Jeb in 2008?

Jeb in 2008?
By Quin Hillyer
Published 2/27/2007 12:08:25 AM

Don’t be surprised if, come November of 2008, voters are choosing between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush for president.

But how can that be? Jeb’s not running.

Well, he isn’t running now, but the new, front-loaded primary system may, counterintuitively, allow him to enter the race late as a “white knight” rescuing Republicans from a morass of unhappiness and indecision.

Here’s how:

The fully frontloaded system replaces not the slow unfolding of primary and caucus states common through, say, 1976, but an already semi-frontloaded system instead. It is the latter, the semi, that produced overly quick ends to the nomination battles — but the fully frontloaded system may do just the opposite.

The reason the semi served to quickly winnow the presidential field is that it effectively anointed one particular candidate as the nearly unstoppable frontrunner by virtue of results in three states: Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. Iowa would usually put forth one winner, New Hampshire — jealous of its “first in the nation” prerogatives — would put forth another, and then South Carolina would break the tie. The big jumble of staggered primaries in the weeks thereafter would come just at the right time to validate the momentum earned in South Carolina, and only a brief denouement was usually needed before the losing candidates acknowledged that the jig was up.

But in 2008, with a whopping 19 states, including mammoth California, moving their primaries, the Feb. 2 South Carolina match won’t seem so decisive because everybody will know that the big delegate haul will come just three days later. And because all of the major candidates will be fighting heavily across such a wide range of states, the odds are high that each major candidate will win at least several of those 19 states. If, say, John McCain wins California and Arizona, and maybe another, but Mitt Romney follows a New Hampshire win with Feb. 5 wins in Michigan, Utah, and Colorado, and another one or two, while Rudy Giuliani takes Florida, New Jersey, Illinois and Tennessee, and Mike Huckabee wins his home state of Arkansas and Sam Brownback carries home-state Kansas…well, then, who exactly is the front-runner?

RATHER THAN PROVIDING UNSTOPPABLE momentum to any one candidate, in other words, the widespread voting on Feb. 5 could serve to keep all three “major” candidates and even a couple of minor ones alive. Nobody could claim a mandate, the vitriol would continue to grow, and the dissatisfaction already being voiced by conservatives might take on pandemic proportions.

Meanwhile, a number of states may have qualifying dates for candidates or delegates that post-date Feb. 5. Nine states still won’t vote until May. A white night with a big enough name could conceivably jump in the race, sweep all the later contests, and lay claim to be the candidate of consensus and unity. Think of another president’s brother, Bobby Kennedy in 1968, and you get the idea.

Not only that, but the white knight could pick up the endorsements, and presumably the delegates, of the minor candidates as they fall by the wayside. Huckabee’s Arkansans and Brownback’s Kansans could both shift to the knight the moment those candidates drop out. Ditto for McCain’s Arizonans and Californians if, after eight more big primaries on March 4, he finds himself to be clearly in third place among the three major contestants.

Suddenly, the scenario for the knight’s victory doesn’t look quite so far-fetched.

Of course, this all assumes that we’re talking about one helluva knight. Somebody with major name ID, with access to large amounts of money and organizational might at a moment’s notice, and with a solid reputation across the Republican philosophical spectrum.

Of course, Jeb Bush qualifies on all counts.

BUT WHY WOULD HE RUN when the name Bush is so unpopular these days?

Perhaps because a lot can change in a year. Ask George H. W. Bush, he of the 91 percent approval rating in 1991, about how fast political fortunes can change. What if, by late winter of next year, the vaunted troop surge in Iraq is seen to have been a major success? What if the continued over-reaching by Nancy Pelosi and John Murtha makes President George W. Bush look good by comparison, just as Bill Clinton looked good when compared with the caricature Newt Gingrich allowed to be drawn of himself?

Still, you might argue, what about the inevitable backlash against political dynasticism? How could Americans possibly be expected to choose a Bush for the third time in four presidencies?

In actuality, though, 2008 may be the best year possible to overcome the argument against dynasties. After all, if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee, the anti-dynasticism argument will cut both ways. What better time for Jeb Bush to argue that a political inheritance should not be a disqualifier than when his opponent’s entire career as an elected official is seen as a political inheritance?

All of which explains why the frontloaded system plays right into Jeb Bush’s hands.

This isn’t a prediction that Bush will be the Republican nominee, by the way, but only an explanation why he could be. And it’s not a case of my own wishes being father to the thought: My choice for president is SEC Chairman Chris Cox — but he’s not running. Neither, unfortunately, is the most eloquent conservative speaker on today’s scene, White House press secretary Tony Snow. Oh, well….

The point is not that conservatives should wait around for Jeb Bush to come to the rescue, nor that we should begin secretly plotting the Floridian’s ascendance. It is to say, though, that just as campaign finance reforms always have unintended consequences, so too might a frontloaded primary calendar. Conservatives should right now be “gaming out” the various possibilities, so they can be a decisive influence in the final choice of a nominee.

