Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Bush and Reagan

Jonah Goldberg, reflecting on the President’s Democracy speech, connecting George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan:
"Ronald Reagan was a internationalist hawk who believed in the power of ideas. He was a pro-lifer. He was, well, Reagan. He was the first Republican President from the ranks of Goldwater conservatism. Back then, the Goldwaterites were still the insurgents and so he made a marriage of convenience with George H. W. Bush, the standard-bearer of classic blue blazer Republicanism, picking him as his VP. But it is now clear that Bush’s own son takes far more after his father’s old boss than he does his own father, at least politically speaking. From tax cuts (and deficits, alas), to his personal conviction on aborrtion, to aligning America with the historical tide of liberty in the world, George W. Bush has proved that he’s a Reaganite, not a "Bushie." He may not be a natural heir to Reagan, but that’s the point. The party is all Reaganite now. What better sign that this is now truly and totally the Gipper’s Party than the obvious conversion of George Bush’s own son?"
The Corner). Here is Ronald Reagan’s speech to the House of Commons in 1982, for those that want to compare it George W. Bush’s Democracy speech.

Louisiana race

Bobby Jindal (R) is beating Democrat Kathleen Blanco (D) in the governor’s race in Louisiana, according to the latest polls (48-43%). Also note that Pakistani Americans are lining up behind Blanco. It takes a while for old-world animosities to to be overcome, but in America they will be; the sooner the better. The question is Republican or Democrat, not Indian or Pakistani. Let them learn to leave old habits behind in old countries run by potentates instilling fear. Such fears have no home here.

Wars end, history doesn’t

Richard Bookhiser writes an essay showing, through dozens of examples, why when the fighting stops, history doesn’t. A good reminder of things that are and of things to come. 

End of the civil rights era

James Taranto claims that November 6th is the formal end of the civil rights era in American politics. He is worth quoting in full:

"Let history record Nov. 6, 2003, as the day on which the civil rights movement in America drew to a close. For that is the day the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the following sentence, in an article on the judicial nomination of Janice Rogers Brown:

’Prominent blacks charged President Bush deliberately chose a conservative black woman so it would be harder for senators to vote against her.’

Having long ago achieved the indisputably noble goal of ensuring that America lives up to the promise of equal justice under the law for all citizens regardless of race, the civil rights movement turned to the more dubious pursuit of "affirmative action." Now, however, they are complaining that blacks receive favorable treatment. Lamenting President Bush’s choice of a black woman, and senators’ discomfiture in voting against her, are leaders of such venerable civil-rights organizations as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the National Council of Negro Women.

The civil rights movement has a proud and grand history. Now that its leaders are reduced to carping over what used to be termed "reverse discrimination," it seems safe to say that the problems that necessitated the movement are history as well."

Economy , good news continues

I’ll end on an especially good note: the economy continues to push ahead, unemployment is down and new jobs have been added for the third straight month. The labor market at last is catching up with the broader recovery.

Hungarian and rock ’n’ roll

It turns out that USA Today has a longer story on the Hungarian ambassador’s love of rock ’n’ roll. It turns out he is currently interested in early Mississippi Delta blues, and especially in Robert Johnson. This guy can’t be all bad, Hungarian though he might be.

Bush on foreign policy

President Bush gave this talk at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy. This may be his most important foreign policy speech yet. There is much to notice in this speech, not the least of which is how he connects his major points, indeed his purpose, to that of Ronald Reagan. After all, it was under Reagan’s watch that the Democracy project was initiated, and Bush means to carry it through to the Middle East. This is not a two-year project; it will take ten times that long. He is doing nothing less than defining (re-defining, if you like) America’s foreign policy (it’s vision, if you insist!) after 9/11. This is not you run-of-the-mill speech and, clearly, all this merits some study and I’ll get to it next week. For now, I just wanted to put it out so you could note it and file it. In passing let me just say that it will be fun to note the foreign reactions to the speech as well as whether any Democratic candidate for president can possibly come up with anything resembling the comprehensive qualities of this speech and of our purpose. I doubt it; guess we’ll just hear more about multilateralism, but not much on the forward policy of freedom. Too bad.

