Monday, February 27, 2006

Crush on Buckley

William F. Buckley Jr., the grand old man of the Grand Old Party, is hardly a chearleader for Bush's policies in Iraq. In a recent piece for National Review, Buckley offered some sober thoughts on the situation in that unhappy country:

... One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed...

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols...

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that
Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the

Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy....

Why do I love Bill Buckley? The man is an unapologetic conservative - some of his editorials from the 1960s are rather embarrassing today. But Buckley has never been an apologist for any president or policy. He is committed to conservative political principles and not to the conservative political establishment. Personally, I always prefer an ideologue to a hack. Although he is no longer at the helm at National Review, his spirit still infuses the magazine, which is probably why NR is still so fun to read.

- Adrian Bleifuss Prados

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Birth of Beelzeblog

Newsflash: The Johnny-come-latelies at the Haverford College Republicans have launched a blog. Our Tory pals are committed to “combating the left on a hippy campus.” Local hippies, beatniks and bohemians of all stripes are reportedly heading for the hills.

As the Gipper would put it, it’s morning in Haverford. Old Glory flies a little brighter over Leeds Hall. There’s a wholesome smell in the air and a spring in the step of every young lass.

Marriage seems better defended, tough love has replaced the soft bigotry of low expectations and fetuses float happily in their embryonic fluids.

In short, the war is on.

- Adrian

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Looking After Rick

Rick Santorum, who earns a Senate salary of $162,000, has described himself as a man who lives “paycheck to paycheck,” often with the assistance of his parents “who are by no means wealthy.” However, the American Prospect has found that Santorum’s PAC regularly lists expenses including such "unorthodox items as dozens of trips to the Starbucks in Leesburg, a number of stops at fast-food joints, and purchases at Target, Wal-Mart, and a Giant supermarket in northern Virginia."

The mortgage on the Senator’s home in Shenstone Farms is currently financed by the Philadelphia Trust Company. A private bank that only loans to (very wealthy) “investment advisory clients whose portfolios we manage, oversee or administer.”

The Santorums do not have any investments managed by Philadelphia Trust, nor do they have the investment assets of $250,000 that would be the bank’s minimum threshold. Santorum has disclosed a mere $140,000 in liquid assets. Neither Santorum nor Philadelphia Trust will disclose the specific interest rate associated with the mortgage.

Curiously, the officers of the Trust are closely associated with the Pennsylvania Republican establishment and have given over $24,000 to Santorum’s PAC and campaign fund.

Any special or exceptional loan made to the Senator would be in violation of the Senate gift guidlines. A complaint has been filed with the Senate Ethics Committee over the Senator's unusual refinancing.

In other scummy news, Santorum’s Philadelphia-based charity, Operation Good Neighbor Foundation, has spent 57% of its budget on fundraising commissions, travel and other administrative expenses and only 36% in grants. The Foundation is not registered as an official charity, although it has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars more than the $25,000 that would legally require registration.

- Eli Fishburne

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Is it hot in here?

(Picked up from the NY Times via Wonkette.)

Ever wonder whose research informs Bush's climate change policies? Fred Barnes’ puff-portrait of President, Rebel in Chief, fills us in.

Fred Barnes recalls a visit to the White House last year by [science fiction novelist] Michael Crichton, whose 2004 best selling novel, "State of Fear," suggests that global warming is an unproven theory and an overstated threat.

Mr. Barnes, who describes Mr. Bush as "a dissenter on the theory of global warming," writes that the president "avidly read" the novel and met the author after Karl Rove, his chief political adviser, arranged it. He says Mr. Bush and his guest "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement."
Farewell, icecaps.

-Adrian Bleifuss Prados

Monday, February 20, 2006

Golden Rule Democrats

Yesterday, on a brisk Sunday afternoon, about 120 people filled Thomas Great Hall over at Bryn Mawr College, and the campaigns of three state reps, two congressional candidates and one very jovial governer kicked off. Gov. Ed Rendell spoke very well, Lois Murphy and Joe Sestak gave resounding criticism of the status quo down in DC and the state representative candidates tried not to look too overwhelmed.

The Haverford College Democrats were there to provide sly, insightful and unheeded advice on speaking mannerisms, intonation, handling the press and presence on stage. (Any one remembering the Presidential Voice from last season's West Wing?) You know who else was there? The Associated Press. The Bi-College News. Various other propaganda machines. Emma Rodman (no, that's m-a-n) and Joe Ballou definetly have a picture with Lois coming out on the wires soon. And I am newly invigorated about the coming campaigns. Lois and Joe's races are important, and we're really going to be able to help them out.

