Tell me that doesn't make you cringe. Just thinking of it and I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. But that is where we are heading if we are not careful.
This is the thing. Running for President is an art form. It takes political savvy. It takes will and determination. It's not for the weak. What we have in Mitt, Fred, and even Rudy are novices. They could learn as they go, of course, but we have seen in past elections how any mis-step can be devastating.
Let me tell you the one person who will not be taking any mis-steps whatsoever. Hillary Clinton. We all know that. Name recognition. Fame. Star Power. She has all that as well.
I'll tell you why Hillary would beat Rudy. People have a way of tuning out politics when they think that it is just a partisan crowd going after the politician, be it right or left. The scandals that have followed Hillary have been worked up and down. She has convinced everyone that it was nothing but rightwing attacks. There is nothing in Hillary's past that anyone doesn't know. We heard it all. Even the Hsu fundraising thing will not hurt her. People figure if she hasn't been indicted by now for something, she never will be.
Rudy is another story. I keep hearing people on TV who were involved in New York politics say that things will come out about Rudy that the country hasn't heard and it will be very bad. I believe it. Don't you? When people hear scandal the first time, they listen. But with Rudy they will be listening just as he is trying to convince them to vote for him for President.
The one thing that we love about Rudy, his ruthlessness, is the one thing that will work against him with Hillary. He will look like the bully teasing the class nerd. There isn't any way around it.
Now I will tell you why Hillary would beat Mitt and Fred. They have never attempted to run a campaign as big as this one. They already have made gaffs. No one is watching now. But in the general election, everyone will be watching. This is no time to learn the plays in the game. This is no time for rookies.
Fred has show lackluster performance so far. I just don't see Mitt overcoming his flipflopping on the issues and this whole anti-Morman thing. Have you seen the commercials with his liberal soundbites of the past? He will look like Kerry did in '04.
Yes, this is about McCain. I know you are angry with him for all kinds of reasons. I don't blame you. But I am telling you this again. He is the only one who can beat Hillary.
I have tried to believe that others can beat Hillary. I have tried to get on board with Fred or Mitt. And I do think either one of them would be a fine President. If I thought either one of them could win, I would be looking closer at them and hoping for them. But I don't believe they can.
McCain not only has the name recognition, fame, and star power that Hillary has, he has so much more. He is a war hero. He is a leader. He has dedicated his life to public service. His scandals are old and worn out as well. He has a sense of humor and can be charming. And this is key because those are the things Hillary has none of.... humor and charm.
She may not mis-step, but she simply cannot charm. Does no one else see how important this is? We are more visual than we have ever been in this country. This Presidential election will be a YouTube election. Relentless visual focus on our candidates. Rookies will make mistakes and YouTube will be there to remind us of it over and over. Hillary will make no mistakes.
Think of this too. We are at war. We will still be at war in '08. McCain not only has the obvious experience with war, but he has a personal stake in it. Both of his sons are serving in the military. This speaks volumes about what he believes.
I just want everyone to look at the big picture. Sure we want a conservative like Fred Thompson and a family values candidate like Mitt Romney. But this is not the year to "send a message" to Republicans.
This is the election to make sure that we don't have to sit in front of the evening news every night for years and hear what President Hillary Clinton proposed or vetoed. We won't have to watch her defund the military as her husband did. We won't have to see her add health care to the bloated bureaucracy of government control. We won't have to see her appoint a Ruth Bader Ginsberg clone to the Supreme Court.
The one thing that we all know is that McCain can get the moderate vote. Easy. There is no way we are going to win this election without the moderate vote.
It's more important than our anger at McCain.
It just is.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 5:44 PM
Michael J. Totten describes Staff Sergeant David Bellavia's "House to House: An Epic Memoir of War" as providing "a gripping and necessary prologue to the to the state of the city today." That, my friends, is putting it mildly if any of these excerpts are an example of his writing.
