September 26, 2005

Human Events Published my Story

I have received dozens of emails from people who were rolling with laughter after reading the piece. Here it is.

45 comments:

chronicler said...

Brendan

I posted a bunch of the pictures of our group marching on www.savethegop.com - check it out.

-Alex

Lena said...

Awesome job and brilliant strategy, Brendan! PWs and FreeRepublicans led a smaller counter-protest in St. Paul, joined with our newest PW, "Enge" -- who did "drive-by" protesting with his 4x4 truck armed with flashing, lights, loudspeakers, large flags and a trumpet.

Anonymous said...

actually, the police told the conservatives to get back on their side. the article also forgot to mention these great signs by the conservatives (cut and paste the links since this crappy blog won't let me use code for posting images...or is that too strenuous for you?):

http://images.indymedia.org/imc/washingtondc/media/image/4/1_hippies_smell.jpg

http://images.indymedia.org/imc/washingtondc/media/image/9/1_eats_hippies.jpg

http://images.indymedia.org/imc/washingtondc/media/image/3/flagboy.jpg(his shirt reads "i eat hippies.")

And what was the point of "hiding" with the liberals in their march. It just makes the conservatives look like a bunch of immature pranksters. Why not be professional about it if you want to one-up the other side? And it's also important to have some facts written on the signs and memorized for debates, not just opinions. (I would also like to know how the liberals are "communists." That would make for an interesting read, right? I mean, since you are a "23 year old Political Consultant and Writer" it shouldn't be hard for you to whip that up (with sources).) It's okay though, there's always next protest to come off as looking smarter, stronger, and more dedicated, right? As long as you can actually find people who stand behind Bush (more than 400 people), that is. Good luck!

-Christina

Rona said...

That was so awesome. Along with other Protest Warriors who came down from New York city to counter the hatefest, I was standing along Penn Ave with my sign, and I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw you guys!
How gratifying to see that the Wash Times covered your infiltration. Kudos!

Akil said...

To answer your critique, I submit the following.

Conservatives still have a sense of humour. That is why we held sarcastic signs.

I was never asked by the police to leave the front of the parade.

The steering committee of ANSWER includes socialist and communist groups, including the Workers World Party and Korea Truth Commission. Just go to "About Us" on their website.

Brian Becker, Leslie Cagan and Medea Benjamin are three of the organizers. They are all avowed communists.

www.DiscoverTheNetwork.org

pat said...

nailed em, congrats on the article, we need to spread the word even more people need to hear out story

Rick Reiss said...

Congrats on getting published on the Human Events site.

I have forwarded the article to the crowd in Temecula for maximimum exposure out here on the "Left Coast."

JHouserok said...

Congrads on getting published!

Anonymous said...

discover the network is not a source that can be trusted to provid objective and impartial information about anything. the publisher and editor-in-chief is david horowitz, a well-known political hack for the radical right. horowitz has a long history of being a political partisan for the radical right and taking part in political smear jobs based on no evidence at all. he is not an accepted member of the journalist community because he does poor research (if he does any at all), he makes up information, he distorts and twists information to create misleading claims, and he doesn't do any type of fact checking when publishing information. david brock, who worked with the likes of horowitz and many other political hacks of the radical right during the 1980s and through the late 1990s, discusses in great detail the misinformation promoted by horowitz, among other right-wing hacks. not one claim about horowitz's (and other right-wing hacks) dishonest activities presented by brock has been refuted at all. all of brock's claims are supported by the evidence. not one right-wing political partisan has attempted to discredit anything brock has said.

"a cardinal rule of the political game is that an unanswered charge is construed as true.... if the right-wing claims that i say are false were true, we would surely know it by now. the conservatives would have said so. that they could not speaks volumes."
--david brock


--rob

Anonymous said...

Sense of humor? It seems as though many of the conservatives that showed up displayed signs such as this which just helped to show they showed up only to piss off the liberals. Is that what the point of all of you was by showing up? - you with your immature sneaking around and the others with their ridiculous signs. You should at least take it from the people on the conservative side that made signs with substance - the few that there were. At least they took their soldiers lives and the president seriously instead of mocking everything. How sad that you would use a gathering to cry for peace and to end the death of our soldiers as a time to play jokes. It also sounds like you lack balls if you have to pretend to be liberal. It sounds like you are a very scared person, afraid of real debates and educated discussions because you lack certain qualities and information that only looking things up on a computer can help you with. But, of course, that’s only my opinion. I’m sure there are a lot of people who sneak around because they’re proud of what they stand for, right?

And I know for a fact that the conservatives were told to get back because I was there. That is not to say that things didn't get heated on the liberal side, but you can't sit there and lie about that sort of thing without getting caught. And, so your article was published - it was published by who? Obviously by a group that does not do any fact checking. There are thousands of pictures out there on the net now, take a look at some and I'm sure you'll be bound to see some of the group of you in front of the FBI building with the police holding you back at some point.

You still didn't tell me how liberals are communists, you just named a few people out of the bunch (and you didn't list sources - but I'm not surprised). If you're going to generalize, then should I say that all conservatives are liars? No, that would not be fair that I would judge conservatives in that way. So, again, please tell me (and have sufficient evidence) how liberals are communists. And instead of posting a single (and obviously biased) website, do some research and get back to me. I'm eager to see what you'll have for me. Who knows, maybe you could have that published, too (this time, by a real organization, newspaper, etc. that prints fact-based media).

--Christina

ppat said...

i was there too, and noone told us to get back

Anonymous said...

I did not ask for confirmation on this point, pat; I mentioned I was there. At various points the officers told both sides to get back although there was no violence. Maybe you're confusing what my point is (?) - I'm not saying anyone was violent. And I'm not calling anyone a liar, but I know what I saw and heard. Thanks, for your response, though.

--Christina

Anonymous said...

Awaiting response.

--Christina

Akil said...

Regardless of what anyone believes, the cops did not make us leave the event. We asked the cop leading the parade whether we had to stay behind him, and he replied that we did need to do so. And so we complied. This is really not an issue. Just face it Christina, PW outsmarted the Left once again. See, in the free market of ideas, innovation is born.

Anonymous said...

Brendan,

As I have already explained, I did not need confirmation on this point. I'm awaiting a response on the requested information (you may need to reread my posts). It would be nice to see a response to rob's comment, as well. I'm interested to see what you have to say about it. Maybe a look into Horowitz's credentials will have you second guess his stance as an expert in dissecting the left.

Honestly, I'm pretty disappointed in your last response. I was hoping for something with some substance. I was hoping, since it took days for you to respond, there would be more to it. And I thought, as a writer, you would be able to provide that. But as I have seen, it's pretty typical for conservatives to dodge the issues. (Wait, was I just now judging you and all conservatives as you do with liberals? Oops!) I had a guess you would do that. Not a problem.

--christina

Akil said...

You can try to attack the credibility of Horowitz all you want. Just read the literature on the tables of the organizers of the so-called "peace movement."

It's all Marxism, Communism and Jihadism.

