Some Random Observations
I have not been blogging for the past few days. First, I had a monthly meeting of the Public Information Declassification Board, of which I am a member-having been appointed to the post by President George W. Bush over a year ago. Then, I stayed in Washington DC to attend and observe the annual CPAC convention.
I will resume regular posts tomorrow, but in the meantime, let me offer a few random observations. First, I agree with PJM's Jennifer Rubin's 2/27 post at Commentary magazine's contentions website. Rubin writes that Newt Gingrich's speech was the most intriguing and hard to categorize presentation. Significantly, Gingrich did not talk as a partisan Republican , trying to save that party. Instead, he suggested a tri-partisan movement to develop new solutions that united Republicans, Democrats and independents, that would aim to move the nation away from the new statism advocated by the Obama Administration. Calling for a program based on economic growth that would challenge programs like the union movement's disastrous "card check" campaign, and that would seek to improve the economy through growth rather than statist programs based on redistribution of wealth, Gingrich's obvious slight of the Republicans leads Rubin to speculate on whether or not Gingrich was hinting at a new third party movement or meant his speech to be the first salvo of a presidential campaign.
Actually, decades ago, Gingrich himself toyed with the idea of creating a third party movement in the United States. Perhaps he was coming back to that idea, realizing that the Republican brand might be at this point in history beyond salvation. At any rate, as I listened to the former Speaker of the House, it occurred to me how different the last campaign might have been had Gingrich been the candidate rather than John McCain. Gingrich is a great speaker and communicator, and a debate over policy between Obama and Gingrich might have produced quite a different outcome in terms of Obama's margin of victory.
As for CPAC itself, I tend to agree with those critics at PJM who noted that lack of attention to the threat of radical Islam was more than a deficiency, and that no amount of "red meat" pandering is any kind of a substitute for hard critical thinking about new directions that conservatives have to move towards. For that goal one should consult sites like David Frum's www.newmajority.com and a new conservative website, www.newconservativeagenda.com. There were, of course, some first rate panels. Both David Horowitz and Alan Charles Kors spoke seriously and brilliantly about the state of academia today. Kors presentation was not only powerful, but was one that should have been heard by liberal intellectuals, since what Kors defended was a real classical liberalism, once the basis of the humanities, and now seriously threatened by political correctness.
Since I last blogged, the State Department announced its decision to withdraw the United States from Durban II. Now, all that is left is for President Obama to rescind the appointment of Chas Freeman as chief of the National Intelligence Council. If you think the misleading and disastrous NIC estimate on Iran's nuclear capability was bad, wait till we see what Freeman comes up with at his new post. His record of pandering to authoritarian dictatorships like China with fondness, his toadying to the Saudis and his fierce Israel bashing and endorsement of Walt and Mearsheimer's tendentious book on the Israel lobby gives us a hint as to what is likely to come. Perhaps more protest about this post will lead Obama to do the right thing.
I'll be back tomorrow with regular postings.