Saturday, April 08, 2006

Citizenship & Residency


In this nation, we take pride in accepting the misfits from around the world. But some think ‘misfits’ is the same thing as the criminals, the thugs, the vermin, and its high time to correct that nonsense.

The United States, as I have written before, has never had a consistent policy on Immigration, and we are paying for that mistake. My father expressed to me his deep contempt for a system which, in his lifetime, barred Asians, Jews, and adherents of certain religions from entering the United States, while applying much more lenient standards to Europeans, even when they were communists and fascists. He saw the hypocrisy of a nation which boasted of its open arms, but whose businesses posted signs which read – please excuse me for the coarse language – “No Niggers, Wops, Kikes, or Micks”; a harsh and blunt rejection for the very existence of Black Americans, Americans from Italy, Jews, and the Irish. My father saw such signs in Philadelphia, where he was born and raised, and more than once pointed out to me the irony of such signs posted within 500 feet of the display for the Liberty Bell. I learned from such lessons the need to examine any policy closely.

Of course, in my age I have seen the hard examples of Angel Maturindo Resendez, an illegal immigrant who killed at least seven people who did nothing to provoke him, and various murders of police officers by illegal aliens whose conduct has failed to gain any apparent notice from Congress. The clear message is, we need a better plan.

The United States first established a national policy on Immigration after the Civil War. Up to that time each separate state was able to set a policy as it saw fit, which led to some significant disparity in demographics. In 1875 the U.S. Supreme Court declared Immigration the province of the Federal government, so in 1891 the Immigration Service, a forerunner to the INS, was created. There was no Border Patrol until 1924, so you can see what that meant for effective immigration control. This is significant, because for all the modern noise and worry, the Federal government did not pay much attention to the borders for most of our history. The Depression of the 1930s kept many immigrants from coming to the United States, for the obvious reason that we no longer seemed as attractive as before. Also, individual states and towns were able to enforce whatever controls they saw fit. To be blunt, in the age of Jim Crow laws if you were not white and male you stood little influence in a courtroom or with a police officer, so many minorities simply tried to avoid being visible. The lack of a comprehensive Immigration policy only made things murkier. While this made assimilation a functional need for immigrants, it also made reform trickier.

As to Latinos, one issue of concern was the practice of migrant workers, people who came into the United States to work during harvesting season, but who then returned to Latin America to their permanent homes. The Bracero Program, begun in 1942 but formalized by a treaty between the United States and Mexico in 1951, allowed for migrant workers to cross the southern border each way, and this program was a source not only of great advantage, but also manipulation and fraud, by many people on both sides of the border. The program was officially ended in 1964, but continues in practice more or less unabated. It has been suggested that INS officials were pressing a revised version of the program to President Bush in 2001, but it was delayed by the response to the 9/11 attacks. If so, resubmitting the plan without proper security considerations would be singularly poor thinking.

Essentially, modern Immigration presents four issues which demand resolution in whatever program is to be enacted:

1. The borders of the United States must be secured to prevent entry by criminals or terrorists.

2. Immigrants do not generally speak English, or desire to assimilate. Assimilation, including knowledge of basic English and compliance with general Law as established in the United States, including financial responsibility, must be demonstrated as part of any program for residency, work, or citizenship.

3. Immigrants tend to live and work in cultural communities. This culture should be supported and acknowledged, but not to the point of supplanting other valid cultures. Insurgent political groups, such as ‘La Raza', must not be tolerated.

4. Americans who cooperate or who are complicit in attempts to knowingly bring illegal entrants into the United States must face felony charges, whether for purposes of employment, deliberate illegal activity, or any support or participation in an action known to be in violation of Federal law regarding non-citizens.

