David Kirkpatrick

March 6, 2009

A conservative on the truth commission

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:55 am

Daniel Larison,  blogger at The American Conservative, offers his take on the theoretical truth commission to look into war crimes and abuses of the Bush 43 regime in the name of the “war on terror.”

From the link:

Naturally, then, the main objections to the truth commission Sen. Leahy has been trying to organize are that it will be highly politicized and will be nothing more than a witch hunt. Of course, the use of the phrase “witch hunt” today implies a hunt in pursuit of something that does not exist, while we are fairly certain that there were criminals in the outgoing administration who have thus far escaped the appropriate sanctions of the law. The best argument that witnesses testifying against the idea of forming a commission seem to have had is that the abuses of power and crimes in question are not as numerous as they were under Pinochet and apartheid. Now that’s a claim to moral authority.

February 26, 2009

Derbyshire on conservative talk radio

This is a wonderful article by John Derbyshire (of National Review and Secular Right fame) at The American Conservative on conservative talk radio and how it has slowly wrecked the GOP.

I’ve blogged on the negative influence of Limbaugh, et.al. in the past, and I think the echo-chamber of idiots totally primed the path for the state of the Republican Party today. A party that may not exist as a serious national political force in ten years time.

Couldn’t tell you what the answer is to the rapid decline of the
GOP, and even worse for the party the fact that decline continues unabated to this very minute. Obama’s powerful speech and Jindal’s weak sauce response last night pretty much sum up the tall and short of it.

Whether current political winds make you happy or leave you in dispair, take the time to read Derby’s entire piece. It’s worth the time.

From the link:

With reasons for gratitude duly noted, are there some downsides to conservative talk radio? Taking the conservative project as a whole—limited government, fiscal prudence, equality under law, personal liberty, patriotism, realism abroad—has talk radio helped or hurt? All those good things are plainly off the table for the next four years at least, a prospect that conservatives can only view with anguish. Did the Limbaughs, Hannitys, Savages, and Ingrahams lead us to this sorry state of affairs?

They surely did. At the very least, by yoking themselves to the clueless George W. Bush and his free-spending administration, they helped create the great debt bubble that has now burst so spectacularly. The big names, too, were all uncritical of the decade-long (at least) efforts to “build democracy” in no-account nations with politically primitive populations. Sean Hannity called the Iraq War a “massive success,” and in January 2008 deemed the U.S. economy “phenomenal.”

Much as their blind loyalty discredited the Right, perhaps the worst effect of Limbaugh et al.has been their draining away of political energy from what might have been a much more worthwhile project: the fostering of a middlebrow conservatism. There is nothing wrong with lowbrow conservatism. It’s energizing and fun. What’s wrong is the impression fixed in the minds of too many Americans that conservatism is always lowbrow, an impression our enemies gleefully reinforce when the opportunity arises. Thus a liberal like E.J. Dionne can write, “The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity. … Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans.” Talk radio has contributed mightily to this development.

November 28, 2008

A report from Mumbai …

Filed under: et.al., Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:18 pm

… via the American Conservative:

Deeprak Chopra is on the TV. Among other things, he says that the Al-Qaeda and like minded terrorists are really worried by Obama, and his capacity to transform the whole moral-intellectual landscape between the West and Islam, and are striking out to try to prevent that. Sounds about right to me.

November 25, 2008

The right wing fights back against the far fringe

After the Palin veep picked proved to be an electoral disaster — and exposed a very ugly theocrat faction that before Bush 43 has always been coddled and marginalized. Now they seem to want blood of some sort. Right now that blood is taking form in the GOP brand. Beaten down, sullied and starting to rend where does the GOP go from here?

Well, there’s a lot of opposition to this electoral suicide. The American Conservative has fought against Bush 43 anti-conservatism for quite a while; a relatively new blog of young conservatives, Culture11, is seeking a new way as well; Taki’s Magazine also has been a fierce critic of Bush 43 politics; and now John Derbyshire of National Review fame has started a new blog, Secular Right.

And coming in January is another new blog by a National Review alum, David Frum. His offering is NewMajority.com and should be a very interesting entry into this moment of conservative/GOP/right wing soul-searching.

I’m very excited about Frum’s site because I’ve been offered the opportunity to blog at the launch. I’ll be coming at this debate from farther left than most I’m sure, offering my take on little “L” libertarianism — quite fiscally conservative and culturally liberal to moderate. I’m betting I ought to expect some very exciting feedback from the more partisan contributors, and especially readers. The challenge is welcome and I’m already planning topics to hit the gate running.

