April 25, 2004


Wallowing in nuance, Dems lack resolve (Mark Steyn, April 25, 2004, Chicago Sun-Times)

It's a good rule of thumb that so-called moderate opinion is several degrees to the left of popular opinion. You can test this for yourself easily enough: pick a subject such as, say, illegal immigration and compare the position of every Democratic senator, the majority of Republican senators and 90 percent of the media with the position of the American people.

That's why the press were befuddled by last week's polls. A month of Richard Clarke, the 9/11 Commission, Bob Woodward, Muqtada al-Sadr, Fallujah and Basra, and a constant drip-drip-drip of conventional wisdom on the president's "vulnerability" from the Beltway to Hollywood to the Ivy League to that brave radio station in Plattsburgh, N.Y., that's now the flagship of Al Franken's Air America ''network'' -- and what happens? Bush's numbers go up and Kerry's go down.

Another six weeks of Dick Clarke's book tour, of snotty network reporters condescending to the president at his press conference, of the sneering Richard Ben Veniste and emotionally unhinged Bob Kerrey badgering Condi Rice at their hack hearings, of Bob Woodward and his unreadable book filling up slabs of CNN's prime time every night with irrelevant arcana about what did Prince Bandar know and when did he tell Woodward he knew it, another six weeks of things that make Bush ''vulnerable,'' and he'd be heading for a 49-state blowout over Kerry. [...]

[T]he problem for John Kerry is that he and the networks and the New York Times are finding it all but impossible to make any dent in the Bush half. If it is a 50/50 nation, one side's 50 percent is pretty solid and the other's a lot softer.

How can this be? Well, let's turn to our senior political analyst, the late Osama bin Laden. In his final video appearance 2-1/2 years ago, Osama observed that, when people have a choice between a strong horse and a weak horse, they go with the strong horse. But, to take that a stage further, the strong horse doesn't have to be that strong when the other fellow's flogging a dead horse.

Except that Mr. Bush will carry the Republican state of MA.

The Strong Horse?: Failing to stay the course in Iraq would be a provocation for bin Laden. (JAMES SCHLESINGER, April 25, 2004, Wall Street Journal)

Let me underscore why it is that the U.S. is so deeply engaged in the Middle East and what is at stake in Iraq--for I fear that there is some public uncertainty regarding these issues. For that purpose, I recommend a rereading of Osama bin Ladin's "Declaration of War Against the Americans," in which he states that "the Defense Secretary of the Crusading Americans had said that the explosions at Riyadh and Al-Khobar had taught him one lesson: that is not to withdraw when attacked by cowardly terrorists." (I should point out that in 1998 the defense secretary in question was not Donald Rumsfeld but rather William Cohen.)

Bin Laden continues: "We say to the Defense Secretary that his talk could induce a grieving mother to laughter! And it shows the fears that have enveloped you all. . . . When tens of your soldiers were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the street of Mogadishu, you left the area in disappointment, humiliation and defeat, carrying your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge, but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You had been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear."

Bin Laden and his ilk may be fanatics, but they are deadly serious and thoroughly persistent. We must anticipate, therefore, a conflict that will continue for many years.

Osama himself has opined that "when the people see a strong horse and a weak horse, they naturally gravitate toward the strong horse." Consequently, this country must conclusively demonstrate that we are not the weak horse.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2004 11:01 AM

Liberals by nature prefer the weak horse. Weakness and victimhood are their only measures of authenticity and legitimacy.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 25, 2004 12:42 PM

OJ, methinks that Schlesinger envisions a considerably longer, and more intense stay in Iraq than you have implied, or that you would prefer anyway.

Posted by: h-man at April 25, 2004 3:13 PM

Someone made a scheduling error-- in between the wall-to-wall hockey playoffs, the CBC did an interview with Woodward last week. It was one of four or five different channels where I saw Woodward's face in the span of five minutes. (And in other good news-- I also saw a piece that said it appears Paul Martin is going to have to fight just to get a plurality government next election. So it appears that there are limits to the Canadian voters' tolerance for graft, corruption and incompetence.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 25, 2004 4:51 PM


And? There's notgoing to be one. They don't need nor want us.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2004 5:16 PM

You may be right about needing us, certainly you are correct about wanting us, but if the place breaks down into civil war, the US will be blamed for "bailing out" too soon.

Osama may spin it that the US is a "weak horse" (or whatever stupid analogy). Schlesinger might spin it the same way.

By the way, why are you expressing such confidence, that Bush won't get us involved in a quagmire in order to effect a more perfect solution, than violent domination by Shites. I support Bush, but he hasn't made an effort to prepare the public for continuing conflicts in Iraq.

Posted by: h-man at April 25, 2004 5:54 PM


So what? We'll be blamed if an asteroid hits the Earth. Saddam is gone. We won. Assad next.

Posted by: oj at April 25, 2004 6:09 PM

Except I don't see any indication of preparations to hit Syria. Sultan Assad II appears to have half a brain and is not doing anything blatant to provoke the 600-lb crazy gorilla sitting next door.

Posted by: Ken at April 26, 2004 12:47 PM