Praiseworthy Republicans, MIA

I brought up this topic of praiseworthy Republicans a few days ago, but fumbled the post by leaving a password lock on it [thanks again, moonbat, for correcting that], so now I’ll revive the topic and develop it a bit.

The general consensus is that the Bush/Cheney team’s unpopularity has reduced the electoral viability of the Republican Party. That is great for the short term and for a necessary pendulum swing from the Bush extremes, but is not really desirable for the long term health of a two party system. But I want to focus attention on the fact that the Bush/Cheney team has been targeting and/or sidelining and/or smearing ‘praiseworthy Republicans’ to such an extent that only Bush-aping extreme positions are considered ‘true Republican’ enough for today’s Republican party presidential candidates or congressional leaders, in particular when it comes to the issue of the Iraq War. This, I believe, signifies an unhealthy mutation of the Republican party that threatens America beyond the day when Bush and Cheney leave office.
For some perspective on how the tenor of ‘Republican’ has changed in just four years, I am repeating the words of a group of ‘praiseworthy Republicans’. Some of you may remember these words published in January of 2003 in the Wall Street Journal. They are worth a second and even third reading because, in hindsight, these ‘pre-mutation’ Republicans were remarkable for simply expressing their independence, and their common sense, wisdom, thoughtfulness and heart. Can you imagine any Republicans comfortable in speaking out like this today? The Bush team would work to destroy them.

Here are the words of the ‘Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities’, a group of 20+ Republican business folks led by Edward Hamm [he himself had donated more than a half million dollars to Republican politicians and causes, and I believe he paid the $170,000 cost of the following full page ad]:
“To President Bush, his advisors and the American People: Let’s be clear, We supported the Gulf War. We supported our intervention in Afghanistan. We accept the logic of a just war. But, Mr. President, your war on Iraq does not pass the test. It is not a just war. The candidate we supported in 2000 promised a more humble nation in our dealings with the world. We gave him our votes and our campaign contributions. That candidate was you. We feel betrayed. We want our money back. We want our country back.
War is the most extreme action a society can take. It can only be unleashed after exploring every other road. You have not explored all the roads.
How many young American lives will be lost in this dubious war? How many more innocent Iraqis will be killed and maimed and made homeless? Haven’t they suffered enough, after two decades of terrible wars and sanctions?
Among the one billion Muslims in the world there is a steady trickle of recruits going to Al Qaeda. You will turn that trickle into a torrent. A billion bitter enemies will rise out of this war.
And out of war may rise an Iraqi regime every bit as brutish as the present one. What will you do then? Our jaws drop when we read that you may decide to occupy Iraq for years, that the next ruler of Iraq may be…an American general! Is there anyone in this country who thinks that will work? Your odds of success are infinitesimal!
The world wants Saddam Hussein disarmed. But you must find a better way to do it. Why would you lead us into a situation where you are bound to fail? You cannot keep proclaiming peace while preparing for war. You are waltzing blindfolded into what may well be a catastrophe. Pride goeth before a fall. Show the humility and compassion that led us to elect you.”

A Failing Grade Calls For Parental Involvement

I don’t know what it was like at Andover, but in my public school education I took a number of tests and quizzes. Never was it possible to earn a passing grade without getting the right answer on most of the questions.

That was particularly true if you hadn’t gotten any answer for more than half of the questions, say 10 out of 18.

That was true even if a very generous teacher gave partial credit on some of the ones you did answer. That was true even if, for three of the 18, the teacher essentially gave you credit for writing your name, the date and the name of the class at the top of the page.

And, while I did once have a math teacher who wryly described his tests as “opportunities,” as in “an opportunity to improve your grade”, I don’t think even he would have been so mordant as to describe a big red “F” at the top of a graded exam as “a cause for optimism.”

Luckily for Mr. Bush, the press grades easier than the most generous teacher. A quick sampling of wire service and TV coverage of his report on Iraq suggests that it was a “mixed” report. (Little Jimmy, remember that word for next time: that paper with the red marks all over it, the one with the big “F” on it, it’s not a failure, it’s “mixed.”)

But as Fred Kaplan notes at Slate, the administration definition of what counts as “satisfactory” is ridiculous. Not even the most desperate schoolboy would try to claim credit as they do. Unless, as with Mr. Bush, the alternative was a big fat zero.

This wasn’t a “mixed” report. This was documented, outrageous failure.

A parent confronted with a test result like this would certainly decide that something had to change. Despite little Georgie’s protestations that he’s got it under control, a grade like this can’t be acceptable. It’s time to stop letting Georgie determine his own study policy. Adults must take charge.

The House has taken the first step.

Persia delenda est*

As you may know — unless you rely on the corporate media for your news, of course — yesterday the U.S. Senate unanimously declared that Iran was committing acts of war against the United States: a 97-0 vote to give George W. Bush a clear and unmistakable casus belli for attacking Iran whenever Dick Cheney tells him to.

Read all about it.

* Persia must be destroyed. A take-off on Carthago delenda est, Carthage must be destroyed.