In the past ten days, we have been assaulted and/or inundated with a pro-Barack Obama campaign unlike any seen since 1995, when a similar book-related, inside-the-beltway-driven campaign urged us to ‘draft’ Colin Powell to run for president.

The Obama Campaign tells us much - about the Left, from whence it comes - and about the wrenching internal morale problem of the Democratic Party.

Let us explore:

Time’s Joe Klein and the New York Times’ Bob Herbert and other proud-to-be-liberal writers are leading the Obama effort. Why? Why are they doing this - especially for a young man with just 18 months in the Senate who has previously said he would not run for president in 2008?

The answer is simple: the Left does not want Hillary in 2008.

There is great trepidation over the Clintons, their endless ‘spins’ and ‘triangulations,’ and over whether she can actually win a national election. Long wary of the GOP attack machine, these Democrats fear what can be done to Hillary in a general election. They fear she will become chopped hamburger - just as John Kerry was ‘Swift Boated.’

Plus, the Left has never been happy about Hillary’s pro-war vote on Iraq or her fudging on gay marriages and ‘choice’ issues.

So, unhappy over her seeming inevitability, they have fixated on someone brand new, scandal-free, and apparently acceptable on liberal issues: Barack Obama. In other words, to the Left he is the mirror opposite of Hillary.

Thus, they have used the occasion of the publication of his new book to ‘launch’ another campaign: to convince this seemingly nice young fellow to run for president. And so far this ‘seduction’ seems to be working; he now admits he may change his mind and run.

OK. Fine. So far, it is all logical. But then comes one other factor: Obama can not win a general election. Period.

In 2008, an African-American liberal democrat is not going to win a general election for President of the United States. And that is not a commentary on Senator Obama, who seems like a straight-shooter and an honest man; this is strictly political analysis and a reality check.

Why do the Democrats lurch from one un-electable candidate to another? Hillary - the first woman - and then they want to switch to Obama, the first African-American?

Why not look at recent history: in an increasingly Red-State country, the only two Democrats to win were Carter and Clinton, both white, southern, somewhat ‘moderate’-sounding Democratic governors.

All their other candidates - Mondale, Dukakis, Gore and Kerry - were seen as ‘out of the mainstream’ on political philosophy, geography or values. They were easy targets for the Republicans.

Hillary and Obama fit right into this target list; they are too Left and too ‘different’ from Red State voters.

So, while the Left is correct to shy away from Hillary, they are jumping to the wrong alternative. Instead of Obama, they should be searching for a new candidate who is just bland enough so as not to offend Red State voters.

After eight years of Bush and Iraq, even these pro-GOP voters are disconsolate and ‘down,’ but they will be re-energized if the Democrats nominate someone so totally far-out in left field.

For the past forty years - with just two exceptions, the Democrats have had a Death Wish when it comes to the White House. They can’t win it - and the harder they try, the worse they do.

Barack Obama isn’t their ticket back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - at least not yet and not for a while.

And neither is Hillary Clinton. Ever.


Only 25% of the American people - according to the latest Newsweek poll - are now “optimistic” about the direction of the war in Iraq; 65% are “pessimistic.”

Why have so many Americans come - only now - to realize that this war has gone bad?

Here are some of the reasons:

1) The original rationale for a post-9/11, pre-emptive invasion - that Saddam had nukes and other WMDs aimed at us and we had to get them before he used them - has proven to be knowingly false; this has devastated President’s Bush’s credibility abroad and here at home;

2) The oft-stated notion that the Iraqi people would throw flower petals at our troops and welcome us as liberators has proven to be yet another mis-reading of Muslim people;

3) The Bush Administration has purposely confused the American people over the conflict in Iraq: Bush, Cheney and Rummy start off talking about 9/11 to get their audience’s dander up and then allow this anger to morph over to Iraq. Let us be clear about two things: A) Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 - period; B) Osama Bin Laden and his Al Qaeda organization despised Saddam Hussen and always viewed him as a Muslim heretic. They were not allies and did not work together. Yes, Saddam was a mean, cruel and awful man but he was from the other spectrum of Muslim thinking;

4) So - before we even get to the war on the ground - we, as Americans, cannot even agree on who the enemy is and where he is! As an example, two women were on HARDBALL Friday evening debating the war - and they yelled at each other over Al Qaeda in Iraq. One claimed that the main enemy in Iraq is Al Qaeda; the other correctly claimed that Al Qaeda is a sideshow in Iraq - that the real fight there is an internal Iraqi/Muslim civil war.

