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mhaverty
September 24, 2007
Return on Success?
By Michael Barone

For most of the last year, the dominant narrative in most media, and for most voters, has been that we are getting nowhere in Iraq and that the Democrats, after their victory in last November's elections, are going to get out of Iraq.

But events are not playing out that way. Last week, the Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have made it more difficult to rotate troops into Iraq -- and passed, by a 72-to-25 margin, a resolution denouncing the moveon.org ad that attacked "General Betray Us" for "cooking the books."

Polls show that the public approves of Petraeus' performance and endorses his recommendations for going forward with the surge -- the first margin of approval for the administration's course of action in a long time.

Petraeus argued convincingly that we are making real progress in Iraq, that the downward spiral of violence has been turned around and that the battle against al-Qaida in Iraq is meeting with success. George W. Bush, in a Roosevelt Room interview with columnists, made it plain that he is determined to provide Petraeus with the troops he needs, and the Democratic Congress has made it plain that it will not stop him.

To be sure, Petraeus has recommended reducing forces, starting in December, and going back to pre-surge levels next summer. But this is a far different thing from what the Democrats had in mind six months ago. And the results on the ground seem to be far different from what they expected.

True, some Democrats persist in saying that the aggressive surge strategy has made no difference, and large numbers of voters are not convinced that it has. But it is now possible that the added troops will, in Bush's phrase, "return on success." That's a sharp change from what has been the dominant narrative.

Another event that undermines that narrative took place on Sept. 6, but only began to be appreciated in Washington last week. That was the Israeli air attack on Syria. Israeli officials have said nothing in public about this (although opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said he supported the action), and Bush flatly refused to comment in his press conference. But on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens speculated that "the least unlikely possibility" was that the target was a North Korean nuclear installation.

North Korean technicians were known to be in Syria, and the North Korean government protested the attack. By Friday, The Washington Post reported that "Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, said U.S. government sources."

Bush has been mocked for calling Iraq, Iran and North Korea "the axis of evil." Suddenly that doesn't seem so far-fetched. Iran's ally Syria has apparently been in cahoots with faraway North Korea. And perhaps Iran has been, as well; perhaps this was part of the mullahs' efforts to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

The Syrian program may have been stopped by Israel's Sept. 6 air strike, just as Saddam Hussein's nuclear program was stopped by Israel's destruction of his Osirak reactor in 1981. That was condemned by just about everyone at the time, including the Reagan administration. But today almost every decent person is glad it happened.

The response to Petraeus and the emerging story about the Israeli air strike lead to two conclusions, both at odds with what has been the dominant narrative. It's a dangerous world. And we can make progress. Advocates of speedy withdrawal from Iraq talk as if there would be no bad consequences afterward, as we face no other threats in the world. But the possibility of a nuclear Iran is a real threat, one which Bush says he gives as much attention to as Iraq. The success so far of the surge strategy and the apparent success of the Israeli air strike indicate that there are things we can do to meet those threats.

The dominant narrative is that we are headed to defeat in Iraq, and Bush's political adversaries want him to acknowledge that. With stubbornness or steadfastness -- call it either one -- he has refused to do so and now has started to establish a different narrative, "return on success." Voters may come to understand that however delicious the Democrats find defeat, its consequences in a dangerous world would be devastating.

Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc
terrydactyl
all that means nothing
i believe buchanan and gingrich who just assume that todays repub candidates dont have a chance
oh, and calling those 3 countries axis of evil is childlike, and yeah, i had no idea they were our enemies
wow
Texas Tea
Good thing I don't base my political predictions on partisan op-ed pieces.
HomerRamone
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/22/opinion/...amp;oref=sloginSeptember 22, 2007
In 2008, Bush v. Gore Redux?
By BOB HERBERTRight now it's just a petition drive on its way to becoming a ballot initiative in California. But you should think of it as a tropical depression that could develop into a major storm that blows away the Democrats' chances of winning the White House next year.

And it could become a constitutional crisis.