If war is hell. This was the entryway. David Bellavia paints us a picture of the second battle of Fallujah in November, 2004. A city taken over by insurgents and cleared of citizens. The worst of war was here. Bloody, horrific, and deadly.
U.S. Army soldiers and Marines fought house to house to clear the city. But in many houses they found drugged up monsters willing to die to kill our boys:
In the kitchen, we found drugs and U.S. Army-issue auto injectors. They had been full of atropine and epinephrine. The muj inside the house had shot the drug directly into their hearts. It acted like PCP – angel dust – and kept them going long after my bullets should have killed them.
Totten has excerpts that describes this warrior's struggle with fear and bravery. He and others had stormed a house that is a deathtrap and barely made it out with their lives. He simply can't leave without doing his job. Riveting:
Inside that house, I surrendered my honor and my manhood. Now I have to take both back, or live with the fact that they are right about me. That is unacceptable.
I rant and swear with abandon. Down the street, I see Sergeant Knapp taking care of my men like they are his little brothers. I want to cry I am so proud. I love these kids in a way I will never be able to express.
I see their faces. One by one. John Ruiz, Lucas Abernathy, Piotr Sucholas, Alex Stuckert, Victor Santos, Brett Pulley, Tristan Maxfield – they deserve more from me.
I stop pacing and let out a deep, rattling sigh. Only Ware remains near me on the street. Everyone else has moved away. Perhaps my display has convinced them I've gone mad.
But Ware is still here. The journalist. Our platoon's unofficial intel officer. We stare intently at each other.
“Fuck it,” I say.
“Fuck it,” agrees Ware.
That settles it. I'm going back in.You know things are not right with the world when you share a spiritual moment with a damn journalist. But there it is. Mick Ware and I are standing on the street, digesting the finality of the option we've just chosen.
He goes back in. The following is a bit long, but it is GRIPPING.
Somebody must die now. There is no turning back.
I bring my rifle to the ready up position. The M16 feels right; it is exactly what I need right now. Tucked firmly against my shoulder, I have a perfect eye line over the rifle's sights.
Across the room, I see the young insurgent standing behind the barriers. His head is down, still working on the RPG. The kid's gotta be drugged halfway to Neptune.
I take a step into the room; my feet slosh in the water and send ripples across the flooded floor. The M16's barrel pivots and stops when it is pointed at the insurgent's chest. I have the sight picture. My finger is about to end him.
He looks up. He stares at me with terror in his eyes. I know right then that I have surprised him. He doesn't have a chance, and he knows it, too.
“Jew!” he hisses in fear and spite, as if the word can protect him.
Close-quarters combat is instinctual, fought on the most basic and animalistic level of the human brain. Body language, eye contact, the inflection of a voice can turn a fight in a heartbeat. That is what happens here...
I pull the trigger and hit him right in the chest. He staggers back. I take a step to the left to move out of the doorway. The room's carpet is so waterlogged that my boots make a sucking sound with each step.
After a heartbeat's pause, I shoot him again. This time, my bullet goes into his pelvis. He spins completely around and falls across the barrier. Hands splayed, head draped, he gushes blood across the concrete. The water around him turns a milky crimson.
The last thing he expected was a rush through the doorway. That surprise saved my life and doomed his.
I can win this fight. I can do this.
A red heat forms on my face. The back of my neck tingles.Where's the second guy?There was not only a second guy lurking in the dark. Six well-placed insurgents waited in that house. Bellavia took them all out by himself.
Something slides along the wall on the other side of the doorway. I hear breathing. Somebody is close.
“I will kill you and take your dog collar.”
It is a malevolent, accented voice, low and totally devoid of fear. Its self-assured tone triggers a memory of the Nicholas Berg beheading video we watched at our base so long ago. It took them twenty-six seconds to decapitate him, and it was horrifying to watch. They were self-assured, too.
Now my imagination conjures a scene: my severed head, a grimy hand pulling my bloody dog tags free.
