(Update: I characterized Brian Riedl as a "wealthy college professor." He is not in fact a professor, but a Senior Policy Analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Whether or not he is "wealthy," I will admit, is beside the point. The point is that conservatives, unlike 79% of the American public, oppose the idea of lowering student loan interest rates. My apologies to Mr. Riedl.)
[T]he surge being briefed by the Bush administration now is much more likely to be around 29,000 troops than 22,000--in other words, close to the number of combat troops the IPG recommended, and, when necessary support troops are added, close to the overall numbers I had estimated before the IPG met.It's left to Fred Barnes to make the requisite historical analogies. Bush, this week, is Lincoln, for "standing alone" (by which measure I myself have been Lincoln many times at parties), and for sacking his feckless generals. Also, he's Washington, because Washington alone was in charge of the Army during the Revolutionary war. I guess Churchill gets the week off.
Some Republicans were disappointed in the president's speech. They wanted a rousing address that would electrify the public, spur support for victory in Iraq, and ease the war's political drain on Republicans.Same as it ever was...
Critics have been proved wrong repeatedly in their claims that elections could not be held in Iraq or a government formed there. Iraqi-voter turnout, even in the face of terrorist threats, has exceeded voter turnout in the United States.Indeed. In the spirit of reconciliation, let's all list our mistakes. The war supporters can go first. Hunter will help you:
[The war] stripped forces from the Afghanistan conflict, thereby potentially dooming rebuilding efforts in that country; it was sold under roundly (and insultingly) misleading WMD claims involving "aluminum tubes" and WMDs that we knew existed, but an entire phalanx of CIA, NSA and U.N. observers could never manage to find hide nor hair of; it had no links to 9/11 to begin with; Kurdish political conflicts and skirmishes were already demonstrating the likelihood of civil unrest and an unstable, possibly untenable end state; stated required troop levels that were widely manipulative, the far more likely expert-calculated numbers being unsustainable; similarly outrageous predictions of a zero-cost occupation; that the United Nations was being not just ignored, but their mandate corrupted; and so on. Oh, and add to that that according to terrorism experts, bin Laden was explicitly trying to engage America in a broader Middle East war, under the banner of solidifying Muslim support for a pan-Arab Muslim state -- meaning the Iraq War was exactly what the 9/11 attacks were intended to provoke.Okay, our turn: we totally didn't anticipate how nice those purple fingers would look on our Congresspeople. Beats sticky fingers, I suppose.
The clean-energy bill represents an effort to hinder American energy independence and raise taxes on both domestic oil producers and American consumers.Norquist is outraged that Congress wants to charge royalty fees on oil drawn from Federal waters. It's unprecedented!
[T]he new Democratic majority intends to violate binding contracts, forcing domestic producers to accept a $9 per barrel royalty fee from the leases. If they do not except [sic], they lose the right to bid for federal property in the future.What's more, it will surely lead to higher gas prices: Ford imposed royalty fees once, and look what happened! The Energy Crisis! (Here Norquist suggested that the Act, combined with one cutting off funds for the Iraq war, would guarantee a GOP victory in 2008 - oddly, this sentence was later deleted). If that's not enough, it'll increase our energy dependence:
While gas prices are creeping back down to $2 a gallon, Democrats are devising a plan to manipulate the energy markets, despite the disastrous consequences. The oil-tax increase will, by the laws of economics, decrease domestic energy production and provide a boost for OPEC producers — thereby increasing our energy dependence.Convincing! And look, here's another NRO article on the Clean Energy Act, by Jerry Taylor & Peter Van Doren of the Cato institute, and it... Uh-oh, Grover.
The case for oil subsidies is laughably thin. Proponents argue that the more you subsidize oil production, the more oil you’ll get, and that, after all, is a good thing for consumers when gasoline prices are around $2.25 a gallon. Unfortunately, there’s simply not enough unexploited oil in the United States that might be exploited as a consequence of those subsidies to greatly affect world crude oil prices.As for the supposed bait-and-switch with the leases:
In principle, there’s nothing wrong with renegotiating leases. Contracts, after all, are renegotiated in private markets all the time. If Party A refuses to renegotiate with Party B, there is no reason why Party B must commit to doing future business with Party A. If the taxpayer is being unfairly taken advantage of, there’s nothing wrong a call for renegotiation.What's the catch? Well, primarily that Taylor and Van Doren don't like the idea of reinvesting the revenue gained from oil royalties in companies developing alternative energy. To them, this is just more "corporate welfare." It may or may not be. That's simply a question of whether you believe that government can play a role in fostering investment in areas vital to national development, security, and the general welfare.
Now that the president has made his decision, what is the alternative? What good does carping do? President Bush has tried the equivalent of a difficult bank shot in pool; the only way it can work is if other officials don't rock the table. The more they voice dissent, the less likely the Iraqis -- in government and on the streets -- will be to do their part to make the plan a success. And the only way for Bush to hold a strong enough hand to bring other nations on board to help is if he is seen as having significant support here at home. Victory is very, very difficult when the home front is not united. Last I checked, victory is still a highly valued commodity in these United States.The brilliantly named H.W. Crocker III, meanwhile, suggests that the difficulty may be the President's unrealistically high expectations of "our little brown brothers" in Iraq (yes, he actually uses that phrase).
Gerson's arguments, though flawed to the core, present a grave threat to the philosophical underpinnings of limited government conservatism and the legacy of Reagan in the Republican Party. At heart, Gerson's arguments are old Christian Socialist arguments, falsely presented as being "conservative."Reinhoudt argues that "civil society" can deliver social-service-with-a-smile, which beats the hell out of getting your Thanksgiving turkey from a faceless bureaucrat. He also disputes Gerson's contention that "during the Reagan years, big government got bigger." Au contraire, says Reinhoudt: "Reagan was the only president over the past forty years to have cut inflation-adjusted non-defense spending." Compare this to Bush, who "has massively boosted spending on those departments and across the board." Conservatives, it seems, argue over the True Reagan the way any other religious group bickers over its prophet. Precisely whose schismatic, highly-specific modern agenda did He really endorse?