Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Western vs the Eastern....

I don't usually like M. Dowd, but >this article is downright hilarious....

"Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney jumped in the polls because they cast their convention as a Western. They were the "Magnificent Seven," steely-eyed, gun-slinging samurai riding in to save the frightened town: Rudolph Giuliani, John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Zell Miller, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and Poppy Bush, who was on "Imus" comparing Mr. Kerry with Jane Fonda."

Always a Republican, sort of....

It was the fall of 1983. The 1984 presidential campaign cycle was already underway. I was seventeen years old, a senior in high school and intensely interested in the numerous Democrat candidates for President: Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, John Glenn, Jesse Jackson, George McGovern and others. A subscriber to an intellectually lazy utopian socialist viewpoint, I hoped one of these Democrat candidates would defeat Ronald Reagan in the 1984 general election. Anticipating that I would turn eighteen in August 1984, three months before the election, I believed I would be one of the voters who would assist in Reagan's defeat.

Initially impressed by George McGovern, my father, best described as a swing voter who had voted for Reagan in 1980, informed me that McGovern had led the Democrat party off of a cliff in 1972 and would probably not get the party's 1984 presidential nomination. I was also influenced by one of my high school history teachers who warned his students that Reagan's anti-communist policies in Central America could lead the nation into another Vietnam.

I saw the world as a conflict between the powerful rich and the exploited poor. I thought communism represented an alternative, perhaps morally superior, economic system, rather than a threat to the free world. I was exposed to some conservative opinion. My politically astute father encouraged me to read syndicated columns by George F. Will and to watch Firing Line, a political talk show aired on public television.

I also began to think about what a Leftist version of society would look like. Uninspired by the Soviet Union, I began reading a history of Vietnam, believing that the communist takeover of Vietnam was evidence that many people of the third world preferred communism and its promise of equality while rejecting America's inhumane and unfair capitalist blueprint. The left of center author of that history, Stanley Karnow, did little to persuade me otherwise. But I was still left unsatisfied by Karnow's interpretation of events following the communist takeover of South East Asia.

One chapter was titled "The war that nobody won." It described the crushing poverty faced by communist Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese refugees, the communist reeducation camps and Cambodian genocide. I hoped that the Sandinistas of Nicaragua were a better breed of socialist. But my doubts multiplied when, in a dinner table conversation with a liberal friend of my father's, I mentioned Khrushchev's "secret speech" in which Khrushchev denounced Stalin's mass murder. I hinted that perhaps both the Soviet Union and the communist system could be successfully implemented by those who learned from Stalin's bloody history. My father's dinner guest said confidently, "They are all guilty."

Still a potential Walter Mondale voter after he won the Democrat presidential nomination, I went to see a new movie titled "Red Dawn" in the early summer of 1984. The plot was straightforward. Central America succumbs to a communist takeover. The United States is flooded with refugees and communist saboteurs. In this movie, Americans do not have the option of flying a helicopter out of Saigon in a humiliating defeat. The communist threat attacks the homeland. "Red Dawn" was a fictitious movie and perhaps a mediocre one at that. But it accurately communicated to me the harsh realities of communist hegemony. Utopia was nowhere to be found. I began to realize that my socialist worldview was more imaginary than that of the movie I had seen.

A few months later I turned eighteen, registered to vote as a Republican and in November of that year I joined a large majority of my fellow citizens in voting to reelect President Reagan. During my years as a college student I became more knowledgeable about the conservative worldview in the fields of economics, social policy and national security. In my senior year I joined Young Americans for Freedom, a college based conservative organization founded by William F. Buckley Jr. in 1960. Years later I read an essay by David Horowitz titled "My Vietnam lessons." Horowitz grew up as a communist and became a conservative activist. This essay described his change of mind, which seemed similar to mine.

The conservative conversions of David Horowitz and myself culminated in the same presidential election and both of us voted for Ronald Reagan in November 1984 as a result. But my conversion to conservatism occurred just prior to my reaching official adulthood. Horowitz's more eventful and interesting road to conservatism can be read in his autobiography, "Radical Son," still one of my favorite books.

