however, the split in the seams of the Democratic party is growing
wider by the day, and Howard Dean is the one who is doing the
he not only repeated his widely criticized remark that America
is no safer after Saddam's capture, but he went one whopper further,
country is no safer today than it was on Sept. 10, 2001.
is demonstrably false by any measure and wildly out of touch with
reality. I'd be willing to bet that 90% or more of all Americans
would disagree with it.
the real genius behind Dean's strategy and his hold on the nomination:
to refute this lie one must give at least tacit credit to the
Bush administration for making the country safer. That's something
the hard left of the party base is not willing to do.
one of Dean's rivals try to hammer him for making such ridiculous
statements Dean strikes back hard, as he did yesterday, leveraging
the Bush-hating emotion in the party to bludgeon his opponents:
several days of brushing off his rivals with a few glib asides,
Dean responded with a denunciation that lumped Bush together
with his Democratic opponents — or, as he called them, the "Washington
the Democratic Party has to offer a clear alternative to the
American people," Dean said in remarks hastily tacked onto the
beginning of a long-planned speech on domestic policy at the
Manchester City Library. "We must make it clear the capture
of one very bad man does not mean that this president — or the
Washington Democrats — can declare victory in the war on terror."
has been so resilient to this point because he now embodies the
anti-Bush rage of the left with an almost Messianic completeness.
To now disagree with Dean - even when he tell such a monstrous,
laughable lie - is to be a heretic.
UPDATE: See Robert
Drezner, and Hugh
Hewitt for more on Dean.
IT LIKE IT IS - AND LIKE IT ISN'T: One other Dean note. Follow
the logic from this
story in Newsday, where Dean responds to criticisms of his
"George Bush knew about 9/11" remarks:
called the comment "an absurd insinuation" Monday.
of Dean's rivals, Rep. Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.), yesterday likened
the comment to rumor mongering. "If you are unsure about a rumor,
you shouldn't be spreading it," he said.
defended his comment Tuesday, saying it was no different from
what the Bush administration did during the run-up to the Iraq
difference is that I acknowledged that I did not believe the
theory that I was putting out," he said.
days, Gephardt and Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman
(D-Conn.) have said Dean lacks credibility and experience.
have been especially critical of Dean's assertion Monday that
the capture of Saddam Hussein had not made America safer.
plane, Dean said he personally wrote that line. "If I think
something is true, I say it," he said.
a tangled web we weave.
KERRY: Yesterday John
"F." Kerry loaned his campaign a cool $850,000 and
said he will put in more money once he's completed mortgaging
who has even a passing acquaintance with politics knows that even
if Kerry loses he won't be going homeless anytime soon. This is
merely an effort to present the image of Kerry as a "fighter"
who's willing to go for broke (literally) and put it all on the
will work, but Kerry's candidacy has been so lousy for so long
now you just have to think he's pouring money down the spider-hole
of a failed campaign. - T. Bevan 8:33 am | Link
December 18 2003
CLARK'S LOW: As you can see, today's blog is late and short.
I guess it's better than nothing, though that's certainly debatable
and up to you to decide. But seriously, who does Wes
Clark think he is?
blistering critique of the commander in chief, Clark said that
"capturing Saddam Hussein doesn't change the fact that Osama
bin Laden is still on the loose."
I'd been president, I would have had Osama bin Laden by this
time," Clark said at a news conference in Concord, New Hampshire,
where he was campaigning for votes in the nation's first primary,
have followed through on the original sentiment that the president
gave us -- Osama bin Laden, dead or alive.
he executed a bait-and-switch. He took the priority off Osama
bin Laden. He shifted the spotlight onto Saddam Hussein."
This is so
lame I can't even find the will to summon the proper derogatory
reference. Clark's doing his own little version of the "bait-and-switch",
trying to diminish the impact of a great moment for the Iraq people
and the US military for his personal political gain by putting
the focus back on bin Laden. Fine.
is Clark going to say when we yank bin Laden (or what's left of
him, anyway) out of a cave at some point in the future? It's
absolutely, positively going to happen. You know it,
I know it, and Wes Clark knows it too.
has always been implicitly based on the failure of George W. Bush's
foreign policy. But this is goes a bit further. He's now positioned
himself so that his run for President of the United States rests,at
least to a degree, on the hope that America fails to find the
world's most wanted terrorist between now and next November. That's
a new low. - T. Bevan 12:46 pm | Link
December 17 2003
This morning I wrote today's NY Times/CBS poll had President Bush's
job approval numbers up 7 points to 52%. Those numbers actually
refer to George W. Bush's "handling of foreign policy."