It's panic time in Republican circles. The G.O.P. could go into next year's election burdened by the twin demons of an unpopular war and an economic downturn. The party that took the White House in 2000 while losing the popular vote figures it may have to do it again.

The Presidential Election Reform Act is the name of a devious proposal that Republican operatives have dreamed up to siphon off 20 or more of the 55 electoral votes that the Democrats would get if, as expected, they win California in 2008.

That's a lot of electoral votes, the equivalent of winning the state of Ohio. If this proposed change makes it onto the ballot and becomes law, those 20 or so electoral votes could well be enough to hand the White House to a Republican candidate who loses the popular vote nationwide.

Even Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, has suggested that the initiative is a form of dirty pool. While not explicitly opposing it, Mr. Schwarzenegger said it smacks of changing the rules "in the middle of the game."

Democrats are saying it's unconstitutional.

The proposal would rewrite the rules for the distribution of electoral votes in California. Under current law, all of California's 55 electoral votes go to the presidential candidate who wins the popular vote statewide. That "winner-take-all" system is the norm in the U.S.

Under the proposed change, electoral votes would be apportioned according to the winner of the popular vote in each of California's Congressional districts. That would likely throw 20 or more electoral votes to the Republican candidate, even if the Democrat carries the state.

A sign of the bad faith in this proposal is the fact that there is no similar effort by the G.O.P. to apportion electoral votes by Congressional districts in, for example, Texas, a state with 34 electoral votes that is likely to go Republican next year.

Longtime observers in California believe the proponents of this change lawyers with close ties to the Republican Party statewide and nationally will have no trouble collecting enough signatures to get it on the ballot in June. The first poll taken on the measure, which is not yet widely understood by voters, showed that it would pass.

Laurence Tribe, a Harvard law professor and one of the nation's pre-eminent constitutional scholars, believes the initiative is blatantly unconstitutional. "Entirely apart from the politics," he said, "this clearly violates Article II of the Constitution, which very explicitly requires that the electors for president be selected 'in such manner as the Legislature' of the state directs."

In Mr. Tribe's view, the "one and only way" for California to change the manner in which its electoral votes are apportioned is through an act of the State Legislature.

Professor Tribe is not a disinterested party. He represented Al Gore in the disputed 2000 presidential election. And not all constitutional experts agree that this would be such an easy call. "This is not an open-and-shut case," said Richard Pildes, a professor at the New York University School of Law.

What is undisputed is that the Democrats will mount a ferocious legal challenge if the ballot initiative passes "maybe even before it has a chance to pass," a Democratic source said yesterday thus opening the door to an ugly constitutional fight reminiscent of Bush v. Gore in 2000.

The potential for trouble in the event of a close election is huge. Said Professor Tribe: "This is really a prescription for a possible constitutional crisis in which we have one president if California electors act in accord with the method set out by the State Legislature, and another president if the electors are divided according to this ballot initiative."

The operatives behind the initiative are experts at causing trouble. The effort is being led by Thomas Hiltachk, a lawyer who was one of the leaders of the successful effort to recall California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003. Politics is not just hardball to this crowd; it's almost literally a fight to the death.

The proponents of the initiative understand completely that a constitutional crisis could damage the nation's democratic process and undermine the legitimacy of a presidential election. In their view that's preferable to a Republican defeat.

California voters would be doing themselves and the nation a favor by soundly defeating this poisonous initiative if it makes it onto the ballot in June.

JodyThePig
QUOTE(mhaverty @ Sep 24 2007, 08:26 AM) *

September 24, 2007
Return on Success?
By Michael Barone

For most of the last year, the dominant narrative in most media, and for most voters, has been that we are getting nowhere in Iraq and that the Democrats, after their victory in last November's elections, are going to get out of Iraq.

But events are not playing out that way. Last week, the Senate failed to pass an amendment that would have made it more difficult to rotate troops into Iraq -- and passed, by a 72-to-25 margin, a resolution denouncing the moveon.org ad that attacked "General Betray Us" for "cooking the books."