When people ask me, "Have you always been a Republican?" I am tempted to give a Clintonian answer: That depends on what you mean by the word "always."

Friday, September 10, 2004

Hearts and minds alone won't win this war.

Victor David Hanson's latest column - :

"Ask yourself: What do a Russian ten-year-old, a poor black farmer in Darfur, an elderly pensioner in Israel, a stockbroker in New York, and a U.N. aid worker in Afghanistan have in common? In the last three years, they have all died in similar ways: Unarmed and civilian, they were murdered by a common cowardly method fueled by a fascist ideology."

- need I say more?

A Future Threat

While the papers are all agog with stories of Iraq and the presidential candidates, a comment in today's Washington Times reminded me of a threat that will likely be in the front pages in about 3-7 years;

The Bush administration is bowing to pressure from China to curb arms sales to Taiwan at a time when the Pentagon is urgently trying to get the island's government to buy U.S. defensive arms. According to U.S. officials, Taiwan's government has sent the administration formal letters stating that it plans to buy eight diesel submarines, 12 P-3 aircraft and six new Patriot anti-missile batteries and associated PAC-3 interceptor missiles. ... The Pentagon has done the needed paperwork to put the sales in motion, but the White House has decided to put it off by delaying formal notification of Congress. The move was ordered by the National Security Council staff, where pro-China official Dennis Wilder recently took charge of the China portfolio. ... One official said the Pentagon has warned for years that "the threat to Taiwan will become critical in the 2005-2008 time frame" and is a major reason the administration has been pressuring Taiwan to invest in missile defense and anti-submarine warfare. ...

What is important about the 2005-2008 time frame?" Hold your horses for a minute.

Now for the killer

Politically, pro-China officials are suspected of putting off the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan until after the election, when a possible administration of John Kerry likely would cancel the arms sale package altogether.

If you think that Iraq and the War on Terror is all we've got to worry about with Kerry, I regret to inform you that he would be a lot worse than you imagine. Not only would he throw the Iraqis to the wolves, the democratic ROC (Republic of China or Taiwan) would get the same treatment. I'm sure he would defend this by saying that trade with China means US jobs, I think he is being rather short sighted. And I'm being polite.

The simple fact is that China wants Taiwan back. Bad. And word is they want to "resolve" the situation one way or the other by the end of the decade, by military action if necessary.

In my opinion we need to make sure that the communists on the mainland are not allowed to destroy democratic Taiwan. The latter has worked hard in the past several years to reform itself from an autocracy under Chaing Kai-shek to a modern, capitalist, democracy. While the Taiwanese must refrain from unnecessarily provoking mainland China, they are worth helping to defend. Kerry apparently does not see it that way.

My complete analysis of the situation regarding these countries can be found here.

On his website, John Kerry says that
A Kerry presidency will be committed to a "One China" policy, and will continue to support a peaceful resolution of cross-Straits issues. We support Taiwan's vibrant democracy and robust economy and will maintain America's commitment to provide Taiwan defensive weapons.

By itself these are fine words. Words alone, however, will not keep China from attacking the island democracy. The relevant issue is whether he will supply the weapons that are necessary for their defense. And John Kerry seems to have a way with words, they meaning one thing today and another tomorrow. In today's Washington Times, John Brieden, past commander of the American Legion, says that Kerry will say whatever the group he is speaking to wants to hear:

...he has a tendency to say "exactly what the group wanted to hear." "In fact, his speech was right down our point papers, line by line," Mr. Brieden said in a conference call organized by the Bush campaign. "I have to laugh because as I have heard people talk about his flip-flop on positions, I feel all he's trying to do is tell every group what they want to hear," he said. "That means a different position for every group."

Sad to say, but this has been the case with every Democrat who has run for national office since Bill Clinton.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

For Love of Money

John Kerry's latest line of attack is to blame Bush for spending too much money in Iraq.

