Sunday, August 24, 2008

Biden Hurts Obama on the World Stage

I just caught this news article in Reuters today, VP choice Biden unpopular in Iraq for autonomy plan. Just because you are well known around the world does not mean that you are well-liked.

Here is an excerpt from the article:
Senator Joe Biden may be one of the only U.S. politicians that can get Iraq's feuding Sunni, Shi'ite and Kurdish politicians to agree. But not in a good way.

Across racial and religious boundaries, Iraqi politicians on Saturday bemoaned Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama's choice of running mate, known in Iraq as the author of a 2006 plan to divide the country into ethnic and sectarian enclaves.

"The original 'Biden plan' seems less relevant in Iraq today than at any point," said Reidar Visser, a Norwegian academic and editor of the Iraq-focused website "The trend in parliament is clearly in a more national direction, with political parties coming together across sectarian divides.

"In other words, there is a very strong Iraqi mobilization against precisely the core elements of the Biden plan, and it would be extremely unwise of the Democratic Party to make Biden's ideas the centerpiece of their Iraq strategy," he added.

Ezzet al-Shabender, a member of parliament from the secularist Iraqi List of former prime minister Ayad Allawi, actually credited the broad-based disgust triggered by Biden's proposal for helping Iraqi politicians bury their differences.

"His project was the reason behind the unity of many political blocs that once differed in viewpoints," he said, comparing it to the Balfour Declaration, a 1917 British note that backed the creation of Israel and is regarded across the Arab world as the ultimate colonial injustice.

"Such a person, if he would assume the vice-presidency post, would not serve to improve Iraq-USA relations."

A H/T to TigerHawk for directing me to the Reuter's link in this blog spells out the problem the left is going to have a hard time explaining to fellow lefties:

If you believe that the invasion of Iraq has hurt the "soft power" of the United States because it smacks of imperialism (not my view, but an opinion of wide currency on the left), then you have to explain why an American project to draw internal borders within Iraq would not be even more imperialistic (see, e.g., similar such line-drawing exercises by Europeans in 1919, among other years).

I would add that Joe Biden got the idea for partitioning Iraq from the split up that was made in the Balkans. Now the Russians are using that redrawing of boundaries that occurred in the Balkans as a justification for their invasion of Georgia. Basically Russia is saying that if the West can redraw boundaries then so can we. I strongly disagree with Russia's actions, and I think in the long term it is going to cost them in getting investors and selling products to countries they would just as soon bomb.

The conventional wisdom is that Obama shored up his lack of foreign policy experience by choosing Biden for VP. The problem with this being known around the world can also work against you if around the world they know you as somebody they strongly disagree with.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Case for Chris Cox as McCain's VP

What does Christopher Cox bring to the table in terms of executive experience and the economy? A LOT!!

Christopher Cox is the 28th Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. He was appointed by President Bush on June 2, 2005, and unanimously confirmed by the Senate on July 29, 2005. He was sworn in on August 3, 2005.

During his tenure at the SEC, Chairman Cox has made vigorous enforcement of the securities laws the agency's top priority, bringing ground breaking cases against a variety of market abuses including hedge fund insider trading, stock options backdating, fraud aimed at senior citizens, municipal securities fraud, and securities scams on the Internet. He has assumed leadership of the international effort to more closely integrate U.S. and overseas regulation in an era of global capital markets and international securities exchanges. He has also championed transforming the SEC's system of mandated disclosure from a static, form-based approach to one that taps the power of interactive data to give investors qualitatively better information about companies, mutual funds, and investments of all kinds. In addition, as part of an overall focus on the needs of individual investors, Chairman Cox has reinvigorated the agency's initiative to provide important investor information in plain English.

What does Christopher Cox bring to the table in terms of legislative experience and the economy? A LOT!!

In the US House Chris Cox was Chairman of the Task Force on Capital Markets; and Chairman of the Task Force on Budget Process Reform.

In addition, he served in a leadership capacity as a senior Member of every committee with jurisdiction over investor protection and U.S. capital markets, including the House Energy and Commerce Committee (as Vice Chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee); the Financial Services Committee; the Government Reform Committee (as Vice Chairman of the full Committee); the Joint Economic Committee; and the Budget Committee.

Among the significant laws he authored were the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, which protects investors from fraudulent lawsuits.

In 1989, Polish President Lech Wałęsa joined Cox in a Washington ceremony marking the enactment of Cox's legislation establishing the Polish-American Enterprise Fund. Together with the Baltic-American Enterprise Fund, the Hungarian-American Enterprise Fund, and seven other enterprise funds in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, the Cox legislation, incorporated in the Support Eastern European Democracy (SEED) Act, matched U.S. foreign aid with venture capital in the newly free countries of the former Warsaw Pact.

Christopher had a very important role in President Reagan's White House.

From 1986 until 1988, Chairman Cox served in the White House as Senior Associate Counsel to the President. In that capacity, he advised the President on a wide range of matters, including the nomination of three U.S. Supreme Court Justices, reform of the federal budget process, and the 1987 stock market crash.