Polls show that the public approves of Petraeus' performance and endorses his recommendations for going forward with the surge -- the first margin of approval for the administration's course of action in a long time.

Petraeus argued convincingly that we are making real progress in Iraq, that the downward spiral of violence has been turned around and that the battle against al-Qaida in Iraq is meeting with success. George W. Bush, in a Roosevelt Room interview with columnists, made it plain that he is determined to provide Petraeus with the troops he needs, and the Democratic Congress has made it plain that it will not stop him.

To be sure, Petraeus has recommended reducing forces, starting in December, and going back to pre-surge levels next summer. But this is a far different thing from what the Democrats had in mind six months ago. And the results on the ground seem to be far different from what they expected.

True, some Democrats persist in saying that the aggressive surge strategy has made no difference, and large numbers of voters are not convinced that it has. But it is now possible that the added troops will, in Bush's phrase, "return on success." That's a sharp change from what has been the dominant narrative.

Another event that undermines that narrative took place on Sept. 6, but only began to be appreciated in Washington last week. That was the Israeli air attack on Syria. Israeli officials have said nothing in public about this (although opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu said he supported the action), and Bush flatly refused to comment in his press conference. But on Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens speculated that "the least unlikely possibility" was that the target was a North Korean nuclear installation.

North Korean technicians were known to be in Syria, and the North Korean government protested the attack. By Friday, The Washington Post reported that "Israel's decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, said U.S. government sources."

Bush has been mocked for calling Iraq, Iran and North Korea "the axis of evil." Suddenly that doesn't seem so far-fetched. Iran's ally Syria has apparently been in cahoots with faraway North Korea. And perhaps Iran has been, as well; perhaps this was part of the mullahs' efforts to get their hands on nuclear weapons.

The Syrian program may have been stopped by Israel's Sept. 6 air strike, just as Saddam Hussein's nuclear program was stopped by Israel's destruction of his Osirak reactor in 1981. That was condemned by just about everyone at the time, including the Reagan administration. But today almost every decent person is glad it happened.

The response to Petraeus and the emerging story about the Israeli air strike lead to two conclusions, both at odds with what has been the dominant narrative. It's a dangerous world. And we can make progress. Advocates of speedy withdrawal from Iraq talk as if there would be no bad consequences afterward, as we face no other threats in the world. But the possibility of a nuclear Iran is a real threat, one which Bush says he gives as much attention to as Iraq. The success so far of the surge strategy and the apparent success of the Israeli air strike indicate that there are things we can do to meet those threats.

The dominant narrative is that we are headed to defeat in Iraq, and Bush's political adversaries want him to acknowledge that. With stubbornness or steadfastness -- call it either one -- he has refused to do so and now has started to establish a different narrative, "return on success." Voters may come to understand that however delicious the Democrats find defeat, its consequences in a dangerous world would be devastating.

Copyright 2007 Creators Syndicate Inc

Imagine how much more powerful this argument would be if certain phrases were color-coded as well as bold-faced and underlined.
dimenno
Clinton/Richardson vs. Giuliani/McCain?
smcd
QUOTE(JodyThePig @ Sep 24 2007, 11:11 AM) *

Imagine how much more powerful this argument would be if certain phrases were color-coded as well as bold-faced and underlined.


Hmmmmm.....yes... you're right.



Good point!
JodyThePig
QUOTE(smcd @ Sep 24 2007, 12:10 PM) *

Hmmmmm.....yes... you're right.
Good point!

When polemics come ALIVE!!
dimenno
Clinton/ Richardson

vs.

Giuliani/ McCain?
dimenno
I filled out
my unemployment form
in three different colors of ink.

NOW I'M COLLECTING DISABILITY!
Indyrockgrl69
Ever since Bush stole won the 2000 election I take nothing for granted.
MrCheese
With the same ol' voting machines in Ohio and Jeb Bush still in charge in Florida, I'd say it's a long shot for any Democrat to "win".
elk
QUOTE(dimenno @ Sep 24 2007, 11:59 AM) *

Clinton/Richardson vs. Giuliani/McCain?



