January 17, 2007

"A slogan is not a strategy."

Says Hillary Clinton, confronted -- on NPR -- with Bush's line "Failure is not an option" and asked whether failure actually is an option.

Confronted with her line, I say: A slogan about a slogan is too slogan-y. And don't think that by making a slogan about a slogan that you can distract us from seeing that you think failure is an option.

The audio at the link will not be available until 10 ET, and I recommend listening. Clinton talks of going to Iraq and meeting Prime Minister al-Maliki. She says outright that, based on this meeting, she did not believe that al-Maliki intends to do what he has promised to do. She's running for President (presumably). She makes a trip to Iraq and meets with its leader. And then she flatly says she doesn't believe him. Is that presidential? Meet with leaders, then call them liars.

UPDATE: Here is the NPR coverage. And this is the exact quote that I was referring to in the last paragraph of the original post:
"I was listening for a level of commitment to securing Iraq by the Iraqi government and the Iraqi army and police force that has been missing, and I didn't hear that."

This is phrased more diplomatically than I had thought, so "she flatly says she doesn't believe him" is put too strongly. It actually was rather clever to use the phrase "level of commitment," and to stress her own "listening" and "hearing."
Here's the NYT coverage of Clinton's media blitz this morning:
... Mrs. Clinton called for capping the number of American forces in Iraq to the total number there on Jan. 1 — before Mr. Bush proposed adding forces. That total is roughly 140,000. She also proposed making a new threat to Iraqi government leaders to force their cooperation: the loss of American funds to train and equip Iraqi forces, rebuild the economy, and, to make the pressure more acute, to provide security for the leaders themselves.

Mrs. Clinton did not outline benchmarks for that progress, but she indicated that the Shiite-led government would be expected to crack down on sectarian militias in Baghdad and elsewhere and to find new ways to work with Sunni political groups.

She also called for sending more troops to support the American military mission in Afghanistan, which she referred to as “quite a success story.” And she opposed any shift of forces out of Afghanistan as part of the troop expansion in Iraq.

Yet when it came to a threshold political issue for many Democrats — the end of the American military effort in Iraq — Senator Clinton did not embrace an instant withdrawal or a specific timetable for doing so.

“I’m for redeploying our troops out of Baghdad and eventually out of Iraq so we can make sure that they’re not in the midst of a civil war,” she said on CBS’s “Early Show.”...

Mrs. Clinton, who met with American commanders and Iraqi officials during her visit to Baghdad, said she received “lip service” during her meeting with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal Al-Maliki.

“This is clearly an abdication of responsibility by this government — we need some leverage on them,” Senator Clinton said on CBS.
The expression "lip service" is much closer to insulting Maliki than what she said on NPR. I'm not saying she's not justified in mistrusting Maliki, only that she needs to demonstrate that she can do diplomacy well enough.

88 comments:

Simon said...

Heard the same thing on the way in this morning. :) "A slogan about a slogan is too slogan-y" - yep. Clinton's accusing Bush of using sloganeering rhetoric to mask the real question, and her sloganeering accusation is a way to avoid answering the question. Notice how the host bifurcated the original question, asked the first question (whether she agreed that failure wasn't an option), but then never asked the important second question?

Anonymous said...

Is that presidential?

Of course not. But the Clintons (and I think it's fair to package them...again) don't really come across as presidential--atleast not in the "Ask not..."-"Tear down this wall..." way. A president challenges foreign leaders but never calls them liars. That boxes them in with their own people requiring them to take the defensive. So not only did she shoot herself in the foot, she also shot al-Maliki in the foot. His people know she's called him out as a liar. He'll have to respond in some way...even if that means being defiant. His people will expect it from him.

The Clintons are media savvy, and I'm sure a lot of people will be bought with the "A slogan is not a strategy" slogan. But I'm insulted that she thinks she can distract me from her real opinion (which you illuminated) with nothing but a slogan of her own.

AllenS said...

If there is one woman in this country that can look a man in the eye and know he is a liar, it's Hillary.

Maury E said...

In response to President Bush's 'Failure is not an option,' I'd suggest the riposte 'Bush believes no cost is too high.' Some costs are too high. Among the various options before us today, failure is not only present--it is likely.

Freder Frederson said...

A president challenges foreign leaders but never calls them liars.

I'm pretty sure a president doesn't try to give foreign leaders backrubs at formal summits either.

MadisonMan said...

Is it Presidential? Don't know -- I think it depends if it's true or not. Sometimes it's good to call a spade a spade.

SGT Ted said...

Funny, coming from the Democrats. The pot calls the kettle black on this one.

"Culture of Corruption"
"Bush Lied"
"Pay as you go"
"Its a Quagmire"
"I'll fight a smarter war"

yeah.

SteveR said...

No matter how many posts, no matter how many comments, we never hear the answer to Simon's second question. You know the one all the media, even if they ask it, never insist gets answered.

Hillary being trained as a lawyer and living in the midst of dishonesty and deception, most of her adult life, never answers any tough questions.

Why don't I like her, its not her policies, its that she hides in plain site.

Simon said...

Maury,
So, to be clear, you think that giving up and running away with our tail between our legs is an option we should be considering? Either failure is or is not an option. Saying that some costs are too high is just a weasel way of saying that failure is an option.

Whether you call it a retreat or a redeployment (or even, bravest yet, a phased retreat), it still amounts to this:

Minstrel: [singing] Brave Sir Robin ran away... [singing] bravely ran away away... When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin.

Sloanasaurus said...

She is merely doubling down. If Iraq fails, Malaki will fail with it, and the Democrats will shine brighter for opposing the effort. Hillary needs to personally shine even brighter, so calling Malaki a liar is a way to do that without blaming our troops (blame the Iraqis and Bush).

If Iraq is a success, the Democrats will lose horribly because they have all come out against success already - they will all look like the Deomcrats of 1864.

The most likely scenario is that Iraq will be better, but not yet called a success by 2008; Malaki will still be in power and U.S. troops will be on their way out. In this Scenario, Hillary runs the risk of Malaki making public statements about her.

Sloanasaurus said...

I'd suggest the riposte 'Bush believes no cost is too high.' Some costs are too high.

What is too high a cost here? Is it worth it to leave Al Qaeda in control of Al Anbar province?

AJ Lynch said...

"Confronted" - Ann, do you want to re-think your choice of verbs or were you being sarcastic?

paul a'barge said...

Is that presidential? Meet with leaders, then call them liars

You know, it is Hillary so you have to take that into consideration, but honestly, I like it. I hope she told Maliki he's a liar to his face.

