Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns


Terrence Moore, continuing his "Pricipal’s Perspective," has some suggestions regarding grammar. And you should know--just so you don’t bombard me with too many e-mails when I write ungrammatically--I am also trying to pay attention to him!


Secret Service got a bit confused about which Springfield President Bush wanted to visit this coming Monday; the one in Missouri, not the one in Illinois. They finally got it right. I can just see that happening with Ashland, should he ever decide to visit here, since there are Ashlands from Kentucky to Oregon. Police sue man in New Hampshire; he calls them too much. Egyptian authorities have charged two men with endangering public health, saying they sold dog meat to the public in the days leading up a Muslim feast. The U.S. State Department has banned "Courier New 12" typeface, and from now on will use "Times New Roman 14." This applies to all diplomatic notes, and will offer "a crisper, cleaner, more modern look." I bet this went through a couple of committees before becoming policy. A German who trained

Nazi dog barely escapes prison. Almost two-thirds of a

Canadian unit headed for Afghanistan tested positive for drugs. They’re not going. A poll reveals that only

fifteen percent

of Canadians would vote for Bush.

House of Commons rules

The BBC lists some things you can’t do while in Parliament: no hands in pockets, no military medals may be worn, and so on. But I found this interesting and most politically relevant: "Finally, members must not die on the premises! This is because the Palace of Westminster is a royal palace where commoners may not die. Any deaths on the premises are said to have taken place at St. Thomas’ Hospital - the nearest hospital to the palace."

Soccer and politics

Soccer and politics. "The Mexican crowd hooted ’The Star-Spangled Banner.’ It booed U.S. goals. It chanted ’Osama! Osama! Osama!’ as U.S. players left the field with a 2-0 victory.

And that was in a game against Canada on Thursday before just 1,500 people.

A game Tuesday in neighboring Guadalajara will determine whether the U.S. under-23 soccer team heads to the Athens Games." Obviously, this is not a good sign. But we should expect this kind of thing, and be as magnanimous as possible about it, while we try to win every game we are assigned. Remember this great piece that the great soccer fan Henry Kissinger wrote, "World Cup According to Character"?

Congressional GOP

The Washington Times reports on the Congressional Republicans hard-nosed opposition to Bush’s immigration plan and lack of fiscal discipline at their retreat. Apparently, Karl Rove was hit hard.Lance Izumi has a modest suggestion for President Bush: read Hayek to learn the connection between freedom and fiscal policy.

Imminent threat issue

Spinsanity has a few good paragraphs on the "imminent threat" misquote by the press and how it is hardening into fact, to be used against Bush. All the links are very useful, keep thme at hand because this will remain as an issue, Bush’s opponents will not let it die; the Hell with the facts.

Demos and gun control

John Lott & Grover Norquist explain why gun control is still a loaded issue for Democrats, despite their attempts to turn away from their standard anti-gun position. Lott points out that they are deeply interested in this issue because it is widely thought that Gore lost in 2000 because he was seen as the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment candidate.


Gerard Baker, of the Financial Times, writes a good article on the debacle at BBC and the Sutton inquiry. I am not optomistic that all this will have the kind of consequences that it should: the Left media elites are hard to oust from their self-righteous pulpit. But it may be a start.

"Miracle", or Something Else?

"Miracle" opens in theaters this week, about the improbable victory of the U.S. Olympic hockey team over the Evil Empi. . ., I mean, the Soviet Union back in 1980. It was compared at the time to a high school team beating the Pittsburgh Steelers in football.

Now of course that would never happen. So how did this "Miracle" happen? Those of us who were students of Harold Rood at Claremont have an obvious explanation: The Soviets lost on purpose! Why? Remember, on the eve of the Lake Placid Olympics, Jimmy Carter was working hard to organize a boycott of the summer Olympics in Moscow because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. There was strong opposition (from Ronald Reagan on the campaign trail among others). The Soviets were in a panic about the proposed boycott, especially if other nations followed the U.S. (which several did). An American hockey victory in Lake Placid would cause Americans to have second thoughts about passing up the chance to smack the Ruskies around in Moscow, and support for Carter’s boycott might collapse. So perhaps the KGB sends out word: Lose to these guys. It may save the summer Olympics.

If this sounds far-fetched, consider a similar case: In 1984 I went sailing in Australia with an Australian who did a lot of yacht racing, and he made out the case that Dennis Conner had deliberately lost the America’s Cup race to the Australians in 1983--the first time the Cup had been lost in 125 years. The theory was that the cup would always stay in the New York Yacht Club as long as the American "defender" won, but Dennis Conner was from San Diego, and the only way to get the Cup to San Diego was the lose it first.

