Andrew Sullivan Under Attack

Sam Harris is away, leading to a postponement in the Harris vs. Sullivan debate on religion, but there are plenty of other people eager and willing to argue with Andrew Sullivan. Glenn Greenwald responds to Sullivan’s book, The Conservative Soul, debunking the argument that we are hearing frequently from conservatives that the Republicans have failed because they are not true conservatives. He also quotes others such as Rich Lowry, editor of the National Review, and Newt Gingrich expressing similar arguments.

Lowry and his “conservative” comrades were anything but passive observers over the last six years. They did far more than “watch” as the President and the Congress “disgraced” themselves and damaged this country. It was self-identified “conservatives” who were the principal cheerleaders, the most ardent and loyal propagandists, propping up George Bush and his blindly loyal Republican Congress.

It was they who continuously told America that George Bush was the unified reincarnation of the Great American Conservative Hero Ronald Reagan and the Great Warrior Defender of Freedom, Winston Churchill, all wrapped up in one glorious, powerful package. It was this same conservative movement — now pretending to lament the abandonment of conservatism by Bush and the Congress — which was the single greatest source of Bush’s political support, which twice elected him and propped up his presidency and the movement which followed it.

So why, after six years of glorifying George Bush and devoting their full-fledged loyalty to him and the GOP-controlled Congress are conservatives like Lowry and Gingrich suddenly insisting that Bush is an anti-conservative and the GOP-led Congress the opposite of conservative virtue? The answer is as obvious as it is revealing. They are desperately trying to disclaim responsibility for the disasters that they wrought in the name of “conservatism,” by repudiating the political figures whom they named as the standard-bearers of their movement but whom America has now so decisively rejected.

George Bush has not changed in the slightest. He is exactly the same as he was when he was converted into the hero and icon of the “conservative movement.” The only thing that has changed is that Bush is no longer the wildly popular President which conservatives sought to embrace, but instead is a deeply disliked figured, increasingly detested by Americans, from whom conservatives now wish to shield themselves. And in this regard, these self-proclaimed great devotees of Conservative Political Principles have revealed themselves to have none.

This raises the question of why anyone would trust the Republican Party–liberal or conservative. In addition to years of control of Congress they have now had six years of control of all branches of government. If the Republicans could not be trusted to pursue the principles they express under such conditions, why trust them to pursue the conservative ideals these people claim in the future? (more…)

A Well Qualified White House Appointee

I’ve sometimes wondered if Bush White House appointees are the most qualified for their positions. Here’s a case where they got it right. Washington Wire reports that the new White House pastry chef is William Yosses, author of Desserts for Dummies. I wasn’t aware that George Bush eats a different type of dessert than the rest of us, but if he does I’m glad there was someone available who has written a book on the subject.

Any books out there on National Security for Dummies?

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Edwards Admits He Was Too Inexperienced in 2004

John Edwards admits he was too experienced to run for national office in 2004. He had minimal experience in the Senate before becoming a candidate. After losing in 2004 he left his Senate seat to prepare for yet another run. What makes him any more experienced or qualified now than he was in 2004?

Edwards, who I’ve previously referred to as Obama-lite, was asked what made him a better candidate Barack Obama:

“Experience,” Edwards responded. “I’ve been through a presidential campaign.”

Maybe more experience in terms of being a candidate, but the real question is what makes him qualified to be President.

Bush Says Referring to “Democrat Majority” Was an Oversight

George Bush says that it was an oversight when he referred to the “Democrat” majority in Congress during the State of the Union address, using Democrat as opposed to Democratic as has been commonly used by conservatives as an insult. “That was an oversight,” Bush said in an interview yesterday on NPR. “I’m not trying to needle…I didn’t even know I did it.”

As I discussed previously, Bush frequently uses code words understood by conservatives, and I was suspicious that he was sending a similar message to his base when he said “Democrat majority” as opposed to “Democratic” as in the prepared text. The Los Angeles Times reports on the increasing use of this by Repubicans, including by George Bush:

Bush’s usage of the term increased dramatically last year; according to the American Presidency Project, based at UC Santa Barbara, the president was recorded using the term 22 times in 2006 — more than in the previous five years of his presidency combined.

I can’t determine what was in Bush’s mind when he said this during the State of the Union. After all, as he also said in the interview, “I’m not that good at pronouncing words anyway.” What really matters is how acts in the final two years of his term. Will he really attempt to work with the Democratic majority, or will he continue to pursue a highly partisan and extremist course?

Blog Review: Political Wire

Political Wire is requesting that bloggers review their site, and in return are offering a link back. With over 260,000 page loads per week, that is an offer which is difficult to ignore–especially as they are well deserving of a favorable review. They ask us to “tell your readers why you come here each day and what keeps you coming back.” The fact of the matter is that, while I scan the headlines from many blogs in my RSS reader, Political Wire really is one of a handful of blogs that I do read every day–and it is generally one of the first I check.

Political Wire, and its companion site Political Insider, are excellent sources to start the day with a quick summary of some of the top political news, along with occasional guest commentary from people such as Stuart Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report. Most of posts are based upon reports from major media sources, but they some also include quotes from sites such as Roll Call which are only available for a significant fee. Even having a good selection of links to articles in the major news sources is helpful in providing a summary until I have the time to surf to the various sites myself.

Political Wire also includes breaking news and web site aggregators (left and right). They reset at midnight, and I would suggest that instead they contain the previous twenty-four hours postings as often I check there before going to bed around 1:00 a.m.and find little there. Fortunately there is far more present when I recheck at other times of day.The blog selections are limited to some of the older, larger blogs, and this would be more useful if a wider variety of blogs were included.

US Policies Strengthen Iran

The Washington Post reviews one of the consequences of Bush’s catastrophic policies in the middle east–strengthening Iran:

Iran has deepened its relationship with Palestinian Islamic groups, assuming a financial role once filled by Gulf Arab states, in moves it sees as defensive and the United States views as aggressive. In Lebanon and Iraq, Iran is fighting proxy battles against the United States with funds, arms and ideology. And in the vacuum created by the U.S. overthrow of Iranian foes in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is exerting a power and prestige that recalls the heady days of the 1979 Islamic revolution, when Iranian clerics led the toppling of a U.S.-backed government.

“The United States is the first to be blamed for the rise of Iranian influence in the Middle East,” said Khaled al-Dakhil, a Saudi writer and academic. “There is one thing important about the ascendance of Iran here. It does not reflect a real change in Iranian capabilities, economic or political. It’s more a reflection of the failures on the part of the U.S. and its Arab allies in the region.”

Added Eyal Zisser, head of the Middle Eastern and African Studies Department at Tel Aviv University in Israel: “After the whole investment in democracy in the region, the West is losing, and Iran is winning.”

Americans Wish It Was Over

While Bill Clinton would typically got a bounce in the polls following his State of the Union address (regardless of how much the pundits knocked it), George Bush continues to fall to new lows. Neither his recent speech trying to get support for the surge or the State of the Union address has kept Bush from falling to new lows in the latest Newsweek poll. His approval rating is down to 30%. Bush is considered an ineffectual “lame duck” by 71%. Americans wish that the current national nightmare was over by a 58% to 37% margin. In retrospect, while Democrats avoided the I-word, impeachment might not have been a bad platform for Democrats to run on in 2006.