I suspect that everyone that has had anything to do with the Iraqi Shiite politicians knows these folks gobble dishonesty 3 meals a day.

Anonymous said...

Is that presidential? Meet with leaders, then call them liars.

Why treat leaders of other countries different than they treat the leader of our country?

hdhouse said...

And it was Mr. Bush who "looked 'em in the eye" and trusted the guy and has, through his henchmen, called him a liar in so many words.

Maybe he is a liar. Did that occur to you? Maybe al-Maliki knows what Bush knows...that he just hangs on for a few years and things will sort themselves out one way or another...Maybe this is Hillary just making it clear that he has 2 years (the Bush years) left before there is a new president who will demand instead of politically plead.

Bush is so full of horseshit that anyone who he "looks in the eye" to be trusted is just so suspect from the getgo as to doubt.

And Simon...ohhhh so simple Simon...

Bush uses slogans as plans...Stay the course...Failure is not an option....

These aren't PLANS. THEY ARE SLOGANS. They aren't even goals.

It must be awful to get up in the morning and put blinders on, cover your ears and rush out into the make-believe world.

gj said...

Failure may not be an option, but success as Bush has defined it is not achievable.

How do we get around this? It's basic game theory: you change the playing field; you expand the playing field.

We need to shift our single-minded focus on Iraq and instead look more broadly at the Middle East. The civil war in Iraq is increasingly perceived as an internal sectarian conflict. We don't necessarily have skin in that game, or shouldn't necessarily. But if we use it as an occassion to expand the dialogue in the Middle East as a whole and manage to achieve some progress in other areas (e.g. Israel/Palestine) we can come out ahead in the long run.

That's ultimately what the Baker plan was about.

Unfortunately it seems that Bush is incapable of expanding his viewpoint. He's too busy beating his head against the wall over and over again hoping that it will eventually stop hurting. He can't consider doing anything else, because he's already invested so much in this strategy.

Yes, this is all easier said than done. But as is continually pointed out, we have very few good options.

Tim said...

For too many Democrats and liberals, to validate all they believe and hold dear about the US, Bush, the military and the war in Iraq, failure is not an option - it is their preferred policy.

Mark said...

Hillary is of course perfectly correct in that a slogan is not a strategy. Saying that failure is not an option is silly: of course, failure is an option. Saying that failure is an option is not welcoming failure, it is simply an acknowledgement of reality. The reality is, whether you like it or not, it is very very possible that the whole Iraq endeavor will turn to be the biggest failure of the US. Simply saying that "failure is not an option" does not aver failure; it is refusing to acknowledge reality (which is nothing new for Bush, anyway).

David said...

Like Maliki, I doubt Hillary will be around much longer. When the U.S. goes after "Mookie" Sadr and the Mehdi army, the seat of Maliki's power base and puppets for the Iranians, Maliki will abdicate the throne to be replaced by a less shia oriented president.

Success in Iraq is the nightmare scenario for Hillary and the democrats. I believe she and her handlers already have a paper written claiming the pressure they brought to the Bush prosecution of the war is what ultimately ensured victory.

Fritz said...

The single most important thing she could do to help the situation in Iraq is to give a strong supportive statement encouraging the government to carry out efforts to move Iraq forward. That would help Bush and thus, she makes her typical cynical remark to undermine the interests of the United States for her own domestic political fortunes.

Anonymous said...

The question is, I think, what her strategy is.

Maybe we'll see one come 2008.

Anonymous said...

So of course you’re going to write something nasty about Hillary’s presser. But this is the best you can do? “Ooooh, she called Maliki a liar!” Well I didn’t hear her comments but the smart money is on your characterization being misleading, and besides, there is good evidence that Maliki can’t deliver much in the way of Iraqi support. “Is that presidential?” Sweet Jesus, what a lightweight.

Sloanasaurus said...

Hillary is of course perfectly correct in that a slogan is not a strategy. Saying that failure is not an option is silly: of course, failure is an option. Saying that failure is an option is not welcoming failure, it is simply an acknowledgement of reality.

This is defeatism at is finest. The troubling thought is that people like Mark have always existed. They are the ones who crawled out in the middle of the night and open the gates to the enemy to relieve their own despair.

Defeatists like mark are nothing more than allies of the enemy. If the defeatists win, so does the enemy. Then where are we....

Mark the Pundit said...

The question is, I think, what her strategy is.

Maybe we'll see one come 2008.


The ironic thing is that her strategy will be presented in slogan-form to fit the TV commercials...

Anonymous said...

Her answer and comments aren't particularly remarkable. Pretty common fare for a politician, I think. You were, perhaps, expecting more?

In answer to your last question, senators, governors, vice presidents and presidents say such things all the time, in different ways, depending on their audience and their position at the time they are saying it. Again, there is nothing remarkable about Clinton saying that she does not believe that al-Maliki will perform as promised.

Everything Clinton is being criticized for here would not be remarkable if Obama said it. Or Edwards. Or Kerry. Or McCain. Or Giuliani. In fact, I bet that they all have said or done something similar in the past.

R C Dean said...

If Iraq fails, Malaki will fail with it, and the Democrats will shine brighter for opposing the effort.

For too many Democrats and liberals, to validate all they believe and hold dear about the US, Bush, the military and the war in Iraq, failure is not an option - it is their preferred policy.

In other words, many Dems have positioned themselves so that their short-term interests are served by US failure in Iraq.

And we should trust them to set foreign policy?

Simon said...

GJ -
Oh, I see! It's so simple - all we need to do is "expand our focus," to "achieve some progress in other areas (e.g. Israel/Palestine)," that is to say, all we need to do is settle a conflict whose resolution has proved resistant to repeated and sustained efforts for over three decades, and which has eluded the efforts of every President of the United States since at very least Carter, right? Simple, really - success will greet Bush as it has never greeted his predecessors; all he has to do is "expand[] his viewpoint."

"[A]chieve some progress in other areas (e.g. Israel/Palestine)"? Now that really is a sloganeering, reductionist approach. I'd love to know how you propose to achieve this, given that every previous effort has ultimately ended in yet another cycle of violence, a pattern that will continue as long as the process can be stymied by, literally, any single individual idiot on either side. You could come up with the perfect deal, have it widely supported in both communities, and it would still only take one moron to blow himself up on a bus in Haifa to bring the whole thing crashing down again. It has happened repeatedly, and the problem isn't Bush's niggardly worldview.

Lookit, last fall, the Democrats sought and received a mandate to withdraw our troops from Iraq. They have both the mandate and the power to do so. They should use it. And when Iraq explodes, as a direct consequence of that move, in a bloodletting that makes the problems thusfar look like a walk in the park, they should take the consequences of the policy they advocated.

