David Brooks writes what can only be described as a parody of a David Brooks column:
Most war presidents cast themselves as heroes on a white charger, believing that no one heeds an uncertain trumpet. Obama, on the other hand, cloaked himself in what you might call Niebuhrian modesty.
Yes, I guess I might. I probably wouldn’t, but I might.
Apollo posted this at 1:29 AM CDT on Saturday, December 5th, 2009 as Running with the antelope
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. . . but for Malta?
Apollo posted this at 3:56 PM CDT on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 as Running with the antelope
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This list of people banned from the UK for their extremist views is up on Drudge. I guess if you’ve got your own country and you want to keep Michael Savage and Fred Phelps out, that’s your prerogative. It just seems like more trouble than its worth in their cases.
What’s interesting are the people about whom this list reveals precious little information. Putting out a list of people banned from your country seems like a worthwhile occasion for specifying what, exactly, is so unacceptable about their behavior. While it’s fairly detailed about the reasons for banning people with Anglo or European style names, the reasons for banning people with more interesting names is more opaque.
Preacher. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs.
WADGY ABD EL HAMIED MOHAMED GHONEIM
A prolific speaker and writer. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glory terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to commit terrorist acts.
ABDULLAH QADRI AL AHDAL
Preacher. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and fostering hatred that might lead to inter-community violence.
YUNIS AL ASTAL
Preacher and Hamas MP. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to terrorist acts.
Television preacher. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by glorifying terrorist violence.
Preachers, you say. What church has such “particular beliefs”? Are they Methodists?
Apollo posted this at 8:19 AM CDT on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 as Faith, Politics and the English Language, Running with the antelope
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The Messiah, or your lying eyes?
“It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah,” said an Obama aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Unless Obama’s shaking hands with a midget we can’t see in the picture, that explanation makes zero sense. Why would you look straight down and put your head lower than the short guy’s shoulders just to shake hands? I’ve shaken hands with people who are shorter than me; I’ve even grasped their hand with both of my hands; I don’t recall it involving staring straight down. I don’t recall it causing me to bend over. But I’m pretty dang sure I would have remembered if it caused me to place one leg in front of the other and bend from the waist. I don’t think bowing would have, for centuries, been recognized as a sign of fealty if it involved the same posture as shaking hands with a short guy.
What are they smoking in the White House if 1. they thought they needed to rebut this story AND 2. they thought this rebuttal passed the laugh test? This is stupid.
Update: If you watch the video at the Politico story (the relevant bit starts at 53 seconds), Abdullah offers Obama his hand at the same level as Obama’s shoulders. Obama’s head then dips down below the level at which Abdullah was holding his hand. When they stand up, you can clearly compare their heights. Obama’s got five or six inches on Abdullah, but it’s not as big of a difference as between me and my wife, and I’ve never seen anyone – including people who are taller than me – bend over to shake her hand. Here’s a video of Obama shaking hands with Sarkozy, who is shorter than Abdullah, and it looks fairly normal.
Apollo posted this at 4:34 PM CDT on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009 as CHANGE!, Running with the antelope
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Much seems to have been made in recent weeks of what a centrist the new senator from New York is. In particular were hints that she might support gun rights – an explicit Constitutional right supported by large majorities of Americans, but somehow opposed by nearly all Democrats.
This story, though, is weird. Seems that as part of her pro-gun bona fides, Gillibrand said she had two guns under her bed. Now she’s informed the media that she’s moved the guns to prevent theft, that the two guns were rifles, and that she kept them there for self-defense.
The obvious question here – but journalists don’t know enough about guns to ask the question – is, Who keeps two rifles under their bed for self-defense? Unless you’re interested in stray rounds killing your neighbors, or you’ve a room in your house more than 50 yards long, I’m not terribly sure why you’d use any rifle for self-defense. But two rifles? Was she going to go after intruders with one in each arm? Or perhaps her and her husband would chase intruders from the house and team stalk them through a neighboring wood?
I guess if the options are rifle or no gun, a rifle is better for self-defense. And if the options are two rifles or no gun, well obviously two rifles would be better for self-defense than no gun. But Gillibrand is not a poor woman, and reliable shotguns can be had for cheap. If she was actually interested in self-defense, there were smarter ways to go.
P.S. Of course there’s this:
Gun-control activists questioned the safety of placing guns under a bed where children can find them and burglars look first. The National Rifle Association said it is up to gun owners to safely store weapons.
Gun-control activists question the safety of placing guns anywhere except an incinerator. Why on earth would you ask them about how to safely store guns? It’s like asking Phyllis Schlafly which abortion clinic provides the best customer service, or Ralph Nader what color Hummer you should buy. The NRA, of course, is the correct source for this question, and their answer is, of course, correct.
