Thursday, June 24, 2004

If you can keep your head,

When all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you,

Those lines from Kipling should be the theme of Bush's campaign. I'd like to hear them read as photos of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice are flashed on the screen. Leaders, after all, aren't those like Clinton who have to take a poll to decide which shoe to put on first. They're those who show you the way, encourage and show you the right way, even when you can't see around all the curves.

Al Gore is descending further into bizarro land, and contradicting what he argued in the 1990s, with claims that the Bush administration is "intentionally misleading the American people by continuing to aggressively and brazenly assert a linkage between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein . . ." He's essentially playing the role of a VP candidate for Kerry, but he sure sounds like a conspiracy theorist. Barnes quotes him as saying that "we know Bush was linking Saddam and 9/11, because he said he wasn't . . ." (Cue Twilight Zone music) It sounds like the Dems are getting tangled up in the ambiguities they've tried to play on. He also charged that the administration has a group of "digital Brownshirts" intimidating editors around the country.

For those not taking notes, the administration has maintained that Saddam was a terrorist, not a close collaborator with Al Qaeda. The left is trying to discredit Bush and the war in Iraq by claiming that it told us that Saddam was part of the 9/11 attacks. Once again, "terrorist" is not the same thing as "behind Al Qaeda." There are lots of terrorists but they're not all collaborators with Al Qaeda. They probably all celebrated the 9/11 destruction, but they weren't all involved in planning and executing it.

Watching the news shows lately, it seems that all the "experts" they interview are hedging their bets, or are upset that they haven't been consulted and their gameplans followed. What we really need right now is someone with Ronald Reagan's and FDR's ability to project optimism and the faith to face up to violence and terror. This is another of those "times that try mens' souls." We need to have courage and go forward. The critics only have to sow confusion and doubt to win, because they haven't done anything to be judged on.

Look, we have seen what our military is capable of. If we suck it up and demand action, we have a better chance of success than if we put our hopes in the U.N. or anybody else. I think that turning over power in Iraq may be premature, but it certainly is an exit strategy, and I don't want to see a repeat of "They told me that if I voted for Goldwater, we'd get more war; so I did and they were right." There are always people willing to panic and not enough who, like Giuliani and Bush, can lead, when all about them are losing their heads.

Update: James Lileks explains:
We don�t expect serious party elders to call the other side Nazis, and for good reason: it�s obscene. The brownshirts were evil. The brownshirts kicked the Jews in the streets and made the little kids put their hands on their heads as they stumbled off to the trains. The brownshirts were not interested in refuting arguments. They were interested in killing the people who dared argue at all.. . .

Tell me again who�s stifling debate? Remind me again who�s questioning people�s patriotism?

Update: The capital is abuzz over the Vice-president telling Senator Leahy yesterday to go fish, or some other word beginning with f. It seems to have energized the Republican base. Hugh Hewitt was telling his listeners to donate to the Republican Senate campaign fund to help keep Leahy in the minority. I admit to being a little disappointed that Cheney would use that language, but I donated. As Hugh writes, citing the transcript of Cheney's interview with Neal Cavuto:
VP: "Well, I am usually calm, cool, and collected, and ordinarily I don't express myself in strong terms, but I thought it was appropriate here."

Appropriate indeed. And long overdue. After listening to Leahy serially slander numerous judicial nominees, then John Ashcroft last week and the Vice President this week, it was to Dick Cheney's great credit that he let the small man from the small state know what most Americans think of such Uriah Heep-like conduct.
Bush did attempt to restore civility in Washington, but the Democrats are jonesing for their old power, and their response has been to make every scurrilous accusation and lie they can think of. Leahy thinks he can throw acid around and not get burned by it. I think a lot of Republicans are fed up with trying to be civil with people who call you a fascist, Nazi, brownshirt, liar, murderer, etc. Apparently the VP was fed up, too.

In my scale of sins, cursing doesn't score on the same level of venality as hypocrisy. Leahy seems to think that politics justifies lying and defaming honest people, and that some one you've called worse than a thief should understand that it's all just good clean mudslinging.

I'm tired of civility, especially when it's answered with the worst kind of demagoguery. I hope this is the opening shot of a campaign that shows the left for the moral lepers they are.


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