The public, the common people of America, apparently share Jack Murtha's view (or so the liberals insist), and democracy, as H.L. Mencken put it, is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it - good and hard.

Like it or not, this is there war, now, as much as it is Bush's. By seizing Congress, they have put themselves in the position of betraying their voters, or betraying the national interest. Checkmate - or at least, dolchstosslegende. And HDhouse can sneer all he likes, but slogan or not, there are only two posible outcomes in Iraq: we win, however that is defined, or we lose, however that is defined. But no matter what definition of "lose" one adopts, running away, conceding defeat -- make no mistaken, that is the strategy advanced by the Democratic party -- is without any shadow of a doubt "losing."

Anonymous said...

Ann -- so do you think failure is not an option? What the hell is failure? What is success? Is that success something that can be accomplished? What is the best we can do?

If, as David has it, "the U.S. goes after "Mookie" Sadr and the Mehdi army, the seat of Maliki's power base and puppets for the Iranians," Maliki won't merely abdicate. The Mahdi army will assasinate him. And if he doesn't let us go after the Mahdi army, we'll get rid of him (like we got rid of Diem). But then who will we be fighting for? David says, someone "less shia oriented" than Maliki, but any Shia we support who supports our "disarming" of the Mahdi army likely will be assasinated. So are we back to supporting a Sunni strongman?

Yes, of course failure is an option. In fact, we have failed. Now, what's the way to the least harm? 20,000 more troops until we get to the next president?

The Jerk said...

If the defeatists win, so does the enemy.

Appeal to consequences is a fallacy.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-consequences.html

Kirk Parker said...

Sound presidential? Nope, but it does sound like Hillary "I can't be responsible for every undercapitalized business out there" Clinton.

Anonymous said...

"Funny, coming from the Democrats. The pot calls the kettle black on this one.

"Culture of Corruption"
"Bush Lied"
"Pay as you go"
"Its a Quagmire"
"I'll fight a smarter war""

Sgt. Ted -- you forgot "vast rightwing conspiracy."

A personal favorite of mine.

Anonymous said...

Ann, you'd be a great citizen of North Korea. Cheerfully waving tiny flags as the war machine parades by, and dropping to the ground crying hysterically in the presence of your Dear Leader.

I realize questioning one single little thing about Dear Leader might jeopardize future Instalanches, but do you seriously want that crowd anyway?

I suggest a one week sabbatical to detox yourself from the methane bog swamps of Pajamas Media and Powerline. C'mon, whatya say?

Todd said...

gj said...

The civil war in Iraq is increasingly perceived as an internal sectarian conflict.

You say that so matter of fact, the civil war in Iraq. The only civil war in Iraq is in the mind of MSM and dems. If you want to see real examples of civil war, look to Africa. Now those are civil wars.

Anonymous said...

The ironic thing is that her strategy will be presented in slogan-form to fit the TV commercials...

Which is why we'll probably ignore the substance of the proposals -- being sophisticated listeners, we know that events dictate much more often than plans do -- and judge based on our read of our politicians' characters. (And then be criticized for being unsophisticated. ;-))

Charles said...

Senator Clinton's response is nothing more than a strawman she can then boldly tear down. Who ever said a slogan is a strategy or when did President Bush ever claim that his strategy consists of nothing more than saying, "Failure is not an option."

In actuality, it is the Democrats over the last few years who seem to have adopted the strategy that a slogan is a strategy. Where are their ideas or solutions beyond the gainsaying of whatever the administration says?

Jeez.

Doug said...

Isn't St. Hillary's whole political philosophy, or at least how she tries to market it, encapsuled in the slogan "It Takes a Village" ?

Anonymous said...

After some reflection, I must agree with Mark, above: "The reality is, whether you like it or not, it is very very possible that the whole Iraq endeavor will turn to be the biggest failure of the US." The lack of a decisive conclusion or followthrough after WW1 led directly to WW2; another failure of that magnitude may be upon us.

If Strauss and Howe are right (and they've nailed every major political trend in the US for the past 15 years), the necessary resolve simply does not yet exist, and for unwillingness to incur 10k KIA now, we will incur >> 100k KIA in another 10-20 years, and may be fighting for our very survival.

Too Many Jims said...

"Is that presidential? Meet with leaders, then call them liars."

Absolutely not! The time to call a leader a liar is before you meet with them. Specifically, she should have had her national security team leak a memo from her primary national security advisor that al Maliki is either a liar, inept or ignorant.

Actually, I think that her comments and the Dems winning control of Congress can serve to help the Administration as it tries to get al Maliki to change his ways. Before the November elections al Maliki was playing us for fools. Sure he said the right things and promised to attempt to constrain the more extreme Shia elements. But he did nothing (I suppose one could say he did some but there are equally strong arguments that he did more harm than good by protecting the Mahdi.)

I assume that before the November elections the Administration told al Maliki the current course was unacceptable. He apparently dismissed those prior efforts to get him to change and continued to treat the Administration as a blank check. With the Dems winning in November it allows the Administration to say "Clean up your act or we will be forced to get out."

Simon said...

To add perhaps a little exposition to my remarks above (10:43) about shared responsibility --

Just as the Vietnam war is now clearly disivisible into distinct phases, in due course of time, to talk of "the" war in Iraq will similarly be seen as a misnomer. It is already divisible into at least three distinct phases, each of which relates to the others, but is independent and should be discussed separately (that is, criticism of the decision to go to war is irrelevant to all but phase 1; the success of phase one does not excuse the disaster of phase 2, but the disaster of phase 2 does not vitiate the decision to go to war or the conduct of phase 1).

The first phase, which began on March 20, 2003 and ended on approximately April 10th, 2003, was a swift, spectacular and unqualified success. It swept from face of the Earth a ghastly dictatorial regime, and did so with minimal casualties. It didn't last; the second phase, which began immediately after whatever time you choose to say the first ended (the key threshold events are the failure of U.S. troops to stop the looting and rioting following the fall of Baghdad and the disbanding of the army), and which ended at 11:59am on January 4th, 2007, was an ongoing and unfolding calamity, a disastrous combination of misjudgements studded with a very few occaisional successes.

