Posts about Politics

A war, indeed

I was not comfortable with apparent attempts to back away from the words “war on terror” to say we were in a struggle against violent extremism (without saying exactly which kind of extremism that is). I didn’t get the shift and didn’t buy the argument that the Pentagon changed the wording because they didn’t want us to think that soldiers are the solution. It is a war. And terrorists are the enemy.

Now it seems that Bush, too, didn’t like this odd Republican attempt at PC.

President Bush publicly overruled some of his top advisers on Wednesday in a debate about what to call the conflict with Islamic extremists, saying, “Make no mistake about it, we are at war.”

In a speech here, Mr. Bush used the phrase “war on terror” no less than five times.

We’re in Kansas after all, Toto

President Bush gives props to the “intelligent design” (read: anti-evolution) campaign:

In an interview at the White House on Monday with a group of Texas newspaper reporters, Mr. Bush appeared to endorse the push by many of his conservative Christian supporters to give intelligent design equal treatment with the theory of evolution.

Recalling his days as Texas governor, Mr. Bush said in the interview, according to a transcript, “I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.” Asked again by a reporter whether he believed that both sides in the debate between evolution and intelligent design should be taught in the schools, Mr. Bush replied that he did, “so people can understand what the debate is about.”

Mr. Bush was pressed as to whether he accepted the view that intelligent design was an alternative to evolution, but he did not directly answer. “I think that part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought,” he said, adding that “you’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed to different ideas, and the answer is yes.”

The rest of the story has an aide trying to backtrack.

But then, in a story below, we see that Tom DeLay is appearing on the next Tony Perkins religious fringe TV extravaganza.

Mr. DeLay’s planned appearance adds the imprimatur of a top Republican elected official to the event, which seeks to call attention to what its organizers say is the Supreme Court’s hostility to Christianity and traditional families in its decisions about abortion, homosexuality and government support for religion. It will be broadcast to churches and Christian television stations and distributed as a video.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council and the principal organizer, called Mr. DeLay, of Texas, “a natural fit” with the program.

The Republicans seem intent on being the party of the religious fringe.

Wi-fi in every pot

Tom Friedman practically nominates Andrew Rasiej for President today as he extols Rasiej’s vision for a connected New York and assails federal officials for not making sure we keep up with the world in technology. Of course, Rasiej is running for New York City public advocate. But perhaps what he should really be running for is that vacant seat on the FCC.

Mom, apple pie, and ammunition

Today’s New York Times has a full-page ad from the “Partnership for Secure America” with a smorgasbord of political names from appetizers to desserts: Lee Hamilton, Warren Rudman, Howard Baker, Sandy Berger, Zbigniew Brzezinksi, Warren Christopher, John Danforth, Lawrence Eagleburger, Gary Hart, Richard Holbrooke, Nancy Kassebaum Baker, Tom Kean , Sam Nunn, Thomas Pickering, Theodore Sorensen…

They have a petition to sign — a manifesto, if they were being more aggressive — that, like the list of names, has a little of this and a little of that, with a generous serving of “but” clauses (my emphases):

* “America must be strong to be secure. Our government must work tirelessly to bring terrorists to justice and break up and destroy terrorist networks. But while our strength and security are measured partly by our military might and the courage of our men and women in uniform, they are also enhanced by our unfailing commitment to democracy, justice, and civil liberties both at home and abroad.”

* “America must always be ready to act alone when its security interests are threatened. But building strong alliances based on mutual respect and shared challenges, including working to renew and reform the United Nations, will make us more able to protect America’s interests.”

They’re also all for alternative energy to break the oil addiction and they’re all against the spread of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. They want more money for emergency responders but they don’t like the federal debt. And they’re against “global poverty, disease, and under-development.”

I love moderation. We need more moderation and less fringe. But the problem with moderation born of committees and coalitions is that are often neutered of strategic vision and political resolve. I can’t argue with anything in this list. I applaud its moderation. I celebrate bipartisanship. But I wonder what happens from this.

Ding dong

So Saudi King Fahd is dead. I’ll be eager to see who the White House sends to that funeral. Hope it’s the gardener.

Note this from the AP report:

The portly, goateed Fahd inadvertently helped fuel the rise of Islamic extremism by making concessions to hard-liners in an effort to boost his Islamic credentials. But he also brought the kingdom closer to the United States and agreed to a step that enraged many conservatives: basing U.S. troops on Saudi soil after the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

What an odd bit of writing that is: First, how do we know he “inadvertently” helped fuel the rise of Islamic extremism? Second, what an odd segue from People-magazinish adjectives — “portly, goateed” — into the tipping point for the clash of civilizations.