On the question of job approval, the NYT/CBS poll shows President
Bush up 6 points to 58%. My apologies.
You may have heard about this exchange from the panel discussion
on Special Report last night but just in case you missed it, here's
KONDRACKE: "I was here at Fox News, Madeleine Albright, former
secretary of state was in the Green Room getting made up for
a different show. And she said do you suppose that the Bush
administration has Usama bin Laden hidden away somewhere and
will bring him out before the election?"
MARA LIASSON: "The October Surprise."
KONDRACKE: "The October -- she was -- she was not smiling, you
BRIT HUME: "What did you say?"
KONDRACKE: "I said you can't seriously believe that. And she
said, well, she thought it was a possibility. I mean, you know,
that is just unthinkable. That's irrational. It's -- but they
will believe anything about George Bush, the Democratic Party.
And this is not some kid in sandals, you know, working in the
Dean campaign. This is the former secretary of state."
clearer every day the Bush-hating fever raging through the hard
left of the Dem base has now infected the entire party. - T.
Bevan 12:15 pm | Link
claims her comments were "tongue in cheek." Sorry
Secretary, it sounds more like "foot in mouth."
THINGS THAT MATTER - PART I:
Wanna know how out of touch Howard Dean is with a huge portion
(if not a huge majority) of Americans and how they feel? I submit
this extraordinary email I received in response to my
post Monday as Exhibit A:
your optimism as expressed in You're
Next, Osama. I pray you are right, not so much for me--
and I want that slime captured real bad -but for my wife and
latter is in a cancer hospital in the Bronx dying of a brain
tumor. His only son, Lt. Joseph G. Leavey, led Ladder 15 to
the 78th floor of the WTC's South Tower. They directed a number
of folks to safety, several whom we know by name who made it
out, before that first tower collapsed while Joe and his crew
were trying to get to the people above where the plane hit.
I spoke to my wife, in NYC, on the phone Sunday morning, her
dad had already awoken her with a phone call of Saddam's capture.
She said it gave him hope.
our troops, many of whom I once served with during my career
in the Army, for capturing Saddam. I'm not a "but what about
Osama" liberal Bush-hater and yes, with George W. Bush as president,
we will get Osama.
that Joe's dad lives long enough to see his son's murderer also
in custody or, preferably, in a pine box.
says it "doesn't matter" whether Osama bin Laden is
tried at The Hague where he will not face the death penalty. It
does matter. It matters a lot to a great number of Americans.
against the death penalty that's fine, go ahead and make your
case. Dean didn't do that, nor did he seem to know the implications
of what he was saying. But he certainly knows the implications
now, and he hasn't done a thing to change or clarify his position.
In the general election, this is the kind of low hanging fruit
your opponents can only dream about.
THAT MATTER - PART II: In his interview with Diane Sawyer
last night President Bush fended off a barrage
of questions about Iraq's WMDs. Here's the key exchange:
SAWYER: But let me try to ask — this could be a long question.
... ... When you take a look back, Vice President Cheney said
there is no doubt, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction,
not programs, not intent. There is no doubt he has weapons of
mass destruction. Secretary Powell said 100 to 500 tons of chemical
weapons and now the inspectors say that there's no evidence
of these weapons existing right now. The yellow cake in Niger,
in Niger. George Tenet has said that shouldn't have been in
your speech. Secretary Powell talked about mobile labs. Again,
the intelligence — the inspectors have said they can't confirm
this, they can't corroborate.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yet.
DIANE SAWYER: — an active —
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yet.
DIANE SAWYER: Is it yet?
PRESIDENT BUSH: But what David Kay did discover was they had
a weapons program, and had that, that — let me finish for a
second. Now it's more extensive than, than missiles. Had that
knowledge been examined by the United Nations or had David Kay's
report been placed in front of the United Nations, he, he, Saddam
Hussein, would have been in material breach of 1441, which meant
it was a causis belli. And look, there is no doubt that Saddam
Hussein was a dangerous person, and there's no doubt we had
a body of evidence proving that, and there is no doubt that
the president must act, after 9/11, to make America a more secure
DIANE SAWYER: Again, I'm just trying to ask, these are supporters,
people who believed in the war who have asked the question.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, you can keep asking the question and my
answer's gonna be the same. Saddam was a danger and the world
is better off cause we got rid of him.
DIANE SAWYER: But stated as a hard fact, that there were weapons
of mass destruction as opposed to the possibility that he could
move to acquire those weapons still —
PRESIDENT BUSH: So what's the difference?
