Death Does Wonders for Legacy

Saddam Hussein is a lucky man – in no time at all he can expect to have his reputation vastly improved. And he can thank the hangman who awaits him on the gallows.

Prior to that moment when he breathes his last, his reputation will be in shreds. He has, rightly, been seen as a monster. The mere act of his dying, however, will enable his supporters to smooth over his role in those troublesome times when he was slaughtering his own people by the hundreds of thousands.

If you doubt that scenario, consider what we are now witnessing with the death of former President Gerald R. Ford. After his pardon of Richard Nixon in September 1974, you would have had to hire a private detective to find anyone who did not consider him a scoundrel for pardoning the hated Nixon, whose foes would have been satisfied only if Nixon had been utterly humiliated, tried, found guilty and sent to prison for life.

Ford robbed them of that satisfaction and they never forgave him, but his foes did take great pleasure out of observing that the pardon was the reason why Gerald Ford lost the presidency in 1976.

His name was mud, yet by dying he rehabilitated himself. All those hypocrites who cast him out into the outer darkness for daring to show compassion to his predecessor — thereby saving the nation from the years-long ordeal prosecution of Nixon would have involved — now heap praise on him.

Ford’s pardon was greeted by a firestorm of criticism, threats were leveled against him, and he was accused of making a shady deal with Tricky Dick to swap a pardon for the presidency. All the hatred and bile the left had for Nixon was then aimed at Ford.

His popularity ratings, sky-high when he took the oath of office, plummeted. He never recovered from the debacle he unleashed with the pardon. And he was driven out of the White House to be replaced by Jimmy Carter, who would become arguably the worst president in American history yet go himself into the honored retirement denied Gerald Ford.

Like most of his Democratic colleagues, Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy was appalled by the pardon, calling it “a betrayal of the public trust.”

Unlike most of his Democratic colleagues, however, Kennedy softened and didn’t wait until Ford was dead to praise him for what the pardon had done for the nation. At the 2001 Profile of Courage award ceremony honoring Ford, Kennedy said: “We now recognize that Ford was there when the country needed him. He was calm and steady at a time of emotional upheaval and disillusionment. When he said our long national nightmare was over, the country breathed a sigh of relief. He was an uncommonly good and decent man.”

In dying, Ford erased all those negative comments and the people who slandered and reviled him came rushing to the microphones to heap praise on him for issuing the pardon they had so vigorously condemned.

Think about the lesson Ford’s death teaches. Once a pariah, he now gets the “de mortuis nil nisi bonum” treatment (of the dead speak only good).

Moreover, he is to be further honored by a book by Bob Woodward who, contrary to his usual practice, interviewed him while he was still alive and conscious. Ford, he is said to be ready to reveal, opposed the Iraq war but didn’t want anybody to know it until he was gone.

Getting back to what all this means to the soon-to-be-dead Saddam Hussein, if the obits are anything like the ones Gerald Ford earned by passing away, we can expect to be told that after all, Saddam did clean up the mess he inherited in Iraq, and keep order and prevent the population from butchering each other by taking on that job himself.

He introduced law and order, and kept the peace, although in not quite the same way Rudy Giuliani cleaned up New York City. Giuliani, after all, left no unmarked mass graves scattered around New York.

But hey, Saddam got results even we haven’t been able to achieve, and as a result the Iraqis have now taken on the job of reducing the population without any help from the government.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Running Against the Right Hillary

The common wisdom holds that it is all but inevitable that Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2008, and that she’ll be a formidable if not unbeatable candidate.

I don’t disagree with that assumption, despite the sudden emergence of Barack Hussein Obama as the media’s newest darling. I see him as nothing more than a passing fancy for the mainstream media. If it becomes evident that he poses a real threat to Sen. Hillary Clinton he’ll suddenly find himself under a withering fire of criticism and he won’t have the vaguest notion where it’s all coming from. Wiser heads, however, will understand that the Clinton attack machine is back in action and before it’s finished Obama will be history.