The Constitution of the United States does not appear to me to define Citizenship by a non-native person, which I find a wise precaution. Article IV. Section 2 seems to imply that National Citizenship derives from State citizenship, and of course the 14th Amendment carries the key phrases:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

This is a significant statement to me, that a person must be “subject to the jurisidiction” of the United States and their residing state in order to be considered a citizen. That phrase has been used in the past to deny people the claim to dual-citizenship; you cannot say the laws of the United States do not apply to you if you want to be counted as an American citizen. Accordingly, any person who enters the United States illegally does not reasonably enjoy any consideration even as a potential citizen, which is a fundamental consideration for Residency. Further, the argument that simply being born in the United States is less than solid; if the means by which a child is born is fraudulent, then even being born on American soil does not confer citizenship, because the means used to produce that birthplace was in defiance of the jurisdiction, not subject to it, as the Amendment requires. In the days of liberal judges, this obvious attempt to subvert the law could be and was ignored, but with proper judicial oversight, the Constitution makes clear that the Federal government can and should make corrections to the flaccid policy which allows Citizenship and Residency on far less than reasonable conditions.

I am not wise enough to speak in specific to the conditions that should pertain to Citizenship and Residency, except that they must address the four issues I listed above, and an absolute requirement must be an oath of allegiance to the United States; anyone unwilling to protect the Sovereignty of the United States over its territory and people must not be allowed the rights or privileges granted our residents and citizens. We are a nation of immigrants, and must be open to those who wish to join us. That does not mean, however, that we must accept those who wish to destroy us.

Friday, April 07, 2006

America And Assumptions


Everyone makes assumptions. It’s a necessary part of living in a complex world. Most assumptions are pretty reasonable, like expecting gravity to remain in force and the laws of physics to follow their nominal patterns. But others, especially the ones involving human behavior, are less credible when examined, yet people hold them as currency in developing their plans. A clear example of this is the present Middle East situation.

President George W. Bush began his planning for military action in the Middle East with a crucial assumption; that a democratic republic was feasible for governments there, and could be implemented. That assumption is being put to the test right now, and significant policies will be adjusted one way or the other by the results of that experiment, to say nothing of the small matter of the fate of tens of millions of people in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am one who believes Dubya’s assumption is valid, and will prove true unless Congress decides to desert our allies - again.

But the other side makes its assumptions as well. More than a few sources say that Ahmadinejad has decided to lay his plans for 2009, when a new and conceivably softer President takes office. Ahmadinejad and his supporting mullahs have come to believe in the assumption that America can only endure short wars with clear, clean endings. Accordingly, he thinks that if he can ratchet up the cost gradually and make a decision doubtful both in time and in cost, we will give up the fight and he can win by default. I believe such an assumption is spectacularly foolish.

I must stop here and examine the ‘short war’ theory. It’s true that America has a history of fighting wars which are historically short; our War for Independence began the fighting in 1775, and settled matters just six years later at Yorktown. We fought a bloody civil war, but it took only four years to reach Appomattox. We did not enter either World War I or World War II until late, and both together represented less than six full years of warfare. It has been said that we cut out of settling affairs in Korea for fear of China, and again the same in Vietnam. It has also been said that we cut and ran under Carter, under Reagan (Lebanon), under Bush and Clinton (Somalia and Haiti). In that light, Dubya is a strange one, an aberration the Jihadists may simply wait out; they know he leaves office after this term.

Yet a closer look at each of those cases shows the lie to the assumption. We did not, actually, settle matters with Britain at Yorktown. The evidence of that lies in the sparring and bickering after the end of that war, all the way through to the end of the next war in 1814, making the war for our nation’s birth really a 39-year conflict, without a lot of clear decisions until the end. You may recall that the British trashed our own capital, and burned down the White House, yet in the end it was America which won, and won without a doubt. One reason the Brits are such good friends with us, is because they know we are not a nation to have as an enemy. It is a deadly mistake to set yourself against us.

As for the Civil War, sure we signed an armistice in 1865, but again it is a great fool who thinks the war was over then. Reconstruction took at least the next generation, and as late as 1964 many of the initial issues remained to be resolved. It’s not at all incorrect to say our Civil War was our own ‘Hundred Years' War’.

As for World War I and World War II, yes we entered late and didn’t muck about waiting to resolve the conflict, but we did so in no uncertain terms. The Kaiser effectively ceased to exist after we invaded Germany in 1918, and after World War II, there was no longer a Nazi government, no longer an “Imperial” Japan, no longer an “Il Duce” in Italy. And there has been no similar style of government in those nations since, and need I mention we have garrisoned troops in those nations ever since that war? Democrat or Republican, every President and Congress understands why, 61 years after we finished that war, we still keep control in those countries. As friends and honored guests now, to be sure, but well-armed and alert for all of that new-minted friendship.

