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Pence for Minority Leader?


Heck, Pence for president, one Rush caller just said. 

Dove Battle of the Dems: Hoyer: I’m As Anti-War as Murtha!


Hoyer Statement Regarding

His Position on Iraq



WASHINGTON, DC – The Office of House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today:


“Congressman Hoyer and Congressman Murtha have joined other Democratic leaders from both the House and Senate in signing three letters to the President that outline the consensus among Democrats regarding Iraq,” said Stacey Farnen Bernards, Hoyer’s press secretary.  “Any representation that Congressman Hoyer endorses a ‘stay-the-course’ strategy or advocates sending more troops to Iraq is wrong.”


Click here to read the three unified Democratic leadership letters on Iraq.




If you can bear it, check out this disgusting posting at Reason’s blog, which takes gleeful pleasure in the sight of a crying child — and then by comments that make fun of Rick Santorum’s dead son. I mean, for God’s sake, Sanchez.

Web Briefing: September 21, 2014

I’m a Uniter, Not a Divider


In the spirit of trans-ideological cooperation, let me say that some of the smartest writing about the meaning — or lack thereof — of last week’s election results is being done by Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly.




   VIENNA, Austria (AP) — The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency finds

unexplained traces of plutonium and enriched uranium in an Iranian

waste facility.

Fox News All-Stars


From last night’s Special Report with Brit Hume:

On Iraq

FRED BARNES: There is no third way. Look, you’re going to have a democracy or not, Mara. You can’t tell them well you’ve had these three elections, but now you’re not going to have a democracy, you’re either going to have a democracy that’s reasonably stable or you’re going to have chaos. We’re going to either win or lose. I don think there’s a third way. . . .

MARA LIASSON: You don’t think you can have something stable that’s not a democracy?

BARNES: Yeah, how are you going to do that? What are you going to do, sponsor a coup? The U.S. tried that in Vietnam, didn’t work too well.

On Murtha as Majority Leader

JIM ANGLE: John Murtha ultimately was not prosecuted [in the Abscam investigation], he cooperated with officials and testified against some of his colleagues. It does raise a question, Mara. Nancy Pelosi has made a lot out of the fact that it’s going to be the most ethical Congress ever, and she has just embraced John Murtha as majority leader . . .

MORT KONDRACKE: So, Murtha does not take the money, but he says “Now, I want to do business with you. I want to get the [a few] jobs in my area, get a few bank deposits at banks in my district and we might change our mind. We want to do more business with you sometime later.” Now, he was a member of the House Ethics Committee. He did not report the transactions to the . . . House Ethics Committee; he did not call the FBI. . . . this is not what somebody who’s totally on the ethical up and up does in this case. I mean, if it happened to you, you’d call your local cop, I would think.

BARNES: You know . . . this is something Republicans will charge and make hypocrisy. . . . It shouldn’t be left to Republicans. Where is the press? Are they going to ask Murtha about this? Are they going to ask Nancy Pelosi about it? Are they going to — look, believe me, if this were a Republican with that background, the press would be all over it, as they should. So, I think at the very least, that should happen. And it’s a very questionable appointment purely on ethics grounds.

Holy Father, Tear Down This Wall!


This is already the most-emailed-link coming to me today — the Vatican knows a little something about walls.

Gathering Clouds


The Guardian:

British intelligence officials believe that al-Qaida is determined to attack the UK with a nuclear weapon, it emerged yesterday. The announcement, from an officially organised Foreign Office counter-terrorism briefing for the media, was the latest in a series of bleak assessments by senior officials and ministers about the terrorist threat facing Britain. UK officials have detected “an awful lot of chatter” on jihadi websites expressing the desire to acquire chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weapons. Asked whether there was any doubt that al-Qaida was trying to gain the technology to attack the west, including the UK, with a nuclear weapon, a senior Foreign Office counter-terrorism official said: “No doubt at all.” The official explained: “We know the aspiration is there, we know the attempt to get material is there, we know the attempt to get technology is there.

Yes, yes, that’s all vague stuff, and aspiration is not the same as reality, but there’s nothing particularly vague about this:

British counter terrorism officials believe plots they have thwarted and plots they claim are being hatched have strong links to Pakistan. They say hundreds of Britons travelled in the past year to Pakistan for terrorism activity, including training in camps and acting as couriers for messages. Officials also believe Britons are taking cash to terrorists in Pakistan.

Defending Libby


Libby: No Plot, No Crime in CIA Leak


WASHINGTON (AP) – Attorneys for former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby dismissed the idea of a White House plot to leak a CIA operative’s identity to the press and said Libby plans to tell jurors at his perjury trial that he had no reason to lie.