So let’s accept the fact that whoever the GOP nominee is, he’ll be facing Hillary Clinton. If the Republicans want to win, they will have to decide which Mrs. Clinton they plan to run against; just plain Hillary Clinton, or United States Senator Hillary Clinton, D-NY.

If they choose to run against Hillary Clinton, they’ll lose. If they choose to run against Senator Clinton, they’ll win hands down.

If we run against Hillary Clinton as the former first lady, if we run against her as the wife of Bill Clinton, if we run against the cherished darling of the media who spent eight years all but canonizing her as America’s patron saint, she’ll win.

Running against that Hillary is the wrong argument. If, however, you run against Senator Hillary Clinton and her record, or her abysmal lack of one as a senator, you can win.

If you focus on her dismal record of accomplishment and not on her carefully created image as St. Hillary and her hyped-up public personality you’ll beat her hands down.

You can beat the senator; you cannot beat the cardboard saint.

Consider her record as a senator. She admits she voted for the war and now she says it was a mistake, not exactly the kind of consistency we expect from a president.

Senatorial candidate Hillary Clinton promised to bring 200,000 new jobs to New York. She failed, claiming that she didn’t have the benefit of a Democratic Congress to help her achieve that goal, but adding that even though there had not been the kind of environment she hoped for, there had been some progress.

The fact is that there hasn’t been any progress. New York is not improving – it’s getting worse. New York has lost 112,000 jobs since sending Senator Clinton to Washington.

In contrast, consider the records of two Republicans, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. Both governed with Democratic majorities in both state legislatures.

Back on April 12, 2006, Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney signed into law an act to provide health insurance to virtually all citizens of Massachusetts and did it without raising taxes.

Working with Democrats in the state legislature and others, he developed a plan that starting next July will make mandatory health insurance for all state residents, providing a plan is available to the individual that is deemed affordable according to state standards.

Romneycare won in 2006, Hillarycare lost in 1993.

Romney has done much more and been credited with creating an environment that has attracted new jobs to his state, especially in the field of technology. Massachustts added jobs, New York lost them.

Another executive facing Democratic-controlled city and state legislative bodies was New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. His leadership in the nation’s toughest city created jobs, brought down crime, and shepherded the city through the darkest days after 9/11.

Those are genuine records of accomplishments, and when you run candidates with such records you can win against candidates with dismal records such as Senator Hillary Clinton’s.

The point is when you argue on the merits you can win. When you argue on personalities, you lose.

It’s no wonder Senator Hillary Clinton, who has the media in her pocketbook, wants you to attack her as Hillary Clinton and not as Senator Clinton who has accomplished nothing meaningful as a senator.

Matched against a Republican with a solid record for getting things done, she’s a sure loser.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Bush: Winning or Saving a Legacy?

If there are any places President Bush hasn’t visited or made plans to visit while seeking solutions to the sad state of the war in Iraq, I don’t know where they are.

It’s almost as if he is on a vast scavenger hunt where the prize will provide the clues needed to help him solve his current dilemma in Iraq. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more obvious as he goes about his search that it’s more about saving his legacy than it is about winning a war that simply must be won.

If he were really looking for a way to end the struggle in Iraq, where wholesale slaughter is becoming a daily ordeal for the Iraqi people and combat deaths the price of wearing a U.S. uniform, he’d find a ready answer from those military exports who counsel doing whatever must be done to defeat the enemy.

Instead he wanders around Washington talking to the likes of State Department diplomats whose idea of waging a war is to figure out ways to appease world opinion even if it means surrendering to a rag-tag but determined bunch of Islamic thugs.

As our troops continue to die in Iraq he wastes precious time talking to James Baker and his collection of geriatric has-beens known as the Iraq Study Group, all the while knowing full well that their mundane recommendations are more designed to save face – and his legacy – than they are to achieve victory and a lasting peace in that strife-torn area.

