Dec 31 2007

Divide Or Unite In ’08? Divided Buys Us Nothing

Published by at 10:00 am under 2008 Elections,All General Discussions

“Unite America ’08” has a nice fresh tone to it as a possible political slogan for the coming silly season. It also seems cheesy, but that is why my dabbling in politics ends at writing a blog part time, I do not make a living in politics. But the observation is still valid, if not well phrased. we are coming on the end of 16 years of unrelenting partisan sniping. The moderates had left the field to let the stubborn and unflinching have at it and now it has grown tiresome to listen about all those traitors in the middle who don’t toe the party line. The silent moderate majority may be the largest hidden factor out there in this race and I think we will see a resurgence for the George W Bush type of uniter.

Little publicized by definitely noticed is the fact President Bush was able to produce amazing results for any President in history and did so without a single personal insult in 8 years as President. In opposition to the Bush example we have the far left and right who coined such memorable trash talk as “Bushitler” and “El Presidente Jorge Bush”. And now we have a choice of what we want – trash talk and deadlock or professional, mature debate with results that create ranges of progress?

Stuart Rothenberg picks up on this theme today when he looks across the Democrat candidates and notes where they fall in terms of dividing or uniting the nation:

Democrats must decide whether they want a candidate who is angry and confrontational, and who sees those favoring compromise as traitors (Edwards), or a candidate who presents himself as a uniter (Obama), or a candidate who presents herself as someone who understands the ways of Washington and can get things done (Clinton).

While Clinton and Obama both acknowledge the importance of working with various interests, including Capitol Hill Republicans and the business community, to come up with solutions to key problems, Edwards sounds more and more like the neighborhood bully who plans to dictate what is to be done.

While I am passionate about politics and policies, I draw the line with 3rd grade ranting to cover up policy shortfalls and I believe a myriad of solutions can worker better than the mythical magic bullet. Compromise is not an evil word to me, but capitulation and spin are not what I want to see either. If I was looking at Obama from the left I would have my doubts about his backbone and lack of experience. He looks and sounds a lot like a triangulator who creates compromise for popularity instead of punch. Just look at the difference between Bill Clinton’s brand of compromise (where he gave up ground to the GOP) and George Bush’s version where he has held ground and forced the more extreme in his party to give up some ground. The best example I have of compromise working is Bush’s tax cuts and Prescription Drug benefits in Medicare/Medicaid. But the man had convictions and principles he would not bend on – and for an example there just look at his stand on embryonic stem cells and judicial appointments (and yes, Harriot Miers is a conservative choice in line with the likes of Jeanne Kilpatrick and Ronald Reagan (ex-dems)).

The funny things is the Democrats don’t have a candidate that combines the necessary characteristics of someone who can stand on principles and still unite coalitions across party boundaries to achieve progress on the big issues facing us. I think the GOP is much better suited to select the next George W Bush, the only question is do they have the foresight to do so. Bush used his political capitol to make progress in the middle – the only place you can get the votes you need to get past filibusters. The first to cry foul were the far left and they started around 2003 before the 2004 election. The second to cry foul was the far right, which did do in 2005 and 2006, resulting in killing off their own majorities in Congress.

Now we face 2008 and we have three of the top GOP contenders showing they can unite this country. My personal favorite has shown his spine in facing down the terrorists. Two people stood tall on the pile of rubble that was the World Trade Center and they were George W Bush and Rudy Giuliani. What sets Rudy apart is his ability to turn NY City towards the right strongly and against a legislature that was very much in Democrat hands. Given the fact the GOP has not shown signs of winning back Congress it would seem strong national defense credentials along with strong executive experience and successes facing down the Democrats and strong convictions to the core (not the extreme) conservative principles is the best candidate for the GOP. Rudy has all the parts America likes, and it is not a bad thing the far left and far right are uncomfortable with him. Not bad at all.

Next of course is Mitt Romney. He is basically Rudy without and acid test on national security in his past. And it is simply because Rudy is crystal clear on terrorism, has seen its work close up and personal, that I keep him ahead of Romney (and, let’s be honest, all the other candidates in the running). McCain is sort of the other way around, he has seen war up front and personal, but has no executive experience. And he has, at times, gone too far left when there was not even pressure to do so to get votes. His views on the form and controls of public discourse illustrated by his support of Campaign Muzzling (er, reform) is still a big handicap for McCain. He is a good man, but not a conservative President.

Huckabee is a rolling disaster, and I will let Rick Moran over at Right Wing Nut House take the honors in describing why he should not even be in the running except he is the latest dashed hope of the far right they do no have to compromise to govern. Thompson had a chance, but he just never took off. And sadly he also lacks the national security experience and executive experience. He should be in somebody’s cabinet, making a difference that way.

Those who mimic John Edwards on the right (blow hards like Savage) will figure out sooner or later governing is much, much more than snide sound bites flowing forth without end. That insulting blabber sells books and brings radio listeners but it will not run a historically important country like the United States of America. And I will bring this diatribe to an end by noting the first word in our country’s name – United. It is time to come home to America and to get out of the fringes.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Divide Or Unite In ’08? Divided Buys Us Nothing”

  1. MerlinOS2 says:

    What would throw a monkey wrench into all the political calculus right now is the continuing rumors about Bloomberg.

