Friday, July 24, 2009

At least three eminently screwball things happened to the Democratic party last week—countered by the one candid performance by Sarah Palin early in July. As the national so-called mainstream media largely refused to analyze them correctly, I’ve decided


Dems Punching Themselves Silly.

Understand (as I’m sure you do) that the Democrats control all the levers of power in Washington: the presidency, both houses of Congress, all federal agencies. With that in mind and with the generic vote between the two parties very close and a tough race for them coming up next year, why, I ask you, would they want to probe their own CIA and shatter its effectiveness before the world…embarrass the agency and its director and weaken the Democratic party’s already shaky reputation on national security with the voters?

But that’s what’s happening. It all started with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s charge that she was lied to by the agency on the issue of waterboarding in 2002 when George W. Bush was in power. CIA Director Leon Panetta—a former California House Dem colleague of Pelosi’s—responded curtly that the CIA doesn’t lie to Congress. Whether she was or not, to bring the charge up caused a rupture between the agency which is a vital part of our defense and the Speaker.

When challenged to definitively charge the agency with lying or risk the charge of lying herself, Pelosi quickly fell back and immediately scheduled a foreign trip so she would be out of the line of fire. Then the Republicans seized the opportunity shrewdly and said that there should be a House investigation and that Pelosi should testify under oath…the implication being that if she should be proven to lie under oath she’d be censured and expelled from the Speakership. Then with looming problems on the economy and all, the issue seemed to die.

Okay. There’s an old political axiom that says when you goof up, let sleeping dogs lie (pun intended). But then the Democrats exacerbated the problem. Seven Dem members of the House Intelligence Committee have sent a letter to CIA Director Leon Panetta…who once was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton… claiming that the agency has been lying to members of Congress and Panetta should retract his earlier statement to the committee. Why would the House Dems want to embarrass their own former fellow House Dem colleague by bringing this up now? Panetta all but did in order to keep peace with the Congress but his underlings are furious at the House Dems. With the original Pelosi charge all but forgotten, why did the seven Dems stir up the pot?

The answer: behind the scenes, Mme. Pelosi demanded an eye for an eye--a device to get the Speaker off the hook from her own previous charge. Result: they’ve stirred up a hornet’s nest at the CIA. It’s a very vindictive agency with a long memory for those who charge it with lying to Congress which is antithetical to its charter. My old boss in the House who was ranking member of House Foreign Affairs used to tell me that there are two government agencies a House member should not alienate: the IRS and the CIA which have permanent career staffs whose reputation is guarded jealously—both with investigative resources that can be easily turned loose with destructive leaking to the media on a moment’s notice.

Continuing their war with the CIA, the Dems leaked a story last week against the agency’s permanent staff to their favorite left-wing outlet, The New York Times, that the CIA with the blessing of then Vice President Dick Cheney developed a secret counterterrorism program, a classified initiative to kill or capture al Qaaeda operatives. Cheney was said to have ordered the CIA to keep it secret from Congress.

Old CIA hands respond by saying truthfully there is no reason why the agency should keep plans from the Congress which funds it. The “kill or capture al Qaaeda operatives” was loosely discussed in the agency and never finalized. (Note: My personal view is why since 3,000 plus Americans died at 9/11 weren’t such plans finalized, approved and carried out?).

Why the Dems’ fight now with the CIA which they control? The only advantage would be to blacken the Bush administration—but the Bushies are history, the campaign is over and further Dem obsession with attacking them is valueless for three reasons: (a) if another attack on our shores comes up with mass killings as per the 3,000-plus who were killed on 9/11, public outrage will consume the Dems for weakening our intelligence; (b) further slurring the Bush administration which is out of power is redundant; and (c) riling the CIA to a war with Pelosi would play directly into the hands of Republicans in the 2010 off-year, stirring up old charges that the Democrats are soft on national security and anti-terrorism, animosity the Democratic congress doesn’t need right now. It should be remembered that the CIA was unofficially aligned against the Bushies because the agency opposed the war in Iraq. Yet the Dems now are driving the agency into the hands of its Republican enemies.