I have the video and pictures to prove it. I have already published some of these photos on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Brendan,

I'm still awaiting response on the requested information. Please include credible sources, as the previous posts did not (the *one* that you listed). You did not respond with ANY information, just opinion and telling me to "read the literature." Do you have no literature to refer me to besides what is on an obviously right-wing website? (For example, you can show me articles from Reuters, the Associated Press, etc.) Once again, it boggles my mind why you would dodge the question and continue to make yourself look ridiculous on your own blog. But it is rather amusing, so keep these little responses if you must. I'll check back in about a week - this way you will have had enough time to actually think about what to write and I won't have to waste my time anymore.

--Christina

Anonymous said...

my statements about horowitz are grounded in known facts about the man. that whole website you posted as evidence of socialism/communism/marxism in the organizers of the protest has no credibility. most likely it is all lies, fabrications, and distortions. do a little of your own research, and if you have any academic ethics left, you should reach the conclusion that horowitz is not a journalist or a researcher but a political partisan.

but let's get to the real issue here: it doesn't really matter what political ideoligies the organizers of the protest on sept. 24th have. the point of the protest was to show dissapproval of the bush administration's foreign policy, and to let the bush administration know that their policies are not in the american interest. over 100,000 people came that day, some accounts were as high as 300,000. the next day there was a pro-war rally, which attracted 400 people, maybe 1,000 tops. who's in the majority? not you.

and the photos you've published don't really show anything at all. you've got one sign from the socialist movement, and i don't see anything on your website about literature at the protest. i was there, and there were many signs. remember that in america we value free speech, so people with any political ideology may voice their view of the war in iraq. what brought us together was an opposition to the failed foreign policies of the bush administration. the whole protest wasn't just socialism/communism/marxism, as you like to suggest. yes, those ideas were there, but they weren't the ony ideas and they weren't the point of the protest. you, obviously, missed the point.

--rob

Anonymous said...

Rob -

Rarely do people flood the streets to AGREE with the status quo. Yes, protesters had 100,000 and only 400 showed up for the pro-war rally but that should be no surprise. People who are dissatisfied with a current policy are more likely to demonstrate, protest, etc. People who are satsified with the current policy do not flood the streets with signs saying "We Agree with our President!" The real number that counts is that the majority of Americans (and an overwhelming majority of the military) voted for President Bush. You can cite all the polls you want but election day is the only one that really counts.

-Shawna

Anonymous said...

shawna,

that's a little misleading. the 2004 election day results don't necessarily count for as much as they did back then. that was a year ago, and people's views and ideas have changed because of events that have occurred in the meantime. with all the recent polls putting bush's approval rating around 40%, and disapproval of bush's foreign policy coming in close to 60%, the pro-war position is losing popularity. your denial of that fact and a desire to live in the past really shows where your head is. if this conservative "revolution" really is a revolution, then i would expect more participation and support from your side. however, you seem to lack those things. the anti-war position is gaining much ground because the evidence has proved to be overwhelmingly against the foreign policies of the bush administration.

--rob

Anonymous said...

Like I said, the only poll that counts is the election. Let's see what happens in Nov 2006 - if the Dems can take over the House then you'll have something to hang your hat on. If not, and Republicans actually gain more seats (as they have in the last few years), then you'll once again have to resort to biased polls and anti-war demonstration numbers. I'm not too concerned.

--Shawna

Anonymous said...

Shawna,

Why is the election the only poll that counts? This makes absolutely no sense at all to me (and I'm pretty sure there are a lot of people who would read this and think the same). Can you explain your stance that no current news is relevant to today regarding the current topic?? (And lets not be naive, Shawna, polls are considered news.)

As Rob mentioned, things have greatly changed in the past year - the war in Iraq is still proving to have no real progression, thousands of innocent lives have been lost for no good reasons, every reason we went over there has been proven false/non-existent, the money we could have used for this country to recuperate from Katrina and Rita has been used to fund the war in Iraq, the soldiers that could have helped in our country because of those hurricanes are there, and the public has no idea what is going on with Osama because of certain reasons I cannot go into here: I work for the President and VPs of one of the top defense contractors in the United States (as well as in the world) so I am privy to information that is not released to the public; I know facts about this war that are not released in the media and therefore one reason why I cannot write the specifics on this blog. But I'm sure you can do your own research on things that *have* been released. They are not hard to find; they are everywhere. If you would like me to provide a list of credible sites, etc I would be happy to do so. But, since apparently you do not think any news/polls of the current time are relevant to today (for some reason) then I do not know if I should put time into doing so. Let me know.

--------

Brendan,

Even though it has not been a week, I decided to see if you had responded to anything I have asked in my previous posts. You have not. You are helping to prove my point. Thank you. If anyone else wishes to stand in for Brendan since he seems incapable, please, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks,
Christina

Anonymous said...

nicely put, christina.

shawna, you have some growing up to do.

if the election results are all that matter to you, i suggest you do some reading about voter fraud and disenfranchisement. considering the evidence in ohio, florida, and new mexico, those election results aren't "solid" evidence any more so than news polls are. without even discussing the dangers of electronic voting, we can easily see voter tampering with poll tapes found in the trash shortly after nov 2nd, 2004. those tapes are supposed to be kept for 7 years. tapes that were turned over in accordance with the freedom of informtion act were altered after election day (the evidence is right on the poll tapes themselves, the date is past election day).

anyways, we shall see then in 2006. although if your friend roy moore takes the governorship of alabama, expect a split in the republican party and easy takings for the democrats.

--rob

Anonymous said...

oh shawna, i forgot one thing.

you never explained WHY election results are all that matter. i'm waiting for a logical explanation.

--rob

Anonymous said...

Brendan,

One last question (that you will probably not be able to answer, either) and a couple comments that I neglected to mention earlier:

Although I did say that the point was moot regarding the police at the protest, I would like to say this: you stated several comments before, "the cops did not make us leave the event." This implies that someone on this comment thread made the statement that the police told you you needed to leave the protest. Where did anyone mention that you were told you had to leave the event? Are you saying that I said this, because I did not (you may, again, need to reread my posts). I said that they had to tell each side several times that they needed to "get back." It seems as though you misconstrue so many things, it's a wonder how you had a book published.

That leads me to another point – I talked about your book last night with a friend. If you are so revolutionary and really want to get kids on college campuses to be conservatives then why are you making them pay $10 for the book? Students typically do not have $10 to drop on a book, much less one that they do not need for school. Especially in art departments where many of the most liberal students are (which should make a light bulb go off in your head that this is a major area to go with your book). Art textbooks cost more than most other department textbooks and are sometimes hundreds of dollars each - you need to plan accordingly. Seems like your idea is not on spreading the word, but what kind of profit you can gain. Someone as passionate as you make yourself out to be should be *giving* this away. Can you not find a sponsor to help with the publishing costs if that's what your worry is about??? My thought is that you should look in to this, but like I said, that's my thought so you can take it or leave it, it's obviously up to you.)

--Christina

Akil said...

Wow, someone's feathers are ruffled. While you may spend your day trolling on blogs, I actually have a day job. I was in Colorado fighting against the statist government that your Marxist brethren support.

I will always try to respond to comments as quickly as possible, but don't think that my frequency of posts is any indication of "incapability". Rather, it is because my internet access at my hotel was unreliable, and when I did have it, I was promoting an event for my employer.