DIANE SAWYER: Well —
PRESIDENT BUSH: The possibility that he could acquire weapons.
If he were to acquire weapons, he would be the danger. That's,
that's what I'm trying to explain to you. A gathering threat,
after 9/11, is a threat that needed to be de — dealt with, and
it was done after 12 long years of the world saying the man's
a danger. And so we got rid of him and there's no doubt the
world is a safer, freer place as a result of Saddam being gone.
what the President is trying to say here, but curtly responding
to the question with "So what's the difference?" is
a terrible gaffe. There's a huge difference between Saddam Hussein
having WMD's in his possession and "the possibility he could
The WMD issue
matters, and its going to continue to matter well into the future,
not only for us but for our
Coalition partners as well. The threat of WMD was one of the
central justifications for preemptive action in Iraq and, even
as the other reasons for toppling Saddam emerge more convincingly
as time goes on, our inability to find either a stockpile of WMDs
or conclusive proof that Saddam possessed an infrastructure capable
of WMD production will have future consequences and does diminish
the credibility of the administration's case - to a degree.
still plenty of searching to be done in Iraq, plenty of leads
to follow and plenty of interrogations to conduct. I still believe,
as the President does, that we will continue to uncover evidence
that Saddam was either in possession of WMD's or, at the very
least, heavily invested in WMD acquisition and production.
THAT MATTER - PART III: We've been remiss about discussing
story from Sunday reporting documents have been found that
show September 11 hijacker Mohammed Atta met with and received
training from Palestinian uber-terrorist Abu Nidal in Baghdad.
The guys at Powerline
were on top of this story and also question why it didn't
get any attention from the WaPo and NYT.
that matter from today: a host
of new state polls on the Dems, most of which show Howard
Dean still with a commanding lead and Wes Clark assuming the mantle
of number two; a new NYT/CBS
poll showing what we'll call a nice "spider-hole bounce"
for President Bush: 7-point jump in job approval (to 52%) and
a significant 23-point spread swing in the right track/wrong track
(from 39% RT/56% WT to 49% RT/ 43% WT). Lastly, John
Thune's announcement he won't run for the SD House seat. -
T. Bevan 8:15 am | Link
December 16 2003
DEAN'S BIG SPEECH: It's
a tad ironic that Howard Dean chose a location just down the road
from Hollywood for yesterday's
event. It was the biggest speech of his campaign to date,
addressing the biggest question facing the future of the country,
and attempting to answer the biggest question about his candidacy
for President of the United States.
he was at the podium of the St. Regis hotel, flanked by that
renowned image of foreign policy toughness, Warren Christopher
(D'oh!), playing the part of the sober, serious, Presidential
leader. The normally rolled-up shirt sleeves tucked nicely beneath
the suit coat and the normally loud, animated Dean persona replaced
by an index card-reading automaton.
As to the
of the speech, it seems Dean wants to do two things: 1) restore
"multilateralism" as the primary force driving US foreign
policy and 2) show he's tougher than Bush by outspending him.
Dean says we're spending $2 billion annually to corral and quarantine
existing WMD's around the world through the Nunn-Lugar program.
He wants to triple that number. President Bush recently committed
$10 billion to fight HIV/AIDS. Again, Dean will triple it.
he doesn't give a number, Dean promises to spend more - it sounds
like much more - on homeland security:
will do more to protect our cities, ports, and aircraft; water
and food supplies; bridges, chemical factories, and nuclear
will improve the coordination of intelligence information not
only among federal agencies but also with state and local governments.
we will enhance the emergency response capabilities of our police,
firefighters and public health personnel. These local
first responders are the ones on whom our security depends,
and they deserve much stronger support from our federal government.
This is the
classic view du jour among liberals who want to seem
tough on national defense, but it demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding
of the issue. The ones on whom our security depends are the men
and women in the US military and what they're able to accomplish
battling terrorism in far away places like Afghanistan, Iraq,
and Indonesia. Firefighters and emergency response teams at home
are surely important (especially in larger cities that might be
more attractive targets for terrorists) but they
don't protect us from attacks, they respond to attacks
after they happen. There's a big, big difference.
Bush's foreign policy as "radical" and "dangerous",
promising that as president he would rebuild our strained relations
abroad and forge "a new global alliance to defeat terror."
This new alliance would do.... basically the exact same thing
we are doing today: share intelligence, round up terrorist suspects,
and freeze terrorist assets. The only real difference, so far
as I could tell, is that Dean promises that under his leadership
the whole world would be doing these things together, rather than
just the countries that are willing to do them right now.