What does Chris Cox bring to the table in terms of private sector business experience and education? A LOT!!

From 1978 to 1986, he specialized in venture capital and corporate finance with the international law firm of Latham & Watkins, where he was the partner in charge of the Corporate Department in Orange County and a member of the firm's national management.

In 1982-83, Chairman Cox took a leave of absence from Latham & Watkins to teach federal income tax at Harvard Business School. He also co-founded Context Corporation, publisher of the English translation of the Soviet Union's daily newspaper, Pravda. In 1977-78, he was law clerk to U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Herbert Choy.

In 1977, Chairman Cox simultaneously received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, where he was an Editor of the Harvard Law Review. He received a B.A. from the University of Southern California in 1973, graduating magna cum laude after pursuing an accelerated three-year course.

What personal circumstances does Chris Cox bring to the table that will benefit John McCain?

Chairman Cox was born October 16, 1952, in St. Paul, Minnesota. Chris Cox is a Catholic. Chris Cox is pro-life rated 0% by NARAL. Rated 92% by the Christian Coalition: a pro-family voting record. Rated 71% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record. Rated A by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun rights voting record. Rated 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration.

I think Christopher Cox will make an excellent choice as McCain's VP based on a lot of the information I gleaned from here and here. Some are going to tell me that the problem with Chris Cox is that he is not former Gov. Mitt Romney or current Gov. Tim Pawlenty. The argument that Romney can help McCain in Michigan and Pawlenty can help McCain in Minnesota. My purpose is not to make a case against a VP pick, and I do not have anything against them. I just think that there is a good case for a Minnesota born pro-life Chris Cox to be a help and not a hindrance as his VP.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Barack Obama - Doubting Thomas

In December of 2007 I wrote up this blog, Barack & Clarence's Memoirs A Stark Contrast. A feathered liberal poster, flyerhawk, pointed out the contrast in the memoirs is because Barack wrote his at the age of 31 and Clarence wrote his at 59. So I accept this explanation, and don't think about it anymore until Barack tells Pastor Rick he would never have nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

This got me to thinking that not only is there a stark contrast between Barack and Clarence due to age there is also a stark contrast due to accomplishments. What has Barack Obama got to show for accomplishments? Clarence Thomas has 16 years of accomplishment as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.

Kathryn Lopez has written an excellent piece over at National Review, Doubting Thomas. I recommend reading it in its entirety. I would like to point out one excellent point that she made.

Did Obama disagree with Justice Thomas on the recent cross-burning case, Virginia v. Black? Obama’s favorite justice, Justice Ginsburg, wrote that cross-burning bans are constitutionally suspect. Justice Thomas disagreed and wrote a passionate dissent. During oral arguments he said: “There’s no other purpose to the cross, no communication, no particular message. . . . [It] was intended to cause fear and to terrorize a population.” Does Obama take issue with the impassioned Thomas dissent?

In his memoir, My Grandfather’s Son, Clarence Thomas wrote: “I knew that in Washington, what matters is not what you do but what people can be made to think you’ve done.” Barack Obama is at least experienced enough to know that.

I wholeheartedly agree with this point Clarence Thomas wrote in his memoirs. There are many who have correctly pointed to the stark contrast between how Barack Obama and John McCain answered the same questions from Pastor Rick about when are you a person and is their evil. In addition to this I think Barack did damage to himself within the African-American community by singling out Clarence Thomas as his least favorite Supreme Court Justice he would not have nominated. I believe Clarence Thomas has more support in the African American community on his position on cross-burnings than Ruth Ginzburg.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Russians Do Not Have Georgia On Their Minds

Yesterday I was listening to an interview on CNN Late Edition between Wolf Blitzer and the President of Georgia. The full transcript of this interview is here. One thing that made my jaw drop was a response by the President to a question Wolf asked about Americans in Georgia.

Well, one has to say that America is very highly regarded in Georgia. By the way, that's maybe one of the reasons why we're being attacked. You know, one of the bombs -- one of the unexploded bombs found on a shut down Russian plane yesterday, tragicomically said, "this is for Americans, this is for NATO," in Russian.

Wolf Blitzer had interviewed earlier a Russian diplomat Darchiev, the charge d'affairs at the Russian embassy in DC, and he played a clip from the interview and asked the President to respond. The President had a map behind him, and he tried to give us a geography lesson in his response.

DARCHIEV: He should be held accountable for the barbaric and treacherous attack on innocent civilians in South Ossetia, that he should be held accountable for the aggression against South Ossetia.

And the best thing he could do right now is to unconditionally -- I repeat -- unconditionally withdraw his troops and sign a legally binding agreement with Ossetians on non-use of force

SAAKASHVILI: Well, I mean, it sounds a little -- quite Orwellian to me and a little bit like old times, which I still remember. I was the youngest president of the world when I got elected, but I still remember old times and I still remember Brezhnev's times.

But the point here is the following. We are talking about a place just in the middle of Georgia, in the middle of my country. How can I invade the middle of my country?

