Via Lew Rockwell Blog, here's a story that suggests what many of us have known for a while: Ron Paul is a serious candidate, and one who shouldn't be dismissed by other Republicans. He's shown himself not only to have some fundraising success, but his organization has grown, and--perhaps more importantly--he has supporters who are probably the most enthused and committed of any candidate in the race, on either side of the political spectrum.
I've been on the receiving end of 3 "media advisory's" from the Brownback campaign today. The first, which was sent early this morning, merely provided the details of some events that Brownback is going to be participating in during a swing through South Carolina this weekend. The second, in my in-box over the lunch hour, detailed the events of Senator Brownback's trip to New Hampshire early next week. He'll be having some Social Security forums on Tuesday, before the Republcan debate on Wednesday evening. The third is Senator Brownback's commentary on a case in Iowa:
Brownback Objects to Iowa Same-Sex Marriage Court Ruling Says we need to rebuild the family, not redefine marriage
DES MOINES – U.S. Senator Sam Brownback, the nation's leading defender of traditional marriage, commented today on an Iowa judge's decision to redefine marriage to include same-sex unions: "We should have the courage and conviction to speak out against this decision. The people of Iowa reject the redefinition of marriage, and I pledge to defend the bond of marriage, as I have consistently done in the past. This decision shows how important it is to elect leaders who will stand for marriage and who will appoint judges that will not legislate from the bench. We need to rebuild the family and renew the culture, not redefine marriage."
I've been on the Brownback list since about the time of the Ames Straw Poll (actually, I'm not sure that the Iowa GOP didn't provide the contact information for all of credentialed media to the candidates--I've just gotten more stuff from Brownback than anyone else). Media advisories show up from time to time, which I typically ignore. They got my attention today, though, because there were multiples as I started sorted through my e-mail a little while ago.
It may be that the Brownback people are just being vey efficient in trying to get the word out. But I wonder if this media blitz isn't the sign of a candidate who knows that if he doesn't start getting some big attention very soon, he might as well step aside. I suspect that Huckabee has sucked up much of the oxygen that Brownback was hoping to get amongst the social conservatives, and with apologies to my blogging friends from Kansas, I think that Huckabee (regardless of his views on policies) is a more appealing candidate than Brownback.
Tony Snow, White House Press Secretary, has submitted his resignation and will be stepping aside in mid-September. Snow, who has been battling a recurrence of colon cancer, said that the cancer is not the reason for the resignation, but rather he felt the need to do something that would allow him to earn more money than his $168,000 White House salary. He has also said for some time that he would leave before the end of the Bush Administration.
For those with a little time, David Gregory of NBC has a Web Video Extra interview with Snow, which is up on the site, down a ways in the story. It's touching, and inspiring, and gives a good sense of what Snow is all about.
Thanks to Deb who sent me the link to this piece....
Justin Raimondo over at AntiWar.com has an interesting piece up on the "coming war with Iran." Just to make you want to read it, here are the first few paragraphs:
"They [the source's institution] have ‘instructions' (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this – they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is plenty."
This comes via Barnett R. Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow at New York University's Center on International Cooperation, and a leading expert on Afghanistan, who has it from "a friend who has excellent connections in Washington and whose information has often been prescient." According to Rubin's anonymous sibyl – or is that seer? – we can look forward to "a big kickoff on September 11."
This pretty much comports with what we've been reporting on Antiwar.com for the past few months, and with recent reports of an imminent US assault on Iran: see my last column on this subject. So have a nice vacation, soak up as much sun as you can, because dark days lie ahead.
