Archive for Wed, Oct 7, 2009

H1: 10/07/09 Chris Daggett, Victor Davis Hanson, Tim Pawlenty

10070901 Hugh Hewitt: Hour 1 – Hugh talks New Jersey politics with independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett, Barack obama’s foreign policy decisions with preeminent military historian and classicist Victor Davis Hanson, then back to politics with Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

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Afghanistan, New Jersey, and Virginia

The presidential dithering over General McChyrstal’s clear recommendations on the necessary resources to support first stability and then victory in Afghanistan is now being papered over with news accounts suggesting that the “debate” over Afghanistan strategy has become a sort of book club in the West Wing. And the president is just now getting around to meeting with bipartisan delegations at the the White House to discuss the war, nine months after he moved in. Calling this “dithering” is actually gentle. It appears to be the manipulation of the war as a means of advancing domestic political goals, specifically the passage of Obamacare.

Call me cynical, but a prolonged and public review of a very pointed report is coming at a time when the president needs the public to focus on anything except the details of his disastrous proposals for American medicine, especially the facts that Obamacare in any of its forms devastates Medicare services while pushing Medicare Advantage rates skyhigh, includes not a lick of tort reform that could save hundreds of billions annually, is opposed by large majorities of doctors, and will cost the country hundreds of billions in deficits every year. What’s the problem with playing politics with the war and the lives of American troops if it provides cover for the end zone dash for Obamacare?

The president is using every trick at his disposal to push the Senate to push any version of this great destroyer of American medicine to a conference committee before New Jersey and Virginia vote in four weeks. If as expected seniors in those states vote their disgust with Democrats in both races, a chill wind will blow through the ranks of Democrats looking at their own electoral prospects a year out. Thus the stunt with the handpicked 150 doctors on Monday –huge majorities of docs oppose Obamacare– and the delay on Afghanistan with its attendant photos of the president pondering his options in the Situation Room etc. Try to create a false reality about the opinions of doctors on Obamacare and then drive the debate from the front pages.

Here’s a few graphs from the Wall Street Journal account of the dueling books that the White House is saying accounts for the president’s paralysis:

The two books — “Lessons in Disaster,” on Mr. Obama’s nightstand, and “A Better War” on the shelves of military gurus — have become a framework for the debate over what will be one of the most important decisions of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

On Tuesday, in a White House meeting that went well over its allotted hour, Mr. Obama discussed the war with 31 members of Congress. Republican leaders, and some Democrats, pressed him to quickly accept the judgment of his commanders and send as many as 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. But some Democrats asked if the war was winnable.

In Washington, books are flying off shelves. None of the major bookstores near the White House have the recently released paperback edition of “Lessons in Disaster” in stock, and one major shop in the Georgetown area, Barnes & Noble, said all its remaining copies were being held for buyers.

The impact of all the book-reading on the Afghanistan decision isn’t clear. The administration’s review of its Afghan strategy is expected to last until the end of this month, and views are likely to evolve. “A Better War” shaped the debate over the 2007 troop surge in Iraq: Military commanders and top Pentagon civilians pushed the book ardently on surge skeptics, winning important converts.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), long an advocate of the narrative detailed in “A Better War,” warned that while Vietnam may appear to have some parallels to Afghanistan, the better comparison is Iraq, where many of the same commanders now managing the Afghan war learned the value of surging more troops into a battle zone. “Vietnam fell to a conventional invasion of the North Vietnamese military,” Mr. McCain said. “The closest parallel to Afghanistan today is Iraq, the strategies that succeeded and the generals that succeeded.”

“Lessons in Disaster” entered West Wing circulation after Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, one of the top foreign-policy voices in the White House, gave it to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel after reading it himself.

Read the whole thing as it is a perfect example of a leaked story designed to “bend the curve” of news coverage about the president’s strategic indecision over his decision in Afghanistan. It is good news that the president reads, though there’s no evidence that he actually took either book off the nightstand and absorbed it. But even if has, he’s also had a much more relevant report from General McChyrstal lying around unacted on for weeks preceded by a long summer of indifference to conditions in the theater. There was time to jet to the Olympics fiasco, but not to reach a clear decision on the battle with the Taliban and al Qaeda. All this agonizing decision-making couldn’t come at a better time for a president eager to keep America’s eyes off the details of Obamacare’s many nasty surprises.

Average Americans cannot do a thing to press the president to take his job as Commander-in-Chief more seriously than he has, or to reverse his unfolding policy of appeasement across the globe.

But average Americans can make sure that everyone they know who lives and votes in New Jersey and Virginia realizes how important it is that Chris Christie win in the Garden State and Bob McDonnell do so in Virginia. The votes of seniors are particularly important in both states, and the temptation of some to waste their vote on the third party spoiler in Jersey on whom corrupt incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine’s hopes rests has got to be resisted. I’ll be spending most of today’s show on that topic, but if you know any voters in either state, tell them that the fate of American medicine depends greatly on the elections of Christie and McDonnell.

Then tell them again.

Because The Sacramento Bee Isn’t Really Journalism

In a deeply flawed “chronology” of events concerning its deeply flawed story about Meg Whitman’s voting record, the Sacramento Bee leaves out my post detailing the errors in its story, but doesn’t mention must less invite its own readers to listen to its own editor Amy Chance discuss the story with me.

Another example of great “reporting” by the very courageous Bee. No wonder newspapers come in two categories –dead and dying. The Bee ran a hit piece pretending to be a story, got caught, and won’t tell its readers the truth about what happened or own its errors.

As though every single person who cares about the story to begin with doesn’t already know what happened. BTW: Still waiting on the promised call back from Amy with the names of who Andrew McIntosh allegedly talked to in the three “offices” he quotes in his original story.

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