Primary responsibility for that fiasco of the second phase, naturally, attatches to President George Walker Bush, and secondary responsibility, just as naturally, attatches to the Republican-controlled 109th Congress. To be sure, "responsibility" is not necessarily the same thing as "blame," and there are certainly individuals who are more directly to blame than Bush (Rumsfeld, primarily). But as I explained last October, the Federal executive branch is unitary, a principle that cuts both ways: it "is shaped like a pyramid[] [wherein] all authority flows down from the top, but all responsibility equally flows back up to that pinnacle." The natural consequence of the unitary executive is vicarious liability - that is, the captain is responsible for the conduct of his crew. The President is responsible for the conduct of all executive actors. At any time, he could have removed Rumsfeld. Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52 (1926); Ex Parte Hennen, 38 U.S. 230, 259 (1839). Consequently, the President is responsible for what took place on his watch by his appointees and their appointees. Congress is implicated by reason of neglect: it was aware of the growing problems, and it not only failed to act, but remained utterly supine.

The third phase began when the Democrats took back control of Congress. This war now proceeds at their suffrance and only at their suffrance, for while the President is the Commander-in-Chief of our military, as I explained in the BloggingHeads Forum post linked above, "the President goes to war with the army that Congress gives him ... [Democrats now have] the Constitutional power to force this conflict to a close. They may explicitly defund the operation, or may do so sub silentio by simply failing to appropriate the funds for its continuation. If they fail to do so, that is a concession that the reality is more complicated than they were ready to admit before campaigning on bringing the war to an end."

Simon said...

Jay --
"The lack of a decisive conclusion or followthrough after WW1 led directly to WW2; another failure of that magnitude may be upon us."

That analogy fails, though, because in neither WW1 nor WW2 was one of the major political parties pulling for the other team. There may well have been people in America during WW2 who wanted to "redeploy" from Europe, but they were marginalized and powerless. Today, in the present conflict, the isolationists have several prominent, well-organized and well-funded political machines (principally the Democratic Party and the MSM), and -- depending on the fortitude of the Blue Dogs -- may well exercise functional control the United States Congress.

Wyatt asks above, what is success? But it isn't necessary to precisely define success to know what failure looks like, and to see that the other side is rooting for it.

Naked Lunch said...
"Ann ... I suggest a one week sabbatical to detox yourself from the methane bog swamps of Pajamas Media and Powerline. C'mon, whatya say?"

If you think Ann's particularly enamored of Pajamas Media, you haven't been around here very long. ;) But y'know, in the spirit of co-operation, I can suggest a destination for the mooted sabbatical. ;)

Gritsforbreakfast said...

OF COURSE failure is an option - it's just not the desired one. It may in fact, though, be the most likely one for reasons that are no one's fault but the current Administration.

On Hillary Clinton's meeting with al Maliki - she's the one who met with him, so her impression of his trustworthiness constitutes a first-hand assessment that none of us bloggers can lay claim to. If you don't dispute her assessment of Maliki, I wonder why you dislike her being honest with her constituents and the American public about her impressions? Since when did lying about your opinions become synonymous with being "presidential"?

Bush calls leaders of other nations liars and worse all the time - most recently Iran regarding their nuclear program. HC's comments were no different than that, it seems to me, and no less "presidential." And that from someone who is presently leaning heavily against supporting her in '08.

Fritz said...

When al Maliki sat down with Senator Clinton, it might as well have been a Sunni Sheik. Like the Sunnis, Clinton places all demands on her opposition when in the realm of progress, it is herself that has the compromise necessary for success. Her comment about troop levels would tie her own hands if she were ever to become President.

Simon said...

(Sidebar: let me also congratulate Jay on an excellent choice of favorite music on his blogger profile. ;))

TallDave said...

People keep saying "define victory." I wish someone would define failure.

Is a relatively free, democratic Iraq that still has some violence a failure? That's an awfully high bar. Few people would have believed in 2003 that Iraq would be a democracy rated one of the freest countries in the Mideast.

Fritz said...

Grits,
She met with al Maliki in bad faith. Her job was to encourage his government to act, not to feel even less secure, her real motivation for being there. btw, Iran is an enemy of the United States, your legitimizing it's existence reveals your leftist ideology.

Anonymous said...

Well, Senator Clinton, you're right: A slogan is not a strategy. Neither is the usual Democrat strategy of sending so many different messages, carefully tailored to individual audiences, they end up cancelling each other out.

Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but could Senator Clinton actually put forward a solid, workable policy she's willing to articulate and defend on the campaign trail? couple of years?

Anonymous said...

Me at 10:07:

Well I didn’t hear her comments but the smart money is on your characterization being misleading

And sure enough!

Sloanasaurus said...

On a more cynical note, a failure in the middle east could ultimately result in a larger redistribution of wealth (much less wealth of course, just distributed more equally). This suppression of freedom as a byproduct of such equality is what most liberals are really after anyways...Iraq only is a side show to this larger show.

"Darn, it took up a full year's carbon allowance just to take that one trip to Florida for Christmas!"

Anonymous said...

Sadly failure is the preferred option of the Bush Administration:

1) Failed to protect the United States when explicitly warned
2) Failed to catch Bin Laden
3) Failed to build Afghanistan up
4) Failed to see that Iraq would distract us and become way too costly
5) Failed to plan for Phase IV (Post Invasion)
6) Failed to keep Iraq from splintering
7) Failed to make America or the World safer
8) Failed to reduce terrorism
9) Failed to find the Anthrax Killer
10) Failed to wean America off of foreign oil
11) Failed to keep NK from becoming a nuclear power
12) Failed to get India to stay in the NPT
13) Failed to get Pakistan to turn over Bin Laden and other Taliban
13) Failed to protect America against her enemies, foreign and domestic
14) Failed to defend the constition
15) Failed to keep America strong (witness our poor alternatives wrt Iran, NK, etc.)

I must say that failure is the only thing that Bush can get right. He has a lot of experience with it.

In the meantime, as I pointed out yesterday, Ann Althouse doesn't understand sunk costs or opportunity costs, and a policy that says we can never get out out of fear of looking bad to others is a policy that leads to unnecessary deaths.

Ann, if you truly believe that failure is not an option, how come you are not petitioning your university students to sign up, how come you are not demanding your sons join up, and how can you go about just being a professor when there are far more important ways in which you could help us succeed? I would think that there might be a place for you in Baghdad as you help the Iraqis establish a judicial system and/or help establish a modern university system. There are lots of legal issues that you could helping out with. You could potentially join the War College and help instruct our Army on Constitutional Law and help determine what is and what is not constitutional, or reasonable.

I frankly don't understand how people can have an attitude that failure is not an option, and yet stand on the sidelines and not pitch in. What does that say about your conviction or your participation as a citizen?

Ann, instead of taking the easy route and just complaining about what Hillary said, why not advise us all? Let's pretend for a second Ann that you believe that failure is an option, and that you are being asked the question asked of Clinton when you are on the radio.

