Sunday, May 27, 2007

Impressions of Bill Richardson

I watched most of the first half of Bill Richardson's appearance on Meet the Press. Frankly, I didn't feel the need to watch the rest of it.

First, Tim Russert pointed out that Richardson has changed his position on a withdrawal from Iraq. In his recent book Richardson was against a precipitous withdrawal. His current position is to withdraw 100% of US forces by the end of 2007, leaving no "residual" forces to combat terrorist forces such as AQ. Basically, he refused to flatly say that he has changed his position. Russert is typically forgiving of those who acknowledge their changes, and he pursues those who do not own up to their changes.

Second, and perhaps most disturbing, is Richardson's proposal of an all-Muslim (or majority Muslim, depending on the venue) multi-national peacekeeping force for Iraq. There are two ways that could go - (1) The peacekeeping force is a toothless, UN-style organization that doesn't do any real fighting; or (2) Richardson will create a very strong pan-Muslim army capable of threatening Israel and establishing the Caliphate.

"Shooting the Moon" in this scenario would be the military establishment of a Turkish-style Islamic society in which the less-insane Muslims are in charge, but in which Christians, Jews, and any number of ethnic minorities are still persecuted.

The cynical case for Fred Thompson

Fred! continues to pound the virtual pavement on the Paul Harvey Show. Awesome.

Anecdotally, I just saw my 2008-oriented first bumper sticker. Much to my amazement, it was for Fred Thompson, who hasn't yet declared his candidacy. It was on the bumper of a pickup truck owned by a guy who appeared to be in his 60's. He is, presumably, not part of the blognoscenti. Another anecdote - my grandmother, an avid CNN viewer and marginal Republican, is impressed with Fred Thompson. I'm guessing she's a Paul Harvey listener too.

Thompson does very well in the online polls I've seen, which are obviously skewed to a certain audience. In this event, Fred's base will come from the blognoscenti and a subset of retirees who listen to the Paul Harvey show. If the middle aged folks are hearing about Fred both from their kids and from their parents then they might just sit up and listen. Thompson's candidacy is the proverbial "coiled spring", and his broader poll numbers are poised to explode.

I call this the "cynical case" because it is based on a projection of voter trends, not on Thompson's ability to execute the office of the President and not on any issue positions he has taken. For better or for worse, this sort of calculation is an increasing part of the modern political process.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fred(!) Remembers, Do You?

Fred! remembers US history, but college students do not.

I am not surprised by this, but I am disturbed. I'm not trying to say the proverbial sky is falling, but this is one of those civilization-ending trends.

In other news, younger voters have no memory of the Cold War. Come November 9 of this year, 18-year olds will have never lived contemporaneously with the Berlin Wall. In 2009, newly registered 18-year olds will have no shared history with the Soviet Union. But in all practicality, these events are already completely meaningless to voters under the age of 25.