Monday, December 11, 2006

Hastings deserved better

DeWayne Wickham of USA Today has a good take on why Alcee Hastings should have been the choice as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee despite his betrayal by his Democratic leadership and colleagues. In an op ed piece entitled "Hastings paid penance and deserved better" Wickham summarizes Hastings service on the committee since 1999 and shows that Hastings did indeed deserve better treatment.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


A recent encounter between President George Bush and newly elected Senator from Virginia Jim Webb has made the news. Apparently the exchange took place while at a White House reception for newly elected members of congress. To make a long story short, the President asked Webb how his son (who is serving in the military in Iraq) was doing. Webb replied that he'd "like to get them out of Iraq". At this point Bush is supposed to have replied "that's not what I asked you", followed by Webb's reply that "that's between me and my boy". Later on Webb is supposed to have said that he felt the urge to punch the President.

In a partisan dichotomy of responses to the encounter, most Democrats are taking Webb's side while most Republicans are taking Bush's. George Will immediately pronounced Webb a "pompous poseur" while Eleanor Clift lauded him for not "sucking up to power". However, as I often explain to my son ( a.ka. "the teenage moralist pacifist leftist vegetarian" at our house) you can't always label or categorize people or their responses to different stimuli. Peggy Noonan had a really good article in the Wall Street Journal basically poiniting out that President Bush was the one out of line. No one has ever been able to accuse Ms. Noonan, a former speech writer for President Reagan, of being either a liberal or a Democrat. One point I particularly liked that was made by Noonan was when she asked if one could visualize Abraham Lincoln responding the way Bush did. In case I need to spell this out, one could not. They'll probably start calling Noonan a RINO too now, and cast her to the outer circle along with me and the other apostates. Oh well, she's a parent as well as a great writer, so she's proven she can take the tough stuff that life throws at you.

Just for the record, I basically still like President Bush personally. Even though I no longer consider myself a Republican, I'm not one of those folks who get their kicks out of personally attacking the man. I believe he's sincere about "compassionate conservatism", I think his motives for attacking Iraq were just what he says they were, and I think he's the only Republican besides South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham who "gets it" on immigration. Having said all that, he was wrong in this contretemps with Senator elect Webb, just like he's wrong about Iraq and the rest of the middle east. I'm afraid I agree with Noonan and Clift on this one.