Akil said...

Now that you have thrown all kinds of challenges, arguments and self-congratulatory strawmen at me, I'll respond to those that are not ad hominem.

The Leftist parade that took place was most certainly a hodgepodge of ridiculous political idealogy. The organizers themselves have written about what their aims are. I posted one of these articles, from the Workers World Party, on my blog. As I already said, to find out WHO organized the parade, just go to THEIR website. www.answercoaliton.org

There you will find the WWP, Korea Truth Commission, Socialists and other Leftist groups. Charles Krauthammer just had a piece in many newspapers this week about the organizers. This IS common knowledge. Horowitz is just one guy who put all the info together. Attacking him as "partisan" does not defeat the argument that he is making. Leslie Cagan, who was on CSPAN holding hands with Sheehan and Jesse Jackson, speaks for herself. I won't do your reading for you, but here is her bio: http://www.zmag.org/bios/homepage.cfm?authorID=59

Pick up one of her articles or books and read what she writes.

Akil said...

Here is another source for my argument that Leslie Cagan and her buddies at UPJ are commies:
http://www.capitalresearch.org/news/news.asp?ID=243&t=6

In her own words:

"I spent over two months with the First Venceremos Brigade in Cuba. Just ten years into their revolution, the Cubans had taken control of their history. . . . While we were in Cuba, Fred Hampton and other Chicago Black Panthers were murdered. It was a shocking reminder of the brutality and power of the US government, and there we were in Cuba, a whole nation under attack from the US. As Brigadistas we were taking a risk traveling in defiance of Washington’s travel ban, but we knew the risk was small compared to what Cubans and so many others around the world faced every day."

Akil said...

Okay, enough about commies.

On to my book. Why, as someone who wholeheartedly supports capitalism, would I "give" my book away? I am not a socialist, and I am not a hippie. I am practicing what I preach. I do seek a profit, and I do seek to reach young conservative students. I will do both proudly, and they wouldn't expect anything else. That is what "right-wingers" do. We act in our self-interest, which produces a great deal of good for others.

And, trust me, my book has given hundreds of students the ideas, motivation and support they need to tear down the liberal monopoly of higher education. Now, it is up to them to finish the fight.

Akil said...

I really don't even want to talk about the police on Sep. 24th. It bores me, and is a non-issue. I did not speak to a single cop that day, aside from the guy leading the parade in the cop car. I asked him, "Do we need to stay behind you to march?" He replied, "Yes, please stay behind the car." That was the extent of my interaction with the police. I don't believe that free speech requires a permit, by the way. Maybe we can agree on that one.



I have video of the entire march, which will be made available online soon. You can see just how "tolerant" and "peaceful" your buddies were. The media hides the fact that the Leftists in Washington were extremists, but the actual footage that will be circulating online will let everyone see the ugly truth; along with the ugly Che shirts, angry lesbians and aging hippies.

Anonymous said...

ok brendan... where do i begin?

as i said earlier, it really doesn't matter what the political ideologies of the protests organizers are. that's not the point of the protest. and if you were at the protest and you went by the answer coalition stage, you would have heard the reasons we were marching. it was not about promoting a socialist, communist, or marxist agenda. it was about showing OPPOSITION TO THE FAILED FOREIGN POLICIES OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION. i can't stress this point enough. yes, there were people of all political backgrounds at the protest--even socialists, communists, and marxists. last time i checked, america was a FREE country. america is a place of POLITICAL TOLERANCE AND FREEDOM. you seem to think that by labeling people socialist, communist, or marxist that they are instantly discredited. you should go back to school and get that education this time, instead of just a degree.

also, you seem to think that World Workers Party organized the protest, but it was in fact United for Peace and Justice who organized the event. check out their website here:

http://www.unitedforpeace.org/

World Workers Party is not listed on the answer coalition website as a steering committee. korea truth commission is; however, they are a part of veterans for peace, so i highly doubt that what you suggest of them is actually true.

their website is here:

http://www.veteransforpeace.org/press/koreatruth.htm

moving on to the next thing. christina brought up the point about giving your book away and not selling it. however, you are proud of the fact that you are making money from this "conservative revolution." you don't think that cheapens your argument? you're proud to make money off of conservatism, yet you don't see how that clouds your judgment and prevents you from being impartial and objective. you've let money corrupt your ideology; therefore, how can any reader trust that your argument is true and not just stated so you can sell your book? the fact that you are so proud to make money off of this agenda of yours brings down your credibility.

oh and i can't wait for this video of yours. i was at the march, i walked the entire route. i didn't see any violence of hatred on part of the protesters. in fact, when the pro-war people were yelling and name-calling from the sidelines, i saw protesters just give the peace sign. so we'll wait for this video. i would hope that you post the raw footage, not something that you've edited to create a slant.

leftists in washington are extremist, huh? why don't you check out some recent polls:

http://www.pollingreport.com/

you'll see that a lot of what you consider to be "extremist" positions are supported by a majority of americans.

and you really showed your intelligent side with this one:

"the ugly Che shirts, angry lesbians and aging hippies."

Anonymous said...

btw, that last post was from me.

--rob

Anonymous said...

"While you may spend your day trolling on blogs" – I had a free moment at work, so I checked it out to see if you had responded. Is this considered “trolling” in your opinion – checking up on a response? I would not look at your blog otherwise. (I only found it while looking for pictures from the protest last week and your page was in the search results.) I actually asked those questions before because I was curious, but now I just think you're someone who likes to argue instead of have educated discussions - like you're offended that people would ask you a question. No wonder conservatives have the poor reputation they do. (This really shows you where money can get you.) In any event, sorry for implying that you were incapable (however, we all learn from our mistakes. In this case, you would have benefited by posting a quick memo that stated your internet was unreliable. I and others saw you had time to write another post and this reflected badly on you which made you look like you had nothing to say). By the way, you talk about trolling on blogs and you are the one with the blog and you also have a myspace (my point is that is our culture now – to have personal pages on the internet and USE them. You should be happy that someone is actually even looking at your blog besides your friends and online buddies!)

Thanks for finally responding, although I wonder why you would not want to discuss all topics proposed. Now that you've attempted to answer my question I would like to thank you, but I still am unhappy with your answer that the steering committees of the answer coalition are made up of communists. I am having a hard time finding evidence of this on the provided websites, so maybe you can try to point me in the right direction again. And although I know you claim that Brian Becker, Leslie Cagan and Medea Benjamin are communists, this does not mean that the protest was fashioned with a communist agenda as you have implied.

I see the reasoning for charging money for your book, and I think that whole take on things like that is ridiculous. When I am passionate about something, I want to spread the word on the issue, not think about the profit I will get. So I am passionate about issues, and I suppose you are “passionate” about profit (and the rest can follow if it so happens). This way of thinking is just so strange to me (then again I don’t have to do everything I can to make a buck since I make good money at my job).

Now, I would like to ask (again) a question about Protest Warrior. Why do you guys sneak in and crash protests? Does this not seem like something a child would do – try to blend in with the crowd and then surprise them with mockery? That is utterly ridiculous, especially for someone who seems like he would be worried about having class. Do you want to look like fools? Obviously not, but it is the only “goal” you succeeded in fulfilling. You never answered my question before as to why you do this. It makes no sense, especially if you’re trying to appear to be more rational than the protesters.