5) Iraq indeed is in an escalating a civil war - among three Muslim strains that have hated each other for centuries: the Shi’a, the Sunni and the Kurds. Saddam - a monster himself - knew that there were hundreds and even thousands of other ‘monsters’ in his country and the only way to keep things under control was to apply brutal force. Then we removed Saddam - and unleashed these other monsters to go on killing, maiming, torturing and kid-napping sprees all over Iraq. A good example is the odds-on-favorite to ultimately run a ‘coup’ and take over Iraq: Muqtadr Al Sadr - a vicious, wicked Shi’a who had a death warrant on his head and was allowed by the American military forces to avoid arrest and ultimately join the government! And now we have learned that Sadr - as part of this coalition government - has control of the Health Ministry. What does he do with this? He has his Shi’a forces in the hospitals murder Sunni patients at night and dump their bodies in mass graves.

5) So - we Americans - including an inexperienced and lazy GW Bush - are woefully ignorant of the history of Iraq - the forced-into-one-country-by-the-British nature of these three peoples who do not want to live together. Furthermore, we do not even agree on who we are fighting - or why;

6) Now we get to our military and our nation: it is nutty to have a small - tiny even - percentage of the American people shouldering the burden in this war. The all volunteer military is fine in peacetime; but in a war, we all should share the burden and sacrifice for the common good. As soon as the Congress votes to put us in a war, the draft should be instituted. And no more college exemptions; everyone is drafted or joins. Men and women of draft age. Rich and poor, black and white. Period.

7) That may make the Congress and the President think twice before they cheerily launch a war;

8) The President has repeatedly called the Iraq campaign an “integral part of the War on Terror.” If so, then why aren’t all of the American people a part of a national effort to win this war? What have most of us sacrificed? A family member gone off to war? A ‘war tax’? No. Nothing...nada...not a thing...we live just as we did before the 9/11 attacks and the March ‘03 invasion of Iraq;

9) The Bush Administration has handled foreign policy with the same level of competence they handled the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The incompetence from the top down has been shocking. And it is our soldiers and their families who are paying a steep price for this;

10) The President says we are staying until “we achieve victory.” OK...that sounds great. What exactly is this ‘victory’? Who do we want to win? The Sunnis of Saddam? Or the Shi’a of Iran?

11) All of this is why only a quarter of our fellow Americans remain steadfast that things will go well in Iraq. And make no mistake about it: the crumbling of the GOP lately is not due to Mark Foley’s perversions; it is due to Iraq and the realization that this war is a disaster for our country.

12) The Democrats were willing partners with GW Bush and the GOP in getting us into a war we need not have started. Containment would have worked; after 9/11, all the world was with us. We could have done to Saddam what we did to the Soviets for 40 years: starved him out until his rotten regime crumbled from within. We could then have spent our resources in getting Osama and wiping out the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

13) All of this will be a key factor in who our next president is; he or she should not have been a willing accomplice in this self-created national embarrassment.


Well, I sat down at 6 PM Sunday evening to begin my column when the phone rang. My sister was driving east from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to New York when her little teacup Maltese dog got quite sick in the car.

From my lifetime as a dog and cat owner, I quickly deduced from the symptoms that the dog probably had a urinary tract infection and a raging fever. But my sister needed a vet - and fast - on a Sunday night!

What to do?

Well, here is where the good of our modern-day existence comes into play: within minutes, I found our own vet on a cell phone, explained the situation and he recommended a 24-hour animal hospital in New Jersey - close to her route.

Quickly, onto the Internet and - Bam! - I find the place, call them to make certain a vet will indeed be there later that night and also get the driving directions from their excellent website.

Then, I call my sister back on her cell in her car - do you see how modern technology can make life so much easier? - explain the whole thing to her and then ‘vector’ her into this hospital.

By 11 PM that night, she had seen a vet on a Sunday night, had the first of several antibiotic pills in her little dog, and was back on the road to a hotel for the night.

All of this - thanks to cell phones and Internet. Plus, the test results were to be faxed to our vet the next day.

