Nothing to do with anything...Here's an interesting new invention for those who find themselves in need of walking down dark alleys. I'd want to check my purse pretty carefully for safety's sake I think.
Hat tip to the Daily Dish for pointing toward this story.
As a public service, I'm going to link to portions of the Democratic debate from last Thursday. This portion: "rules of the debate" and discussion of the Iraq War, and specifically Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid's "the war is lost" statement. Clinton, Obama, Biden, Kucinich (who mercifully, gets cut off at the end of the segment). I'll add another few on Tuesday. Best taken in small doses to avoid toxicity!
This is one of the problems that Mitt Romney is going to have with some, but I'm impressed with the way he handled it. His wife supposedly gave him the advice some time ago--that he ought to give a JFK-like speech (vis a vis Catholicism and the influence of the Pope on his potential presidency in 1960) and put the issue to rest. Nice thought, and worth a try, but there's a difference: while all of the Protestants hanging around in 1960 didn't necessarily like the Catholic Church, there were very few who would have been willing to say that it was not a legitimate church, since those Protestants recognized that their heritage stemmed from the Church tradition (and indeed, sitting in a Lutheran Church, even today, reminds one of some elements of the Catholic service). Fundamentalists were truly "fringe" back in that day--Protestants were nearly everyone who wasn't Catholic, and those Protestants were mostly of the mainline variety. Fundamentalists are much more numerous now, and the Mormon church is quite a bit different than the Catholic Church.
I pondered a little earlier today on the potential for a Hagel candidacy, and some of the attendant problems (in response to this Sullivan piece). Not surprisingly, Brad at The Crossed Pond also had some things to say about this, and decided that rather than posting a lengthy comment on this site, he'd just link to us and add his own two cents. Since I may have a bit to say here, I thought I might do the same. I suspect this could turn into a far flung ramble, but hopefully I'll get to a decent point.
Brad notes the belief that Sullivan's post was not actually about Hagel jumping into the race, per se, but more about the need for Hagel-like candidate on foreign policy/war issues who was otherwise "conservative." Fair enough, but as Brad also notes, other than Ron Paul, there don't seem to be any others showing signs of credibility on that front. It seems to me, though, that conservative as he is, Chuck Hagel has a problem with collecting votes from the Republican base nationwide--not necessarily because of his war position, but because of his modus operandi for making his position known.
I have no doubt that Chuck Hagel is very sincere in his beliefs about the war...but, as one of his constituents (who also generally believes that in spite of all its flaws, the Republicans are generally better on the things that matter to me than the Democrats) I was taken by what seemed to me the "unnecessary roughing" (we play football in Nebraska, too) of the President not too long after his re-election. I don't have a problem with Hagel being opposed to the way that the war is going, and I have no problem at all with him letting the President know, discreetly, what he thinks of the policy, but, beating up on the head of your Party when you're harboring presidential ambitions of your own seems a little misplaced, and looks like you're clamoring for attention from the media (which he got).
That being said, it may be that Hagel tried to operate behind the scenes quietly, and that he wasn't listened to (or even taken seriously), and he may have felt that the only way that he could get attention was by going public. Indeed, given what becomes more and more apparent about the Bush Administration modus, that seems a plausible--if not certain--reason for his public pronouncements.
The substance of Brad's comments (here, again if you didn't get them before), goes far beyond just Hagel, though, and suggests that the promising opening for Hagel is (my words) as something of a "sparring partner" for the other, more likely candidates to win the nomination, thus giving them a better shot at the big prize in November. He parallels Hagel (sort of) with Al Sharpton-types (and others) in the Democratic party; those who have specific interests, I take it, and who are able to sensitize the ultimate candidate to the ideas of different constituencies.
If the war continues to be THE prime issue--and it may, unless, God forbid, there is another attack of some sort which stirs us all up into a nationalistic "get all the bad guys wherever they are" fervor--then Brad's point is well taken. Chuck Hagel, as a conservative on virtually everything else (and some of us would argue even as a conservative on issues of foreign policy and war), is uniquely positioned to take on that fight--perhaps an impossible quest given the names and money in the race at this point. He's an articulate speaker, and as one every bit as conservative as the other guys in the race (and MORE conservative than some), his one big area of difference with Giuliani, McCain, Romney, Thompson, Gingrich, or whoever, would get considerable play.
