Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hey Hillary, You’re Not Bill! Now Shut Up and Go Away!

There are a lot of people out there that are enormous fans of old #42. By 42 I mean William Jefferson Clinton, our 42nd President. Slick Willy, Semantics Bill, or whatever you call him; love him or hate him, it is impossible to deny that Bill Clinton was and remains an incredibly gifted politician. This is a man who had a higher approval rating then the Congress that was impeaching him.

There are many who admire Hillary Rodham Clinton and believe that she was a strong first lady (especially when compared with Lemming Laura) and is a very capable senator for New York. I suppose Hillary is fine, but she possesses none of the political savvy or charisma that her husband possesses.

Many have marked Hillary as the presumptive favorite in 2008 to win the nomination and finally take America back from the “Jesus Freaks”. Come on, you have all seen the e-mail with the map of North America depicting the United States of Canada and Jesusland. Don’t deny it, quit your stuttering. Lately, Ottawa is looking pretty good, even if Bono did describe Prime Minister Paul Martin as impossible and stubborn.

I am a left leaning politico. I do not deny that. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I generally hate all things Republican and opt for the Democratic ticket. That is no mystery! That said, I do not accept the Democratic Party as a whole. There is plenty of dead wood that could be pitched overboard. Hillary Clinton is one piece of that dead wood. She sucks. There simply is no other way to say it.

In 2004 the Dems nominated Senator John Kerry a relatively straightforward, clear and consistent (is that possible in Congress) legislator and he was labeled as a wishy washy flip flopper (no Northwestern women’s lacrosse jokes please). So, what do the donkeys do? They go out a find the fakest, flip flopper of them all! Hillary Clinton is by all accounts fairly liberal. That is A’OK in my book, except until recently when she has used the long leaping strides of an Olympic triple jumper to scurry off to the center. This I cannot abide.

We live in a country where liberal is a bad word. It is interesting talking to my friends in Europe, there the definition of liberal is completely different and invariably is used to describe a center-right party. Here it is akin to being Karl Marx’ first cousin, some sort of red, commie swine. Republicans from Barry Goldwater to George W. Bush worked very hard to cultivate that perception. As a result Democrats of all stripes cringe at the very mention of the word, like zebras cringe as a lion bears down on them at the watering hole. It infuriates me that my ideological shipmates are such yella’-bellies.

If Hillary Clinton were to face Senator John McCain in the 2008 election I would have to think very carefully about who I would vote for. Like I have said before, I agree with McCain on virtually nothing but I admire his integrity. With John McCain you know what you’re getting. Hillary Clinton is an enigma. If she wants the nomination in ’08 she needs to stop being a coward and start being a Democrat in the vein of JFK, LBJ or even her husband.

Neo-conservative Republicans have a name for fellow party members that they feel are not conservative enough. They call them RINOs (Republicans In Name Only). Perhaps, then, Mrs. Clinton you are a DINO! If you’re not, Hillary, prove it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Another white chucklehead in a black robe?

President Bush has, quite literally, picked his man. After there was much speculation that Dubya would pick a woman to replace Sandra Day O’Connor as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, including the enticing “almost leak” of Judge Edith Brown Clement’s name, the President went ahead and selected the relatively young Judge John Roberts from the cornhusker state. Another white chucklehead in a black robe! SWEET!

I am not going to go into the details of Judge Roberts’ background or career except to say that this is a man who, at 50, has a relatively empty and uncertain past. Not that his credentials should be called into question. Roberts appears to me to be very capable and qualified. Roberts was a clerk for Chief Justice Rehnquist. He is known to be a conservative and known the favor states rights to the federal government. Two things that worry me, but I believe that simply worrying a liberal is not grounds to rule him out. There were more qualified conservatives and more qualified moderates. So, why did George W. Bush select this relative newcomer? Roberts will certainly appease the conservative wing, but he’s not THAT conservative. He’ll offend some liberals, but he’s not THAT offensive.

Why then, you ask, pick John Roberts for the bench? Because George W. Bush is a political genius. That’s why. President Bush has selected a man, who in his early fifties, will likely sit on the Supreme Court for 35 years. Dubya has assured that his legacy will be felt for many years to come (as if the Iraq debacle hadn’t already assured that). In appointing this judge who is relatively unknown, he has ensured that the left cannot smear him as this, that or the other, though they certainly will try. It was commented on NPR this morning that Judge Roberts’ decisions are almost too clean. By this I mean, he never allows personal sentiment to overshadow his legal argument. Does that mean that his personal beliefs don’t influence his decisions? No, it means that he has been extremely careful, as if planning for this occasion.