That's never gonna happen. Never—gonna—happen.
He's mind-fucking me, this one behind the door. I can't see him. I start to tremble. I fight it, but I can't control my body's physical reaction to this terror.
I can either go to pieces completely, or mind-fuck him back.
“Okay, listen up. I know you are not going to motherfucking stop. You know I am not going to motherfucking stop. La ta quiome.”
La ta quiome is my broken Arabic for “Do not resist.”
The enemy behind the door sniggers. He spits a curse in his native language. Sometimes it sounds like Arabic and sometimes it sounds totally different. Could that have been Farsi?
Am I fucking fighting Iranians in here?“Mommy will never find your body.”Bellavia shoots him. At least five times.
But there are more in the house. The fight isn't finished.He fingers his last magazine and thinks of his wife and son.
Deanna. Evan. I'm so sorry. I can't leave this fight. This is what I am. A warrior. It is my blood oath. If I turn my back on that again, I will be nothing and I can't face that.
I creep around the mattress, M16 at the ready. When I reach the doorway, I nearly slip. The water here is deeper and cloudy, probably with blood.
Neither corpse is in the doorway. I study the floor. Dark slicks of blood trail off into the stairwell room. It looks like one or both of them crawled into the kitchen.
Do I go finish them off and face the threat of somebody coming down the stairs again? I could get shot in the back as I go into the kitchen. Or do I go upstairs and face the bandolier-wearing Bogeyman from the closet? He's up there, somewhere in the darkness, waiting for me to do just that.
Or do I leave, get the rest of my squad and do this right.
No! I brought this on myself. I have to finish it.
Lawson is wounded. He's wounded because I didn't finish this the first time. I will not risk another man.
I step through the doorway and onto the stairs. Eyes on the landing, I drop my current magazine out of the M16. I catch it and sling it into my pouch, then search for my last fresh one. I seize it and slam it home. The new mag makes a metallic snick as it slaps into place. I've got twenty-nine rounds in the mag and one in the pipe.
I begin to climb the stairs. There's no turning back now.
The image of my boy in his Halloween costume tumbles through my mind again. I hear his little voice in my head. It is the last thing he said to me on the phone before I left for Fallujah.
“I am going to save you, Daddy.”I'm sorry, buddy. I love you. I'm so sorry.He finds the “bandolier-wearing Bogeyman” upstairs. They're locked into hand-to-hand combat.
He clamped his teeth on the side of my thumb near the knuckle, and now he tears at it, trying to pull meat from bone. As he rages against the side of my right hand, his Adam's apple still in my clutch, I feel one of his hands move under me. Suddenly, a pistol cracks in the room. A puff of gun smoke rolls over us. The bullet hits the wall in front of me.
Where did that come from? Does he have a sidearm?
I cuff him across the face with my torn left hand. He rides the blow and somehow breaks my choke hold on him. I bludgeon his face. He tears at mine.
We share a single question of survival. Which one of us has the stronger will to live?
I gouge his left eye with my right index finger. I am astonished to discover that the human eye is not so much a firm ball as a soft, pliable sack. I try with all my might to send my finger all the way through. He wails like a child. It unnerves me, and I lose the stomach for this dirty trick. I withdraw my finger. Something metallic hits the cold concrete flooring. It is the same hand cannon that almost took my head off. His interest in trying to grab it opens a window of opportunity for me.
As he reaches for the pistol, I slam my left fist as hard as I can down onto his collarbone. He swings wildly at me again. My helmet's gone now. I have no idea where my M16 is. I've nothing but my hands left. And they're not enough. We will struggle and exhaust each other until the stalemate is broken by whoever's friends show up first.
I feel my strength ebbing. I don't have much left. He kicks at me, throwing his whole body into it. I've got to end this. But I don't know how.