Giuliani will drop out of the race long before the Repub convention. There are few candidates more flawed than him, and that's saying a lot.
tenebr8
I'm about as leftist as left can be, and I still do not assume a Democratic win in the presidential election. Once again, the Dems have fielded an array of candidates that inspire me with about as much confidence as getting on a Fung-Wah bus. I spend most of my spare time praying for the fate of this country.
Room Starts Spinning
I lean left (depending on the issue) and tend to go Democratic most
(but not all of the time),and I'm not pencilling in a Dem win either.
As far as I'm concerned,both parties are pathetic (which is why I'm a
registered as Undeclared;I'm not sure the party system works anymore.
(sure doesn't seem to)

I do think it's interesting that GOP candidates are distancing themselves
from Bush;obviously not everyone is embracing his views or the job he's done,
so I wouldn't penil in a GOP win either right now.
Maximum Tor
QUOTE(JodyThePig @ Sep 24 2007, 11:11 AM) *

Imagine how much more powerful this argument would be if certain phrases were color-coded as well as bold-faced and underlined.



I have to hand it too haverty, Lies_UK never attempted to gussy up his cut-and-past nonsense. I expect fully illustrated right wing op-ed pieces in the future. Maybe the wonderful Grandma Moses can do the work.
dimenno
QUOTE(elk @ Sep 24 2007, 12:59 PM) *

Giuliani will drop out of the race long before the Repub convention. There are few candidates more flawed than him, and that's saying a lot.


Could be. It's only a guess. Edwards may surprise us all, and Mitt might come out on top.

See:
http://thephoenix.com/article_ektid46022.aspx
mhaverty
QUOTE(Maximum Tor @ Sep 24 2007, 12:48 PM) *

I have to hand it too haverty, Lies_UK never attempted to gussy up his cut-and-past nonsense. I expect fully illustrated right wing op-ed pieces in the future. Maybe the wonderful Grandma Moses can do the work.


So what did I highlight in the op-ed piece that wasn't fact?

Dems were elected to stop the war supposedly. Have they?

Has popular sentiment towards the war shifted back? Yes or no..

Would not an immediate withdrawl have serious negative concequeces? Is this not a question that Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Kerry, et al have refused to answer?

I fail to see where the nonsense is....
Maximum Tor
QUOTE(mhaverty @ Sep 24 2007, 03:40 PM) *

So what did I highlight in the op-ed piece that wasn't fact?

Dems were elected to stop the war supposedly. Have they?

Has popular sentiment towards the war shifted back? Yes or no..

Would not an immediate withdrawl have serious negative concequeces? Is this not a question that Pelosi, Reid, Kennedy, Kerry, et al have refused to answer?

I fail to see where the nonsense is....



It's cute that you saw this column and decided to break out your crayons and draw all over it, pointing out your favorite parts. It's even cuter how sore you get.
mhaverty
QUOTE(Maximum Tor @ Sep 24 2007, 02:45 PM) *

It's cute that you saw this column and decided to break out your crayons and draw all over it, pointing out your favorite parts. It's even cuter how sore you get.


How am I sore? Even more amzing is how over the internets you can determine my degree of soreness. You are amazing. How about answering the questions... nah... that wouldn't fit with your M O. Your internet sniper ablilties are second to none I must say.
Maximum Tor
QUOTE(mhaverty @ Sep 24 2007, 03:50 PM) *

How am I sore? Even more amzing is how over the internets you can determine my degree of soreness. You are amazing. How about answering the questions... nah... that wouldn't fit with your M O. Your internet sniper ablilties are second to none I must say.



See that sounds like somebody stomping his foot because I don't care.

Maybe you can draw all over the word jumble next.
mhaverty
QUOTE(Maximum Tor @ Sep 24 2007, 02:55 PM) *

See that sounds like somebody stomping his foot because I don't care.

Maybe you can draw all over the word jumble next.