From the NewMajority pre-launch splash page:

NewMajority.com is a new political group blog edited by David Frum, and is scheduled to go live on Inauguration Day, January 18th 2009.

Update — I left Rebuild the Partyout the above list because I didn’t know about it until right now. Actually read about it first on a left wing site — Daily Kos. Looks like there’s going to be a total explosion of critical thought on fixing conservatism in general and the GOP in particular.

I’m still not certain the GOP as a national party is fixable right now. Something new may well arise out of all this intellectual activity and the GOP may become a party of marginal theocrats. Hopefully the theocrats get booted to their own little marginal party and the GOP returns to its small government roots and accepts a live-and-let-live cultural stance. Maybe too much to ask for, though.

November 20, 2008

The American Conservative on Bush

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:34 am

The American Conservative is the newest member of my blogroll. I’ve read this excellent site off and on, but I think it’s becoming a must read after the GOP beatdown a couple of weeks ago.

Couple that with the reaction from the incredibly loony right — Palin? Really? — this site is an even more important resource for conservative thought and ideas. Culture11, too.

Here’s an essential brief and set of links on what I consider a true conservative assessment of the Bush 43 regime and not a brown-nosing, sycophantic apologistia take on the last eight years. Bush fans, be warned. The American Conservative gang doesn’t pull any punches. Thankfully.

From the link:

Then came that epic morning, which Bush answered by giving the hijackers far more than they could accomplish with four planes. His grand democratization plan reduced Iraq to rubble, drove Iran to arm, and provided terrorists with the ultimate recruiting tool. America, once renowned for her decency, became the aggressor her foes alleged.

At home, our failed attempt at global liberation has left us less free than ever before. Ancient liberties, cultural imperatives, even basic solvency were subsumed by the war effort. And the conservative movement that gave Bush his margin sanitized his radicalism at the cost of its soul.
All he touched turned to dross. Yet he departs unbowed, still a Churchill in his own mind.

It would be easy to leave him to that delusion and turn a more hopeful page. But Bush wasn’t alone in his failure: a country marched behind him and a movement cheered him on. If the failings of the Bush era are to be corrected—or at least not repeated—we need a clear view of where we’ve been. History will render the final judgment, but herewith a preliminary damage assessment:

August 5, 2008

Bush 43 regime — criminal and inept

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:05 pm

Every time I think it couldn’t get worse, news about the Bush 43 regime has a new surprise to share. For the good of our nation, we need to rip the curtain aside and get a good look at the mess Bush/Cheney/Rove created.

Offhand I’d say the GOP is the major victim, only because the American public can weather this type of storm and move forward. The GOP is an embarrassing gang of hypocrites, writ large.

In the fall of 2003, after the world learned there were no WMD — as Habbush had foretold — the White House ordered the CIA to carry out a deception. The mission: create a handwritten letter, dated July, 2001, from Habbush to Saddam saying that Atta trained in Iraq before the attacks and the Saddam was buying yellow cake for Niger with help from a “small team from the al Qaeda organization.”The mission was carried out, the letter was created, popped up in Baghdad, and roiled the global newcycles in December, 2003 (conning even venerable journalists with Tom Brokaw). The mission is a statutory violation of the charter of CIA, and amendments added in 1991, prohibiting CIA from conduction disinformation campaigns on U.S. soil.

So that’s Suskind’s version of events. I’ll be curious to see what evidence he has to back it up. If this allegation is true (and that’s a big “if” at this point), then the letter was intended solely for political purposes. By the fall of 2003, we had already invaded Iraq and declared “Mission Accomplished.” The issue at that point was the looming political fallout as the original case for war crumbled.

Update 8/7/08 — This story is becoming a bit more odd. And it looks like Cheney’s fingerprints are on the illegal disinformation.

From the link:

My source also notes that Dick Cheney, who was behind the forgery, hated and mistrusted the Agency and would not have used it for such a sensitive assignment.  Instead, he went to Doug Feith’s Office of Special Plans and asked them to do the job.  The Pentagon has its own false documents center, primarily used to produce fake papers for Delta Force and other special ops officers traveling under cover as businessmen.  It was Feith’s office that produced the letter and then surfaced it to the media in Iraq.  Unlike the Agency, the Pentagon had no restrictions on it regarding the production of false information to mislead the public.  Indeed, one might argue that Doug Feith’s office specialized in such activity.