Thursday, July 7, 2005

George Galloway: Political Groin Puncher

MP George Galloway says this today: "We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."

This really is low. Galloway is trying to turn this atrocity to his political advantage and the tactic is as tawdry as it can be. First, it's easy to say that attacking terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq makes an attack on the homeland more likely. If it happens the person who said it can say he told us so. If it doesn't everyone forgets that he said it.

Second, if Galloway truly believes that England would not have been a target had they not allied themselves with the U.S. he's very naive. Islamists are at war with western civilization and they will eventually attack it anywhere they can. Allies of the U.S. are primary targets because of the urgency of isolating the United States. If and when that is accomplished all western nations will be leisurely intimidated until they are reduced to abject dhimmitude (subservience to the will of the Islamic caliphate).

The proximate goal of the Islamists (and tacitly approved by many other Muslims throughout the world) is to cripple the U.S. and its allies. The mid-term goal is to translate that weakness into the destruction of Israel, and the long-term goal is the spread of Taliban-like rule across the globe. If Galloway can't see this he's burying his head in the sand.

Third, it is reprehensible of him to assert that the government ignored the threat of Islamic terrorism. He has no way to know this to be true. He's simply trying to use this horrific event to discredit the very people who are doing the most to defeat the savages who carried it out. This is the worst kind of opportunism, and Galloway should be held up to public opprobrium for engaging in it.

Why Liberals Smear

Chuck Schumer says that the Dems are gearing up to "go to war" over Bush's SCOTUS nominee. Apparently they see the prospect of a conservative Justice as a greater threat to the United States than Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies. At any rate Dennis Prager sums up the Democrats' rules of engagement for the political battlefield:

We don't know who President George W. Bush will nominate to succeed Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But this is certain: Democrats will smear the nominee. It will not matter how personally honorable, how intellectually honest, how legally profound this nominee is. Indeed, the greater the individual, the greater the personal attacks will be.

Why? There are three reasons.

First, Democrats believe that conservatives by definition are bad people. As Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic National Committee recently said, "in contradistinction" to Republicans, Democrats care if children go to bed hungry at night. In most Democrats' minds, conservatives/Republicans do not care if children go to bed hungry, and they are racist, intolerant, regard women as inferior, are stingy and mean spirited, and prefer war to peace.

The reason they see conservatives this way is that most people on the Left are certain that they mean well; therefore their opponents do not mean well. Moreover, liberals tend to assess policy positions on that basis -- are the motives good? -- rather than on the basis of what actually does good.

For example, liberals advocate bilingual education for immigrant children despite the fact that bilingual education hurts immigrant children. It slows learning the language of the adopted country and integrating into it, and thereby hurts their chances for success. Nevertheless liberal educators and politicians prefer bilingual education -- out of compassion for immigrant children (and antipathy to American assimilation). Therefore liberals believe that since compassion leads them to favor bilingual education, only a lack of compassion can explain conservative preference for English immersion.

Likewise in liberal eyes, the Republican/conservative preference for lowering taxes can only emanate from selfishness and apathy toward the poor. And conservative support for the war in Iraq cannot emanate from love of liberty and a moral desire to destroy Islamic totalitarians, but rather from love of oil, commitment to American imperialism and macho adoration of military might.

On issue after issue, Democrats perceive Republicans as not merely wrong, but bad. And when fighting the bad, almost any weapon may be used. The tactic of choice has been the smearing of conservatives. There are few major conservative political figures whose names have not been sullied by liberals. It began with Judge Robert Bork, reached its nadir with Clarence Thomas and continues to this day.

Republicans have come nowhere near making the number of personal attacks on the private lives of public individuals. One reason, ironically, is that people expect more decent personal conduct from conservatives. Nor is it intellectually honest to counter that Republicans did the same thing to President Clinton. Had President Clinton said, "I am sorry for my lapse in judgment. I am sorry to my family and to my country," Republicans would have dropped the Monica Lewinsky affair. It was his lying -- to the country and under oath -- that kept the issue alive.

A second reason Democrats and others on the Left use smear as a political weapon is to avoid challenging ideas and intellectual argument. Liberals have been able to do so in all the areas they dominate -- academia, news media and unions. Instead, they have learned to rely on personal attacks, such as routinely labeling opponents "racist," "sexist," "homophobic" and "intolerant."

Third, having been unable to persuade the American public to adopt most of its policies, the Left has increasingly relied on the courts to do what the political process will not do. As Democrat William A. Galston, former aide to President Bill Clinton, admitted this past weekend, "Beginning in the 1950s, the Democratic Party convinced itself that, especially on social issues, the principal vehicle of advance would be the court."

Therefore, nearly all the Left's eggs are in the judicial basket. It knows: no liberal courts, no liberal agenda. When combined with moral contempt for conservatives and an inability to persuade the public, the Left must retain the Supreme Court at any price. And that price is the good name of good people. As you will see.

This is what makes liberals so loveable. They're just such fair-minded, decent, and honest folk.

I remember back in the late sixties there was a massive protest in the streets of Washington against the Vietnam war. A car containing an elderly couple who just happened to be driving through town was unable to move because of the crowd in the streets. One of the young gentlemen threw himself onto the hood of the car and vomited all across the windshield right in the faces, as it were, of the occupants. The tactics of the Left have apparently changed little over the years.

When you're bereft of ideas, when your solutions to the world's problems defy common sense and historical experience, when an honest debate works only to your detriment, the only way you can hope to win is to spew vomit and slime on good and decent people.

Limit Tenure?

Bruce Bartlett offers what seems on the surface, at least, to be a fine idea in the Washington Times:

Lately, something of a consensus has developed around a constitutional amendment to limit justices' terms of 18 years, staggered so there would in theory be an opening every two years. This means every president serving a full term would likely make two appointments to the Supreme Court.

I believe elimination of life tenure, through this scheme or another, would greatly reduce the intensity of Supreme Court appointment battles because the stakes would not be so high. Both sides would know if they failed this time around, they would probably have another chance within two years.

Eighteen years is longer than the historical average tenure for a sitting Justice. Bartlett notes that:

Historically, people were appointed to the Supreme Court relatively late in life -- as a capstone to long careers in law or public service. Today, there is a much greater effort to appoint relatively young justices so they will spend as much time there as possible. There is also greater pressure for justices to avoid retiring until severe physical infirmity demands it.

For these reasons, tenure on the court has increased over time and turnover has fallen. According to Northwestern University law professors Steven Calabresi and James Lindgren, since 1971 the average justice's tenure has increased from 12.2 years (1941-1970) to 25.6 years. The average age of a justice leaving office has risen from 67.6 years to 78.8 years between the same periods. And the average number of years between court appointments has almost doubled from one every 1.67 years to one every 3.27 years. The current makeup of the court is one of the longest in history, lasting more than 10 years, since Justice Stephen Breyer's 1994 appointment.

Good article, good idea. Bartlett offers a couple of other advantages of this proposal in his essay. Unlike other suggested constitutional amendments this one would be easy for both conservatives and liberals to vote for. We doubt, though, that anyone in Congress would expend the energy to really push it unless there are some really ugly nomination fights over the next couple of vacancies.