The Art of War

Frederick Kagan warns us not to be overly concerned with military "efficiency." He warns that "The issues of transformation and military overstretch are inextricably linked." Thoughtful.  

Iraq as another Vietnam?

Mac Owens, who led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam, briefly considers why Iraq is not another Vietnam. Victor Davis Hanson’s article is especially powerful on the same, albeit a broader, issue of how to lose this war we are in: if we lose it will not be on the battlefield.  

Slick Willie

I guess it was about 30 years ago that the Arkansas-Gazette reporter, Paul Greenberg, coined the nickname ’Slick Willie’ to describe Bill Clinton.

If you haven’t had a good dose of
’Slick’ lately, please read this interview from the latest ’American Prospect’ . It is a remarkable tour de force. Bill Clinton is a brilliant sophist. He gives the demos-agogos a bad name. Sorry Publius, but thank goodness for the 22nd Amendment.

Here’s a sample of Slick Willie’s self admiration: "Well, first of all I think the Democrats ought to all pocket some of the gains I made. They ought to say, "We’re the party that gave you responsible welfare reform. We’re the party that gave you fiscal responsibility, low interest rates and high growth. And we’re the party that gave you the weapons systems and the training programs that won in Iraq and Afghanistan." The question is, what do we do now?
[The Republicans’] argument to their base is gonna be, "We kept our promises. We promised to cut taxes as much on wealthy people as we could, and we did it. We promised to weaken environmental controls, and we did it. We promised to weaken labor regulations and put less money into workers’ safety and more money into investigating unions. We promised to put right-wingers on the court, and we’ve done it every chance we got. We promised to get rid of Saddam Hussein, and we did it, and we promised to undo everything Bill Clinton did, and we did a lot of that."

Brace yourself, Hillary will probably be President in 2008.

Political Parties

FDR in Drag: Howard Dean the Metrosexual Confederate

Tunku Varadarajan reflects on the difficulties Howard Dean has in wearing his Metrosexual and his Confederate hats. No poor whites cheered when Dean described himself as a Metrosexual, and no Metrosexuals came to Dean's defense when he said he wanted good ol' boy Confederates to vote for him.

Kind of makes you admire FDR all the more.

Categories > Political Parties

More on Partial Birth Abortion Bans

While President Bush has signed legislation passed by Congress outlawing Partial Birth Abortion, the Governor of Michigan has vetoed legislation banning partial birth abortion in Michigan.

A former student of mine who is active in Michigan politics, forwarded this brief description of the differences between the legislation passed by the Michigan legislature and the legislation passed by the U.S. Congress:

"Question: The federal government passed a ban on partial birth abortions. Why do we need to pass legislation at the state level?

1. The federal and state approaches to banning partial birth abortions are very different. The federal legislation specifically bans an abortion procedure - namely dilation and extraction or partial birth abortion. The state legislation has the effect of banning partial birth abortions, but the active language of the bill does not even mention abortion. The state legislation simply defines when a person is legally born to be when any part of a child is outside of the mother’s body.
Once a person is legally born, that person is afforded all of the rights of legal personhood and therefore, taking the life of that person by any means would be illegal.

2. Having two very different conceptual approaches gives the pro-life community two opportunities to challenge the practice of partial birth abortion. The federal legislation will ask the courts if there is ever grounds for restricting abortion. The state legislation will ask if the states have the right to define when a child is legally born and legally a person. These are two very different questions.

3. Having two different court cases also means that the court challenges for these two bills will be on different timelines and potentially be heard by different Supreme Court Justices. The federal legislation will
more quickly get a hearing before the U.S. Supreme Court. It will take more time for the state legislation to work through the court system up to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is speculation that two or even three
Justices may retire during President Bush’s tenure. Perhaps by the time the state legislation is brought before the U.S. Supreme Court, some of the sitting Justices will have retired. If they are replaced by
pro-life Justices, the make-up of the Court could be very different and therefore, the decision could be very different.

