Friday, December 26, 2008
By Yomin Postelnik
Sunday, December 21, 2008
If one side is playing only (or primarily) defense and the other side has their offensive strategy down pat, the offensive team will almost always win spectacularly. That’s true in just about any field; business, national defense, exercise, politics, chess, you name it.
The inefficiency of the GOP to communicate its ideas to the public is now as legendary as it is shameful. In previous articles I’ve painstakingly pointed out how GOP policies have largely been correct, very often essentially so. As such, they are also quite easy to defend. Yet for some reason, sanity seems to have lost its voice with regard to the public perception of all major issues. For prime examples of how needed GOP policies are left to ridicule when the reasons for them should be comprehensible to a five year old, feel free to go over “What Republicans Must Do in 2008,” “Truth in Reporting – If Only We’d Insist On It” and “An Effective Conservative Response: Bush Haters Are Fools, Don’t Emulate Them .”
Enter a candidate who has yet to hold back a punch, a candidate who has routinely gone toe to toe with liberals on policy issues and has won the debate every time, winning the admiration of many of the most liberal residents of Broward County, Fla in the process. Conservatives and libertarian-minded people who attended his rallies or speeches saw in him the makings of the next Ronald Reagan. And, of course, what was the NRCC’s response to such a candidate? They ignored him. Now that he won 45% of the vote without one penny of their support or one minute of their help, past history dictates that the NRCC will finally give its attention to his 2010 race. If they don’t, then we as a party will have institutionalized idiocy, inefficiency and callousness from almost the top down.
Thankfully, Lt. Col. Allen West doesn’t care what these people do on a national level (though we who care about electing him and other like minded conservatives should). And because he doesn’t define his strategy by their support, he was able to mount a serious challenge to a Democratic incumbent in what was otherwise a Democrat blowout year. So watch out Congressman Ron Klein, 2010 is not your year and Allen West, a man who has rightly earned the title of General of Conservatism, is honing in on the conquest.
I’ve written a number of articles on Allen West since he first announced his long shot candidacy for Congress in 2007. He was unique among candidates in his ability to communicate conservative values and philosophy to mass groups. I attributed this ability to his sincerity and truthful dedication that is backed up by his record as a military hero with 20 years of service. Some of his ability to communicate also stems from his decision to dedicate his first year out of the military to teaching high school, foregoing far more lucrative lines of work to make a difference in his community. In 2007 he was a long shot. But what a long shot worth covering.
Well, now the rest is history. Allen West is a long shot no more. On election night, the only surprise on the Republican side (and the local media actually used the word “surprise” to describe the Klein-West results) was that a first time GOP candidate who had been in the race for less than a year had earned 45% of the vote. This was in spite of receiving no help from the national party and not regarding the fact that so many other Democratic incumbents had just received far more votes than they’d ever received before (in the district neighboring West’s, the Democratic incumbent actually received between four and five times his average number of votes) due to huge turnouts for Obamania (a phenomenon that West appropriately terms “the election of a prom king”). And now, after his spectacular performance, West is clearly the odds on favorite to win in 2010.
Our party needs national spokespeople who can defend the simple and rational truths of conservatism. It is far too long that 90% of those who are given the task of representing our side in media interviews are unable to articulate even the most basic reasons for our viewpoints. This should never have been the case and for whatever reason it is, our monumental PR calamity needs to stop now.
We can turn things around. Michael Steele’s convention speech this summer ended in a rallying cry. Hopefully he will be the next RNC Chair. Mike Huckabee is reaching out to voters every week, in an effective way that will enlarge our base and further our goals and Carly Fiorina is fast becoming a national voice of reason on economic concerns.
But what this party needs more than anything are people who the public can relate to, candidates who provide common sense and a clear message at a time that many of the leading voices in our nation seem to have lost all reason. For this, the Republican Party has no better voice than a military hero, a consistent voice on national security and a high school teacher who inspired students to national service and toward their own self betterment. In short, what this party, indeed what this nation needs is Allen West.
I would urge fellow conservatives to get involved in this most crucial campaign by going to www.allenwestforcongress.com or his Facebook page here.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
President-elect Obama can and must take a harsh stand against the terrorists who are behind the bombings in Mumbai. Words alone will not stop them. Swift and steady action will. For the President-elect to advocate bold reprisal would be immensely beneficial to the nation as well as to his own stature and reputation. Doing so would rightly earn him much bipartisan praise. More importantly, it would deter terrorists from any plans they may have of exploiting the weaknesses of a new administration.
It is far more crucial, however, for President Bush to immediately announce a cooperative military effort with India to attack the terrorist groups responsible for the massacre. Assistance may come in the form of military equipment, personnel or financing. Any such proposal would almost definitely be welcomed by the Indian government. What is imperative, not just for India, but for the safety of the entire Western world, is that such a plan be announced publicly and acted upon immediately.
