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The Future of Freedom: Illiberal Democracy at Home and Abroad by Fareed Zakaria
Polyarchy by Robert Dahl
The Nazi Seizure of Power by William Sheridan Allen
Terror and Liberalism by Paul Berman
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
Latest Ohio Presidential Poll
Things are looking good for John Kerry in Ohio. The latest poll for the state shows Kerry with a notable lead. The results:
(MoE = 4%)
Kerry - 49% Bush - 43%
Nader - 2%
Those numbers are positive for Kerry, but another part of the polling research might be more important: Bush's favorability rating. 43% of respondants have a favorable view of Bush while 52% have an unfavorable view. That does not bode well for the White House. Kerry's positives stand at 44%, while his unfavorable rating is lower, at 36%.
Good thing the Bush campaign has spent its cash advantage so well. It's clearly showing up in the numbers. Ha!
"I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq — from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence — because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history. That is why, I'll bet, Karl Rove has had more sway over this war than Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Bill Burns. Mr. Burns knew only what would play in the Middle East. Mr. Rove knew what would play in the Middle West."
This is exactly it. The Bush administration's first priority is winning at home. No matter what the costs in the rest of the world, liberals must be silenced on the domestic front. What has this produced? Allies that hate us, an undermanned force in Iraq, and no plan for winning in the end.
On the same editorial page in the New York Times was Dowd's column. It's usually pithy and full of hyperbole, but it is sometimes entertaining. But today I was struck by one quote in particular from her column. She quoted General Richard Myers, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
"There is no way to militarily lose in Iraq," he said, describing the generals' consensus. "There is also no way to militarily win in Iraq."
I shuttered when I read that. I just took my final in a public policy class yesterday in which we had read about the decision-making concerning Vietnam policy in the 1960's. It was that exact same sentiment that bogged policymakers down then too. American power would prevent an outright loss, but elected officials were not willing to make the tough choices in order to actually win the war.
The Bush administration should see that the job is not finished. Iraq will not be a victory until it is back on its feet. The Bush ideologues need to see that a win at home will only happen once they win abroad. Victory is difficult and broad, but it must happen.
As expected, Barack Obama is in fine shape to mop the floor with Jack Ryan this November. The latest poll between the two contenders for the vacant Illinois U.S. Senate seat shows Obama with a commanding lead (via Political Wire):
Obama - 44% Ryan - 28%
Granted the margin of error is a ridiculous 4.9%, but nevertheless it is still quite clear that Obama will be Illinois' next U.S. Senator. Excellent.