George Bush doesn’t seem to understand that where his legacy is concerned, the only way to save it will be for him to leave office with a well-thought-out plan in place being vigorously pursued to ensure final victory over the global Islamic jihad now being waged in Iraq.

Anything less will see him go down in history as a badly flawed chief executive who wandered aimlessly into a war without having any idea of how to bring it to a successful conclusion and then left it to his successor to cope with.

One would think he would have learned a lesson from his father’s failure to create a legacy that would outlive his infamous “read my lips” exhortation that was soon followed by the tax increase he pledged he would never allow.

Instead, as his reputation and his popularity plunge by the hour, he chooses to surrounded himself with the very people most associated with his father’s administration – even to naming as his new Secretary of Defense a survivor of his father’s years in office – a man who promptly expressed his gratitude for the honor the president bestowed on him by publicly disagreeing with him, not once but twice within a space of 24 hours.

Waiting in the wings to assume the chairmanship of the powerful Government Reform Committee in the House is what may be the biggest threat to the Bush legacy, California’s Rep. Henry Waxman, who can’t wait to get his hands on that panel’s investigative machinery and turn it loose on George Bush and his administration.

“The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose,” Waxman gleefully told the Associated Press, which noted that the choices he makes could help define Bush’s legacy.

“There is just no question that life is going to be different for the administration,” Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., the current committee chairman told the AP. “Henry is going to be tough. … And he’s been waiting a long time to be able to do this.”

Given that grim prospect, if George Bush wants to leave behind a worthwhile legacy he is going to have to concentrate on creating a policy designed to obtain ultimate victory in Iraq – and one that begins to show solid results while he is still in office.

If he does that, what dirt Henry Waxman manages to dig up will amount to no more than a hill of beans – being on the road to victory will triumph over all other considerations.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Feeding the Alligator

Does everybody on the planet spend time kicking the president of the United States? I ask this because it seems that we are in the midst of an open season on George W. Bush.

I’ve never seen a presidency where everybody shoots at the president and nobody defends him, except his wife and Tony Snow. People who oppose “waterboarding” the enemy would be happy to see George Bush undergo the ordeal.

He’s not even immune from attacks from people he picks to fill the highest offices in his administration. He’s forced to sit in the Oval Office and watch the man he chose to be secretary of defense publicly disagree with him on nationwide TV by telling Sen. Carl Levin we are losing the war in Iraq, an argument the president rejects out of hand.

It gave us an insight into what was bound to happen with the release of the Iraq Study Group report. The media and the Democrats all jumped on the group’s assertion that Iraq is a God-awful mess, implying that it’s all George Bush’s fault, and coming up with a lot of suggestions that somebody noted could have easily been written by Miss Paris Hilton.

Instead of suggesting that the only way to deal with the massive problems in Iraq — the sectarian violence and the attacks by both foreign and domestic insurgents — is to take the gloves off and come out slugging, the group comes up with recommendations that have nothing to do with winning the war, as that seems to be unthinkable, and everything to do with putting on a good show while we depart.

Without ever coming out and saying it, the study group leaves no doubt that it thinks George Bush is not up to the job and has made a real mess of things that can only be “solved” by such idiotic moves as sitting down and having talks with Syria and Iran, both nations that dream nightly about killing us all and bringing the enlightenment of Islamic law and rule to a world badly in need of Islamic reform.

It’s as Churchill once said about appeasement: it’s a case of feeding the alligator and hoping it will eat you last.

What you see in all of this is that there is a complete lack of support and respect for this president, even from the people he has around him. For Gates to come out and say what he did in the confirmation hearings for the job George Bush has given him, is nothing less than sheer ingratitude – if not open contempt for his benefactor.

And he not only takes issue with the president who has appointed him, but does so with impunity. It doesn’t matter to him that he gave aid and comfort to the enemy. It doesn’t matter to him that it demoralizes the troops in harm’s way in Iraq. It’s all about him saying what will help him be confirmed as the secretary of defense.