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent years investigating who leaked Valerie Plame Wilson’s identity to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in 2003. While nobody was charged with the leak, Libby is accused of lying to investigators about his conversations with reporters.

Fitzgerald wants to keep most of that backstory out of Libby’s trial in January. But in court documents filed Tuesday, defense attorneys said they have a right to argue that Libby doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.

Novak’s story ran as Plame’s husband, Joseph Wilson, criticized the Bush administration’s prewar intelligence on Iraq. Former State Department official Richard Armitage has acknowledged being the source for Novak’s column, a fact that neither defense attorneys nor prosecutors discussed in legal filings until Tuesday.

“It is doubtful that anyone committed an ‘underlying crime’ here,” Libby’s lawyers wrote. “The government’s investigation began as an effort to discover which government officials had ‘leaked’ Ms. Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA to Mr. Novak. After years of overheated media speculation that Ms. Wilson’s identity had been publicly revealed as part of a White House plot to wreak revenge on her husband, Mr. Armitage (who was no White House ally) finally confirmed in August 2006 that he was Mr. Novak’s primary source.”

Libby’s attorneys said Fitzgerald has perpetuated the notion that Libby was the source and said the former aide should be allowed to tell jurors that he was not – and thus had no reason to lie to the FBI or grand jury.

“Members of the jury will have heard for years that Mr. Libby leaked classified information about Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA, due to inaccurate reports in the press,” defense attorneys wrote. “Indeed, the government has contributed to the likely misimpressions that potential jurors will have about this case.”

Fitzgerald has not specifically commented on that allegation. In court papers, he has argued that the upcoming trial should not be a forum to debate the leak itself or question why Libby was charged and others weren’t.

Re: 21st Century Deterrence


Mario, that statement by the president is not simply threatening Iran with diplomatic isolation. It is threatening economic sanctions from Europe, and perhaps from Russia and China as well. I have my doubts about whether those sanctions will be forthcoming. (See “Doves Fly Toward Iran.”) But the stick the president is trying to use consists of economic sanctions, imposed on Iran by the world as a whole. This is also what Henry Kissinger was pushing for in his WaPo Op-Ed the other day. The new and implicit American policy toward Iran (soon to be explicit) is the offer of a grand bargain, with tough economic sanctions as the penalty. I doubt the rest of the world will come across with sanctions, and the Dems are undermining the whole deal by talking about an Iraq troop pull-out. In any case, a key question is whether the doves who now run the world will be able to impose the sort of tough economic sanctions that might get them close to a (probably ill-advised) “grand bargain” with Iran. You will see increasing focus, and probably considerable internal debate in Europe in the coming months, on the question of economic sanctions. Without tough and persistent economic sanctions, the European preference for a bargain with Iran will be revealed as hollow posturing.

The Amnesty Administration Gets No Roman Love


Reuters :

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – A senior Vatican cardinal on Tuesday condemned the building of walls between countries to keep out immigrants and said Washington’s plan to build a fence on the U.S.-Mexican border was part of an “inhuman program”.

Cardinal Renato Martino made his comments at a news conference presenting Pope Benedict’s message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, in which the Pope called for more laws to help immigrants integrate.

“Speaking of borders, I must unfortunately say that in a world that greeted the fall of the Berlin Wall with joy, new walls are being built between neighborhood and neighborhood, city and city, nation and nation,” said Martino, head of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace.

President Bush signed legislation last month approving the construction of a 700-mile (1,100-km) fence — a move that angered Mexico’s government.

Realists and Iraq


People seem to assume that foreign-policy “realists” naturally support a bug-out from Iraq — but, as I argue here, doesn’t the “realist” view of foreign policy actually incline its holders to support efforts toward all-out victory? After all, realists want us to define everything in terms of a narrow American national interest. At this point, given all the other scenarios, it seems that the only thing that would benefit the American national interest in the long run is victory.

In fact, the current Iraq situation is a test for the realists. Are they aggressive pursuers of the national interest, or are they instead people who have had a profound sense that America can’t really get anything right and just needs to cut the best deals it can? The realists are not liberals. They are conservatives in a very profound sense, and one of the things that makes them conservative is a mistrust of the American body politic — a great skepticism about the capacity of America to sustain any policy for any period of time, to handle reverses and setbacks, and the like. That’s why they crave long-term stability outside the United States from reliable strongmen — it’s in large part because we’re fickle and need protection from our own mercurial politics.

