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Friday, September 03, 2004

Jay Nordlinger
More Impropmtus:
I also read Richard Cohen's column, in the Washington Post (titled "Grand Old Prevarication"). He guffawed at "rhetorical affidavits from the president's own family attesting to his character, his cuteness, and the fact that he has, despite all evidence to the contrary, an interior life." Because, of course, why should he have an interior life, a man who conquered the bottle, who utterly turned his life around, and who rose, in spectacular style, to president of the United States? The assumption that Bush has no interior life is . . . well, I am trying to avoid saying "dumb."
Have you seen the new Club for Growth ad on Kerry and taxes? Oh, it's a good'un. It makes one of our core points: that when Democrats talk about raising taxes only on the rich . . . they may just consider you rich, even if you don't.

The Speech Last Night
And why, despite all of my differences with him, I firmly believe Bush must be re-elected:
This election will also determine how America responds to the continuing danger of terrorism and you know where I stand. Three days after September 11th, I stood where Americans died, in the ruins of the Twin Towers. Workers in hard hats were shouting to me, "Whatever it takes." A fellow grabbed me by the arm and he said, "Do not let me down." Since that day, I wake up every morning thinking about how to better protect our country. I will never relent in defending America whatever it takes.

So we have fought the terrorists across the earth not for pride, not for power, but because the lives of our citizens are at stake. Our strategy is clear. We have tripled funding for homeland security and trained half a million first responders, because we are determined to protect our homeland. We are transforming our military and reforming and strengthening our intelligence services. We are staying on the offensive striking terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them here at home. And we are working to advance liberty in the broader Middle East, because freedom will bring a future of hope, and the peace we all want. And we will prevail.

Our strategy is succeeding. Four years ago, Afghanistan was the home base of al-Qaida, Pakistan was a transit point for terrorist groups, Saudi Arabia was fertile ground for terrorist fundraising, Libya was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, Iraq was a gathering threat, and al-Qaida was largely unchallenged as it planned attacks. Today, the government of a free Afghanistan is fighting terror, Pakistan is capturing terrorist leaders, Saudi Arabia is making raids and arrests, Libya is dismantling its weapons programs, the army of a free Iraq is fighting for freedom, and more than three-quarters of al-Qaida's key members and associates have been detained or killed. We have led, many have joined, and America and the world are safer.

This progress involved careful diplomacy, clear moral purpose, and some tough decisions. And the toughest came on Iraq. We knew Saddam Hussein's record of aggression and support for terror. We knew his long history of pursuing, even using, weapons of mass destruction. And we know that September 11th requires our country to think differently: We must, and we will, confront threats to America before it is too late.

In Saddam Hussein, we saw a threat. Members of both political parties, including my opponent and his running mate, saw the threat, and voted to authorize the use of force. We went to the United Nations Security Council, which passed a unanimous resolution demanding the dictator disarm, or face serious consequences. Leaders in the Middle East urged him to comply. After more than a decade of diplomacy, we gave Saddam Hussein another chance, a final chance, to meet his responsibilities to the civilized world. He again refused, and I faced the kind of decision that comes only to the Oval Office a decision no president would ask for, but must be prepared to make. Do I forget the lessons of September 11th and take the word of a madman, or do I take action to defend our country? Faced with that choice, I will defend America every time.

Because we acted to defend our country, the murderous regimes of Saddam Hussein and the Taliban are history, more than 50 million people have been liberated, and democracy is coming to the broader Middle East. In Afghanistan, terrorists have done everything they can to intimidate people yet more than 10 million citizens have registered to vote in the October presidential election a resounding endorsement of democracy. Despite ongoing acts of violence, Iraq now has a strong Prime Minister, a national council, and national elections are scheduled for January. Our Nation is standing with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, because when America gives its word, America must keep its word. As importantly, we are serving a vital and historic cause that will make our country safer. Free societies in the Middle East will be hopeful societies, which no longer feed resentments and breed violence for export. Free governments in the Middle East will fight terrorists instead of harboring them, and that helps us keep the peace. So our mission in Afghanistan and Iraq is clear: We will help new leaders to train their armies, and move toward elections, and get on the path of stability and democracy as quickly as possible. And then our troops will return home with the honor they have earned.