No one knows what kind of justice John Roberts will make. Dubya could have appointed the first Latino to the court. He could have chosen to replace O’Connor with another woman. Some believe that the fact that we know so little about Roberts indicates that he could be the perfect candidate to slip past the Democrats and get another ideologue onto the court, but remember the last time the GOP tried to slip one past the Democrats, with Justice Souter, it came back to bite them on the ass.

In the end I will reserve judgment on the judge. He is the Presidents choice and while I didn’t vote for him it is his prerogative to appoint anyone he wants.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Is Orange the new Pink? Vietnam, Iraq and General Westy

I took the weekend off and not for want of doing it, but because I simply had nothing to say. Those of you who know me, know how shocking that is, but you also know that such speechlessness cannot last. I’m back baby, and oh boy do I want to talk.

It turns out that General William Westmoreland died over the weekend. Really briefly, General Westmoreland was the commander of U.S. forces in Vietnam from 1964-68, during the build up of the military effort in Southeast Asia. The good general was both praised and criticized for his handling of that role.

Those who praise him say that he did the best that could be done under the constraints laid out by President Johnson and, in fact, was an innovator the way wars were fought. They refer of course to the birth of helicopter warfare. Air mobilization combat had never been attempted before but I think it is too generous to credit ol’ Westy with that innovation. The general defended his failure in Vietnam by saying that LBJ had denied his request to widen the conflict to Cambodia, Laos and North Vietnam so the military could adequately do battle with the very mobile Viet Cong forces.

I think it is Westy’s critics who hit closer to the bulls eye. The general is criticized for implementing an obsolete strategy trying to simply levee so much massive brute strength against his enemies that, he believed, they would simply cave under the threat. He was, as history proves, colossally wrong. There is a great quote from military historian and former Army major, Andrew F. Krepinevich, in today’s New York Times obituary. Krepinevich believes that Westy suffered from self-delusion stating; "In focusing on the attrition of enemy forces rather than on defeating the enemy through denial of his access to the population," General Westmoreland's command "missed whatever opportunity it had to deal the insurgents a crippling blow."

This of course brings us to the point of today’s blog piece. Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone? Perhaps the generals in command at the Pentagon today are suffering from the same delusions as ol’ Westy and his obsolete cronies. Many try to say that Iraq is the new Vietnam. It is popular to throw around terms like quagmire and Vietnam War to describe the current situation in Iraq. Any comparison between Iraq and Vietnam are abstracts in the equally delusional mind of some pinko, peacenik, liberal, sap. Iraq is not the new Vietnam in the same sense that orange is the new pink. Iraq is the new Iraq. My point being that generals are damned slow to adapt to changing challenges because they are victims of doctrinal “group think”.

Clearly the generals creating strategy for Iraq face the same challenge albeit with different variables. The challenge is fighting a completely new style of war. I am glad that we have finally figured out how to fight the Vietnam War, but that ship sailed a long time ago. These clowns who were Lieutenants in Vietnam who were “in the shit” and are now bitter about the way the war was fought. The same way that the “Swift-boat Veterans for Truth” insist on painting a revisionist history of the Vietnam War so that it is not revealed that they fought for and their friends died for the biggest nothing in history.

Unfortunately Al Qaeda (not Iraq or any Islamic nation) are not the Viet Cong, they are not the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) or any other group involved in the Vietnam conflict. I am not a military tactician, nor am I a defense strategy specialist. So, if you came here expecting the blue print on how to fight the “war on terror” you came to the wrong place. All I know is the one similarity that the Viet Cong and Al Qaeda share is a willingness to go to any length to achieve their ends. In Vietnam that meant never surrendering, no matter how many fatalities they suffered. The same is true for the insurgency in Iraq and for Al Qaeda as a larger organization. The conflict cannot be tit for tat, we simply do not have the fortitude to go the distance with them. As in Vietnam, if we follow this approach a time will come when the public will no longer stand for it. Unlike Vietnam, the war on terror is not one that we can afford to lose.