Caerdroia's Jeff Medcalf explains his own thoughts on equal protection, which is never equally protected by either party. Then there is this blog, Shining Full Plate and a Good Broadsword, which explains its author's thoughts on the proper position for either Republican or Democrat, though it sounds more Democratic to me:
Let me be clear: I'm for gay marriage, welfare, national health care, and protecting endangered species.
And I am proud when we pump bullets in another terrorist on a daily basis.
In fact, I am so proud that I would readily join a secret force to ritualistically kill terrorists on a daily and nightly basis for the sheer enjoyment of it.
Today's Washington Post has the first potentially convincing argument I've heard for US intervention in Liberia:
washingtonpost.com: Douglas, thank you for joining us this morning. Can you talk a bit about the circumstances under which you left Africa?Mr. Farah is writing on terrorist ties in West Africa. Bringing freedom and democracy to troubled areas is part of the solution to terrorism, and if it can in fact be demonstrated that al Qaeda is running free in Liberia, there may be a real reason to send in the Marines.
Douglas Farah: I left after writing the original story about Taylor's ties to al Qaeda. Both U.S. and European intel picked up Taylor directly threatening to kill me. The Post ordered me and my family to leave as soon as possible. We got out by having U.S. Embassy security escort us through the airport, onto the flight, to make sure nothing went amiss.
Long term readers know that I am, by political affiliation, a Southern Democrat. This is one of the least comfortable positions in modern American politics, as you really do not have a home in either major party. There are tremendous difficulties in cooperating with either the national Democratic party or the Republican party, both of which stand firmly for things to which we are firmly opposed.
Nevertheless, hope springs eternal. I carry on believing that sooner or later the DNC's total lack of substance on foreign policy, combined with its latent anti-Americanism, will cause it to implode and be relegated to the fringes. The Southern Democrats are the only Democrats who can actually hope to defeat President Bush in 2004, both because we are the only Democrats who are stronger on foreign policy than he is, and because stripping Southern states away from Republican support is the surest strategy to Democratic victory. Without the support of the "solid South," Bush can't win.
That won't happen, though, as long as the national Democratic party continues to view 2004 as a revel deserving nothing but frivolity. Consider, for example, the DNC Party Platform, entitled "Prosperity, Progress, and Peace":
Today, America finds itself in the midst of prosperity, progress, and peace. We have arrived at this moment because of the hard work of the American people. This election will be about the big choices we have to make to secure prosperity that is broadly shared and progress that reaches all families in this new American century. In the year 2000, the Democratic Party stands ready to meet that challenge and to build on our achievements.Now I realize that this is the 2000 platform. I also realize that a new platform isn't traditionally due until the next Presidential election year. May I humbly suggest, however, that is a major reason for the debacle in the last elections?
When Thomas Jefferson was elected as our Party's first president in 1800, America was a young country trying to find its place in the world. Two hundred years later, Democrats gather at a moment of vast possibility to nominate Al Gore as America's next president. A new economy founded on the force of new technologies and traditional values of work is giving rise to new industries and transforming old ones. Biological breakthroughs give us the chance to unlock the mysteries of humanity's deadliest plagues. While the globe is still beset with tragedies and difficulties, more people live under governments of freedom, liberty, and democracy than ever before in history. America enjoys unparalleled affluence at home and influence abroad.
An emergency session of the DNC should have been called sometime between 2001 and now to assemble a platform of suggested action in response to the end of prosperity, the threat to progress, and the destruction of peace. In 2002, the lack of such a platform meant that the party had nothing to offer in a time of war but, "We think Bush is rushing to war. Although we're still going to vote for his Iraq War Resolution. But he's wrong. Except we know war is popular, so he's not wrong. Maybe a little wrong. Vote Democrat!" Horseshit.
This year we still have no platform. The nine presidential candidates--none of whom is presidential--are each fumbling around trying to figure out what they want to say. So far they seem to be finding unity around a message of: "Bush is a liar. Taxes aren't high enough. Iraq is a mess, though we don't have any actual solutions, just complaints. Maybe we should apologize to the French."