He sailed through the hearings and got an almost-unanimous approval from the full Senate – but you have to wonder he would have had it so easy up there on Capitol Hill if he had disagreed with Levin and agreed with the president that we are not losing the war in Iraq. Instead, he told the Democrats and the media what they wanted to hear.

You have to remember that he is a member of the Iraq Study Group and as such has signed on to their report. He comes from a group of people I know well. They all think they are little gods. It’s either their way or no way. They think that they are the be-all and end-all, and the media fawn on them and feed their insatiable egos.

Their new way of dealing with Iraq is to figure out ways to leave. My way is more straightforward and simple: forget pandering to the Left’s pacifist instincts and just go ahead and kill the enemy, every single one of them.

If my Dad had listened to that bunch the Cold War would still be going on, there would have been no strategic defense initiative, and there would be no Ronald Reagan legacy worth a darn. Instead, he hung tough and we won.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Democrat Iraq Weakness is Bush’s Strength

While the media dither over whether the sectarian violence in Iraq is a civil war or just a question of religious fanatics slaughtering each other, President Bush faces dealing with a reluctant Iraqi prime minister who seems utterly incapable of doing his job in the midst of the chaos that surrounds him.

While many in the defeatist media seem to be enjoying what they see as the president’s dilemma in deciding how to force Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to quash the violence in Baghdad and surrounding areas, they seem unaware that the president can deal with Maliki from a position of real strength, thanks to the Democrats.

Instead of playing the hard-nosed U.S. commander-in-chief and publicly humiliating the chief of state of a sovereign nation by ordering him to do what he must do to end the violence — or else — the president needs only to point out the inevitable consequences if he doesn’t act decisively.

What will happen, he can tell Maliki, will be out of his hands.

The consequences, he can say, will come about not because he, President Bush, will take some retaliatory action, but from the Democrats who control Congress and will surely use their new-found power to force a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops, thus bringing down Maliki’s government, giving victory to international terrorism, and turning the entire Mideast into a powder keg with the fuse already lit.

That’s Bush’s real negotiating strength: the Democrats’ wimpishness in the face of the worst challenge facing the West since the Muslims stood at the gates of Vienna in 1683.

Unlike the heroic Polish King Jan III Sobieski, who stood at the gates of Vienna and fought and defeated the Islamists and thereby saved Europe, the Democrats appear willing to step back this time and open the gates in this latest episode of the centuries-long, never-ending war to impose Islamist rule upon the entire world.

That’s all Mr. Bush needs to say to Maliki: get tough or prepare for the Democrats to get out and leave you and Iraq to the tender mercies of Syria and Iran and Osama bin Laden, and heads will roll, including yours.

That’s no idle threat. If the violence in Iraq continues to shatter any semblance of stability, drawing the U.S. deeper and deeper into a senseless battle between two fanatic Islamic religious factions and costing us more American lives while the Iraqi government allows it to continue, the Democrats will de-fund U.S. involvement and Maliki will be on his own.

If you want to cut through the fog of war and all the media disinformation masquerading as reporting, it’s important to understand what is happening in Iraq.

During Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship the country was run by Iraq’s Sunni minority, and they subjected the Shiite majority to the most brutal repression with great enthusiasm, and at great profit to themselves. They were Saddam’s well-paid hit men.

The Shiites have long memories, and they are acting on them now, especially given the fact that the Iran and al Qaeda backed insurgency with all its terrors is directed at them and the U.S. forces trying to enforce peace.

The end result has been the creation of militias on both sides, with the Sunnis getting support from al Qaeda and Syria, and the Shiites getting support from Iran. Maliki, who seems to be caught in the crossfire, has pretty much come down on the side of Shiites and their fanatic principal supporter, Muqtada al Sadr, who enjoys huge popular acclaim in the Shiite community.