Twenty years ago how would this have transpired? No faxes (or they were just beginning), no cell phones and no Internet (not even in Al Gore’s mind).

Indeed, modern technology makes our lives so much easier, quicker and more efficient. That’s the good side to it.

The bad side is seen every day lately with the sordid revelations about former Congressman Mark Foley and his IMs and text messages. This easy - and impersonal - technology allows sickos and social losers to communicate with strangers without the same fear of rejection.

Internet dating is huge in this country. That’s OK. But internet ‘stalking’ and lying are prevalent, too. NBC does an excellent job of exposing pedophiles and other criminals with hidden cameras to show these perverts as they come into the house looking for an underage victim.

That’s the point: even as the technology advances, basic human behavior never changes. Ever.

And that brings us to the mess in Washington, DC. Never - ever - have we seen things deteriorate so badly on moral, legal and ethical planes.

Almost every day another Congressman has his house or office raided by the FBI; or another page comes forward to tell of a camping trip with a Congressman. Or a Senator has to - ahem - ‘ammend’ his financial disclosure forms. It never ends!

Going into this year’s elections, a sense of national revulsion is sweeping the country: the Democrats have tons of ammunition to motivate themselves to vote; and the GOP is downcast and divided over many issues including illegal immigration and Iraq. There will likely be a disproportionate turnout on November 7th. More Democrats and fewer Republicans than turned out in the 2002 mid-term elections.

That is the trend with three weeks ago. Yes, other events could intervene but time is running short and there is much anger out there.

As a conservative Republican, I want what I’ve always wanted: a strong America - strong militarily and economically and, most importantly, morally.

Sadly, we are much less strong today than we were six years ago: our military is depleted, we are in debt to foreigners, especially the communist Chinese, and morally we have not a leg to stand on any more around the world. The most loved and respected nation - ever - has become hated all over the world.

We need a new approach in Washington. We need a new voice. We need a new attitude. We need a new leader - one who can use all the ‘good new’ things we have and yet understands and opposes the inherent ‘bad’ behavior so prevalent today.

And he or she is not yet on the political scene.


Let’s face it: things in Iraq are not going well. Period. And when war-supporter Senator John Warner comes back from Baghdad and says, “Things are going sideways...”, you know that it is much worse than we are being told.

There is much buzz about a ‘new approach,’ to be announced after our November mid-term elections.

Former Secretary of State Jim Baker has been brought in by the Congress to ‘advise’ - which means he may try to come up with some type of new plan to change the dynamic.

Here is my new plan - one which takes into account all concerns we Americans have about our present Iraqi strategy:


1) Rising casualty totals for American troops;

2) No appreciable ‘progress’ on the ground;

3) Rising Iraqi sectarian civil strife - or a civil war;

4) Fear that an American pull-out will be viewed as a retreat by the Islamicists;

We need a plan that takes all of these concerns into account.

So, here we go:

The New Iraq Plan is based on the precedent of our occupation of Western Europe after World War II. For several years at the end of the war, American and Allied troops kept the peace and allowed the Marshall Plan rebuilding effort to get underway. But after the consolidation of the Soviet Empire by 1948, American troops in Europe had a new purpose: to deter a Soviet invasion of Western Europe.

By placing our troops in Europe, the message to Moscow was clear: if you send your tanks and troops into Western Europe, you will encounter American forces - and thus you will be initiating war with the United States. Out troops were a ‘tripwire.’

That threat worked for almost fifty years - until the Soviet Empire crumbled from within.

The analogy to Iraq is not perfect: Iraq’s internal situation has deteriorated in the three and one half years since our invasion. The Shiite-Sunni civil war has intensified, the central government can’t stop it - and the Iraqi Army and National Police Forces are riddled with turncoats and hidden militia members who play both sides.

Baghdad has descended into near-anarchy; the curfew and draconian travel restrictions have been extended. Power outages are more frequent and of longer duration now than they were after our invasion.

Last week when Secretary of State Condi Rice tried to land in Baghdad, her plane was forced to circle for an hour because of mortar fire at the airport. And during her meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Noori Al-Maliki, the power went out and plunged the room into total darkness.

If after three years of occupation we cannot secure the airport or the road to Baghdad from the airport and cannot keep the lights on around the clock, you can see why many now realize we are “going sideways.” Others would say we are going backwards.