But as David
Brooks ably notes this morning Dean's vision is so idealistic
it borders on fantasy - as if he could wave a wand and countries
that have heretofore been reluctant or obstinate in fighting terrorism
would line up to follow his lead.
fundamental of Dean's argument is simple and personal: the leaders
of many countries in the world aren't doing as much as they can
or should be doing to fight terrorism because they hate George
Bush. But they'll like Howard Dean, and because of this he'll
be able to them get to cooperate more.
the world to "like us again." Personally, I'm not buying
it. We've been down that road before and it always leads to the
same place. Last time it led to September 11.
we all want other countries to like us and admire us (and, by
the way, if immigration is any indication the world still admires
America a great deal), but not if it comes at the cost of terrorists
and countries who sponsor them ceasing to fear us. At this moment
in history it's better to be feared than liked. And President
Bush has made amply clear the reasons some have a legitimate reason
for fearing us and what they must do to alleviate that fear.
Dean claimed he will restore a "high moral purpose"
to American foreign policy. I'd be interested in hearing Dean
articulate a higher moral purpose than promoting liberty and democracy
for the people of the world. Dean's obsession with multilateralism
and corresponding idea that the legitimacy of any given policy
is determined by the UN and the will of the international community
leaves me fearing that his definition of "high moral purpose"
will be cutting back room deals with Jacques Chirac so he can
get France's vote on the Security Council rather than doing what's
right for US national security. - T. Bevan 10:46 am | Link
December 15 2003
YOU'RE NEXT, OSAMA: I'm at a loss this morning to add
much to the discussion of Saddam Hussein's capture. As you've
probably seen, the front page is overflowing
with opinions about how Hussein's arrest will effect the situation
in Iraq, the War on Terror and next year's election.
For the record,
I agree with most of the emerging conventional wisdom. Yes, the
is extraordinarily powerful. Yes, the political
benefits for President Bush are obvious and real (just how
temporary they are remains to be seen). And yes, Howard
Dean is going to have to start dancing.
I guess what
struck me most as I watched the entire affair unfold yesterday
was the utter inevitability of it all. We knew Saddam would be
captured eventually, we just didn't know when or how it would
hours becoming acquainted with the intricate details of Operation
Red Dawn brought me back to a sharp reality: while we've all been
lounging around these lazy fall and winter weekends watching football
and preparing for the holidays, the men and women in our armed
forces have been eating, breathing and sleeping nothing but Saddam
Hussein since May.
with their efforts, I was awestruck not only by their relentless
focus and dogged determination, but also by the flexibility and
creativity underlying their perseverance.
to say, my opinion is that while these are qualities to be expected
in the finest military ever assembled, they're also qualities
- not coincidentally - that best characterize the leaders of this
administration, especially President Bush.
We have the
luxury of going about our business every day without worry - shopping
for holiday gifts and bickering about the BCS rankings - precisely
because our President and our military remain obsessively focused
on beating back terrorism in Iraq and beyond.
of a promise he made to us after September 11, 2001, and something
he's continued to make good on in the two years since, battling
the adversity and intransigence of apologists at home and abroad.
arrest yesterday was the fulfillment of part of that promise.
Assuming he's still alive, Osama bin Laden's capture or death
will be another. We don't know how or when it will happen, but
we all know with the same sense of inevitability that with George
W. Bush as President it will happen.
JIHAD- SORT OF: Sheikh Ahmed Al Khalidi is one of three
Saudi clerics arrested earlier this year for "promoting militancy"
and for urging Saudis not to cooperate with efforts to track down
those responsible for the bloody
Riyadh bombing on May that killed 21 people.
night during an interview on Saudi TV, Khalidi called on his
fellow Muslims in Saudi Arabia to lay down their arms:
are no enemies here for them to carry arms against and there
is no jihad here and no fighters. We only have those (non-Muslims)
under the protection of the state and Muslims whose blood, wealth
and honour should be safeguarded."
not to murder other Saudis in Allah's name is good first step,
I suppose. But how about calling on Muslims to stop killing Jews
and Christians around the world as well? Why exempt only Saudi
Arabia from the fatwa? The excerpts from the interview leave me
with the distinct impression that Khalidi's new found compassion
doesn't go very far and he'll be back in the mosque soon encouraging
jihad against the Zionist pigs and the Great Satan - just as long
as it doesn't happen in Saudi Arabia. - T. Bevan 9:40 am |