Friday, December 21, 2007

Huckabee reverses course with Bush criticism

Condi Rice fired back at GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's recent jabs against Bush's foreign policy. Last weekend Huckabee made headlines with his characterization of the "Bush administration’s arrogant bunker mentality." In addition to criticizing tactical mistakes in Iraq (which Bush has begun to correct with the surge), the candidate asserted: "American foreign policy needs to change its tone and attitude, open up, and reach out."

I was surprised by Huckabee's comments primarily because the former governor contributed a chapter to an anthology that World Ahead published in 2004 titled Thank You, President Bush. His chapter was called "The Character of the President," and he seemed to endorse Bush's approach. He wrote that it was framed around "American Exceptionalism" and a "God-centered worldview" that "doesn't see everything in shades of gray." For example:

President Bush came into office in January 2001 as a firm believer in the words of British writer G.K. Chesteron, who said, "America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed." Other nations find their identity in ethnicity, geography, cultural traditions or partisan ideology. The United States is an exception. It was and is the product of ideas--ideas about social responsibility, human dignity, and freedom. The French politician and historian Alexis de Tocqueville called this "American Exceptionalism." (p. 10)

President Bush also has a God-centered worldview that led him into public service late in life after a highly successful career in the private sector. He also recognizes God's ultimate authority. Since the day he took office, his critics have tried to use that against him. They claim he is a man who sees the world in black and white rather than shades of gray... I'm thankful to have a President who doesn't see everything in shades of gray. (p. 12)

Huckabee also went so far as to compare Bush favorably with Reagan:

But I believe that his adherence to a God-centered worldview is why George W. Bush will go down with Ronald Reagan as one of the most important Presidents of the past 100 years. (pp. 13-14)

Obviously public officials are allowed to change their minds, and they should when new evidence or changing circumstances demand it. A lot has happened in the world over the past 3 years, so perhaps Huckabee's recent criticisms indicate that he no longer believes that Bush's approach is the right one. But I don't perceive the Bush Administration's foreign policy as having gone more towards a bunker mentality during that time. If anything, my sense with Iran (allowing the Europeans to take the lead), North Korea (insisting on six party talks), and the Middle East (encouraging multi-party talks) is that Bush's team has become more multilateral in its approach since 2004. So it is hard to understand why Huckabee's position has changed as it has.

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Hollywood recycles old myth in "Charlie Wilson"

Former Reagan Administration officials are expressing disdain that the movie "Charlie Wilson's War" recycles the old anti-American myth that the CIA helped create and fund Osama Bin Laden by promoting the Afghan insurgency against the Soviets back in the '80s. The flick's screenwriter is Aaron Sorkin, the liberal creator of "The West Wing."

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Snuff out Hanukkah candles for global warming?

A group of Israeli environmentalists is calling on Jews worldwide to leave one candle unlit on menorahs this Hanukkah in order to fight global warming.

The campaign's cofounder explained their rationale thus: "Global warming is a milestone in human evolution that requires us to rethink how we live our lives, and one of the main paradigms of that is religion and how it fits into the current situation."

Or, to cut to the chase, global warming is a more important religion than Judaism. (So much for the First Commandment.)