, and pretty damn fast. He has all he needs to end the war right now: an extra hundred thousand troops or so he intends to send to win the war. Where did he get them, you ask? Simple - for Giblets, at least. He got them with the power of imagination. Yes, even now Giblets is searching his mighty mind for imaginary recruits and within one week expects to crush the insurgency with two thousand armored leprechauns, eight battalions of snuffalupagi, six divisions of heffalumps and the 101st Airborne Oozle Brigade! Guided by the unmatched tactical genius of Mr. Squigglesworth, Giblets's six-armed tap-dancing purple space squid and Secretary of Pretense, Operation: Wishful Thinking cannot fail! And if it does, Giblets will merely declare an Opposite Day. Losing IS winning in pretend! Do you doubt the genius of Giblets? That is...
  • Flatter For Whom?

    Via Doug Ireland , this study debunking the connection between economic liberalization and political liberalization is really interesting stuff: Economic growth has traditionally been thought to promote democratization by making strategic coordination easier, as communications technology improves, news media become more diverse and the citizenry more educated. But in recent years some savvy regimes have learned how to cut the cord between growth and strategic coordination, allowing the former without having to worry about the latter. Their trick is to ration carefully the subset of public goods that facilitate political coordination, while investing in others that are essential to economic growth. The "coordination goods" that they need to worry about consist of things such as political and civil rights, press freedom and access to higher education. "Standard public goods" include public transportation, primary and secondary education, and public health; all of which contribute to...
  • Sea Change

    The New York Times today has a long article on Republican discomfort over the worsening situation in Iraq. Quoth Grover: Grover Norquist, a conservative activist with close ties to the White House and Mr. Bush's senior adviser, Karl Rove, said: "If Iraq is in the rearview mirror in the '06 election, the Republicans will do fine. But if it's still in the windshield, there are problems." It gets worse: Pollsters and political analysts pointed to basic opinion shifts that accounted for the political change. Daniel Yankelovich, a pollster who has been studying American attitudes on foreign affairs, said: "I think what's changed over the last year is the assumption that Iraq would make us safer from terrorists to wondering if that actually is the case. And maybe it's the opposite." Richard A. Viguerie, a veteran conservative direct-mail consultant, said Mr. Bush "turned the volume up on his megaphone about as high as it could go to try to tie the war in Iraq to the war on terrorism" last...
  • Next at Bat: Russ Feingold

    In recent weeks, we've been talking a fair amount about how no prominent Democrats are standing up to give voice to the "withdrawal" movement. Well, that changed today. Russ Feingold is calling for a pull-out date of December 31st, 2006, and, so far as I can tell, he's going to do so loudly. Yesterday, I was invited to two major national security speeches and a media Q&A Russ is giving in Los Angeles early next week. So he's definitely taking the message nationwide and is, if I can speculate, hoping to use hist "firstness" on the topic to carve out a Deanesque maverick position in advance of 2008. Interesting stuff. I will, of course, have more on this after next week's events. Update: It'll be interesting, as Kevin notes , to see how the Biden/Clinton wing reacts. If they're solicitous of the move and publicly supportive of the motivations behind it, you'll know that a) the polls have got to them and b) they're hedging their bets. If they condemn it and say something about not...
  • The Bernie Party

    Bored? Looking for some easy, interesting reading? The Nation's profile of Bernie Sanders is just what you need. Or, if you're not feeling like delving into a populist, check out Brad's post on the terrible, oh-so-sad inefficiencies plaguing terror networks. It's the sort of stuff that'd make Michael Bay proud.
  • Better Digs for Sheehan

    Oh, this is brilliant . Fred Mattlage, a Crawford neighbor of Bush and an army veteran, is opening up his land to Sheehan and her encampment, a move that'll give them more space and bring them closer to the President's ranch. I still think Sheehan should be careful about letting this change from a woman's quest to get an answer into a massive antiwar rally where she's just a featured speaker, but either way this'll help the cause.
  • Fight Smart

    Greg's admonishment on Michelle Malkin is exactly correct. And, before the usual suspects rear up to accuse me of softness and appeasement and DC-ness and weakness and giving aid to Republicans and whatever else, remember: it's not attacks that are the problem, it's stupid attacks that backfire on us and do us damage that are the problem. There should be full court press against Michelle Malkin's repulsive smearing of Cindy Sheehan, her little foray into Sheehan's marital status should be plastered over the talkshows as proof of conservative cravenness. This is the time for JuJitsu, letting their poorly aimed, grossly inappropriate attempts at character assassination become the story, destroying the characters of those responsible and making Cindy look even more sympathetic. Instead, we call Malkin a whore, start making fun of her surname, leave threatening messages on her answering machine, and do a thousand things that, if put on O'Reilly, would make us look just as bad as her. You...

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