“Surrender!”I'm ignored. He fights on, and I can sense he's encouraged. He's close to getting free of me. I swallow hard and gag. My mouth is full of blood, and I don't know whose. Both of us are slick with it; we have been bleeding all over each other. I taste bile through the blood. My body's maxed out. I don't know what to do.He remembers he has a knife on his belt.
I pounce on him. My body splays over his and I drive the knife right under his collarbone. My first thrust hits solid meat. The blade stops, and my hand slips off the handle and slides down the blade, slicing my pinkie finger. I grab the handle and squeeze it hard. The blade sinks into him, and he wails with terror and pain.
The blade finally sinks all the way to the handle.
I push and thrust it, hoping to get it under the collarbone and sever an artery in his neck. He fights, but I can feel he's weakening by the second.
I lunge at him, putting all my weight behind the blade. We're chin to chin now, and his sour breath is on my face. His eyes swim with hatred and terror. They're wide and dark and rimmed with blood. His face is covered with cuts and gouges. His mouth is curled into a grimace. His teeth are bared. It reminds me of the dogs I'd seen the day before.
The knife finally nicks an artery. We both hear a soft liquidy spurting sound. He tries to look down, but I've pinned him with the weight of my own body. My torn left hand has a killer's grip on his forehead. He can't move.
I'm bathed in warmth from neck to chest. I can't see it, but I know it is his blood. His eyes lose their luster. The hate evaporates. His right hand grabs a tuft of my hair. He pulls and yanks at it and tries to get his other hand up, but he is feeble.
“Just stop! Stop...Just stop! Rajahan hudna,” I plead. Please truce. We both know it is just a matter of time.
He gurgles a response drowned in blood...
His eyes show nothing but fear now. He knows he's going to die. His face is inches from mine, and I see him regard me for a split second. At the end, he says, “Please.”
“Surrender!” I cry. I'm almost in tears.
“No...” he manages weakly.
His face goes slack. His right hand slips from my hair. It hangs in the air for a moment, then with one last spasm of strength, he brings it to my cheek. It lingers there, and as I look into his dying eyes, he caresses the side of my face.
His hand runs gently from my cheeks to my jaw, then falls to the floor.
He takes a last ragged breath, and his eyes go dim, still staring into mine...
Tears blur my vision. I can hardly see him now, but he looks peaceful.
Why did he touch me like that at the end?
He was forgiving me...
“Sergeant Bell, Sergeant Bell, where are you?”
“Up here,” I manage.
“Sergeant Bell, are you okay? Why didn't you stay downstairs? Are you okay, man?”
“Yeah, I'm good. I'm good.”It's a lie. I wonder if I will ever be good again.
Buy the book from Amazon.com.
Forgive me for leaving in the language I don't usually allow, but if a story is being told by someone such as this, his words do not need to be changed for my sensitivities.
Weren't you just glued to reading that? Such good writing. I felt I was right there. Can you just hear the snake like hiss as he spit out the word "Jew!?"
I for one, do not believe he was forgiving Bellavia. Perhaps he needed one final human touch before he went to meet his virgins. I am sure he was thrilled that he had fought a "Jew." Is it strange that I would be more cynical than this brave warrior?
Compare this to Fallujah today where on Oct. 20, Michael Ledeen, writing for the WSJ, famously quoted a Marine officer friend as saying he has been told by enlisted Marines, "There's nobody to shoot (in Fallujah), sir. If it's just going to be building schools and hospitals, that's what the Army is for, isn't it?"
A horrific battle won. Good God, we should be proud.
One more very good thing. Beautiful pictures from Michael Yon. Muslim Iraqi's come to a Catholic Church service to ask those Christian Iraqi's "to come home."
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 10:00 AM
From the Boston Globe:
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserted yesterday that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates "borders on scandal."
In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O'Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers.
"I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church's position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues," O'Malley said.
Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O'Malley said, "I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I'm concerned.""However, when I challenge people about this, they say, 'Well, bishop, we're not supporting [abortion rights],' " he said. "I think there's a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions, and I think if they did that, then the party would have to change."