But that view, which certainly has merit in light of the results last Tuesday, doesn’t necessarily reflect an aggressive pursuit of the national interest. They may not like the fact that we went to war, or the reasons for it, but they’re “realists” and theoretically they try to deal with the world as it is. The situation we now face is one in which any option but something that looks very much like victory will be seen as a major American defeat, with consequences that will last decades. I suspect that James Baker and Robert Gates, who are unsentimental men, are aware of this fact.

Shadegg Surely Doesn’t Mind This in the Journal Today


“Trying to save his job as whip, Mr. Blunt is having to explain a golf retreat over Veterans Day weekend with scores of big political donors at a South Carolina resort. “Mr. Blunt is proud of the tremendous financial assistance he has given to hundreds of Republican members and candidates,” his press office said.”

“But after Mr. Blunt promised last week to put an end to “business as usual,” his allies were chagrined at his entertaining 47 people representing political committees, trade groups or wealthy individuals, each of whom had earlier donated $5,000 to his leadership committee.”

A Moment of Honesty from the EU Commission


21st Century Deterrence


The President yesterday, after his meeting with Prime Minister Olmert:

I think it’s very important for the world to unite with one common voice to say to the Iranians that, if you choose to continue forward, you’ll be isolated. And one source of isolation would be economic isolation. In other words, there has to be a consequence for their intransigence. They have — we went to the United Nations, we made it very clear — we, being a lot of the world — have made it clear that the Iranian nuclear weapons ambitions are not in the world’s interest. And therefore, if they continue to move forward with a program, there has to be a consequence. And a good place to start is working together to isolate the country.

Can you imagine if we had talked this way during the Cold War?  “Kruschev, don’t you dare fly Soviet warplanes over West Germany, or by God we shall stop inviting your diplomats to State Department cocktail parties.”  

It would have been better to say nothing. 

And by the way, poor Olmert is getting really good at putting a brave face on obvious defeats — which is good for him, considering how chic surrendering to the Axis of Evil has suddenly become in the United States.

Shadegg’s Gamble


As folks who have been following the House drama know, challenging Roy Blunt for his Whip post is Arizona Rep. John Shadegg.  This not the first time this year the two have vied for a leadership position they both came up short against when John Boehner was elected Maj Leader in January.

Shadegg, like his friend and Republican Study Committee compatriot Mike Pence, is banking on the angst many members are feeling from their heavy losses last week to translate into a vote for change atop their leadership.  Indeed, Shadegg’s camp thinks the dynamics on top of the ticket could redound to their favor.

“It will come down to Friday and what happens in the Leader’s race,” said a source close to Shadegg.  “If Boehner holds, as it looks like he will, Blunt will be in trouble. Members feel that there needs to be a change somewhere in the leadership and…we are positioned very well to be that force of change.”

Team Shadegg’s poo-poo’ing of their conservative colleague’s prospects aside, what is notable about this strategy is just how much it counts on member’s psychology.  The Friday morning vote will take place in descending order of the contests so that Leader election comes first.  If the conference decides to stay the course, if you will, with the top spot, then they’ll feel compelled to make a change for the #2 position.  Or so Shadegg hopes.

Shadegg, like Blunt, has been active in getting his message out beyond the Hill.  He’s doing a blogger call today and will do the Hugh Hewitt show tonight. He’s also done FOX appearances and the Larry Kudlow show on CNBC.

Shadegg is being helped by Rep’s Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), Joseph Pitts (Penn.), Chip Pickering (Miss.) and Mark Souder (Ind.).  Interestingly, Pitts, a leading social conservative in the House, supported Blunt over Shadegg (and Boehner) for Leader earlier this year.

Retired Husband Syndrome


Just when you think you have grasped the full strangeness of the Japanese, you read something like this and realize you don’t know the half of it.

Memories of the Akaka Bill


I’ve about given up hope on the Sessions for Republican Policy Chair campaign (but then the Senate wouldn’t be the Senate if it didn’t frustrate and disappoint now would it?). But the Akaka bill is another reminder of the importance of that Policy slot. Jon Kyl from his perch there was one of the leading opponents of that race-based Hawaii bill. If you were say a Senate staffer looking for information on why one would oppose such a thing, if it didn’t come from NR/NRO, Heritage, or John Fund, it came from Jon Kyl’s policy shop. And the man and his team got it around … or that bill would have passed months ago.

That Awful Akaka Bill




Jack Kingston’s office just sent out a “WHAT THE BLOGOSPHERE IS SAYING ABOUT JACK KINGSTON” e-mail as he continues his campaign for House Republican Conference chair and there were no quotes from me! 


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