U.S. troops out of Iraq in 2007?

November 30, 2006 at 7:06 pm

According to this report, it could happen.

The Pelosi Translator

November 30, 2006 at 5:24 pm

Great stuff from Andy Roth.

George Will on Webb

November 30, 2006 at 11:18 am

George Will’s column today is filled with harsh criticism for Democratic Senator Jim Webb:

That was certainly swift. Washington has a way of quickly acculturating people, especially those who are most susceptible to derangement by the derivative dignity of office. But Jim Webb, Democratic senator-elect from Virginia, has become a pompous poseur and an abuser of the English language before actually becoming a senator.

Wednesday’s Washington Post reported that at a White House reception for newly elected members of Congress, Webb “tried to avoid President Bush,'’ refusing to pass through the reception line or have his picture taken with the president. When Bush asked Webb, whose son is a Marine in Iraq, “How’s your boy?'’ Webb replied, “I’d like to get them (sic) out of Iraq.'’ When the president again asked, “How’s your boy?'’ Webb replied, “That’s between me and my boy.'’ Webb told the Post:

“I’m not particularly interested in having a picture of me and George W. Bush on my wall. No offense to the institution of the presidency, and I’m certainly looking forward to working with him and his administration. (But) leaders do some symbolic things to try to convey who they are and what the message is.'’

Webb certainly has conveyed what he is: a boor. Never mind the patent disrespect for the presidency. Webb’s more gross offense was calculated rudeness toward another human being — one who, disregarding many hard things Webb had said about him during the campaign, asked a civil and caring question, as one parent to another. When — if ever — Webb grows weary of admiring his new grandeur as a “leader'’ who carefully calibrates the “symbolic things'’ he does to convey messages, he might consider this: In a republic, people decline to be led by leaders who are insufferably full of themselves.

Webb seems bent on bucking the system. It would be nice to see him take some of that anti-establishment energy and steer it towards some productive uses. He could start by teaming up with Senators like Barack Obama and Tom Coburn to push more legislation like the Coburn/Obama Transparency in Government bill. That would be a much more productive use of his time than just being a pill.

Project Juice

November 30, 2006 at 11:07 am

I think I may have to switch to Nike golf balls. I am a sucker for creative advertisement. Ever wonder what a golf ball launched at high velocity towards a lava lamp would do? Wonder no more.

Giving up on Condi?

November 30, 2006 at 9:22 am

Quin Hillyer is not a happy camper. He says this story in today’s Washington Post is the last straw for Condolezza Rice, as far as he is concerned:

The upshot is this: The very same guy at State (Alberto Fernandez) who went on Al-Jazeera and said that Washington had been arrogant and stupid in Iraq has been named the winner of the Edgar R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy. Tufts University chooses the recipient FROM A LIST OF THREE FINALISTS SUBMITTED BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT. Read that again: State actually nominated this guy for this prestigious award and its $10,000 check.

Dems fail to back up key campaign promise

November 30, 2006 at 8:54 am

The Washington Post:

It was a solemn pledge, repeated by Democratic leaders and candidates over and over: If elected to the majority in Congress, Democrats would implement all of the recommendations of the bipartisan commission that examined the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation’s intelligence agencies. Instead, Democratic leaders may create a panel to look at the issue and produce recommendations, according to congressional aides and lawmakers.

It seems that old bulls in the Democratic Party having just found their way back to prized Committee Chairmanships are unwilling to give up any of their new turf in order to implement this 9/11 Commission recommendation. Here is what Heritage’s James Carafano wrote about this recommendation back in 2004:

The Commission’s criticism of the lack of effective congressional oversight of homeland security and intelligence is damning. Improving how the House and the Senate provide oversight of the Intelligence Community must be a priority. And as Heritage scholars have argued consistently, Congress must establish permanent homeland security committees in both houses.

More here:

There is no question that Congress has a major role to play in establishing an effective homeland security regime. While the Homeland Security Act of 2002 created a lead federal agency for many domestic security activities, that was only the first step. Building an effective department requires sound strategies, solid programs, personnel reforms, and integrating information technologies. Congressional oversight—lead by committees and professional staffs with the experience and expertise to address difficult, complex issues—plays an important role in achieving these ends. To this point, the Congress has failed to provide that kind of leadership.

More on the Rangel comments

November 30, 2006 at 8:00 am

Jonathan Perkins has rounded up a list of bloggers writing about the Charlie Rangel flap this week with special attention to who is linking to the Heritage study about the makeup of the military.

