Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Blog Candy: Abu Ardvark

Was just introduced to Abu Ardvark via Foreign Policy Watch:

Abu Aardvark started in 2002 as a pseudonymous blog about Middle East politics, especially Iraq and the Arab media. In 2005, it was revealed to be the work of Marc Lynch, now a professor of political science at George Washington University and author of Voices of the New Arab Public (Columbia University Press). Now everybody who matters reads it. - Abu Ardvark - About

Lynch's entry from 11.4 entitled Maliki: enough about reconciliation is a truly frightening look at the Iraqi PM's new "bottom-up" approach to stability in Iraq, and guess what? Mission accomplished, folks! Now the PM's believes ultimate stability in Iraq has already come and will continue to come at the community level, in neighborhoods where Sunnis and Shiites live side by side. Malaki's lowering of the bar, by changing the definition of the mission is the keystone of the Bush administration that, lo and behold, supports the administration's self-delusional goals for the surge in Iraq:
As the violence recedes, leaders in all the contending Iraqi communities will naturally seek to address their internal differences. Our interest in the outcome is limited: As long as the Iraqis are committed to the principle of resolving their differences through a political process rather than violence, and as long as any settlement they reach is sufficiently fair so as not to reignite the violence, then our interests will have been secured. - The Weekly Standard

This reshaping of the administration's and the Iraqi's ultimate goals paints the national political deadlock in Iraq as a circumnavigable obstacle in a long-term "bottom-up" strategy. This despite the pre-surge ideas that "local security progress would create a political space allowing the national politicians to make a deal" (Lynch) and "that the Sunnis have decided to switch from a logic of armed resistance to a logic of political participation" (Lynch) have failed to materialize nationally.

Read the article and visit Abu Ardvark via Crinchy Internets or the feed in the right frame.

From the Belly of the Beast: Dems Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

***** Note: This will be the first in a (hopefully) weekly series I'm entitling "From the Belly of the Beast" and will discuss specific articles and ideas from the conservative side of the blogosphere. *****

Conservative blogger Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters describes the Democrat's ineptitude with playing politics to their advantage. I admit he has a point. Yet, it seems to me that his point resonates deeper when one considers that GOP idealism rarely gets in the way of their political goals the way a fight for the ethical treatment of prisoners has for the Dems in this case. Even now that they are in the minority in both houses, Republicans are still able to bully and steer the Congress at their will.

The crux is that Democrats have yet to create a united front against the President and his shills in Congress, let alone peel off enough Republicans who will stand up against the status-quo. This seems obvious if not for the fact that even an embattled minority like the GOP is still able to amass enough noise and intimidation to keep something as "given" as S-CHIP from a two-thirds veto-proof majority. What are the Dems missing? Why do their ventures into idealist territory fall flat, or worse, explode in their face?

I never thought I'd say this, but the Dems need a Tom Delay. They need a no-bones meat grinder of a legislator who will pound the round pegs into the square holes in the left and create a united Democratic Party behind a (soon-to-be) Democratic President. Delay isn't the best example, considering his pilfering, fraud, and general disregard for ethical behavior, and I am no fan of the man. Having said that, he was an astonishingly successful legislator who intimidated both sides of the aisle and whose most important contribution might be creating a GOP culture united against the world. Even when the world had tipped in favor of the GOP, they refused to remove the rage from their legislation, or their rhetoric. Granted, constantly throwing haymakers in the House and Senate did not do much for intra-aisle relationships, but that's of little consequence. THIS is what the Dems need to succeed: a strong leader, a united front, and some sheer RAGE.

Last time I called for Harry Reid's head, a fellow Crinch Pinner enlightened me to the Nevada Senator's subtle power play with war funding and the Holy Petreaus Report. Well, we're still going nowhere fast with no end in sight. If I lick my thumb and test the air, I can tell that soon this war will be not only the problem of a Democratic Congress with a slim majority, but the problem of a Democratic administration and a Democratic Congress with a vast majority. We need a plan for withdrawal, we need a strong leader, we need a united front against the president and the Republican MINORITY, and we need some motherfucking RAGE.

Let the hate mail begin.

Obama Scared of Colbert?

That's what this report is saying:

A member of the executive council of South Carolina’s Democratic party told CNN that he felt pressure to oppose comedian Stephen Colbert’s bid to join the Democratic primary in his home state by prominent supporters of Barack Obama’s campaign. It has been acknowledged by at least two prominent supporters of the Senator’s bid that they made calls to the State Party pleading with them to exclude Colbert’s name from the ballot.

Edwards in Iowa

Jonathan Stein reporting in Mother Jones on John Edwards campaigning in Iowa. Think what you will of Edwards, to my ear, he's the only Democrat in the field telling it like it is: "The Government is Corrupt." The traditional media dismiss such anti-establishment statements from candidates like Paul as mere 'fringe' politics, but when it's coming from a candidate who was the Democratic nominee for VP in 2004, and who is now considered a 'top-tier' candidate, the traditional media can't dismiss it, so they ignore it and focus on the less substantive, but more easily palatable criticisms of whether or not Hillary tries to have it both ways, and whether she played the gender card. Choice quote from the Stein piece:

In his second appearance of the day at the town civic center in Waverly (pop. 8,968; flag count: one giant and two large American flags), Edwards offered this, "The presidential candidate who has raised the most money from Washington lobbyists is not a Republican. It's a Democrat. The candidate who has raised the most money from the health industry—insurance companies and drug companies—is not a Republican. It is a Democrat…. And the candidate who has raised the most money from the defense industry, is not a Republican. It is a Democrat. And all those descriptions fit the same candidate. They're all Senator Clinton."


Ron Paul's 4.2 Million -- Updated

Here's the AP article on Ron Paul's November 5th fundraising.

Paul's total deposed Mitt Romney as the single-day fundraising record holder in the Republican presidential field. When it comes to sums amassed in one day, Paul now ranks only behind Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, who raised nearly $6.2 million on June 30, and Barack Obama.


Here's Glenn Greenwald on the Ron Paul fundraising phenomenon