I will say bluntly that Korea and Vietnam stand as tragic reminders to us, of the cost from betraying allies and forgetting commitments. They are not the rule, but the lesson as to why we must be willing to fight. Carter and Clinton did a great deal of damage to American credibility, true, and I was dismayed a bit at our retreat from Lebanon in 1983, but Reagan restored our name and integrity in South America, Africa, and in the Middle East. Far too many people forget that the U.S. Navy escorted tankers through the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war, receiving the hatred and scorn from both Mullah and Dictator for their valor, yet the tankers made it through. When we retook Grenada, critics smirked, but it sent a message that there was a line beyond which we would certainly pay in force, and when Qaddafi-supported terrorists bombed a German night club in 1986, the responding air raid sent a clear message that America would no longer settle for diplomatic measures. An “accidental” bomb dropped on the French Embassy sent a perhaps unintentional message to that nation that neutrality is a fiction in such conflicts.

And lest we forget, the Cold War lasted between the end of World War 2 and the end of the first Gulf War, some 46 years, at times threatening truly horrific possibilities. The United States won that war, a war which Liberals would now like to pretend was never really going on. There are too many veterans of violent incidents, however, for that fairy tale to really catch on, yet it seems to have fooled the Mullahs.

Nobody but madmen wants a long bloody war. But it’s an even greater fool who fails to notice that America has had long conflicts in its history and more, tends to settle the conflict by totally removing the group from existence which provoked the conflict. After the American Revolution, there were fewer and fewer absolute monarchs. After the U.S. Marines raided the Barbary Coast, piracy was distinctly less popular. After World War 2, the only places you could find large numbers of Nazis were in certain South American countries and in Hollywood movies. The Japanese were determined to fight to the last man, until we made it abundantly clear that we could literally kill every single person in Japan if we had to do so. When the stakes matter, we do not fight halfway, or settle for terms.

In conclusion, the new movie “United 93” is about to come out, yet another lesson the Jihadists have failed, which will cost them dearly. In the opening lines of the trailer, the narration reminds us that four airliners were hijacked, and three of them made it to their target. The one which did not, was stopped not by the Air Force or Army, but by regular people. Ordinary citizens who had never been trained to fight, who had no warning about what was to happen to them, who were facing near-certain death, discovered what had happened to the twin towers, and took it upon themselves to protect innocents at another place. The heroism of those 40 people stands on its own, deserving of its own honors many times over, but for here it also reminds us that ordinary people, ordinary Americans, can and have stood up when the need was present, an unseen power and authority which no enemy ever seems to count until they are wondering how they could have lost so badly. I cannot say how long it will take or what it will cost, but we will win this war, and in doing so end Jihadism and its cruel minions in the Middle East.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Shalo And Poser


My two dogs are littermates, which means they are about the same size and look a lot alike. But each is starting to show his own personality, as I have noticed this week. Last Friday, as I came home from work and opened my yard gate to bring in the trash can, it was a bit dark, so I heard one of my dogs growl in warning at what he thought might be an intruder.

As I opened the gate all the way, I saw Shalo in full guard-dog mode, growling, head lowered and legs set for possible charge. Behind him, maybe 15 feet behind him and off to one side, sat Kyle. Kyle looked very much like he had no plans to deal with an intruder, in fact I would describe him as a spectator.

Then Tuesday night, I woke up to hear a dog barking in my yard. I looked out and saw Shalo about a foot away from the fence, again in his best ‘don’t mess with me’ pose, barking in full voice at someone outside the fence, apparently down the street a way. Kyle was relaxing in the porch swing, watching Shalo. Then Kyle turned his head and noticed I was watching. At that moment he jumped out of the swing, ran alongside Shalo, adopted the same pose and began barking as if he was the same trustworthy guardian, just like his brother.

I had to laugh, but it reminds me that a lot of people are like that, and you can not be sure sometimes if someone you see is the real deal or a poser. Just something to remember in these days of high-profile images crafted by PR firms.