Syria and Iran work to co-opt Iraq

November 29, 2006 at 2:38 pm

Both Syria and Iran have been making overtures towards the new Iraqi government of late. The Heritage Foundation’s Peter Brookes tells us exactly what they are up to:

It’s clear that both Iran and Syria are trying to co-opt Iraq into their sphere on influence. Of course, the first thing Tehran and Damascus will try to get their new Iraqi friends to do is to pull the plug on the U.S. presence there. From Tehran’s and Damascus’ perspective, the fewer Americans in the region to check their plans for hegemony, the better.

But they also intend to use promises of peace and stability in Iraq as a bargaining chip in advancing other aspects of their agendas as well.

Iran wants to use Iraq as leverage to get the U.N. to back off pressuring Tehran over its nuclear (weapons) program. Tehran’s message to the U.S. and other nuclear busybodies: If you want peace and stability in Iraq, don’t push us on our nuclear program.

Syria will also try to leverage peace and stability in Iraq for an end to the U.N.’s investigation into the killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Damascus would also like a green light to re-establish its influence in Lebanon, and, perhaps, even try to get the U.S. to pressure Israel to reopen negotiations over the Golan Heights.

Frist won’t run

November 29, 2006 at 11:52 am

Bill Frist will not run for President in 2008, ABC News reports. Frist’s statement on the matter is in the extended section. Read the rest of this entry »

I hope this proves prophetic

November 29, 2006 at 9:32 am

Kevin Hassett in the Washington Post:

“Now that Republicans are in the opposition, they’re going to be the most saintly budget hawks you can imagine,” said American Enterprise Institute economist Kevin A. Hassett. With the absence of power, he notes, comes the absence of accountability and blame. As Hassett put it, “being in the minority means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Let’s hope so…but already, things are looking good:

Fiscal conservatives started to agitate days after the election, when the Republican-led 109th Congress reconvened to wrap up unfinished business. At the top of the to-do list: nine remaining spending bills for the fiscal year that started Oct. 1.

Few Republicans returned to Washington expecting to complete all the outstanding bills. But many wanted to pass at least a few, if only to show that the GOP wasn’t abrogating its governing duties. But several fiscal conservatives in the Senate saw an opportunity to take a stand against “earmarks,” the special projects that members from both parties had tucked inside the bills. The rebels announced their intention to block all spending bills from advancing — even one that financed veterans benefits and military housing.

“We need to examine the bills in the light of the last election, in which I think the American people were unhappy with our spending habits,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) explained to reporters. He and his allies, including Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), want Congress to pass a “continuing resolution” to extend funding from the previous fiscal year. “We’d save the taxpayers a lot of money,” Sessions said.

Is Bush headed for a “read my lips” moment?

November 29, 2006 at 8:48 am

There is increasing chatter in Washington about Social Security reform again becoming an issue in 2007. With a new Democratic Congress in charge, previous proposals from conservatives to permanently fix the ailing entitlement program look to be dead. But now, there is talk of shorter term fixes:

In recent days, Bush and senior administration officials have revived talk of reaching an accord on an overhaul of Social Security that would maintain the program’s solvency beyond the baby boom generation’s retirement. In an interview with The Washington Post last week, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., the president’s point man on Social Security, promised that the White House will enter talks with Democrats with “no preconditions.” That is a significant shift for Bush, who had previously said that any Social Security legislation would have to include private accounts that would allow workers to divert some of their payroll taxes to investments in stocks or bonds.

McConnell added another concession yesterday, saying that Social Security legislation should “solve the problem as far into the future as possible” — a standard that is far more flexible than Bush’s insistence on nothing short of a “permanent” fix.

By taking personal accounts off the table Republicans would be playing right into the Democrats’ hands. Liberals have always seen only one solution to the Social Security solvency problem: raise taxes. Now, by not offering a viable alternative to fix the program, a tax hike could be the only solution left standing.

Andy Roth over at the Club for Growth summed it up pretty well. “If President Bush takes personal accounts off the table, and relies on tax hikes to “fix” Social Security, then his legacy will be no better than his father’s,” said Roth. “While the current president didn’t say, “read my lips”, he did sign a pledge not to raise taxes. And that’s just as bad.”