Our troops know the historic importance of our work. One Army Specialist wrote home: "We are transforming a once sick society into a hopeful place The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq," he continued, "are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists."

That young man is right our men and women in uniform are doing a superb job for America. Tonight I want to speak to all of them and to their families: You are involved in a struggle of historic proportion. Because of your service and sacrifice, we are defeating the terrorists where they live and plan, and making America safer. Because of you, women in Afghanistan are no longer shot in a sports stadium. Because of you, the people of Iraq no longer fear being executed and left in mass graves. Because of you, the world is more just and will be more peaceful. We owe you our thanks, and we owe you something more. We will give you all the resources, all the tools, and all the support you need for victory.

Again, my opponent and I have different approaches. I proposed, and the Congress overwhelmingly passed, 87 billion dollars in funding needed by our troops doing battle in Afghanistan and Iraq. My opponent and his running mate voted against this money for bullets, and fuel, and vehicles, and body armor. When asked to explain his vote, the Senator said, "I actually did vote for the 87 billion dollars before I voted against it." Then he said he was "proud" of that vote. Then, when pressed, he said it was a "complicated" matter. There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops in combat.

Our allies also know the historic importance of our work. About 40 nations stand beside us in Afghanistan, and some 30 in Iraq. And I deeply appreciate the courage and wise counsel of leaders like Prime Minister Howard, and President Kwasniewski, and Prime Minister Berlusconi and, of course, Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Again, my opponent takes a different approach. In the midst of war, he has called America's allies, quote, a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed." That would be nations like Great Britain, Poland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, El Salvador, Australia, and others allies that deserve the respect of all Americans, not the scorn of a politician. I respect every soldier, from every country, who serves beside us in the hard work of history. America is grateful, and America will not forget.

The people we have freed won't forget either. Not long ago, seven Iraqi men came to see me in the Oval Office. They had "X"s branded into their foreheads, and their right hands had been cut off, by Saddam Hussein's secret police, the sadistic punishment for imaginary crimes. During our emotional visit one of the Iraqi men used his new prosthetic hand to slowly write out, in Arabic, a prayer for God to bless America. I am proud that our country remains the hope of the oppressed, and the greatest force for good on this earth.

Others understand the historic importance of our work. The terrorists know. They know that a vibrant, successful democracy at the heart of the Middle East will discredit their radical ideology of hate. They know that men and women with hope, and purpose, and dignity do not strap bombs on their bodies and kill the innocent. The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march.

I believe in the transformational power of liberty: The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. As the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq seize the moment, their example will send a message of hope throughout a vital region. Palestinians will hear the message that democracy and reform are within their reach, and so is peace with our good friend Israel. Young women across the Middle East will hear the message that their day of equality and justice is coming. Young men will hear the message that national progress and dignity are found in liberty, not tyranny and terror. Reformers, and political prisoners, and exiles will hear the message that their dream of freedom cannot be denied forever. And as freedom advances heart by heart, and nation by nation America will be more secure and the world more peaceful.

America has done this kind of work before and there have always been doubters. In 1946, 18 months after the fall of Berlin to allied forces, a journalist wrote in the New York Times, "Germany is a land in an acute stage of economic, political and moral crisis. [European] capitals are frightened. In every [military] headquarters, one meets alarmed officials doing their utmost to deal with the consequences of the occupation policy that they admit has failed." End quote. Maybe that same person's still around, writing editorials. Fortunately, we had a resolute president named Truman, who with the American people persevered, knowing that a new democracy at the center of Europe would lead to stability and peace. And because that generation of Americans held firm in the cause of liberty, we live in a better and safer world today.

