A New Can Of Worms
19 December 2003
Getting the Message

"Colonel Gaddafi appears to have got the message of Iraq -- that developing such weapons or even showing an interest in them is highly dangerous," according to one BBC analysis.

I've repeated the comment of Bernard Lewis that the west must, "Get tough or get out" of the Middle East to the point where it has become a mantra of mine. Capturing Saddam will continue to have pay offs as long as we continue with this posture.

All signs right now point to Libyan cooperation. Obviously, we will have to verify this, but as of today this is a big triumph for the Bush national security team.
Ryan Compares Favorably to Stalin, Too

Rich Miller's weekly column -- at least the downlodable version is up. He compares Ryan to the last Governor from Kankakee, Len Small, who had mob ties and sold pardons. Miller warns us not to lose perspective on Ryan because afterall we've had worse:

"OK, back to George Ryan. Was he corrupt? It looks that way. The most serious allegations are those surrounding his alleged cover-up of the license-for-bribes scandal while he was secretary of state's.

You may recall that I loudly sounded the alarm about Ryan during the 1998 campaign when almost nobody else wanted to touch the story. So I don't feel any need to go overboard now to make you forget how easy I went on him back then.

If the allegations are true, then Ryan should be punished. No argument there. But let's keep some historical perspective while we're gnashing our teeth. Yes, the feds are alleging some completely unacceptable behavior. But compared to Len Small, George Ryan was a saint."

I really don't think this adds very much. History is replete with far more evil characters than George Ryan -- that won't make him any less guilty if he is convicted. And the fact that we wouldn't tolerate a Governor Small these days and we are not tolerating the George Ryan's of the world speaks highly of us as a Nation, today.

George Ryan is accused of violating the public trust to enrich himself, his family and friends. That may or may not have been okay during prohibition, but we have higher standards today. And as Martha says, its a good thing. Hopefull, the feds will make an example of him.

Is There Anything The Left Won't Politicize?

Wraiths and Race, which I guess is a movie review in the UK Guardian, claims that the Lord of The Rings is racist. You see the bad guys are dark and the good are fair skinned.

Nevermind that the good guys and the bad guys are compilations of elves, dwarves, hobbits and the bad guys are made up of men, 0rcs, Orici, trolls etc... All different races... And let us not forget....It's A FANTASY FOR CHRIST SAKES!!!

17 December 2003
This Is A Great Day for Illinois

"Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of taking payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for government contracts and leases while he was governor and secretary of state."

22 Indictments are now added to George Ryans taxing, spending, Castro coddling legacy. And let's not forget his thoughtless death penalty commutations and how he made the victims' families re-live their worst nightmares.

A Shiny Bow, Indeed!

John Kass of the Chicago Tribune comments on the hopefully impending indictment of former Governor George Ryan, today.

Kass believes the Ryan indictment should wrapped in a bow for xmas. I agree.

16 December 2003
26 Years Later

Mike Van Winkle of The Chicago Report found a 1997 Reagan CPAC where Ronald Reagan described his vision of the conservative majority in America:

"Those polls confirm that most Americans are basically conservative in their outlook. But once we have said this, we conservatives have not solved our problems, we have merely stated them clearly. Yes, conservatism can and does mean different things to those who call themselves conservatives.

You know, as I do, that most commentators make a distinction between they call “social” conservatism and “economic” conservatism. The so-called social issues—law and order, abortion, busing, quota systems—are usually associated with blue-collar, ethnic and religious groups themselves traditionally associated with the Democratic Party. The economic issues—inflation, deficit spending and big government—are usually associated with Republican Party members and independents who concentrate their attention on economic matters.

Now I am willing to accept this view of two major kinds of conservatism—or, better still, two different conservative constituencies. But at the same time let me say that the old lines that once clearly divided these two kinds of conservatism are disappearing.

In fact, the time has come to see if it is possible to present a program of action based on political principle that can attract those interested in the so-called “social” issues and those interested in “economic” issues. In short, isn't it possible to combine the two major segments of contemporary American conservatism into one politically effective whole?

I believe the answer is: Yes, it is possible to create a political entity that will reflect the views of the great, hitherto, conservative majority. We went a long way toward doing it in California. We can do it in America. This is not a dream, a wistful hope. It is and has been a reality. I have seen the conservative future and it works.

Let me say again what I said to our conservative friends from the academic world: What I envision is not simply a melding together of the two branches of American conservatism into a temporary uneasy alliance, but the creation of a new, lasting majority.

This will mean compromise. But not a compromise of basic principle. What will emerge will be something new: something open and vital and dynamic, something the great conservative majority will recognize as its own, because at the heart of this undertaking is principled politics.

I have always been puzzled by the inability of some political and media types to understand exactly what is meant by adherence to political principle. All too often in the press and the television evening news it is treated as a call for “ideological purity.” Whatever ideology may mean—and it seems to mean a variety of things, depending upon who is using it—it always conjures up in my mind a picture of a rigid, irrational clinging to abstract theory in the face of reality. We have to recognize that in this country “ideology” is a scare word. And for good reason. Marxist-Leninism is, to give but one example, an ideology. All the facts of the real world have to be fitted to the Procrustean bed of Marx and Lenin. If the facts don't happen to fit the ideology, the facts are chopped off and discarded."

