Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Return Of The Boneless Wonders

"I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as 'The Boneless Wonder.' My parents judged that the spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eye, and I have waited 50 years to see The Boneless Wonder--sitting on the Treasury Bench."

--Winston Churchill, January 28, 1931, in the House of Commons, referring to Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald

Victor Davis Hanson at NRO’s The Corner:

"After listening tonight to Wesley Clark, Dick Durbin, Tom Vilsack, Nancy Pelosi, etc. I still can't for the life of me learn what they want to do. Not one will support Ted Kennedy's cut-off of funds. Apparently the party line is that we can't win, but we're afraid to pull out in case we do, and so we will equivocate as we watch the battlefield and make the necessary rhetorical adjustments just in time. Just what we saw in the past Reid/Biden/etc. call for the surge, then huff/puff when they got their wish. Apparently the shame of 1974-5 cut-offs apparently still haunt the entire party."

From the office of Congressman Joe Wilson (R, SC):

"In December, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes stated,

"We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq ... I would say 20,000 to 30,000-for the specific purpose of making sure those militias are dismantled, working in concert with the Iraqi military."
— Newsweek, December 5, 2006

President Bush's path forward in Iraq, unveiled Wednesday evening, largely matches Chairman Reyes' recommendation. "I've committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq...These troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations," Bush stated.
— The White House, January 10, 2007

Chairman Reyes, however, has changed his tune. "We don't have the capability to escalate even to this minimal level."...Reyes, who met with Bush on Tuesday to review the plan, said sending more troops removes any incentive the Iraqi government had to take responsibility for the safety of its own citizens.
— El Paso Times, January 11, 2007"

Robert A. George writes in "Snatching Defeat From Victory":

"I'm not going to pay a personal price," she said. "My kids are too old and my grandchild is too young. You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."
Boxer talked about families losing loved ones and soldiers in hospital burn units. "These are the people who pay the price."

Rice said evenly that she understands the sacrifice of service members and families.
"I visit them. I know what they're going through. I talk to their families. I see it. I could never and I can never do anything to replace any of those lost men and women in uniform, or the diplomats, some of whom. ..."

Boxer cut her off.

"Madam Secretary, please," she said. "I know you feel terrible about it. That's not the point. I was making the case as to who pays the price for your decisions."

"You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family"? (emphasis added).


Consider the uproar if a Republican senator said something similar to, say, Janet Reno in the Clinton administration? But Boxer should get a free pass because she happens to be the same gender as Rice? No way.

Going after the bollixed-up Iraq policy was fair game -- from senators of both parties, no question. Ripping the whole "surge" plan is also fine. But suggesting the secretary of state doesn't care about the human costs because she's childless?

And the Democrats wonder why the public is wary about their ability to govern with any sense of fairness or decency. It's this kind of haughty, condescending behavior that turned Americans against Democrats in the first place."

And finally, William Kristol in The Weekly Standard:

"So the Boneless Wonders will push a nonbinding resolution to, as Joe Biden put it, "demonstrate to the president he's on his own." Sure, the resolution will weaken the president's hand abroad--but that's not their problem. It will lessen the chances of success in Iraq--but that's above their pay grade. It will dispirit friends and embolden enemies--but maybe there won't be much attention paid overseas to some non-binding congressional resolution. It will send the message to the soldiers fighting in Iraq that help is not on the way--that there are no reinforcements. That's unfortunate. But, hey--they volunteered.

And how about Sen. Obama on the Today show? "We're not going to babysit a civil war." To serious people that sounds juvenile. To most of his colleagues, it's a good soundbite.

It's a demoralizing and revolting spectacle."

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