I'm one of those people who tends--on things political, at least--to try and take an optimistic view of things. I have a tendency to think that things can't possibly be as bad as some say it is. Still, I'll admit that in the last year or so, I've seen things come out of some in both parties (but most heartbreakingly for me, the Republican Party) that are downright scary, and disappointing. For instance, the unwillingness to take a "first nuclear strike" off the table with Iran in one of the Republican debates--by all of the candidates but Ron Paul--struck me as totally unnecessary. We've unleashed the power of the atom before, and were surprised, I think, at the consequences. Still, one can argue that we struck Japan in that manner because we had been attacked, we were in a prolonged declared war, and stood to lose countless American lives in an invasion of the Japanese mainland. But why would the most militarily powerful country in the world not refuse to take pre-emptive nuclear strikes off the table when dealing with a country that would have very limited ability to do harm to us? Even if you buy the idea that we have to stop them from developing nuclear weaponry, why would it be necessary for us to use any type of nuclear weapons? Raimondo offers a bit of analysis:
I wish that as a Republican I could say that all of this is untrue. And I do still believe that there are a lot of Republicans out there who have the libertarian-conservative tendencies that Ron Paul articulates so well. But I also believe that a lot of them feel ill-equipped to argue with the neo-conservative element in the party that Raimondo describes so well. I've wondered on a number of occasions how a party that is supposed to be made up of many conservative Christians can be so eager to go to war and kill our fellow man. I came to the conclusion a couple of years ago that the argument that Raimondo makes about "born-again" dispensationalists was at least partially true. Somehow, it seems that these folks are seeking to accelerate the return of Christ--or are at least of the opinion that we ought to do what we can to fulfill the end-times prophecies.
In many ways, the idea of the Christian Right and the "impose our will on everyone through force" Neoconservatives working together seems paradoxical. But when you consider the theological focus of the Christian Right, it makes much more sense.
I was drug back to the reality of passing time when I saw this piece up on MSNBC today. Ten years ago since Princess Diana's death. I remember where I was when I heard about her death (not because it affected me so deeply, but because of where I was): the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. I was a grad student--taking the easy way out, I'm afraid, by not presenting a paper, but rather just tagging along with another student who was presenting a paper.
I was still taking classes as part of my doctoral program, but lucky enough to have a spouse who would indulge my desire to take off for a long weekend to D.C., and at that time, only one child, an 8 year old, who didn't really need much supervision, and who could manage her father while I was gone.
We'd been in D.C. for a short period of time, I flipped on the TV, to check out the news, and there it was. (A fun part of that story for me is that I got to the D.C. Hilton which was one of the convention hotels, and they'd lost my reservation--but I had the confirmation number, so they put me in one of the few rooms they had left--at the rate I'd been quoted--which was a mini-suite. There was fruit, wine, and a card for "Carol Smith" in the room--but when I called the desk, they told me not to worry about it--I've always wondered where they put Carol...)
During the days that we were there over the Labor Day weekend, there was much talk about the death of Diana, and my friend and I, on a stroll around areas of Washington, went past the British Embassy, and took note of the flowers and cards that were being left there--primarily by Americans--as they remembered the Princess that seemed to captivate the world.
The whole "royalty thing" is kind of odd, and certainly British Royals have the opportunities to travel and be symbols of great causes that most of us don't. But I tend to think of Diana as a perhaps more tragic version of America's own Jackie Kennedy--her personality was such that she could draw many in. Like Kennedy, she was wronged by her husband, but very dedicated to the children fathered by that husband. Kennedy, however, was released from the commitment to the husband who had wronged her through a tragic death, which allowed her to re-make the image and protect her children into adulthood; whereas Diana's death left many wondering about the justice of life. Still, to Prince Charles' credit, it appears that his sons have weathered the trials and tribulations of growing through adolescence and early adulthood relatively well (that's what it looks like from the public reports we see, anyway).
Life seems to be full of "what if's"--doesn't it? What if JFK hadn't been shot in Dallas? Would he still be viewed as a near-great President by historians? Would he have continued down the path in Vietnam that LBJ did? Would he have pursued a Great Society that has cost our country countless billions (trillions?) of dollars, with no cure for the ills really in sight? What if Princess Diana hadn't been killed in that car accident? Would anything have changed? Certainly life would have been much different for her children, but I wonder whether this obsession with royalty is really anything beyond a tabloid fascination for us? From the standpoint of governance, the Royals have little to do--so the changes that they are able to have an impact on are more from a public relations standpoint, rather than policy.
Anyway, time marches on for all of us--perhaps it's best to concentrate on doing whatever we can, for whatever time we have, and to remember--as Diana's death can remind us--that none of us has a guarantee of tomorrow.
A mostly positive piece (although with hints of cynicism in a few places, I thought) in today's Wall Street Journal. At this point, anything that isn't a flame piece is GOOD press in the mainstream media.