Hillary hears footsteps

November 29, 2006 at 8:27 am

Hillary Clinton is reportedly worried about Barack Obama’s ability to defeat her in the 2008 Democratic Presidential primaries. I am more worried about Obama’s inability to beat her.

After leadership loss, where to now for Pence?

November 28, 2006 at 2:16 pm

At first glance Mike Pence’s 168-27-1 loss in this month’s House leadership elections may look like a significant political setback. But a little history might be good for some perspective.

Recall that in Nov. 2002 the upstart Harold Ford challenged Nancy Pelosi for minority leader and lost by a similar margin: 177-29. By all accounts, Ford’s bid for Minority Leader was a longshot as he challenged Pelosi under similar premises as Pence challenged Boehner: giving Democrats a more conservative alternative and new direction for the party as well as a TV and media friendly face to bring them back to the majority.

Even though Ford was soundly defeated, it didn’t hurt his reputation, especially in Tennessee, as the leadership election was viewed as an Inside the Beltway vote. In fact, some argue it helped get Ford even more national exposure and made him the odds-on favorite to gain his party’s nomination for a statewide run later. Four years later he did end up mounting a very strong bid to become the first African American Senator from the South since Reconstruction and almost pulled it off.

Now Ford is out of office, but don’t be surprised when the ambitious young Democrat comes back in a big way.

Like Ford, Pence’s stock has gone nowhere but up in his home state. The Indy Star:

His loss in a House leadership race could still provide a long-term gain for U.S. Rep. Mike Pence.

The Indiana Republican didn’t come close in his bid to be House minority leader, losing to Ohio Rep. John Boehner by a 158-27 vote. But the favorable attention Pence received in his race could play well for several options in his future, including a run for statewide office for U.S. senator or governor.

Unlike Ford, Pence still has his seat in Congress from which he can continue to practice the optimistic brand of Reagan conservatism that has won him praise in many circles.

As Pence’s stock continues to rise at home in Indiana and across the country, watch for the young conservative to make a move towards a state-wide run. Over the next six years it is likely that Pence will have the option to run either for Senate or for Governor. In either race he would be extremely competitive.

Should he win statewide…you know where the talk goes from there.

Civil war?

November 28, 2006 at 1:54 pm

NBC News has decided to call the conflict in Iraq a civil war:

NEW YORK — NBC News on Monday began referring to the Iraq conflict as a civil war, adopting a phrase that President Bush and many other news organizations have avoided.

Matt Lauer said on the “Today” show that “after careful consideration, NBC News has decided that a change in terminology is warranted, that the situation in Iraq with armed militarized factions fighting for their own political agendas can now be characterized as civil war.'’ The network’s cable news outlet, MSNBC, drummed the point home repeatedly by using the phrase “Iraq: The Civil War” on the screen.

Predictably, liberal talk show hosts like Keith Olbermann are ecstatic at the newtork’s decision. “Is this the Walter Cronkite moment of the Iraq War?” wonders Olbermann on last night’s show.

Unfortunately for Olbermann and the rest, the media no longer hold the power they did in Cronkite’s era. There is not a news anchor in the biz who holds the trust of the American people the way Cronkite did, and that is probably a good thing.

That is not to say NBC’s determination to paint as bleak a picture of Iraq as it can is not damaging. I think it is. But today, unlike in Cronkite’s time, there are other media outlets to counter them.

Hotline on Call rounds up reactions here.

$17 billion saved

November 28, 2006 at 10:55 am

If Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn succeed in their quest to stop the lame duck Congress from passing any earmarks, they will have saved taxpayers $17 billion dollars. Not bad…not bad at all. This from today’s Wall Street Journal Editorial page:

The agriculture bill, for example, includes a new $4.9 billion “emergency” handout for farmers, courtesy of North Dakota Democrat Kent Conrad. Millions more would have been directed to Alaskan salmon research, Montana sheep, New York geese and animal-waste management in Kentucky. The 10 remaining Senate spending bills (and nine in the House) are estimated to contain some 12,000 earmarks. If GOP leaders couldn’t pass these bills individually, the scheme was to wrap them all into one giant “omnibus” bill whose innards no one would ever be able to inspect.

Enter the two rebel Senators, who rallied enough of their mates to block any omnibus bill containing earmarks. The result is that the GOP Senate may return next week for its final lame duck days and instead pass a “continuing resolution” that would fund the government at 2006 levels, kicking 2007 decisions over to the Democratic majority in January. By Mr. Coburn’s estimate, taxpayers would save about $17 billion if Congress takes this approach.