Just yesterday, while watching Fox News, I heard Kerry criticize Bush for spending "$200 billion in Iraq that we so desperately need at home." Here's the story as I found it on their website

I would not have made the wrong choices that are forcing us to pay nearly the entire cost of this war — more than $200 billion that we're not investing in education, health care and job creation here at home

George W. Bush's wrong choices have led America in the wrong direction on Iraq and left America without the resources we need here at home

Kerry seems to have two lines of argument here:
1) That we shouldn't be paying the entire cost of the war, but that it should be shared.
2) That we very much need this money at home and that not having it makes a difference.

Neither of these assertions, I believe, is valid.

Yes we are probably paying most of the cost of the reconstruction. But this is a good thing for several reasons.

This way we get to call the shots as to how the money is spent. We can organize matters as we see fit, which would be according to our ideals. We ran the show in Japan after WWII, and that country turned into an economic powerhouse. Even though the British and French shared occupying western Germany with us, we contributed the lions share of money there too. The Marshall Plan was a US initiative.

Other countries would have vastly different priorities. Sad to say, but I find little reason to believe that countries such as France or Germany have any interest at all in making Iraq democratic or capitalist. The UN...well they're a joke. Most of the worlds nations are at least authoritarian, and most have little economic freedom either. That the "international community" would share our ideals is laughable.

What, then, about the argument that the money is better spent here at home, or even that we very much need it?

We have so much and they have so little. Our problems are those of the rich; we worry about "universal health care", they worry about whether they can get health care. We worry about minute levels of arsenic in the drinking water, they worry about getting drinking water. We want computers in our schools, they want schools with roofs.

Further, lack of money is not the problem with our health care, education system, or job creation. Please.

They money we spend in Iraq is the best investment we could ever make. I am absolutely convinced that the liberals who complain along the lines of John Kerry have no idea as to what we have achieved in Iraq; my post on how monumental our achievement is can be found here.

In the past I have often opposed some of our foreign aid. But I did so not because I did not want to help people in other parts of the world, far from it. I opposed it because the programs were poorly conceived, they missed the true problems, and often did more damage than good. So often the problem is not lack of money.

Let it not be thought that I am an ogre in regard to, say, educational spending. I want our children to have the best schools. It's rather that I don't see most of our current problems (and again, they're the problems of the rich) as being solved by more money. Further, our Federal budget is some two trillion dollars per year. The $200 billion that Kerry refers to is to be spent over a several year period, I believe.

To be sure, we miscalculated the cost of reconstruction. We had no idea that Saddam had so brutalized his own country. Somehow I missed where those on the left predicted this. No, they were too busy warning us about the upcoming "Battle of Baghdad," in which the "elite" Republican Guard would hold off U.S. forces for weeks in bloody street-to-street fighting.

Further, all this is in response to Kerry's Wednesday attack on Bush. By the time you read this, he may well be saying that we're spending too little there.

New Blogger on Board

Thank you to Mark, Jamie, and Larry, for kindly inviting me to participate on this blog. I look forward to working with each of you.

Tom the Redhunter

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A winning hand

Mike Murphy writes that the Bush campaign needs to keep doing what it did at the Republican National Convention.
....the president gave a compelling speech about why he has done what he has, and why he is right to have done it. He made up for a lackluster State of the Union speech earlier this year with a clearly outlined agenda, and showed us that he feels every casualty of this war in his own heart. The result was the first significant and dramatic poll movement in Bush's favor in nearly a year. Yes it was at least partially a bounce. But poll numbers bounce up because they are driven up by good things and the fact is, if the election were held tomorrow, Bush would win and Kerry would lose, and that hasn't been true for months.

....there is little mayhem Republicans can inflict on Kerry that his hapless, one-trick campaign hasn't already done to itself. Gallons of deadly Dukakis loser-juice run deep in the Massachusetts senator's political veins, and the only way Kerry can take back this campaign now is if President Bush surrenders it.

Media whitewashing of Islamofascists

Michell Malkin tells us to
Remember 9/11: Stop sanitizing the killers.

"How many times have you picked up a newspaper and read about terrorist attacks perpetrated not by Muslim terrorists, but by generic "militants" or "guerrillas" or "rebels" or, as Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes noted the Pakistan Times called them, "activists"?