I don't think that's a winning presidential strategy for him at this time--especially without fragments of an exploratory committee operating yet. And whether he embarks on that course, I suspect, will be dependent in some part on whether or not he'd like to keep his Senate seat. I'm sure it's happened, and maybe in my 45 year lifetime, but I can't remember a time when a major Republican officeholder (statewide or congressional) in Nebraska was turned out in a challenged primary. Heck, we didn't even turn out the promoted-from-lieutenant-governor Dave Heineman when Nebraska demi-god, former Husker coach and then-Congressman Tom Osborne decided to challenge him in the primary. With Attorney General Jon Bruning's statements that he's going to challenge Hagel in the primary, though, Hagel is going to have to decide whether he's going to spend his time running for President or for Senator from Nebraska. If he runs for the Senate, I'd bet my money on him turning Bruning back in the primary--but he's going to have make his intentions known, and start to campaign a bit.
Just talking to myself (at the keyboard), though, I think there's a possibility that Hagel is considering giving up his Senate seat. He may have not decided yet, but his famous "I have nothing to announce" announcement of a couple of months ago may be pointing to that. Maybe he's considering not running, and recognizes this potential contribution he could make to the Party on his way out of public life. Maybe he sees himself as a possible vice presidential running mate who could add depth to a ticket--and an Administration (especially for someone like Giuliani or Romney whose international credentials aren't quite as vast). Maybe he was holding off saying anything to see whether there would be any other Republicans in the state challenging him, with the idea that he could make a run for the Presidency, and with the front-loaded primaries, if it didn't pan out, he could still file for the Senate in Nebraska (February 15 filing deadline). I think the possibilities are virtually endless.
Chuck Hagel could be an important piece in pulling the Republican party away from the strict control of the neo-conservative element internationally, though--and back to more traditional Republicanism/conservatism in that arena. And while my heart lies with Ron Paul, I recognize that he's not an anti-war candidate, even though he voted against the war from the beginning. His principles, I think, are much more fit for playing "sparring partner" with the frontrunners in areas of size of government, taxation, and the generic concept of liberty. Perhaps Hagel and Paul together, standing on either side of a stage during a Republican debate, might just harangue the frontrunners into picking up some of those causes.
Andrew Sullivan suggests in a recent post that the time has come for Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to jump into the presidential fray. The basis of that argument is that it's time for an "anti-war Republican"--the only type of Republican that is going to be able to make a credible go of it, I guess.
As a Nebraskan, I have a certain affinity for Chuck Hagel. I'd certainly vote for him if he were on the ballot, even though I don't necessarily agree with the means that he's used for expressing his discontent on the war. As Sullivan suggests, though, Hagel's conservatism (and he IS a very reliable conservative) is a more traditional one where the whole question of defense and security are concerned. There seems to be little done in the "national interest" in Iraq--unless you are willing to play "six degrees of separation" to get to that point. The problem that Republicans/conservatives find themselves in now, though, is that we're there, and as Sullivan suggests, we don't want to lose.
I don't think that Chuck Hagel is the one to lead the party, though. He's already got some problems here in Nebraska; the state's Attorney General, Jon Bruning, has suggested that he will likely challenge Hagel in the primary race for the Senate, should he decide to run for re-election. That decision, we're told, is based on some opinion polling which suggests that Nebraska Republicans aren't happy with Hagel's war stance. I guess we Nebraska conservatives don't like to lose wars either, even if they're not winnable.
I'm not convinced that the Bruning numbers are accurate, or that Hagel is in as much trouble in the state as Bruning suggests. Nebraskans, at their core, are pretty pragmatic, and even though they may not agree with everything Hagel does, they'd rather win the Senate seat in 2008 than have a nasty primary campaign that results in a Democratic win.