4. The state legislation is more comprehensive. It does not prohibit only a specific procedure, but instead provides protection to a child once any part of the child is outside of its mother’s body. This bill bans any procedure performed once any part of the child is outside of the mother’s body. This legislation attempts to contain abortion to procedures performed in utero. A ban on a specific procedure such as the partial birth abortion procedure may only encourage abortionists to come up with a new way to kill a partially born child.

5. The state legislation challenges pro-abortion semantics. The pro-abortion side claims that a partially born child is not a person. This logic is used to support the idea that the dilation and extraction procedure is not infanticide. The state legislation challenges the status quo. Killing a partially born child is not abortion. This legislation makes infanticide of a partially born child what it should
be - a crime of murder."

Partial birth abortion ban

President Bush’s speech as he signed the law. And this is an op-ed on it by John Kass that I think is pretty good. That the federal courts have already moved to overturn the law should surprise no one. The arrogance of the courts continues apace, both agaist the will of the people and against the laws of nature and nature’s God. Some have already started arguing, as does this editorial from a San Francisco paper, that Bush is starting the abortion wars! Their arrogance is shocking. In this case we hope that right makes might. They will pay for it at the polls.

Music and Freedom

The Hungarian Ambassador has some thoughts on the relationship between music and freedom, according to this article in the Akron Beacon-Journal. Andras Simonyi, Hungary’s ambassador to the U.S., heard rock ’n’ roll when the communists still ruled the country and he knew that it represented freedom. Good story about the relationship and music and politics. He will speak at the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday night. By the way, the day with Ed Meese was terrific. What a good and smart man. It was great to see him again. We’ll have his speech up soon, in case you didn’t listen to it live.

Listen to Edwin Meese Today

Edwin Meese, U.S. Attorney General under President Reagan, will be on campus today for the Ashbrook Center. You can listen to him live around 12:30pm. He will speaking on the issue of homeland security. It should be well worth your time.

A pint of Guinness, please

Finally, some good news out of Britain.

Middle-aged men now have a good excuse to go to the pub with their mates - it is good for their brains.

Researchers say that social activities, such as evening classes, chess and even going to the pub can help maintain mental agility.

Can’t wait to get home from the pub and tell my wife the news.

Yesterday’s vote

The Christian Science Monitor runs an article trying to figure out what the GOP victories in the South may mean. Not deep thinking, but pretty reasonable. The short of it is this: it is good for the GOP, and portends ill for the Demos, both in the South and nationally. I’ll ruminate on all this in the next few days. Ed Meese is here tonight and tomorrow, so I will not blog any more until tomorrow evening. I look forward to seeing him. Which reminds me of a Reagan comment when he was running for Governor of Claifornia in 1965: "Government is like a baby--an alimentary canal with a big appetite at one end and no sense of responsibility at the other."

Let the litigation begin

Breaking news from Fox:

LINCOLN, Neb.— A federal judge blocked implementation of a federal ban on partial-birth abortions Wednesday less than an hour after President Bush signed the ban into law.

U.S. District Judge Richard Kopf (search) issued a temporary restraining order citing concerns that the law did not contain an exception for preserserving the health of the woman seeking the abortion.

K.C. Johnson’s Testimony

Thanks to Peter for calling my attention to Professor K.C. Johnson’s recent testimony before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee regarding bias in the historical profession against those who work in so-called "traditional" areas of history. Johnson, it will be recalled, very nearly lost a brutal tenure battle last year at Brooklyn College. What he has to say is chilling.

By the way, for anyone who might be tempted to frequent the History News Network(where Johnson’s testimony appears), just have a look at the comments on the Johnson piece to see the quality of discussion that goes on. Alas, with the exception of a handful of bright folks (both liberal and conservative) those who contribute to it are largely beneath notice.

Ohio’s Issue 1 rejected

Ohio voters denied (just barely, 50.95 NO, to 49.05 YES) Gov. Bob Taft the $500 million he wanted to help create new high-tech businesses and jobs for Ohio.
Here are the results by county.


Nope, I don’t mean the Republican state just South of us, I mean the music. Bill Croke writes a good article on bluegrass music, starting with the combination of gospel singing plus acoustic picking, and Bill and Charlie Monroe, et al. 