Well, two years later, Dennis Conner won the Cup back in the waters off Perth, and the Cup went to . . . San Diego. Worth thinking about.

But go see the movie anyway.

Reagan’s birthday

As has been mentioned that today is President Reagan’s birthday. I wish this fine man all that is good and all that he merits, and they may be one and the same. I also want to thank his tremendous wife. She has always stood by him, does so now, and will until the end. May the Good Lord shed His many blessings on them both. I have always loved his

Pointe du Hoc speech. You will be grateful and you will weep.

Favoring marriage

Tom Krannawitter has a good essay at The Remedy on marriage. He supports Governor Mitt Romney’s article "One Man, One Woman: A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Marriage," and adds value to the argument. Both are must reading. We should not be dispireted by the fact that we have to come to the defense of marriage. This is an opportunity for those who think clearly to help form public opinion on this issue. The good news is that public opinion is on the side of right. The bad news is that public opinion will be besieged and attacked and we have to get to the common sense of the subject and defend this good and necessary institution. Tom is right when he says that
"Marriage is among the oldest institutions of human civilization, and most Americans understand that perverting its basic meaning carries grave consequences." So let’s stay on this and help.

Kerry’s Vote

John Kerry was one of 14 votes in the U.S. Senate against the Defense of Marriage Act when it passed during the Clinton Adminstration. Following the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s ruling this week, that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right, Kerry seems to be running from his earlier vote. Kerry said yesterday: "Look, I support equal rights and the right of people to have civil-union, equal-partnership rights," Kerry said. "I don’t support (gay) marriage. I never have. That’s my position. It’s always been that way."


In this short review of the documentary "The Fog of War", Robert McNamara has some interesting and self-serving things to say not only about Vietnam, but also about Iraq.

He is "utterly disgusted" by the American war in Iraq: "It’s just wrong what we’re doing ... if we can’t persuade other nations with comparable values and comparable interests of the merit of our course, we should reconsider that course, and very likely change it." Ken Masugi has more.

Happy Birthday, Gipper!

Today is Ronald Reagan’s 93rd birthday. Thanks, Ronnie.

Bush is Smarter

Here’s another article on how smart George W. Bush is. Michael Segal argues in that W is smarter than the intellectuals who disdain him.

George Tenet’s speech

Here is the transcript of George Tenet’s talk at Georgetown on the WMD issue in Iraq. This is the Washington Post story on it. I’ll study all this tonight.

Constitutional convention

Looking for the best site on the Constitutional Convention? You found it. Great introduction, day by day events, maps, Madison’s notes. It’s all there. Pass it on.

Kerry’s band of brothers

John Kerry is polling at 56% in Michigan, with Dean at 9% and Edwards at 7%. This substantial lead and the general genuflection toward Kerry as the Democratic nominee, combined with his continual reminders that he is a part of a "band of brothers" crafted by their Vietnam experience should begin to focus our minds on who John Kerry is, what he has done, and what his purposes have been, and whether or not hey have chnaged over time. This examination will not be necessarily in Kerry’s interest, I’ll wager. As the Democratic primary campaign crawls on and ends up handing the nomination to Kerry, a couple of things have become clear.

First, striking though it may seem, his nomination may be made possible because the Democrats (at least unconsciously) realize that their party has to show its serious side regarding national security. They don’t like to admit it, but we are in a war. Kerry was in Vietnam and served honorably. Many have stated over the years that the Democrat Bill Clinton got elected and re-elected (the first Demo to do so since FDR) only because the Cold War was over, and the voters’ mistrust of Demos on foreign policy over the previous decades could be placed in a jar. That is why Christopher Hitchins (not exactly a conservative) could say of the Clinton presidency, "It was a brief sexual interlude between two Bushes." Crude, but revealing. Now things are serious and they need someone with some military credentials who will have some authority to attack Bush’s foreign policy and the way he wages war. It was going to be Clark, but it turns out to be Kerry. Oddly, the Democrats now think that Bush can be attacked as, well, a kind of draft dodger, because he only served in the National Guard.

