2:48 A.M. link
Rosie Scenario: Smart Tony Blankley piece on how the Faster (and Earlier) election process actually hurts challengers, eroding their traditional advantages. (They get stale quickly, for example. And if they show the beef--policy proposals--there's lots and lots of time to pick those policies apart, or for them to be overtaken by events.) ... The obvious solution, Blankley notes--echoing Emailer X--is to jump into the race late. Advantage, Gingrich and Gore. ... Actually, maybe Blankley's logic suggests a solution for McCain: He could let his campaign collapse, drop out, lay low for a few months ... and then jump back in at the end. The Rosie Ruiz Strategy. There's plenty of time for it. ... (True, it didn't work for Gary Hart in 1988. But McCain wouldn't be withdrawing because of a character-questioning scandal. He'd be withdrawing because Giuliani seemed fresher and more appealing--at the moment. By December, if Blankley's right, it would be McCain who seems fresh.) ... 1:38 A.M. link
The Secret Neocon/Peacenik Convergence of Wishful Thinking: Do you get an eerie sensation reading arguments on the left about why there won't be a sectarian bloodbath in Iraq if the U.S. leaves-- like this one from Robert Dreyfuss:
Contrary to the conventional wisdom in Washington, Iraq is not a make-believe state cobbled together after World War I, but a nation united by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, just as the Nile unites Egypt. Historically, the vast majority of Iraqis have not primarily identified themselves according to their sect, as Sunnis or Shiites. Of course, as the civil war escalates, more Iraqis are identifying by sect, and tensions are worsening. But it is not too late to resurrect some of the comity that once existed. The current war is not a conflict between all Sunnis and all Shiites, but a violent clash of extremist paramilitary armies. Most Iraqis do not support the extremists on either side. According to a poll conducted in June 2006 by the International Republican Institute, "seventy-eight per cent of Iraqis, including a majority of Shiites, opposed the division of Iraq along ethnic and sectarian lines." ... [snip]
This shared desire could be another crucial force in helping maintain the integrity of Iraq. The catch-22 of Iraqi politics is that any Iraqi government created or supported by the United States is instantly suspect in Iraqi eyes. By the same token, a nationalist government that succeeds in ushering U.S. forces out of Iraq would have overwhelming support from most Iraqis on most sides of the conflict. With that support, such a government might be able to make the difficult compromises—like amending the constitution to give minority protections to Sunnis—that the Maliki government has been unable or unwilling to make but that most observers believe are crucial to any political settlement that might end the fighting.
Or it might not be able to do it and hundreds of thousands will die! ... Dreyfuss' argument shares the wishful-thinking quality of the pro-war, welcome-us-with-flowers thinking of the Bush administration neocons. True, Dreyfuss hangs a lantern on his problem by asserting, in an aside, that
"the neoconservatives and the Bush administration weren't entirely wrong in 2003. ..."
But that doesn't make the argument more plausible. Sure a majority of Iraqis may be non-sectarian nationalists. But they aren't the people with the guns. The people with the guns seem to be sectarian extremists. If we leave, will they give up their guns? I doubt it. ...
P.S.: Paul Glastris (who published Dreyfuss' article in the Washington Monthly) defends it here. ...
Psst--To My Antiwar Friends: If we pull out, and comity is resurrected, and the difficult comprormises are made, and a political settlement is reached that ends the fighting while the integrity of Iraq is maintained, that would mean Bush's war was a success, no? ... 1:13 A.M. link
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Keep Hope Alive! Conservative opponents of "comprehensive immigration reform" who've been using it as a club with which to attack the presidential candidacy of its sponsor, Sen. John McCain, should maybe rethink. If Dick Morris and Eileen McGann are right, the McCain for President campaign is in big trouble. But what does that mean for those who care mainly about stopping "comprehensive" reform? ('Is it good for the yahoos?' Bill Kristol would ask.) McCain's need to suck up to conservative primary voters who hate his immigration bill is a big reason its prospects are less than secure, after all. The last thing anti-amnesty types should want is for McCain to sink so low that he drops out of the Presidential race and dedicates his year to passing his immigration reform. Or abandons the Republican primaries and seeks the presidency as an independent on a platform that includes his immigration plan. No, "comprehensive" opponents need McCain to at least think he's got a shot at the GOP nomination if only he just stops pushing his unpopular bill. Maintining the vital incentive to pander is crucial in cases like this--welfare was another one--where the voters are right and the respectable elites are wrong. .... 11:56 P.M. link