To make matters worse, House Intelligence Democrats are demanding that the policy of informing the House be expanded to include their entire committee instead of to the two bipartisan leaders… which would gravely risk disclosure since congressional committees are sieves that leak secrets at will. They are insisting the new rules be contained in the defense appropriation bill…causing a response from the Obama administration that were this to occur, Obama would veto the entire intelligence appropriation—an historic first.

Nevertheless it’s now official House Democratic policy that the CIA has made a long practice of lying to Congress—leading to the possibility of a full rupture between the Obama administration and the Democratic congress with possible veto of defense appropriations, running the risk of political disaster in the future if we are attacked once more by terrorists…all to save Nancy Pelosi and to justify themselves with the San Francisco-style Left who are her allies.

Thus the Democratic Left in Congress is doing more possible harm to the Dem majority and the party’s national security reputation than Republicans could possibly do.

Found at Last: A Non-Charismatic Kennedy.

With Illinois Democrat Roland Burris announcing that he will not run for election to the Senate seat in 2010 to which he was appointed by impeached and discredited Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, the good news at first for the party seemed to be that another Kennedy might be interested in running for the seat—which would mean that just as fatally ill Ted Kennedy, 77, is ready to cash in his chips after 47 years of unstinting service to liberalism, another Kennedy (his nephew) has been found to replace him.

Sounds good but it isn’t. The Kennedy who has announced his interest in running is Christopher, 46, number eight of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s eleven children. I have known Chris Kennedy for many years because he is president of Merchandise Mart Properties which for many years was the headquarters of Quaker Oats (which I served as vice president), the largest wholesale trade center in the United States (6.2 million square feet). The Mart was sold by the Kennedy family to New Jersey-based Vomado Realty Trust but Kennedy continues as its president. He lives in suburban Chicago with his wife Sheila Berner Kennedy and their four children.

What I always liked about Chris Kennedy was that he is totally unlike the other Kennedys: uncharismatic, unassuming, gentle, a regular guy. Never much for politics, he has a bachelors in business from Boston College and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg school where I once part-time taught. He has the requisite shaggy hair but has his mama’s rather toothy visage rather than that of Kennedy pere. If he decides to run (which he hasn’t officially yet) he will have to undergo rigid theatrical training to imitate his Kennedy predecessors. He is already pencil-thin which is good but he will have to affect jabbing his right hand in his jacket pocket ala Uncle Jack, jabbing with forefinger when he makes a speech like his daddy Bobby while he says in staccato in imitation of his Uncle Ted: “Let me, ah, say this, ah, about that.”

His ideology is unknown but he is a director of the Catholic Theological Union here which is decidedly liberal. I’ve never talked with him about religion but Illinois Dems pray he’s not like his big sister Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who last week wrote in Newsweek that Barack Obama better reflects the values of American Catholics than does Pope Benedict XVI: “Polls bear out that American Catholics do not want to be told by the Vatican how to think…[T]he Vatican holds disdain (if not disgust) toward gays. But 54% of American Catholics find gay relationships to be morally acceptable…[T]he pope claims that condoms aggravate the spread of AIDS. Seventy-nine percent of American Catholics disagree, according to a 2007 poll by Catholics for Choice [sic].” Catholics for Choice is a feeble letterhead committee that exists to maim the Church.

Townsend, now 58, was lieutenant governor when she was decisively defeated for governor of Maryland in 2002 in a Democratic year and a heavily Democratic state, 48% to 52%, her opponent becoming the first Republican governor of the state in 27 years…the reason being she turned off thousands of blue-collar Dems in a state where its 23% Catholics are usually regarded as safe Democratic voters.

After her article appeared last week, one respondent said she was bootlegging a false variant of Catholicism. She heatedly objected to being called a bootlegger. I don’t know why when her grandfather made much of his fortune bootlegging scotch whiskey to this country where he stored it in secret in warehouses in Chicago, waiting for Prohibition to end.

But hey, at week’s end it looked like Chris Kennedy’s not going for the Senate anyhow.

Obama’s Version of the Cold War.

If you want to fathom Barack Obama you must remember that he is the product of Lefty parents, educated in Ivy League universities Columbia and Harvard Law and hired as a lecturer at the University of Chicago law school (U of C law being far different than its business school which is modeled largely on Milton Friedman’s free market principles). The law school is dedicated to the 1930s “legal realism” doctrine which prizes results (asking “is it fair?) over the rule of law. Faculty lounge radicalism has dominated this thinking. Nothing has so demonstrated this than his talk…largely unreported…to a group of students in Moscow during his recent trip there where he rewrote the history of the Cold War.