Second, because Kerry is the choice. Vietnam will be rewound and re-played.
Kerry is a Vietnam vet who, immediately returning to the U.S., became an anti-war spokesman. He wasn’t attacking only American policy in Vietnam, however, his was a full blown attack on the barbaric and uncivilized U.S. military, and by extension, America itself. As William F. Buckley notes in a speech on John Kerry he delivered at West Point in 1971 (that’s right, 1971), that Kerry talked about Vietnam as the place and symbol "Where America finally turned." Buckley reflects on the meaning of "turned." This is not to Kerry’s advantage, and it will be replayed many times during this campaign year, even though he will try to re-interpret it and change its meaning. Kerry will fail. The "band of brothers" he claims to represent is not the band of brothers we hear in Henry V where the king inspires his men--"we happy few"--to sacrifice and risk on behalf of victory against a foe that greatly outnumbers them, but rather a band of brothers that is defined by a kind of shared misery in the fight without understanding why they fought. And that is the crux of the matter and this will be revealed over time, and the real band of brothers will have something to say about this during the campaign, but for now they are allowing Kerry to slowly dig his own political grave. See, Mac Owens--a member of the real band of brothers--on this theme.

So, by the end of the campaign we will re-live Vietnam and its meaning--as we did not do when Bill Clinton was running and acting the president--because, well, he only dodged the draft during Vietnam and ran against, and defeated, a hero from World War II, but it didn’t matter because nothing important was going to happen under his watch. Things are different now, large things are happening in the world, both the preservation of freedom and honor are at stake, and the story that the good man will end up teaching his sons, will not be the story that John Kerry will want to hear. Yet, it will be told, and our brothers will tell it. Their names and their cause is what will be remembered, not John Kerry’s assault on America.

Nationalities at Guantanamo

UPI reveals the nationalities of those held at Gitmo. It turns out that 160 out of the 650 are from Saudi Arabia, 85 from Yemen, 82 from Pakistan, and 80 from Afghanistan.

The Shiites

David Rieff writes a long article on the Shiites for the New York Times Magazine. It is a good read, full of interesting background and information. Someone, at some point, will have to respond to the cleric Sistani when he says that "If one man one vote is good enough for the Americans, why isn’t it good enough for the Iraqis," by telling him the truth: It isn’t good enough for us, never has been; explain the architecture of the Constitution, separation of powers, federalism, representation, and so on. This will be interesting. I remind you that Robert Alt will be in Iraq by the end of the month and he will be sending back regular dispatches. More detail later.

My Worst Nightmare

My worst nightmare is that a Democrat beats President Bush in November. (About some things I don’t even dream, see previous blog.)

I mentioned last night, and a couple of people commented on it, that my worst nightmare would be if John Edwards won both the South Carolina and Oklahoma primaries. I’m glad that Clark appears to have eked out a victory in Oklahoma.

I believe that Edwards is the only Democrat in the field who could beat Bush in November. I don’t think Kerry can beat ’W’. Edwards might. He is a relatively unknown Southerner who can and would sell himself as a new Democrat a la Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, the only Democrats elected President in the last 30 years. He is cute, smart, slick (without anything to hide it seems), and he comes complete with a ’I’m just a poor boy who made and does good story.’

Couple him with Evan Bayh or some Democrat from the Mid-West or even Hilary, I have nightmares.

I don’t think it likely that he can derail John Kerry and I don’t think he would help Kerry much in the South and probably not even North Carolina as a VP candidate. So I don’t fear him as a VP candidate only at the top of the ticket.

Same Sex Marriage

The Massachusetts Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage is a Constitutional right.

W’s MBA at Harvard

James Lifson , a Harvard classmate of President Bush, writes a nice article about the difficulty of Harvard’s MBA program and the likely lessons ’W’ and the other MBAs learned there.

Interesting. I picked this up at a nice, new, blog called ’The American Thinker.’

Did Musharraf know?

"The disgraced founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme has informed investigators that he supplied rogue states with nuclear technology with the full knowledge of the country’s ruling military elite, including President Pervez Musharraf, a friend of the nuclear scientist was reported as saying yesterday," reports the London Guardian. This will not shock anyone, yet it cannot be proven, or, in the end, much talked about. Abdul Khan will have to deny it.

No bets!

Some gentle readers are waiting for me to predict and even bet. I have declined both opportunities in this round, sorry. But I will say this repetitious thing: Kerry has it in the bag and Edwards has proven that he can push on and maybe even make Kerry worried a bit. It is even remotely possible that--should Kerry fall apart a la Howard Dean--Edwards would be there to replace him. But this is not likely. So Edwards will have done well for himself by his good-humored doggedness, and he will be rewarded, eventually. There is no doubt that Lieberman has come to the end, and perhaps also Clark. Dean will give it one more week or so, and then throw in the towel. Sharpton will have gotten himself a prime-time speaking slot at the Democratic convention, which I think shameful. This man should not be the voice of black Americans. I have a seminar tonight, we begin to tackle Booker T. Washington. I’ll check in a bit after 9 p.m.