I was not asking about the police. I was asking where on this thread did someone tell you or imply that you were told to leave the event (and I was right – you could not answer. This time it was not because of the internet. It was because that did not happen).

Oh, I can’t wait to see your video, as I’m sure that you have edited it. If not, I’d like to see the entire march. And like I said – I’m sure that there will be heated arguments between both sides, so I’m sure you’ll find the left carrying on just as you will find the right doing the same.

Also, you said “I don't believe that free speech requires a permit, by the way. Maybe we can agree on that one.” Sure, I agree, but I have no idea what you’re referring to with this statement. Try finishing this thought because I’d like to know what you’re talking about.

--Christina

Anonymous said...

Christina & Rob -

So is your opinion that public opinion polls should shape public policy? A random sampling of a few hundred people should dictate the actions of our elected officials?

Our elected officials are in office to represent the best interests of their constituencies. This includes the President. He does not wake up each morning, read the latest poll and then go to work according to what that poll states.

So if our government took your route, abided by the latest opinion polls that show Americans are unhappy with the situation in Iraq, and pulled out of Iraq - what do you think would happen? What would happen to Iraq? This makes no sense. Our military is doing an incredible job, although much of the progress in Iraq is not reported as the MSM is much more enamoured with tragedy and gore.

On a side note, polls also show that Americans DO NOT support pulling out of Iraq.


You say you want to bring the troops home (that's what the protest was about, right?) but the troops, by their own admission, do not want to come home until they've completed the mission. Christina - you say you have some high level job and privy to all this secret info - great. Well, I happen to work with injured troops returned from Iraq and I don't have to hide what they say - they support the mission overwhelmingly.

The worst part is the anti-war movement is doing exactly what they did during Vietnam - they're undermining our military and emboldening the enemy. In the aftermath of Vietnam, we learned that the North Vietnamese and Vietcong closely monitered American sentiment. They would target certain attacks to provide American media with the most carnage. They knew they couldn't beat us militarily so they did by eroding our own confidence at home. Look at any of the research done on Vietnam - we won the war by military terms but we were forced to abandon the cause because of weakness at home. If you have time, look at what happpened to Vietnam and neighboring countries after we left - it isn't pretty. This same weakness is what that anti-war rally was all about. I challenge you to have confidence and not run when things get tough. Our military understands what's at stake and so do the majority of Americans. That's why the Protest Warriors were out there, trying to show that American does support the troops, the war and the President. We refuse to sit silently by and let a loud minority cause another Vietnam. For the sake of the Iraqi's that have been freed and for the sake of future generations of Americans.

--Shawna

Anonymous said...

Your blog is great! It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about temecula these days! I have a secret temecula exposed if you want to come check it out

Anonymous said...

Shawna,

I believe that the popular public opinion should have a pull in what is decided on any major issue within the government, so of course it should help to shape public policy. And it's not just a few hundred people. Those polls are not just taken once. Over several of those polls, the number of people turns from hundreds into thousands of individuals. Do you not realize this?

If we start pulling our troops out and do it in an organized manner, then there will not be as many problems as you may think. It's easy to understand why you would think so many things would go wrong, considering what Bush has done in the past so I will not hold that against you.

What polls are you looking at. I believe Rob provided enough evidence stating otherwise. Did you even look at the material he provided?

Yes, I do have a high level job, thanks for telling me it's great, I know this. Anyway, I also work with people in the military and have friends that have been to Iraq for over 2 years. They do not agree with what is going on over there and tell me the stories of how things are over there. And, Shawna, do you not realize that those girls and boys that are in the military have been brainwashed into wanting to accomplish that bs mission? If they do not do what they're told, then they face severe consequences including time in prison. One of my friends did not do what he was told when it came to starving a 13 year old Iraqi soldier and he was severely reprimanded and humiliated in front of his peers for almost the duration of a year. Do you think they would willingly tell you, an acquaintance (you did not tell me that they were friends of yours so I am guessing not because you said you "work with injured troops.")? Shawna, discussing personal experiences is not getting anyone anywhere - you complained just above in this same post that hundreds of opinions are worth nothing. Then why do you present your "evidence" of less than that? What matters is popular opinion (i.e. polls). You have yet to prove your point, however, you have succeeded in contradicting yourself.

Actually, the point is that we would have no enemy if it wasn't for Bush taking our troops over there in the first place for all of his bs reasons. And let’s not kid ourselves; we did not win anything over there, Shawna. And it's not that we do not have confidence, but it is not our place to be over there when all of the reasons we went turned out to be false/non-existent. And, it is not the United States' job to police the world if another country is doing something we don't agree with. I would like to see evidence that the majority of Americans agree with the war in Iraq.

Actually, PW were there mocking the liberals for the most part, as is even described in Brendan's article:

"Protest Warrior decided to confront these Leftists at their rally with signs that mocked them."

"Our next modus operandi was to use turn their own march against them."

"Now, we knew we had hundreds of supporters lining the front of the FBI building and that if we could just play our cards right, we could outsmart the Leftists and to make them look foolish."

"When the Leftists got within 50 yards, we ran out into the middle of the street and blocked their parade!"

"Protest Warrior had pulled a fast one on the national anti-war rally, which angered hosting groups, like A.N.S.W.E.R."

Explain to me how this supports the troops. PW was there to piss off the liberals. Do the troops want sneaky, obnoxious, loudmouth jerks-offs on their side? I think not.

So if you "refuse to sit silently by and let a loud minority cause another Vietnam" what happened to the pro-war rally?

And, when it comes to Iraqi freedom, do you realize what is actually going on within their government over there? They are on the path to deciding that men can basically own women and do what the please with them. The women are getting basically no rights and no protection and are allowed to be beaten. It is because of the Sharia Law - that is the basis for the Iraqi Constitution.

--Christina

Anonymous said...

Christina -

First, let me address a couple things: I work with injured troops through a foundation I volunteer for. I would consider those that I meet as acquaintences. However, I also happen to have quite a few close friends who have served and gone to Iraq. Including a dear friend who died over there. Believe me, when that happened I questioned everything and for a while I hated Bush. My brother was enlisted for 6 years and my dad is a Vietnam vet. So, please, no more questioning of my relationship with those in the military. I assure you that the men and women (not boys or girls) that I know and have met are not mentally weak and merely brainwashed to support the mission. I find that insulting to our military. The fact is, both of us could find people in the military that are on our respective sides. I do agree that personal anecdotes will get us nowhere. I also concede that there is no way I will change your mind and vice versa, but it's fun to try, right?

OK, so I took a look at Rob's link to the poll. The sample of people polled ranged from 800 to a high of 1200. I do not agree with you that our elected officials should watch polls and make policy accordingly. Ours is a representative government. We elect people to work in our best interests. Please show me where in the constitution it states that our government should track public opinion on every given issue and make policy. Our government would be handicapped by the ever changing whims of an indecisive public.

