Our Founding Fathers got it almost completely wrong. They worried about an uninformed and easily excitable public losing its mind and demanding shortsighted government actions that would undercut our long-term interests. They feared mobs running wild in the streets. So they designed a form of government -- and particularly the Senate -- that would be slow to act or react to the passing public tempests. But it turns out that the public is the cool, mature and stoic element of our society, while the Washington politicians -- particularly the senators -- and the media that cover them, are running wild, shrieking "all is lost" in Iraq and the war on terrorism.
In Senate hearings yesterday, Senator McCain -- who once upon a time in a Vietnamese sky above and prison below, showed such courage, patriotism and noble patience during his heroic service to our country -- couldn't have been more rude and interruptive during the testimony of Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz. He would cut off the Deputy Secretary in mid-sentence to try to distort the meaning of the testimony. But then, the television cameras were running at the time. The senator is known to be gracious with prospective witnesses in private, before their testimony, only to rip them apart in the nationally televised portion of the event.
In a particularly inane and demagogic legislative maneuver, 75 Democratic congressmen are supporting a bill written by Congressman Rahm Emanuel (one of Bill Clinton's former political operatives) that would require the administration to spend the same amount on rebuilding schools and hospitals in the United States as it spends in Iraq. Whether he wants to spend another $70-$80 billion here or not spend it in Iraq is unclear. Either alternative is irrational to the point of dementia.
But the Democrats' major legislative contribution to the war effort appears to be a plan -- described yesterday by the ranking House Democrat on the Budget Committee, that would roll back at least part of the Bush tax cuts as the price the president would have to pay to get the needed war funds. This would have the added advantage, from the Democrats' point of view, of tipping the economy back into a recession just before the election (the good congressman did not mention this part of his plan). We need a new term to describe such legislative blackmail. I would call it political war profiteering. In the good old days in China, they used to summarily crucify war profiteers. Today, all we can do is inject them with a lethal dose of public scorn.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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