That prospect has the usual spenders howling that the world will soon end if they don’t get their fix. The Social Security Administration is warning that it would have to furlough “every employee”; we’ll believe that when we see it. Meanwhile, a source from Housing and Urban Development claimed that “thousands” of poor people “would end up out on the street.” Please.

More on Rangel’s bad idea

November 28, 2006 at 10:32 am

Andrew Cline writing for the American Spectator:

Rangel has pushed for a draft for the past three years. He argues that the government would not start wars if the sons of the elites who decide such things were at risk of being deployed to fight the wars the elites start.The only problem with that thesis is that it has no basis whatsoever in reality. The United States had a draft from 1948 to 1973. We still went to Korea and (ahem) Vietnam. Rangel also has no idea who is actually in our military. He claims it’s the poor and unprivileged. (In other words, if you don’t study in school so you’ll have good career options, you’ll get stuck in Iraq.)

But the military today is not the military of the Civil War or even Vietnam. It is more educated and affluent than ever before. A report by Heritage Foundation researcher Tim Kane, released just before the election, found that “the average reading level of new soldiers is roughly a full grade level higher than their civilian peers” and that the high school graduation rate for enlistees was 17 percentage points higher than the rate for the civilian population.

The military is also not just a bunch of poor boys with no other options. “The wealthiest 40 percent of neighborhoods in America are the home of 45.6 percent of 2005 enlistees,” Kane found. “For every two U.S. recruits from the poorest neighborhoods, three come from the richest.”

So how is Rangel’s idea going over in poor neighborhoods?

“What, he was smoking pot or something?” 58-year-old James Brown of Harlem, one of Rangel’s own constituents, asked a New York Daily News reporter when asked for comment on Rangel’s plan.

Another Rangel constituent, 48-year-old Neil Davis, said Rangel “doesn’t represent the people of Harlem if he’s for the draft.”

UPDATE: Former Marine Corps Major Brian Bresnahan counters Rangel’s claims that the military is full of poor enlistees who have no other options:

I know our battalion of reserve Marines in Iraq was full of folks who took a pay cut when they were mobilized. In fact, the discrepancy in pay was so great for some of our enlisted Marines it created hardships for their families. We had Marines with graduate degrees and high level management positions in Fortune 500 companies.

There were enlisted Marines I served alongside who put lucrative computer programming jobs or the pursuit of a law degree on hold. Our battalion surgeon volunteered for the Navy Reserve to serve. He is one of the very few pediatric heart surgeons in the United States; certainly not a man without choices in life.

The angry parents and spouses of service members flooded some of the radio talk shows Monday with the stories of why their husband, wife, son, or daughter gave up scholarships, high paying jobs, or other opportunities to go fight.

So, Congressman Rangel simply made an incorrect scientific hypothesis. Honest mistake, right?

Wrong. The full measure of his outlook was unveiled when he expanded his argument about the troops and their deficiencies with respect to the rest of society. The truth is he doesn’t think much of us. In the end, his position and comments weren’t what anyone could call “supportive.”

Hillarious

November 27, 2006 at 3:43 pm

I feel for this guy…three times in a row.

DeMint off to good start as Steering Chairman

November 27, 2006 at 11:13 am

When Senator Jim DeMint was announced as the replacement for outgoing Senate Steering Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions some conservatives wondered if he would be able to live up to Sessions’ performance. While at the Senate Steering Committee — a body of Senate conservatives tasked with keeping the GOP caucus from drifting too far to the middle — Sessions won praise from conservatives for being a strong advocate of conservative principles and for being willing to stick his neck out on issues that many Republicans disagreed with him on.

Now, it looks as if Senator Jim DeMint will be doing just the same. As noted last week, DeMint teamed up with Tom Coburn to put the brakes on a raft of porked up appropriations bills despite receiving the predictable criticism from big-spending GOP colleagues on the Appropriations Committee. The Wall Street Journal today has more on that effort:

It’s been years since federal agencies have screamed this loudly about fiscal discipline being imposed on them. GOP Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Jim DeMint of South Carolina have decided to take a stand against overspending by objecting to the nearly 10,000 earmarks, or member-sponsored pork projects, larded throughout the spending bills Congress is currently considering.Their obstinacy has convinced the leadership of the departing Republican Congress that they probably won’t be able to pass spending bills in next month’s short lame-duck session. Instead, they are likely to pass a stopgap “continuing resolution,” which will continue funding all programs at last year’s level until the new Democratic Congress passes its own versions of the funding bills.