P.P.S. A major news outlet has now published a story with the headline that Gillibrand no longer has guns under her bed. According to the story, she told the media about this so people wouldn’t break into her house to steal her guns. Um, it seems to me a more obvious result of publishing a story with the effective headline “Wealthy woman sleeps totally unarmed but with expensive items in her home” is to encourage break-ins, not discourage them. Of course, I live in the world where pistols and shotguns are the self-defense weapons of choice, so what do I know about New York?
Apollo posted this at 12:12 AM CDT on Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 as Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Running with the antelope
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Obama is channeling Jimmy Carter. Dr. Krauthammer puts things into perspective:
In these seven years since Sept. 11 — seven years during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons — there’s not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the massacre of 3,000 innocents. On the contrary. In its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first president of Muslim parentage.
“My job,” says Obama, “is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives.” That’s his job? Do the American people think otherwise? Does he think he is bravely breaking new ground? George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and countless other leaders offered myriad expressions of that same universalist sentiment.
Every president has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.
Iran has already responded to the Obama overture. In perfect tune with Obama’s defensiveness, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared that better relations might be possible — after America apologized for 60 years of crimes against Iran. Note the 60 years. The mullahs are as mystified by Obama’s pre-1979 (or 1989) good old days as I am.
I was skeptical that Obama would exorcise McGovernism from the Democrats. It looks like we’re back in 1977, only with no Reagan on the horizon.
Hubbard posted this at 11:35 AM CDT on Friday, January 30th, 2009 as Kraut-hammered, Running with the antelope
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One of the more amusing trends in recent years is the Anti-Neo-con: The man who is so smart about foreign policy that he doesn’t need simpleton notions like good and evil, right and wrong; instead, he’s always able to look at the world with a calculating eye and figure out what’s in our “interests,” which never, ever, involve the freedom of foreigners. The reason this trend is so amusing is that it doesn’t take much analysis to see through such people as a bunch of hindsighted poseurs, making up crap on the fly and pretending it makes them look smart.
Exhibit 1 for today is Fred Kaplan at Slate, who, evidently, is so smart that he’s always known those morons in the Bush administration would cause a war in South Ossetia.
Regardless of what happens next, it is worth asking what the Bush people were thinking when they egged on Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgia’s young, Western-educated president, to apply for NATO membership, send 2,000 of his troops to Iraq as a full-fledged U.S. ally…
Um, I dunno…maybe he was thinking that it would be better if we had allies helping us? This is a bizarre question in light of the criticisms of Bush’s go-it-alone strategy of recent years. Now the coalition of the willing included one country too many.
…and receive tactical training and weapons from our military.
So Kaplan think this is what sent Russia over the edge? There are lots of countries that border Russia that we help out militarily. Would Georgia be in a better position now if they had not received American training and military aid?
Did they really think Putin would sit by and see another border state (and former province of the Russian empire) slip away to the West?
I’m counting three NATO members who border Russia, two of which were “former provinces of the Russian empire” who joined in 2004. But we’re not dealing with an invasion of Estonia or Latvia right now. Putin seems to be letting those two border states slip away to the West quite nicely. So let’s see. On the one hand we have former Russian territories who were offered admission to NATO and are presently not in a war with Russia; on the other, we have a a former Russian territory that, despite Bush administration efforts, was not offered admission to NATO and is in a war with Russia. One day I hope I’m as smart as Fred Kaplan so I can understand how Bush administration overtures to Georgia caused this war. To an ignorant neocon like me, it might appear that NATO membership deterred Russian aggression.
Moreover, given a fledgling democracy perched precariously on the border of Russia, looking to join the free world of the West, were we to spit in their faces? I’m here getting distracted with that whole morality thing, though. I guess Kaplan would have had us tell them that it’s hopeless and they should just rejoin Russia rather than resisting it in search of pesky notions like freedom. I mean, did they really think that Putin was going to let them slip from his grasp? What do they think they’re doing, running a sovereign country and searching for their own path? They should have talked to a Realist™ before trying something that risky.
Bush pressed the other NATO powers to place Georgia’s application for membership on the fast track. The Europeans rejected the idea, understanding the geo-strategic implications of pushing NATO’s boundaries right up to Russia’s border. If the Europeans had let Bush have his way, we would now be obligated by treaty to send troops in Georgia’s defense.
