Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

New Year’s Greetings: Predictions?

A Happy New Year to all my friends at noleftturns, and a miserable one to all our enemies. Evidently there is an Evan Bayh for Veep boomlet, but he may not be pro-abortion enough for the feminists. Can he deliver normally reliable Republican Indiana for the Dems?

I think Gephardt would be more dangerous for Bush, leading the ticket or #2. And I think 52% seems too low a Bush margin, if Dean gets the nomination. A Dean-Clark ticket might flame out or, with the approriate set of circumstances, prove successful.

I proposed a winning Dean strategy a couple weeks ago on The Remedy at, though this could be the year of the Democratic Party crack-up. A presidential nominee has a lot of inducements to offer-- Secretary of State Clark, Secretary of Defense Lieberman (depending on the Connecticut situation), Attorney General Edwards, etc.

Steve Hayward gave some good arguments for Dean’s unstoppability a few weeks ago, but he still has to win an election outside of Vermont. A pile of money he has, but he shoots his mouth off a lot too.

Dean’s puny opponents may not offer a satisfactory alternative, but the accumulation of body blows they deliver against him may make him incapable of winning a majority of delegates. Of course, that’s not supposed to happen these days, but the Democrats designed the primary system to prevent such a result, so who knows what will actually happen. A brokered convention and united Democrat ticket?

Good News

An English woman had heart attack on a flight that, lucky for her, was full of heart specialists going to a conference in Florida. They saved her life. Brits will drink 130 million pints of beer tonight. I wonder how much the Germans will drink? Pennsylvania is considering a new official tourism slogan. They haven’t decided yet, but this one has been ruled out: "Pennsylvania: We’re old. We’re cranky. Deal with it." A man has been rescued after being trapped under reading material for two days in his apartment. A reclusive Russian may have solved a one hundred year old mathematical problem. A twenty-four year old man named Abraham Lincoln has been arrested on a robbery charge, after he allegedly confronted his ex-girlfriend, bit her on her thumb and ran off with her cell phone.

That reminds me a of real Lincoln story. One of Lincoln’s neighbors told how he went to his door one day to find out why kids in the steet were shouting so. He saw Lincoln walking past with two young boys in tow. "What’s the matter, Mr. Lincoln?” the neighbor asked. "The same thing that’s the matter with the whole world," Lincoln answered. "I have three walnuts, and each one of them wants two of them." That’s enough. I’ve got to get back to writing a review of Guelzo’s new book on the Emancipation Proclamation. Have a good New Year.

Cops on flights

Guardian reports on some interesting new details that may have something to do regarding the cancellation of the French flights on Christmas. The private company in charge of secuirty had apparently hired one convicted killer and a number of others with serious criminal records. It also makes clear that there have been marshalls on French flights to the US since December 23rd. There is more here on both what the French are doing and what other countries, including Mexico, are doing regarding cops on flights.

More Dean notes

Will Saletan has a thoughtful piece on what Dean is doing (he’s having fun at the expense of the Democratic Party) and why he had better stop. There are some good links along the way. Scott Lehigh in the Boston Globe considers the same problem: "Troubling as Dean’s regular stumbles are, what’s even more disconcerting is the battle the former Vermont governor seems to want to wage with a winning Democratic philosophy." The winning philosophy is and has been represented by the Democratic Leadership Council and Clinton’s attempt to govern from the middle. There will be a cost to disowning what’s left of the moderates within the Democrats. Maybe David E. Johnson goes to far in suggesting that a Dean candidacy will help nail down the illusive permanent GOP majority, but, again, maybe not. Robert Samuelson writes that the so-called Bush hatred that underlies much of Dean’s support is dangerous for many reasons, but, perhaps most of all because it reveals something about his opponents:

"His fiercest detractors don’t loathe him merely because they think he’s mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic. What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he’s exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it’s a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority -- something that makes them feel better about themselves." In the meantime, Dean has "hosted" 1,300 "house parties" all around the country. But Bill Safire thinks that Dean will lose Iowa to Gephardt. Wouldn’t that be fun! I’m not predicting that yet, but it is by no means out of the question. Take a look at Safire’s other predictions, kind of fun.

The Idiot Left in Action: Back to "Amerika"

The so-called "New" Left in the 1960s liked to spell America with a K, as in "Amerika." Very clever.

Well, see what something called the Independent Media Center has done with the Time magazine cover of America’s soldiers.

Anyone wanna bet these folks are Dean supporters? I may wander by their office next week and look for the Dean and Kucinich stickers.

Kerry’s problems continue

John Kerry’s Psycho Chihuahua moment. Look at the whole photo, and not just of this photogenic candidate. That’s enough, I’ve got to get back to Lincoln, fewer bad photos of an unphotogenic man.

The glory of flight

I just caught up with this Walter McDougall reflections on man’s romance with flight. It was written in celebration of the anniversary of the Wright brothers’ triumph.