Quin Hillyer is a senior editor of The American Spectator. He can be reached at

Pelosi Falls Short On Election Promises

Pelosi Falls Short On Election Promises
By: Daniel W. Reilly and Jim VandeHei
February 27, 2007 08:27 AM EST

#DKsidebar a{ color:#000000; } #DKsidebar a:hover{ color:#000000; background-color:#FFFFFF; } #DKsidebar a:visited{ color:#000000; }

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is discovering the cold truth about governing with a slim majority: It’s much easier to promise behavioral change for Congress than to deliver it.

Pelosi vowed that five-day workweeks would be a hallmark of a harder-working Democratic majority. So far, the House has logged only one. Lawmakers plan to clock three days this week.

The speaker has denied Republicans a vote on their proposals during congressional debates — a tactic she previously declared oppressive and promised to end. Pelosi has opened the floor to a Republican alternative just once.

Pelosi set a high standard for herself when she pledged to make this “the most ethical Congress in history” — a boast that was the political equivalent of leading with her chin. And some critics have been happy to hit it.

She is drawing fire for putting Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.), who had $90,000 in alleged bribe money in his freezer, on the Homeland Security Committee. And The Washington Post reported during the weekend that she is helping chairmen raise money from donors with business before their committees.

Pelosi can count several big changes designed to curb abuses that plagued the Republican majority before it was dethroned in last fall’s elections, including new limits on gifts from lobbyists. But her debut has not quieted skeptics who see her and the new majority failing to make the clean break with the deeply ingrained congressional culture.

“She has done exactly what she said she would do,” said Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly.

For example, he noted, while the House is not always in session five days a weeks, many committees are working throughout the week. Pelosi promised an ambitious start to the new Congress, he said, and she had determined the best way to proceed was by limiting debate.

“In the future,” Daly said, “we will do business in the regular order.”

Pelosi seems to be following a familiar pattern. Twelve years ago, Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to reform the House and govern by principles of fairness and transparency. But, for leaders of both parties, the reality of ruling with a narrow majority translates into tight controls over floor debate, cozy relations with lobbyists and accommodating the needs of lawmakers (who hate working long weeks).

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a congressional watchdog organization, said Jefferson’s reelection put the new speaker in a bind.

“Pelosi had to put him somewhere,” said Sloan, who has also worked as minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee for then-ranking member John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.). “But I am troubled by the fact … that (Jefferson) is the kind of guy who could not pass a security clearance test and yet now he has access to top-secret government info.”

Sloan also took issue with Democrats’ use of committee chairs for fundraising efforts, a tactic Republicans often abused in the last Congress.

“Given the scandals of last Congress, particularly involving (disgraced former lobbyist Jack) Abramoff, it doesn’t look good,” Sloan said. “It is very hard for people to understand the difference between what’s legal and what’s illegal.”

Republicans are cutting Pelosi less slack than that. Eager to brand her a hypocrite, GOP strategists are closely tracking what they call a growing list of “broken promises” and are encouraging their members to attack her for them.

“She promised the most open and honest Congress in history and by any objective score, (Democrats) have fallen short,” said Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.).

Pressed on whether voters will care about procedural complaints, such as lack of floor votes for GOP proposals, Putnam said: “I think voters do care if you shut down the process to the point people cannot even offer an alternative, and you are stifling debate …You don’t want to be constantly complaining about the process, but bottom line, they are abusing it.”

Some Democratic lawmakers privately warn that Pelosi could blow a rare opportunity to change voters’ perception of the party and Congress if she reverts to old Republican ways.

In a recent newspaper commentary, former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana expressed concern “that the new Democratic majority in the House, which certainly understands the sting of unfair treatment, has on occasion yielded to the temptation of its newfound power to shut down Republican participation.”

So far, the GOP has been shut out of virtually every big debate. The most recent example was the House fight over the war in Iraq, in which Democrats broke their promise to allow the GOP a vote on its nonbinding resolution supporting the troops.

Pelosi sympathizers said Republican critics are laying it on a bit thick.

“Oh, cry me a river,” said former Democratic Rep. Tony Coelho. “For six years they ran a system that was autocratic, that didn’t give the minority a shot at offering anything and now are saying ‘mistreatment’ …They never even let the Democrats have a voice.”

Still, Pelosi’s experience with the recent Iraq debate illustrates her challenge. She calculated that it would be harder to build bipartisan support for a Democratic resolution condemning the administration’s troop “surge” if the debate were muddied by a generic, support-the-troops vote. In essence, she determined it was riskier, in the short term, to keep her pledge than to break it.

There is a practical reason for this approach, too. Alternatives are ripe for mischief. The minority party often puts together legislation designed to either embarrass or divide the other side.

That means there is almost always a temptation to backtrack on pledges of reform. Gingrich and his self-proclaimed “revolutionaries” roared to power in 1994 with promises to undo the feather-nesting and strong-arm tactics that had come to mark the Democratic reign — then discovered that what they once deemed outrageous seemed more defensible once their party was in charge.

In light of this history, say some congressional scholars, Pelosi soon will be facing a choice.

“If we don’t start seeing some opportunities for Republicans to offer real amendments on floor and to see some effort at collaboration that is genuine,” said Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institution, “then she and Democrats will properly be subject to criticism.”