Ah, those wise Europeans. Because “pushing NATO’s boundaries right up to Russia’s border” would obviously result in war. Oh, wait: those three again! And isn’t it nifty how Kaplan just presumes that this entire war would have progressed exactly the same if Georgia was a NATO member? In my wildest dreams I can’t imagine how Georgia having a binding military alliance with America would have altered Russian strategy. Because historically Russia has been pretty quick to attack American allies. It’s happened, nine, ten times, right? No? Zero? Huh.
Kaplan’s then so generous with his wisdom that he outlines a few lessons for the next president (as though The Holy One needs lessons!):
First, security commitments are serious things; don’t make them unless you have the support, desire, and means to follow through.
Like here, where we didn’t make any security commitments to Georgia. Woops, guess that makes this lesson irrelevant. We actually can’t say what would have happened if we did make a security commitment to them; it may well be that even the thinnest commitment would have deterred the Ruskies. Instead we left the Georgians without anything.
Second, Russia is ruled by some nasty people these days, but they are not Hitler or Stalin, and they can’t be expected to tolerate direct challenges from their border any more than an American president could from, say, Cuba.
Remind me to send Fred Kaplan a map of NATO. I’ll draw the Russian border in glitter for him, and color Latvia and Estonia with very bright shades so perhaps he’ll quit forgetting they exist. Awfully inconvenient for his argument, those two.
Third, the sad truth is that—in part because the Cold War is over, in part because skyrocketing oil prices have engorged the Russians’ coffers—we have very little leverage over what the Russians do, at least in what they see as their own security sphere.
Well, we could take countries from their security sphere and make them part of ours. Like…dare I say…Latvia and Estonia [and Lithuania, though it doesn't border Russia proper]. True, in a situation like this we can’t do too much. But preemptive alliances have done wonders for us in the past.
If a newly expansive Russia is worth worrying about (and maybe it is), then it’s time to bring back Washington-Moscow summitry. Relations have soured so intensely in recent years and over such peripheral issues (such as basing a useless missile-defense system in the Czech Republic)
Hah hah ha! Wow, I have got to stop dropping acid while reading Slate. I could have sworn that just a few paragraphs ago he was telling the next president that security commitments are serious things, and that Russia is a country that may get aggressive around the borders. Obviously that was an hallucination, otherwise he wouldn’t now be mocking our installation of a defense system that will protect our European allies from Russia’s most destructive weapons.
So there you go with the new Realist™ foreign policy: no new allies if it offends others, no defending present allies if it offends others, and everything is always – and I mean ALWAYS – the fault of George Bush and the neocons. And the Baltic States don’t exist.
Apollo posted this at 2:35 AM CDT on Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 as I bid you stand: Men of the West, Running with the antelope, Those Wacky Foreigners
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When discussing the aftermath of the Moors Murders, Theodore Dalrymple quoted the mother of a victim whose body has never been found [emphasis added]:
Myself and the parents of the other victims . . . have had to live for over thirty years knowing that our children died a terrible death at the hands of that evil pair. Hindley is due to have her case heard at the [European] Court of Human Rights. What about our rights? There is no such thing as a normal life after your child has been murdered. We live a life sentence too but there is no appeal or reprieve for us, our suffering goes on and on and is only made worse every time something like this comes up. We are the forgotten victims. Hindley has never been charged with the murder of my Keith . . . . I would like to take out a private prosecution but I cannot afford it and cannot get Legal Aid. I still do not know where my son is and all I want is to have him home and give him a decent burial.
Nobody cand doubt the agony of these parents. Their children have died terrible deaths, and they’ve been denied the closure of a funeral.
But despite our pity, Israel’s decision to release live terrorists in return for the bodies of dead Israeli soldiers is a terrible mistake. Caroline Glick (H/T) explains why this is so hideously bad an idea [emphasis added]:
Despite the government’s best efforts to put a brave face on the decision, the deal with Hizbullah is arguably the most humiliating step ever taken by a government of Israel.
In exchange for the bodies of two dead soldiers — Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser — Israel has succumbed to all of Hizbullah’s demands. It will release six murderers from prison and send them to Lebanon for a hero’s welcome. It will give Hizbullah the bodies of 200 terrorists and so empty Israel’s Potters Field for terrorists. Moreover, it has pledged to close Israel’s graveyard for terrorists and so has committed future governments to never keeping terrorists’ bodies as bargaining cards for future swaps of Israeli hostages. Israel has agreed to provide Hizbullah with information on four missing Iranian “diplomats.” And it has agreed to release an unknown number of Palestinian terrorists from prison.
