John Kerry has announced he will not be running for President. This is good news for everybody. The only reason Kerry became the 2004 Democrat nominee is that he charmed the states with early primaries despite being a weak candidate. The 2008 Presidential election seems likely to offer some legitimate talent and Kerry rightly recognized that he couldn’t compete. So, everyone already knew that Kerry wouldn’t be the next President. By making his announcement yesterday, he acknowledges that he is reluctantly yielding to reality. John, I’ll keep voting for you in Senate elections, but I am not going to use my 2008 Presidential vote to support the Peter Principle.
Sam Brownback on his own web site, brownback.com, in a letter announcing his intention to run for President:
I have decided, after much prayerful consideration, to consider a bid for the Republican nomination for the presidency. … Ours is an exceptional nation. A nation between two oceans made up of people from every nation on earth. A great nation united by our ideals. But we are a great nation because of our goodness. If we ever lose our goodness, we will surely lose our greatness.
And this is from the speech Brownback gave on Saturday (20-Jan-07) at Heritage Hall in Topeka, Kansas announcing his intention to run for President:
I am declaring today my candidacy for President of the United States. Ours is a great nation and I make one pledge to you: to use our greatness for goodness. We are a great nation because our greatness is built on the foundation of fundamental goodness. If ever we lose our goodness, we will surely lose our greatness.
Note that is not a string of excerpts put together – that is the actual first 4 sentences of his speech. I think what Sam ought to be praying for is a new PR and speechwriting staff.
The President is getting slammed for his new plan, announced Wednesday night in his televised address. I can’t believe I am saying this, but I think he might be right about this one.
I was against the Iraq war in the first place, and that’s when I believed their story about WMD. And I have been grinning from ear to ear since the Democrats took the Senate and the House away from the Republicans that were running amok. So why in the hell am I backing Bush on this one?
It seems obvious to me that to begin an immediate withdrawal now would make things worse for the US in the long run. The lack of a solid governing body in place would certainly lead to increased sectarian violence and more influence from outside forces like Iran and Syria and al-Qaeda. We can’t maintain the status quo either though, because we’ll just end up in the same place as if we started immediate withdrawal, but it will take longer.
So, is increasing the number of troops likely to solve the problem? No. But it also isn’t a guaranteed failure either. There is a chance that it might work. Everyone who says it is “too late” is partially correct. It is too late to get it right with the right number of troops at the beginning. But it isn’t too late to give more troops a try. Bush’s new plan of securing an area and sticking around, rather than moving on, does reverse the military’s (Rumsfeld’s) long-running mistake. And I do feel the US has an obligation to do our best to leave a stable Iraq – after all, we broke it so we should fix it.
The definition of winning and losing in Iraq has always been a little confusing to me. I suppose if we had gotten rid of Saddam, destroyed WMD, helped establish a new democratic government, and had our military out within 2 years, maybe that would have been a “win”. But today, winning has been redefined as not losing. Or, more specifically, not losing as badly as we might. We’ve already lost the public relations war – that happened as soon as some knucklehead put an American flag on the Saddam statue. We’ve lost respect and we’ve lost the implicit right to police the world as we see fit. And so far, we are losing Iraq to Islamic Fundamentalism; and considering that Iraq was not a candidate for Islamic Fundamentalism before we arrived (as much as Bush wants to believe it was), that means we are losing a battle of our own making. So, now, winning can only be defined as not losing that too.
Winning in Iraq is now getting out of Iraq without creating a terrorist haven, leaving it only moderately more dysfunctional than it was before. Our odds are not good, but our only chance is to try more troops. As Baker himself has said, we’ll know if that’s working within a few months. Let’s hope that it will.
With just over a week to go before Massachusetts selects a new governor, here’s my summary opinion of the candidates and the issues. For anyone reading this that doesn’t know me, I’m generally pretty middle of the road when it comes to politics – middle of the road for Massachusetts, that is. Therefore, I believe I’m starting from a fairly neutral position and with no party bias. I’ve voted for Republicans for governor slightly more frequently than for Democrats. And I’ve voted for Independents and 3rd party candidates almost as often as I’ve voted for Democrats.