Mr. Coburn says the decision not to pass earmark-stuffed catchall spending bills could save taxpayers a cool $17 billion. All 10,000 earmarks in the pending bills will expire if they aren’t passed by the end of the year. Mr. Coburn says the decision of the congressional leadership to instead go for a continuing resolution is a sign Republicans are learning some lessons from their stinging loss of Congress three weeks ago. “By either staying home or not voting Republican, many voters were sending a message that they don’t want to give the spending favor factory that Congress had become their stamp of approval,” Mr. Coburn says. “It’s time that message was heeded.”

Nonetheless, the cries of pain are mounting now that it looks as if many federal agencies will have to get by until late January or even later with the same amount of money they got last year. Of the 11 spending bills covering the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1, only those governing defense and homeland security have become law. Appropriators are beside themselves that a continuing resolution that restrains spending is on the table. Rep. Jerry Lewis, who is ending his stint as chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, calls it a “catastrophe.” A spokeswoman for Mr. Lewis’s Senate counterpart, Thad Cochran, says it is “irresponsible.”

It’s not easy to go up against entrenched powerful appropriators, especially when you know you are going to get attacked with every type of distorted argument your pork- addicted opponents (who are many) can come up with.

Judging by these actions, it looks as if the Steering Committee will again be led by a strong fiscal conservative who is willing to buck the status quo.

Charlie Rangel’s bad idea

November 27, 2006 at 9:45 am


On Fox News Sunday yesterday Charlie Rangel took John Kerry’s “botched joke” and turned it into a straight-faced argument. This is from the transcript:

WALLACE: Congressman Rangel, you caused quite a stir this week when you said that you’re going to introduce a bill to reinstate the draft. Here’s what you said this week in a newspaper article. Let’s take a look. “The great majority of people bearing arms in this country, for this country in Iraq, are from the poorer communities in our inner cities and rural areas.”But a recent and very detailed study by the Heritage Foundation, Congressman, found the following and I’m going to put that up: 13 percent of recruits are from the poorest neighborhoods. That’s less than the national average of people living in those neighborhoods. Ninety-seven percent of recruits have high school diplomas. Among all Americans, the graduation rate is under 80 percent. And blacks make up 14.5 percent of recruits for the military; the national average is 12 percent.

Congressman, in fact, contrary to what you’ve been saying, isn’t the volunteer army better educated and more well-to-do than the general population?

RANGEL: Of course not. I want to make it abundantly clear that I have been advocating a draft ever since the president has been talking about war, and none of this comes within the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.

But I want to make it abundantly clear, if there’s anyone who believes that these youngsters want to fight, as the Pentagon and some generals have said, you can just forget about it. No young, bright individual wants to fight just because of a bonus and just because of educational benefits. And most all of them come from communities of very, very high unemployment.

If a young fellow has an option of having a decent career or joining the Army to fight in Iraq, you can bet your life that he would not be in Iraq.

So anyone who supports the war and is against everyone sharing in the sacrifice is being hypocritical about the whole thing. The record is clear, and once we are able to get hearings on this, everyone will see what they already know, and that is that those who have the least opportunities at this age find themselves in the military, as I did when I was 18 years old.

Notice how Rangel does not even try to address the well-documented facts put forth by the Heritage study. Hard data and facts are pesky little annoyances to Rangel who appears bent on pushing his insulting version of the truth.

Also notice how Rangel, with a straight face, insists that nobody would join the military unless they had no other career choices. How many of you reading this can count multiple friends and family who have chosen to serve in the military despite having lucrative career offers in other fields? I personally am lucky to know many such people. And regardless of this anecdotal test, the facts just don’t bear it out. As Wallace pointed out, the above mentioned study found the following:

Overall, the wartime recruits are more similar than dissimilar to their civilian counterparts. The all-volunteer force displays near proportional representation of income backgrounds. Whites serve in approximate proportion to their population, although representation of minority groups varies. Recruits must meet educational standards, and the military provides resources for furthering education to those who might not otherwise have the opportunity to attend four-year colleges. Although rural representation is disproportional, the military offers the opportunity to gain new skills and enter industries that are not available in rural areas.

