The Death of Terror Mouse

The AP reports:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children’s television program was beaten to death in the show’s final episode Friday.

In the final skit, “Farfour” was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour’s land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a “terrorist.”

“Farfour was martyred while defending his land,” said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed “by the killers of children,” she added.

It’s funny–until you realize that it’s actually training Palestinian children to believe that the best contribution they can make to society is to die in the process of killing Israelis.

Re: McCain Survival Watch

Sen. Tom Coburn, who opposed the immigration bill, praises McCain for his courageous stand:

Most politicians possess, in abundance, the skill of making promises that will appeal to a majority of voters. Very few politicians, however, ever demonstrate the kind of political courage Senator McCain demonstrated in this debate. Many qualities, of course, matter when selecting our elected leaders – political philosophy, judgment, specific plans, etc. – but the most important quality upon which all others depend is courage. On that count, Senator McCain has given all of us in the Senate an example to be followed.

Romney Responds To Dog-Gate

As most everybody knows by now, during a 1983 family roadtrip, Mitt Romney put his dog in a cage and strapped it to the roof of his station wagon for a 12-hour car ride from Boston to Ontario. This caused somewhat of a stir, especially among animal rights activists. Today, he responded to the controversy:

“PETA is not happy that my dog likes fresh air.”

Terrorism as a Mere Nuisance

Matthew Yglesias writes:

It's easy and, indeed, appropriate to mock Bush for the public diplomacy fiasco involved in saying that his plan is to make Iraq more like Israel but this shouldn't completely obscure the fact that Bush is making a sound analytic point. What he's saying about Iraq is, in essence, what John Kerry was saying about the US when he said he thought we should aim to reduce terrorism to a kind of nuisance. Naturally, Kerry got savagely attacked for saying this, but at some point somebody's going to need to have the courage to make the argument that setting ourselves maximalist goals vis-a-vis terrorism doesn't make sense.

Plenty of countries have long suffered some degree of terrorism — Spain, Britain, Israel — while being more-or-less pleasant, economically successful democracies whose citizens enjoy a high standard of living. These countries would, of course, like to completely eliminate their terrorism problems and rightly do make efforts in these regards. But during their better moments, at least, all of these countries recognize that the goal is to reduce the harm caused by terrorism to manageable levels, not to turn everything upside down in pursuit of a possibly chimerical "victory." What we really, really, really need to focus on is making sure no terrorists get nuclear bombs while, beyond that, we keep the risks involved in conventional terrorism (even in Israel you're more likely to die in a car wreck than a suicide bombing) in perspective.

Yglesias is dismissing an important distinction. Bush is saying that a realistic goal would be to make Iraq (a country currently consumed by violence and terrorism) more like Israel (a democracy that functions even though the threat of terrorism remains a part of daily life). Kerry, by contrast, was suggesting that America become more like Israel. Now, I love Israel with all my heart, and have the utmost admiration for the resilience of the Israeli people. But under no circumstances would I want America to become like Israel–nor should any other American be satisfied with living in a country in which terrorism is accepted as a part of daily life. Furthermore, the type of security measures that Israel takes just to limit terrorism to a mere “nuisance” would have progressives such as Yglesias up in arms.

Yglesias is right to a certain extent that we can never expect to eliminate the threat of terrorism entirely. Something like the Oklahoma City bombing, in which domestic terrorists acted alone, is very difficult, if not impossible, to prevent. However, I do believe that with a combination prudent domestic security, financial pressure, sustained military offensive, and stricter enforcement of our immigration laws, we can reach the point in which we eliminate the possibility of state sponsored terrorism and large-scale attacks such as 9/11 that are planned and executed by global terrorist networks. Anything less, in my view, is unacceptable.

r r

McCain Survival Watch

As I wrote yesterday, I think that the defeat of the Senate immigration bill will buy McCain some more time in the presidential race. But clearly, it isn’t good news for him that he has to answer questions about whether he intends to drop out. A good indicator of whether those questions will persist is what his second quarter fundraising numbers look like (Q2 ends tomorrow). If his numbers are in the single digits, as some reports have suggested, the “McCain Death Watch” talk will gain steam. However, if in spite of the immigration fiasco, he exceeds the $12.5 million raised last quarter as his chief strategist John Weaver has vowed, I think the narrative will become, despite a horrendous news cycle, McCain remains in the mix. Again, this doesn’t change the fact that in the long run, he’s almost certainly doomed. Or, to put it another way, as a political writer I should say “never” because a lot of crazy things can happen in politics, but at this point I cannot conceive of a set of circumstances under which he gets the nomination.

The $27 Million Woman

From a Clinton campaign memo sent out by Howard Wolfson:

We expect to bring in about what we did in the First Quarter, or slightly more, which should put us in the range of $27 million. To put that figure in some perspective, it is more than any Democrat has ever raised in the second quarter of the “off” year. While that figure is record setting, we do expect Senator Obama to significantly outraise us this quarter.

Will Obama really take the fundraising prize? Or is this just careful spin by Team Hillary. We can only wait and see.

A Victory For McCain

Finally, the McCain campaign gets some good news, with the immigration bill going down in defeat. Over the next few months, the level of anger people have toward this immigration legislation will lose intensity as long as it remains dead. By the fall most of the attention will be focused on Iraq, an issue on which McCain will again take a courageous stand–only this time he’ll be on the same side as the conservative base. While I still think that McCain has alienated too many conservatives since 1999 to capture the nomination, now that the immigration bill was defeated, I think his longevity has increased dramatically.

Is Divided Government Working?

The interesting thing to note about Barnes’s piece that Jim pointed to below is that it seems to confirm the arguments made by those who argued that if Republicans lost Congress, it would do more to restrain spending than if they remained in power. When Republicans controlled both branches of government, Republicans wouldn’t fight budget bills and President Bush wouldn’t veto them, because the spending was being done by Republicans. The Democrats, who are always the party of big government, were perfectly happy to oblige. Now that Democrats are in control, Republicans are much more fiesty about fighting excessive spending, and President Bush is ready and willing to actually use his veto pen. Ironically, if spending grows at a slower rate during this Congressional term, Democrats will argue in 2008 that they helped restore fiscal discipline to Washington. Another reason why Republicans should have gotten things right when they had the chance.