Monday, February 7 2005
TED KENNEDY, FREEDOM FIGHTER:
Ted Kennedy was so excited about the first democratic elections in Iraq in more than a half century he decided to try and undermine them by giving a highly publicized defeatist rant at Johns’ Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies on January 27. Three days later Kennedy's office put out this wildly enthusiastic one paragraph statement saying the Senator thought the Iraqi elections were "a good first step" but "not a cure" and urging President Bush to hurry up and "look beyond" the vote.

Given that we've seen two other remarkable cases of democracy blossoming around the world in the last six months, I wondered if Senator Kennedy had greeted the historic events in Afghanistan and the Ukraine with the same passion and enthusiasm with which he handled Iraq. The answer, not surprisingly, is "yes."

On October 8 of last year, one day before Afghans went to the polls, Kennedy delivered this statement on the floor of the United States Senate:

Afghanistan still faces fundamental threats to the casting of ballots on Saturday, let alone its long-term stability and prosperity. Elections are vitally important to the process of rebuilding a free country, but they are not a panacea for the myriad problems that face the people in Afghanistan.

Sounds pretty familiar. This time, however, it looks as if Senator Kennedy didn't bother with congratulating the people of Afghanistan on their historic achievement. Kennedy's web site shows that he did find time to issue three statements that weekend (October 9-10), but praising democracy in Afghanistan wasn't among them. Nor does a Lexis-Nexis search for the month of October turn up any trace of Senator Kennedy saying a single thing (either positive or negative) about the Afghan elections. It's as if they never happened.

But surely the good Senator had something positive to say about Ukraine, right? After all, the Orange Revolution was untainted by Bush's hated militarism/imperialism/unilateralism and came off without a shot being fired. Liberals (and conservatives) everywhere praised the peaceful manner in which democracy triumphed in Ukraine.

Not Kennedy. Starting with the time of the initial, fraudulent vote in Ukraine (November 21) through the revote (December 26) through the day Yuschenko was sworn in (January 23) I can't find a single word uttered by Senator Kennedy on the matter. Nothing on Google, nothing in Lexis-Nexis. Nothing on his web site and nothing in the Congressional Record. If Kennedy has said something - anything - about the historic events in Ukraine I can't find it.

Kennedy's indifference to the spread of freedom and his belief that elections are quaint but not really important events are two more reasons the Democrats are in real and mortal danger by letting this man continue to be the face and voice of their party.

CAN'T KILL THIS BILL: Richard Benedetto shows that it's almost impossible to kill government spending programs:

Bush proposed eliminating 65 programs last year. All but one, a $14 million grant program for developing new information technologies, survived. Most got a little less money than the year before; a few got more.

This year, Bush's budget targets 150 government programs to be either eliminated or drastically reduced. Mike Allen and Peter Baker report in this morning's Washington Post that the early reaction from the Hill is predictable:

Some congressional officials pronounced many of the proposed cuts dead on arrival. One lawmaker involved in the negotiations said that House and Senate leaders have told the White House that no more than two dozen of the 150 proposals are likely to be accepted, although Congress might agree to reductions in some programs targeted for elimination.

Republicans in the House and Senate need to assert their leadership and get rid of as many useless spending programs as they can. Democrats have complained for quite a while now that we're never asked to make any sacrifices even though we're a nation at war. Now's our chance. - T. Bevan 12:40 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

 

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