You stated in your above post "we would have no enemy if it wasn't for Bush taking our troops over there in the first place" - this is a fundamental difference between us. We do have an enemy. They have consistently attacked us for decades beginning with the raid of our embassy in Pakistan to Beirut to the 1993 WTC bomb to 9-11. Now this is the part where you say that it's all our fault because of our Middle East policies, right? We brought this on ourselves? Well, I don't buy that. The U.S. is the most generous nation in history. You say that we are not the world police and I agree. I believe that we should only be engaging in areas that pose a threat to our national security. Iraq was one of those. Saddam repeatedly stated America was an enemy. He offered $25,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers - is this not terrorism? Every intelligence agency in the world (including Germany, France, England and the UN) showed that Saddam was pursing WMD. Granted this was a huge human intelligence failure on the part of many agencies - mostly the CIA and George Tenet (although Saddam didn't help by not allowing inspectors in certain areas). However, Bush operated on the best intelligence available and made the call.

More than anything, we have taken the fight overseas which allows our military to fight our enemy (ie, radical Islam/Al Qaeda) rather than allowing them to strike here. Instead of concentrating their resources and plans to attack on U.S. soil, they are focused on Iraq. I only offer one piece of evidence to support this - they have not hit us again. They want to and they want it as big or bigger than 9-11 so why haven't they done it? I think that they will succeed someday in attacking us again but we are taking the fight to them and we are winning.

You say that if we pull out, it won't dissolve into chaos and civil war. Then later you state that it's already hopeless because their constitution is based in Sharia Law. What about the provisions requiring women in parliament? This would not be allowed under Sharia Law. I agree that the situation is delicate but it's imperative that we stay and see the process through. The Iraqi's must understand that we will not abandom them until their security forces are trained and able to handle the job.

Let's take a look at history - in WWII, Japan attacked us and we responded by not only attacking them but joining the Allied forces in Europe. Would you have preferred that we didn't join that fight but only concentrated on Japan? Hitler never attacked us (although he did publicly state that we were an enemy as Saddam did) so why did we declare war on Germany? Was it worth it? Was it worth the thousands of American lives lost? When, in your opinion, is war ever worth it? This is what I would like to know. When would you ever send our troops in to war? What, to you, is worth fighting for and dying for? Anything?

--Shawna

Anonymous said...

Christina -

I forgot something I wanted to add.

The protesters talk about what a great success their anti-war rally was with the whopping 100,000 in attendance. There is 5.9 million people in the DC-metro area (http://www.greaterwashington.org/regional/population/index.htm). Philadelphia and NYC are in close proximity. We're talking 8 million in NYC (12 million in the metro area) and Philly area has about 2 million. So total that's 20 million people that could have easily traveled to DC and you're bragging about 100,000? These areas are liberal strong-holds and you get less than 1% to turn out? And admittedly there were quite a few people there that were not necessarily just about the war - you had communists, anarchists, socialists, etc. I'm sorry, I'm just not impressed by that number. And I certainly don't think that it should have any effect on public policy.

--Shawna

Anonymous said...

shawna,

your lastest posts are filled with so much misinformation i barely know where to begin. so, forgive me, if i forget to comment on something you said. AND you still haven't given me a valid, logical agrument for why election results are all that matter.

lets start with the polls. you do realize that polls have a methodology that results in a sample that's representative of the entire constituency, right? that's why these polls have validity. it's also why there is a margin of error, because they are not perfect. but the general trend, if you look at the polls taken over time, show that support for the iraqi war is declining. people's opinions and thoughts change over time. if we just stuck with what people thought a year ago then we wouldn't be making any good policy because we'd not be considering new evidence since the election. you say this is a representative government, and so the people's ideas should be represented. so why would we use OUTDATED information? wouldn't we use the MOST CURRENT PUBLIC OPINION RESULTS? sounds like a more logical and realistic idea than yours.

next, lets move onto iraq itself. you seem to have confused the country of iraq with al-qaeda and the events that occurred in NYC on 9/11/01. iraq NEVER attacked us. iraq NEVER harbored or funded terrorists. the 9/11 commission came to these conclusions, and that commission was even headed by a republican. i would really like to see some sources on your claims, particularly that $25,000 schlock of bull. but getting back to iraq. don't forget that the united states ARMED SADDAM with all those CHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS that he used against the kurds before the 1991 gulf war with the united states. the united states and iraq were top arms trading partners during the 1980s. but that changed during the first bush presidency, when bush sr. felt that the iraqi aggression could be threatening SAUDI ARABIAN OIL. bush sr. worked up a deal with saudi arabia and put american forces in the country. the united states baited saddam, and he bit. thus, gulf war part I. you can read all about this in richard clarke's book, "against all enemies." i suggest you pick up a copy. this new gulf war, the US invasion of iraq in 2003, is completely different. saddam did not do anything threatening towards the united states. and he was unarmed. scott ritter, chief UN weapons inspector for iraq from 1991-1998 stated before and after the invasion that about 95% of iraq's WMDs and the means to produce them had been destroyed. whatever was left, he said, would be too dated to be effective (bio/chem weapons have a very short shelf life). there never was a threat to the US. and remember the existance of WMDs was the original reason for invasion of iraq. that changed, however, when no WMDs were found and BUSH CALLED OFF THE SEARCH. they've stopped looking. then the reasons for war changed to terrorism and al-qaeda. but the 9/11 commission found no evidence of iraq involvement with terrorist organizations or the events that occurred on 9/11/01 in NYC. so the reason changed again, to the liberation and democratization of iraq at the end of a barrel.

so what are the facts? what have we done, exactly? over 100,000 innocent iraqi civilians are dead at the hands of US armed forces. the country is in chaos and disorder. terrorist cells have NOW formed in iraq AFTER the US invasion. terrorists are NOW using the US INVASION OF IRAQ as a way to call more to their cause. global stability has DECREASED. in fact, the number of terrorist attacks globally has increased dramatically since the 2003 invasion. it increased so much that condi rice REFUSED TO RELEASE THE CONGRESSIONALLY MANDATED TERRORISM REPORT in 2004. no new data has been released since 2003 because the government doesn't want the american people to see exactly how much it's screwed everything up. and onto the proposed iraqi constitution. there is a clause that binds women to sharia law IF THEIR HUSBANDS DECIDE TO DO THAT. so, while women have a guarantted seat in government, they will still be bound to their husbands, they will not have economic freedom, they will not have the freedom to file for divorce, they will not have the freedom to decide on a partner. and this, of course, will eventuallyu lead to more reductions on the freedoms of women in iraq. the fact is that under saddam, women had a lot more freedom than most other middle eastern nations. this isn't a defense of saddam--he did limit political freedom dramatically--these are just the facts. women can expect to have less freedom under the new iraq government because of the shiite majority in the country. so much for freedom and democracy FOR ALL.