In other news, something that Rendell said stuck with me: he called himself, and us, "Golden Rule Democrats". The moral and spiritual edge that the GOP seems to have culled isn't based in divine ordination or anything else insurmountable--as we're all aware, it is a P.R. game. I find the governor's reference to our compassion and social focus compelling, in the same way that I found his illustrative example awesome:

"They're so concerned with making sure that a fetus is carried to term. They call themselves pro-life. Well, where's the concern with the child's life when they vote against the WIC program that provides food to infants and small children? Where is the concern when they vote against funding pre-natal care for poor mothers?"


Friday, February 10, 2006

Scandalous! A Post in Three Parts

I. Jack Abramoff claims that the President, "saw me in almost a dozen settings, and joked with me about a bunch of things, including details of my kids." Although Abramoff was a well known Washington personality and a top fundraiser for Bush's reelection campaign, the President maintains that he cannot recall ever meeting the disgraced lobbyist.

II. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the VP's former chief of staff, has testified that his superiors approved the leaking of classified information to the press in 2003. Libby was on intimate terms with NY Times reporter Judy Miller, who faithfully reproduced the administration's misleading stories on the front page of that august newspaper.

III. Administration officials claim they were surprised to learn on Tuesday, August 30, that the levees of New Orleans had broken. A Congressional investigation has revealed that FEMA, then managed by Michael "Brownie" Brown, was aware of breaches on Monday morning and that officials of that agency sent urgent reports to the Department of Homeland Security headquarters on Monday evening.

-Adrian Bleifuss Prados

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Tea Time!

High tea-it's high time.

The Haverford Dems are having their first event of the semester, a tea party extravagnaza attended by dignitaries, notables, accompanying paparazzi and fan frenzy. We'll be serving up tea and treats by yours truly. We'll be serving up impassioned rhetorical whirls and flourishes. We'll be welcoming Vice Admiral Joseph Sestak to speak, who is an astounding US Congressional candidate (think Harvard PhD. and former national security advisor). We'll be the kids you want to be hanging out with this Thursday the 9th at 10 pm in Sharpless Auditorium.

[I, Adrian Bleifuss Prados, have censored some of Emma's less judicious remarks]

... I might just throw everything into the Boston Harbor. Expect the channeling of Patrick Henry and the denunciation of colonialism.


Friday, February 03, 2006

The Eyebrow

As always, the State of the Union address was followed by a response from the opposition party. By any standard, 2005 was a tragicomical year for America. The GOP is in a politically precarious position and the Democratic rebuttal should have been a slam-dunk.

With this in mind, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine’s response can only be seen as a squandered opportunity. Kaine delivered a wooden and uninspiring speech, as full of vacuous generalities as the State of the Union itself. The governor’s references to his past as a missionary suggested a Democratic Party awkwardly trying to “get right” with God. Democrats certainly need to articulate their ideals to religious Americans, but if their appeals sound contrived, they will be rejected. Moreover, Kaine made only the vaguest references to the Federal Government’s inadequate response to Hurricane Katrina and the bungled reconstruction of Iraq - the two biggest stories of the year.

Viewers were also burdened with the sight of Kaine’s left eyebrow dancing wildly about his forehead. As the speech progressed the eyebrow reached new and baffling heights, nearly merging with the gubernatorial hairline. Later that night, the governor’s eyebrow drifted from his head entirely and floated away on the breeze.

The governor's eyebrow passing a weather balloon (courtesy U.S. Meteorological Survey)


Thursday, February 02, 2006

Iraqis: Capable of Answering Polls, Too

The Poll--for politicans, fingers licked and held to test the breeze, it is Shangri-la. For example: wonder why Bush stopped talking about Social Security "reform" in the middle of last year? Polls. The measurement of soft power and political capital, the aggregation of polling data. The tidiness of numbers. How to keep power, how to get power: what to do next.

Today, Haverford's student page linked to a poll taken of Iraqi citizens, which was conducted by an organization called "World Public Opinion." For all the U.S. hollering about staying the course in Iraq, something tells me that Iraqi citizens have a pretty fair idea of what's going on in their own country. In numbers: 47% of Iraqis support attacks on U.S. forces, while only 7% support attacks on the new Iraqi government. And 67% think security will increase if the U.S. leaves in 6 months. The fact is, the U.S. prescence in Iraq is catalyzing the violence. 70% of Iraqis want the U.S. to leave either in 6 months or gradually over the next two years.

The idea that we need to stay in Iraq until the security situation improves is tautological. We are the reason security has failed to materialize in the 3 years since invasion. Our continued prescence ignores reality. The poll is simple; it is summarized in attractive and easy-to-read colored charts, and it gives a clear directive:

Set a time-table; send the troops home.