I love that "last resort" -- if all else fails, resort to totalitarianism: if we don't like what you are saying, then our goons will chuck you out. And I love the fact that not only young republicans (that properly should be capitalized, but if they're not going to, then I certainly don't feel inclined to), but also jocks and frat boys will be recruited for these "rally squads." Perhaps they should all wear brown shirts so they can recognize each other?
Archive of Articles for June, 2007
Actually, that title is misleading. To be perfectly accurate, it should read "House Votes To Not Deny Themselves A Raise," but then you get into the whole annoy-English-teachers-with-a-double-negative thing.
Now, there really is only one candidate for becoming the 51st state: Puerto Rico. Ignoring deluded fantasies of splitting either California or Texas into multiple new states, and ignoring also the perennial push to declare the District of Columbia a state; Puerto Rico is really the only viable candidate. All the other territories (mostly islands in the Pacific) simply don't have enough people living in them.
. . . The mainstream media had lots of fun with the Pentagon funding a "gay bomb" and other fantastical projects last week (and the late night talk show hosts had even more fun with it). The fact that the Pentagon funds some wacky projects shouldn't actually come as news to anyone familiar with the story of the "hafnium bomb" -- an idea for a grenade-sized nuke that has about as much evidence of ever becoming reality as cold fusion.
I guess I really shouldn't mock the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), too much, since they're also the folks who brought us the very internet you are reading this on. See? Some of their stuff turns out OK.
It should be pointed out that it's not often you get to read the phrase (even with brackets): "bong hits [are a good thing]" in a Supreme Court decision.
But, as I said, whatever the political price eventually is should not matter. Because some leadership is needed here. And that's what leadership is -- doing the right thing, while convincing enough of your opponents that it is the right thing... and then absolutely refusing to back down.
This war needs to end. If the Democrats don't do it in September, then they will be no better than the Republicans who led us into this war, and have enabled Bush ever since. Poll numbers show this, and Democrats know it. Enough Republicans need to be enticed or scared into crossing the aisle, in order to force Bush to get the troops out. Once again, here is what it will take: 60 to 70 in the House; 17 or 18 in the Senate. Once those numbers are reached, Bush's opinion ceases to be relevant.
General Petraeus, the officer in charge of our military presence in Iraq, is scheduled to report to Congress in mid-September on how the surge is doing. After he does so, Democrats are going to find themselves holding a winning hand for ending the war in Iraq -- as more and more Republicans start voting with them. But how they play their cards is going to be important in determining exactly how the war should be ended, how fast it will happen, and how many troops will be left in Iraq.
Now, there are many ideas on how to end the war from the Democratic side, and in September the party is going to have to hammer out a strategy for how to proceed -- and they'll need both a detailed strategy for the military withdrawal, and also a legislative strategy for how exactly to go about enacting the end of the war.
Congressional vagaries and loopholes mean there are countless ways the Democrats could manage to end the war in September. There is simply no way to cover every contingency here, or even predict exactly which path such legislation could take. Having said that, there are several tactics which are currently being discussed among Democratic leaders. Here are the major options as I see them now:
The magic numbers of Republicans jumping ship to watch for: 60 to 70 in the House -- 17 or 18 in the Senate. When Democrats hit both those numbers, the end of the war in Iraq will have truly begun.
John Boehner can call it: "dramatic erosion of support in the GOP," if he likes. I personally prefer the term: "rats leaving the sinking ship of Bush's Iraq fiasco."
Here's my strategy -- 3,500 Americans have died. Our troops have become targets. My specific strategy is this: If I were president today, I would withdraw all our forces before the end of this calendar year. But where I differentiate with the other candidates is I leave no residual forces. And my view is this: We cannot do the hard diplomatic work in Iraq until our forces are withdrawn. When 61 percent of the Iraqi people say it's OK for troops in Iraq, American troops, to be shot [it] is wrong. When 70 percent of the Iraqi people say they want Americans out -- Sunni and Shia -- by the end of the calendar year, the time has come to withdraw our forces. I would redeploy our troops to Kuwait, where we're needed, where we're asked to be, to deal with any international terrorism contingency. But it is my view, Chris, that any kind of rebuilding of America's foreign policy -- dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian issue, with nuclear proliferation, with international terrorism -- can only happen after we withdraw from this obsessive, disastrous policy in Iraq.
My personal opinion is that (1) Bush isn't going to fire Gonzales, because he's terrified of trying to get a replacement through the Senate confirmation process, and therefore he's happy to have a broken and ineffectual Justice Department for the remainder of his term; and (2) I don't think he's going to pardon Libby. I think a respite or even a commutation might indeed be in the cards, but not an actual pardon. As I've stated before, I do think it's going to be an agonizing political calculation for the White House, though. I could be wrong, especially about that second one, but that's the way I see it.