A few random thoughts…
When the Democrats took control of Congress back in 2006, they talked a lot about how they were going to clean up Washington, fix the problems Americans worry about, and provide unceasing resistance to George W. Bush’s policies. They haven’t been able to do much to fulfill the first two promises, but that isn’t really surprising given Nancy Pelosi’s and Harry Reid’s general incompetence. What is staggering is the fact that they haven’t fulfilled the third promise either—they have done almost nothing to oppose Bush. The latest example of this is the FISA reform bill which passed today—after months of promising absolutely no immunity for telecom companies, the Democrats simply caved and gave Bush most of what he wanted.
A lot of people have drawn comparisons between Barack Obama’s political talent and that of Bill Clinton. While taking nothing away from Obama’s political skill, which is considerable, it’s hard to imagine any politician more adroit than Bill Clinton. (Reagan, maybe). Obama has run an excellent campaign, and deserves credit, but Clinton destroyed everyone who stood in his way. (There is a reason that Newt Gingrich didn’t run for president this year). Obama has potential, but it is far too early to compare him to the master.
The whole issue of drilling for oil is frustrating for me—it seems so obvious that the best way to handle high demand is to increase supply. However, Congress doesn’t seem to agree that the best means of handling the oil problem is more drilling, and nothing anyone says (and public opinion is overwhelmingly favorable to drilling) seems to make a difference. I don’t really like Newt Gingrich, but his petition demanding an increase in drilling is a fantastic idea, and it’s worth signing. (H/T Maries Two Cents)
There are some books that are absolutely brilliant, and Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny is one such book. Wouk is (in my opinion) one of the best postwar writers, and The Caine Mutiny is his masterpiece. Every character is drawn perfectly, and the plot is unforgettable. There are very few books that everyone should read, but I think that The Caine Mutiny is one of those. It is absolutely wonderful.
Many people (mostly found within the ranks of paleoconservatives, such as Pat Buchanan and Ron Paul) think that the Israeli lobby a disproportionate amount of control over U.S. foreign policy. These people believe that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were staged solely (or least party) for the benefit of Israel, and that simply withdrawing support from Israel would safeguard the nation against further terrorist attacks.
This line of thinking is valid, up to a point. The Israeli lobby does have a great deal of influence (though not nearly so much as many paleoconservatives seem to think), but for reasons quite different than the ones usually given. The U.S. values Israel because it provides the U.S. with a valuable first line of defense in the fight against Islamic extremists. If the Islamic world was abruptly pacified, Israel would lose its value to the U.S., and suddenly Israel’s demands would not be met with such respect by Washington.
Many people don’t realize this fact, however, and instead argue that there is some Jewish conspiracy undermining foreign policy. Jews are never nearly as powerful as anti-Semites make them out to be, and they aren’t in this case.
Apparently, NASA has discovered ice on Mars. This sort of thing is interesting, but it makes one wonder how far ahead our space program would be had we not abandoned the Apollo program.
John McCain’s official blog is quite interesting, which is unusual for campaign blogs. (It is written by the Weekly Standard’s Michael Goldfarb). But every post seems to involve Barack Obama’s shortcomings—isn’t there anything good about McCain? The official GOP website is even worse—Obama is mentioned numerous times, while McCain is hardly referenced.