The progress we and our friends and allies seek in the broader Middle East will not come easily, or all at once. Yet Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of liberty to transform lives and nations. That power brought settlers on perilous journeys, inspired colonies to rebellion, ended the sin of slavery, and set our Nation against the tyrannies of the 20th century. We were honored to aid the rise of democracy in Germany and Japan and Nicaragua and Central Europe and the Baltics and that noble story goes on. I believe that America is called to lead the cause of freedom in a new century. I believe that millions in the Middle East plead in silence for their liberty. I believe that given the chance, they will embrace the most honorable form of government ever devised by man. I believe all these things because freedom is not America's gift to the world, it is the Almighty God's gift to every man and woman in this world.

This moment in the life of our country will be remembered. Generations will know if we kept our faith and kept our word. Generations will know if we seized this moment, and used it to build a future of safety and peace. The freedom of many, and the future security of our Nation, now depend on us. And tonight, my fellow Americans, I ask you to stand with me.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Give 'Em "Zell"
Wow, was he angry. As some commentators have noted, it didn't seem to be an act, either.
No one should dare to even think about being the Commander in Chief of this country if he doesn't believe with all his heart that our soldiers are liberators abroad and defenders of freedom at home.

But don't waste your breath telling that to the leaders of my party today. In their warped way of thinking America is the problem, not the solution.

They don't believe there is any real danger in the world except that which America brings upon itself through our clumsy and misguided foreign policy.

It is not their patriotism - it is their judgment that has been so sorely lacking. They claimed Carter's pacifism would lead to peace.

They were wrong.

They claimed Reagan's defense buildup would lead to war.

They were wrong.

And, no pair has been more wrong, more loudly, more often than the two Senators from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror.
This is the man who wants to be the Commander in Chief of our U.S. Armed Forces?

U.S. forces armed with what? Spitballs?
(The spitballs line might surpass "economic girlie men" as the best line of the convention.)

The question that came to my mind is why is he so angry.

Here's my theory for what it's worth:
He finished two terms as Governor of Georgia in 1999. He was probably looking forward to a retirement and getting to play with his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Instead, he was called out of retirement by the Democratic Party to run in a special election after the death of Senator Paul Coverdell. He took one for the team and agreed to run in the increasingly Republican state of Georgia.

He won and went to DC for the first time in his life as a federally election official. And what did he see when he got there? Democrats blocking votes on judges simply because they're pro-life. Democrats working against the issues he spent his whole career supporting. When he continued to vote the way he has his entire career, he was called a traitor and other names. He did these guys a favor and they're criticizing him for it.

Now, they seem solely interested in politicizing a war America finds herself in. You can't mistake the feeling that they'd rather lose the war than see George Bush re-elected.

I think that speech last night reflected the horrible treatment he's received since he bailed the Democrats out in the special election, as well as a call to them to return to what he views as their great tradition of patriotism before party. As he put it:
President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer, told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."

In 1940 Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee.

And there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man.

He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft, an unpopular idea at the time.

And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue.

Shortly before Wilkie died he told a friend, that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom", he would prefer the latter.

Where are such statesmen today?

Where is the bi-partisanship in this country when we need it most?

Now, while young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrat's manic obsession to bring down our Commander-in-Chief.

What has happened to the party I've spent my life working in?

I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.

It was Democratic President Harry Truman who pushed the Red Army out of Iran, who came to the aid of Greece when Communists threatened to overthrow it, who stared down the Soviet blockade of West Berlin by flying in supplies and saving the city.

Time after time in our history, in the face of great danger, Democrats and Republicans worked together to ensure that freedom would not falter. But not today.

Motivated more by partisan politics than by national security, today's Democratic leaders see America as an occupier, not a liberator.
(When's the last time Wendell Wilkie was mentioned at all at a GOP Convention or in any prominent public forum?)