Contrast the media whitewashing of our Islamofascist enemies with the press coverage of the Waco, Texas, siege in 1993 -- which constantly reminded us that David Koresh and his Branch Davidian followers were members of a "peculiar religious sect" (New York Times, March 3, 1993) and "a group of religious zealots with a known propensity for violence" (Washington Post, March 2, 1993) who were steeped in a "culture of Christian extremism" (San Francisco Chronicle, April 20, 1993)."

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Bush Democrats - "Zell's Angels"

Michael Novak wrote this wonderful column on how Zell Miller's speech appealed to fellow Democrats:

"Zell Miller took my breath away. He laid out bare the essential point of the last 35 years, ever since the call for surrender in Vietnam. John Kerry told the U.S. Senate that not more than 2000 or 3000 Vietnamese would have to flee from the democratic [i.e, Communist] forces leading the Vietnamese revolution. Hanoi and the Viet Cong were not our enemy, he said. We are the evil ones.

That was the exact point on which the great tradition of the Democratic party was destroyed from within. It was destroyed by leading Democrats of the left and by the educated class into whose hands the party's leadership increasingly fell. It became the new party of the rich and the movie-actor/professor/journalist axis, claiming to speak for the poor: the frauds."

Monday, September 06, 2004

Is the Democrat party the party of the little guy?

Karl Zinsmeister writes that the Republican party is no longer the party of "elites." That more accurately describes today's Democrat party.
As Daniel Henninger has noted, it is "becoming harder by the day to take the Democrats seriously as the party of the common man." The financial pillars for Democrats are now super-rich trial lawyers, Hollywood entertainment executives and megabuck financiers. Both parties have their fat cats, obviously, but Federal Election Commission data show that many of the very wealthiest political players are now in the Democratic column.

New ad about Kerry's V.V.A.W. participation

The Kerry team will have a hard time stopping THIS Vietnam Vet group from criticizing Kerry's anti-war activities:

"In a twist that's likely to confound critics, Sampley's group has rejected nonprofit status and is not operating as the kind of 527 group that both the Bush and Kerry campaigns have condemned."

For the full story, go here.

Dictators and terror kingpins show their support for France

"This outpouring of solidarity for a Western democracy from the black heart of Terror Central should tell us something: namely, the extent to which the policies of France placate the implacable foes of peace and freedom. Not even the kidnappings (and murders) of Arab nationals from Egypt and Lebanon in Iraq -- and certainly not similar crimes against Americans, Italians, South Koreans, Nepalese and others -- have inspired such concern. Then again, with friends like these, who needs security risks?"

Read more about the outpouring of solidarity for France from Hezbollah's Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, Palestinian Authority's Yasser Arafat, Moqtada al-Sadr and the Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?

One part of Zell Miller's speech that I missed completely when I heard it the other night, but which caught my attention when re-reading the speech was this:

""In the summer of 1940, I was an 8-year-old boy living in a remote little Appalachian valley. Our country was not yet at war, but even we children knew that there were some crazy men across the ocean who would kill us if they could.

President Roosevelt, in his speech that summer, told America "all private plans, all private lives, have been in a sense repealed by an overriding public danger."

In 1940, Wendell Wilkie was the Republican nominee.

And there is no better example of someone repealing their "private plans" than this good man. He gave Roosevelt the critical support he needed for a peacetime draft, an unpopular idea at the time.

And he made it clear that he would rather lose the election than make national security a partisan campaign issue. Shortly before Wilkie died, he told a friend that if he could write his own epitaph and had to choose between "here lies a president" or "here lies one who contributed to saving freedom," he would prefer the latter.

Where are such statesmen today? Where is the bipartisanship in this country when we need it most?"

I would like to know the answer to that question. Just where IS the bipartisanship when we need it most?

A pathetic record

Abdel Rahman al-Rashed writes that Islam is now a message of hate.
Bin Laden is a Muslim. The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim. What a pathetic record. What an abominable "achievement". Does all this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture? These images, when put together, or taken separately, are shameful and degrading. But let us start with putting an end to a history of denial. Let us acknowledge their reality, instead of denying them and seeking to justify them with sound and fury signifying nothing.