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Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Today's (Friday, July 28) RCP op-ed round-up is remarkable for the plentitude of Democrats supporting Bush (or, more accurately, critical of their own party's mindless opposition to the President, regardless of whether he is right, wrong or somewhere in-between).

Peter Beinert: "After years of struggling to define their own approach to post-Sept. 11 foreign policy, Democrats seem finally to have hit on one. It's called pandering. In those rare cases when George W. Bush shows genuine sensitivity to America's allies and propounds a broader, more enlightened view of the national interest, Democrats will make him pay."

Read all of "Pander and Run," (Washington Post). Note: Read all of this, if you can. Beinert is a thoughtful and strong voice on American foreign policy, and this essay is packed full of devastating (and quite funny) criticism of Democratic partisanship.

Alan Dershowitz: "...I believe that it would be a mistake at this time for the Democrats to hold the Bolton nomination hostage to this dispute. The senators have had a year to observe and evaluate Mr. Bolton directly on his performance as our ambassador. They can intelligently vote based on what he has done at the United Nations and not based on documents related to his role as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security.

"What remains of last year's nomination battle, though, is what I suspect to be the real reason that some Democrats oppose the Bolton nomination. That is, they felt uncomfortable with Mr. Bolton's oft-expressed and blunt skepticism over the United Nations' legal and moral authority."

Read all of "A Public Advocate for the United States" (Washington Times).

And, something of a stretch thematically, but because three is a good number, Ed Koch: "There are those who wishfully conclude that if Israel turns the other cheek and does not respond with armed force to attacks upon it, that such restraint will pay off with an ultimate peace treaty with its neighbors. That is ridiculous. I agree with those who believe that standing up to terrorism and never blinking is the only way to win that war."

Read his not-directly-critical-of-anyone-by-name, "Negotiations Alone Never Brought Peace" (RCP).

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
This week the American Bar Association issued a report from its "Task Force on Presidential Signing Statements and the Separation of Powers Doctrine." The report expresses alarm, and makes five recommendations, regarding the presidential practice of attaching accompanying commentary and administrative instructions to bills signed into law.

Thinking Out Loud:

While I have only skimmed the ABA report (and seen a few interviews with task force members and Michael Greco, ABA president), several thoughts occur to me:

1. The Preservation of the Separation of Powers is a noble pursuit.

2. I am pleased that the ABA, the press and the Senate Judiciary Committee are investigating and engaging the executive on this important development in the relationship between the branches.

3. The Task Force offers five resolutions that strike me, for the most part, as common sense recommendations.

4. The Task Force claims bipartisanship (and I recognize Bruce Fein and Mickey Edwards as members ostensibly disinclined to associate themselves with an anti-Bush lynch mob). Nevertheless, There are enough red flags to make me suspicious. Feel free to attach any relevant commentary on the composition of this committee.

5. Debatable Interpretation of History.

» Read More

Category: Politics
Posted by: A Waco Farmer
Today Okie Gardener posted two oustanding pieces, "Small Government," which equates big government with hubris and original sin, and "The Mask is Off," which speaks to the latest installment of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East (I also encourage you to read the comments section for some cogent and provocative analysis and invite you to contribute to the discussion).

The two posts, ostensibly unconnected, actually speak to the two great dilemmas of our times, which are inextricably linked.

First, here is a more practical question: what happened to the party of small government? Ronald Reagan came to Washington convinced that people were basically good--but big government made them do bad things. For Reagan, and a generation of conservatives, government was the problem. The Bushies came to town seemingly convinced that big government would be just fine as long as it was in the hands of the right people. And, of course, that philosophy brings us back full-circle to FDR-LBJ-style liberalism, which began the whole conservative counter-revolution.

The Progressive Experiment has worked extremely well in the short term, but we will need to make some tough decisions in the coming years to save ourselves. Can we continue to live our lives of extraordinary luxury and excess without paying a price? The Progressive golden goose killed the republican wise ant. Now we are working the goose at maximum capacity. How long can we endure?

As I intimated, the Republicans are not much better than the Democrats in this regard. For a while I thought the Democrats were self-destructing, with their political correctness, America-bashing and defeatists default positions. But now I am not so sure. They are making a comeback as the only alternative to Republican flatulence. This election will be telling.

No matter, regardless of what happens in the next few election cycles, the Republicans show every sign of moral confusion. Lord Acton's maxim seems especially true with the Republican Party. God help us if they ever achieve supreme power.

I have previously praised the grand and healthy American tradition of "throwing" entrenched politicians out of office. Alexis de Tocqueville wrote that "the great advantage of the Americans consists in their being able to commit faults which they may afterwards repair." Ruling cliques come and go. Fresh ideas and optimism constantly replenish good government, pushing out the generation gone stale. To that end, the ruling Republican majority is the perfect example of a party that entered with bright promise but now needs to go. Although I like many of the principals in the Republican coalition, the log-rolling, posturing, incontinent GOP-controlled Congress of 2006 is completely bereft of the spirit of 1994.

But wait, there is a problem. These are sober times. For all the infuriating shortcomings of the GOP, they are at least serious in facing the threat of the terrorists. We are in an unenviable position, to say the least, in which we are afraid to jettison the corpulent ruling party in fear that the opposition party has not the stomach for the dire times in which we live. For this particular development, perhaps even more than any of his other diabolical deeds, I hate Osama bin Laden. 9/11 so changed the calculus of American politics.

Madison assured us in "Federalist #10" that a far-flung republic could not only survive--but succeed. The far-flung, multi-media, micro-focused America of the twenty-first-century, threatened from without and decaying from within, will provide the ultimate test for that prediction. God Bless America. God save the Republic.