With regard to income, education, race, and regional background, the all-volunteer force is representative of our nation and meets standards set by Congress and the Department of Defense. In contrast to the patronizing slanders of antiwar critics, recruit quality is increasing as the war in Iraq continues. Although recent recruiting goals have been difficult to meet, re-enlistment is strong and recruit quality remains high. No evidence supports arguments for reinstating the draft or altering recruiting policies to achieve more equitable representation.

So not only is Charlie Rangel’s rhetoric insulting and demeaning to the finest military in the world, it is factually wrong.

Promise?

November 27, 2006 at 8:17 am

Dems say they won’t pass any liberal laws in this Congress. Remember this one year from now.

Weekend links…and video

November 25, 2006 at 9:52 am
  • Pelosi’s compulsion
  • Assassination
  • The giving season
  • Big tech companies losing talent war
  • Ranking the senators
  • The phony world of minimum wage
  • Thanksgiving
  • On engaging the bloggers
  • Pelosi’s choice
  • Why didn’t my college offer this?


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2006 at 10:33 am
  • Thankful from the beginning — Will
  • Dakota Thanksgiving — Bottum
  • The first Thanksgiving — Colson
  • A military Thanksgiving — Smith
  • A gift guide — NRO

Winning hearts and minds…

November 22, 2006 at 1:20 pm

…one at a time.

Musical chairs…office space style

November 22, 2006 at 11:16 am

Who gets what in terms of office space? That is the question on Capitol Hill right now. And the answer is, Nancy Pelosi decides:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 21 — Forget those pesky leadership fights. The folks who run Congress are now getting down to what really matters on Capitol Hill: dividing up the office space.

In something of a break with recent tradition, the incoming Democratic speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, is planning to expropriate the second-floor suite of offices now occupied by the current speaker, J. Dennis Hastert — a handful of rooms providing a spectacular view of the Mall.

That space has been in Republican hands for 50 years or so, even when Democrats were in charge. In fact, the main offices are so strongly associated with Republicans that they were officially designated the Robert H. Michel Rooms by the House in 1995 in honor of the popular former Republican leader.

Three-day congressional work week to remain

November 22, 2006 at 9:38 am

It really is going to be fun watching the Democrats try to live up to all their campaign rhetoric. Nancy Pelosi has promised the most open and ethical congress in history, but already she has picked her first two fights in as leader to back ethically questionable members like John Murtha and Alcee Hastings.

Meanwhile, the “do-nothing Congress” charge may backfire as well:

The same House Democrats who assailed the “Do-Nothing” 109th Congress say they will get more work done than the outgoing Republican majority, but have not announced any changes to the abbreviated legislative workweek.

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, yesterday announced her party’s legislative agenda for its first 100 hours in power, saying Congress will “remain in session for several weeks in January” to consider bills proposing to increase the minimum wage, cut the student-loan interest rate and roll back subsidies for oil companies.

“It is imperative that we waste no time in addressing the pressing needs facing our nation,” she said.

We will see. While this report says no change has been announced, I won’t be surprised if Pelosi moves it to a four-day work week just to save face. But if she does that, I am sure there will be plenty of grumbling in the ranks from members who have grown accustomed to a short week.

Rangel rejected

November 22, 2006 at 9:15 am

House Democrats in leadership, to their credit, want nothing to do with Charlie Rangel’s draft idea:

The new Democratic-controlled Congress will not seriously consider reinstating the draft, even if concerns about the military’s strength and resiliency grow, party leaders said yesterday.

Key Democrats, including the incoming House speaker, House majority leader and chairmen of the House and Senate armed services committees, said they do not support a resumption of the draft. They predicted that the idea will gather little momentum in the 110th Congress, which convenes in January. Pentagon officials also restated their opposition to a draft.

Their comments came a day after Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.), who will chair the Ways and Means Committee, said he would again introduce a bill calling for a return to the draft, which has been suspended since 1973.

Dead on arrival. And it should be.

DeMint, Coburn pull Senate plug on pork spending

November 21, 2006 at 4:58 pm

Senators Jim DeMint and Tom Coburn deserve praise from conservatives for doggedly insisting that this Republican Congress not pass porked up spending bills in the remaining weeks before Dems take control.

Andy Roth has the details.

Heritage and conservative principles

November 21, 2006 at 11:34 am

There have been some blog postings around the internet this morning that have attacked the Heritage Foundation for being too cozy with the Administration. Below is some of the criticism.
Andrew Sullivan writes:

Wednesday night, libertarian Ryan Sager spoke to a little free-market group on the Hill called the Prosperity Caucus. Heritage often plays host to their events. But when Heritage found out that Sager was the speaker this month, the Prosperity Caucus was asked to take things elsewhere.