Let there be no doubt. The attacks in Mumbai were an attack on America. American, British and Israeli citizens were targeted for kidnapping. Moreover, the attack, launched in India’s financial capital, was an attack on the entire Western world. If the West goes into recession, India will be a rare light on a bleak financial horizon. The terrorists would much rather see China or Russia take a dominant role on the world economic stage, not India, a nation that has fought the battle against radical Jihad for decades.
Russia’s only battle with Islamic extremism is one that it itself provoked (with the Afghan invasion). China’s problems with jihadists exist, but they are minimal. Both are amenable to working with extreme Islamic governments, be they Shiite or be they headed by radical Sunni factions. India, which has been in a struggle with radical Islam since the 1946 Muslim League resolution to separate from British India and that has battled would be Islamic conquerors since medieval times, has no interest in working with radical jihadist regimes.
Let there also be no doubt that if we fail to respond, the bombings in Mumbai can act as a prelude to similarly styled horrific strikes here on our shores. As this column is being written, the FBI has already picked up on a plan to bomb New York City subways. And while that plot may have been foiled, we cannot expect to foil each and every plot all the time. Only swift reprisal abroad can ensure our survival at home.
One important fact must be made clear to every American. It is one that President Bush has been mindful of (and we can only hope that so has President-elect Obama – and now is the time for him to show it). The single most effective move that this administration has undertaken to ensure America’s safety was the overthrow of two sympathetic regimes in the aftermath of 9/11. The message was clear: “If you attack us, we’ll take out your supporters and allies.” And so the Taliban, which harbored al-Qaeda; and Saddam, who sent money to families of suicide bombers, were removed from power. Islamic extremists a world over decided that they’d prefer not to have a repeat.
If President-elect Obama reacts, it will send a clear signal that even the left understands what needs to be done to defend the homeland. But if President Bush doesn’t react, publicly and demonstrably, if he does not publicly announce a cooperative plan with India to physically strike the terrorist groups responsible for the Mumbai massacres, it will send a far worse message; that even the right has abandoned the struggle.
Why are the actions of an outgoing President more crucial than the policy course being pursued by an incoming administration; policies that are designed to affect the next four years? The answer is simple:
If an Obama administration pursues a naïve and dangerous policy of appeasement, it will be opposed at every turn by what will inevitably be a strong and growing Republican right. The American people will not put up with repeated attacks and every time a western country has tried to negotiate or seek compromise with terrorists, the result has been a steep increase in attacks in order to secure even further concessions. This concept is considered as fact by federal negotiators, which is why their protocol forbids them to acquiesce to the demands of terrorists during an attack. The same holds true on the national level.
Just take Israel as an example. According to figures obtained from Peace Watch, a non-partisan watchdog group charged with monitoring compliance with Mideast peace agreements, in 1992, the year before the Oslo Accords, 39 Israelis were killed in terror attacks (an increase from 26 the year before, when a center right government was in place). That number increased to 73 in the year following the Accords and only receded upon the election of a tougher government under Benjamin Netanyahu (dropping to 31 in 1997). Attacks increased again in 2000, when then Prime Minister Ehud Barak agreed to negotiate further land for peace deals. If the history of the radical Islamic conquests of Africa and Europe are to teach us nothing (other than the fact that no country is immune), let us at least take those recent figures as an example of the pitfalls of appeasement.
So if President-elect Obama shows weakness in the face of terror, the opposition will quickly grow to a level that cannot be ignored. But if President Bush, a man who is viewed as “the” leader of the war on terror fails to act now, it will send a signal that even the right has lost its way and that no side is willing to take up the fight. We as a nation cannot allow for that to happen.
President-elect Obama can confound the critics, present company included. He can urge the Bush administration to react swiftly and decisively. In so doing, he will be considered to have taken part in the mission. In so doing, he can prove us at least partially wrong, and earn our thanks and goodwill. But if President Bush does not react, we are in far more serious peril than we could ever imagine.
And so, I will end off with an appeal to President Bush: Mr. President, no leader has shown a greater determination to fight America’s enemies or to protect this nation from terror than have you. For almost eight years you have resisted the voices of those who favored political expediency over national survival. While I know that you require no encouragement to do what is needed in defense of our homeland, I also recognize that any parting administration is loath to engage in new projects of any magnitude. Still, I and many supporters have full confidence that you will do what is needed to protect America, a mission that will, in retrospect, go hand in hand with any historical depiction of your administration. Indeed, it is within your grasp to ensure that the term “Bush administration” is one day viewed as being synonymous with the words “American safety.”
Mr. President, while you have stood up and faced the task of keeping this nation safe time and time again, the events of the last few days may well be the greatest and most formative challenge of your administration. These latest events may well be your defining moment and if history is to provide any indication, you are more than up to the task.
As a parting note, I would ask readers to contact the White House (firstname.lastname@example.org) and encourage the President to once again do what is needed to safeguard the nation. It pains me to pressure a leader who has shown tremendous dedication to our national security, to the point of putting his entire political career on the line for our safety. But the pressures against him are strong and he needs to hear our voices. When all things are considered, there are only three words that terrorists understand: Swift American Reprisal.