Look, it is a Pope/Bishop/Priest's job to inform those in the faith on moral matters. Even if they are political in nature as well. Abortion was a mortal sin long before it became the law of this land.
The same people who complain that the Catholic Church should stay out of politics are the same ones who accuse the Church of not speaking out enough against Hitler and the Nazis.
You cannot have it both ways. Everything Bishop O'Malley says is true and right. You don't have to listen if you don't wish to. That is freedom.
But this is my faith. I can no more separate my faith from my ideals and standards than I can separate my hand from my arm. My faith is a large part of who I am.
The Church is there to lead us on faith and morals. Sometimes that involves politics. Many issues have gray areas. But not abortion. It's wrong. It's evil. And it is good and right that O'Malley should say so.
via Hugh Hewitt
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 7:07 AM
I'll sum it up for you. Forget free trade, keeping us safe from terrorism isn't worth the life of one soldier, the surge hasn't worked, forget the unborn, Forget Social Security, count on tax increases. Hillary won because she is still pretending to be a hawk to get elected.
For the love of all that is good and holy, let's nominate someone who can beat her.
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 6:05 AM
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Democrat who serves in the Louisiana legislature called a black supporter "Buckwheat" just days before the runoff election that will determine whether or not she returns to Baton Rouge.
Rep. Carla Blanchard Dartez said "Talk to you later, Buckwheat" at the end of a telephone conversation with a black woman who helped drive voters to the polls on Election Day. (Buckwheat was a character in The Little Rascals who has come to symbolize demeaning racial stereotypes.)
"I've never had no one talk to me that way and I considered it a racial slur," Hazel Boykin tells the Associated Press. "I know the meaning of it, it's just like the N-word."
Boykin is a respected member of the community who played an active role in the civil-rights movement of the 1960s. Her son, Jerome Boykin, runs the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
This is the only story I could find on this. Where are all the news agencies and newspapers?? When Dog The Bounty Hunter used the "N" word in a private conversation with his son, the media went after it like ticks on a wild dog. Let's see if Sharpton, the Captain of the race police, will make as big a deal out of it as he did with Chapman. Will the person being racist being a Democrat make a difference? We shall see.
via national center for public policy
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 12:17 PM
That's right. It only took two weeks (and I'm sure much polling) to make this decision.
First Read has a timeline on Hillary with this issue. Here is a summary:
October 16 editorial meeting with the Nashua Telegraph:
"I hate to see any state being pushed into trying to take this into their own hands because the federal government has failed. So I know exactly what Governor Spitzer is trying to do and it makes a lot of sense, because he's trying to get people out of the shadows, come forward and we'll give you this license
October 30 MSNBC debate:
Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability. So what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum. I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform.
You know, Tim, this is where everybody plays "gotcha." It makes a lot of sense. What is the governor supposed to do? He is dealing with a serious problems. We have failed. And George Bush has failed. Do I think this is the best thing for any governor to do? No. But do I understand the sense of real desperation, trying to get a handle on this? Remember, in New York, we want to know who's in New York. We want people to come out of the shadows.
October 31 statement from the campaign:
“Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform.”
The New York Times reported on that statement:
“Mrs. Clinton’s aides said her statement Wednesday expressing general support for Mr. Spitzer’s plan was intended to signal that she broadly supported his goal of granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. But they said she had not studied — and was not endorsing — any specific plan.”
Clinton campaigning in Clinton, IA on November 4:
"I wasn't as clear as I should have been the other night. I have had a number of occasions where I have spoken to it and I believe clarified it, but I'd be happy to do it again. I believe in comprehensive immigration reform and I have been in favor of that for years. I have signed onto bills. I have voted for provisions and I think it is the only answer for our country."