now onto your vietnam tyriad. i've done a lot of research on vietnam. this was a war that also, like the iraq 2003 invasion, was based on false pretenses (the gulf tonkin incident). and it was a proxy war to a larger ideological war, like the conditions of today. we went into there to force a country to change to a demoratic government from a communist government. the fact is that the southern vietnamese people didn't want the americans there. in fact, a majority wanted communism. now, i always thought that america was a country that supported self-determination. self-determination is a democratic ideal. FORCING ANOTHER COUNTRY TO CHANGE GOVERNMENT IS CALLED TYRANNY AND FASCISM. we never had any support in vietnam, and i'm talking about from the people living there. the united states killed close to 4 million people in that country. for what? to stop the spread of communism? lets look at what happened after the united states left. instead of banding together with other communist nations, like the US government at the time said would happen if the US pulled out, vietnam DECLARED WAR ON OTHER COMMUNIST NATIONS AROUND ITSELF. first, they declared war on cambodia, AND THEN ON CHINA--this is big because one of the chief reasons the US government said it should not pull out was because vietnam would become an ally of china and help china become a communist super power. IT DIDN'T HAPPEN BECAUSE EVERYTHING THE US GOVERNMENT SAID WAS A PACK OF LIES TO FURTHER THEIR WARMONGERING.

now onto WWII. THE UNITED STATES DID NOT DECLARE WAR ON GERMANY. GERMANY DELCARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES SHORTLY AFTER THE UNITED STATES DECLARED WAR ON JAPAN. get your facts straight. with the facts, your whole argument and conparison to the the invasion of iraq falls flat on its face. that whole comparison is void anyways because GERMANY PRESENTED A REAL THREAT, UNLIKE THE FALSE THREAT OF SADDAM IN 2O03. as i have stated above, there never was any evidence of an iraqi threat. it was a lie.

this is getting long, so i'll just say one more thing. your last little post here, comparing the number of people at the protest to the populations of the surrounding area, is quite misleading and has no causality. however, lets play this game. lets subtitute the 400 who showed up at the pro-war rally. what does that give us? a number so small it doesn't even matter. so i'm saying that I'M NOT IMPRESSED WITH YOUR NUMBERS. SUPPORT FOR THE WAR IS SO THIN IT'S GOING TO COLLAPSE SOON.

do some research before posting, AND KNOW YOUR WORLD HISTORY. please.

--rob

Anonymous said...

Rob, you want facts, I’ll give you facts. The below rundown of what Saddam Hussein had is below. Take the time to read it. Also notice that my source is not biased (as is yours, Richard Clarke). It comes from PBS and IAEA reports. But before you get to that, let me clear something else up.

Saddam Hussein had ties to terrorism – he was suspected in the 1993 WTC bombing (Ramzi Yousef had an Iraqi passport) and he plotted to kill former President Bush. That’s why Clinton feebly launched 24 missiles in the dead of the night (did you agree with his decision?). He openly declared America his enemy and here’s a link to back up the $25,000 he paid to Palestinian bombers http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004766310.html and here’s another one http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/03/25/1017004765036.html

This is a rundown of Saddam’s WMD from IAEA (source):

Biological Weapons (BW)

Between 1991 and 1998, UN inspectors conducted more than 70 inspections into Iraq's biological warfare activities. In its 1999 final report to the U.N. Security Council, UNSCOM noted that Iraq's biological warfare program was "among the most secretive of its programs of weapons of mass destruction." It said that Iraq "took active steps" to conceal the program, including "inadequate disclosures, unilateral destruction, and concealment activities." Therefore, the Commission concluded, "it has not been possible to verify" Iraq's statements about the extent and nature of its biological weapons program.
Iraq had an extensive BW program from 1973 until at least 1991. In mid-1995, Iraq admitted that it had weaponized BW agents, but claimed that the entire BW program had been in "obliterated" in 1991 and that all BW weapons had been destroyed and all bulk BW agents had been deactivated. The Commission found, however, that the evidence produced in support of this claim was not credible, and that Iraq "retained suitable growth media, BW facilities, production equipment, teams of expert personnel, and the essential technical knowledge" after 1991.

In July, 1995, Iraq acknowledged that between 1988 and 1991, it had produced two BW agents in bulk: botulinum toxin and Bacillus anthracis spores (anthrax). Iraq reported 19,180 liters of botulinum toxin (10-20 fold concentrated) and 8445 liters of Bacillus anthracis spores (10 fold concentrated).

UNSCOM found, however, that "bulk warfare agent production appears to be considerably understated," given the resources available to Iraq's BW program, including growth media and fermenter capacity. The Commission said that the production rate of Botulinum toxin could be as much as double the stated amount, and 3 times greater than that stated for Bacillus anthracis spores.

Iraq claimed that it unilaterally destroyed more than 7500 liters of the Botulinum toxin and 3412 liters of Bacillus anthracis spores in 1991; UNSCOM noted that there was not evidence to support quantities claimed to be destroyed. The report concludes "the Commission has no confidence that all bulk agents have been destroyed... and that a BW capability does not exist in Iraq."

Iraq also claims to have produced lesser quantities of clostridium perfringens spores, ricin, and wheat cover smut.

BW Warheads: Iraq claimed to have produced 25 Al-Hussein missile warheads and filled them with BW agents. The Commission found that there was no credible evidence to show that only 25 missiles were produced and filled. Iraq declared that the 25 missiles were unilaterally destroyed; the Commission found enough physical evidence to account for the declared quantities of BW warheads, but the location of the remnants were inconsistent with Iraq's story.

BW bombs: Iraq declared that 200 R-400 aerial bombs were manufactured for BW purposes, but acknowledged that the numbers of bombs filled with particular agents (100 with botulinum toxin, 50 with bacillus anthracis spores, and 7 with aflatoxin) were "guesses." UNSCOM did find evidence of the destruction of some BW bombs at the site declared by Iraq, but found that the remnants account for less than one third of the bombs Iraq claims to have destroyed. In addition, UNSCOM found evidence of R-400A bombs carrying BW at an airfield where no BW weapons were declared.

Aircraft drop tanks: Iraq claimed that it produced 4 aircraft drop tanks to disseminate BW agents, and was developing a pilotless aircraft that could carry the tanks, holding either BW or chemical weapons, and release the toxins at a preset time. UNSCOM found that there was no evidence corroborate that only 4 were produced, and noted that interviews indicated that 12 were planned. Remnants of only three destroyed tanks were recovered. UNSCOM also rejected the evidence offered by Iraq--a letter thanking the project workers--that the pilotless aircraft project was shut down.

Aerosol Generators: Iraq developed aerosol generators for the dispersal of BW agents by modifying helicopter-borne commercial chemical insecticide disseminators. Although Iraq claimed the devices were ineffective, UNSCOM received documentation that they were successfully field tested. Interview evidence suggests that there were 12 devices produced; none were destroyed by UNSCOM.