Cab’s Eye View

For those of you who missed it yesterday, freelance journalist Steven Vincent had a fine article in National Review on cabbies in Baghdad. There are several interesting anecdotes in the article, but here is a particularly good excerpt:

Over the tape-recorded sermons of a Shia cleric, my driver related how last spring he took his two children on a pilgrimage to the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf, something he couldn’t do under Saddam. "I was so happy, my family happy!" His comments began tumbling out one after another. First he criticized "Arab media — Al-Jazeera and Arabia TV. They only say bad things about U.S., only talk about bombs and killing Americans. Never about how things are growing in Iraq, getting better." Then he turned to the entire Arab world. "They fear Iraq will become a democracy, then every country will want to become democratic and the rulers will be in trouble-they only want people with one thought, one mind." . . .

By the time I reached my hotel, I had a Koran-sized lump in my throat. I peeled off a wad of dinars, but the cabbie refused to take the money. After I implored him to accept payment, he finally took the bills, slipped them in his shirt pocket, then took them out and handed them back to me. "You give me the money, now I give it back to you — a gift to my friend from America." Then, turning up the volume on the imam’s sermon, he gave me a big missing-toothed smile and drove off in a cloud of exhaust.

America could use a few more reporters like Vincent on the scene in Iraq. Do read the whole article.  

New weapons

Do you want to be able shoot around the corner? Take a look at this rifle. Very cool. And then there is this anti-rocket laser cannon that recently got funding.

20th hijaker known

USA Today is reporting that the FBUI knows who the twentieth hijaker was. "We are fairly confident we know who No. 20 is," said the official, who is involved in the 9/11 probe and asked not to be identified. The official said the unidentified al-Qaeda operative got into the USA but "had to leave" the country shortly before 19 hijackers carried out the attacks that killed more than 3,000 people. The official would not say why the operative left, whether he is alive or whether he is in U.S. custody.

Political Wrap

Haley Barbour will become the second Republican governor of Mississippi ever elected in that state. He won with 53% of the vote; the Democrat incumbent got 45% (with 95% of precincts reporting). Ernie Fletcher wins in Kentucky (55-45%) becoming the first Republican governor in 32 years. He won in the Northern counties by especially large margins. CNN focused on the Democratic "Rock the Vote" debate this morning, eventually getting around to this bit of political news. We should keep our eye on the Lousiana governor’s runoff on November 15th where
Bobby Jindal
, I predict, is likely to win. Oh, yes, and
will take the oath of office as California’ governor on November 17th. Al Sharpton will host Saturday Night live on December 6th. Be sure to watch it.

Mississippi governor’s race

Haley Barbour (R) is ahead 52-46%, with only 17% of the precicts reporting at 10p.m. I’m going to bed.

Fletcher (R) wins in Kentucky

Rep. Ernie Fletcher becomes the first Republican governor of Kentucky in 32 years.

The Constitution or international law?

Sandy Schultz attack the Supreme Court (and Sandra Day O’Connor) because "Increasingly, it seems, the Court is relying on international law and opinion as the basis for domestic legal decisions. For an institution that puts so much stock in precedence, this move is, well, unprecedented. Worse, it spells potential trouble down the road." I have already noted this tendency, and I deplore it. Schultz states at the very end of her article: "Two hundred thirty years ago, we fought a revolution so that Americans wouldn’t be governed from Europe. It’s high time the High Court was reminded of that bit of American history." Well said!  

You can count on salmon

The Investor’s Business Daily has this to say about the recent economic growth and Bush’s tax cuts:
You can count on a few things in this world. The swallows will return to Capistrano. Salmon will spawn. Canada’s geese will fly south for the winter. And tax cuts will create growth.
More from the piece is available here, as quoted in Inside Politics. 

I never know whether to laugh or cry

Much of Suzanne Fields’ op-ed in yesterday’s Washington Times will come as no surprise to many of us here. She’s documenting only the newest faces in a trendy crowd we’ve been watching now for years. But I usually find accounts of the politically correct campus curriculum entertaining, and hers is no exception.