How can I stomp my foot when it is holding the crayon?
guest of a friend
Michael Barone (b. 1944 in Highland Park, Michigan) is an American political analyst and commentator.

Career

Mr. Barone is a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report and a frequent contributor for the Fox News Channel. Barone's stated political views are generally conservative. He has said he is not a religious believer, although he is sympathetic to and respectful of socially conservative religious believers.


You can read his article comparing the editors of the NYTs to Islamofascists

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/...t_war_with.html

guest of a friend
Our covert enemies
By Michael Barone
Monday, August 21, 2006

In our war against Islamo-fascist terrorism, we face enemies both overt and covert. The overt enemies are, of course, the terrorists themselves. Their motives are clear: They hate our society because of its freedoms and liberties, and want to make us all submit to their totalitarian form of Islam. They are busy trying to wreak harm on us in any way they can. Against them we can fight back, as we did when British authorities arrested the men and women who were plotting to blow up a dozen airliners over the Atlantic.

Our covert enemies are harder to identify, for they live in large numbers within our midst. And in terms of intentions, they are not enemies in the sense that they consciously wish to destroy our society. On the contrary, they enjoy our freedoms and often call for their expansion. But they have also been working, over many years, to undermine faith in our society and confidence in its goodness. These covert enemies are those among our elites who have promoted the ideas labeled as multiculturalism, moral relativism and (the term is Professor Samuel Huntington's) transnationalism.

At the center of their thinking is a notion of moral relativism. No idea is morally superior to another. Hitler had his way, we have ours -- who's to say who is right? No ideas should be "privileged," especially those that have been the guiding forces in the development and improvement of Western civilization. Rich white men have imposed their ideas because of their wealth and through the use of force. Rich white nations imposed their rule on benighted people of color around the world. For this sin of imperialism they must forever be regarded as morally stained and presumptively wrong. Our covert enemies go quickly from the notion that all societies are morally equal to the notion that all societies are morally equal except ours, which is worse.

These are the ideas that have been transmitted over a long generation by the elites who run our universities and our schools, and who dominate our mainstream media. They teach an American history with the good parts left out and the bad parts emphasized. We are taught that some of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders -- and are left ignorant of their proclamations of universal liberties and human rights. We are taught that Japanese-Americans were interned in World War II -- and not that American military forces liberated millions from tyranny. To be sure, the great mass of Americans tend to resist these teachings. By the millions they buy and read serious biographies of the Founders and accounts of the Greatest Generation. But the teachings of our covert enemies have their effect.

Of course, this distorts history. We are taught that American slavery was the most evil institution in human history. But every society in history has had slavery. Only one society set out to and did abolish it. The movement to abolish first the slave trade and then slavery was not started by the reason-guided philosophies of 18th century France. It was started, as Adam Hochschild documents in his admirable book "Bury the Chains," by Quakers and Evangelical Christians in Britain, followed in time by similar men and women in America. The slave trade was ended not by Africans, but by the Royal Navy, with aid from the U.S. Navy even before the Civil War.

Nevertheless, the default assumption of our covert enemies is that in any conflict between the West and the Rest, the West is wrong. That assumption can be rebutted by overwhelming fact: Few argued for the Taliban after Sept. 11. But in our continuing struggles, our covert enemies portray our work in Iraq through the lens of Abu Ghraib and consider Israel's self-defense against Hezbollah as the oppression of virtuous victims by evil men. In World War II, our elites understood that we were the forces of good and that victory was essential. Today, many of our elites subject our military and intelligence actions to fine-tooth-comb analysis and find that they are morally repugnant.

We have always had our covert enemies, but their numbers were few until the 1960s. But then the elite young men who declined to serve in the military during the Vietnam War set out to write a narrative in which they, rather than those who obeyed the call to duty, were the heroes. They have propagated their ideas through the universities, the schools and mainstream media to the point that they are the default assumptions of millions. Our covert enemies don't want the Islamo-fascists to win. But in some corner of their hearts, they would like us to lose.