Remaining Bacterial Growth Media: UNSCOM determined that there remained substantial bacterial growth media imported into Iraq which remains unaccounted for: 460 kg. of casien; 80 kg. of thioglocollate broth; 520 kg. of yeast extract; and 1100 kg of peptone. The report says that "the amounts that are 'missing' are significant, and would be sufficient to produce quantities of agent comparable to that already declared by Iraq."
Now on to Iraq’s Nuclear Weapons Program, again from IAEA (not the United States):

According to former U.N. inspector David Kay, Iraq spent over $10 billion during the 1980s in an attempt to enrich uranium and build a nuclear weapon. However, the Agency concludes that as of December, 1998, "There were no indications to suggest that Iraq was successful in its attempt to produce nuclear weapons," or "that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of amounts of weapons-usable nuclear material of any practical significance." However, the IAEA did find that "Iraq was at, or close to, the threshold of success in such areas as the production of [highly enriched uranium] ... and the fabrication of the explosive package for a nuclear weapon." Despite the fact that the facilities and nuclear material had been destroyed or removed, as early as 1996 the IAEA concluded that "the know-how and expertise acquired by Iraqi scientists and engineers could provide an adequate base for reconstituting a nuclear-weapons-oriented program."
Nuclear physicist and Iraqi defector Khidhir Hamza agrees. He told FRONTLINE that Iraq did not relinquish certain critical components of the nuclear program to the inspectors, and that it retains the expertise necessary to build a nuclear weapon. He believes that Iraq may have one completed within the next couple of years.

On to Germany – yes, they declared war on us…but they didn’t attack us. So why did we get involved? Why didn’t we wait for Hitler to strike?

Vietnam – if the South Vietnamese didn’t want us there then why did 2 million of them flee the country after the fall of Saigon? We let them down tremendously and if you have your way, we’ll do the same to Iraqi’s.

OK, I’ve got more to say but I’m tired of typing. I’ll address your other arguments another day.

--Shawna

Anonymous said...

shawna,

i took a look at your sources for the $25,000 bit... i've never heard of those news organizations before (and the articles were from the same source, ultimately). they seem to be austrailian or something. here is this article from the miami herald that refutes your argument:

Hussein's Terror Links Still Unproved

and i'd like you to explain how richard clarke is a biased source. he has insider information because he worked in government for over 30 years. this man has experience, and he does not have a record for being partisan. he worked under reagan and under bush I. he was there in the white house. he saw what happened. and don't give me that crap that he was a "disgruntled employee." he left on his own accord. and don't give me the line that he was just out to sell a book. those arguments are flimsy and irrelevant. the evidence supports clake's claims. the fact is that no credible criticism on clarke's claims has been made.

here is an article that refutes your claims about iraq bio/chem weapons:

Published on Saturday, June 7, 2003 by the Washington Post
Bush Certainty On Iraq Arms Went Beyond Analysts' Views


here is an article from the boston globe, written by scott ritter, that drives home the fact that iraq possessed no WMDS at the time of the invasion:

Is Iraq a True Threat to the US?

and here is an article from the san francisco cronicle that describes that lack of WMD evidence on the ground in iraq:

Lack of Weapons of Mass Destruction Comes Back to Haunt Bush

a quote:

"In retrospect, says Jonathan B. Tucker of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies' Washington office, 'I guess (Ritter) can claim vindication: He was right when everyone thought he was simply an apologist for the Iraqi government.' Tucker recalls Ritter as being 'probably the toughest or the most gung-ho of the (weapons) inspectors involved in trying to penetrate the Iraqi deception system during the early 1990s.'"

and here is another source from the IAEA website, linked from GWU:

Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction

the article is sourced at the bottom. i bring up this quote from david kay:

"In the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom, coalition forces failed to uncover production facilities for, or stocks of, weapons of mass destruction."

and this quote from kay's testimony before senate armed service committee:

"David Kay appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee shortly after he resigned as special advisor to the Iraq Survey Group. Kay states, referring to the expectation that there would be substantial stocks of, and production lines for, chemical and biological weapons in Iraq, that "we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here." He also notes that other foreign intelligence agencies, including the French and the German, also had believed that Iraq possessed such stocks and production lines. In addition, he discusses the issue of whether political pressure had any impact on the content of the October 2002 national intelligence estimate. Kay also notes that "based on the work of the Iraq Survey Group … Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of [U.N.] Resolution 1441. He goes on to note the discovery of hundreds of instances of activities prohibited by U.N. Resolution 687."

note that last part, kay claims that iraq was in violation of resoultion 1441, but he only has evidence that iraq was in violation of resoultion 687. violation of 1441 was the initial reason for invasion, not violation of resolution 687. this highlights how proponents of the war have used misleading claims and have twisted information.

now, i searched the IAEA website, but was unable to find the information that you posted. could you provide a link? plus, a lot of your information appears to be old because it talks about weapons programs during the 70s and 80s. however, as scott ritter has pointed out, those were destroyed after the first gulf war. i'll await your linked source.

onto WWII, again. GERMANY DELCARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES. a look at US history, and you'll see what the united states HAD NO INTENTION OF ENTERING THE WAR IN EUROPE. it wasn't until the united states was drawn in by the declaration of war by germany that anything was done. and to highlight this point, even after germany delcared war, THE UNITED STATES DID NOT ENTER THE EUROPEAN THEATRE UNTIL 1944. russia had faced the brunt of the german war machine all on it's own. in fact, it was russia who reached germany before the other allies did. russia was the first nation in the world calling for a fight against the facist nazis in germany! the united states and the other allies waited for germany to knock at their own doors before deciding to do something. russia was calling for assistance because they had no army to speak of. they couldn't do anything, but were forced to when germany broke the non-aggression pact and attacked russia. when russia called for help from the united states in the european theatre, the united states said "no" until the d-day landing in 1944. by then, however, russia had already worn down germany quite a lot. so to answer your question, we DID wait for hilter to strike. he didn't strike US soil, but he struck when he declared war first, and then we waited until 1944 to do something about germany. but anyways, what does WWII have to do with the US invasion of iraq in 2003? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. there is no comparison. iraq was a war of choice, WWII was not. there was no "imminent threat" from iraq in 2003.

and about post-vietnam... ok maybe 2 million people did flee. BUT AT THE TIME, THE POPULATION OF SOUTH VIETNAM WAS 16 MILLION. i stated that a MAJORITY, not all, did not support US actions in vietnam. i rest my case.

once again, you really need to brush up on your world history.

and i'm still waiting for a valid explanation for why election results are all that matter. don't forget that i want your linked source from the IAEA as well. i could not find your data.

--rob

Anonymous said...

Wow - Rob has basically covered everything and more! I left for a day and there's so much more that's happened. I really don't have much to add, but Shawna, but I saw you did not like me calling our troops "boys and girls." "Boys and girls" is a term of endearment. You know, like, "America's boys and girls" is the same as "America's sons and daughters" but I didn't like the way that sounded as much. Must I explain my use of words to you now? (OBVIOUSLY they are all men and women.) This is silly to have to write out for you.

I would like to see what you have to say about Rob's last post though...

--Christina

Anonymous said...

I just found this article by the AP from Oct 8th. I thought it was interesting and went along with the discussions in this thread rather nicely:

Poll: Groups Unhappy With Bush Performance

--Christina

Anonymous said...

Shawna,

You stated in a previous post, "Let's see what happens in Nov 2006 - if the Dems can take over the House then you'll have something to hang your hat on. If not, and Republicans actually gain more seats (as they have in the last few years)... I'm not too concerned." Here is an article from the Washington Post that you should read. I'm not sure if you have an account, so I'll post the article first and then a link at the bottom. I've made what I feel are some particularly important parts bold:

For GOP, Election Anxiety Mounts

Candidates Need Convincing for '06
By Charles Babington and Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, October 10, 2005; Page A01

Republican politicians in multiple states have recently decided not to run for Senate next year, stirring anxiety among Washington operatives about the effectiveness of the party's recruiting efforts and whether this signals a broader decline in GOP congressional prospects.