A Fields sample:

Lest [the class, "Illicit Desires in Literature," ] give an edge to sordid, abnormal heterosexual love, the department offers "Fictions of Identity" for sexual victims of Western culture. The professor asks: "How can we reconcile psychoanalytic and postmodern conceptions of the fragmented subject with the urgency of identity politics for people of color, women, lesbians, and gay men?" As Elizabeth Barrett Browning might have said (before the professor put her to sleep): "Let me count the ways."

The hunger gene

From the BBC:

Scientists have discovered a gene which may increase the risk of obesity by encouraging people to overeat.

Of course, there are rumors that McDonalds may actually have created the gene, secretly infusing it into their all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce and cheese--but those are just rumors. Investigations to follow.


Here is a copy of the proposed Constitution for Afghanistan. It will be sent to the 500 member Grand Assembly for a vote in December. But note this bad news from yesterday’s London Independent (a left-wing paper): "The UN Security Council sent a high-ranking delegation to Afghanistan yesterday to bolster the country’s leader, Hamid Karzai, amid signs that his authority is steadily slipping to powerful warlords and warnings that an opium boom could turn Afghanistan into a failed state run by drug cartels."

Somalia and al Qaida

According to UN investigators, Somalia served as a training base, weapons supermarket and hideout for the Al Qaida cell that carried out last November’s twin attacks near Mombasa.

American to direct Yukos

Simon Kukes, an American citizen, as Director of the oild giant Yukos. Khodorkovsky, in jail, resigned Monday. Other Americans are also at senior levels.

CBS pulls Reagan miniseries

CBS has pulled the rabidly anti-Reagan mini-series and has licensed it to Showtime. It is aid that they lost $8 million over this fiasco. Gosh, what a shame! No doubt some large names (perhaps even Nancy) went to bat against CBS, but don’t think that the internet didn’t help. Some many thousands of people, knowing of the mischief so quickly, and then passing the word, must have had a great deal to do with it. This was one of those perfect manifestation of liberal arrogance gone over the deep end. But’ no doubt, the left will call this censorship and McCarthyism.

Our morale and their elections

Dvaid Brooks writes that "Iraqification" (getting the Iraqis to defend themselves)of the war is a long term strategy and for the the next six months the hard work is up to us; we have to defend them. It would be a mistake for the administration to imply anything else. The main challenge now is to preserve our national morale. And it is our responsibility not to walk away. Reuel Marc Gerecht touches on the same themes but also has some advice for the administration: establish the political process and elections in Iraq more quickly than they had thought possible. He thinks it can be done and it would have a very useful political effect.

Enough troops?

Edward Luttwak claims that there aren’t enough troops on the ground in Iraq: of the 133,000 only circa 56,000 are combat ready, the rest are support troops. The number of troops on patrol at any one time is around 28,000.

The cost of North Korea’s collapse

CNN reports that "A sudden and dramatic collapse of the North Korean state is just a matter of time and will place a huge financial burden on the neighboring South, one of the world’s leading credit ratings agencies has warned.

Speaking to reporters in Seoul Monday, John Chambers, managing director of sovereign ratings at Standard & Poor’s, said the inevitable economic collapse could cost South Korea up to 300 percent of its annual gross domestic product."

No Left Turns Mug Drawing Winners for October

Congratulations to this month’s winners of a No Left Turns mug! The winners are as follows:

Virgil Saari

Joe Knippenberg

Steve Brungs

Janice Johnston

Jennifer Towers

Thanks to all who entered. An email has been sent to the winners. If you are listed as a winner and did not receive an email, contact Ben Kunkel. If you didn’t win this month, enter November’s drawing.

Iraqi Intelligence files

It turns out Steve Coll has another interesting piece in today’s WaPo. "The CIA has seized an extensive cache of files from the former Iraqi Intelligence Service that is spurring U.S. investigations of weapons procurement networks and agents of influence who took money from the government of Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. officials familiar with the records.

The Iraqi files are ’almost as much as the Stasi files,’ said a senior U.S. official, referring to the vast archives of the former East German intelligence service seized after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989."

