Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Revisitation of The Political Demise of George Romney

The 1968 Republican Presidential primary race was joined by the very popular Michigan Governor, George Romney, who brought a lot to the table. Michigan was struggling with a number of major problems when he was elected. He used the executive skills gained in the automotive industry to solve most of them. A real comer, he was.

The country was then in throes of the domestically divisive Vietnam war. The Military Assistance Command – Vietnam (MACV) which could hardly be commended for its candor or veracity, held daily press briefings at 5:00 PM. The press corps referred to the briefings as The Five O’clock Follies and even more derisively took to calling MACV HQ The Puzzle Palace.

Romney was treated to much of the same fairy dust during his 1965 trip to Vietnam. He later stated in a taped interview that he had been “brainwashed.” That was the end of his elective political career. A congressman summed it up this way, “If you are running for the presidency, you are supposed to have too much on the ball to be brainwashed.”

So here we are in 2007 some 39 years on – right in the middle of another senseless, no-win war which the president is attempting to spur on with what seems to be an open-ended commitment to the waste treasure and American lives.

The newly-elected Democratic congress has declared enough to be enough and is in the midst of passing a non-binding resolution aimed at encouraging the President to not go through with plans to increase troop strength.

John McCain (Rep. AZ) supports the troop build-up even though he is in the minority. I can’t help but think that his presidential aspirations will come to naught as he was quoted as saying, “It’s the only game in town.” Parse that utterance however you like, but a vast majority of us are tired of reading about dozens of Americans and thousands of Iraqis being butchered monthly.

Will the “Only Game In Town” become the “Brainwashing” of the 2008 Republican Convention? I would be tempted to place a small wager on the proposition

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Step Right Up And Buy Your Losing Ticket

Dubya’s blunder into Iraq is having truly unforeseen repercussions. Senator John McCain (Rep.), the distinguished Arizona conservative was the front runner in the nomination race for President. The recent Rasmussen Reports poll shows him losing ground against nearly all the declared Democrats. The biggest issue in his slippage was his support for sending 5 more brigades to Iraq.

Iraq is a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t situation. The only way to hold Iraq together as a nation is with the kind of no-nonsense iron handedness of the late Saddam Hussein. There is every reason to see it stay as a nation rather than a Federation or partitioned into separate states: The dependence on oil of the industrialized nations is the leading reason. Another really, really good reason is that as a federation or three smaller states, it or they will not readily deter the expansionist designs of its neighbors. Iraq’s petroleum resources in the wrong hands could spell economic disaster for the non-Islamic world.

The Iraq war is a sticky wicket by any measure. Intelligent policy and firm resolve are required to see this mess through. The pessimists are now saying U.S. forces will still be involved in ground combat there when the next President is sworn in. I can agree with that. What they don’t realize is we will have to be there until the last barrel of oil is pumped out of the place. The other choice is to hand a hostile Iran a black gold bonanza.

Americans are tiring of the body count and the lack of any sort of cohesive plan coming out of The White House — or the Pentagon, either, for that matter. The lame brains running the occupation of Iraq have followed the Commander-in-Chief’s lead by bungling along out of step with the desires of the electorate.

Iraq will be a highly charged issue come election time, and so far the sole palatable alternative to Stay-The-Course or Cut-And-Run is the suggestion put forward by Barrack Obama calling for an American redoubt in Iraqi Kurdistan. American servicemen are not so plentiful that they need to be sacrificed in the ongoing sectarian and inter-tribal mayhem. Following his suggestion would get them out of the line of fire, keep the lid on the Kurds stirring up trouble with the Turks, and provide an on-the-scene reaction force if Iran and/or Syria come to the party.

I sincerely hope that other candidates, no matter the party, will present other plans. That’s what primaries are all about and for the first time in a decade I’ll be avidly watching the doings of ’08.

Hillary scored a huge point by emphasizing the obvious that while we are bogged down with the Iraq Tar Baby, we are not keeping sufficient pressure on Al Qaeda or the Taliban.

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