November 27 2003
GIVING THANKS....TO OUR READERS: It's hard to believe we've
been at this for more than three years. Doesn't really seem that
long. Back in the spring of 2000 when we launched the site - to
a combined readership of about 5 people the first week - we had
no idea what we were getting ourselves into.
America has endured one of the more remarkable 40-month periods
in her history, including an historic election in 2000 and the
worst terrorist attack ever on her soil.
All the while
our readership continued to grow. Today, on an average weekday
more than 30,000 different people check in with RCP. Many of you
have been loyal visitors since the very early days, and we're
honored and grateful to all who choose our site as a resource
for political commentary.
the site every day is difficult work, sometimes exhausting and
nearly always overwhelming. But every now and then, seemingly
out of the blue, we'll get an email from a reader that just blows
us away. It's hard to imagine that a few words from someone you've
never met could make it all worthwhile but trust me, it does.
Like this email we received last year:
to express my utmost gratitude to you. I work long hours, I
have a wife and three children whom I adore, and I have an overwhelming
desire to be engaged and informed regarding the issues of the
day. Until I found your site (via a link from HughHewitt.com),
I did not have the time to research, critically review and internally
substantiate information about these issues. The first thing
I do in the morning is pull up your site and read for an hour
or so. Somehow you guys bring content together that is direct,
encompassing, and insightful. I'm a better father, citizen,
and a much more educated human being because of the information
that is presented on your site. I appreciate your efforts. Thank
emails from high school teachers and housemoms, newspaper editors
and Navy pilots telling us how much they appreciate RCP and how
it's helped, influenced, or changed them:
inform you of the profound impact RCP has had on us. My husband
found out about it from a friend. He began reading it and would
print out articles for me. Then I started going on line everyday
as well. Now it is the first thing I do each morning (after
pouring a cup of coffee).
result of reading this web site for months, we now subscribe
to The Weekly Standard, NRO, townhall.com and the very fabulous
WSJ. We have contributed to RCP, The Heritage Foundation and
Bush-Cheney '04 and RNCC.
of this prompted from reading RCP's very excellent compilation
of articles and your daily blog. If you have affected one household
this way, I imagine you've done this to many, many more. I expect
you're making quite a contribution to changing things and keeping
RCP to everyone and email articles to our family and friends
regularly. Thanks again for the response and, more importantly,
thanks for producing our most favorite and useful tool for staying
Some of our
most gratifying email, believe it or not, comes from liberals
who tell us that even though they don't agree with our personal
opinions they still find RCP to be a valuable resource and one
of their favorite places on the Internet.
It is an
awe-inspiring thought that RCP is contributing, even if only a
little bit, to people becoming more active in the political process
and more informed about the issues we all face in these extremely
turbulent and historic times.
is that at the end of the day RCP is made possible by you, the
reader; by your willingness to continue visiting the site, to
keep spreading the word to friends and family about who we are
and what we do, and for the generous financial support that keeps
us up and running. For all of these things we are and will remain
eternally grateful. Happy Thanksgiving. - T.
Bevan & J. McIntyre 11:30 am
November 26 2003
HIM OR HATE HIM: Time Magazine's cover
story this week is a classic mainstream media hit job on a
popular Republican president. The basic thesis of the article
by John Dickerson and Karen Tumulty can be summed up by this quote:
"If Ronald Reagan was the Great Communicator, Bush is proving
to be the Great Polarizer."
thought after reading the rather long piece was that I don't remember
the press running a story on President Clinton as the "Great
Polarizer," even though Clinton aroused just as much anger
and passion on the right as Bush does on the left. Of course,
this is because in the ideological world of the vast majority
at Time, Newsweek, ABC, CBS, NBC, Washington
Post, NY Times, LA Times, etc... Bush is pursuing
divisive, wrong and in many ways evil policies whereas Clinton
was pursuing (at least in their minds) solid, middle-of-the-road
me to the second and more important thought I drew from that article.
What really drives the left crazy is the success this President
is having at moving the country ahead with a principally conservative
agenda. This attempt to brand the president as a 'polarizer' is
going to have little effect in slowing down the Bush political
their history, but FDR was far from liked by most Republicans.
His New Deal agenda was hated by a solid 30%-35% of the nation
in the 1930's. That hatred on the right did the Republicans little
good because 60% of the country liked President Roosevelt's New
Deal just fine and reelected him and his Democrats to office with
will drive the elite media even more crazy, it's possible this
is the same dynamic we are seeing with President Bush today. And
it is about one thing: LEADERSHIP. Above and beyond any affection
for FDR's policy agenda, what the public liked about the man was
his leadership. In the depths of the depression in 1933 when President
Roosevelt came into office, leadership was what the county was
craving and FDR provided it.