Wow, this guy is an idiot. I suddenly feel a lot better about the Dems chances in Nov.

mhaverty
QUOTE(guest of a friend @ Sep 24 2007, 03:22 PM) *

Our covert enemies
By Michael Barone
Monday, August 21, 2006

In our war against Islamo-fascist terrorism, we face enemies both overt and covert. The overt enemies are, of course, the terrorists themselves. Their motives are clear: They hate our society because of its freedoms and liberties, and want to make us all submit to their totalitarian form of Islam. They are busy trying to wreak harm on us in any way they can. Against them we can fight back, as we did when British authorities arrested the men and women who were plotting to blow up a dozen airliners over the Atlantic.

Our covert enemies are harder to identify, for they live in large numbers within our midst. And in terms of intentions, they are not enemies in the sense that they consciously wish to destroy our society. On the contrary, they enjoy our freedoms and often call for their expansion. But they have also been working, over many years, to undermine faith in our society and confidence in its goodness. These covert enemies are those among our elites who have promoted the ideas labeled as multiculturalism, moral relativism and (the term is Professor Samuel Huntington's) transnationalism.

At the center of their thinking is a notion of moral relativism. No idea is morally superior to another. Hitler had his way, we have ours -- who's to say who is right? No ideas should be "privileged," especially those that have been the guiding forces in the development and improvement of Western civilization. Rich white men have imposed their ideas because of their wealth and through the use of force. Rich white nations imposed their rule on benighted people of color around the world. For this sin of imperialism they must forever be regarded as morally stained and presumptively wrong. Our covert enemies go quickly from the notion that all societies are morally equal to the notion that all societies are morally equal except ours, which is worse.

These are the ideas that have been transmitted over a long generation by the elites who run our universities and our schools, and who dominate our mainstream media. They teach an American history with the good parts left out and the bad parts emphasized. We are taught that some of the Founding Fathers were slaveholders -- and are left ignorant of their proclamations of universal liberties and human rights. We are taught that Japanese-Americans were interned in World War II -- and not that American military forces liberated millions from tyranny. To be sure, the great mass of Americans tend to resist these teachings. By the millions they buy and read serious biographies of the Founders and accounts of the Greatest Generation. But the teachings of our covert enemies have their effect.

Of course, this distorts history. We are taught that American slavery was the most evil institution in human history. But every society in history has had slavery. Only one society set out to and did abolish it. The movement to abolish first the slave trade and then slavery was not started by the reason-guided philosophies of 18th century France. It was started, as Adam Hochschild documents in his admirable book "Bury the Chains," by Quakers and Evangelical Christians in Britain, followed in time by similar men and women in America. The slave trade was ended not by Africans, but by the Royal Navy, with aid from the U.S. Navy even before the Civil War.

Nevertheless, the default assumption of our covert enemies is that in any conflict between the West and the Rest, the West is wrong. That assumption can be rebutted by overwhelming fact: Few argued for the Taliban after Sept. 11. But in our continuing struggles, our covert enemies portray our work in Iraq through the lens of Abu Ghraib and consider Israel's self-defense against Hezbollah as the oppression of virtuous victims by evil men. In World War II, our elites understood that we were the forces of good and that victory was essential. Today, many of our elites subject our military and intelligence actions to fine-tooth-comb analysis and find that they are morally repugnant.

We have always had our covert enemies, but their numbers were few until the 1960s. But then the elite young men who declined to serve in the military during the Vietnam War set out to write a narrative in which they, rather than those who obeyed the call to duty, were the heroes. They have propagated their ideas through the universities, the schools and mainstream media to the point that they are the default assumptions of millions. Our covert enemies don't want the Islamo-fascists to win. But in some corner of their hearts, they would like us to lose.
Wow, this guy is an idiot. I suddenly feel a lot better about the Dems chances in Nov.


What does Barrone's political leanings have to do with the fact that contrary to stopping the war the Democrats have repeatedly voted to continue it??? What does that have to do with the fact that popular sentiments towards the war are shifting rightward again?
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