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Saturday, June 03, 2006

REVEREND AL: Gore, not Sharpton. Yes, he's back, the self-described "recovering politician from Tennessee. His experience as a Vanderbilt Law School dropout, you see, qualified him to condemn President Bush for breaking the law when, in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, the White House authorized wiretapping on international phone calls of terrorist suspects. Cheered by the Democratic Party's lefty base, and having rested up from that tough work of "creating the Internet," divinity school dropout Gore seems to have found his messianic calling with yet a new career leading revival meetings to spread the gospel of global warming. "The Resurrection of Al Gore," declares WIRED magazine. Thus young Al gets to stay in the public eye like dad wanted, but without having to run for president like dad dad wanted. Albert Gore, Sr., died in 1998, so boy Al is finally free. Screw the White House, I'm saving the planet. Gore gets a big audience for his big display of his big inner self, so compassionate, so committed, so caring. "The world is about to end unless you follow my lead," is New York magazine's take. Yeah, right. This is a guy who got D's in science at Harvard and F's in five of the eight classes he took at Vanderbilt Divinity. His book Earth in the Balance was replete with devastating factual errors that would make a C-average undergrad science student blush. Now Gore preposterously warns about a 45 foot sea level rise (humans to blame) that would require the melting of both the west Antarctic and the Greenland ice sheets in their entirety. What a pathetic joke. Dangerous, in the way that demagogues so often are.
THE LOSER KEEPS ON LOSING: "They gave me a hat," John Kerry says. "I have the hat to this day," he declares, rising to pull it from his briefcase. "I have the hat." Yes, but does John Kerry have a brain? The guy who has been running for president for three decades has apparently decided that the best way to build a case for a repeat candidacy in 2008 is to return the Swift Boat charges to center stage. This is kind of like Gary Hart returning to the dock of the Monkey Business, this time with his arm around his wife, assuring us how good their marriage is these days. Kind of like Mike Dukakis calling a news conference in 2006 to assure us there was good reason to put that helmet on his head tin 1988. If I were a hardcore GOP partisan I'd urge Kerry to keep pressing his claim — but that would go against my abiding conviction that a fight should be called when a boxer has sustained one too many blows to the head and starts doing t'ai chi in the ring while reciting Ulysses. Dear John Kerry: Shut up about the Swift Boat charges. Or be ready to relive them in endless detail.
SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Expect to hear a lot about it in the next ten days, what with Bush again endorsing the Federal Marriage Amendment. Proponents and opponents of FMA agree on one thing: we need a national approach to this issue. Let's allow same-sex marriage across the board, say supporters. No, let's enshrine marriage as between one man/one woman in the Constitution, opponents declare. What's actually happening in this country — on the ground — is that the states are figuring out this issue individually. Voters in 19 states have approved amendments to their state constitutions that affirm the traditional definition of marriage. This November, initiatives banning same-sex marriages are expected to be on the ballot in Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin. Supporters of same-sex marriage will press their claim that the FMA "would brand lesbian and gay men as legally inferior individuals." Same-sex marriage opponents will make sure that voters are aware of this month's issue of a national gay and lesbian newsmagazine with a cover story celebrating gay polygamy:
"We're as married as we could be," says one homosexual member of a San Diego trio, "we all have rings and have a day we celebrate [as] our anniversary."
If those become the two main sides of the debate, voters in those five states almost certainly will ban same-sex marriage. And more states will likely follow suit. For now FMA appears to be doomed, what with barely 50 senators supporting it. So as the debate continues about how to resolve the same-sex marriage conundrum, Americans will continue to resolve the issue in the states. The only real issue left is how polarized the politics of this issue will become. If activist judges continue overturning state bans, majority voters who support the bans will not be pleased, and that will only advance the cause of social conservatives in general. And so, even if FMA is defeated in coming weeks, efforts for a national solution to preserve traditional marriage will continue in future congresses. Wild card: At what point might the Supreme Court decide to step into the fray? And if they do, will the Scalia-Thomas conservatives carry the day in behalf of traditional marriage? Or will the Court work out a federalist solution by letting the states figure this out individually?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

THIRD WAY: Either you support the Bush administration's management of the Iraq war, or you favor the Kerry-Sheehan "apologize & come home yesterday" non-approach. For quite some time that's been the unstated de facto binary choice. Yet with each passing day the need for a third alternative becomes clear — one that realizes it was right to topple Saddam but America's post-toppling strategy has been at best wanting, at worst unspeakably negligent. With each passing day, the Vietnam analogy seems more apt. By this I mean not to join the left's criticism ("We should never have gone, it's not our business, we should have spent the money on free health care in the USA"). Instead I'm talking about the Bush administration's failure to use serious firepower in the early stages and their seeming lack of post-Saddam planning to win the peace. Count me perplexed as to how the U.S. can hope to achieve anything like genuine victory so long as we're conducting this middle-range military strategy of too little to succeed and just enough to keep egging on jihadists for whom the chance to die in warfare is literally the opportunity of a lifetime. Again, Shelby Steele's speculations ("Why this new minimalism in war?") merit serious attention. In a nutshell: I have no interest in giving aid and comfort to the left's unapologetic hopes for American failure ... but I am unable to express confidence that team Bush has a concrete plan for success in Iraq. "Stay the course" is a mantra that's wearing thin for this American who wants our fighting men and women to succeed. By winning.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

THEY'RE LISTENING: Republican members of the House are getting the message that, in the words of GOP moderate Christopher Shays,
"[i]t would be a huge mistake to give people a path to citizenship that came here illegally."
Key words: Connecticut (not a border state) and moderate (generally disposed to ignore conservatives). More and more House members are getting it, that the current Senate bill, like the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli immigration legislation, provides no effective enforcement mechanism. Both bills provide for de facto amnesty, and that is unacceptable. Now is the time for House members to hold fast and refuse to compromise America's security. When House members sit down with Senate conferees, they should simply ask this question: "What part of 'Rule of Law' do you people not understand?" And then, not to get dramatic or anything, House members should stand up and walk out of the room. It would be far better not to pass a bill this session than to pass the wrong bill. The Senate bill is substantively bad, and allowing it to become would almost certainly turn one or both houses of Congress over to the Democrats because conservative voters would take a walk in November. In the meantime, there's a fence to be built. This Memorial Day weekend, let us add our thanks to the Minutemen and other American patriots who, along with the dedicated and brave members of our armed forces, are defending and protecting the USA.