"They contain not only the names of nearly every Iraqi intelligence officer, but also the names of their paid foreign agents, written agent reports, evaluations of agent credentials, and documentary evidence of payments made to buy influence in the Arab world and elsewhere, the officials said." Needless to say, interesting and useful information is bound to be in these documents and, in time, we will know most of their contents. 

French treachery?

Steve Coll has a long article in the WaPo about the confusion in Iraq on the eve of the war and how Saddam thought he could survive. The first paragraph already indicates some very interesting information to be found in the rest of the article.

"Saddam Hussein refused to order a counterattack against U.S. troops when war erupted in March because he misjudged the initial ground thrust as a ruse and had been convinced earlier by Russian and French contacts that he could avoid or survive a land invasion, former Iraqi deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz has told interrogators, according to U.S. officials."

Here is another: "Aziz’s extensive interrogations -- eased by a U.S. decision to quietly remove his family from Iraq to safe exile in a country that American officials would not name -- paint Hussein on the eve of war as a distracted, distrustful despot who was confused, among other things, by his meetings with Russian and French intermediaries. Aziz said Hussein emerged from these diplomatic sessions -- some secret at the time -- convinced that he might yet avoid a war that would end his regime, despite ample evidence to the contrary."

And yet one more: "Aziz has told interrogators that French and Russian intermediaries repeatedly assured Hussein during late 2002 and early this year that they would block a U.S.-led war through delays and vetoes at the U.N. Security Council. Later, according to Aziz, Hussein concluded after private talks with French and Russian contacts that the United States would probably wage a long air war first, as it had done in previous conflicts. By hunkering down and putting up a stiff defense, he might buy enough time to win a cease-fire brokered by Paris and Moscow."

I am aware that Aziz is not necessarily trustworthy, and he may be making things up just to get on our good side, etc. Yet, these are interesting things, and the reporter seems pretty careful. This may be worth paying attention to. 

Bob Graham will not run for re-election

Sen. Bob Graham has already bowed out of the presidential race, now he has announced that he will not run for re-election to the Senate. "Graham’s decision not to run for re-election further complicates Democrats’ hopes to regain control of the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-48 majority, with one Democratic-leaning independent.

He would be the fourth Southern Democrat to retire at the end of his term, giving Republicans opportunities for strong gains in a region of the country where President Bush figures to run strongly in 2004. Three other southern Democrats have already announced they aren’t running for re-election: Sens. Zell Miller of Georgia, John Edwards of North Carolina and Ernest ’Fritz’ Hollings of South Carolina." Good news for the GOP.

Surfer and her faith

As you already know a young surfer had her arm bit off by a shark. Her name is Bethany Hamilton and she is 13 years old, and is, by all accounts a great surfer. She is recovering. I saw her two brothers interviewed this morning on NBC. They are two strapping boys, late teens or early twenties. Not especially well spoken, but clearly think highly of their sister. Matt Lauer asked how she was doing, etc. One of the brothers responded that she is doing well, is a very tough kid, and will be back surfing soon, he thought. Also, he said that he does not doubt that one of the causes of her ability to recover and keep going is that she believes in Christ. Matt Lauer ignored his remark, but the brother mentioned it again and said that she came by her faith honestly and naturally. It is hers and it is deep. Laeur continued to ignore the comment and was ill at ease. You want to bet that he wouldn’t have trouble having a converstaion with a Muslim about his faith?

Just another soldier, writing

Just Another Soldier is the blog of a soldier in Iraq. It makes for very good, both on the particulars of daily life and larger questions. Andrew Sullivan brought this to my attention, and I thank him. As Andrew says, this guy sure can write. Being a soldier in Iraq may be the start of some literary careers, I hope so. Enjoy.  

Zell Miller: In his own words

The Democratic Senator from Georgia, Zell Miller explains, in his own words, why he is voting for George W. Bush in 2004. He also explains why the current crop of Democratic candidates made that choice even easier for him.

The End of the West?

I like reading Thomas Friedman inThe New York Times and it’s not because he is deeply insightful or especially lucid. It is because he is--by and large--sensible, and always just two steps behind what he should have thought a year or so ago. He perfectly reflects intelligent liberal opinion (I stress intelligent). In this op-ed he claims that there really is a divergent interest between the Europeans (he means Old Europe, of course) and the U.S. It is, in short, the "end of the West" as we have known it. He had Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister explain it to him. Oh, well, better than not knowing. 