This deal will cement Iran’s control of Lebanon through Hizbullah. It also all but guarantees that any future Israeli soldiers taken hostage by Hizbullah will be killed on the spot. Why care for hostages when you can murder them and expect to receive the same payoff you would get if you kept them alive?
More Israeli parents will now see their children taken hostage and murdered. The Israeli government will find itself the junior partner in this deal with the devil.
Hubbard posted this at 6:29 PM CDT on Wednesday, July 16th, 2008 as Another Great Victory For Jihad, Running with the antelope
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This is distressing:
Fully eliminating the payroll tax cap would provide more than enough income to keep Social Security solvent for more than 75 years; Obama’s current proposal would fall short of that goal, the adviser acknowledged.
I’m always distressed by cockamamie long-term plans, but whose goal is to make Social Security solvent for 75 years? If we still have our present Social Security system in 75 years, it will represent a complete failure by multiple generations of Americans to think of a better way to finance retirement than a glorified ponzi scheme. I will be profoundly pissed if I ever collect a Social Security check.*
*And I’ll be even more pissed if the only reason I don’t collect one is because I’m rich and we’ve started means-testing.
Apollo posted this at 8:18 PM CDT on Friday, June 13th, 2008 as Running with the antelope
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This is very depressing. Gas is heading to five frickin dollars a gallon, in an election year, and both presidential candidates completely refuse to address the issue.
In a rational world, the Republican candidate would make “Drill, Drill Drill!” his campaign motto. This is the single easiest issue for McCain to put himself in a significantly more popular position, and to show some real leadership. Instead of turning this into a winner, he’s content to offer the inane platitudes about keeping ANWR “pristine.”
I miss Fred.
P.S. Sign up with the Newtster. Drill! Drill! Drill!
Apollo posted this at 9:31 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 11th, 2008 as Running with the antelope
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The worst press secretary in memory, who presided over the president’s public relations fiasco that ran throughout 2005 and who was probably responsible for lots of damaging leaks, is now writing a book about how bad the president is. Perhaps Michael Brown will now write a book attacking the president as well.*
In a just world, two people would hold Scott McClellan’s legs while President Bush got a running start and kicked him in the gonads. Lots of other Republicans would get a free shot as well, right after they took their turn on el Presidente.
*Perhaps this isn’t really so amazing. Before making this post, I felt it necessary to check Amazon and make certain that Michael Brown hadn’t written a book attacking the president.
Apollo posted this at 10:17 PM CDT on Tuesday, May 27th, 2008 as Running with the antelope
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Jonah Goldberg’s call for McCain to pick a Democrat for VP is distressingly persuasive. Perhaps the best point is this: “And for movement conservatives, the next four years could be a time for much-needed rebuilding.”
If I let myself think about it, it makes me sad that Mitt Romney – MITT ROMNEY! – who denounced Reagan in 1994 – who has the charisma of unflavored room temperature yogurt – somehow became the standard bearer for movement conservatism this last year. That was wrong, and it’s plain that movement conservatives need a time out to think about things for a while. The fact that some conservative types are hyping Romney for VP emphasizes this point.
A point that Jonah didn’t make, but that I’ve been pondering for a while, is that conservatism needs plausible deniability with candidate McCain. Plainly the man is not a movement conservative, so it would be a shame if any defeat he might suffer would be interpreted as a defeat for conservatism (time to move further left: Specter ’12!).
However, in terms of actual policy, I’m not sure how much conservatives have to gain from a McCain presidency. The only area where he’s promising radical reform is with his gawdawful cap-and-trade scheme. More open borders, same general tax structure, no major entitlement initiatives, no real prospect of tilting Washington decidedly to one party and thus enabling reform. America, domestically, after 4 years of President McCain, won’t be a much different place so long as conservative senators can fight off his immigration proposals.
His heart just isn’t in the fights of movement conservatives, or even reform-minded conservatives. He is first and foremost a hawk. And that’s fine, but we do not want whatever it is that a President McCain will do to be defined as “conservatism.” Picking a Democrat for VP seems like the only way for that to be the case.
Conservatives need to get their act together, but we should never forget the costs that can have. 1964 might have a romantic attachment for movement conservatives, but probably not so much for the tens of millions whose cities were devastated and families ruined thanks to the Great Society. A President McCain with a Democrat VP and a Republican Party in Congress that has enough room to define itself as something other than John McCain’s worker bees would be the best way to clean out the party without having to lose in Iraq and on the Supreme Court.
P.S. I miss Fred.