"Unfortunately, because the Bush administration has failed and as has the Congress, the federal government as a whole to bring about comprehensive immigration reform, governors are left holding the bag. They're the ones having to deal with the security issues, the safety of their roads and so much else. Therefore, I broadly support what governors like Eliot Spitzer are trying to do. I don't pretend to know the details. That's up to the governor and the legislature to try to work out. But I think that it's understandable that states are trying to fill a vacuum left by the failures of the federal government."
Then in an interview yesterday CNN’s Candy Crowley…:
CROWLEY: If I wrote a story that said: "Absent a broad illegal immigration bill, Hillary Clinton agrees about giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants," is that correct?CLINTON: No. What I have said is that I support what governors are trying to do. And governors are on the front lines because of the failures to get comprehensive immigration reform. There are already eight states that issue driver's licenses without any verification of citizenship. That is a decision that the governors and legislatures and the people of those states have made. I understand…CROWLEY: But you see why people think…CLINTON: Well, but you know, Candy…CROWLEY: … that you are not answering the question.CLINTON: Well, but you know, Candy, well, but I think that if you go back and look at the complexity of this issue, I don’t think a lot of these hard questions lend themselves to raising your hand. And I know that that’s easier in a 30 second context to try to do.
And finally, From NBC/NJ's Athena Jones:
"I support Governor Spitzer's decision today to withdraw his proposal," Clinton said in a statement. "His difficult job is made that much harder by the failure of the Congress and the White House to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
"As President, I will not support drivers' licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system."
Obama's campaign finally hit one out of the park:
Obama spokesman Bill Burton writes, “When it takes two weeks and six different positions to answer one question on immigration, it’s easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them.”
UPDATE: I'm thinking THIS is why Hillary has come against the driver's license for illegals.
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 7:23 AM
From The Hill.com:
Senate Democrats might force Republicans to wage a filibuster if the GOP wants to block the latest Iraq withdrawal bill, aides and senators said Tuesday.
That could set the stage for a dramatic end-of-the-year partisan showdown, which Democrats hope will help them turn voter frustration with Congress and the stalemate over Iraq into anger with the Republican Party.
Whatever. You have to give Sen. Graham a prize for the best line of the day:
“I think that’s a strategy that’s going to backfire on our Democratic colleagues because the surge has clearly worked,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the Armed Services Committee, referring to the troop buildup Bush announced in January. “You’d have to suspend disbelief to believe it hasn’t worked.”
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 7:01 AM
This is about the craziest primary season I have ever seen. People endorsing candidates you might not expect to. It's not that Fred hasn't been a pro-life supporter, he has, but other candidates have been stronger. Fred doesn't endorse the Human Life Amendment, which is in the Republican platform. Usually the NRTL committee endorses based on that candidate's dedication to the unborn child, but as you can see in this conversation with the executive director of NRTL and Hugh Hewitt, electability seems to be the order. Hewitt doesn't pull any punches here. It was a good interview.
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 6:32 AM
While in California I went to the Nixon Presidential library. I learned many things I didn't know about Nixon. I didn't realize that the 1960 election was so close and that there was illegal voting to the point where many encouraged Nixon to ask for a recount. He refused saying for the good of the country, he would let it stand. (Unlike some one in recent memory)
History does seem to repeat itself. We had the communism threat during Nixon's political career and we have the Islamic terrorism threat now. Nixon reached out to communist China, something Bush refuses to do with Iran. And the scandal that defines Nixon was more about the coverup and lying than the crime, as it was with Clinton.
They are just now building a watergate part to Nixon's library. I suppose Nixon never wanted that there while he was alive. I wonder if one day The Clinton Presidential Library will have the blue dress displayed?
Nixon was the first President I remember. Being a good Democrat, my Dad couldn't stand him. I have a vivid memory of my Dad being so appalled at the tapes. He told me he just couldn't believe a President would speak like that. Especially the language. No wonder I detest cussing.
Anyway, you would think Presidential libraries would be boring, but they are not. History is always fascinating to me.
Posted by RightwingSparkle at 6:13 AM