Prominent Republicans have passed up races in North Dakota and West Virginia, both GOP-leaning states with potentially vulnerable Democratic incumbents. Earlier, Republican recruiters on Capitol Hill and at the White House failed to lure their first choices to run in Florida, Michigan and Vermont.

These setbacks have prompted grumbling. Some Republican operatives, including some who work closely with the White House, privately point to what they regard as a lackluster performance by Sen. Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the group that heads fundraising and candidate recruitment for GOP senators.

But some strategists more sympathetic to Dole point the finger right back. With an unpopular war in Iraq, ethical controversies shadowing top Republicans in the House and Senate, and President Bush suffering the lowest approval ratings of his presidency, the waters look less inviting to politicians deciding whether to plunge into an election bid. Additionally, some Capitol Hill operatives complain that preoccupied senior White House officials have been less engaged in candidate recruitment than they were for the 2002 and 2004 elections. These sources would speak only on background because of the sensitivity of partisan strategies.

Historically, Senate and House races are often won or lost in the year before the election, as a party's prospects hinge critically on whether the most capable politicians decide to invest time, money and personal pride in a competitive race. Often, this commitment takes some coaxing.

That is why Dole met twice with Rep. Shelly Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) and a third time with Capito and her father, former governor Arch A. Moore Jr., in an effort to persuade her to take on Sen. Robert C. Byrd (D). Bush won 56 percent of the vote in West Virginia last year, making many think Byrd, who will turn 88 next month, can be halted in his bid for a record ninth term. But last week, Capito said she has decided to stay put and seek election to a fourth House term.

Last month, White House political strategist Karl Rove flew to Bismarck to implore the North Dakota's popular Republican governor, John Hoeven, to challenge Sen. Kent Conrad (D). Rove could argue with some compelling numbers: Bush won 63 percent of the state's presidential votes last year, and Hoeven trounced his Democratic opponents in 2000 and 2004. But the governor said no thanks, and Republicans concede they have no strong second choice.

Perhaps no state has frustrated the GOP elite more than Florida, where Sen. Bill Nelson (D) is trying for a second term after winning his first with 51 percent of the vote. After failing to persuade Rep. Katherine Harris to stay out of the race, GOP leaders began a public search for an alternative candidate. State House Speaker Allan Bense was courted by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) before bowing out. Dole took a private plane to New York in an unsuccessful attempt to persuade conservative commentator and former Florida representative Joe Scarborough to make the race.

Many Democrats and some independents revile Harris for the role she played, as Florida secretary of state, in favoring George W. Bush in the 2000 recount process. But she has enough hard-core conservative fans to scare away other Republican Senate hopefuls, and Democrats are gleefully watching the dispute roil their rivals.

No Republican who has opted out of a 2006 candidacy has publicly cited the level of support from national Republicans or the general political environment as a reason. Potential candidates have a variety of factors figuring into whether to make a race. Still, to some analysts, the decisions suggest deeper currents at work.

"Is it poor recruiting or a bad environment? Probably both," said Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for the independent Cook Political Report.

A senior Republican familiar with the recruiting process agreed that the climate has shifted for the GOP because of a confluence of problems from Iraq to Hurricane Katrina and high gasoline prices: "Looking at polls from June or July and then looking at them now, the deterioration is really bad."

For GOP, Election Anxiety Mounts
Another Republican, pollster Tony Fabrizio, said a recruiting chill was inevitable. Candidates "aren't stupid," he said. "They see the political landscape. You are asking them to make a huge personal sacrifice. It's a lot easier to make that sacrifice if you think there's a rainbow at the end."

Fabrizio accepts the general consensus among political prognosticators that Republicans are likely to keep their Senate and House majorities, in part because there are relatively few open seats, and Democrats must defend seats in many places that have been trending Republican. But he and others say the hope from earlier this year of fortifying these majorities is now considerably more remote.

The GOP holds 55 Senate seats, but unless the political climate brightens considerably in the next few months, some strategists and analysts believe the next Senate may resemble the one after the 2002 election, when Republicans held the narrowest of majorities.

In part this is because Democrats have seemingly found their stride as Republicans are stumbling in the recruiting race. Since Sept. 1, Democrats have lured their preferred candidate, Missouri state Auditor Claire McCaskill, to take on freshman Sen. James M. Talent (R), and have done the same in Arizona, where former Democratic Party chairman Jim Pederson, a wealthy developer, is poised to challenge two-term Sen. Jon Kyl.

Republicans will also struggle to hold on to Pennsylvania, where recent polls show state treasurer Bob Casey Jr. with a substantial lead over two-term Sen. Rick Santorum. In Rhode Island, liberal Republican Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee is being challenged by Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey in the party primary, prompting the NRSC to run TV ads attacking Laffey. Democrats hope the survivor will be too bloodied to win the general election in a state that Bush lost by 20 percentage points.

Dole can count some successes. She was hoping Mike McGavick, the former chairman of Safeco Corp., would take a fight to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D) in Washington, and he is. In Minnesota, she scored her first choice, Rep. Mark Kennedy (R), to run for retiring Democrat Mark Dayton's seat, and cleared the GOP field for him.

But in Michigan, the White House and the NRSC moved quickly to persuade Rep. Candice S. Miller (R) to take on Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). After Miller refused the entreaties, attention turned to David A. Brandon, Domino's Pizza Inc. chief executive, as the Republican candidate of choice. Brandon, too, told Republican recruiters no. After Vermont independent Sen. James M. Jeffords's retirement announcement earlier this year, Gov. Jim Douglas (R) came under considerable pressure to run for the Senate but resisted. Until 10 months ago, then-Gov. Mike Johanns of Republican-leaning Nebraska was the GOP's hands-down choice to challenge incumbent Democrat Sen. Ben Nelson, but then Bush appointed him secretary of agriculture.

It is the NRSC's fundraising that some GOP operatives find underwhelming. At the end of August, the NRSC had raised $25 million, just a little less than its counterpart, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. But the DSCC has twice as much cash on hand, $16.7 million to the NRSC's $8.2 million.

Brian Nick, NRSC spokesman, said this fall's gloomy forecasts will give way to brighter skies next year. "We feel very, very strongly that we're going to be able to protect the majority where it is right now," with no erosion, he said. After all, Nick noted, "the election is over a year away."

On the House side, where Republicans hold 231 of the 435 seats, the effect of the political climate on recruiting is less clear. Democrats and Republicans can point to successes in individual races, but no clear national pattern has emerged, analysts say.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) says 50 or more seats are in play and notes that his organization has recruited 40 candidates in competitive districts. His GOP counterpart, Rep. Tom Reynolds (N.Y.), says 27 to 37 seats could be close fights. "We will be a majority" after the 2006 elections, vowed the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.


For GOP, Election Anxiety Mounts

--Christina

Anonymous said...

No responses, eh? It's been almost a week. But, I figured as much...

--Christina