The Iraqi government must adopt a truly neutral stance and go after both sides and disarm their armed militias. The U.S. cannot and should not do the job. This means turning the battle over to the Iraqi army, seeing that they are adequately trained and equipped, and setting them free to do what has to be done without political interference from the government.

All this will require patience and forbearance on our part. We’d better be prepared to exercise both. The stakes are too high to do otherwise.

In the meantime, let the president deal from the position of strength the Democrats have unwittingly given him.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

It’s Not a Quagmire, It’s a Muddle

This is a time for giving thanks, and among the many things for which I am thankful is the fact that I am not George W. Bush.

Think about it — in the sixth year of his presidency he is besieged on all sides, not only by his foes, but by his friends and supporters as well.

On the one side are those demanding that the president adopt some kind of face-saving solution that will allow him to withdraw from Iraq without admitting the United States has lost yet another war — the solution once recommended by former Vermont Sen. George Aiken, who advised that we declare victory in Vietnam and get out.

Among those advocating this kind of sleight of hand are members of George Herbert Walker Bush’s administration, perhaps even former Secretary of State James Baker. Baker co-chairs the widely touted Iraq Study Group, which has leaked its recommendations for coping with the war by calling for negotiations with Syria and Iran.

On the other side are the hawks who want not only to remain in Iraq, but have advanced the rather peculiar idea that the ultimate aim in any conflict is to win it. They insist that anything less than total victory over the insurgency would result in unthinkable consequences for the United States, the Middle East and the West.

In the middle are the great masses of American people who told exit pollsters they weren’t against the war, only against how it was being conducted.

Then there is the Congress of the United States, fated to fall into the hands of the liberal-controlled Democratic Party whose leadership is deeply enamored of the idea of cutting and running – a concept they disguise by calling the pullout of the U.S. from Iraq “redeployment.”

To complicate matters, however, powerful Democrats such as Hillary Clinton more or less support the idea of remaining in Iraq until the Iraqi forces can handle the insurgency on their own.

The president’s dilemma arises from his conviction that a pullout before Iraq has been enabled to fight their war on the insurgency would lead to a conflagration that would engulf the entire Middle East, disrupt the supply of the oil that keeps our economic engine running, create a national base for the Jihad that would enable the radical Islamic movement (probably armed with nukes to bring the Jihad to our shores), and eventually drive the West out of the entire area.

Yet the pressure on the president to find a solution that will allow us to leave Iraq, even if it’s with our tail between our legs, is growing more and more intense.

Added to the dilemma is the president’s knowledge that negotiations with Syria and Iraq can have only one result – withdrawal disguised as recognition that Iraq is a regional problem meant to be solved by regional interests – in this case, Iran.

The president knows full well that the only negotiating point is surrender to Iran, whose 1979 constitution declares the aim of the Jihad is world conquest by the Islamic revolution which it leads. To Iran, Iraq is the high ground they seek to take in their war against the West.

Should the president continue to stress his role as Commander in Chief, he will find himself facing an obstructive Congress that will use every device available to them, perhaps even to the extent of withdrawing funding for the military.

Given the facts of the matter, should the president cave in to the peace-at-any-price crowd the deaths of almost 3,000 American fighting men and women — and the billions of dollars it has cost — will have been shamefully wasted.

On the other hand, should he stick to his guns, he will find himself the most embattled President since Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln couldn’t find generals who could go out and win the War between the States, had to deal with an obstructive Congress and its Committee on the Conduct of the War, and even fought dissent by members of his own cabinet, one of whom referred to Lincoln as “the original ape.”

That’s why I’m thankful that I’m not George W. Bush.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc., Cari Dawson Bartley. Email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Democrats’ Suicide Impulse Emerging

Just days after winning control of the House and Senate, Democrats have stopped gloating over their victory long enough to turn on each other in a spasm of self-destructive behavior.