Winning The PR War On Immigration


Congress has been more spineless than usual this week, as many Conservatives have complained. Despite the moral imperative to address Illegal Immigration as a critical National Security and Economic Infrastructure issue, the House and Senate have not managed to put a bill on the President’s desk. In fact, the House, Senate, and White House all seem to be moving towards differing objectives, to say nothing of how the nation’s court system is likely to react to whatever legislation eventually makes its way out into the world. So it is that perverse fate of the universe that seems to grant that the Democrats will gain from this debacle, not through any merit on their part or moral virtue; the Democrats are uniquely malicious towards the notions of protecting the borders or enforcing extant laws regarding citizenship and fraudulent manipulation of our economic and legal system. Yet it is that because the party of reform and ideals seems to be showing little of either at the moment, that the party of pettiness and pandering hopes to gain seats in both Houses, perhaps enough to take over the House or Senate, which result would poison the nation’s course for at least the next two years. As it happens, however, the cause is not yet lost, and the Republicans may yet set things right. Part of that effort, of course, requires the Republicans to start speaking the language of the average American.

When the yappers and whiners finally get tired and leave the discussion to adults, a consensus shows up pretty soon. No one but the criminals thinks we should be granting citizenship to anyone except those who were born here or those who go through the legal system. No shortcuts. No one but the criminals thinks we should give a break to illegals who are already here, as some kind of reward for getting away with it, or to employers who move their business success ahead b breaking the law. After all, you wouldn’t want your builder to ignore the building codes when he builds your house, and you wouldn’t want him to surprise you by dishonestly padding his costs, so it just makes sense to expect him to only hire legitimate workers, that is to say no “undocumented” workers. No one thinks that millions of people pouring through our borders is a good idea, and no one thinks better security is a bad idea. With that in mind, it obviously becomes a matter of how you sell the fix.

The Democrats have learned from the recent past in one respect at least; when you don’t have any ideas, let your opponent hurt himself. With the MSM pushing stories that make the Republicans look incompetent or dishonest, Democrats simply sit there and gain by default. I have been pushing for people to be careful about how they address the issue, because I recognized that the broad attacks against the President have not been helping to resolve the issue or convince Congress to act responsibily, but instead have merely lowered public confidence in the President. False clams about what he intends or has proposed only muddy the waters and make fair examination of his plan that much more difficult. Rabid radicals like Tancredo, who demand perfection now but will not explain the details in their own demands, heighten the tension without any good effect. In the end the noise drowns out better discussion.

President Bush bears some responsibility here, but not in the way he is so commonly attacked. His plans are intelligent and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the causes of this border problem, and he has moved to forestall obstacles being placed by Mexico and other Latin American countries. Yet the common perception is that President Bush either does not understand the issues of Illegal Entrants or worse, sides with them against the American people. While the White House has belatedly begun to corrrect those false claims, other people have allowed the White House to be blamed for their refusal to address the issue, most notably the U.S. Senate. While Senators Kyl and Cornyn have begun to make good suggestions, as a whole the U.S. Senate seems to be in a serious condition of denial.

The problem then for President Bush is not so much that he is on the wrong side of the issue, but that as the Chief Executive of the nation he has not done so well in bringing the teams together in a common effort, and in explaining his priorities and vision to the nation. People sense that Dubya’s on the right road, but the lack of firm details makes it hard to stay on that road with him for many people. This allows Democrats to weasel out of the fact that they either have no alternative to present, or else simply do not wish to control our borders, and it allows egotistical politicians to demagogue the issue and prevent effective discussion of the issue.

The main responsibility, though, lies with the Media. The protests of which the MSM made such commotion, were largely high school and middle school students who saw the protests as a way to get out of school, and urban “progressive” groups which attempt to use any possible issue to attack traditional values and priorities. The MSM tactic of presenting biased polls as news, and manufactured events as some kind of barometer for public commitment, has been shameful and dishonest, and only weakens the already-plastic spine of Congress to address the issue with conviction and resolve. The duty of the New Media, then, begins with correcting the image by providing facts and functional solutions. Whether by radio, blogs, or grassroots politics, the New Media must focus on those whose ideas need highlighting, and whose coordination drives home the argument and which provide solutions. It is not valid for New Media to only make the problem worse by rousing anger and resentment and drowning out calmer voices. Too much of the New Media is copying the tactics of the Old Media, pulling audience response by getting everyone angry, and doing nothing to support the people working to actually move the dialogue forward. This is plain wrong.