In my opinion, this wasn't so much the anger of a rejected man, as much as that of a father who has seen his children turn away from all that he taught them and they were raised to believe. He's trying to correct them so that the Democratic Party can be the force for good and country he signed up for all those years ago. He's a father trying to get the Prodigal Son to return.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

More Arnie
If you believe that government should be accountable to the people, not the people to the government, then you are a Republican!

If you believe a person should be treated as an individual, not as a member of an interest group, then you are a Republican!

If you believe your family knows how to spend your money better than the government does, then you are a Republican!

If you believe our educational system should be held accountable for the progress of our children, then you are a Republican!

If you believe this country, not the United Nations, is the best hope of democracy in the world, then you are a Republican!

And, ladies and gentlemen, if you believe we must be fierce and relentless and terminate terrorism, then you are a Republican!
I'm still pumped by that speech last night. It was just so good!

Hate America First
Generally, we rather sloppily think of liberals as pragmatists or empiricists. Liberals, it is said, take the scientific approach to life and politics. They base their opinions on the facts. (Conservatives, by contrast, are said to take things on faith.) As it happens, this is not the case at all. America-hatred on the Left would exist with or without the Vietnam War or Tawana Brawley — and with or without our involvement in Iraq today. It is a sentiment with deep ideological roots and in service of equally deep psychological needs. This explains why liberals can support a man for president who admits to war crimes. His crimes have no basis in reality, as we all know with a wink and a nod, but are still somehow "part and parcel" of a truer American reality.

This actually brings up a point I've seen elsewhere: that the Protestant Reformation was a triumph for reason and logic over the Catholic Church's authoritarian structure. The fact is, Luther was partly rebelling against the Church's notion that reason can bring people to discover God. (Think of Aquinas, if you have trouble picturing that.) Luther believed in "faith alone" while the Church argued that many paths could bring people to "discover" and know God.

Similarly, whenever I debate a liberal friend, I can usually paint them into a logical corner, at which point they exclaim, "I just feel [whatever point they were defending]." No amount of logic or argument can overcome their feelings. Liberal are not logical at all; if they were, they'd be conservatives.

I wonder why those suppositions took hold when the reality is the exact opposite: Conservatives are logical and the Catholic Church is the one who supports reason.

Good Quotes
"It is a greater honor to be right than to be president -- or popular, for statesmanship consists rather in removing causes than in punishing or evading results -- thus, it is the rarest of qualities." --James Garfield

"There is only one form of political strategy in which I have any confidence, and that is to try to do the right thing -- and sometimes be able to succeed." --Calvin Coolidge

"Freedom is indivisible -- there is no 's' on the end of it. You can erode freedom, diminish it, but you cannot divide it and choose to keep 'some freedoms' while giving up others." --Ronald Reagan

"I've never before supported a Republican for president. But I'm doing so this time because of the one issue that trumps everything else: international terrorism. In my judgment, the Democrat Party just doesn't have the stomach to stand up to the terrorists. But Bush is a fighter. ... Already, most of the world is caving. If you didn't have Bush standing there, you'd have everybody following Spain and the Philippines." --Ed Koch, former NYC mayor

"Maybe this explains John Edwards's need for two Americas -- one where John Kerry can vote for something, and another where he votes against the same thing." --Rudy Giuliani

Walter Williams on the Super Rich - and they don't matter
All by themselves, billionaires and millionaires have little power over us compared to the awesome power that politicians and midlevel government bureaucrats have over us. They can force us to do many things that we otherwise wouldn't do.

"All by themselves" is the operative phrase. The rich can get power over us, but they must first spend their resources to get permission from our elected representatives to rip us off.

Good Move By W
Refused to let Britney perform at the Convention.

Words of Encouragement
The Spirit has Spoken Through the Prophets!

