Friday, August 11, 2006

Bush Administration, Not Terrorists, May Soon Wipe Out the NSA

Amaze your friends: convince them you know secret intelligence. Email your friends and predict that a catastrophic event will soon wipe out the National Security Agency (NSA). They will be impressed shortly after it happens and you can tell them how strong your psychic powers are.

Your friends will be quivering: they will be receiving an email telling them that the NSA is about to me wiped out. Quick, they had better inform the proper authorities. Obviously the person who sent such an email is either a terrorist or a quack.

OK, we all already know you’re a quack. But, here is how you can know the NSA is about to be wiped out.

Much as, while we were concerned that terrorists would blow up the oil pipeline, it turns out the real problem was not terrorists, but our negligence, our own negligence is about to wipe out the NSA. It seems they are about to overload their demand for electricity and they have been unable to respond to the problem. NSA officials are predicting that a total electrical shutdown of NSA—the group that is supposed to be monitoring terrorists and military enemies—will occur anywhere from the next two months to two years.

So, if you are a terrorist reading this, don’t bother trying to figure out how to take out the NSA. They’ll be taking themselves out shortly, all due to their own negligence and inability to repair things. Apparently the Bush Administration hasn’t yet learned how to “git r done”.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sorry, Christine Todd Whitman, But There's No Room for You in the Republican Party

Poor former Governor Whitman of New Jersey. She hasn’t figured out yet what conservative Republicans have made abundantly clear: the “Religious Right- neo-libertarian- neo-con” faction of the Republican Party wishes to rule the Republican Party, with various leaders from within these factions acceptable so long as they agree to the policies of the rest of the faction. Anyone from the “moderate to liberal” (not that there are many liberals left within the Republican Party) will be tolerated so long as they help the conservative branch of the Republican Party object some objectives. Yet, once those objectives have been reached, there definitely is no room for moderates within the leadership of the Republican Party, according to this new generation of conservative Republican leadership.

Christine Todd Whitman believes there is room for moderate Republicans within the Republican Party and her book “It’s My Party, Too” argues that moderate Republicans need to organize and demand their role in the leadership ranks. While she makes a passionate plea, she may soon have to realize what most moderate Republicans to the north of her, those in New England and New York, have already realized. There is no place for moderates within the Republican Party anymore. If you can not pass the litmus test that the new Republican leadership demands, you might as well stop wasting your time within the Republican Party. You will be much more comfortable within the Democratic Party.

Governor Whitman does make some excellent arguments in her book. She notes that when President Bush pushes the agenda demanded by the conservative Republicans—attempting to oust a Republican National Chairwoman because she’s pro-choice, halting social security reform in order to push for a ban against gay marriage, making proclamations on the rights to terminate the life of someone who is brain dead, etc.—Bush loses popularity. That is because Whitman indeed is right when she observes that this agenda is not popular amongst the voters. The right wing has brought the Republican Party to a point where it is losing touch with a majority of voters. Yet, this right wing leadership at least should be credited for standing by what they believe, and they are not going to compromise with moderates, no matter how much the moderates believes compromise is possible. It is the goal of these conservatives to use the Republican Party to push their agenda. They are not in it for the good of the Republican Party, but for the specifics of their conservative agenda.

Whitman should read her own book again. She discusses how Karl Rove runs his agenda past James Dobson because the White House needs the approval of such conservative commentators as Dobson. She notes that values are important to voters, and then questions whether those values should be those limited to those as defined by evangelical Republican leaders. Her book describes how the Southern Strategy of the Republican Party appealed to base racist sentiments among Southern voters. In many instances, she describes how Republican conservatives are “outward hostile” to moderate Republicans. Her observations are correct. Her hope that this conservative leadership will change and accept moderates back into the party is wishful thinking, yet very unlikely.

The author warns—correctly—that this litmus test is slowly losing ground politically as more and more voters are rejecting this conservative agenda. More and more people are being shoved out of the Republican Party. For example, when conservative Republicans insisted that sexual education classes in public schools teach “abstinence only”, many fed-up voters then left the Republican Party. She notes even Barry Goldwater, who was pro-choice on abortion and supported allowing gays into the military, would be unacceptable as a Republican leader today. She believes that moderates can save this sinking political ship, yet I suspect the best moderates can offer is to go down with conservatives on a sinking ship which moderates may not even agree should be kept afloat.

Christine Todd Whitman took some commendable actions as Governor. She had the New Jersey police review their policies regarding racial profiling. Yet, as noted even in her own book: none of her other Republican Governors have followed her with a similar review. As Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, the reader truly believes that she was concerned about the environment. Yet, her book tells how Vice President Cheney’s energy task force undermined her good intentions. Instead, the Bush Administration ignored her and acted on behalf of industries which desired fewer environmental controls. Mrs. Whitman should eventually come to this realization: you may have good intentions, but your fellow Republicans don’t. Don’t expect them to change to your views. Their views are set.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Abraham Lincoln: The One Great Republican

The following is a review of the book “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It is about Abraham Lincoln. We at the Republican National Committee Blogspot wish to inform readers that Republicans have once elected a great President. Please ignore that in Lincoln’s second term he wasn’t the nominee of the Republican Party, and the fact that the Republicans have had a tough time since then in giving America decent Presidents. Honest, Republicans at the time thought Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover, Richard Nixon, and George Bush were great ideas to become President. OK, mistakes were made. But Republicans at least started out well with Lincoln, even if everything has fallen apart with Republicans since the 1860 elections.

