Friday, February 29, 2008
Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats wrapped up another busy three-day work week Thursday morning with a flurry of legislative action. She passed five bills naming post offices, created the official inaugural committee, and authorized the use of the Capitol Rotunda for the 2009 Inaugural. With that workload behind her, it was time to call it a week and break for four days until next Tuesday.
On the bad side, she and her Democratic colleagues couldn't seem to find time on the calendar to bring up the permanent patch to the FISA law, the bill that already passed the Senate in bipartisan fashion and would pass overwhelmingly in the House, the bill that allows our intelligence officials to continue monitoring and tracking the movements of enemy terrorists abroad, and actually helps prevent future terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. So for almost the last two weeks, one foreign jihadist could make a 30 second sat phone call from one Middle Eastern country to another foreign jihadist in another Middle Eastern country, and because the communication technology routes a lot of this traffic through U.S. switching, our intelligence agencies would have to get a court order to be able to act on this 30 second phone call.
But then again, on the good side, at least the trial lawyer lobby can continue to safely sue the telcoms if they cooperate with the U.S. government to try and thwart further attacks here.
Meanwhile, over on the other end of the Capitol, Republican leader Mitch McConnell played another game of Lucy and the Football
, with Harry Reid playing the role of Charlie Brown. Early this week, Harry Reid wanted to bring up, for approaching the 70th time since he's become majority leader of the Senate, another couple of bills authored by Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold that would require immediate steps to withdraw our troops from Iraq.
Reid had figured that he would bring them up for consideration, that McConnell would immediately rally the Republicans to defeat the bill's 60 vote requirement to proceed to open floor debate, and then go out and hold a press conference before moving onto something else. McConnell, toying with Reid as he's done since the Democrats took the majority in January '07, didn't knock the bills down, allowing them to proceed to the floor for debate, throwing the feckless Reid into a scheduling disaster.
Here's a still shot that is a common sight since Harry Reid's been in charge.
Standing, that would be Reid, Christopher Dodd, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin, also known as the Larry, Moe, Curly and Shemp of the United States Senate.
They weren't planning on spending any serious Senate floor time on this issue, but now they had to scramble and start scheduling Senators to come to the floor and rehash the same old tired rhetoric about how disastrous the war in Iraq is, an even harder argument to make when the situation all over Iraq is better than it was two months ago, the last time the Democrats tried to declare defeat. And two months ago, the situation had significantly improved as well.
After a couple of days of on and off debate, and very little else going on, Reid began to see the writing on the wall, meaning he wasn't going to get anywhere near the 60 votes he needed to cut off debate and proceed to final votes on Feingold's bills. So he withdrew them from consideration, and vowed he would live to try and surrender another day, probably in a month when the next war appropriation bills come up.
On the eve of entering 15 months in charge of the Congress, one chamber is committing malfeasance in dealing with the national security of the country, and in the other chamber, the Democrats have demonstrated all the originality and effectiveness of the Los Angeles Raiders' playbook.
If the Republican Party and its conservative supporters would simply put their internal quest for ideological purity aside for a moment, they'd recognize how inept, dangerous and utterly beatable this bunch is at all levels. It's time to use the window that's been provided to us by Mitt Romney's gracious and strategic exit from the campaign, along with the bloodletting going on between Senators Obama and Clinton, and come together once more as the coalition Bill Buckley built. There is no reason why issues and substance shouldn't beat false hope and empty change rhetoric every time out.
Leap year day means we have one extra day to stop squabbling about who is or isn't conservative enough to support, and start focusing on the task in front of us. Use your day wisely.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Last week, the New York Times ran a debacle of a story about John McCain that lacked credible sourcing and any hard facts to back up whispered, third-party allegations. It was a story that was deemed unworthy for publication by the Boston Globe, the Seattle Post Intelligencer and Beltway insiders like Morton Kondracke, and even the Times' own ombudsman, Clark Hoyt. As Hugh cites below, there is a Rasmussen report that of the roughly two thirds of people polled that say they followed the Times story fairly closely last week, two-thirds of them believe it was a hatchet job by the Times to hurt McCain.