“The Cold War reached a conclusion,” he said, “because of the actions of many nations over many years, and because the people of Russia and Eastern Europe stood up and decided its end would be peaceful.”

Not a word about the fact that the then USSR ran a brutal autocratic regime, killing millions and sending millions of dissenters off to the Gulags. Not a word about the U. S. reaction carried on valiantly through nine presidencies, Republican and Democrat.

No mention of the Korean War begun by Harry Truman to deter growth of communism and ended by Dwight Eisenhower, the Berlin blockade which Truman overcame with the air lift, the Berlin Wall raised by the USSR to challenge John Kennedy, the Cuban missile crisis faced by Kennedy, the buildup of U.S. troops in Vietnam to 16,000 by Kennedy, the full-length Vietnam engagement under Lyndon Johnson, the successful approach to China by Richard Nixon, the Helsinki Agreement reached under Gerald Ford.

Continuing: Nor any reference to the Carter Doctrine warning the Russians not to exploit Iran under Jimmy Carter, the climactic Reykjavik summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev where Gorbachev accepted Reagan’s “zero option” elimination of all nuclear missiles in Europe, the signing of the mutual non-aggression pact between NATO and Warsaw Pact nations between George H. W. Bush and Gorbachev and the fall of the Berlin Wall?

Which leads to the question: Is Obama uneducated, dumb or what? The answer: He’s not uneducated but mal-educated similar to what you find in many Ivy League faculty lounges: a Third Worlder, unfeeling and disengaged from America’s past—more interested in making a name for himself as a pseudo socialist Messiah eager to placate our critics rather than appreciating how under U. S. leadership the West overcame deadly threat from the East.

In short that’s what you get when you elect a president with radical parentage, abandoned by two fathers, whose likely birth was in Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya, when his mother’s late pregnancy interfered with her boarding a plane to enable her to return to her Hawaii home—the place of his birth making him ineligible to hold his office under the Constitution, an issue about which his staff and mass media continually obfuscate, refusing to produce his original birth certificate. And then giving him an Ivy League education where U. S. patriotism is frowned upon—after which he organized radical communities in Chicago using as his Bible Saul Alinsky’s precepts.

Sarah’s Style.

Political speechmaking has changed drastically through the years. For example, try reading William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech which he delivered at the old Chicago Coliseum on a scaldingly hot (101 degrees) July 9, 1896 with my Irish marble-layer grandfather Thomas F. Cleary cheering him on. It’s brimming with inflated rhetoric.

Even FDR was too oracular in his formal speeches by today’s standards (not so his Fireside Chats). Ronald Reagan turned things around with lower and less histrionic style, delivering his speeches in warm conversational tones. Now comes Sarah Palin who has taken political speechmaking to the zenith of folksiness—which I like very much…one of many reasons I think Palin, who’s only 45, will be with us for a long time to come, and maybe…just maybe…will become our first woman president (I kid you not).

Get this paragraph from her extemporaneous talk in which she announced her retirement. As an old political speech-writer I love it. Read the paragraph and tell me if she doesn’t grab every average Joe and Jill with plain-speaking. She lays out the scenario on how she made the decision:

“In fact, this decision comes after much consideration and finally polling the most important people in my life—my children where the count was unanimous…the question being “Want me to make a positive difference and fight for ALL our children’s future from OUTSIDE the Governor’s office?” It was four `yes’s’ and one `hell yeah!’ The `hell yeah!’ sealed it and someday I’ll talk about the details of that…I think much of it had to do with the kids seeing their baby brother Trig mocked by some pretty mean-spirited adults recently. Um, by the way, sure wish folks could ever, ever understand that we ALL could learn so much from someone like Trig—I know he needs me but I need him even more…what a child can offer to set priorities RIGHT—that time is precious. The world needs more Trigs not fewer.”

No speech-writer, no script, just speaking from the heart. That’s why I think we’ll hear more from Sarah Palin in the future.

Much more.

1 comment:

  1. Tom,

    I saw Palin's final farewell and it was a ditzy speech. I was embarassed for her. Didn't it seem a bit incoherent to you as well?