There are good ideas out there, some which address the short-term condition and some which address the long-term condition. There is a a consensus which must be the starting pont of all dialogue, and there is a sense of moral responsibility which every member of Congress should be reminded on a regular basis. That challenge faces all of us, not just the suits and the high-profile chuckleheads. And so what happens depends on all of us, not just the convenient blame targets.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Amazing Stealth Missile?

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I used to love to read PRAVDA, the old Soviet newspaper from Tass which proclaimed the glories of the Communist system, usually by departing from reality. Of particular interest to me, was the way in which the latest harvest or production numbers always exceeded previous records, which is to say ignored the past entirely. I suspect PRAVDA saved on its operating costs by ignoring any sense of an Archive. The comedy act was so successful that other nations emulated it, most notably Mohammed Saeed al-Sahaf, aka Baghdad Bob, the Iraqi Ministry of Information spokesman whose assurances that “They hold no place in Iraq. This is an illusion” as Coalition forces entered Baghdad demonstrated the delusion in Saddam’s regime. I wondered who, if anyone, could match that keen ability to avoid the truth. Now we have a new contender.

The government of Iran test-fired a missile on Saturday, which they claimed could not be detected by radar, and which could deploy multiple warheads. If true, this would significantly raise the stakes in Iran’s bid to build a nuclear warhead to place on those missiles, but the claim struck me as strange.

The Fajr-3, or “Victory” missile, is claimed to be able to reach Israel and/or U.S. bases in the Middle East, again according to Iranian claims. But the actual information does not really bear out the claims. The Fajr-3 was fired underwater, which indicates submarine launching, a sophisticated method and a strategic trump for nuclear planning. Unfortunately for Iran, even if we were to grant the development claims for the missile, the known limits of Iran’s submarine fleet makes it hard to believe that they have developed an effective delivery system for submarine-based missiles.

Also in doubt are the claims of Iran regarding the missile. For instance, the ability to deliver multiple warheads has raised concerns that Iran wants a MIRV-ICBM. However, nothing even in Iran’s claims demonstrates the kind of range or coordinated telemmetry necessary to make such a technology leap. The likelihood is much stronger that Iran wants an MLRS system, still an advance and a threat, but on a much smaller scale. As to evading radar, a number of signal-absorbing paints are known to reduce the signature of missiles, but there remain fundamental problems to cloaking a missile from detection, most obviously the heat plume. Location and direction of any significant missile can be determined by simple thermal satellites, of which there are hundreds already in place. In plain English, even a missile which is difficult to track by radar can be tracked with thermal imaging, magnetic anomoly detectors, sonic wave disruption patterns, and other methods.

Iran also claimed to have successfully tested a 223-mph torpedo, called the “Hoot”. Again, the lack of details raises doubts as to the veracity of the claim, especially the complete absence of tracking and targeting systems for the weapon. It’s awfully hard to be impressed with a fast weapon, if there is little confidence it will hit the target. Further, individual weapons are not as great a threat as a comprehensive force development, which has also not been shown to exist in Iran.

What does this development mean, then? The most likely scenario is quite simple, actually - the military sees a chance to gain reputation in Iran, and the Army and Navy are beginning inter-service skirmishing to claim precedence. Because there is no comprehensive national strategic doctrine in place for Iran, the result is a hodge-podge of officers and agencies fighting for attention and funding. It means developing an advanced torpedo and SL missile, but not the submarine platform it needs to be viable. It means pursuing nuclear weapons, but not developing a hierarchy of command authority, or performing game tests to determine the desired scale and deployment pattern. It means threatening neighboring countries with aggression, but not developing a response doctrine if one of those countries chooses to respond in force. I have compared the Ahmadenijad regime in Iran to the Hitler regime in Germany, but there are important differences, not least the fact that the Germans had a professional corps of military officers and engineers, skilled and experienced in modern warfare as their world knew it. Iran, while fortunate to have some brilliant minds at its disposal, has not developed a comprehensive means for waging a war, whether in defense or conquest. This latest announcement appears to me little more than another attempt by Iran to scare away potential enemies while it begins to put the pieces together.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Cynthia McKinney – Agent For R.O.V.E.