That is a disaster waiting to happen in 2004. The solid South will vote for no candidate whose campaign is established around those principles. The wild-eyed radical base may be fired up, but they can't win the election by themselves--and, furthermore, they are a bunch of nutcases with whom we should be ashamed to be making common cause. (It is the role of the Southern Democrat to point that out now and again, and be ignored.) Mainstream Democrats will not be energized to vote for a candidate on those grounds, and swing voters--of whom there are more in this election than ever in recent politics--will trend to Bush. This is true even if Iraq is still a mess in a year, which is frankly not all that likely: our successes there have been underreported, and there is no reason to believe that a year from now we won't see a relatively stable Iraq, a dead Saddam, firm documentary evidence of WMD programs that will quell all but the aforementioned wild-eyed radicals, an Iraqi government enjoying wide legitimacy, and oil revenues already beginning to obviate the need for foreign investment. Meanwhile, the US government has decided to triple aid to Afghanistan, making progress there likely as well.
The Democratic Party should be happy about that! By Thunder, if the national party organizes itself so that any of the above is bad news for it, it deserves to be razed by the electorate and scattered by the wind. The Democratic Party should be the party of the people, and the people love America and take pride and pleasure in her success. Well they should! She is the hope of the world.
An emergency session to plan a 2004 platform should be called immediately. The platform, if victory in 2004 is to be achieved, needs to include these items:
1) A strong statement on Democratic goals for the present war. This needs to include not the usual diplomatic vaugery, but specific statements on how to deal with each of: Eradicating Terrorist Networks, Hunting and Killing existing Terrorists, Preventing Terrorism In the United States and Europe, the Problem of North Korea, Preventing or Restraining Nuclear Proliferation, Destroying (through War or Other Means) State Sponsors of Terrorism, and Establishing Flourshing Democracy in Troubled Parts of the World.
2) One of the most important issues for the forseeable future is the overstretched US military. The strains felt by them have brought a number of military voters--conservative by nature, but dissatisfied by the current administration--into the swing voter camp. They need to know that the Democratic Party will defend their interests, which are: Expanding the Military, Constricting Deployments to areas where there is a Clear National Interest, Increasing Pay Rates, Ensuring Continued Technological Superiority, and Bettering Intelligence Sharing between the CIA and the Military.
3) The wild-eyed base needs to be quelled. The Democratic Party, if it is to be taken seriously as a national party, needs to make certain it is not associated with anti-Americanism in any form. Victory requires that we lose every Communist, Anarchist, Socialist, and any voter who would self-identify their political leanings with the preface of "radical." They are welcome to vote for us or against us, but our party platform should contain nothing for them. The Party of the American People ought to love America with all depth and purity of emotion--the American People do.
A continued failure to address these issues is running the DNC onto the rocks in 2004. If the DNC decides to stop running against Bush, and to start running on their actual merits, the Southern Democrats include several persons who could be of service in drafting a platform that could carry the party to victory. It wouldn't hurt, for the serious candidate, to try to draft Zell Miller as your Vice President.
It's not often that one beats InstaPundit, Sage of Knoxville, to the punch. I thought based on yesterday's firestorm against the DARPA idea that I was out on a limb alone in supporting them, but this morning that turns out not to be true. Good to know that those who understand the business feel as I do. I thought I'd been a little rash, letting my temper get the better of me, when I called certain Senators "bloviating idiots," but I see that at least the "idiots" part has some support as well.
It appears that DARPA's plan to create a futures market for speculation on terrorism has died an undeserved death. This is due to a total lack of comprehension on the part of the US Senate, which simply isn't smart enough to understand why this was a remarkable and brilliant idea.
The business of predicting terror attacks is very much like the futures business, as it is like the actuarial business (the people who determine the rates for insurance companies are called Actuaries). A question the government has been considering for some time is this: given that the US has the finest actuaries and futures speculators in the world, how can we tap that knowledge for use in the terror war? The central problem is that the knowledge is out there, but that the government can't really compete with the market for the services of the very best of these guys. The top speculators make millions a year.
DARPA thought of a way to tap them: make a new market, one that rewards them in much the same way as the existing market. The potential value to the terror war was immeasurable. For example, when a terror threat comes in that is against NYC, the country really has no mechanism except to raise the terror alert for the entire country. That means that Cumming, Georgia goes on High (Orange) alert just like Los Angeles and NYC. The US government's resources are likewise spread across many threat-areas. Top actuaries would be able to predict much more accurately what areas are really threatened, allowing a better distribution of resources and a more accurate prediction of terror acts. Futures speculators would likewise bring a new perspective to predictive analysis, and would be better than military men at seeing nontraditional targets that terrorists could hit.
All that for a projected cost to DARPA of five million dollars. For five million bucks, you couldn't hire a handful of the top actuaries and speculators, but DARPA would have tapped potentially all of them. Gentlemen, I salute you--just because the Senate is full of bloviating idiots does not mean that your work is totally unappreciated. Better luck next time.