To start their triumphant march towards January, when they will assume actual control over the House, Democrats handed Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi a humiliating defeat in her first effort to assert her control of her party.

By a vote of 140 to 86, they rejected her hand-picked candidate to be Majority Leader, the ethically challenged John Murtha, and elected her current number-two man in the leadership, Steny Hoyer, with whom she has anything but a cordial relationship.

Some of her apologists whisper that she really didn’t mean it when she sent a letter to the Democrat House membership giving Murtha a ringing endorsement, or when she made a speech nominating him for the post, or when she directly intervened by urging Democratic freshmen — all of whom are dependent on her for key committee assignments — to vote for Murtha. She was just going through the motions for a long-time ally, they insist.

That alibi loses steam when you consider the fact that she made those endorsements as the Speaker-to-be, not as San Fran Nan, the darling of Haight-Ashbury and fanatic liberals everywhere else. She put her prestige on line in her very first attempt to assert her leadership in the Democratic caucus, and she got slapped in the face for her pains.

This, however, was merely one of a number of instances of Nancy Pelosi driving the leadership bus over her colleagues.

Her attempt to settle old scores by throwing Steny Hoyer under the bus was only one of her vindictive acts. The fact that he got up, brushed himself off and climbed aboard as her co-pilot does nothing to free her from the consequences of her attempt to crush him.

It will come back to haunt her whenever she tries to push through some hare-brained piece of far-Left legislation and finds herself facing strident opposition from the moderates and Blue Dog Democrats emboldened by having given Hoyer a nearly two-to-one victory over her pet candidate.

Another of her hit-and-run victims is Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and obvious candidate for the committee Chairwomanship. Harman is not Pelosi’s cup of tea and thus is to be passed over, apparently, in favor of Rep. Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat whose principal qualification for the job is that as a federal judge he was once impeached and convicted of bribe-taking by the House and tossed off the bench with even Rep. Pelosi among those finding him guilty.

Pelosi is not alone in the game of cannibalism now rife among Democrats. Sharp-tongued Democratic strategist James Carville stopped castigating Republicans long enough to say his party should dump Howard Dean as DNC chairman because he’s incompetent.

It’s going to be an interesting next two years.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com (800) 696-7561.

Republicans Lost Because They Lost Their Way

We are hearing all sorts of reasons why the GOP got, in George Bush’s word, “thumped.” We’re told it was Iraq, or that it was the incompetence and corruption of some of its members. Some cited the unpopularity of the president, implying that it rubbed off on the House members who went down to defeat last Tuesday.

While there is some validity to all these complaints, they miss the mark by ignoring the real cause of the Nov. 7 electoral disaster – the fact that Republicans had stopped acting the way Republicans are meant to act, and began acting as clones of big-government, big-spending Democrats.

In September of last year I wrote that unless congressional Republicans put the break on spending “you can bet that the Republican Party is going to lose control of Congress next year, and with Democrats in power government spending will go through the roof.”

In 1994 the Republicans took control of Capitol Hill, mostly on the strength of the Contract with America. Over time that contract with America turned into the contract on America.

The GOP leadership allowed some of their number to corrupt their own party. In the notorious, pork-laden “bridge-to-nowhere” transportation bill last year they promised certain earmark goodies to certain members of Congress if they would support the bill. They might have called that politics, but I call it bribery.

That bill contained a mind-boggling 6,371 pet projects, or earmarks. In contrast, my Dad, Ronald Reagan, once vetoed a highway bill because it was loaded down with a mere 152 pet projects.

Over time, the Republican Party gradually became the party they replaced. The line between the two parties got so blurred that it was hard do tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans. In that case, allegiance to a party goes out the window when the public can’t tell the difference between their party and the opposition, and they just rise up and throw the bums out and start all over.