Now the review:

This is a fascinating book that does more than grab the reader into learning about Abraham Lincoln and his impact in changing the course of history for the better. It also is a well researched presentation of the important Cabinet advisors who not only helped shape the outcome of the Civil War and the end of slavery, but shows how Lincoln had the wisdom and foresight to sculpt outcomes he desired. Lincoln did this in a unique manner, knowing how to position himself while using his rivals to work towards his common aim, with Lincoln slyly in control.

If Lincoln’s Presidency was an accident of fate, it was a fate that it turns out that Lincoln himself provided significant input. After all, he is the only one term Congressman who lost two races for the U.S. Senate to ever become President. Despite this seemingly lack of proper requisite for the job (not that this has ever been a barrier to being nominated by Republicans), Lincoln deliberately knew that by both eloquently and, importantly, honestly opposing the spread of slavery from a moral view, he would gain much respect as he toured the country in giving his thoughts on the idea. While the awkward looking man with the high pitched voice might have been overlooked as Presidential material, the rave reviews on his comments brought Lincoln to heightened public attention.

This book presents how Lincoln deliberately took what was then a moderate position on the slavery issue and, more important, avoided the code words that stirred the passions of the radicals yet would achieve the disapproval of the conservatives. This proved crucial, for while few Republican factions favored Lincoln for President, he was acceptable to the various factions. While Lincoln’s availability for the President was known, he was essentially viewed as a favorite son candidate from Illinois with strong support in neighboring Indiana. Astute political observers would have noted those were two critical battleground states that Republicans needed to carry in order to win, which would assist in Republican delegates turning to a candidate that could carry those two states. Yet, initially, Lincoln’s Presidential candidacy was not viewed as serious so Lincoln supporters were able to convince the Republicans to hold their 1860 nominating convention in the supposedly neutral city of Chicago, which allowed Illinois Republican to pack the audience with vocal Lincoln partisans to help convince delegates that Lincoln had great support.

The book provides a detailed portrait into the lives and thoughts not only of Lincoln’s, but of his opponents for the 1860 Presidential nomination. William Seward, the champion of the more radical anti-slavery faction, was the front runner, yet was unable to gain the support of a majority of the delegates. The two other main candidates, Salmon Chase and Edward Bates, had their followings but their bitter enemies as well. Chase avoided the rhetoric of Seward in hopes of appearing more acceptable to a wider range of delegates, yet factionalism and opposition form within his home state of Ohio severely harmed his candidacy. Bates had a stronger political background than Lincoln and was helped by the support of New York newspaper publisher Horace Greeley, but he was from the relatively small state of Missouri that offered little political pull at the convention. Greeley did help block the nomination of fellow New Yorker and early front runner Seward. In the clash of these titans of their era, the delegates turned to the one candidate that a majority could agree upon, a candidate who had always been in the Republican center (unlike his rivals who tried to reposition themselves in that center) and that was Lincoln.

President Lincoln later made the unusual, but wise move, to incorporate these opponents into his Cabinet. It is important to note that while Lincoln valued their advice, Lincoln incorporated them more to subjugate these factions under his leadership. Lincoln proved to be a commanding leader, especially for one with such limited previous government experience, which became critical in ultimately holding the neutrality of the border states, emancipating slavery permanently, and leading the Northern states to win the Civil War.

Pennsylvanians will note that Lincoln’s War Department was immensely improved upon the forced resignation of Pennsylvania Republican Simon Cameron as War Secretary. Cameron’s associates profited from supplying soldiers with shoddy pistols, blind horses, and inadequate supplies. It was not until Lincoln chose a Pennsylvania Democrat, Edwin Stanton, that the War Department began operating properly. Even Stanton’s choice at first seemed unusual, for he was from the opposition party. Yet even Lincoln realized he would need broad support for engaging the Southern states in war, and Stanton, although War Secretary under President Buchanan, had previously proven his loyalty to keeping the country united by providing President-elect Lincoln critical military and loyalty information which helped Lincoln plan for his upcoming Presidency. It would take a Pennsylvania Democrat to help save the Lincoln Presidency.

This book provides an excellent portrait of the life of Lincoln and how that life helped shaped the man who would bring an end to slavery. This book uniquely is a Lincoln biography, biography of the people who influenced Lincoln and his times, and a history of those times including critical background leading to important events. This is an outstanding of analysis of various aspects of Lincoln and his era. These were times that included a war that cost more American lives than all other American wars combined, and what up until then were the largest military operations in world history. It provides insightful analysis from an author who views Lincoln as man of much empathy, rather than melancholy as many other biographers concluded, and how that honest concern for others drove his life’s missions.