Sunday Thoughts

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Senator Tom Daschle

Sen. Daschle was just full of lies in regard to the judicial nominees on Fox News Sunday this weekend.

He said that the 6 nominees were being fillibustered because all of them were more interested in pushing their own views than following written law. Alabama AG Bill Pryor has, time and time again, upheld and defended -- vigorously -- laws that go against his own personal beliefs. His record is unblemished in his upholding of the law, despite signficant effort in the judicial committee to prove otherwise. They came up empty. Daschle lied.

He said that Miguel Estrada refused to turn over a lot of documents -- at best, a mischarcterization -- and that other justices, including Bork, have turned over documents on such requests. That's false: Estrada was asked for ALL of his documents when working at the solicitor general's office (something every living solicitor general, from both parties, strongly opposes), and previous justices only turned over specific documents related to specific issues. Daschle lied.

He said that the Republicans fillibustered 63 nominees "in the judicial committee." There is no such thing as a fillibuster in committee. Daschle lied.

Daschle is just such a tool.

General Wesley Clark

Gen. Clark wasn't bad on Meet the Press, but he gave up ground on two big potential arguments against Bush.

First, Clark admitted in another interview this weekend that the war in Kosovo was "technically illegal" because it did not get UN support. He said it was OK, though, because another legitimate body supported it (NATO) and because it was a legimiate threat. But the U.S.-led coalition against Iraq is -- quote technically -- no less legitimate than NATO, and "legitimate threat" is in the eye of the beholder.

So Clark has entirely forfeited to Bush the "legitimacy" argument in regard to Iraq. He can still argue on the basis of faulty intelligence, even on motive, but not on legitimacy, because his main difference between what is and is not legitimate is something that has no actual bearing on legitimacy -- the existence and level of "threat" -- because it is subjective.

Second, Clark admitted he misled the American people in 1995 when he said the troops in Bosnia would be home in a year. He said he had reservations about the timeline, but stated it unequivocally to put pressure on the Bosnians to speed things up. So now, he cannot condemn Bush for misleading the American people if that misleading was for some "greater" good.

Then Clark went on to attack Bush on misleading the American people on intelligence in Iraq. Hold on there, pal. You concede that there were many good reasons to go into Iraq, and then say that it is bad to mislead the American people about those reasons, when you did the same damned thing in Bosnia?

I should also add that while everyone agrees Iraq posed some sort of a threat to the U.S. and its interests, even if not a direct security threat on U.S. soil, the same cannot be said of Bosnia and Kosovo. They had very little, if anything, to do with the U.S. We helped because we are a part of NATO and because, apparently, they wouldn't/couldn't do it without us.

But it wasn't our direct business, unlike -- as Clark and most everyone concedes -- Iraq, which was destabilizing the entire region, which was threatening Kuwait and Israel and Saudi Arabia, which was making the life of terrorists from Syria and Iran and Turkey and the Palestinian territories easier. I can't see how Bosnia or Kosovo posed any threat at all to our interests, and I can't see how Iraq wasn't a threat.

Does that de facto make the war in Iraq legitimate, in his view? Does that make the misleading OK? I don't know what is going on in Clark's head, but he surrendered quite a bit of ground today.

One last interesting note on Clark: he said, in reference to the election next year, "This is not about the economy, it's about jobs." I know he was trying to say that the issue is not GDP, but jobs, but his phrasing make him sound dumber than he is. Also, I am unimpressed with the sentiment: jobs won't turn up until GDP and other leading indicators turn up. Now those things are turning up, so give jobs a little bit of time.

Representative Dick Gephardt

Gephardt, when asked about the steel tariffs on This Week, said Bush should have lowered the steel industry's health care costs. How's that for a spin?

But then he did say he thinks the tariffs should remain in place until the steel industry can be protected. In fairness to Gephardt, he opposed NAFTA and is probably in favor of the tariffs in large part because of the damage NAFTA has done to the steel industry in the first place, which is an opinion that, while I disagree with, I can respect. At least he is consistent and mostly principled on this issue.

George Will asked Gephardt -- someone who has talked about reducing the amount of money in politics -- about George Soros giving $15 million to oust Bush. Gephardt eventually said, when pressed, it is legal, but against his ideals of campaign finance reform. I guess it's not too interesting, except in that Gephardt had to be pressed to come up with the answer. Maybe he hopes to accept the money, but doesn't want to seem too eager for it?

George Soros

As to Soros himself, I really have little comment. He has an unreasonable hatred toward Bush and wants to see him gone. I can't fault the latter, but his rhetoric in the former is extremely tiresome: "The proposition that the United States will be better off if it uses its position to impose its values and interests everywhere is the misconception. It is exactly by not abusing its power that America attained its current position."

Right, so the Bush doctrine you define should be abandoned, and Bush should, instead of imposing its values and interests everywhere, should leave Iran and Syria alone (like it is doing), it should use multilateralism in North Korea (like it is doing). It is truly nonsensical rhetoric. It's one thing to attack Bush's position on Iraq, but to magnify that to a general doctrine that simply doesn't exist according to the facts, makes it unreasonable.

President George Bush

There's something I've been hearing myself say a lot lately: there are so many things to complain about in regard to Bush: his lack of communication, his poor communication, even amounting to misleading; his policies on protestors and free speech; the Patriot Act; how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the war on terror have gone.

So why the need to make things up? Why attack Bush on whether or not the "mission" was "accomplished," or whether "major combat operations" were over, when in those contexts, those things were clearly true, as intended? Why attack his views as a general doctrine for the world, when there's no significant evidence that it extends beyond Iraq?

I know Bush brings some of it on himself with his extremely poor communication to the American people: when he is communicating, he often contradicts himself, if not in word, then in tone or emphasis (was the war about terrorism, or liberty, or UN resolutions, or weapons? the correct answer is "all of the above and more," but you get a different message each time).

But -- and this is a tip for all you Bush-haters out there -- just because Bush leaves himself open for attack on these things doesn't mean you will benefit by attacking him there. It wouldn't entirely surprise me if Bush left himself open for attack on such things on purpose. You attack him on these minor issues (what did he mean in this speech or that one, who leaked what to whom) while he succeeds on the big issues (no major terrorist attacks, rebuilding Iraq [we'll see], improved economy), and Bush beats you. It very well could be a clever ploy to distract his opponents.

I don't think it is, but even if not, the effect is the same. Once again, people are underestimating Bush, hoping they can make him look bad while he is actually doing well overall, and the more they do it, the less chance they have of beating him, because all of these issues are things most voters don't give a damn about.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on November 16, 2003 11:24 AM.

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