As far as the Iraq war is concerned, the president got the message Tuesday: It’s time to win the war and stop having people micro-manage it from Washington. That’s what lost the war in Vietnam. Moreover, he was told to allow the military to do what the military does best: win the war – forget the tender sensibilities of the anti-war peaceniks and kill people and break things if you have to  and, above all, win.

I’m convinced that had the president replaced Donald Rumsfeld six months ago, the GOP would have won the elections Tuesday. He became the face of a war the public believes has been badly mishandled, and by keeping him around the president continually reminded the public of just how badly the war was going.

Writing in the Thursday’s Opinion Journal, former House Majority Leader Dick Armey recalled that the Republican takeover in 1994 “was the culmination of years of agitation by a relatively small group of political entrepreneurs in the House.”

Before this small group could beat the Democrats and their “culture of corruption,” he wrote, they had to beat “the old bulls of our own party,” who were also “driven by a parochial vision, and had grown complacent with the crumbs offered them by the majority.”

The Contract with America, Armey explained, established “a national (as opposed to a parochial) vision for the Republican Party. When we took control, that positive Reagan vision of limited government and individual responsibility provided a great deal of discipline and allowed us to govern accordingly. Our primary question in those early years was: How do we reform government and return money and power back to the American people?”

Eventually, he continued, “the policy innovators and the ‘Spirit of ’94’ were largely replaced by political bureaucrats driven by a narrow vision. Their question became: How do we hold onto political power? The aberrant behavior and scandals that ended up defining the Republican majority in 2006 were a direct consequence of this shift in choice criteria from policy to political power.”

If they ever expect to regain control of Congress, Republicans are going to have to start being Republicans again.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

John Kerry: The Kamikaze Kid

If the American people need a single reason why they desperately need to vote to keep the Congress in Republican hands next Tuesday they need only look at Massachusetts Democrat Senator John Kerry and recoil from what they behold, the way a vampire recoils when confronted by a cross.

It’s not that the defeated 2004 Democrat candidate for PRESIDENT is by himself a major threat to the safety and welfare of the United States. We narrowly escaped that dreaded fate two years ago, and by now it should be obvious that politically he’s going nowhere. That became clear when Sen. Kerry gassed up his plane, took off and crashed Kamikaze-like onto the deck of his party’s ship, sinking it just days before it was to come into port and thenceforth rule the electoral waves.

With the crew jumping overboard in a frantic effort to avoid being anywhere near John Kerry, it’s obvious his hopes for a future in presidential politics were burned to a crisp in the wake of his suicide mission.

The real reason why L’affaire Kerry matters to the commonweal is the fact that his views and opinions are not his alone: John Kerry is the face and voice of the Democrat party. What he believes, they believe; what he wants (except for another shot at the presidency), they want.

When John Kerry stands up and implies that the members of our armed forces now engaged in a bloody and dangerous war on behalf of the American people are a bunch of poorly educated high school dropouts, he is expressing what his colleagues in the Democrat leadership believe. The only difference between Kerry and the rest of his party’s bigwigs is that they aren’t stupid enough to say so in public.

Those Democrats who haven’t scurried for cover in a frenzied attempt to separate themselves from the outraged reaction of the American people to Kerry’s disgusting charges are now attempting to convince us that Kerry didn’t really mean what he said when he told a high school audience, “You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.”

They can’t deny he said what he said. So they try and tell us he didn’t mean what he said. What they are really saying is “BELIEVE us and not your lying ears. You didn’t really hear what you heard.”

Attacks on American troops are nothing new for John Kerry. Remember, this is the man who came back from his brief four-month tour of duty in Vietnam to charge his fellow American servicemen with rape and murder.

This is the same John Kerry who just last year told CBS’s Bob Schieffer, “And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the–of–the historical customs, religious customs.”

These sentiments, however, are not merely his own, they echo those of his fellow Democrats. John Murtha, for example, charged Marines in Haditha with cold-blooded murder. Senator Dick Durbin compared our interrogators at Guantanamo to the monsters who worked for Pol Pot, one of the greatest mass murderers in history, and those who worked in the inhuman Soviet gulags and in the Nazi death camps.