2 Peter 1:20-21

First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is
a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by
the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

It is the peculiar glory of the prophets that, supreme among human beings,
they did not know what they were talking about. We've all had experiences
of saying more than we realized. But nobody did this more than the prophets.
The Spirit was speaking through them, readying both them and the world
for a revelation which neither they, nor the world, could have anticipated.
When it did come, even those who ate and drank with the Revelation and
met Him on the Emmaus Road after His death and Resurrection still did
not understand, any more than the prophets, what the words of the prophets
had ultimately meant. The Revelation Himself, Crucified and Risen, had
to open their eyes, in the breaking of the bread so that they could finally
drink of the Holy Spirit, the "Spirit of prophecy". (Revelation 19:10).

You can have these delivered to your email address everyday by filling out the form on the link above.

GOP Convention Last Night
I hadn't intended to watch any of the convention, but NBC went straight from Scrubs into it, and I decided to stick around to watch Arnold and the twins. Arnold was really good. I was really impressed. As for the twins, well... Arnold was really good!

Comments posted on the Corner about the twins:
These women are definitely impersonators because this the scariest, weirdest, strangest thing I've ever heard at a convention. Did anyone vet this?
Posted at 10:31 PM

THE TWINS [Jonah Goldberg]
From a reader:
Wow, I'm shocked, appalled, embarrassed, and just want to look away or hit the mute button... and oddly sort of turned on.

Posted at 10:46 PM

THE TWINS [Jonah Goldberg]

Many emails on this theme:

... they're just jealous because the twins want me. You know it. I know it. The American people know it. Sincerely, Not Bob Dole

Posted at 11:16 PM

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Republicans: The Grown-Up Party
Anyway, as I said, this isn't about conservatives vs. Republicans. The point is that the GOP really is the party of grown-ups. At the Democratic Convention, there was something of an intellectual trope running through much of the analysis (including my own). The Democratic party, it seemed, had become a movement unto itself. For nearly 30 years the Democrats were composed of many movements (please: no scatological jokes): the "women's movement," the labor movement, the civil-rights movement, the gay movement, etc. But this year the Democrats seemed to think that being a Democrat was a bigger deal — a more central part of their identity — than being a feminist or black or union etc.

One theory I have is that since liberals are so prone to the pathology of victimization, they have a tendency to cling to whichever status they perceive to be the most "victimized." Ever since the Florida recount, Democrats have been acting as if merely having a "D" on your voter-registration card signifies you as a suspect class in America. So, in the proud liberal tradition of boasting about the source of your low self-esteem, Democrats have absorbed their party into their identities. It's like a bad comic-book superhero whose costume bleaches into his skin and becomes a permanent part of his DNA.

But whatever the reason, the Democrats seemed to have convinced themselves that their party was not only the vessel for ideals, but the ideal itself — in much the same way black nationalists and feminists talk about how if they could simply get their people in charge the Promised Land would, ipso facto, immanentize.

Great videos
The Catholic Meaning of The Passion of The Christ

Will on Bush/Kerry
Bush spokesman Scott McClellan cheerily reported Bush's vow to join John McCain in trying to "shut down" what McClellan called -- nine times in four minutes -- "shadowy" groups. He means citizens working quite publicly -- contributions to "527" organizations can be scrutinized on the Internet -- to influence U.S. governance.
Bush, a supposed critic of the imperial judiciary, wants a court to order the Federal Election Commission to, in McClellan's words, "shut down" all such groups. And if a compliant court cannot be found, McClellan says Bush will try legislation. First try judicial fiat, then legislation as a last resort. Ah, conservatism.

Monday, August 30, 2004

"In some dim beginning, man created the institution of government as a convenience for himself. And, ever since that time, government has been doing its best to become an inconvenience." --Ronald Reagan

The Moon's Full Cycle
Animated GIF showing how the moon appears throughout it's full cycle.

My Current Reading

It's dense, but interesting so far.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Insightful Quote
"Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are gonna come, you can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that counts. That's when you find out who you are."
Yeah, it's from Buffy, but it's so true.

Augustine: A Saint for Our Time

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