The Plan:

1) No American troop pull-outs; we are not going to give our Islamist enemies the satisfaction of saying they “drove America out of the Middle East.”

2) Instead, we station out troops along the Western European model: on American bases;

3) We leave the policing of Iraq to the Iraqis. They have had three years - and three national elections thanks to us - to get their act together. Now it is up to them to either sink or swim;

4) Our forces serve as a warning and a deterrent and a ‘tripwire’ to Iraq’s neighbors - Iran, Turkey and Syria - do not invade into sovereign Iraqi territory because if you do you will be engaging the United States in a ‘hot’ war.

4a) As part of a deal with the United Nations, we should ask for a UN Force to come and help control the eastern and western Iraqi borders to stem the constant invasion of subversive outsiders from Iran and Syria; it is time other nations helped maintain the sovereignty of the newly free nation of Iraq. The burden should not fall all onto the US and Britain.

5) America will not be driven out of the Middle East. We will stay until things settle down. We will serve as a buffer between the radical regimes in Syria and Iran and the new democracy in Iraq. And our putative ally, Turkey, needs to be told that we will not tolerate their threats to come into Iraq and suppress the Kurds.

Will this plan work? Well, it would be better than the drifting, aimless strategy we continue to pursue today. Our casualties will cease as our troops will no longer be doing street clearing - and IED-clearing - police work. They will be safe and secure on our bases - there for the more important task of preventing an invasion.

Only time will tell if the Bush Administration will indeed change paths - before even more American soldiers die and American prestige is shredded before our eyes.


The ongoing revelations that Florida Congressman Mark Foley - a member of the House GOP leadership and co-chairman of the House Task Force on Missing and Abused Children - engaged in an email campaign to seduce underage boy pages is one of the most disgusting and disgraceful episodes in the history of our Congress.

But even worse is the unfolding news over the weekend that more than a year ago the Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert, and the incoming Majority Leader, John Boehner and the Chairman of the GOP Congressional Campaign Committee, Tom Reynolds, all knew of Foley’s emails and pedophilia.

If we ever wondered how low our government had gone, wonder no more. The Republicans have sunk lower that I ever thought possible.

Sure, one sick and demented Member of the House does not and should not implicate the entire membership; but when the top leaders of the party knew it and did nothing about it it shows how pathetic and disgusting they have become.

Clearly Hastert, Boehner, Reynolds and others cared more about keeping their majority than they did about the shocking and demented criminality they protected.

Just think of the damage to the boy or boys who were preyed upon by Foley: the pain, the suffering and the permanent lifetime damage such a thing is certain to cause.

All you have to do is read these emails and you want to throw up.

What a disgrace this burgeoning scandal is. It is - in a way - much worse than the check bouncing scandal of the early 1990's. We Republicans are supposed to stand for a higher moral standard than the more libertine democrats and their tolerance of adultery, cheating and ‘anything goes.’

But Hastert and company were clearly so afraid of losing a supposedly ‘safe’ seat that they tolerated Foley’s behavior.

What hypocrisy! The party that is against gay marriage tolerates a gay member of Congress who chases underage boys.

Now this scandal is only just beginning. Sure to come soon are: more victims will come forward and the media will show them to us; more revelations about “how much the GOP leadership knew - and when they knew it”; calls by Democrats for a full-out, independent investigation - not the ‘sham’ that the House Ethics Committee has become.

Make no mistake about this: this pedophilia scandal has the potential to be a huge issue in this November’s elections. How? By going right to the heart of the Republican Party base: Christians and those who worry that our nation is deteriorating morally. How can these ‘values’ voters possibly support the GOP when such a cover-up has been exposed?

Coupled with the mess in Iraq and daily revelations of a ‘cover-up’ of the truth about Iraq by the Bush White House, the mood in November could again be cynical and sour for Republicans.

Lately things had been going the Republicans’ way: gas prices have come down, the stock market has soared and the War on Terror had replaced the carnage in Iraq as the main TV story.

But the pendulum is again swinging back in an anti-Republican direction. The question is - with five weeks remaining before these crucial mid-term elections - will it yet again reverse direction and favor the GOP?

Whatever happens, this scandal is disgusting and disgraceful.

It makes me ashamed to be a Republican.