For decades, like John Kerry, Democrats have displayed their utter contempt for the American military. They showed it when they insured America’s defeat in Vietnam when they cut off funding for the military and they now say they will do the same in Iraq.

If the voters want their country to follow John Kerry’s example, shout “Banzai” and gas up and take off in a Kamikaze mission against their own safety and security, they will vote to put the Kerrycats in control of Capitol Hill.

Should they do so they will rightly earn the scorn and contempt of future generations of Americans who will have to live in the wreckage they created.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.

Stem Cell Research – A Little Truth Wouldn’t Hurt

Stem cell research is one of the major issues in many campaigns across the country in this election year, and it is being demagogued like few others.

In the interest of truth in politics it’s worth noting that there are two kinds of stem cells research – one involving embryonic stem cells (ESC) and the other using adult or cord-blood stem cells. The overwhelming number of candidates, Republican and Democratic, favor research on stem cells gathered from adult and core-blood sources. But many, mostly Republicans, oppose ESC research because harvesting the cells requires killing a living human embryo, and in many cases result from cloning human embryos for the sole purpose of harvesting the stem cells from the embryos killed in the process.

All across the country, Democrats and their lackeys in the media distort the issue by portraying those opposed to embryonic stem cell research as being opposed to all stem cell research, refusing to draw the crucial distinction between the two types.

In addition to this dishonest tactic, proponents of ESC research inevitably claim that it is the form of research holding out the most promise as an effective means of curing a host of serious physical and mental disorders, while either ignoring or downplaying the incredible results now demonstrated in adult and core-blood stem cell research.

Moreover, a great falsehood been spread that President Bush and fellow Republicans opposed to embryonic stem cell research have attempted to ban it outright, when the truth is that all they have done is to seek to deny it government funding. Those who want to pursue it are free to find other sources of revenue, which — if the promises made on its behalf were credible — would be readily available from sources such as drug companies.

Such funding is not forthcoming, and for very good reasons.

Think about it this way: there are about 70 to 80 million baby boomers right now on the cusp of reaching the age where they will be susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease.

With that many people just in the U.S. facing the threat of falling prey to Alzheimer’s disease, wouldn’t you think that if there were an answer to the problem — as the use of embryonic stem cells has been widely touted to be by its proponents — that the drug companies would be falling all over themselves to throw money at those wanting to do ESC research and come up with cures that would make them hundreds of billions in profits?

The fact that the drug companies have turned their back on ESC research should tell you something. One reason is that there is absolutely no basis for the claims that ESC holds a promise to cure all sorts of ailments from Alzheimer’s to Parkinson’s, or even spinal cord injuries. It’s all smoke and mirrors and most of it is based on a single source — the thoroughly discredited claims of South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk, who has been convicted of falsifying his research data.

One damning result of the ESC research that has been done is the fact that when the cells are injected into lab animals many grow brain tumors – some malignant and fatal. Thus far, that is the sole fruit of ESC research – fatal brain tumors. Drug companies aren’t interested in funding that kind of outcome. There’s no money in producing brain tumors.

In contrast to the dismal results of ESC, research on adult and cord-blood stem cells has produced real results, helping to cure such maladies as sickle cell anemia, lymphoma and juvenile leukemia. As a result funding is no problem here.

Claims that the president and his party are opposed to stem cell research fall flat on their back when you recall that last year Congress overwhelmingly passed — and the president signed — a bill funding the saving and storage of therapeutic core-blood stem cells and providing $150 million to fund storage of the cells.

That’s the truth of the matter.

©2006 Mike Reagan. If you’re not a paying subscriber to our service, you must contact us to print or web post this column. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by: Cagle Cartoons, Inc. Cari Dawson Bartley email Cari@cagle.com, (800) 696-7561.