    If he does jump in we could end up with Hillary, Rudy and Mike splitting the NY vote in ways that a lot of people would not be able to reliably predict the outcome.

  2. S says:

    Police ‘prevented Bhutto autopsy’ – CNN

    While who killed her is practically irrelevant at this point, it does speak to the tidal wave of corruption & authoritarianism the world over. Elections in South Africa and Kenya are marred by riots. Pakistan is in flames. Russia is in relapse, or reversion to mean, you choose. The Balkans are walking a knifes edge again. Lebanon is similarly ablaze. The radicals control the territories. China rejects HK elections for another decade. Latin America has turned hard left. For all the talk of democracy, seems like the it is authoriitarianism thathas the wind at its back.

    How can we be anything but grateful for the work done in Iraq by the honorable general. His pragmatism is enlightened and really a throwback to the old school realists, no? Frankly it is a full fledged rejection of the neo Wilsonianism that motivated policy heretofore. Perhaps the person of the year should be replace with the idea of the year: “that America may not like you, but it is always open for business.” You can here the former US / UN reprehensive applauding.

    The discussion of Afghanistan is a bit perplexing. You applaud the Iraq strategy of tough tradeoffs and then say in effect Afghanistan has learned the lesson and is hoping to forestall a similar fate. But isn’t the success in Iraq almost exclusivily the domanin of uneasy cooperation with the tribes. Kind of a take what the defense gives you approach – quintessentially American. So why is it so shocking that the ultimate pragmatists, the Afghans, would not follow a similar strategy? Religion meets human nature and the latter prevails. The Taliban are after all an indigenous Afghan movement.

    Gates was there during the cold war and has an equally pragmatic view, one suspect. He realizes that the steam roller doesn’t work and will not work in part because the US doesn’t have and will not muster the political will to inflict the level of pain likely necessary to subjugate/inspire change. plus its relative power is in decline. These are difficult challeneges. In the meantime then it rests on making the difficult tradeoffs/bargains, as unpalatable as it is to the ideologues on both sides. The biggest knock on the CIA was that it doesn’t get its hands dirty enough; now it is the prevailing strategy.

    It is almost certainly sheer fantasy to think this movement disappears and democracy suddenly blooms. At least that myth is back in the ash heap – exhale. Therefore, the Iraq strategy of finding commonality and exploiting it is about finding a modern day version of the DMZ. The only problem as our cold war commitments and Korea show (ed) is extrication. Recoilbecomes an issue too. One only has to look to the first foray into Afghan to get a sense of the high costs of accommodations. Ralph Peters has it precisely right when he says that much of what we face is intractable hatred and the best we can hope for is periods of peace interuppted by violence. Sounds about right.

    At the moment it looks like the commonality strategy is the lowest coast alternative. But we should not be doing victory dances about Iraq, big improvement that it is, without acknowledging that the strategy that is temporizing the violence rests on uneasy accommodations that logic dictates will eventually invert as costs run up against benefits. This is one you can take to the bank.

    Remember that interview when Katie Curic asked the sniper what he felt when he shot a terrorist and he said a little recoil? We should be asking ourselves the same quiestion and aliging out intel./military for the consequences, while not taking our eye off the new mercantilists – who present the far bigger challenge to the US calling card: economics.

  3. crosspatch says:

    Looks like Arizona’s immigration rules are already starting to slow down the economy in that state with layoffs, companies closing, and larger companies deciding not to expand in there. Arizona’s anti-migrant laws look to be a major boost for the economies of the surrounding states.

    More here from Reuters

  4. the struggler says:

    Your Savage Derangement Syndrom is showing again AJ.

  5. the struggler says:


  6. AJStrata says:


    I cannot stand the guy obviously.

  7. MerlinOS2 says:

    I consider Savage sort of lke Keith O or similar but on the right.

    Cultural shock jock pandering to a specific audience.

  8. Terrye says:


    Huckabee is not far right. In fact the far right says he is liberal. I do not know where you get this from. If you don’t support him, fine, I am not a big Huckabee fan myself, but the far right does not like him. He is a Christian, and he gets supports from the same sort of people Bush does in many ways, but on policy the right says he is too much of a populist when it comes to economics and too much of a liberal when it comes to foreign policy.

  9. Terrye says:


    You are right, Savage is a lot like Olbermann in approach if not politics.

  10. Terrye says:

    In fact when it comes to immigration Romney is going after Huckabee for being too soft on that issue as well. Now that Romney has decided to go right on the issue himself.

  11. VA Voter says:

    I spent 30 years in NJ exposed to NY media before coming back to Richmond. Rudy stood nose to nose and toes to toes with the liberal media, mindset and overwhelming political opposition at every step of the way. He faced them down and turned NYC around.

    They screamed and hollered when he kicked Arafat out of Lincoln Center, went balistic when he attacked the art museum, had a cow when he humiliated the Saudi prince by returning the $10M check, etc.

    He has proven steel in his spine.