Hobbit’s hope

Rich Lowry on The Lord of the Rings: "The story’s hobbits are meant to be like us, middle class and unprepossessing. At four-feet tall or less, they seemingly stand no chance in a hostile world of wizards and monsters. But they soldier on and, in remaining true to their duty, help save the world. For all their weakness and failings, they are part of something larger that infuses their struggles with purpose. This is what we all want to believe of our own lives, and when we do, we have hope."


Peter asks for predictions. Try these:

The economy will continue to grow fast--4.5 to 5.5 percent over the next two quarters. The Dow Jones Industrial Average will top 12,000 before the year is out. Unemployment will drop below 6 percent by election day in November.

Geragos goes 0 - 2. Both Michael Jackson and Scott Peterson will be convicted. In Jackson’s case, after a long circus-like trial where O.J. will make a cable TV talk show appearance commenting on the case. Geragos will get a show on MSNBC after the trials. It will be cancelled after three weeks.

The terror network will attempt to destabilize Egypt and Jordan, including probably an assassination attempt on Mubarak.

The Olympic games in Athens will see an attempted terrorist truck bomb, probably directed at Israeli and US athletes, emulating the 1972 Munich attack.

North Korea will resume negotiations over their nuclear program in a conciliatory mood, but won’t make any real concessions until after the election, waiting to see if Bush is re-elected.

Barbara Streisand will make a big stink about being denied a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention.

Campaign spending will set a record, with independent expenditures by left-leaning 527 committees exceeding spending by Democratic candidates and official Democratic party committees. The invincibly ignorant will declare that campaign finance reform has failed; therefore, we need even more reform!

Howard Dean will wrap up the nomination by the end of March, after a boomlet for Gephardt and/or Clark fails in the South Carolina primary.

The media will float rumors about Dick Cheney’s health, mostly to cause trouble in the GOP. Look also for an attempt to manufacture a scandal involving Karl Rove, in an effort to distract the White House.

There will be a running mate boomlet in the early summer for California’s Dianne Feinstein and Washington Governor Gary Locke, partly to keep up interest heading into the Boston convention. In the end, however, Dean will pick either Evan Bayh or New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson as his running mate. I lean to Richardson. He is a person to watch for 2008 in any case. Here’s why: The conventional wisdom is that only a southern Democrat can win the presidency any more (think Carter and Clinton). But there aren’t any southern Democrats of stature left. The next most likely winner for the Democrats will come from the inter-mountain west, where Dems are nearly as weak as thay are in the South. The Dem bench in the west is almost as thin as the South. Richardson is the most plausible; as a Hispanic with an Anglo name, he offers major cross-over potential. He creates a rival to Hillary for 2008 should Dean lose. As a former UN ambassador, he gives Dean some foreign policy help.

Last but not least, the Big One: Bush will be re-elected with 52 percent of the vote. Though thin, it will be a widely distributed majority, making for an electoral college landslide for Bush. Dean will carry New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington, Wisconsin, and one or two more. Bonus prediction: Dean will lose his home state of Vermont. Republicans will gain 8 seats in the House, and 3 in the Senate.

Howard Dean’s power play

It shouldn’t surprise you that I find the primary battle among Democrats especially fascinating during this cycle. It also shouldn’t surprise you that even though I sometimes pontificate on it all, I don’t really know what is going on. But I’m trying to understand. I am. A couple of thoughts. Clinton moves the party back towards the center, becoming the first Demo president to be re-elected since FDR. Quite an accomplishment, albeit marred by scandal (but that’s another story). His VP, also instrumental in moving the party back toward the center, loses the election in a close one; no one has been elected president while losing his home state. The Demos come to especially hate Bush, and unnaturally stay focused on the close outcome in Florida. September 11 happens, everything is affected. But the Demos don’t see this as a monumental event. They lose ground in 2002. Gore shifts left, and others do the same (not yet Lieberman and Gephardt) especially after the Iraq war. The economy is made into an issue, and then dropped over time because it proved ineffective. The emphasis on the Iraq gambit forces them into harping criticisms from WMD issues to multilateralism, all the while trying to de-authorize Bush who is now turned into a knave and a liar. Howard Dean is like a lazer-beam on these matters, and no one else gets traction. Wesley Clark becomes the great hope, surrounded by Clintonistas, but he quickly stumbles many times. All the while Hillary dominates the polls, but will not run and everyone knows that she is setting up for 2008. What energy remains in the party goes toward Dean. He prospers--despite his misstatements and and missteps--and all the others stumble. It is now said that no one can stop this angry man. And he now says that if the nomination is taken from him, he will make the Democratic Party pay. What this means is that there is no Democratic Party. Dean is right, he is in the process of creating a new one, and, should he fail, then Hillary will create one in her own image: moderate, thoughtful, and, shimmering with a celebrity-like quality. And, it so happens, she is married to a rock star who, at every appearance, can raise ten times the amount of money that Howard Dean can. So, as a Republican, I don’t worry about 2004, but I am concerned with 2008. In the meantime, I observe the crippling of the oldest political party in the U.S. If Dean becomes the nomineee he will lose by fifteen points and the Demos will lose at least five seats in the Senate and somewhere between five and ten seats in the House. Even Hillary will have a tough time rebuilding that shell that used to be called a great political party.