Still, Sullivan may have a point where the question of a principled anti-war Republican is concerned. I've written here before about my affinity for Cong. Ron Paul of Texas, who is running for President. Here's his take on war and security.
This has absolutely nothing to do with politics, but I stumbled on the transcript of an interview between Hugh Hewitt and Julie Andrews. Give the transcipt a read and imagine your favorite Julie Andrews character on film or stage--Maria in "The Sound of Music" (my personal favorite), Mary Poppins, etc. A nice read that was a quick but pleasant diversion from things more serious.
Here are a series of videos with Ron Paul. Kind of neat. I like Ron Paul more and more all the time. Watch them in order to get the most of it. Hat tip to Brad at The Crossed Pond who pointed in this direction.
Just in case you missed the Democratic debate last night (I did due to "kid events"), there are some selected videos online. A portion of the foreign policy discussion can be found here (you'll need to watch 15 seconds or so of commercial). There are also linkes to other portions of the debate on the site, which you can link to.
I find myself agreeing with Brad at The Crossed Pond and his assessment of Joe Biden, especially. There's a part of me that can't stand the guy, and another part that actually kind of likes him.
If you want to be in tune with current political correctness, you've got to line up with Al Gore and his global warning crowd. They've enthralled the mainstream media and the politicians who nurture the fear vote. Now, I confess I'm encumbered by a load of biases that make me instinctively skeptical of anything Al Gore and a bunch of Hollywood leftwingers are promoting, but I do pay attention to hard facts, and I've changed my mind in the face of compelling data a good many times over the years.
Al is telling us that the global warming issue is not even debatable, that reputable scientists are virtually unanimous in the view that human-emitted greenhouse gases are the cause of global warming and that dire consequences are just around the corner. As chief snake oil saleseman, Al Gore has a basket full of cures that he and the environmental left are willing to impose on ordinary Americans if we just grant them the political power to force the medicine down our collective throats. The economic consequences of these so-called remedies will hit middle and low income Americans most.
Thankfully, there are people in the scientific community, and even a few politicians, who are starting to speak out against what has seemingly been the conventional wisdom. Recently, I came across a book that is a great primer for those who are interested in reading a contrarian view. And no, Al, scientists are not unanimous. UNSTOPPABLE GLOBAL WARMING Every 1,500 Years is written by S. Fred Singer, distinguished research professor at George Mason University, and Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. These gentlemen carry an impressive list of writing and academic credentials in environmental fields. Moreover, the volume cites hundreds of scientists and studies in support of their thesis.
This is an easy read, and you don't hve to have a PhD in environmental science to enjoy and understand it. If I can grasp the concepts, I guarantee there is a potentially vast audience for the work. Running only 245 pages with glossary and footnotes, reading this book is not a particularly formidable undertaking. But it is a very important one for anyone willing to explore another view to weigh in this heretofore one-sided debate.
As the book title implies, Singer and Avery see global warming as a "natural and unstoppable event, and not nearly as dangerous as the public hysteria over it." In building their case they dismantle myth after myth, leaving this reader asking: what's all the fuss about?
The authors include a fascinating climate timeline taking the earth back 4.5 billion years and note that ice cores and seabed sediments tell us there have been 600 natural 1500 year climate cycles over the past one million years. Embrace the warming cycle, it is suggested. Man and other species have generally thrived in periods of warming because of increased food production and greater expanses of land fit for occupancy by living creatures. The next ice age does not sound all that pleasant to a cold-blooded creature like me.
Singer and Avery insist and document that there is no scientific consensus that global warming is an alarming development. Furthermore, they say human-emitted carbon dioxide has played only a minor role in warming, if any at all. It is suggested that increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may be an effect rather than cause of warming.
The authors do not deny there are environmental challenges in man's future, but many of the fear mongers reject solutions such as nuclear energy as being dangerous or unproven, even as they propose outlandish remedies to imaginary problems that could drastically reduce the standard of living for the ordinary man and launch millions into starvation. At the very least, Singer and Avery make a compelling case for taking the time to determine the facts before adopting and implementing public policies that will be mind-boggling in their cost and possibly do great harm to the occupants of this earth.