Ann, George Bush said that Failure is not an option. Do you believe that failure is an option?

Go Ann. You have 15 seconds to answer.

vbspurs said...

"A slogan is not a strategy."

I'll go out on a limb and say, it's not bad, as far as slogans go.

It's not combative, and mean.

(Bush Lied, People Died)

It's reactive, but not divisive, hurtful and wrong.

(Vast right-wing conspiracy)

And though I suspect it doesn't do anything for her in the eyes of those she wants to convert (mostly, moderate-to-Republican-leaning white males, without whom, she won't be President), it sounds sensible enough to pass the leadership test.

Do not underestimate the Clinton Election Machine.

As we all know, they have this way of using closely-polled buzzwords to make a point, precisely because it is guaranteed to resonate with many people.

I hate that. I find that prefab tack to be lack of true ideals.

But it might just be effective to see her to the next round, versus Senator Obama.

Cheers,
Victoria

SteveR said...

Reality Check: Your lack of originality and intellectual depth in that comment is stunning. Try practicing your moniker. "Failed to find Anthrax Killer" Wow, was that just so you could get your list to 15?

Fritz said...

Reality Check failed to convince me anything she wrote is true. Perhaps history will reveal how all these threats were kicked down the road by the Clinton Administration. Leftists have this knack for having 20/20 hindsight, Six Sigma execution, yet in real time are unable to offer possible solutions in the interests of the United States. Empty platitudes are not a substitute for policy.

Revenant said...

Clinton is right that "Failure is not an option" isn't a strategy. Sometimes failure is unavoidable. I don't think failure is unavoidable in Iraq, although obviously many people feel otherwise.

I would like to know if Clinton thinks failure is unavoidable. If not, I'd like to hear if she plans to avoid it, and if so, how. She's got a much better defense track record than most Democrats, so I'm willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

buffpilot said...

Victoria,
I agree with you. My bet we will get a Clinton/Obama ticket on the Democrats side as I see no other front runners. She is also nicely positioned to still be electable in the event we get hit again in the US. It will be interesting to see what she does with Iraq et al, when she is sworn in with 140K troops still there in '09.

I believe that the Dems will win the next election, but it will be because of the economy (which I believe will tank by early '08 due to the housing crises) not the war. How she handles the growing terror – bio/nuke problem will be interesting. Maybe she will truly turn into a modern day Truman or Roosevelt.

Revenant said...

12) Failed to get India to stay in the NPT

India has been a nuclear power since 1974, and has never been a signatory of the NPT.

So why you're whining about Bush's failure to build a time machine and prevent India's acquisition of nukes 27 years before he became President is a mystery to me.

Simon said...

I'm still catching up from my vacation, and in doing so, I see now that Matt Yglesias (who's one of my favorite lefty bloggers, I should add) has reached basically the same conclusions that I have, which is that the Democrats desparately want the war to be over (and lost), but they want Bush to drop the final curtain because they're terrified that if he doesn't, and they have to do it themselves, it will be a stain on their record for a generation. Yglesias points to Vietnam and - as I pointed to above - to the dolchstosslegende, and that's basically right. To his credit, Bush doesn't care and the CGOP has mainly seen through the scam.

Yglesias is absolutely right on this; they have the power to end it, and the question is whether they're stupid enough to have the courage of their flawed convictions. I'm reminded of that t-shirt that says "their party symbol is a jackass - what more do you need to know?"

vbspurs said...

I agree with you. My bet we will get a Clinton/Obama ticket on the Democrats side as I see no other front runners.

Like all those wet-dream Republican suggested tickets of "Rudi/Condi" in 2005, I think a Hillary/Obama ticket is just a pipe-dream.

Where Rice might've taken the backseat to Rudi, I don't think Obama has what it takes personality-wise, to do so with Hillary.

If he is the black JFK, remember that the real JFK always was secretly grateful that he didn't win the VP election in 1958, over Estes Kefauver, because he would've gone on to lose BADLY, and would have been seen as a loser, in voter's minds (or so he and his advisers feared).

That's Obama, in a nutshell, as I see him.

(After having read two of his books, I hasten to add. That hardly qualifies me as an expert, but it is my reading of him).

IOW, he's not an John Edwards type.

She is also nicely positioned to still be electable in the event we get hit again in the US.

I just see too many negatives attached to her, my love.

I think the nation needs a respite from the horrific political atmosphere we've had since 1992.

Electing Hillary will only prolong that national bitterness.


I believe that the Dems will win the next election, but it will be because of the economy (which I believe will tank by early '08 due to the housing crises)


I know several real estate agents that say that whilst the market is of course, slower, it is still overall very good.

And the economy, well, it's never been better. European countries should dream of having our unemployment rate.

However, I concede this:

This President and his advisers are the worst public relations spokesmen EVER.

You'd think business-oriented people would know how to sell the positives (and despite the heaving and groaning from many, America is as muscular, and as productive as she's ever been).

Electoral ennui is the biggest impediment to a Republican re-election in '08, but if the US is attacked or something catastrophic happens (like nukes in Iran), it doesn't matter if Hillary dons fatigues and slings a rifle herself.

She won't win.

Barack Hussein Obama won't win either.

And Edwards is a lightweight.

Another Democrat might though.

Or Rudi and McCain, because of their record.

P.S.: I'd rather the Dems win, than the US be attacked. EVER.

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

Here's a plan.

Get the *fuck* out. I've never seen "5 Year Occupation" in any counter-terrorism manuals, as a strategy.

Tell these assholes their time is up, and we are removing 40k combat troops every 4 months, that will not be replaced. Deal.

Moqtada's Thugs Rule Iraq. They ARE the government, and they ain't giving it up, and unless that changes, it's not worth one more American as far as I'm concerned. But no, "the scary terrorists might take over, or follow us here, and we must stay forever". The world's biggest superpower is too paralyzed with fear to merely to advise the Iraqis OUR intentions?

Simon said...

buffpilot said...
"I believe that the Dems will win the next election, but it will be because of the economy (which I believe will tank by early '08 due to the housing crises)"

But do you say that as a somewhat rueful fiscal conservative, or a somewhat gleeful fiscal liberal?

salvage said...

AHAHAHAHAHA!
You're mad!

Anonymous said...

Was it not Susan Sontag who said in regard to slogans:

"If I'm not interested in your opinion, what makes you think I want to hear from you tee-shirt?"

Anonymous said...

Victoria:

Like all those wet-dream Republican suggested tickets of "Rudi/Condi" in 2005, I think a Hillary/Obama ticket is just a pipe-dream.

Agreed.