Early Exit Poll #s

Here are some early exit poll numbers from today’s primaries. Thanks to ’The Corner’ at NRO.

According to sources, the early exit polls in most of the states are in, and they look like:

AZ Kerry 46, Clark 24, Dean 13.

MO Kerry 52, Edwards 23, Dean 10

SC Edwards 44, Kerry 30, Sharpton 10

OK Edwards 31, Kerry 29, Clark 28

DE Kerry 47, Dean 14, Lieberman 11, Edwards 11

If these #s hold up, it is huge for Edwards, my worst nightmare.

Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation

Islam on line has an interesting background piece on this issue. Note the not-too-subtle warning that Khan better not be prosecuted or he’ll spill the beans about government involvement. No pun intended, but this isn’t rocket science.

Al-Mada article translated

Here is the MEMRI translation (also see footnotes for denials) of the Iraqi newspaper article listing names of individuals and organizations receiving oil vouchers from Iraq.

Ricin in DC

Here is the AP story on the Ricin found in Frist’s mail room which has led to three buildings being closed. CDC’s page on Ricin.

Review intelligence

David Brooks has some insightful and thoughtful things about the CIA. His description of the problem as a kind of false "scientific objectivity" is probably more true than people are willing to admit. The CIA is not the National Weather Service of global affairs. The stablishment of a presidential intelligence review commission is an opportunity to fundamantally rethink intelligence. I agree. Richard L. Russell thinks that the Iraq intelligence problem can be placed at the door of the Directorate of Operations (DO), and it should be investigated and restructured.

John Keegan on intelligence

John Keegan thinks clearly about the use of intelligence in war in the London Telegraph. Although referencing the Blair issue, it applies everywhere. A couple of good paragraphs:

"An even more striking example of disagreements, bearing directly on the current Iraq controversy, was over intelligence of German secret weapons. A strange leak, the Oslo report, had warned the British in 1940 that Hitler was developing pilotless aircraft and rockets. It was ignored until, in 1943, reports from inside occupied Europe referred to the subject again."

"A committee was set up, chaired by Duncan Sandys, Winston Churchill’s son-in-law. Its findings were reviewed by another committee, of which Lord Cherwell, Churchill’s scientific adviser, was the most important member. Cherwell absolutely denied the possibility of Germany having a rocket, and produced the scientific evidence to prove it. He persisted in his denial throughout 1943 until June 1944, when remains of a crashed V2 were brought to Britain from neutral Sweden. Shortly afterwards, the first operational V2 landed on London. Churchill was furious. ’We’ve been caught napping,’ he burst out in Cabinet."

"Worse than napping. More than 1,500 V2s landed on London, killing thousands, at a time when Hitler was also trying to develop a nuclear warhead. The whole pilotless weapons episode demonstrates that, even under threat of a supreme national crisis, and in the face of copious and convincing warnings, intelligence officers can disagree completely about the facts and some can be 100 per cent wrong."

Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope

I’ve had a rough day in and out of the office, running about, etc. Came back to the office late afternoon to find that my banal snail-mail had arrived but, mirabile visu, a fine book had also arrived: Lucas Morel’s, Ralph Ellison and the Raft of Hope: A Political Companion to Invisible Man. Lucas edited the book and wrote two of the chapters; other authors include, Danielle Allen, James Seaton, Thomas Engeman, and John F. Callahan. Great stuff. Thanks, Lucas.

Student survey

USA Today reports on the latest UCLA’s The American Freshman annual student survey. Political interest is up, more students call themselves conservative than ever, etc. But the most meaningful fact is this: "The percentage saying it’s important to develop ’a meaningful philosophy of life’ has dropped by more than half, from 86% in 1967 to 39% in 2003." Bravo!
The American Thinker has some good comments on all of this.

Saddam’s cash

Stephen F. Hayes has more on "Saddam’s cash" in The Weekly Standard. Messy stuff already and more is bound to come out and be confirmed over time.

Blair and Bush for Nobel

Both Bush and Blair have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. I’ll bet they don’t get it.

Biotechnology and the pursuit of happiness

Note Lucas’ reference to Leon Kass’ article below led me to remind you that Kass’ report (as Chairman The President’s Council on Bioethics) of last year is available on line (about 400 pages), Beyond Therapy: Biotechnology and the Pursuit of Happiness. It is not unrelated to matters Lucas mentions. Take a look at the table of contents.