11th 2001 has provided a similar catalyst for President Bush.
In the searing horror of that day and the new world that followed,
what the country sought, more than anything else, was leadership.
And that is exactly what President Bush has been providing every
Like it or
dislike it, the New Deal was a bold and new direction for the
country in response to a major crisis. It was polarizing and divisive.
President Bush's policy of preemption is a bold and new foreign
policy direction for the country. And yes, it is polarizing.
a 50-50 nation in 2000 and for most of the 1990's, but President
Bush is moving us away from that split. Polls are nice, and Time
had a bunch of them to buttress their point that the nation is
split right down the middle. But I'm afraid that is more than
a little wishful thinking on the part of the left.
set the course of political history in this country, not polls.
In 2002, against the typical headwind of a midterm election Republicans
won the popular vote for the House 51%-46%. A small, but significant
shift from the 49%-48% results in the three previous elections.
A year out
from 2004, the early signs don't look good for the Democrats.
An improving economy, signed and sealed prescription drug relief
for seniors, and the cultural issue du jour of gay marriage is
not a winning mix. All of this coupled with the likely prospect
of nominating an individual who will be viewed as weak
on the number one policy issue of the day, national security,
is a blueprint for electoral disaster in 2004.
Bush might very well be extremely polarizing to the 30%-35% on
the left, but that isn't going to help Democrats win elections
or govern. Just ask the Republicans of the 1930's. J.
McIntyre 7:11 am
November 25 2003
ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER DEBATE: It was tough, but I forced myself
to watch the
whole thing. I don't think any new ground was broken; Dean
again defended himself (successfully, I think) against attacks
from John Kerry and Dick Gephardt, Al Sharpton told a few more
one liners and refused to apologize for his involvement in the
Tawana Brawley case, and Dennis Kucinich took his pacifist platform
to a new level of appeasement by saying he would meet directly
with North Korea's tyrant to negotiate.
I kept waiting
for someone to put the shiv in Dean for his "re-regulation"
comments from last week. Nothing. Dean exposed the soft underbelly
of an anti-business candidate that wants to shackle the US economy
with reams of new regulations and control it from Washington DC.
Even though his rivals criticized Dean last week, there wasn't
a peep in the debate. I guess it was just too difficult for any
of the candidates to take a break from bashing HMOs, drug companies,
oil companies, meat-packing companies, and Halliburton to say
a good word about corporations, competition, and the necessity
of striking an appropriate balance of regulation without crippling
our free-market economy. You can bet George W. Bush won't miss
this target if Dean's the nominee.
my award for the worst line of the debate goes to Wes Clark who
said, "We want to be ahead of the software revolution. Let
them do the software in India; we'll do other things in this country.
We can do that. All it takes is leadership." I could hear
Bill Gates' cup of Starbucks hitting the floor all the way out
in Bellevue. If Wes Clark's idea of leadership is to let the US
software industry go in the tank, everyone would probably be a
lot better off if he just sticks to soldiering.
WRONG SIDE OF BRIGHTNESS: If you're a regular reader of RCP
you'll know that Austin
Bay is one of our favorite columnists. So when he asked if
I'd be willing to review his new book, I was more than happy to
oblige. So here it is, albeit brief and a bit delayed.
once described the writing as the art of telepathy: transferring
an image from the head of the writer to the head of the reader
via words written on a page. The best writers have a knack for
it, and the best books depend on it to capture the reader's imagination
and engulf them in the story.
book does all of this and more. From the banks of the Euphrates
to the piers of Aruba to a penthouse in Paris to the rain-soaked
forests on the outskirts of Prague, Bay moves you through the
settings of his murder mystery with force, speed, and precision.
intricacies of the plot are no less fierce. Protagonist Peter
Ford works frantically, calling on his experience as a soldier
and his contacts in the murky worlds of diplomacy and intelligence
to unravel the death of a friend and to bring to justice the perpetrator
of a war crime.
no time -and very few words - in weaving this riveting tale of
a man haunted by a vision of death and driven to the ends of the
earth (literally) in pursuit of redemption, revenge, and justice.
It's a journey told with telepathic clarity, and one
that is definitely worth taking. - T.
Bevan 8:24 am
November 24 2003
BUSH'S BALLOT WOES: As we
discussed last week, President Bush is having some trouble
getting on the ballot in Illinois. On Friday Republicans
rejected a deal to get Bush's name on the ballot in exchange
for waiving nearly $1 million in election fines and for allowing
"hanging" chads to be counted in the upcoming election.