TM & © THE POLITICO & POLITICO.COM, a division of Allbritton Communications Company

Pakistan: More polio cases if resistance continues; Islamic clerics say those who die of polio are ‘martyrs’ Some religious leaders in the Bajaur and Malakand agencies are telling the people not to get their children vaccinated since the practice is un-Islamic

Pakistan: More polio cases if resistance continues; Islamic clerics say those who die of polio are ‘martyrs’

An update on this story. “More polio cases if resistance continues: NIH, WHO,” from the Daily Times, with thanks to Twostellas:

ISLAMABAD: The National Institute of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) fear that more polio cases will crop up in the Bajaur and Malakand agencies since workers are denied access to children amid threats by Taliban-backed clerics, Daily Times learnt on Monday.A senior official at the NIH said that health authorities had confirmed yet another polio case in the Nowshera. He said that the polio victim was originally from the Bajaur Agency. In addition, the Health Ministry has also reported three more confirmed polio cases in urban and rural Sindh.

The clerics, including Tehreek Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) leader Maulana Fazlullah and his supporters in the Malakand Agency, have been ‘warning’ people during sermons in mosques or through illegal FM radio stations not to administer polio drops to their children since it was against religious norms and brought infertility. Maulana Fazlullah is the son-in-law of Maulana Sufi Muhammad, ex-chief of the TNSM.

To complete the polio immunisation drive, the WHO and the Ministry of Health are contemplating enlisting the help of the district/tehsil and union council nazims, political and religious leaders, public representatives and tribal elders, sources said.

Some religious leaders in the Bajaur and Malakand agencies are telling the people not to get their children vaccinated since the practice is un-Islamic, and that those that die of polio would be considered martyrs.

Taliban attempts attack on VP Cheney

Senator Lieberman Comments on Iraq in the Wall Street Journal

Monday, February 26, 2007

Senator Lieberman Comments on Iraq in the Wall Street Journal

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Choice on Iraq

“I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next.”

Monday, February 26, 2007 12:01 a.m.

Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq. The Senate and House of Representatives are bracing for parliamentary trench warfare–trapped in an escalating dynamic of division and confrontation that will neither resolve the tough challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation against its terrorist enemies around the world.

What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.

Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq–or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?

If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security–meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.

Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda’s stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country’s politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.

The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren’t enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.

At least four of these new joint bases have already been established in the Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad–the same neighborhoods where, just a few weeks ago, jihadists and death squads held sway. In the Shiite neighborhoods of east Baghdad, American troops are also moving in–and Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are moving out.

We of course will not know whether this new strategy in Iraq will succeed for some time. Even under the most optimistic of scenarios, there will be more attacks and casualties in the months ahead, especially as our fanatical enemies react and attempt to thwart any perception of progress.

But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago–with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security–and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.

Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America’s cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.

There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.

Among the specific ideas under consideration are to tangle up the deployment of requested reinforcements by imposing certain “readiness” standards, and to redraft the congressional authorization for the war, apparently in such a way that Congress will assume the role of commander in chief and dictate when, where and against whom U.S. troops can fight.
I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, “Enough.” And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war’s conduct.

But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake–assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.

In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger–forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill–probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.

I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.

Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.

We are at a critical moment in Iraq–at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America’s cause–the cause of freedom–which we abandon at our peril.
Mr. Lieberman is an Independent senator from Connecticut.

Labels: ,

Assassination chic, Cheney edition

Things that make you think a little:

Things that make you think a little:

There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January.  In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That’s just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq.

When some claim that President Bush shouldn’t have started this war, state the following:

1.  FDR led us into World War Two…Germany never attacked us ; Japan did.   

     From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost…an average of 112,500 per year.

2. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea North Korea never attacked us
    >From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost…an average of 18,334 per year.

3. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962…Vietnam never attacked us

4. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
    From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost…an average of 5,800 per year.

5. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent…Bosnia never attacked us
He was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three
times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on
multiple occasions.

6. In the years since terrorists attacked us , President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled
al-Qaida,  put nuclear  inspectors  in LibyaIran,  and, North Korea  without firing a shot,  and captured a terrorist who
slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.

The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking.

But Wait…

It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation..

We’ve been looking for evidence for chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.

It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.

It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!

Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!!!  The Military morale is high!

The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts

But Wait…There’s more!!!

JOHN GLENN (ON THE SENATE FLOOR) Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:13

Some people still don’t understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it’s also a good example of one man’s explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living.
This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.

Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn):  “How can you run for Senate when you’ve never held a real job?”

Senator Glenn (D-Ohio):  “I served 23 years in the United StatesMarine Corps.  I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.”

“I ask you to go with me…as I went the other day…to a veteran’s hospital and look those men…with their mangled bodies . in the eye, and tell THEM they didn’t hold a job!  You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and Orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee…and you look those kids in the eye and tell them
that their DADS didn’t hold a job. 
You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags.

You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell ME that those people didn’t have a job? What about you?”

For those who don’t remember.  During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA. Now he’s a Senator!

If you can read this, thank a teacher.  If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.

It might not be a bad idea to keep this circulating