Bloggers deplore the return of Trent Lott to the Senate Republican leadership. They also question the timing of the New YorkTimes'revelation that generals are against a "phased withdrawal" from Iraq, and cheer the rewritten Pakistani rape laws.
Gone with the win, back with a thump: Republican Sen. Trent Lott, who was removed from the Senate majority leadership in 2002 after suggesting the country would have been better with a segregationist President Strom Thurmond, won the minority whip position in an intraparty election won by a single vote. Since bloggers were mainly responsible for his downfall four years ago, here's what they have to say about his comeback.
Everything old is new again, and Wonkette drips anti-nostalgia: "Thank god we can return to blatant moral hypocrisy and antebellum racial attitudes without the facade of Western libertarianism or Midwestern tolerance."
Conservative Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's blog smacks his forehead: "Is it just me, or is it becoming increasingly apparent that the Republicans and Democrats are determined to engage in a two year dumb-off? If it weren't for the fact that there are some very determined lunatics out there trying to kill us, this would be funny."
Liberal "Don" at politicians and poetry goes easy on the new whip: "This leads into the question of who will be the face of the Republican Party as they re group. Will it continue to be President Bush, which the Democrats would love, but Republicans who are running in 2008 for anything may not want this. Who will step up and become the face of a new GOP? ... I thought Lamar Alexander would have been the more savvy pick for the GOP, as he is less abrasive than Lott or McConnell and he is not linked to past GOP mistakes."
Righty Ace of Spades HQ demurs for four reasons: "1) He's part of the disastrous old guard. 2) He's a dedicated earmarker/porkbarreller/spender, and elevating him to a high position gives him disproportionate influence in making cut-tax-and-spend Republicanism the default party position. 3) He has never been an effective spokesman for conservativism, partly because he doesn't seem to be a conviction conservative … and partly because he has all the charisma of head lice. 4) The Strom Thurmond incident. Perhaps this was overblown, perhaps it's time to forgive... but it's hardly helpful to have this guy back in a top slot."
Read more about Lott's return.
What troop withdrawal? On that same day that Gen. John Abizaid testified before Congress on the need to increase troop levels in Iraq, the New YorkTimes ran a story about how other military leaders, led by Gens. Anthony Zinni and John Batiste, are opposed to setting timetables for phased troop withdrawals. Funny how their full assessments are just coming to light after the GOP thumping, say righty bloggers.
Conservative Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters smells a rat in the article'stiming. Nevertheless, "[b]efore the elections, Democrats insisted that the White House and especially Donald Rumsfeld needed to listen to the generals … . Now that the election is over, the Democrats need to do the same. Will they? It's doubtful, and for one very strong reason: they ran on forcing a change of policy in Iraq."
Centrist contributor elrod at The Moderate Voice writes: "Zinni is right: Maliki cannot be 'shocked' into cracking down on the militias and insurgents. … But expanding our troop presence is equally naive. People who call for major troop increases are at a loss to explain where these troops will come from. And does anybody really believe that 20,000 more US troops will make that much of a difference at this point?"
Righty Brant Hadaway at Strange Women Lying in Ponds says the more things change … "[T]he…irony is that Sen. Levin's position is barely a degree or two removed from that of Donald Rumsfeld, who opposed increasing troop levels in large part because he believed that the Iraqi government should feel pressure to take responsibility for its country's security. But of course Rumsfeld had to go because these 'retired generals', as the Times and WaPo gladly reported ad nauseum, were calling for his head."
"What amazes me about Levin and others who support his view," chimes in pro-war leftist Marc Schulman at American Future, "is their apparent disregard for the irreversibility of the course they recommend. If the 'phased withdrawal' of American troops is followed by more, not less, strife, would they countenance a renewed buildup of U.S. forces? I think not."
Read more about the anti-withdrawal corps.
The wrongly accused no more: Pakistan's national assembly passed legislation to amend the country's rape laws, which are currently guided by Islamic sharia law. Currently, a female rape victim must have four supporting male witnesses—otherwise, she faces prosecution for adultery. Feminist and humanitarian bloggers roundly applaud the step forward.
Gin-soaked Sheffield feminist Laura of I'm Not a Feminist, But … replies to the sharia-minded clerics' objection that the new law will encourage "lewdness and indecency": "Would someone care to explain exactly how allowing a woman to claim - independent of male witnesses - that she was raped encourages free sex, lewdness and indecency? So fucked up is the male power system here that arguments against prosecuting rapists don't even have to make even the tiniest bit of sense."
Human-rights blogger Kristina at Wicked Words points out that "[i]n Pakistan, many expect the rape victim to merely commit suicide. In the case of Mukhtar Mai, a local council ordered her gang rape in response to her brother's reported sexual activity. There lies the real problem. Musharraf's government needs to implement strong regulation of the local governments, particularly those in rural areas of Pakistan."
more about Pakistan's new rape laws.