And the ranks start breaking…
Three Republican congressmen have defied their party’s decision to ban all earmarks for one year, a move that could cost them their committee posts.
According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Reps. Anh “Joseph” Cao of Louisiana and Ron Paul of Texas have joined Rep. Don Young (AK) in requesting earmarks for the 2011 fiscal year, despite a House Republican caucus vote this month to institute a moratorium on earmarks for one year.
It has been noted that this is a pattern of Paul’s. He inserts earmarks, then votes against the appropriation bill allowing him to be able to claim to be extremely fiscally conservative while at the same time keeping pork flowing to his district. He defends the practice by saying congress should earmark all money, but that’s misleading because earmarks are items that go outside the normal budgeting process to reflect a particular congressmans priorities.
Vanity Fair profiles GEN Petraeus. It contains some stark reminders that should be kept in mind when things in Afghanistan start to get tough –
But no matter how well prepared he might be, there was little chance of dazzling this crowd. Before he had even opened his mouth he was under attack. Democrats had won a majority in Congress and were gearing up to ride anger and frustration over the Iraq war to the White House. The last thing they wanted to hear was that things were looking up—that President George W. Bush’s so-called surge was working. The advocacy group MoveOn.org, anticipating that Petraeus would fail to signal retreat, had attacked him with a full-page ad in that day’s New York Times, labeling him “General Betray Us.” Before the first word of his presentation, Armed Services chairman Ike Skelton described the general’s efforts in Iraq as a failure. Foreign Affairs Committee chair Tom Lantos, a pink-faced Democrat from California with a perfectly coiffed white halo, squinted down at the general—again before seeing or hearing a word from him—and pronounced, “With all due respect to you, I must say, I don’t buy it.”
That was just the start. Petraeus would sit through two long days of hearings, first in the House, and the next day before the Senate heavyweights, including three Democratic presidential hopefuls vying with one another to appear the most fervently anti-war. He had flown through eight time zones to answer questions, only to face interrogators more keen on listening to themselves. He was lectured by Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden, who questioned the validity of the general’s figures about the sharply reduced violence. (Biden was in fact wrong.) Senator Hillary Clinton, then the front-runner, in so many words called Petraeus a liar. To be fair, she put it politely, and might even have meant it as a compliment, one professional prevaricator to another, calling his testimony an “extraordinary effort” but one that requires a “willing suspension of disbelief.”
Senator Barack Obama was equally dismissive. He had staked his campaign in part on the purity of his opposition to the war. When his turn came, Obama lectured Petraeus on the futility of his mission, using up the full seven minutes allocated to him and giving the general no chance to respond. “We have now set the bar so low,” said Obama, “that modest improvement in what was a completely chaotic situation …is considered success. And it’s not. This continues to be a disastrous foreign-policy mistake.”
It also contains a veiled warning –
Congress underestimated David Petraeus. He is a man of such distinction that in the army legends have formed about his rise. Beyond his four-star rank, he possesses a stature so matchless it deserves its own adjective—call it “Petraean,” perhaps. It is an adjective that would be mostly complimentary, but not entirely so—there can be a hard edge to the man, a certain lack of empathy, and there is something vaguely unseemly in his obvious ambition. But when Petraeus tests himself, he usually wins.
He enjoys an almost cultish following in some parts of the army. There’s even a miracle tale, all the better for being true. The story, widely disseminated on the Internet by admirers, tells how Petraeus, visiting a badly wounded lieutenant from the 101st Airborne named Brian Brennan, roused him from a three-week coma doctors had felt was hopeless by shouting from his bedside the unit’s Cherokee slogan, “Currahee!” Brennan stirred and sat up. The lieutenant had lost both of his legs to a bomb blast but recently went running with the general on prosthetic limbs.
Petraeus seemed not to fully understand his newfound stature when he discussed with Keane, late in 2007, what military assignment might come for him after his Iraq command. He told Keane that, among other jobs, he thought he might take over tradoc, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and continue the work he had begun at Fort Leavenworth. Keane was taken aback. According to Bob Woodward in The War Within, he told Petraeus, “You have to understand who you are now and what’s happened to you. We haven’t had a general like you in a long time. You may not realize it, but you have more influence than any other military leader in this country right now.”
So far, Petraeus has used this heightened stature only to re-insert himself into the chain of command.
All in all a pretty fair article, but one I think should be read carefully. The veiled warning Bowden gives are important. Not because I think Petraeus is going to lead a coup or set himself up as a Caesar, but because at some point there will be a policy difference and as an officer in the Army a following from a personality cult should not be what drives the decisions. Look at MacArthur and Truman for a parallel.
(h/t Bring the Heat Bring the Stupid)
If the past is any indication this won’t stay peaceful. Anarchists love to break things. Tea Partiers make sure that you have a way of recording what is going on and don’t get in physical confrontations. I would say if the anarchists start to get physical everyone should link arms sit down and start singing we shall overcome.
I loved this from the comments –
Modern anarchism is basically the bastion of idiot college students. How else do you reconcile a philosophy that calls for no government whatsoever with this laundry list of entitlement freebies:
“food stamps, unemployment benefits, disability benefits, student aid, free health care, etc.”
And people wonder why I consider the post-WW2 generations, on the whole, to be the most worthless in human history.
Perhaps my dictionary is broken, but I can’t help but join in wondering why anarchists–whose entire political theory is based on the absence of government–would favor vast, costly social programs. Shouldn’t they, instead of shilling for food stamps, welfare and “free” healthcare, tell the poor to build a yurt and raise goats?
Again, my defective dictionary also seems to have a definition of “irony” that is not found in the anarchists’ edition.
The Other McCain continues to endorse JD Hayworth which I find baffling. Not only is the man a birther, I have heard him endorse the notion myself on the radio, but he is corrupt, he is stupid (again listen to him on the radio) and he is a proven loser having been unable to maintain his seat in congress. If it is really anyone but McCain just vote for the liberal don’t reward Hayworth.
Esquire profiles Marc Morano and Climategate. It’s not very flattering.