Good News Tonight: Surge Working, CNN Improving
Question: if the surge does work and America "wins" the war, does that mean GWB no longer has assume the role of the most wretched of the wretched of the earth? I've said that George Bush is a great man but probably not a great President. He may be proving me wrong, and I devoutly hope he is.
As Joe Scarborough, Craig Crawford, and Pat Buchanan said on MSNBC (of all places!) said today, the positive effects of the surge put the Democrats' presidential hopefuls in an awkward place. If you're the anti-war candidate (Barack Obama, John Edwards, Bill Richardson, Al Gore, Dennis Kusinich, or Homer Simpson), what do you do if the war is going well -- and, eventually, winding down? I guess you then run as the gentleman dressed in a white flag, and of course you lose big-time.
Remember George McGovern, the anti-war candidate who ran at the high point of resistance to the Vietnam War? In the election, he held on to South Dakota and lost the other 49 states. Barack Obama, beware the curse of George McGovern.
You are asking by now: where are my swipes at Hillary Clinton. Well, you better sit down, because I'm about to praise her, perhaps for the first time in nearly two decades. In an era where everyone is expected to apologize for just about everything, she refuses to apologize for the authorization of the Iraq War. In fact, she revealed this past weekend that, after she's elected (she can dream too, I see) and takes office January, 2009, she might keep 30,000 or so troops in Iraq.
In this world, that's an amazing -- and amazingly responsible -- statement by a leading Democrat. What's up with Hillary? Doesn't she know that her stand on Iraq is going to make her the most hated -- and most demonstrated against -- of presidential candidates?
After the "Hillarycare" debacle of her husband's first term, she apparently swore off losing causes. I think her current stand means she's swearing off becoming a female version of George McGovern.
Hillary doesn't want to win the Democratic nomination -- if doing so would make her a sure loser in the general election. She knows that, if she takes a militantly anti-war stance and the war starts going well, she would be a sure loser. She wouldn't win New York --or South Dakota, or anything else aside from the District of Columbia. She doesn't want to spend election eve with three electoral votes in her pocket. Unlike most Democrats, she doesn't have a political death wish.
I'm also guessing she doesn't want to be President at a time when Iraq is a failed state -- and the Middle East is aflame with bin Ladenesque fervor. Perhaps she also read the confession of Khalid Sheik Muhammed, the part apart him decapitating Daniel and then hoisting his head, and grasps exactly the perverted nature of the enemy.
In any case, I don't agree with her new Iraq policy, but it's a lot better than anything else the Democrats are offering. What are the policies of Barack Obama and John Edwards for dealing with Al Qaida? In asking the question, surely you jest. In facing antagonists -- bin Laden and his merry men -- who are full of passionate intensity, the Obamas of the world lack all conviction. Shouting slogans about the "audacity of hope" won't exactly impress the people who gave us 9/11 and the bombings in London and Madrid.
If you watch the television series "Jericho," you know what Al Qaida has in mind for the U.S. The recent evidence indicates Hillary Clinton may know it also. Two cheers for her.
There are some interesting going on at CNN. Part of the network seems to be competing with MSNBC for the tiny liberal audience. (Fox has more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined.) But there are signs that some forces at CNN want to be good presenting news and analysis very well. In contrast, MSNBC is stuck with people like Keith Olberman and Chris Matthews, both of them shrill leftists who might as well wear donkey suits.
One very good thing CNN has done is to replace Arwa Damon, its long-time Baghdad reporter, with Kyra Phillips, who happened to be Art Buchwald's youngest friend.
I first saw that Kyra was the real deal when she asked hard questions of Nancy Pelosi, who was expecting the usual soft balls. At one point, Ms. Pelosi of "carrying water for the Bush Administration." Pelosi is one of the Democrats who assumes that a tough reporter -- and Kyra is nothing if not tough -- must be someone from the camp of the enemy.
Arwa Damon in Baghdad was not as bad as, say, Tokyo Rose in Tokyo, but she came close. An American citizen (I think), Arwa is an Arab, a fact CNN didn't exactly highlight. In her reporting, she was relentless glum and gloomy. She was one of the primary authors of the "hell-in-a-handbasket" view of Iraq. At times, she acted as if the situation was just another case of the infidels barging in and creating an unending scene of horror. If there were lots of car bombings -- and boy were there ever -- it was not really an indictment of the mass murderers but perhaps a result of Americans coming in where they weren't wanted.
She was a disaster. Her stringy hair and what may be a genetic inability to smile or to find any good news made her a good partner for CNN's other man in Iraq, Richard Ware. His hair looks worse than Arwa's, and if he ever saw the Coalition do anything positive in Iraq, he forgot to mention it. He has a strong British accent and seems to take the view popular at the BBC, basically that all the ills of the world are a result of Western decadence.
He and Arwa would be great at al-Jazeera.
Kyra Phillips is one of the best electronic journalists in the U.S. Her presence in Baghdad -- especially at a time when thing will be going better -- will be a major plus for CNN and its viewers.
I don't suggest that the Republicans run Kyra Phillips (who may be a Democrat) against Hillary Clinton, but in fact the GOP could do worse. Three cheers for Kyra.
One other big plus for CNN is its reliance on Gen. David Grange as its military analyst. Today, he quoted Lincoln (I'll paraphrase) that all men in all nations at all times desire freedom, something that would come as major news to Barack Obama and John Edwards.