I don’t think many Republicans and conservatives have come out of denial yet about what was done to conservatism in Bush-Rove-DeLay years. Or perhaps the first stage of coming out of denial is anger at those who came out of it years ago.

Union Tribune editorial writer Chris Reed writes:

[I]t couldn’t be more disheartening and dismaying that the leading conservative think tank in the country, the Heritage Foundation, is blackballing — or at least keeping its distance from – conservative Bush critics. Especially after Nov. 7’s results, this is senseless. Congress is lost. Bush can’t seek a third term. There is nothing to be gained by pretending conservative ideals haven’t been ignored, jettisoned or blown up by the Republican version of LBJ…

…I noted with surprise that a San Diegan named Brian Tracy is on Heritage board. I’m going to try to get hold of him to ask whether he thinks it is healthy — either for Heritage’s reputation or the nation — for a powerhouse think tank to act as an extension of the Bush White House instead of as an autonomous institution devoted to established, unwavering ideas and principles.

Glenn Reynolds:

This does seem to me to represent the Kos-ification of the right. There’s something about losing that makes people act like . . . losers.

With all due respect to Glenn (and I do have an enormous amount of respect for him), the Heritage Foundation did not lose this year. Republicans did.

These posts warrant a response. Below, is our official response from Heritage:

Andrew Sullivan has created a new meme, since picked up by the San Diego Union-Tribune’s Chris Reed and others, that contends The Heritage Foundation is “blackballing” conservatives critical of the Bush Administration. If Heritage were to start blackballing conservatives critical of the Administration, we’d have to blackball ourselves first.

Heritage has been a strong critic of “conservatives” – no matter where they are - whenever they stray from bedrock conservative principles. Witness our steadfast opposition to the Medicare prescription drug benefit—the biggest entitlement since the Great Society. Or our denouncements of the Administration’s now-abandoned protectionism of steel. Or our vociferous and ongoing criticism of Washington’s near-complete lack of fiscal discipline.

Bloggers like Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Reed have done their readers a disservice by attacking the Heritage Foundation when the real problem is that many conservatives elected as such have not stuck to principles. A quick visit to our Web site (heritage.org) and a cursory review of the policy papers and commentary there would confirm that Heritage remains the “autonomous institution devoted to established, unwavering ideas and principles” Mr. Reed desires.

As for the specific charges of blackballing: Failure to invite a non-member to a members-only event is not an exercise in blackballing. Declining to host an event when an alternative venue is available is not blackballing. ‘Nuff said.

LaRouche wackos disrupt event about Islam

November 21, 2006 at 8:56 am

Last week author Robert Spencer was a guest speaker at the Heritage Foundation. The topic of Spencer’s speech was, “The Truth about Muhammed.”

The speech was interrupted towards the end by followers Lyndon LaRouche. An entire account of the interruption can be found here.

A young woman wearing a hat, named Megan (”from Boston”), brought up the subject of child marriage, which Spencer had mentioned when talking about the bad example Muhammad has given to his followers to this day. She asked him if “Republican Congressman Mark Foley was perhaps under the influence of the evil teachings of Muhammad.” Spencer laughed at the question, and bluntly said “No.” Members of the audience also laughed at her question, most likely because of its sheer absurdity. Spencer expanded on his answer, and said, “I never said that child molestation or pedophilia or anything of the kind was exclusively the province of Muslims…. I disapprove of it [this kind of conduct] from Mark Foley or anyone else”…

…Following the applause, people started to file out of the large auditorium at the Heritage Foundation. The man who had been complaining continued to shout, and as I made my way out to the lobby outside the auditorium to get my copies of Spencer’s books signed, I started to hear singing. It sounded like some kind of protest song/jingle. I didn’t really know what they were singing about at the time, but upon the reviewing the streaming video at the link above (starting at the 1:02:00 mark), the words were something like “Mr. Cheney, something something World War Three, one hundred thousand something die, that’s like Nazi genocide.” The song, of course, continued.) Between the Foley question and the jingle singers, it became pretty obvious that there were a handful of leftists that were bent on causing some kind of disruption at the lecture.

The video can be found here…scroll to the 58 minute mark and watch from there.