Apollo posted this at 12:54 AM CDT on Friday, May 23rd, 2008 as Conservatism, Running with the antelope, There Is Only One God And Jonah Goldberg Is His Prophet
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From VDH, I learn that Ricardo Sanchez is now calling for American retreat from Iraq. Asking Ricardo Sanchez what we should do in Iraq was on my to-do list right behind asking Maginot how to defend against the Germans. Reading the transcript reminds me of all my rants about how mediocre has been American generalship:
[While allowing terrorists to take control of large portions of Iraq] I saw firsthand the consequences of the administration’s failure to devise a strategy for victory in Iraq that employed, in a coordinated manner, the political, economic, diplomatic and military power of the United States.
Harry Truman had it right that the buck doesn’t stop until it gets to the president. If a Lieutenant General gets to pass the buck for the failure of American forces under his command, then no one short of the Oval Office is responsible for anything. Unbelievable.
Our Army and Marine Corps are struggling with changing deployment schedules that are disrupting combat readiness training and straining the patience and daily lives of military families. It will take the Army at least a decade to repair the damage done to its full-spectrum readiness, which is at its lowest level since the Vietnam War. In the meantime, the ability of our military to fully execute our national security strategy will be called into doubt, producing what is, in my judgment, unacceptable strategic risk.
I have seen this trope peddled by Democrats, and I called it “gobstoppingly jawdropping“, but to see a retired general say, in effect, “We must run away from this fight so that we’ll be prepared for an unforeseeable potential fight in the future” is…gobstoppingly jawdroppinger. I just don’t understand that sort of mindset. Perhaps if these people were saying “We’re going to have a war with China in five years,” then this would be warranted. But they’re not. What is the likelihood that there will be a more important use of military power in the next ten years?
Whatever the priority of the people who use this line of reasoning is, it is not American victory. It makes me presume that, wherever the next fight will be and whatever might be at stake, they’ll just use the same rationale for running away again. The purpose of the military is not “full-spectrum readiness”, whatever the hell that means, it’s killing America’s enemies. Judging by the fact that only one American general, Petraeus, was advocating a more aggressive use of American force in Iraq, I have a feeling that Sanchez’s ignorance regarding the military’s raison d’etre is widespread among those with stars on their collars.
Read that piece from Sanchez. At the very least, you will no longer be nagged by the question, “How did Iraq get this bad?”
Apollo posted this at 5:39 PM CDT on Sunday, November 25th, 2007 as Iraq, Running with the antelope
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James Clyburn, Majority Whip in the House, had a remarkable admission in the Post:
House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Monday that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party’s efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.
Clyburn, in an interview with the washingtonpost.com video program PostTalk, said Democrats might be wise to wait for the Petraeus report, scheduled to be delivered in September, before charting next steps in their year-long struggle with President Bush over the direction of U.S. strategy.
Is Clyburn implying that some members of the Democratic caucus were hoping for a negative report? And wouldn’t a negative report be a sign of the military’s failure?
Hubbard posted this at 9:34 AM CDT on Tuesday, July 31st, 2007 as Running with the antelope, The Democratic Congress
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Pelosi is pushing a high-risk strategy right now. She’s getting congressmen to declare, though their votes, that they believe the war in Iraq is lost. I think it’s a bad strategy for them because it will be very easy, if the war should get better, to call Democrats the anti-American, anti-victory party. Even if the war fails, votes like this would allow Republicans to claim for another generation that Democrats are the party of defeat. I don’t know who does Pelosi’s strategy, but this is a lousy one. President Bush has already promised a veto, so this is pure theater on the House Democrats’ part. Still, let’s take a look at the voting patterns on Roll Call 624, H.R. 2956. It was a resolution to call for troops to begin withdrawing April 1, 2008, and it passed 219 to 201, mostly on party lines.
The Republicans who broke ranks to support the resolution: Jimmy Duncan, Jo Ann Emerson, Wayne Gilchrest, Walter Jones.
The Democrats who opposed the resolution: John Barrow, Dan Boren, Christopher Carney, Brad Ellsworth, Tim Holden, Dennis Kucinich (!), Jim Marshall, Tim Matheson, Vic Snyder, Gene Taylor.
Now, should the war in Iraq go better, plenty of Democrats from moderate to conservative districts will have to explain why they voted to the left of Dennis Kucinich.
If I were an anti-war Democrat, this would not be the way I’d go about fighting Bush. I’d hold hearings, pass bills that focused on troop medical care and civilian training—but I’d never vote against the war itself in a resolution like this. I don’t follow the Democratic caucus’s thinking on this. Votes can come back to haunt you for decades. Whatever one thinks of the policy at stake, this is bad politics.
Hubbard posted this at 10:01 PM CDT on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 as Running with the antelope, The Democratic Congress
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