Thursday, May 04, 2006

Around the 'Net

Not much time for blogging today, so let's see what's up on the 'Net:

Will Hinton
The Atlanta blogger — who contemplated, then decided against, challenging Rep. Cynthia McKinney -- is, like a lot of Republicans nowadays, profoundly depressed:
So why are our leaders afraid to lead? Because they are too in love with power. I honestly believe that most of our representatives go to Washington desiring to do good and represent those who sent them. But with few exceptions, they quickly abandon many of their beliefs in order to stay there. This is true of both parties.
Though a pessimist by nature, I'm not a defeatist. I mostly agree with Hinton's negative assessment of the current situation, but ... well, like Vince Lombardi said, a quitter never wins, and a winner never quits.

Matthew Continetti
It was Continetti's great reporting on the Abramoff debacle that revealed the deep evil at the heart of that scandal, and helped shape the concluding chapter of DONKEY CONS. Continetti's own discoveries seem to have disillusioned him, as he tells Reason Online:
In some ways you can see [the Abramoff gang's] activities as the logical consequence of big government. I think that is an arguable interpretation of what the scandal is about: Rather than effectively limiting government, conservatives came to power and government continues to expand. ...

[Government has expanded] exponentially in the past six years under President George W. Bush. And one has to ask why that is. Is it the institutional pressures? Is it the nature of republican democracy? I think certainly "yes" to both. I also think, however, once people find themselves in power, they are very unwilling to give it up, and they want to look for ways big government, which they now control, can help them.

Certainly, Continetti would get no argument from me about the failure of the Republicans to stop the growth of Big Government. Something seems to have gone horribly wrong since those heady days of late 1994-early '95, when Gingrich urged Americans to read Tocqueville as the blueprint for the planned "revolution." But, as with Will Hinton, I would counsel against despair. Like my dad used to say, "Can't never could."

Jason Mattera
Remember the good old days, when the phrase "sex on campus" evoked the image of a pimply sophomore getting frisky with a Delta Zeta pledge? (Alas, my misspent youth!) Nowadays, sex on campus is part of the curriculum for the tenured weirdos:
[New York University professor Don] Kulick told the TV audience that watching porn breaks down the "defenses" of students' underlying prejudices: His screenings lead young people to say, "I had moral standings that I didn't realize I had." ...
Kulick also uses his professorship at NYU to sponsor sex panels, such as the recent one entitled "Sex and aging: Removing taboos, restoring respect."
If ever I saw an unconscious plea for help, this is it. Deconstructing these remarks, we see the subtext of Kulick's request: "Launch a faculty investigation -- I'm sexually exploiting undergraduates! And please, police, get a warrant to search my hard drive!"

David Frum
OK, this has to be one of the most disturbing things I've read this week:
Now comes an important new book, "Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq," by New York Times correspondent Michael Gordon and retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Bernard Trainor. Their story bears hard on Rumsfeld. But it daringly points a finger at a normally blame-proof figure: the general who actually planned and led the Iraq campaign: General Tommy Franks, head of U.S. Central Command during both the Afghan and Iraq wars.
David Frum was one of the first big-name conservative writers I met after I got to D.C. -- at an AEI preview of his excellent book about the 1970s -- but I wonder if he has any idea how bad this column makes him look.

First, Frum's critics already consider him a war-mongering "chicken hawk," and short of enlisting as a Marine Corps PFC and requesting assignment to a combat unit in Tikrit, I don't know how he can ever shake that rep. Thus widely known as a civilian advocate of the war in Iraq, Frum now seizes on this new book to point the finger of blame at Gen. Franks, commander of the force that crushed Saddam's once-vaunted war machine in one of the most amazingly successful campaigns in modern military history.

Blaming Gen. Franks for the post-war mess in Iraq strikes me rather like blaming Gen. Pershing for the Versailles Treaty. The Commander-in-Chief ordered victory in Iraq, Gen. Franks delivered that victory, and it seens unjust -- whatever Gen. Franks' shortcomings or errors -- to make a victorious general the scapegoat for our current Iraqi problems. This would appear to be especially true if, like Frum, you famously denounced as "unpatriotic" (with insinuations of Nazism) those conservatives who were critical of the Iraq war all along. He may delight in being hated by the palecons, but with this anti-Franks column, Frum is inviting the enmity of the U.S. Marine Corps.

Finally, David Frum has the same basic credibility problem as Neil Young -- he's Canadian. I hate to expose myself to accusations of Canuckophobia -- even though some of my best friends are Canadian -- but if the American military now has sunk to the point that it needs strategic advice from Canadians, I am sorely tempted to join Hinton and Continetti in the defeatist camp.

UPDATE: The Frum-Franks feud has provoked some interesting reaction: A Brit officer slams Tommy Franks; but this is mistaken identity, Agricola points out.


DONKEY CONS: Rave review
DONKEY CONS: Another rave review
DONKEY CONS: Yet ANOTHER rave review
DONKEY CONS: Vilmar loves it!
DONKEY CONS: WorldNetDaily loves it!
DONKEY CONS: About the book
DONKEY CONS: On Capitol Hill