Bush and Dean and their souls

David Brooks’ op-ed in today’s New York Times deserves a read. It is essentially true and artful. If you only had 800 words to try to say something intelligent about how Americans view their religious faith, this may be the best way of doing it. This is not to say that more can’t be said on the subject, of course. Take this from Brooks: "This tendency to emphasize personal growth over any fixed creed has shaped our cultural and political life. First, it’s meant that Americans are reasonably tolerant, generally believing that all people of good will are basically on the same side. In London recently, President Bush said that Christians and Muslims both pray to the same God. That was theologically controversial, but it was faithful to the national creed." You could reverse the first sentence to explain how religion has been effected by the political creed of natural rights and natural right, the American Proposition. Religious freedom has meant--in part--a kind of enforced moderation on those sects (Catholic, Mormon, just to cite two) that were inclined to misunderstand or not fully understand equality under God. And it has meant that a never-ending conversation take place between individuals who are free and rational beings made in the image of God and who are concerned about the well-being of their souls. Hence Bush and Dean, as Brooks claims, "If they met in a Bible study group and talked about their eternal souls, they’d probably embrace."

Overseas terror notes

Over fifty people have been arrested by intelligence agencies in the wake of latest attack on President Pervez Musharraf besides shifting security of the General in the hands of the Pakistan Army. Some were from Afghanistan. The Philipines has arrested and interrogated two American brothers, one of whom is on a U.S. watchlist for active links to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network, intelligence and immigration officials said on Monday. Saudi officials are being targeted by al Qaeda, according to The New York Times. The BBC reports that all this is making the Saudis very nervous. The L.A. Times reports this little tid-bit: "A Syrian trading company with close ties to the ruling regime smuggled weapons and military hardware to Saddam Hussein between 2000 and 2003, helping Syria become the main channel for illicit arms transfers to Iraq despite a stringent U.N. embargo, documents recovered in Iraq show." Shock and surprise! We are establishing a connection between terrorists and drugs. Peter Brooks says that we nabbed six Arabs with suspected al Qaeda links were arrested in Syria carrying $23 million in cash. That’s a lot of pocket change. Five suspects are being held in connection with the deadly spree of attacks in Karbala, a spokesman for the coalition’s multinational forces in this southern Iraqi city said.

"We have captured five people and the investigation is ongoing," said Major Dezso Kiss, a Hungarian attached to the Polish-led multinational division of the US-commanded coalition in Iraq.

Mad cow

The USDA is standing by its detection system. Sandy Szwarc maintains that the risk from all this is next to zero, and there should be no panic. Quite detailed and clear. Scott C. Ratzan also cautions against hysteria.

A small gift?

We are coming to the end of the year. This is a good time for y’all to consider being generous. We love putting out No Left Turns, but it does cost something, aside from my time, which isn’t worth much even on a good day. So if you have some spare change in your poke, go here. Show good will that is great, though the gift be small. Thanks.

Poland and Israel

and Israel signed a deal worth some $350 million over the next 10 years to provide the Polish army with some 2,700 state-of-the-art Israeli anti-tank missiles. The missiles will be produced in Poland.

Saudi paradox

Michael Scott Doran of Princeton writes a lengthy piece on Saudi Arabia and their internal politics and contradictions. Sort of non-commital analysis, but full of interesting information. Very long. Note that a car bomb has just exploded East of Riyadh.

Dirty words on TV

James McWhorter is one of the smarter guys writing about the decline in the culture (and language), and although he regrets the decline, he understands that most of it is irreversible. Language reflects who we are. Hold on to your hats!

Demo notes

Dean maintains his lead in New Hampshire, with Kerry second and Clark third. Meanwhile, a new ad for Wesley Clark features Bill Clinton for the first time. The Clintons will not favor Clark publicly, especially when it does not look like he is going to be able to win. That Dean will take a drubbing from Bush is not that disadvantageous to Hillary for 2008; she will be able to argue--with greater ease than if Clark just barely lost--that the party has to be pulled back to the center and she is the one to do it. George Will explains that while Dean doesn’t look good for the Demos, they had better make him the nominee or else he might go the third-paty route.

Our Iraqi plans tempered

Washington Post story (Sunday) claims that the insurgency movement has forced us to modify our plans for post-war Iraq.

Stretching the Meaning of War?

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, writes a lengthy critique of our war against terror, which he even calls "metaphorical." I bring this article to your attention not because it is great or persuasive (it is neither) but because it looks like the best that the establishment Left can do (hence it is published in Foreign Affairs, the establishment journal). Phil Carter does a good job in questioning some of Roth’s assumptions and arguments.

Bernard Lewis on the war

Bernard Lewis uses the capture of Saddam to reflect on the war against terror, and what is at stake. 

We are not Poles apart

Tom Friedman has a good piece on the Poles and their amazing (but to me not surprising) pro-Americanism. The cultivation of Poland as an ally (and other New European counries) is very important to us. It not only gives us a better in to all of Europe, but also makes sure that the New Europeans will add a saner voices to the Eroupean Union, when they become full members.