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Rudy P.S.



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I’ve already heard Laura Ingraham have fun with this.

Clogged Drain at the WashPost



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A Washington Post story, quoted by Greg over at Sixers, struck me funny.  Speaking about a Laura Bush campaign trip to Ohio, the Post says: “The president’s approval ratings may be in the drain, but the first lady still regularly scores in the high sixties.” In the drain?? The ratings are not spectacular, but they’re rising. Look at the trend. USA Today has him up to 44 percent, L.A. Times-Bloomberg at 45. Try May or June if you want to locate “the drain,” when it was 10 points or so lower.

And on favorability ratings, consider the latest Zogby America poll has Bush at 51 percent favorable, 47 percent unfavorable. That’s not “the drain” either. Or does the WashPost want everyone to think “drain” as long as possible?

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October, Not September



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Well, you got me there!

Romney’s gone far from a dark horse to the guy McCain is snapping at in about that time frame. This 2008 baby ain’t over — and goodness knows what happens in the next 13 months.

And my money remains on America’s Mayor not running (and can I tell you that today’s political gossip pages on Pirro-and Kerik made me think that yet again? There’s stuff that happens in New York that should just stay in New York.And  Rudy may be just as happy making his high-priced speaking fees and making people owe him than having to be leader of the free world). JPod totally disagrees. Most New York conservatives (all 17, as Derb says today in his piece) aren’t making my bet. But there I stand.  

Web Briefing: Easter Sunday 2014

September 2006



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Actually, it’s almost October. Which means — get this — we’re probably no more than 13 months away from the first serious presidential-candidate debate. 

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37 Points



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It’s hard to believe but it’s September 2006.

But if you’ve had enough of me and Romney, enjoy John Derbyshire, who is in a completely difference frame of mind.

Hmmm...37 Points Higher than Romney...



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A new Strategic Vision poll in Washington state has Republicans there going for Rudy Giuliani for president by a margin of 43-24 percent over John McCain. Mitt Romney? Seven percent. Don’t get me wrong. I like Romney. But Rudy just keeps gaining ground in unlikely places.

“A Keen Eye for the Weakness of Strangers”



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Always read Fouad Ajami:

Islamic terror did not wait on the Iraq war. The assertion that Islamic terrorism has “metastasized and spread across the globe” because of Iraq takes at face value what the jihadists themselves proclaim. It would stand to reason that their Web sites, and the audiotapes of their leaders, would trumpet their attachment to the cause of Iraq. It is inevitable that American analysts glued to jihadist cyberspace, and lacking intimate knowledge of Arab ways, would take the jihadists at their word. But Islamic radicals have not lacked for grievances. The anti-Americanism and antimodernism that brought them onto American soil five years ago predated Iraq. For the good part of two decades, jihadist terror blew at will, driven by the conviction in the lands of Islam and its diaspora communities that America was a pampered land with little zeal for bloody struggles.

The declassified portions of the NIE are not particularly profound in the reading of Islamism. Their sociologese is of a piece with a big body of writing on Islamist movements–that the resentments of these movements arise out of “anger, humiliation and a sense of powerlessness” in the face of the West. I dare guess that were Ayman al-Zawahiri to make his way through this report, he would marvel at the naïveté of those who set out to read him and his fellow warriors of the faith. Ayoob al-Masri (Zarqawi’s successor in Iraq) would not find himself and his phobias and his will to power in this “infidel document.” …

We needn’t give credence to the assertion of President Bush–that the jihadists would turn up in our cities if we pulled up stakes from Baghdad –to recognize that a terrible price would be paid were we to opt for a hasty and unseemly withdrawal from Iraq. This is a region with a keen eye for the weakness of strangers.

More here.

Just Noticing



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Only 34 Democrats voted for the House bill on terror detainees, but two of them were liberal Senate candidates: Sherrod Brown and Harold Ford.

For Many Readers



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this could mean the end of The Corner.

U.S. Credibility, RIP



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Condoleezza Rice signals rogue regimes that U.S. demands and deadlines are cosmetic.

Bet This Makes Great Dinner Conversation



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Yawn



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The latest on what Allen and Webb may or may not have said during the JFK/LBJ years:

Webb’s comments to the Times-Dispatch prompted Allen campaign officials to direct a reporter to Dan Cragg, a former acquaintance of Webb’s, who said Webb used the word while describing his own behavior during his freshman year at the University of Southern California in the early 1960s. Webb later transferred to the U.S. Naval Academy.

