Ladies and gentlemen, Senator Jim Webb of Virginia
I'm Senator Jim Webb, from Virginia, where this year we will celebrate the 400th anniversary of the settlement of Jamestown ? an event that marked the first step in the long journey that has made us the greatest and most prosperous nation on earth.
The Political Correctness crowd isn't too happy with that anniversary.
Let me simply say that we in the Democratic Party hope that this administration is serious about improving education and healthcare for all Americans, and addressing such domestic priorities as restoring the vitality of New Orleans.
Got any plans for those three goals?
They're all complex matters, and I addressed two of them yesterday. As for the third...New Orleans has three major problems. One, Louisiana is a den of political corruption. Two, the city of New Orleans has a history of letting its private-sector crime get out of control. Three, the levees that protect New Orleans from flood also cause it to sink (and also do damage to the wetlands). The first two are a lot easier to solve than the third.
We are looking for affirmative solutions that will strengthen our nation by freeing us from our dependence on foreign oil, and spurring a wave of entrepreneurial growth in the form of alternate energy programs.
Has your party ever proposed anything along this line? Maybe Ted Kennedy could sponsor a bill to expand wind farm development - oh, wait...
The stock market is at an all-time high, and so are corporate profits. But these benefits are not being fairly shared.
Sharing is a voluntary action. What you people propose is involuntary redistribution, which is a jobs program for bureaucrats more than anything else - the majority of the budget for welfare programs goes to overhead. Redistribution schemes only subtract from national wealth in the delusional utopian quest for "fairness."
Wages and salaries for our workers are at all-time lows as a percentage of national wealth, even though the productivity of American workers is the highest in the world.
But per-capita GDP is higher than it's ever been - see the second update to yesterday's post. How does that jive with your claim?
Our manufacturing base is being dismantled and sent overseas.
Maybe more factories would stay here if government-imposed costs of doing business were lower. Again, the GDP figures don't show any sign of crisis.
The House just passed a minimum wage increase, the first in ten years, and the Senate will soon follow.
That will send a few more jobs to India.
We've established a tone of cooperation and consensus that extends beyond party lines.
Wooing RINOS doesn't count.
With respect to foreign policy, this country has patiently endured a mismanaged war for nearly four years.
I agree, but for different reasons. We should have learned the lesson that Rudy Giuliani taught as mayor of New York City: when the bad guys get out of hand, you mass law enforcement where the crime wave is worst. We have been too paranoid about collateral damage to fight a decent war. There war planners are even too spineless to risk damage to bystanders who are already dead. That error costs the lives of both soldiers and civilians - the longer the insurgents stay unmolested, the longer they stay in operation. We need to pulverize them NOW.
Many, including myself, warned even before the war began that it was unnecessary, that it would take our energy and attention away from the larger war against terrorism...
Iraq IS part of the larger war against terrorism. Al-Qaeda is fighting to take over the country, and so are Shiite militias loyal to Iran and Syria, two nations that have sponsored terrorists who have attacked the US before. If we leave, whoever winds up destroying the current government will have a base of power to plan future attacks against the United States and our allies.
The war's costs to our nation have been staggering. Financially.
Wars cost. But we didn't start this war. Al-Qaeda did. The greater war against the United States began on June 6,1968, that fact cited by Stewart and Jay Manifold in this comments thread. Only surrender will stop the war, and our side must not be the one to surrender.
The damage to our reputation around the world.
I don't give a damn about our reputation among thugs and appeaseniks.
We need a new direction. Not one step back from the war against international terrorism. Not a precipitous withdrawal that ignores the possibility of further chaos.
The sane alternative is "clobber the enemy more efficiently. But that's not on his agenda.
But an immediate shift toward strong regionally-based diplomacy, a policy that takes our soldiers off the streets of Iraq's cities, and a formula that will in short order allow our combat forces to leave Iraq.
Negotiate with whom? Rush Limbaugh put it best, recalling from memory a statement he maid on an NBC News commentary segment: You can't negotiate with someone who's starting point is our deaths. The Sunni and Shiite militias want more than Iraq. They want the death of infidel (non-Muslim) civilization. The Indians would have had it a lot worse if these guys were the ones to settle in Virginia 400 years ago. The Kurds would probably agree.
I am reminded of the situation President Theodore Roosevelt faced in the early days of the 20th century. America was then, as now, drifting apart along class lines. The so-called robber barons were unapologetically raking in a huge percentage of the national wealth. The dispossessed workers at the bottom were threatening revolt.
For another view of that slice of history, read this book.
Roosevelt spoke strongly against these divisions. He told his fellow Republicans that they must set themselves "as resolutely against improper corporate influence on the one hand as against demagogy and mob rule on the other." And he did something about it.
What did Roosevelt do? You're not going to tell us?
As I look at Iraq, I recall the words of former general and soon-to-be President Dwight Eisenhower during the dark days of the Korean War, which had fallen into a bloody stalemate. "When comes the end?" asked the General who had commanded our forces in Europe during World War Two. And as soon as he became President, he brought the Korean War to an end.
No, he brought a postponement. North Korea is a rogue nuclear power today, and is starving its citizens to keep a megalomaniac in power and to keep alive the hope of taking the entire peninsula someday.