Saturday, April 7


Nancy Pelosi's trip to Damascus has been making wingnut heads explode. Michael Medved was truly unglued yesterday, arguing that she should spend time in jail for violating the Logan Act.

Sean Hannity was just as incensed and excited. Holy smoke! He's now convinced that the Republicans are going to do just fine in the 2008 elections because the Dems have blown it so badly in just a few months, and Nancy Pelosi "is a clear example of what happens when a woman gets in a position of power." Oops, Sean, I think you just insulted more than half the voting public, including a few prominent Republican women politicos (not excluding such conservative icons as Iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, Condi Rice and Liddy Dole). You just bared your true misogynistic, female-repressing macho male soul.

But I'm angrier after listening to what are supposed to be genuine journalists repeatedly condemning Pelosi's trip and speculating as to the "damage" it's going to do the Democrats without once informing their audience that not only have numerous Republican Congressmen recently made the same trek to Syria and Assad, Pelosi's group included a Republican Congressman, and each member of her delegation explicitly stated that they affirmed Bush's own message. The hypocrisy evident in the Bush administration's and the media's attack upon Pelosi is appalling.

Yet the White House had no criticism of the trip to Syria by three Republican House members before Pelosi's delegation arrived there this week nor of Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista (San Diego County), who visited Syria after Pelosi, Lantos and their colleagues had left. Pelosi's group included Republican Rep. David Hobson of Ohio and Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the House.

Issa, who is Lebanese American, criticized Bush for failing to engage in the dialogue necessary to overcome the United States' differences with Syria.

The attention given to Pelosi since her ascension to the Speakership, and the attacks upon her, make me very, very susceptible to the notion that Sean Hannity's attitude is shared by a large portion of influencers. And that the nation -- or at least the media -- is "ready" for a female president only in that it is prepared to savage her for presuming to usurp a man's "power."

UPDATE: More here.

The real story here is 180 degrees from what the pundits have been preaching. While Speaker Pelosi has been in the Middle East letting Assad and others know that Americans are united in their support for human rights and opposition to terrorism, the right has been sitting on their couches, lobbing messages of division. While Bush was attacking her at home, she was supporting him abroad.

Just who should be embarrassed?

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Friday, April 6


The Sage has a young former co-worker to whom he's served as mentor, friend and counselor, who is serving in Iraq near Sadr City. George called him this week and they talked for nearly an hour. "What's he saying about the situation there?" I asked. "Does he see any improvement since 'the surge'? How's morale?"

Basically, George said that his squad is standing in the middle of a civil war with both opposing sides shooting at them. They were supposed to come home in two months, but the day that he called they were told that they'd be staying at least until August and maybe for six more months. Morale, he said, is pretty poor. They don't see what good they're doing, and they want to come home.

If Bush wants so much to "give the troops what they need," he should consider bringing them home from Iraq instead of sending more troops to serve as cannon fodder. He might also want to invest a little personal thought and labor in improving the situation at Walter Reed Hospital and the VA hospital system blinding-quick so that our homecoming troops could get the assistance they need in rebuilding the lives that his actions took from them.

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Good article on Salon by Walter Shapiro on the Edwards campaign.

I can't seem to generate much excitement among my Dallas Democrat friends for his campaign -- they're all about Obama.

"We're past the time for small, cautious, incremental steps. And we're past the time for rhetoric. Rhetoric is great -- it makes us all feel good -- but it doesn't change anything. The question is how we're going to bring about the big, bold transformational change that's needed in America."

Unraveling Edwards' subtext does not require a Derrida-spouting graduate student. Hillary Clinton is the obvious apostle of these "cautious, incremental steps," while Barack Obama is the undeniable master of feel-good rhetoric. What is most intriguing about the Edwards 2.0 campaign is how a once carefully calibrated, pro-war, mainstream Democrat has fashioned himself into the candidate of "big, bold transformational change."

I could go for some of that.


Sunday, April 1


Do you Republicans really not care that the most prominent candidates for your party's presidential nomination think it's a viable option to subvert the Constitution and exercise executive imprisonment of U.S. citizens WITH NO REVIEW?

... Scalia explained: "The very core of liberty secured by our Anglo-Saxon system of separated powers has been freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive."
The next time journalists want to write about political extremism by focusing on things like "the Far Left" or bad words on the "Far Left blogs" -- without ever citing a single belief that is actually "extremist" -- why not instead focus on the fact that Mitt Romeny is open to, and Rudy Giuliani explicitly favors, vesting themselves with the very powers that this country was founded in order to banish? One of our two major political parties believes that the U.S. President should have powers that not even the pre-Revolution British King possessed. Maybe that is worth some commentary and examination.

You guys better take remedial civics and American history classes. That is, unless you're willing to use and have perfect confidence in the ability of the arsenal of NRA-protected weapons in your closet to keep you safe you from seizure of your person or a loved one at the whim of a Constitution-disdaining president.

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Anyone else agree that the new Washington Post web site sucks?



Frank Rich. Allelulia, amen.

The more Elizabeth Edwards is in the spotlight, the more everyone else in the arena will have to be judged against her. Next to her stark humanity, the slick playacting that passes for being “human” and “folksy” in a campaign is tinny. Though much has been said about how she is a model to others battling cancer, she is also a model (or should be) of personal transparency to everyone else in the presidential race.
Whatever Mr. Edwards’s flaws as a candidate turn out to be, he is not guilty of the most persistent charge leveled since his wife’s diagnosis. As Ms. Couric phrased it, “Even those who may be very empathetic to what you all are facing might question your ability to run the country at the same time you’re dealing with a major health crisis in your family.”

Would it be better if he instead ran the country at the same time he was clearing brush on a ranch? Polio informed rather than crippled the leadership of F.D.R.; Lincoln endured the sickness and death of a beloved 11-year-old son during the Civil War. In the wake of our congenitally insulated incumbent, who has given our troops neither proper armor nor medical care and tried to hide their coffins off camera, surely it can only be a blessing to have a president, whether Mr. Edwards or someone else, who knows intimately what it means to cope daily with the threat of mortality. It’s hard to imagine such a president smiting stem-cell research or skipping the funerals of the fallen.

Indeed, of all the reasons to applaud Elizabeth Edwards’s decision to stay in politics, the most important may be her insistence, by her very action, that we not compartmentalize the harsh reality of death and the imperatives of public policy, both at home and at war. Let the real conversation begin.

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