Thursday, January 15, 2009

Personal Aside: Good Old Dickie Durbin—Throwing a Party for Roland Now…The Difficulty of Separating the Iraq War from the Myth.


Good Old Dickie.

Not long ago I hosted a nationally known political analyst for a series of talks here—a man whose name were I to mention it you would know instantly. That is why I’m not going to mention it. At an off-the-record luncheon he excoriated Illinois political so-called leadership…Blago particularly. Then he asked why a state with such a prominent standing had a senator like Dick Durbin who is nothing more than a common hustler…one who is a caricature of everything political: who believed in nothing but transitory things, no absolutes. No one at the luncheon could answer him. It’s easy to ridicule Blago (and everybody does) but he will be gone soon. The real clown is Dickie Durbin who stands for nothing except his own self-aggrandizement. An empty drum that when you rap it, makes a hollow sound.

Now he is joined by another hollow drum as junior senator who is much the same: a chronic campaigner with not the faintest glimmer of principle—just one who wants to get the engraver to fill-out the vacant space on his tombstone.

These two filling the seats of two great senators—Everett Dirksen and Paul Douglas.

Remember just a week or so ago, Dickie insisted Burris will not be seated? Well things changed because the Senate decided it did not like to see a black man standing out in the cold under an umbrella: simple as that. Now Dickie is hosting a party welcoming Burris to the Senate fold. And Burris is happy to be in from the rain.

Two worthless scraps of debris cast up on the shores.

Defusing the Myth.

I must come back to this again: Whenever I see the TV ads for the film “Frost/Nixon,” I am dismayed at how history has been distorted by Nixon-haters to once again stab that old carcass. As I discussed before, I am not the best person to defend Nixon since I had an internecine fight with the administration when I was assistant commerce secretary…but the calumny perpetrated by Opie, aka Ron Howard, the now balding producer who as a kid played opposite Andy Griffith…is awful and does a total disservice to history.

The “Frost/Nixon” TV program was definitely not a rout of Nixon by Frost. I saw it live. The show was not touted as a stupendous triumph by Frost or a Nixon concession. That’s myth my dear people. Nixon was asked about the role of the president in times of great emergency…i.e. Lincoln in the Civil War…and he alluded to the fact that in crises presidents must protect the republic. He was talking about the Huston Report, a contingency strategy paper designed as all contingency papers are to consider the unthinkable.

Did the mythology start with the Nixon haters? No, of course not. There is a venerated, bitter old faker at NPR, Daniel Schorr, lionized because he has survived to 93, who when he worked as a CBS correspondent imagined and broadcast that Barry Goldwater had reached out to Nazi Germany to try to take lessons from the derelicts who were still alive there. CBS was aghast. That started a gradual…but not complete…decline of Schorr in network news. He is still gasping his feeble breath on “public” broadcasting, paid largely by tax dollars, feeding his insidious nonsense and gaining laurels because he is still with us. And for no other reason. Daniel Schorr has propagated more mythology than most other liberal journalists because he is given such leeway. Mythology. Where does it start and end?

The same question could be asked now in an age of terrorism where extremists can gain control of an airplane and drive it into a skyscraper. Suppose even worse happened where the country was in danger? Chemical and bacterial warfare? More. At that point, the president has every obligation to do all he can to enable government to protect the people. Nixon was asked by Frost about a strategy paper written concerning such a possibility…and Nixon answered, correctly, that in times of great danger the president must act. To which the screen-writers aver that Nixon said whatever the president does illegally is right. Fiction intervenes and the American people are mis-led.

All this is a preface to try to set into some perspective the fictionalization of the reason to engage in the Iraq War.

While no weapons of mass destruction turned up, the decision to invade Iraq was preeminently a sound one and one day shall be used to vindicate George Bush. Why? When Bush started his first term, it was clear that the UN Security Council’s plan to thwart the Iraq threat was fading. 9/11 with which Iraq and Saddam Hussein had nothing to do, brought the terrorist problem into focus. As economic sanctions melting away since the 1991 crisis with Iraq, the problem was that Saddam Hussein would become the hero by overcoming the resistance of both the UN and the U.S. We never thought he would attack the United States but that he would be emboldened to move once again on the Persian Gulf and the overall Middle East so that he could further develop his conventional and mass destruction weapons and, through terrorist alliances, deliver them.

The worry was that with some future imbroglio…may a revisit of Kuwait…and inflamed by 9/11…he might well be influenced to deal with terrorists, see they got anthrax, smallpox or nerve gas with which to attack us. If this happened, who could not blame the Bush administration for failing to resolve its first duty—to provide for the protection and defense of the American people? Bush decided this: by not doing anything, it was dereliction to hang back and wait for something like this to take place.

But you’ll never get the mainstream media which is tied to the entertainment industry…Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jon Stewart et al…whose earnings depend on massaging the liberal, largely anti-patriotic crowd…to change. That is why the only way to win this thing is not…I aver…with candidates running for public office in the first instance. Politicians are endemic bottom-feeders: they react, gobble up and are nurtured by, what comes down from the wells of opinion. Of course running good candidates is vital—but in importance, I feel politics comes second or third. The first job is to suffuse the media with challenges to the leftish conventional wisdom. We are making some progress on that front, I am pleased to say—with talk radio, Fox and the Internet—although much more remains to be done

It is easy to fault Bush and his administration for is not getting this message out. But with the mainstream media as poisoned against the administration as it is, the job may well have been insuperable.

More about the lessons of Operation Iraqi Freedom anon.

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