Can we please talk about something else now?

As Mark and Others Having Indicated on NRO Today



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the Allen-coverage may be backfiring on his opponents. Or so a new poll suggests. Over in Sixers…

CyberRomney Watch



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Enough people are e-mailing me this overwrought blog thread, that I’ll post on it before I get some sleep.

Abortion. Been there before. Will be there again. But Romney’s fought some good fights and made a case and moved in the right direction. The guy has an appreciation for the dignity of human life and our culture’s obligations toward protecting it. Some more quick links.

From the Hotline in 1994:

ABORTION CONTORTION: Romney, “who advocates abortion rights
as a candidate, acknowledges that as a Mormon lay leader he
counseled Mormon women not to have abortions except in cases of
rape, incest, or where the mother’s life was at risk.” Romney
said “there was no conflict between him advising against abortion
as a religious leader and espousing an abortion rights position
as a political candidate” (Lehigh/Phillips, BOSTON GLOBE, 10/20).


From July 2005, in the Boston Globe, as he vetoed an emergency-contraception-access bill :

I am prolife. I believe that abortion is the wrong choice except in cases of incest, rape, and to save the life of the mother. I wish the people of America agreed, and that the laws of our nation could reflect that view. But while the nation remains so divided over abortion, I believe that the states, through the democratic process, should determine their own abortion laws and not have them dictated by judicial mandate.

Because Massachusetts is decidedly prochoice, I have respected the state’s democratically held view. I have not attempted to impose my own views on the prochoice majority.

For all the conflicting views on this issue, it speaks well of our country that we recognize abortion as a problem. The law may call it a right, but no one ever called it a good, and, in the quiet of conscience people of both political parties know that more than a million abortions a year cannot be squared with the good heart of America.

You can’t be a prolife governor in a prochoice state without understanding that there are heartfelt and thoughtful arguments on both sides of the question. Many women considering abortions face terrible pressures, hurts, and fears; we should come to their aid with all the resourcefulness and empathy we can offer. At the same time, the starting point should be the innocence and vulnerability of the child waiting to be born.

Romney’s a leader, as more and more folks being exposed to him are seeing and noting. He needs to clearly communicate his committment to a culture of life over these next pre-primary months as he has been privately, especially, and will, I betcha, in some big ways publicly. But as far as then-vs.-now kinda stuff, I’ll take his convincing evolution over any in the reverse direction anyday.

Shining Some Good Light



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One e-mail, covering a lot of ground (or, sky):

Kathryn, I’m a regular reader and a member of the Int’l Dark Sky Association. If you read into it, you’ll find the goal is simply to promote better designed lighting to shine where it’s needed without shining up into the sky and into neighbors’ bedroom windows. So you’ll still be able to safely buy your shampoo at 2 AM!  :-)     Speaking of events in the sky, have you been following the space adventure of Anousheh Ansari ? She’s inspiring people everywhere and especially in Iran.

Space tourist Anousheh Ansari, who began her journey into space Monday aboard a Soyuz TMA-9 capsule from Baikonur, Kazakhastan, has become an inspiration to women in male-dominated Iran.

Space enthusiasts gathered Saturday at the Zaferanieh Observatory in Tehran were rapt as they followed the progress of the craft, visible to the naked eye for about two minutes, as it streaked across the sky.

“Anousheh is my hope,” said teenager Delagah Dadbeh, watching the spacecraft as tears of joy rolled down her cheek.

“She will shine in Iranian history as a woman who broke barriers and succeeded in conquering space with her endeavor,” Dadbeh said.

“Ansari has shown Iranian women the road to progress. We only need to believe in ourselves,” Dadbeh said, as another woman, Homa Parvaei nodded in agreement.

I’m signed up for the Oct. 11 event in DC , so I look forward to seeing you there.

Remember the Child Custody Protection Act?



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that’s the legislation that would make it a federal crime for an adult to take a girl across state lines for an abortion. As of yesterday it’s passed the House five times in one form or another. The April version, Harry Reid has refused to sent to conference. Well, on the yesterday version, Bill First tonight has filed cloture. Should be an increasingly interesting end of the week in the Senate.