So after their credibility took a huge hit, how do they follow up this week? Carl Hulse runs a story with the headline, "McCain’s Canal Zone Birth Prompts Queries About Whether That Rules Him Out." John McCain, it's true, was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone to a serving military dad and mom. But the problem with the Times story is they do not cite anyone who is politically questioning McCain's eligibility. Part of reporting is explaining the who, what, when, where and why. Mr. Hulse and his editors forgot the who. He gets comments from a few legal scholars as to what they think the term natural born citizen means, and whether or not these experts think McCain might have a problem, but doesn't get into who's making the allegations, and more important, what the impact of those allegations will have on military families.
The left loves to tell Americans how much they love and support the military despite being against the war, as was on display once again in the Senate this week, where Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and his friends on the Democratic side of the aisle unsuccessfully tried once again to cut and run in Iraq in the face of increasing progress on all fronts.
But the question should not be about whether McCain is or isn't eligible to run on a potential technicality the left wants to interpret from the writings of the founders. The U.S. base where McCain was born at the time was U.S. territory. The real question is are the Democrats really anti-military enough to essentially indicate to thousand of families sacrificing for and serving this country abroad, at the request of the United States, that part of their sacrifice includes banning their children from aspiring to run for the top job in the land, the same land they are fighting and dying to protect?
Americans may be split on the issue of Iraq. Americans may have differing views of what role our military should have in foreign policy. That's a fair debate. But Americans will not tolerate a political party that penalizes American citizens' future political ambitions because of their parents' active duty military service. And the Times' attempt to sling mud stories week after week is going to eventually sound like the paper that cried wolf.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Last week, Hillary Clinton waited until well into her debate with Barack Obama to utter the line of the night that cost her the debate. She had a scripted line to use about Barack Obama's change as being something you can Xerox, which fell flat and drew boos from the audience.
Tonight in Ohio, Hillary didn't waste nearly as much time before uttering a gaffe which will probably seal the deal with many of her supporters as the final straw on the back of her candidacy.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Anybody out there have any idea whether any foreign radical Islamists contacted any of their allies today to discuss another terror attack on U.S. soil today? Thanks to Nancy Pelosi, as of last night, we legally cannot eavesdrop on these types of communications any longer without a prior court order.
Regardless of whether or not the country still believes we're in a war against a virulent strain of Islamic jihadists, it should be and is up to the Commander-In-Chief to decide how best to pretect and defend the homeland. Last Thursday, Ms. Pelosi, using her power as Speaker of the House of Representatives, let her opinion supercede that of the 534 other members of the United States Legislative Branch. She refused to bring up the permanent fix to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, and one which would have won bipartisan approval in the House. Now the House is on vacation for a week, as is one of the most effective tools of surveillance our country's intelligence community uses. Why would she purposefully blind America to potential terror attacks that could otherwise be thwarted? She says the President took his eye of the real war on terror by going into Iraq, something which is demonstrably silly on many levels.
How can she have taken her eyes off the war on terror by tying the hands of our intelligence operatives? Partisan politics. Part of the patch on the FISA bill includes immunity from lawsuits against telecommunication companies that cooperate with the federal government on foreign surveillance. Nancy Pelosi's acts as though her loyalites lie more with protecting the interests of the trial lawyer lobby than they do with the successful prosecution of the war on terror.
So if she wields the power as Speaker to scuttle a bill that weakens the country's defenses, as of Midnight last night, she and her Democratic Party must be held accountable for the consequences of that action. When the jihadists try to attack us again, as they have shown every indication that this is their fervent desire, it must be the Democrats that have to answer for why, in a time of war, they intentionally made our intelligence agencies' job harder.
Day one, Ms. Pelosi. How many free days are you willing to give the enemy a chance to plot, plan and organize against us before you allow all of your other colleagues in Congress the chance to do their job, and therefore, giving our intelligence community the tools to do their job?
Tick. Tick. Tick.
Friday, February 15, 2008
As heard earlier on the radio show today, here is First Lady hopeful, Michelle Obama, unplugged.Michelleobama.mp3
Monday, February 11, 2008
A good conservative, retired Col. Allen West, is running in South Florida for the Clay Shaw seat. You can learn more about his campaign here
On the negative side, very sad news this afternoon that John Shaddegg of Arizona, one of the brightest conservative stars in the House of Representatives, suddenly announced this evening that he is resigning from the House at the end of this term. He will be missed.