The LORD works in mysterious ways, in this case through the malicious mind of U.S. Representative Cynthia McKinney (D-Carter Country). The readers are by now no doubt well aware of Ms. McKinney’s most recent adventure, but in summary here it is:

Wednesday, March 29 – Ms. McKinney enters Capitol Hill without the required identification pin for members of the House. She proceeds to walk around the security booth and metal detector, without showing any sort of identification. When a Capitol Police Officer stopped her, Ms. McKinney struck the officer in the chest. The incident was apparently caught on tape, though I have not yet seen footage of the incident.

Friday, March 31 – After consulting with her attorney, Ms. McKinney decides to hold a press conference, where she refused to apologize and instead accused the officer of “inappropriate touching”. McKinney’s lawyer accused the Capitol Police of “police harassment”.

Monday, April 3 – Ms. McKinney escalates her campaign against the Capitol Police, holding another press conference with supporters and a special interest group in order to defend her from the charges. Ironically, despite calling a press conference. McKinney refused to discuss the facts of the incident, her remarks, or to answer any questions from the press she called to the event. Not only is McKinney not apologizing for her actions, her lawyers have actually stated they may file a civil suit on the police officer for doing his job.

So there we are. Just when it looked like the Democrats had a great opportunity to make gains on the Republican in-fighting, here comes Ms. McKinney to remind us that Democrats neither think nor act as Americans do, nor pursue America’s best interest by work or example. In a post-9/11 world, someone who refuses to wear proper identification and who is so hostile towards common-sense security measures that she would strike a police officer for doing his job, cannot be seriously considered as a representative of any competent political party. That Democrats have chosen to rally around Ms. McKinney instead of rebuking her and demanding she apologize and accept the consequences of her actions, simply highlights that they cannot be trusted with National Security. Yes, it’s true that Ms. McKinney did not imperil the nation’s safety by ignoring the Capitol’s security ordinances, nor even when she struck the police officer; that was simply arrogance and boorishness. But the average American has a solid understanding of how you act when the police stop you; the elected representatives in government have a duty to act responsibly in complying with the law, as the high-profile examples they are. When someone like McKinney defies the law in this way, they set themselves apart as a mark of contempt against those standards and laws. And people who respect the laws and their standards, cannot also respect those who ignore them.

Also, Ms. McKinney’s protest against common sense and reasonable measures brings to mind other such rebellion; the reader may remember how President Clinton would ‘give the slip’ to his Secret Service protection every so often, or how Hillary countermanded security orders which she felt hampered her personal space. That was almost a scandal in Bubba's day, but now it's unconscionable for an elected official to spite the same security ordinary people take as a necessity in the post-9/11 world. Ms. McKinney has made the race to Congressional domination just a bit harder for the party of defeat and horse manure. Coming in such a time and situation as now, I find it almost certain that Karl Rove, the Phantom of D.C.'s Operetta, somehow caused it to be.

Many Fail The Test


Good day, everyone. I got tired of sitting around waiting for small morsels of information from my father’s doctors, and have decided to post a thought while doing some laundry at home. I will be spending most of my time away from the computer, but will try to revisit this afternoon. Just in summary, thanks to everyone for their kind words, my father’s fever is all but back to normal, though he is very weak. Unfortunately, the docs found an abnormal growth and are waiting for test results to see if it’s benign or malignant. Unlike the TV shows, we aren’t getting answers after the commercial break, and what we are hearing is thin on detail and satisfaction. All that waiting has driven me to seek a means to concentrate on something more productive.

My father gave a long explanation of his dissatisfaction with antibiotics in general, owing to their function of purging the body. As a result, my father is focused on the odor and sense associated with bodily evacuation, which brings to my mind the present conduct of Conservatives and Republicans.

