Thursday, November 19, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow,
Inscription, British War Memorial, Kohima, India.(attributed to John Maxwell Edmonds, Times Literary Supplement[London], 4 July 1918)
As our soldiers, sailors and aviators serve and struggle for us throughout the world, particularly today in Iraq and Afghanistan, pause in your business for a moment, and think of them, and of our veterans who have already served. Remember those who are not with us today, because they made the ultimate sacrifice. The terrible events of the past week at Fort Hood make it especially important for us to reflect gratefully on all they have given.
Went the day well ?
We died and never knew.
But, well or ill, Freedom, we died for you.
John Maxwell Edmonds, Times [London], 6 February 1918.
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
It is altogether typical that on their Corps’ 234th birthday, America’s Marines are carrying the fight to the enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan, just as their fathers and brothers did before them in Kuwait, Grenada, at Hue City, the Chosun Reservoir, Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Tarawa, Guadalcanal, Corregidor, Belleau Wood, the Argonne, Peking, Nicaragua, Mexico City, Tripoli and a million other places. Semper Fi guys, and thank you. May God be with all of you every day, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
1). A very good night for Republicans, better, actually, than if they had won the much-watched race in New York Congressional District 23. Had Mr. Hoffman prevailed there, extreme conservatives would have taken this as a hunting license with which to harass Republican Party moderates. Ideological purity is well and good, for purposes of arguments, but elections are about assembling coalitions (difficult even under the best of conditions). It is helpful to be reminded of the need to make converts, not to simply preach to the choir.
2). New Jersey was a good win, but despite Obama’s appearances there, and his apparent investment in the campaign, much of the reason for the Democratic loss here was Jon Corzine and his baggage. Not to detract from Governor-elect Christie’s victory, but New Jersey was mostly a nice surprise, a one-off, produced by a confluence of very favorable circumstances, and a very well-run Republican campaign.
3). Virginia is the real bad news for Democrats (in particular, as Karl Rove points out, the suburban vote-swing). Obama carried Virginia in 2008 with 53 percent of the vote. The Democratic candidate for governor could manage only 41 percent of the vote this last Tuesday. Democratic Senators and Representatives elected from Red States (many of the so-called “Blue Dogs”) will have to think very carefully about the likely consequences of supporting Obama’s health care and environmental schemes.
3a). While thinking on the election results, the Blue Dogs would do well to reflect on the posture of their own Congressional leadership, which is dominated by the Democratic Party left. The party leadership would certainly like their votes for Obamacare and for cap and tax, but would probably not be displeased to see many of them lose in 2010 – thus eliminating more conservative voices from Democratic Party councils. At any rate, there might well be rich seams of divergent interests available to be mined between Blue Dogs and Lefties; Senate and House; White House and Congress and any other combination Republicans can think up. Hey Republicans, how's it going with Lieberman these days?
4). Thinking of the Democratic Party leadership, positively the most stupid reaction to Tuesday’s results was Comrade Pelosi’s declaration yesterday that “we won last night.” No report yet saying that the Speaker of the House has been arrested for smoking crack.
5). The Republicans have gotten off the deck, and found a bit of a voice, but they have work to do. We know what Republicans are against: the expansion of government by Obama and the Democrats; the administration’s reckless spending and feckless foreign policy. But what do Republicans support?
6). While developing a more affirmative program, the Republicans must keep fighting. Dick Morris should be correct in asserting that Tuesday’s returns constitute Obamacare’s death certificate. There is a chance not only to block the public option, but to stop the legislation entirely, and probably the cap and tax environmental scheme as well. The key will be finding ways to fracture Democratic Party discipline – and given the problems Tuesday shows the Blue Dogs might have in 2010, this is now within reach. A bill is going to come out of the House soon but Senate Majority Leader Reid is now saying that there may be no bill on his side till 2010. If this is so, time is very short: if matters are spun-out much past March, we will be too deep into the 2010 election cycle for the production of meaningful legislation.
7). There is now the interesting question of what Obama will do? Barring a foreign policy crisis (which will change all calculations) he has, essentially, two choices:
(a) Doubling Down – mobilizing all the liberal lobbies and interest to arm-twist the Blue Dogs to secure the legislation he wants by Valentines Day. Don’t know enough about the liberal set-up to know if this can work. I think he needs the complete support of the unions to do it, and unless card check’s coming, that might be tough.
(b) The Bill Clinton Three-Step – essentially, this involves pulling back some – giving up the public option on health care, ensuring environmental legislation is harmless to small business interests; and focusing instead on jobs and employment. This would perhaps cause the Chamber of Commerce and the business lobby to demobilize somewhat, and would probably produce a modest recovery in independent support – thus, better poll numbers. If Obama triangulated a la Bill Clinton, the Left would be furious, but Lefties have nowhere to go. The Right would be flat-footed by losing its most potent rhetorical talking points.