Bush Declares Victory

AP reports that George Bush has claimed victory over Hezbollah on behalf of Israel.

Any hope he’ll just declare victory in Iraq and get us out of there?

On second thought, he did declare “Mission Accomplished” quite a while back, and we are still there.

Perpetual Warfare

As the so-called “war on terrorism” is being used to justify the unjustifiable (including destorying the freedom which the terrorists allegedly hate us for), the duration of this “war” is an important question. Norman Podhoretz has an essay in Commentary entitled Is The Bush Doctrine Dead? It is beyond the scope of a blog entry to respond to this entire essay, considering that it attempts to justify every foreign blunder George Bush has made as well as the entire neocon agenda. Besides, anyone reading this probably already has their minds made up on this by now.

Podhoretz sees the “war on terror” as World War IV, following the Cold War or WW III. Podhoretz believes that the Bush Doctrine will define foreign policy in the futurr, which is a very scary thought to those of us who hope for both an effective response to terrorism and preservation of America as envisioned by the founding fathers:

I feel safe in predicting that, like the Truman Doctrine in 1952, the Bush Doctrine will prove irreversible by the time its author leaves the White House in 2008. And encouraged by the precedent of Ronald Reagan, I feel almost as confident in predicting that, three or four decades into the future, and after the inevitable missteps and reversals, there will come a President who, like Reagan in relation to Truman in World War III, will bring World War IV to a victorious end by building on the noble doctrine that George W. Bush promulgated when that war first began.

Three or four decades into the future. If that is the time scale which the supporters of Bush’s approach to terrorism see, we must think very carefully before agreeing to give up our liberties in this perpetual state of war.

Conservatives Scared By 9/11 To Point Where Unable to Think Straight

It sure seems like this at times. While nobody questions the tragedy of 9/11, the attack is not an excuse to end all independent thought. By failing to think critically, many conservatives failed to realize that Bush and Cheney used 9/11 for political gain–not to make the country safer. They used 9/11 to push through what they hoped to do prior to 9/11, such as invading Iraq and enact provisions in the Patriot Act which make us no safer.

Question their mind set on 9/11, and conservatives are also unable to evaluate this rationally. DarkSyde creates some controversy at Daily Kos by putting the attack in perspective:

Death and injury are every bit as tragic as they are inevitable for human beings. Understandably, we worry about both, we all cry and mourn when either strike, especially with ourselves or those we love playing the starring role. And I have no desire to down play the loss that anyone feels when someone they love is struck down, be it by terrorism or leukemia. But …some perspective maybe?

Heart disease and cancer will claim about 1.5 million American lives each and every year. As far as accidental deaths (~100,000/year), motor vehicle accidents far and away lead the pack (+40,000/year), with accidental poisoning and falls in place and show. You can play with those stats all kinds of ways. But the bottom line is that over the course of a civilian lifetime, the odds of falling victim to Al Qaeda rank somewhere between falling off a ladder to your death and being struck by lightning inside your home.

Darksyde also compares this risk to that of nuclear war which would have “converted some 20 million US citizens into plasma. Many millions more would have died in agony over the next few weeks in ways too horrible to contemplate. A full Soviet attack would have turned every major city and military base into a smoking, glassy, radioactive crater.” Ed Fitzgerald supports DarkSyde with quotations from Fail Safe.

Naturally the right wingers cannot handle this threat to their post 9/11 world view, and at Right Wing News takes advantage of this to continue the right wing tactic of distorting the views of liberals:

Here’s a liberal saying what Howard Dean, Ned Lamont, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats really think. This allows people to take a very clear, open eyed look at what conservatives and liberals really believe.

— Conservatives believe we must do whatever it takes to stop another 9/11 from occurring on our soil.
— Liberals, like Darksyde, don’t think that’s the case.

— Conservatives believe WMDs falling into the hands of terrorists is a serious threat.
— Liberals, like Darksyde, do not.

— Conservatives think the British terrorism plot, that would have featured numerous planes being blown up in mid air, would have been a major disaster had it happened.
— Liberals, like Darksyde, do not.

Perhaps this is another case of conservatives not being able to think straight since 9/11. Look how many untrue and irrational statements are in here. The author cannot comprehend of the fact that it is possible for other things to carry a greater danger than terrorism, but that realizing this does not mean advocating that we ignore the problem or fail to understand its seriousness. We can go about our lives without giving up the ability to think as the right has, while seeking real solutions to the problem. Nor do we have to allow panic to lead to bad decisions such as unnecessarily restricting our civil liberties or taking foolish actions in Iraq which act to strengthen al Qaeda rather than weakening them.

This is one blog entry on one blog. Not only does Right Wing News misrepresent the views, but the author attributes these views to all Democrats. He ignores the fact that John Kerry wrote a book warning about the dangers of terrorism well before 9/11. It was Bill Clinton who wanted to take action against al Qaeda and the Republicans who blocked him. George Bush ignored multiple warnings before 9/11. John Kerry and Howard Dean often argued before the 2004 election that more needed to be done for homeland security, but George Bush cried that such precautions were too expensive. Not only do liberals want to prevent another 9/11, they had the forethought which conservatives lacked to attempt to prevent the original 9/11 attack. It was Republicans who failed to respond to the warnings or take action.