For a man who claimed 62 million popular votes in the last election, and who has done more to establish and maintain the Republican majority than any single individual in the last generation, President George W. Bush sure has to put up with a lot of garbage from his party and self-impressed commentators. I have, more than once, pointed out the virtues of our President, noted that there is no one remotely close in caliber to him running in 2008 save one who does not wish to run. I have noted that Dubya is far more subtle and forward-thinking than many people suspect, which helps him spring traps on liberals and tyrants, provided of course that his own party backs him up instead of putting a knife in his back. I have noted that Dubya’s record demonstrates this kind of multi-level operation; despite the claims from the Liberals, Dubs does not run headlong into a decision, but when the stakes are high he tends to order his actions according to the long-term solution and broadest resolution. This is why he did not panic during the VQ-1 incident in April 2001, where a Chinese fighter jet collided with a Navy reconnaissance aircraft in international waters. Ten days of tense negotiations resulted in the freedom of the 24 U.S. navy airmen, notably without an apology from the United States. In an implicit admission of guilt, the PRC shipped back the EP-3E aircraft to the United States, though in pieces – the Chinese claimed it was not possible to send it back any other way. This is why Bush’s actions on and shortly after 9/11/2001 were careful yet deliberate. This is why he took his time to decide on invading Afghanistan and Iraq, but once committed has never wavered, something few other Republicans have managed to maintain. This is why he requested tax cuts when the Democrats still held enough numbers in the Senate to cause trouble, and why he does not veto Congress – Bush makes his decisions, and trusts the Hill to do the right thing. For all the lies tossed out by the DNC, Bush is a man who strongly believes in the Separation of Powers, and while he fully employs his Presidential authority, he does not try to coerce or punish members of Congress or the Courts for performing their jobs. Whether one approves or not, Dubya is a man of honor, strange enough in Washington D.C., but also a man whose code demands consistency in that honor.

Detractors, opponents, and moral absconders may and do point to decisions they question, and attack the President for any appearance of mortality and personal preferences. Sadly, among these are some who should know better, and who owe far better to the man than they ever serve. Significant examples of this are self-worshipping demagogues like David Frum, people with great minds but petty egos, who forget too readily that no one elected them to office, and that their personal opinion far too often pretends to knowledge the White House holds but they do not. And then there are those whose criticism is valid on the facts, but who forget that timing and presentation make a difference between useful critique and providing ammunition for the enemy. A long time ago, I learned the business management maxim of ’praise in public, rebuke in private’, and it would do well to be employed here in politics. Not that I expect the likes of McCain or Specter to put country ahead of their personal pride, or the party ahead of a sound bite.

It should also be understood that while the President carries one third of the U.S. Government on his shoulders, he usually comes to depend on his staff and support for information and advice. It has been long noted that President is far more loyal and supportive of his team than Presidents usually are, and this sometimes leaves him open to take a hit for a staffer’s mis-statement or error. Also, too often the Bush White House lets an issue sit for too long before addressing it, allowing a valid position to be cast as a poor decision by the Left and the paranoid. A good example of this is the DP World deal, where the White House first failed to consider the likely reaction to the deal, and further failed to explain from the beginning that business contracts do not customarily receive Presidential oversight, especially prior to the DHS and other agencies’ review. Then the staff blundered again, by allowing the President to remain in the media cross-hairs, instead of having the proper individuals explain the situation in context. The U.A.E.’s recent history of close cooperation with the Department of Defense should have been brought up by someone wearing stars on his shoulders. The U.A.E.’s political structure and unique history, especially viz a viz Iran and Saudi Arabia, should have been brought up by the State Department, who were well aware that the U.A.E. is one of our best friends in the region, both in recent performance and in strategic potential. The nature of international businesses flagged in the U.A.E. should have been addressed by the Commerce Department, to remind Americans that the U.A.E. is a federal government of small countries, whose business interests are completely separate from government control in most cases, as in DP World. Instead, the spotlight was focused wrongly on President Bush, who was not properly briefed or supported when the questions began. And worse, it was allowed to remain there.