26 years later Mike Van Winkle argues that Reagan's vision doesn't work. Republicans, he admits, are now dominant but:

"Unfortunately I find Reagan's reasoning a little weak. He wants to argue that social conservatives and economic conservatives can forever coexist in a dominant Republican Party. I'm not so sure. The libertarians pick up members every year and most are disenchanted Republicans who can no longer tolerate hypocrisy on economic issues and paternalism on social ones."

80,000 inteviews conducted by the Pew Research Center suggest otherwise:

"As part of this project, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press also has produced a detailed analysis of recent trends in party affiliation, based on about 80,000 interviews conducted over the past three years. This analysis shows that the GOP, which lagged well behind the Democrats in party affiliation for most of the past century, achieved significant nationwide gains after Sept. 11 and has drawn even with the Democrats. As it now stands, more voters identify with the GOP both in so-called "Red" states ­ those that consistently have voted Republican in recent presidential elections ­ but also in a number of swing states like Michigan and Florida. At the same time, Democrats have lost ground in swing states and have not picked up adherents in "Blue" states ­ those that have gone Democratic in recent elections."

If the Libertarian Party is growing, it is most likely an artefact of the wider trend toward conservatism that Reagan fostered and 9/11 reinforced. The hypocritical paternalistic social conservatives, as Mike (I assume) refers to them, are anything but. These are people who before Roe vs. Wade had no interest in politics. Like most libertarians, they simply wanted to be left alone. The politicization of the social right was a reaction to the paternalism of the left trying to remake society in their image. Social issues became political matters as a result of the left making them political. That the libertarians have bought into the left's argument, that it is the social conservatives taking away their freedoms, demonstrates the extent that many libertarians (not nearly all of them) have been duped by the left.

It seems that those who are unaware of the rise of the social right see a contradiction. But there is really none. If you understand the history at play, the context in which events have unfolded, you can explain what has occurred and the alleged hypocritical paternalims melts away. That the left has succeeded in some respects in re-writing this history demonstrates the power of history as a political tool. There is a fundamental difference between state and society. Both libertarians and social conservatives once believed that society is self ordering while government consciously seeks to enforce an order.

By making all things political, the left has blurred the line between state and society and I guess some libertarians are no longer able to make the distinction between the two. There are libertarians and social conservative who believe in ideological purity, who believe that you either agree 100 percent of the time with them or you are wrong and they will have nothing to do with you, yet the vast majority are more reasonable. Those more reasonable people in the economic and social camps are the ones that make up what we now call the republican coalition.

I'm sorry to disagree with Mike, but glad to say that Reagan's vision endures and it will continue to endure for the forseeable future.
15 December 2003
Moveon.org Accepting Foreign Contributions

According to theDRUDGE REPORT Moveon.org is fundraising overseas. . .

Gee, maybe Fidel can join the board. I'm sure that would help with Dean's base...
Opportunity Returns...

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Governor Blagojevich will be unveiling a economic development plans for southwestern Illinois this week:

"Gov. Rod Blagojevich plans to announce an economic development plan for southwestern Illinois on Wednesday that includes a new biotech lab in Edwardsville and a $7.7 million building at Southwestern Illinois College.

The projects will be part of the governor's 'Opportunity Returns' plan for the nine-county region: St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Jersey, Calhoun, Clinton, Bond, Washington and Randolph counties. The governor's announcement is set for noon at Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey. "

My guess, when the totals come in, is that the "economic development plan" will be little more than a "polictical development plan" heavily tilted toward democrat and democratic leaning counties.
This Is Not a Gloat Free Zone

The wheels are really coming off the blame America Firsters -- aka the Democrat Party. First, and I'm not even going to bother to link, we get Saddam Hussein. This morning The Wall Street Journal (link requires subscription) informs us that there is nothing to the Halliburton scanda -- well at least nothing to place the blame on the giant def con:

"But Corps of Engineers documents, copies of which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, indicate KBR attempted to negotiate lower rates from their Kuwaiti subcontractor -- Altanmia Commercial Marketing Co. -- earlier this month, and also tried to line up alternate contractors inside Kuwait as early as October. In a letter to KBR, a senior contract negotiator for the Corps of Engineers cited possible 'political pressures' from the Kuwaiti government and the U.S. embassy in Kuwait to negotiate future fuel-import business exclusively with Altanmia.

KBR, which was awarded a no-bid contract to provide emergency oil-field repair work during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, assumed the job of importing large amounts of gasoline and other petroleum products to meet war-related shortages in Iraq in the spring. The no-bid contract has attracted criticism in Washington because Vice President Dick Cheney led Halliburton until he stepped down to run for office with President Bush in 2000. The White House and Pentagon have denied allegations that KBR was granted special treatment because of its ties."

Look for an uptick in Xanax in democratic and democratic leaning precincts...

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