Re: Torture Dissents



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A couple responses before I retire for the evening:

That one email that claims we were considered by the world a leader in human rights is overstating the case.  The world saw Roosevelt put the Japanese- Americans in internment camps.  The world was denouncing us for My Lai and other events in Vietnam.  Amnesty International always seemed to have a bad word for us.  I don’t see that we were held in so high regard before, and no matter what we do, the world will always find some reason to criticize us.

And:

Interesting column on how we talk about torture.

One other distinction that is often overlooked is the difference between obtaining evidence (for a criminal trial) and information (as a basis for operations).  Many anti-torture critics frequently dismiss the whole problem by saying “torture never works, they’ll tell you anything to make you stop.”  Well, the latter may well be true, and for just that reason I do hope we don’t admit testimony obtained under torture into our courts.  But if the terrorist tells you is the address of the next suicide bomber, and you go there and find a guy with a death video and a bomb-belt, well, torture worked, didn’t it?  

And:

This is a perfect example of what happens when the Parties become more concerned with being re-elected than with what is good for this country.  The Democrats and their supporters within the intelligence community should have brought these complaints out in private.  Rather than all that crying, whining and comparisons to the Nazi’s.  If they were that concerned with America’s reputation then why when they tried to save it, the did it in such a damaging way?  We really need a mature leadership in the Democratic party; they are killing this country.

Al Qaeda Loses Hearts and Minds In iraq



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Judith Klinghoffer has the details:

Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings. The Shias and Kurds show similarly intense levels of opposition, with 95 percent and 93 percent respectively saying they have very unfavorable views. The Sunnis are also quite negative, but with less intensity. Seventy-seven percent express an unfavorable view, but only 38 percent are very unfavorable. Twenty-three percent express a favorable view (5% very).

Views of Osama bin Laden are only slightly less negative. Overall 93 percent have an unfavorable view, with 77 percent very unfavorable. Very unfavorable views are expressed by 87 percent of Kurds and 94 percent of Shias. Here again, the Sunnis are negative, but less unequivocally—71 percent have an unfavorable view (23% very), and 29 percent a favorable view (3% very).

 

Ethanol Scandal



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The introduction of a mandate that 10 percent of each gallon of gasoline be replaced by ethanol was responsible for quite a bit of the massive surge in gas prices this summer.  What many people don’t know is quite how much of US corn production is now geared to this boondoggle and how much land will be swallowed up if Congress mandate more ethanol use.  Dennis Avery has a great new paper on the subject.

More Torture Dissents



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Though, for the record, I’m still a bit flummoxed as to why people think I am gung-ho for torture. If that was the argument I wanted to make, that column would have been very, very different. Anyway from two readers:

Jonah, quick thoughts on your latest blog post. At work, so this is slightly disjointed.

The point is that the rest of the world now looks at us as a country who tortures, puts people in secret prisons, and legislates the removal of habeas corpus for suspects. 

We used to be the leader of the world in human rights. Now we’re the hair-splitting, law obfuscating weasel for human rights. 

The mere fact that this bill with massive Constitutional implications is being rushed through Congress to smear opponents in an election year is appalling on several levels. With several other bills still needing approval and passage, that we make this a priority speaks volumes about our political climate.

My point is, just because we don’t think we are withdrawing from the Geneva conventions, the rest of the world sees us doing exactly that. Our popularity among our remaining allies is going to plummet further (already reduced by half since 2000). 

This is a major step backwards for our status in the world.  If you can’t see that… 

And: 

I am not saying or suggesting that waterboarding is the same in degree as hot pokers, or rape, or all the other horrible things human beings can think up to do against another.  It most certainly is not.    What I am saying the Bush Administration is seeking to make legal (or quasi-legal) fairly extreme coercive force to get information.  When you apply coercive force intended to cause pain–it will eventually cross a line of torture.    A belly of face slap is not torture, but a day of it repeatedly probably is.  Forcing a detainee to stand for many hours without sleep and with pokes and beatings when they don’t comply is torture (not merely a stress position).  Making someone think they are drowning so they go into psyological panic is a form of torture.    I assume Bush had our best interests at heart.  I suspect we got useful information from some of the high level al Qaeda members given this treatment (certainly KSM).  But I am very cocerned about codifying and making legal such techniques. 

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