I have been trying to figure out just why Presidents are so often plagued as “lame ducks” in their second term, because I don’t see the men losing their vision or character. What I see instead, is that their team tends to coast, and worse thinks they have less responsibility for their Chief’s reputation and influence, when in fact they should be working harder than ever. In that light, the departure of Andrew Card is not only appropriate but necessary. I am not, in any way, impugning Card’s work; Chief of Staff of the White House is a slot for which words like “demanding”, “exhaustive”, and “frustrating” are distinct understatements. But with the right replacement, such a shake-up can be good for the Administration. It is an unfortunate custom of politics to deny a rotating squad concept, which could allow for a hard-working staff to take a break without fear of demotion or dismissal. It would also be a good thing for Bush to find someone with the steel to speak bluntly to the “team”. Rove, Rice, Rummy, and the gang are all major-leaguers, and it’s next to impossible for them to accept direction from anyone but the President. Dubs would do well to find someone he could place in front of the GOP and say, in essence, ’he speaks for me’. Bush had this kind of person before in Karen Hughes, in Cheney before tapping him for Veep, in Condi before she became SecState, so he knows how to pick them. The trick is finding someone willing to take the heat, to be the President’s pit bull, to kick GOP heads to get them in line. Frist and Hastert should have been doing this all along, but neither has shown the courage or ingenuity to get the job done in his post. McCain and Gingrich and Giuliani could each have taken the front spot in the 2008 race by taking up the challenge and showing himself the President’s protégé. I understand the noise coming from the poll-dependant, who forget that polls in the spring have diddly to do with election results, especially years later. I will say clearly that just like 2002 and 2004, in 2006 and 2008 any Republican who wants to be elected or re-elected will need the clear support and preference of President George W. Bush. That McCain and the other wanna-be Bosses do not understand this basic fact, demonstrates in advance their failure to think beyond the moment, and thus they prove themselves unequal to the office. The sole hope for the GOP in 2008 is that the Democrats continue to prove themselves even less-qualified.

I am hardly saying that President Bush is perfect. What I am saying, and have for quite a while now, is that he is President of the United States of America and the Chief Executive Officer of the Republican Party. He did what was necessary to claim those titles through two grueling campaigns, first to secure the party nomination then the office. He has neither lied nor misled anyone about whom he is or what he would do, and Bush’s performance on the most important concerns has been equal or better to anyone in the past 140 years. He owns the job, and so long as he holds it no Republican has the place to pretend they hold equal right or claim. While protest and debate are precious rights in American history and the fabric of our being, when Dubya gets it right he more than deserves credit for it, and not just for the day. Those tax cuts not only got the economy going again, they are still being felt. The Bush Doctrine not only freed Afghanistan and Iraq, it affected many other countries and is still being reflected in the acknowledgment that the United States can undertake missions beyond the scope of any other nation in the world. So when fair-weather Conservatives like Michelle Malkin whine that they are “not in the mood to wave pom-poms”, they betray how shallow they hold their ideals and commitment. If a Conservative finds a given proposal untenable, he does well to speak his mind, but in such a way that seeks a better answer. If however a Conservative tears down his party’s leader and President simply because it suits his pique, then he is no Conservative at all. This is sadly the way of Republicans too often. They deserted President Hoover after the Stock Market crashed, preferring to let him carry the shame when so much came from their own indolence. They deserted Eisenhower in his second term, finding it more to their liking to bicker about lost opportunities in Eastern Europe than to work to find more. They deserted Nixon when the House began to accuse White House aides, some justly, but some unjustly, preferring to abandon the President rather than keep their commitments. They deserted Reagan when the Democrats made up their lies about Iran-Contra, and they deserted G.H.W. Bush when the Democrats threatened to shut down Congress in order to force a tax hike. There have always been plenty of Republicans ready to sing along in victory, but who run for the hills when the going gets tough. From Novak to Will to Buchanan to McCain to Bennett, there are plenty of players willing to accept glory but not hardship, to eat at the feast but not work to prepare it, to enjoy the perks of command but not endure the attacks from the enemy. Such days as now are when men show their true colors, and many fail to keep the promise made.

I will say plainly that five years from now, Conservatives will miss George W. Bush, and they will wonder aloud why they have such a hard time finding his like. Just like Reagan before him, George W. Bush understands that to do the right thing, to take on the mantle of real leadership, often requires a man to stand alone, deserted and betrayed all too often even by those who promised they would pass the test. I have seen petty men and I have seen great men. I stand with the great man here, and will not be silent about my contempt for those whose confidence and enthusiasm is blown by the wind of the day.