I just see too many negatives attached to her, my love.

I think the nation needs a respite from the horrific political atmosphere we've had since 1992.

Electing Hillary will only prolong that national bitterness.

Agreed.

This President and his advisers are the worst public relations spokesmen EVER.

Agreed.

And Edwards is a lightweight.

Agreed.

Or Rudi and McCain, because of their record.

Given the make-up of staunch GOP primary voters, Giuliani can't win the primaries necessary to win the nomination. I believe that McCain will be the GOP nominee.

Simon said...

Victoria said...
"Like all those wet-dream Republican suggested tickets of "Rudi/Condi" in 2005, I think a Hillary/Obama ticket is just a pipe-dream."

I don't think that's a wet dream; honestly, I think that for better or worse it's a recipe for defeat. With an election likely to be close, IMO, you can't have two of the most moderate prominent Republicans on the ticket, because the right will bolt. They'll also probably bolt if McCain is on the ticket, which is unfortunate, since he'd ace the election if he could hold the GOP vote.

Giulliani or Condi would be ideal to have on the ticket, but you have to balance it, which is why I came to this conclusion (I was delighted to read a joint op/ed from them in the WSJ last Sunday, to the extent that I actually "read" on planes).

To win in 2008, with a convincing margin (surpassingly desirable because, as you note, "the nation needs a respite from the horrific political atmosphere we've had since 1992," which will be protracted by Hillary or by another 51/49 election won by any candidate), is going to require a herculean effort and an almost pitch-perfect ticket. But that isn't available, so we'll have to do the best we can, and I think my suggestion's the best we're going to do.

Obama, in fact, all-but announced today, and in my view, almost completely blew it.

Anonymous said...

We've had three years of Democrat hindsight and now they are asked to stand for something, and they do nothing. According this piece originally published by the washington Post: www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/01/democrats_wait_to_pick_up_the.html
...the Democrat House and Senate are not going to do anything. They are too afraid to cut funds or legislate an actual policy in opposition to the President. When I remember the Democrats of yore (Tip O'Neill, Ed Koch, Lloyd Bentsen), they respected the insititutions laid down by the founders. A simple thought by Senator Robert Vandenberg (R-MN) back during the begining of the Cold War: Politics stops at the waters edge.

These new Democrats would rather our soldiers be cannon fodder as a detriment to the President, then actually stand for something. You want to retreat? Then vote on it! But don't make it non-binding. These are your Democrats Hdhouse and Reality Check. You guys have forgotten your history and your party has lost its backbone. This is going to be fun two years.

Revenant said...

Like all those wet-dream Republican suggested tickets of "Rudi/Condi" in 2005, I think a Hillary/Obama ticket is just a pipe-dream

Minor quibble: the Rudi/Condi ticket is an independent's pipe dream, not a Republican one (many Republicans think Rudi's a RINO on everything but security).

But in any case I'd say that a Hillary/Obama ticket is *also* a Republican wet dream:

(1): There are probably more people who'll vote against a woman/black because of gender/race than will vote *for* someone for that reasons.
(2): The legions of Hillary haters dramatically outnumber her fans (much of the Demo grassroots doesn't like her either).
(3): All of the likely Republican candidates have more experience than Hillary and Barack put together.
(4): Hillary will be massively out-charisma'd by her running mate, which is never a good thing.

and finally,

(5): Neither candidate has ever faced a serious opponent in a major political race.

AJ Lynch said...

Victoria said:

"America is as muscular as it's ever been."

Glad you noticed -must be why you love us so much!

vbspurs said...

Given the make-up of staunch GOP primary voters, Giuliani can't win the primaries necessary to win the nomination. I believe that McCain will be the GOP nominee.

I don't know about Giuliani. I think he needs to start doing SOMETHING now, than just having his election battleplan stolen by tabloids. McCain has his Senatorial position, which keeps him legitimately in the public eye, but I rarely hear of Rudi, save when he's mentioned alongside 9/11, NYC. That doesn't play in Nebraska.

And if McCain wins the Presidency, as I've mentioned before, I will be a VERY unhappy Republican.

I'm even considering...not...well, not not voting, but doing the unthinkable and writing-in a vote.

Which means, basically, that I'll be throwing away a vote. Sigh.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Simon wrote:

Obama, in fact, all-but announced today, and in my view, almost completely blew it.

Nice pieces, Simon. I liked your blog, too, despite just casting a gander only.

Revenant wrote:

(many Republicans think Rudi's a RINO on everything but security).

IMHO, McCain and Lindsey Graham are RINOs. Rudi is just a pragmatic Republican from NY. He's a Conservative, all right.

(3): All of the likely Republican candidates have more experience than Hillary and Barack put together.

I've never bought this "Hillary doesn't have experience" thing, just like I didn't with GWB.

I know democratic, egalitarian Americans cringe when someone says this, but closeness to privilege and power gives you untold amounts of experience.

Both Hillary and GWB, despite their essentially meagre personal CVs to be President, were close enough to the highest levels of politics to have seen just how a President conducts him/herself.

Sure, it's no substitute for the real thing, but I wish people wouldn't knock it.

(4): Hillary will be massively out-charisma'd by her running mate, which is never a good thing.

True! Good point.

When was the last time that happened? Teddy Roosevelt in 1900??

And look what happened.

AJ wrote:

Glad you noticed -must be why you love us so much!

That, and everything else. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Anonymous said...

Revenant: Rick Lazio was a pretty good opponent.

Anonymous said...

I'm even considering...not...well, not not voting, but doing the unthinkable and writing-in a vote.

I understand the feeling.

[Cue Don't Cry for me Argentina soundtrack!]

Simon said...

Victoria --
Oh, at SF, I'm just the performing monkey. Pat's the ringmaster. :) I'm also just blogging. Also being annoying. ;) Glad you enjoyed, though. :)

downtownlad said...

Valid criticism. But there is ample evidence that Bush has lost faith in him as well, and is working behind the scenes for a coup. That would be interesting to post about.

Anonymous said...

*tee-hee* Yea, watch out for Hillary, she's mean.... she's got...like..um..her own staff? * tee-hee* she's stiff....barren too???? *tee-hee*

*tee-hee* Rudy, NOW there is a symbol of strength *tee-hee* he seems kinda tough...hmmmm....I mean...Chris Matthews liked him?....*tee-hee* He was THERE for us when he needed him...hmmm.... most important question is...he lived with teh gay in NYC??? *tee-hee* NOT!!!!???

tee-heee-heee* John McCain is kinda icky....looks like his skin is falling off or something....he's NOT cute at all....that is SOOOOO NOT HOTT xxxxooo.....hmmm...he doesn't really do much for us gadflyers....