Liberals understand the dangers of WMD and do not want to see them in the hands of terrorists. That does not mean we should have gone to war against Iraq after Saddam had destroyed his WMD based upon false claims of a non-existent threat. Only in the twisted minds of right wing writers would anyone think than anybody would not have seen it as a major disaster if the British terrorism threat had succeeded. As we noted earlier (here and here), the manner in which this threat was stopped was evidence that John Kerry and liberals have been right on fighting terrorism and the conservatives have been wrong.

Lorelai Gilmore Verifies Bush Unpopular in Northeast, Including Stars Hollow

The Washington Post reports that support for Republicans is even lower in the Northeast than the rest of the country. To verify this story I checked on the views in Stars Hollow, Connecticut. Amy Sherman-Palladino has extensively documented the words of the residents of Stars Hollow. She particularly watched one resident, Lorelai Gilmore.

Lorelei has been blunt about her feelings about George Bush. “I hate President Bush! He’s stupid, and his face is too small for his head. I just want to toss him out.” She also shares our fears over the erosion of civil liberties. She saw an analogy to contemporary American when putting a leash on her dog (Friday Night Is All Right For Fighting):

Oh, he’s perfectly fine with having his personal freedoms slowly stripped away, as long as he’s completely unaware that it’s happening. Just like a true American.

Lorelai’s parents identify more with the Bush Administration (Fight Face):

Richard: I should tell Scooter Libby about this. I keep forgetting I know a man on the inside. I’ll give him a call.
Emily: Before an indictment comes down.

Lorelai rejects her rich parents, and identifies George Bush with them. When she came into some money (Happy Birthday, Baby) her views were apparent. “Seventy-five thousand dollars. I feel so rich. And suddenly in complete agreement with everything Bush has to say.”

Lorelei has also influenced the way in which her daughter Rory sees Republicans (One’s Got Class and the Other One Dyes):

Lorelai: So, I think I’m in touch with the other side.
Rory: The other side of. . .
Lorelai: The other side.
Rory: With Republicans?

Next year we will no longer be learning about Stars Hollow from Amy Sherman-Palladino, who has been signed to produce a sit-com for Fox. TV.com does have some news on Gilmore Girls post Sherman-Palladino. More on Gilmore Girls below the fold, including why Gilmore girls is the best show on TV for men from Esquire.


Monkey in the Middle

Andrew Sullivan has joined David Brooks in calling for a new centrist party. It came as a bit of a surprise when David Brooks called for the McCain-Lieberman Party last week. After all, Brooks has never been one to call for moderation of the policies of the Republican Party.Some of his positions were unexpected. He wrote, “On fiscal policy, the McCain-Lieberman Party sees a Republican Party that will not raise taxes and a Democratic Party that will not cut benefits, and understands that to avoid bankruptcy the country must do both.” I may have missed it, so could someone please point out to me the column in which David Brooks bucked the GOP and called for raising taxes?

It is less surprising to see Andrew Sullivan call for a new party since he doesn’t fit in well with either established party. He even sees a scenario in which this may be possible:

But Lieberman’s loss last week and potential success as an independent this November could also lead to a different and more interesting scenario. What if the Democratic left rejects Lieberman and, in the Republican primaries, the religious right rejects McCain? Both are too centrist for their party’s base. Both can reach out to the disenchanted in both parties and maybe form a new movement of the centre: a Ross Perot-style movement without Perot’s lunacy.

A couple of months ago I fantasised about a dream ticket that could both unite the US and rejoin the battle against Islamist terror with new vigour and integrity. An independent McCain-Lieberman ticket for 2008? Stranger things have happened. And, given the bizarre history of the past six years, stranger things no doubt will.

There certainly is dissatisfaction with the polarization of the two parties, but this does not mean that a McCain-Lieberman Party would be the solution. John McCain is strongly conservative, not a moderate. He only seems moderate due to opposition for some of the extremists of the religious right. He otherwise fits in very well with the Bush Administration despite being more reasonable on a handful of issues such as torture.

Why are two supporters of the war taken as leaders of such a centrist party? Not only was the war a tremendous mistake which has undermined our national security, it is no longer even the centrist position. A majority now feel that the war was a mistake and we should get out of Iraq.

I suspect far more people will support a centrist party in principle than will support any specific party. It is easier to get people to agree in principle to support the moderate course than to agree what the proper moderate course is. The center position is defined by the other parties. Taking the positions of each party and trying to find a middle position on each issue will not necessarily result in the best solutions. Compromising principles is not necessarily the reasonable or best centrist course.

While Brooks and Sullivan turn to a fairly conservative model for their centrist party, this is not the ideal which many would have. There are increasingly people turning away from the Republicans due to their social polices. There is increased call for a party which advocates a liberal social party, fiscal conservativism, as well as getting out of Iraq. This includes the Starbucks Republicans and Republicans who are angry with the party over issues such as their restrictions on stem cell research. This also happens to be the direction in which many are pushing the Democratic Party, which may be why Republicans place such a high priority on distorting the positions of Democrats. They sure can’t have those looking for a moderate party realize that the Democrats may be what they have really been looking for as opposed to the extremism of the GOP.

This nation was founded upon support for principles of liberty and separation of church and state. The founding fathers also compromised, and full liberties were not initially extended to women or blacks. Our history has been one of extending these principles to all. Now that we are faced with one political party being in the hands of extremists who desire to increase the degree of government intrusion in the lives of individuals, this is no time to search out a middle course which only calls for a moderate violation of principles.

Related stories under the fold.