Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Only The Plant That Goes Into Fruitcake

Look, I like the Bull Moose. I'll even go farther and say that some of my best friends are Bull-Moosers. So I'd never accuse him of being a Republican Plant. In fact, given the world view he espouses on his blog I'd say that - like his hero Teddy - his politics lean more benevolent-totalitarian. Despite that, I think many of his populist impulses on domestic policy are spot-on, and generally he is consistent in his principles. However, his latest two posts pooh-poohing the domestic spying issue are so logic-defying in their attempts to justify executive over-reach (and thus adding more evidence to support my assesment of his politics) that it's only fair to call them the result of fruitcake reasoning. In other words, you gotta ask, "ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME?"

In the first, he writes:

What we do know is that we have not suffered another attack on the Homeland since 9/11. That is a miraculous fact. And President Bush should be applauded for protecting the country rather than excoriated, to say nothing of impeachment which is on the lips of some Democrats.

While it is true we haven't had a terror attack in the continental US since 9/11, the jury is far from out on why that's the case. Based on the evidence available there are far too many other possibilites - some frightening, others reassuring. The one which I find the most pleasing, however (and which can be "deduced" using the same logic the Moose uses), is that it is my presence in the Maryland Free State which has prevented further attacks. Think about it. I moved to Maryland shortly after 9/11, and now, no more attacks. No need to thank me - I moved here for the weather, not to prevent terrorism - but if you feel like expressing gratitude, I'd say the best way would be to spend more money at Atomic Books.

Later on he writes:

When it comes to the War Against Terror, there is no room for right wing or left wing libertarianism. Of course, we should guard our freedoms and be vigilant for excesses. But, our robust democracy is not endanger[sic]. If international phone calls by terrorist suspects were monitored, good and fine. What is in question is whether some of our elites continue to believe that we are actually at war with a devious foe. Memories of 9/11 are fading and many act as if the threat has gone away.

Dude! I live in Maryland now! We are safe! You can forgive the elites their complacency. That is unless you're talking about the Bush Administration pre-9/11. In all seriousness, it is not "good and fine" if the monitoring of such phone calls was illegal and the means to make it legal existed and yet the President either didn't understand or blatantly ignored the law.

In the second post, he writes:

It was not an "unreasonable" search and seizure for the NSA to detect international phone calls of terrorist suspects. The key factor is that we are at war against a foe that is seeking to kill us. Congress passed a force resolution authorizing the President to defend the nation against Al Qaeda. Agility and speed was essential to exploit the information that was obtained from intelligence sources. It is now clear that the FISA law was an anachronism that was intended for Cold War espionage - far different from the post 9/11 era.

Actually, the FISA law being an anachronism is far from clear. In fact, the only person I've read so far who thinks this is the Moose himself. No evidence exists which supports the claim that the existing law inhibited either agility or speed of action.

Later on there's this:

The President made a judgment - maybe it was not the best one. But he was clearly attempting to defend America against Jihadists. He was not attempting to nail or harass political enemies. He was not attempting to strengthen his hold on power. It might have been the wrong decision, but it was certainly not a venal one.

It's sad to see a once proud mammal descend into such moral-relativism. And here I thought we're all supposed to stand on principle, that we are a nation of laws etc etc. Actually, we have no idea why Bush authorized the program he did. And we will probably never know why since the executive order is secret.

In order to keep his bipartisan cred up, he writes:

In the nineties, the Moose defended the Clinton ordered attacks on Al Qaeda, Iraq and the Balkans when some of his conservative colleagues suggested that it was just a "wag the dog" attempt to divert attention from his personal problems. He was no more a shill for Clinton then than he is an apologist for Bush today.

I wouldn't call the Moose a "Bush Apologist" any more than I'd call him a "Clinton Apologist". I would first say that the Moose loves him some strong executives especially when it means executives give themselves more power. I would also say that he's making a totally apples and oranges comparison here. Despite what people think, Clinton's actions were legal. Look, we can't boil everything down to "the Right was pissed when the Left did This and that was wrong so if the Left is pissed that the Right did This then it all evens out". Perhaps instead we ought to look at the available evidence and decide what's what. However, this is clearly too complicated, and this "balance" crap is so much more comforting.

Finally there's this:

The Moose has no desire to win the acclaim or favor of the fever swamps of the right or the left. It is far, far more important to defend America against Jihadist terrorists who seek to do us harm than to slime a President.

This here's what we call a "false choice". You can actually do both at the same time. And if Bush is half the President that Clinton was, he ought to be able to fight this never-ending war of his while the "fever swamp" steams.

Update: In the interests of fairness, I'll say that, when it comes to Moose-Cry, this is more like it.
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