Why can't we have a TOUGH GUY ON TERRORISTS...and be teh hot too???!!....

...so we have - it's teh gay, not NOT hott, or Obama?????? Isn't he a crackhead or something....hmmmmm.....I've heard from Rush Limbaugh that Democrats are terrorists!??.....I can't be for that!!!????

Help????!!!!

I need a cute hott guy that is tough on terrorists, and NOT a Democrat??!!! Prefer NOT teh gay!!

I'm an independent moderate.

Possible LTR.

Will you be teh one????!!

Sloanasaurus said...

Sadly failure is the preferred option of the Bush Administration:

Hmm... wait a minute. You left out one small item.. the fact that we hae not been attacked again since 9-11. It was conventional wisdom on 9-12 that we would be attacked again soon. The terrorists said they were going to attack us, many times. You remember Al Qaeda - cells in 50 countries, 10,000 men trained in Afghan camps waiting to strike....the uprising of the Arab street. What happened? Where are the attacks? Instead America is more prosperous than ever.

Where is the failure in this?

Anonymous said...

"Rick Lazio was a pretty good opponent."

I agree that Lazio was a good opponent. If you remember he was doing really well but then in a debate he went up to Hillary to ask her to sign a pledge. Suddenly all of the papers were talking like he drew a knife on Hillary and his polls went into the toilet.

Lots of people on the right, and the left, talk as though Hillary couldn't win either the nomination or the Presidency. It seems to me they are forgetting their history. No President ever got the press that Bill Clinton got and we are already seeing signs of the media attempting to take down Obama with story and picture selection.

It will only take one faux pas and the totality of the media along with Hillary's attack dogs will be over it. Having a black candidate or a female candidate allows all sorts of sympathy games to be played. Remember it was just this past election that the media was implying you were a racist if you didn't vote for black Democrats while ignoring black Republicans.

For Hillary they will palm the race card and deal her a four of a kind of misogyny cards. Selective outrage is a very effective tool and we are going to see more of that this election than ever before in modern media history.

Thank goodness for blogs.

monkeyboy said...

Naked Lunch:
I've never seen "5 Year Occupation" in any counter-terrorism manuals, as a strategy.


Have you read the latest one?
"The populace must have confidence in the staying power of both the counterinsurgents and the HN government. Insurgents and local populations often believe that a few casualties or a few years will cause the United States to abandon a COIN effort."

Have you read any doctrine at all?

buffpilot said...

Victoria and Simon,

I believe the economy is going to tank because of a banking/credit crises caused by the meltdown in the housing markets in California, Boston through DC and Florida (with Las Vegas and Phoenix in there also). Blame on lax banking oversight by the Fed and Greenspan blowing a credit bubble in ’01 with extremely low interest rates. It will be all about the economy. (if I’m wrong and we just plug through that would be great).

I am a rueful fiscal conservative and hawk on foreign policy. I thought we were going to swing to Iraq after the Taliban folded in Dec ’01 (I was flying over Afghanistan at the time and hoped to be home by Christmas of ‘02). I support the Iraq campaign and could care less about the WMD issue. Iraq was the obvious next place if you wanted to eliminate the long-term threat. Ask me in 2013 if we won or lost in Iraq (benchmark is South Korea in 1963). I expect to have troops there for decades just like Germany and Japan.

Given the economy, I believe that whomever the Dems put up will win the ’08 election baring something big happening. And they will be faced with the same choices the President faces today in Iraq and the war on terror, something the Democrats truly don’t want to really face up to. (They do not have the guts to follow through and bring the troops home, something they CAN do today). I like Matt Y. also, but he and many of his ilk desperately want to get back to 9/10/2001 and talk about health-care, gay rights, global warming/cooling etc. The last thing they want is to lead a war to crush a cultural cancer (radical jihadist Islam) that will require long-term patience, treasure, and blood with few big obvious victories (No liberating Paris with a march down the wide avenues, no flag raisings on Mt. Surabachi).

Simon said...

Buffpilot,
I got a chuckle out of the sudden realization of the import of your screenname reading that you were flying missions over Afghanistan. :p I basically agree with you about Iraq - I was never particularly interested in the WMD issue, and so the left's bleating about how we never found any (and, to be bipartisan about it, the bleating in some quarters of the right, including the Vice President's office, that there really were WMD but they all got shipped to Syria) has never really carried any water with me.

I'm a little more optimistic about the economy - the housing slump seems to me to just be a surplus capacity problem that will eventually be soaked up in due course. My inclination is to say that sooner or later, the credit-drenched economy has to falter, that the bubble has to burst, but I've been prophesizing that for some time, and it doesn't seem to have happened. I gave up making predictions on that subject when the '05 bankrupcy act failed to have a serious impact on consumer credit spending.

IMO, the GOP can win the 2008 election -- indeed, they must win the Presidency and the Senate -- but it's an uphill battle that needs a very, very strong ticket, and it needs a serious and sober reevaluation of what went wrong in '06, of the kind the Dems refused to undertake after '94. I want a ticket with coattails, and a ticket that people like Ann can vote for, because we aren't going to win without them.

Simon said...

(BTW, I don't mean to imply that I agree with Matt, just that I find him agreeable. His blog's interesting and I like the way he presents himself on BH.tv. Assuming we can't convert all of the liberals, I'd rather they were more like Yglesias than Eric Alterman, for example. Yglesias seems like someone you could have a few beers and a fun argument with, whereas a lot of liberals - especially in the blogosphere - come across as just unbearable).

vbspurs said...

It will be all about the economy. (if I’m wrong and we just plug through that would be great).

Don't worry, buffpilot. Your nick says it all. :)

And actually, economists agree with you -- these past 3 years has seen records in the Dow, and a stable-to-great economy, after the end of the Clinton year's and 9/11.

I doubt many countries could have recovered as quickly, as strongly as America, in the wake of such a catastrophe (certainly only Britain, in Europe).

Isn't there an economist dictum that says "end-in-7" years are bad, and presage even worse times, for the economy?

Let's see what happens.

So far, this year, so good...Apple reported record earnings, for one.

Of course, they would.

Cheers,
Victoria

Revenant said...

No President ever got the press that Bill Clinton got and we are already seeing signs of the media attempting to take down Obama with story and picture selection

Bill Clinton, despite his great press, never managed to win a majority of the vote. His wife's got the charisma of a dead rat and none of her husband's pre-Presidency accomplishments. It would be one thing if there was an enormous groundswell of Clinton nostalgia among the independents Clinton would need in order to win. But there isn't.