The final vote was 23-27.
So now what?
Well, there is always the option of a write-in campaign. But this
doesn't seem very realistic. The expense and confusion of a write-in
campaign would cripple any chance of Bush being competitive in
Illinois - and he's already facing an uphill battle here to begin
reports that an aide to Governor Blagojevich said the Governor
'will "naturally support the Democratic candidate" for president
but wants to see Bush on the Illinois ballot and will sign a bill
putting him there if it gets on his desk.'
news, except the Democrats in Illinois control both the House
and the Senate so he won't be seeing a bill on his desk unless
they decide to put one there.
In the end,
the legislature will most likely take the issue up again in January.
Maybe then Republicans, perhaps with some urging from Rove and
Mehlman, will hold their noses and save the President's hide.
DAMN LIES: Over at the way-left, Bush-hating site BuzzFlash,
they've posted an
interview with the father-son team of Robert
Scheer and Christopher
Scheer who have written a book (commissioned by fellow Bush-hating
Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq.
to read the whole thing to get a true feel for the way these men
think; their utter fixation with Vietnam and with the idea that
America is an arrogant, imperialist power out to do harm to the
rest of the world. Still, I've taken a little time to pull some
excerpts from the interview, which are posted below along with
Scheer: And what’s astonishing in reviewing the book was to
find out just how little they [the Bush administration] really
had. They really took a few little pieces and milked them to
the extent that it was clear they didn’t have much evidence
at all. I mean, with a $27 billion intelligence budget, you
think we could have come up with some more convincing evidence,
even if it was manufactured.
RCP: That's actually a very good question.
If this adminstration is so deceitful, so utterly corrupt and
dishonest and was so intent on going to war, why wouldn't they
manufacture better supporting evidence for their case instead
of making such momentous decisions knowing they didn't have
squat? Isn't a more logical conclusion that the Bush administration
looked at the preponderance of evidence dating back more than
a decade and, even allowing for ambiguities or deficiencies,
decided that letting Saddam remain in power was a risk not worth
Scheer: What I see that happened is they kept throwing
out new bones. Those bones would get destroyed, and they’d throw
out some more. They’d keep pressing forward. They’d say the
truth over here, and then say a lie over there. They’d use Dick
Cheney as a way to get out ideas. They wouldn’t say all the
time that al-Qaeda was connected to Hussein, but they would
just use Hussein and al-Qaeda in sentences together, over and
over and over again. They would speculate irresponsibly about
what could happen -- if this, and then that, then hey, there
might be nukes, and they might be in New York being blown up
by terrorists. They used all those tricks.
RCP: I'm confused as to why someone might
think it irresponsible, especially after September 11, to speculate
about what could happen if terrorists get their hands on a nuclear
weapon and to take whatever steps might be necessary to prevent
such a thing from occuring. As I've
said before, the same people who now criticize President
Bush for being unduly alarmist with respect to intelligence
reports are the same people who want to blame him for not being
alarmist enough in the months leading up to Septebmer 11. You
can't have it both ways.
Scheer: If you look at what they’ve done since taking over [Iraq],
it’s more akin to the cultural revolution in China than to our
old habits of knocking off the top man and putting in a new
sort of pro-capitalist tyrant who will let us operate there.
We’ve knocked out their military to the extent that we just
dispersed it. We’ve purged their bureaucracy. And what people
are [experiencing] within Iraq now is chaos, basically: physical
insecurity, a huge amount of violence, no process to redress
their grievances. People can be invaded in the middle of the
night by soldiers who don’t speak their language. And they take
people off in blindfolds, and people don’t know where to go
to find them.
RCP: Are we talking Mao? This is the worst
sort of up-is-down, morally bankrupt analogy I've seen used
in a while. Saddam Hussein is the one who "purged"
people from his bureaucracy and took "people off in blindfolds"
never to be seen again. We've established, in very short order,
a working court system in the country so Iraqis truly can redress
their grievances in an orderly way. We're carting off the bad
guys, for sure, but the military and police actions we're taking
in Iraq do not resemble, in any way, shape or form, the atrocities
of the Cultural Revolution - and it's absolutely perverse and
despicable to suggest they do.
OF THE DAY: "I find many people, including some who don't
support him [Howard Dean], who very much like his manner, his
forcefulness. The rolled-up sleeves, the passion, the attack.
Black people, they want somebody who can trash Bush." -
Bond, Chairman of the N.A.A.C.P. in today's New York Times.
Let's hope all Americans want a little more than that. - T.
Bevan 7:32 am