Thursday, February 07, 2008
I was ten years old when Ronald Reagan gave his Fight On speech in 1976. I'm sure my parents had it on, but of course there was no way I could have appreciated it for what it was - a signal to conservatives not to give up on their principles, not to give up fighting for what they believe to be best for their country, and to press on with good cheer. After watching Mitt Romney's CPAC speech today, I have to believe the Gipper is smiling.
After a long and robust primary season, Mitt Romney looked at the map and the delegate math, and came to the respectable conclusion that the odds were too long to overcome. He is a patriot, and realizes what four years or more of a Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama presidency could do to the country, and that a continued fight in the primary is going to continue to weaken McCain in the general. Added to that, there is still too much reluctance, especially in the Bible Belt South, for Evangelical conservatives to pull the lever for a Mormon.
The Democrats, on the other hand, aren't saddled with a base that is fractured over ideological grounds in this election cycle. They want to win, whoever the candidate is. And that's exactly what they're going to do unless the GOP remembers that there's no winning when you lose.
The war against radical jihadists is a concept that Barack Obama has articulated no knowledge about. He wants to talk unconditionally. He wants to negotiate. He wants to unite. The jihadists don't want to talk. They want us dead.
Hillary Clinton has more of an understanding of what we're up against, but she wants to return to the White House. Issues are secondary to her. They're props. They're tools to be used to get her back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She wants power. What she does when she gets it remains to be seen, but both of them will work to negate the gains we've made in Iraq, and will return America to being reactionary rather than proactive when it comes to dealing with foreign threats.
John McCain does understand the war. He understands how reckless it would be for Iran to become a nuclear state. He knows the complexities of Pakistan and the other hot spots around the Middle East. America would be safer with John McCain than either of the two Democrats.
Many conservatives view John McCain's positions on several issues as being no different than liberals, causing them to question why they should even bother this November, given their choice. Erwin Chemerinsky, a man of the left who knows the American judiciary like few others, compared the possible Supreme Court justices of a President John McCain versus a President Hillary or Obama
. He is going to be voting in November, because he knows what the Supreme Court would look like if either Hillary or Obama would get to replace up to six justices. I hope conservatives come to that conclusion, too. Remember, Ted Olson is on board with the McCain camp, and would have a seat at the table if and when a Court vacancy opened up.
Romney's policy differences with John McCain remain, as they do with the majority of the conservative electorate out there. But the war and the Court are too important to throw away on the silly notion of trying to teach the party a lesson by not participating this time.
I've screened the phone calls on the show from conservatives who have said they can't look themselves in the mirror and ever vote for John McCain. I've received e-mails saying the same thing. But consider this - Justice John Paul Stevens, a hard left justice who is well into his 80's, is in all likelihood not going to continue serving until the end of the next presidency. You could have voted for John McCain, and helped to replace Justice Stevens with a conservative who later viewed Roe V. Wade as bad law and helped to overturn it. But you didn't vote because you thought McCain wasn't conservative enough, and enough other Republicans followed your lead. Instead, Hillary or Barack replaced Justice Stevens with someone of the same liberal ideology, but far younger, essentially ensuring that abortion continues along as a federally guaranteed right. Now how do you look at yourself in the mirror? And that's just one example. The Court is the prize. The left knows it. The right needs to realize it, too.
Mitt Romney very eloquently stated why he is now putting his policy differences with John McCain aside and standing down. He did it with grace and class, and he did it for the greater good of the country. Let's hope that over the course of the next few months, the rest of the conservatives in the Republican party follow Mitt Romney's example.
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Sunday, February 03, 2008
Thank God in Heaven above that we don't have to hear anything about a Boston sports dynasty for a while. Congrats to Eli and the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants.
PS: Sorry, Dean
Friday, February 01, 2008
So according to this story
, NASA is going to broadcast "Across The Universe" by the Beatles across the galaxy to the North Star, Polaris.
Two questions: What exactly is the going rate for ASCAP and BMI for intergalactic licensing? And have our friends at NASA considered the implications if General Zod
doesn't care for the Beatles?
Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson is the producer of the nationally syndicated "Hugh Hewitt Show". In a sense Duane is "the man behind the curtain" -- and this is his blog.
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