The other thing to keep in mind is that the most likely Republican nominee has spent the last six years being fellated by a media establishment that loathes George Bush. It is too late for either the Democrats or the media (but I repeat myself) to paint McCain as "more of the same". His rep as an anti-Bush Republican is rock solid, which means that he doesn't have to worry about the "people sick of Bush" vote going to his opponent. He's been promoted for years as "the responsible, moderate Republican, not like that right-wing fanatic Bush". That this rep bears absolutely no resemblance to fact is unlikely to help Clinton.

(and by the way, I say this as somebody who absolutely hates John McCain and would reluctantly vote for Clinton over him. But reality is reality)

buffpilot said...

Victoria and Simon,

I hope you guys are right about the economy staying strong through the ’08 election. I’m just a little worried considering the latest tanking of some big sub-prime lenders. I was also surprised that the ’05 bankruptcy act had almost no effect. I’ll cross my fingers and go hug my B-61. (see if you get that reference without google). 

I think we have a chance if the loony left dominates the Democratic primaries.(Kucinitch sp?). Then a strong candidate could have some big coattails, especially if Iraq has stabilized and OBL has been caught. Clinton brings a ton of baggage with her but she is very skilled (with the master at her side), can position herself as a ‘reality based’ centrist, and can compete in $ with any republican ticket. Add to the fact all the suppression of free speech going through congress these days, she could win. Who do you see on a Republican ticket?

Yes, Matt seems like a reasonable guy that would not go crazy like a lot of the left blogestan. I read Kevin Drum a lot but he is starting go over into kos land and its becomes increasingly tough to understand where they are coming from. (His commenter’s have totally lost it – like ‘reality check’ above). Matt’s crowd also has gone over the deep end also. I have trouble understanding the surrender-in-Iraq/ let-the-terrorists win big crowd when we have just begun. I can sort of make sense of it if you think the war in terror is like chasing a crazed serial killer. Once the arrest is done you can go back to sleep. But that’s not the reality we face today or that we faced in ‘01

V – what do you see in my nick??

Anonymous said...

Regarding McCain and independents, see here

Simon said...

vbspurs said...
"these past 3 years has seen records in the Dow, and a stable-to-great economy, after the end of the Clinton year's and 9/11. I doubt many countries could have recovered as quickly, as strongly as America, in the wake of such a catastrophe (certainly only Britain, in Europe)."

I think you may be being a little over-generous to Britain. My recollection of budget day in Britain is that every year, taxes went up on practically everything; even today, when I talk to friends over there, the very idea of cutting taxes or reducing regulation seems as absolutely alien to them as I suppose the American paradigm must have seemed to me when I first moved here. Americans who have not travelled abroad often don't appreciate just how unique, just how precious what this country has really is; it really is a mystery to me how it is the best-travelled Americans who are usually the most liberal. I find visiting and learning about other countries profoundly reinforcing of why I prefer America. I visited Britain last week, in fact, and a lot of my colleagues found it strange that my view was that it was nice to visit that country, but it was much better to be back home in the States. A rational person visits another country, enjoys the vacation, arrives back in America, and kisses the very ground that they can call it home.

Moreover, Britain seems to lack the entrepreneurial culture that seems (IMO) to lend tax cuts and deregulation in the U.S. such strong an economic effect. In America, after 9/11, Bush took the view that the best way to recover was to get the government out of the way, and he was right; if it had happened in Europe, after fifty years of proto-socialism, I really think that most people would ask "how's the government going to fix this?" That is, the reflex is in quite the opposite direction. Interventionism has become a habit of mind. I mean, maybe I'm wrong, but that's how I see it.

Simon said...

Buffpilot -
"Who do you see on a Republican ticket?"

At this point, I think the most viable ticket is Giulliani-Gingrich. That's hardly an ideal solution, and until election day last year, I couldn't really envisage myself being too enthusiastic about such a ticket, but I really think that's the best - and possibly the only - way to win in '08. As I mentioned in a comment above, if McCain is on the ticket, I can really see a substantial contingent on the right being willing to cut off their nose to spite their face, despite the seeming fact - as Revenant alluded to - that if the right united behind McCain, he'd win fifty states. To my mind, this is unfortunate (which is not to imply that I don't recognize that there are serious and reasonable objections to a McCain candidacy), but it seems to be true. Giulliani is the second-most electable Republican in America, and he has massive credibility with the very people that McCain has difficulty with, as peculiar as that might seem given that he is way to the left of McCain (and me) on many issues. Gingrich I think is far enough to the right to balance the ticket, but while he inspires the same strong reactions in some quarters that Hillary does in others, his self-evident intelligence and focus on ideas means that I don't think he's as likely to scare moderates off the way that, say, Sam Brownback would.

Now, is this a realistic ticket? I have no idea. But I think it's the best shot we have at this point, although I am very much open to persuasion on the point. Giulliani can mollify me on the issue of abortion by making explicit that he is anti-Roe and will appoint judges who will rule accordingly, as discussed in comments here, but I'd still not exactly characterize him as my first choice, were the necessity not to win, and indeed, in order to take back the Senate (because I've been looking at the numbers, and they are grim), to win big enough to have real coattails. Politics is obstinately reality-based, and the next Supreme Court vacancy from the ranks of the rump Casey majority is going to hit this country like a bomb going off. It's all about numbers, and Giulliani-Gingrich seems to me to be the only way to make those numbers add up.


"V – what do you see in my nick?"

I don't know about Victoria, but I see one of these. ;)

Kirk Parker said...

Buffpilot,

"V – what do you see in my nick??"

I thought your name was fairly self-explanatory, but perhaps V was thinking of someone flying their Cessna around with no clothes on...

Simon said...

Naked Lunch said...
"Regarding McCain and independents, see here"

I'm not sure that Josh Marshall is exactly a neutral, dispassionate commenter on what would or wouldn't be good for the Republican Party's chances in 2008. Which isn't to say that he's necessarily wrong, just that when the cheetah starts offering the gazelle advice about what to eat, you have to suspect ulterior motives.

LuceLu said...

I hear a lot about failure but not enough about success. What exactly does success look like to us in Iraq?

That is the question they are ducking because seriously, success isn't our troops out and home in the US and the citizens of Iraq living in peaceful harmony. Success is keeping the Middle East from being totally dominated by Iran, Syria and their friends Russia and China. It means Middle East oil production (and by proxy, the international economy) is not dominated by entities not including the United States.

Unfortunately large numbers of Iraqis will die regardless of our presence. But who's influence will matter in the end when they decide to stop killing each other? Ask the Lebanese what their experience has been.