Leon Kass on the Ignobility of Steroids

Leon Kass, chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, and Eric Cohen, editor in chief of the New Atlantis journal, have written a stimulating and edifying op-ed on the relationship between athletic excellence and human excellence. "The Price of Winning at Any Cost" in Sunday’s Washington Post argues against the use of performance enhancing drugs in professional sports, ending with this startling claim:

We would become a society of spectators, and our activities mere spectacles. Worst of all, we would be in danger of turning our would-be heroes into slaves, who exist only to entertain us and whose freedom to pursue human excellence has been shackled by the need to perform--and conform--for our amusement and applause.

For the Aristotlean logic that leads them to this plausible conclusion, read their essay. I dare say, it speaks quite well of President Bush when op-eds written by his friends in academia remind one of the higher things in life.    

Looking for Conservative Journalists

Our commentary on the campaign and other subjects makes us aware of the need for conservative perspectives on the news and in reporting.

The Claremont Institute’s Publius Fellows Program is a summer resident seminar designed for college seniors and graduate students who aspire to write for newspapers and opinion journals.

Now in its 26th year, the Publius Fellows Program is dedicated to preserving the tradition of American political writing of which Publius, the pseudonym of the authors of The Federalist Papers, was the noblest exemplar. It aims to foster constructive commentary on the important issues of our time, informed and moderated by an understanding of the philosophic and historical roots of the American political tradition.

During their four-week tenure, Publius Fellows will reside in Claremont. They will attend an intensive series of seminars on political philosophy and American politics, and examine contemporary public policy in light of the principles of American constitutionalism. In addition, fellows will also be tutored in the art and craft of political journalism. Each fellow will write several pieces while in residence, which will each be subjected to detailed criticism. Up to 10 Publius Fellowships will be awarded.

More than 140 students have graduated from the program since its inception in 1979. Many of them have gone on to places of prominence within political, journalistic, and academic institutions. Past Publius Fellows include the Ashbrook Center’s Roger Beckett, best-selling author Dinesh D’Souza, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham, White House speech writers Michael Anton and Cheryl Miller, and Public Interest Executive Editor Adam Wolfson, among many others.

Applications are now available online at Application materials are due March 12. Acceptance in the program is competitive, so interested students should begin to apply soon.

If you have any questions, please contact Tom Karako or Melanie Marlowe, at (909) 621-6825; [email protected]; [email protected].

Dean, Kerry, and the others

Andrew Sullivan explains why he prefers Dean. And Jack Beatty, a leftist, explains why he doesn’t like John Kerry. Note this great paragraph: "Kerry, who buried his applause lines in the gray lava of his monotone, got his loudest cheers when he entered the room. Once he opened his mouth the energy began to seep away—at any rate, in the "overflow" room from where we watched Kerry on a giant screen. Listening to him, I saw a long line of Democratic bores—Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Bradley, Gore—who lost because people could not bear listening to them. John Kerry belongs in their dreary company. I fear he could talk his way out of victory—that, excited by his résumé, his panache as a war hero, Americans from coast to coast will be disappointed in the real man; that, just as we did at Dartmouth, they will long for him to stop his answers at the one-minute mark and by minute two will have tuned out and by minute three will pine for the terse nullity of George W. Bush."

Pakistan’s nuclear transfers

The New York Times runs this article on the report of the Pakistani government on how Abdul Qadeer Khan has signed a detailed cofession regarding his transfer of both the design and technology to produce the fuel for nuclear weapons to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Dramatic and important.  

Half-time vulgarity

Tom Shales writes a nice piece on the half-time and advert vulgarity at the Super Bowl. The folks at the Corner are all over it, if you are interested in going into all this in depth. I’m not, and I was not surprised. My son John’s eyebrows went up as we were watching, that was enough, I didn’t have to say anything. We continued talking about the game, which turned out to be very fine. Shales concludes: "Maybe the Super Bowl will have to move from the broadcast networks to the Playboy Channel if its commercials are going to be so dirty that they embarrass parents watching with their kids."

Europe’s economic problems

Robert Samuelson describes Europe’s large economic difficulties and their consequences for the world economy. Very clear.  

The Emancipation Proclamation

Let me bring to your attention our Book of the Week. It is Allen Guelzo’s Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America. It has just been published, in time for Lincoln’s birthday. It is, quite simply put, the best book written on the subject. He writes as a real historian, trying to understand it all as Lincoln understood it. And he does. Guelzo understands that Lincoln’s eyes were fixed on slavery and emancipation from the moment he took office. He worked mightily at getting the Border states to emancipate voluntarily (and slowly), with financial recompense from the Feds. He was conscious of doing anything that the Federal courts could overturn, and he understood even as he was issuing the Proclamation--even though justitified as military necessity--that an amendment would be necessary. Guelzo walks the reader through Lincoln’s prudence and it is impressive. Must read.