Campaign notes

David Broder and Dan Balz write a long story in the WaPo on how the nation is once again split on Bush. The latest poll shows his approval rating at 56%, yet the claim of the article is that we are back to the 50-50 division of 2000. While not persuasive, it is worth reading, in large measure because it reflects the elite media’s views of things. The New York Times notes that with the good economic news, the Democrats will have to re-calibrate their attack on Bush. Of course this means that for the next few months the question of jobs will take center stage, right behind the "quagmire" in Iraq. Wesley Clark accuses Bush of taking the United States into the Iraqi war under false pretenses. "It was a war that wasn’t necessary. It was a war that wasn’t planned well. It was a war that we fought without adequate forces on the ground. It was a war we fought without leveling with the American people about what was going to happen next." He is feeling his oats because he is now in the lead in South Carolina.
Howard Dean said: "I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks. We can’t beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats." This did not amuse
John Edwards. He called it "offensive." In the meantime Mark Steyn continues to amuse and inform as he reflects on the Demos strategy, as well as on the meaning of "metrosexual." And, finally, Pat Buchanan reflects on CBS’s assassination of Ronald Reagan’s character. He’s right, it’s an outrage and it will have political consequences.

Don Quixote

Apparently there is a new translation of Cervantes’ Don Quixote out. This review by Carlos Fuentes (whose judgments in the past have not been necessarily perfect, I should mention) ruminates on some interesting points, inlcuding whether or not Don Quixote is the first modern novel. Fuentes says yes "because of the different languages spoken in it," and "an encounter of genres and a refusal of purity." Well, I don’t know about that, but DQ is a good book and may be worth re-reading in this new form.

Quagmire talk

An American helicopter has been shot down in Iraq, and, at this count, at least 15 soldiers were killed, and 21 wounded. It was the deadliest single strike against American troops since the start of war. David Rieff has a long article in the Sunday New York Times Magazine, called "Blueprint for a Mess," in which he chastizes the Bush administration for making a bunch of wrong decisions about the war in Iraq. He focuses on the lack of postwar planning, the lack of putting emphasis on "nation-building," the lack of willingness to listen to the Department of State which had the whole thing nailed.

He claims: "And the more time passes, the clearer it becomes that what happened in the immediate aftermath of what the administration calls Operation Iraqi Freedom was a self-inflicted wound, a morass of our own making." Poor planning and wishful thinking are responsible "for the fact that it may be turning into a quagmire."

It is clear now that the Ramadan offensive will allow partisanship to shift into a higher gear. The blabber heard yesterday from the liberals will be turned into sagacious sounding warnings by the media, and this will continue to the end. And it will be especially monotonous and irksome. And no useful policy may come from it.
The opponents of the Bush administration and the opponents of the war will ever more loudly shout their warnings about being in a quagmire. What citizens need from the President now is to continue to show his character and that he is every inch a President. He should continue to act boldly and speak plainly, letting his and our courage mount with the occasion. And let Bush and his lieutenants continue to show that they know the disciplines of war. I do not doubt that in the end all will be well, or at least as well as life can be beneath Heaven. But I must say that maybe occasionally a good mouth-filling oath against our enemies and our domestic nay-sayers would be helpful.

Jack Ryan of Illinois

According to George Will if this Republican--Jack Ryan of Illinois--can’t make inroads among black voters, then it can’t be done. This is a great story about a man whose character and purposes seem unimpeachable. It is also a story about education, for this 41 year-old "left Goldman Sachs to become a teacher at Hales Franciscan High School in the heart of the huge black community on the South Side. In an area where some schools send more young men to prison than to college, Hales Franciscan has for six consecutive years sent all its graduates -- all black boys, most from homes poor enough to qualify for the school lunch program -- to colleges, including Notre Dame, Northwestern, Georgetown and the Naval Academy." He is a Republican running in the primary for the U.S. Senate in a Democratic state.