Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Pilger did several gladhand trips to Iraq back in the Old Days, when Saddam was off building autobahnen to connect one Palace to the other. Here's a sign he got the Potemkin Villiage Tour...
When I travelled the length of Iraq several years ago, I felt completely safe.
I was received everywhere with generosity and grace, even though I was from a country whose government was bombing and besieging my hosts.
One of the things I strongly suspect is that Pilger got the same kind of treatment that Walter Duranty got when he went to the Soviet Union in the 1930's. Duranty was sent to report on the goings on in Moscow for the New York Times, and is best known for his infamous summation of his time in Stalin's empire during the Blood Purge: "I have seen the future, and it works." Pilger did the tour in the Phony Peace era of the 1990's. His inability to see the monstrosity of what was in front of his own eyes is a testimony to the abilities of the Iraqi beauracracy. For men such as Pilger, and to a slightly lesser extent Fisk, there could never be enough Iraqi dead to justify the destruction of a psychotic mass killer such as Saddam. For the European Left has made its decision: the fault lies with the United States and Israel, not the greatest mass killer in Arab history.
It is times like these that I thank the Good Lord that we have a man at the helm who pays little heed to the moral cowards of the day. Men such as Pilger bring to mind Orwell's declaration of early 1941, when confronted by a similar moral question in the person of Hitler:
"To be a Pacifist is to be objectively pro-Nazi."
Meanwhile, the National Organization for Women has chosen to put its considerable energies behind the campaign of one Carole Mosely Braun. I cannot understand what drives white liberal professional women to do something this stupid, given the fact that the Braun campaign's national level of support might be able to fill a phone booth. But there you have it. Anyway, I found the story posted in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News, for anyone who is interested in the doings of the only politician John Edwards is capable of beating.
Speaking of Iraq, I suspect that the Administration's counteroffensive is about to get underway. During the dog days, GW is off at the Ranch and other folk are on vacations of one form or another. Meanwhile, reporters have become bored with the high life of beautiful downtown Crawford, Texas, so they'd rather concentrate on Bush's "collapse" of support in the latest Zogby poll (Bush is at 52%, about where Reagan was in, say, 1983). In recent days, however, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, and the President have begun the necessary rhetorical groundwork for the defense of the Iraq campaign and the necessity of that campaign in the larger war on terrorism.
Part of the problem is that, since it's August, the Administration allowed the rhetorical initiative to shift to its political enemies. Now that September is here and the campaign season is but a few months off, the Administration should move into high gear to retake the intellectual initiative in the Iraq argument. One of the things that the Administration needs to do is the obvious: reiterate the need for the Occupation and the necessity to reconstruct that prostrate nation. Bush needs to remind the American people that sacrifices in blood and treasure will be needed to make this thing work. Hopefully the Administration will outline the benefits of an Iraqi democracy in the future. The American people will understand if it is explained to them. They are made of sterner stuff than liberals suspect.
One of the things that will help the Administration in the political struggle is David Kay's report on the Iraqi WMD program. There are rumors going around Washington that Kay's report will shut the door on the debate, and leave many Democrats with some explaining to do. As mentioned in one of my earlier blog entries, the connection with al Qaeda is also something that many conservatives are hoping to be revealed.
Then there's Arnold Schwarzenegger.
You just have to love this guy. While not as forbidding as Condi Rice (see above), Arnold has become quite a political figure in these past few weeks. One of the things we are going to see is that the ABC poll that showed Arnold ahead of Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante by over twenty points should become more of a constant, as more Republican and moderate families move Arnold's way.
Right now, State Senator Tom McClintock holds the base vote in his pocket.
Arnold needs them to win. He will also need McClintock to be the good party man and drop out at an appropriate time. That will come, but at a price that Schwarzenegger will have to pay. I've had to deal with some of Tom's base vote supporters on FreeRepublic.com. They are very committed people. They can't abide Arnold right now because he is standing in the way of a "Real" Republican being elected.
It's not that these people despise Gray Davis' misrule of California. That's healthy enough. How would you like it if you had to pay a car tax whose amount had been tripled to nearly a thousand dollars? You wouldn't, I bet. Rather, it's that they follow a brand of "my way or the highway" politics that would be guaranteed to return Davis or his understudy, Bustamante, to office.
But that's the reality that Arnold faces. To nail down this election, Schwarzenegger needs not only McClintock's endorsement, but also his supporters' turnout at the polls. That will only happen when Schwarzenegger's people have made visible concessions that satisfy McClintock's base vote. He will also need McClintock's visible endorsement. For that to occur, Schwarzenegger will need to make two public concessions and one hidden concession. First, McClintock will have to have a voice in next year's budget plan as well as the proposed spending caps that are to be submitted to the California Assembly in December. Second, Arnold must agree to reasonable restrictions on abortion rights, such as a ban on partial birth abortion and parental notification laws, for the base vote to be able to compromise and say to themselves that half a loaf is better than Davis. The latter he has already signalled through various talk-show appearances.
Finally, and this is something that I have a hunch about, there would have to be a "secret agreement". First, McClintock will want his Thousand Oaks State Senate district taken care of when time comes to ladle out the pork. I believe that he'll find that Arnold knows how to do business with those who are willing to do business with him. Second, McClintock will want to try his hand at Barbara Boxer's U.S. Senate seat next year. Base Vote candidates like McClintock look attractive to themselves and their campaign staffs. Part of this is because of the devotion of their supporters. It isn't too long before they start believing that they can be Senators. I'm convinced Tom McClintock will take a shot at Barbara Boxer, and will secure Arnold's promise to campaign with him and get behind him fully.
Can McClintock win in liberal California? I'm not so sure that it's an impossibility anymore. Liberalism as an experiment has failed in that state, and has done so in a grand fashion. The worm may be turning, and California may be back in play for Republican candidates.
That would make George W. Bush a very happy man.