What's the -- it's the contradiction in terms. And what we are talking about is we are talking about -- we controlled most of this area always, but there is a small area directly administered and run by the Russians.

And, you know, when they talk about South Ossetian separatists and say "South Ossetian tank," what kind of South Ossetian tank can live there? It is a Russian tank. You know, what kind of South Ossetian soldiers are that? These are soldiers in the service of the Russian army, trained by them, equipped by them, very well armed by them. So what we are saying right now is that this place needs to get rid of this military thing (ph). They need to get -- to be cleaned, you know, of all this violence. And this place needs to get back to normal..

If you can get past the biased title of this article in TIME then you will get good background information about this region of the world.

snippet #1...
Georgia and South Ossetia have been squared off in an uneasy peace for more than a decade, now, since the region broke away from Georgia in the early '90s, following its independence from the Soviet Union. After a protracted war that killed around 1,000 people and displaced thousands more ethnic Georgians from the territory, Georgia was compelled to sign a cease-fire agreement that left South Ossetia — a tiny mountainous territory a few football fields smaller than Rhode Island — effectively autonomous, but unable to secure recognition by the international community. Still, Russia has protected the region, providing finance, military protection and even passports, and has used South Ossetia's secession, together with that of Abkhazia, another breakaway region of Georgia, as leverage against Tblisi's desire to join NATO. Moscow sees Georgia's move towards NATO as part of a strategy of hostile encirclement of Russia by Western powers, and when the Western alliance enabled Kosovo's secession from Serbia earlier this year despite the fact that its independence is not recognized by the United Nations, many analysts expected Russia to retaliate by further stoking the fires of secession in Georgia.

snippet #2
The Georgian leader may have expected Washington to step up to his defense, particularly given his country's centrality to the geopolitics of energy — Georgia is the only alternative to Russia as the route for a pipeline carrying oil westward from Azerbaijan.

Russians have America and NATO on their minds, and their weapon of choice to defeat America and NATO is control of energy supplies. The only pipeline carrying oil westward from the Caspian Sea that is not Russian goes through Georgia. If this pipeline is destroyed in this war expect the global price of crude to rise significantly.

America needs to fight Russia on the battleground of obtaining more domestic oil. We have been AWOL from this front for 30 years. This will cost Russia much more than any show of military might by the US. If the US aggressively pursues more domestic oil and natural gas the global market price for these commodities will fall. The profits to Russia will fall so dramatically that the Duma might kick out of power folks like Putin and Medved for driving customers like NATO countries and America out of their markets.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

US Senate Seats Up For Election

This November there are 34 US Senate seats up for election. There are 5 seats that are not being contested by an incumbent, and in all of these 5 the current incumbent is an R. There could be a sixth open seat in Alaska if Ted Stevens loses the primary. So we are talking about 28 or 29 seats being contested by an incumbent, and in 16 or 17 of these the current incumbent is an R. Only 12 Ds currently sitting in the US Senate are running for reelection. Only Five of the twelve Ds have been in the US Senate for less than 12 years. Thirteen of the 16 or 17 Rs have been in the US Senate for less than 12 years.

So I say let’s have a really angry electorate put US Senators out to pasture with the ones who have the most time in DC going out first. In this scenario the Rs lose Ted Stevens, Thad Cochran, Mitch McConnell, and James Inhofe. The last 2 are an especially big loss, however in this scenario the Ds lose Joe Biden, Max Baucus, Carl levin, Frank Lautenberg, Tom Harkin, John Kerry, and Jay Rockefeller. The improvement to the US Senate of voting out these particular 7 Ds is a vision to behold.

Yes I would love to see a US Senate election that results in 16 or 17 incumbents being voted out of office. All of the pundits and pollsters et al will tell me that this won’t happen. I can still dream can’t I? There are no new regulations controlling dreams...yet

Senate Seats Up For Election In 2008

State Incumbent

AL Jeff Sessions ( 1997 - )

AK Ted Stevens (1968 - )

AR Mark Pryor (2003 - )


DE Joe Biden (1973 -)

GA Saxby Chambliss ( 2003 - )


IA Tom Harkin (1985 - )

IL Dick Durbin (1997 - )

KS Pat Roberts (1997 - )

KY Mitch McConnell (1985 - )

LA Mary Landrieu (1997 - )

ME Susan Collins (1997 - )

MA John Kerry (1985 - )

MI Carl Levin (1979 - )

MN Norm Coleman (2003 - )

MS Thad Cochran (1979 - )

MT Max Baucus (1978 - )

NJ Frank Lautenberg (1982 - )

NC Elizabeth Dole (2003 - )


NH John Sununu (2003 - )


OK James Inhofe (1994 - )

OR Gordon Smith (1997 - )

RI Jack Reed (1997 - )

SC Lindsey Graham (2003 - )

SD Tim Johnson (1997 - )

TN Lamar Alexander (2003 - )

TX John Cornyn (2002 - )


WV Jay Rockefeller (1985 - )

WY Michael Enzi (1997 - )

WY John Barrasso (2007 - )