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Conservatives Beware

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

By E.J. Dionne

WASHINGTON—What’s the matter with conservatism?

Its problems start with the failure of George W. Bush’s presidency but they don’t end there. Inequality is rising and working-class voters are being hammered. The cost and availability of health coverage are a big problem, and some Republicans don’t want to talk about that simply because they see it as a “Democratic issue.”

Don’t take my word on this. The themes I just outlined come from two important new books written by conservatives. The authors are worried about their movement’s future, and accept—to use the language directed once upon a time against liberals—that the right is tired, short of ideas and mired in the past.

The appearance of these books is a sign of something deeper: Much as liberals and Democrats realized in the 1980s that their side needed to rethink old assumptions, the shrewdest conservatives understand that the old faith, if it goes unreformed, is in danger of dying out.

David Frum, a one-time speech writer for President Bush and the author of “Comeback: Conservatism That Can Win Again,” says nice things about the president but concedes he has “led his party to the brink of disaster.”

Frum is not one of those conservatives who think that running against government is always the right thing. “There are things only government can do,” he writes, “and if we conservatives wish to be entrusted with the management of the government, we must prove that we care enough about government to manage it well.”

Many on the right think there is no problem with conservatism today that doing a better job of imitating Ronald Reagan wouldn’t solve. But the 1980s were a long time ago. What made Reagan great, Frum argues, “was his ability to respond to the demands of his times. We must respond to the demands of ours.”...(Click here for remainder of article.)

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Bush honours US troop 'sacrifice'

George Bush has paid tribute to what he said was the "sacrifice" of US troops killed in Iraq, as the US death toll in the five-year conflict reached 4,000.

The US president said on Monday he would "make sure that those lives were not lost in vain," on what he called a "day of reflection" honouring US war dead.

Bush pledged to ensure "an outcome that will merit the sacrifice" of US troops.

"People will look back at this moment in history and say: thank God there were courageous people willing to serve, because they laid the foundations for peace for generations to come," he said.

US Democratic politicians also condemned the rising death toll in Iraq, with presidential hopeful Barack Obama saying it was "time to end this war".

The White House said earlier on Monday that Bush is likely to adopt an expected recommendation from General David Petraeus, the top US commander in Iraq, that significant troop withdrawals from Iraq are put on hold....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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We Don't Know This Sen. Joe

Sen. Lieberman has been too busy burning bridges to build any.

Published on 3/23/2008

When The Day endorsed Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman for re-election in November 2006 it was supporting a candidate who demonstrated a history of pragmatic leadership and a willingness to seek bipartisan solutions.

We wonder what happened to that senator.

Sen. Lieberman's open-ended commitment to military involvement in Iraq comes as no surprise. The senator made it clear when running for re-election that was his position. Sen. Lieberman wants the United States military to remain in Iraq until the war is won, whatever that means. It conflicts with this newspaper's position that the time has come for a gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces.

Despite that difference of opinion, The Day editorially backed the senator because of his experience, his willingness to put principle above politics, as demonstrated by his condemnation of former President Clinton following the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and his even-handed political approach.

But while Sen. Lieberman remains experienced, he is no longer even-handedly principled.

He seems to be taking delight in poking the leadership of the Democratic Party in the eye. After losing the Democratic primary for Senate in 2006, he had every right to petition his way on the ballot for an independent run. And his decision, after being re-elected, to continue breaking bread with the Democratic Party was a politically expedient decision for both the senator and the party....(Click here for remainder of Op-Ed.)

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Four killed as fierce fighting erupts in Iraq's Basra

BASRA (AFP) - Iraqi security forces fought raging battles with gunmen from radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's Shiite militia in Basra on Tuesday amid a crackdown on armed groups in the southern oil city.

At least four people were killed and 18 wounded in the clashes, said police Major Abbas Youssef, as ambulances raced through the streets ferrying the wounded.

British military officials said Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Basra to personally oversee the major security force sweep in Iraq's second largest city, but that British troops were not taking part.

An AFP correspondent said fighting involving mortars, machine guns and assault weapons erupted soon after the security forces entered the Al-Tamiyah neighbourhood, a bastion of Sadr's Mahdi Army militia, at around 5:00 am (0200 GMT). The fighting quickly spread to five other Mahdi Army neighbourhoods.

Television pictures showed Iraqi troops running through the streets firing weapons and taking cover as ambulances raced past. Thick palls of smoke were seen rising above the city's skyline.

Witnesses said the streets were empty aside from the security forces, emergency vehicles and people in cars fleeing the fighting. Shops and markets were closed....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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The Long Defeat

By DAVID BROOKS
Published: March 25, 2008


Hillary Clinton may not realize it yet, but she’s just endured one of the worst weeks of her campaign.

First, Barack Obama weathered the Rev. Jeremiah Wright affair without serious damage to his nomination prospects. Obama still holds a tiny lead among Democrats nationally in the Gallup tracking poll, just as he did before this whole affair blew up.

Second, Obama’s lawyers successfully prevented re-votes in Florida and Michigan. That means it would be virtually impossible for Clinton to take a lead in either elected delegates or total primary votes.

Third, as Noam Scheiber of The New Republic has reported, most superdelegates have accepted Nancy Pelosi’s judgment that the winner of the elected delegates should get the nomination. Instead of lining up behind Clinton, they’re drifting away. Her lead among them has shrunk by about 60 in the past month, according to Avi Zenilman of Politico.com....(Click here for remainder of Op-Ed.)

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Clinton Takes Heat For Comments Made Last Week

March 25, 2008

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is in Pennsylvania again today, as she tries to build momentum for next month's primary there, while also taking heat from her rival over comments made last week.

Clinton was also in the City of Brotherly Love yesterday where she proposed greater protections for lenders in an effort to offset the nation's mortgage crisis.

New York’s junior senator is taking heat over comments she made about a trip to Bosnia as First Lady. During a campaign stop last week, Clinton said she came under sniper fire while she was in the country in 1996. A spokesman now says she "misspoke."

Rival Barack Obama's campaign called it another in a growing list of instances where Clinton exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policymaking.

Obama has no scheduled events until tomorrow.

The latest nationwide Gallup poll shows him leading Clinton by three percentage points, although that is within the survey's margin of error....(Click here for remainder of article.)

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4,000 US casualties in Iraq

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China's Brutal Olympic Echo

By David Zirin

China’s brutal crackdown against Tibetan protesters ahead of the Summer Olympics in Beijing carries with it a terrible echo from the past. Scores of people, including school children are reported dead and more repression has been promised. The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), said “[We must] resolutely crush the ‘Tibet independence’ forces’ conspiracy and sabotaging activities.”

Even after decades of occupation, the ruthlessness of the crackdown has shocked much of the world. It happens the week after the US State Department removed China from its list of the world's worst human rights offenders.

Yet the concern expressed by world leaders has seemed less for the people of Tibet than the fate of the Summer Games, with Olympic cash deemed more precious than Tibetan blood. The Olympics were supposed to be China's multibillion-dollar, super sweet sixteen. Britain's Minister for Africa, Asia and the United Nations, Mark Malloch-Brown told the BBC, "This is China's coming-out party, and they should take great care to do nothing that will wreck that."

Other countries hankering after a piece of China's thriving economy have rushed to put daylight between the crackdown in Tibet and the Olympics. No surprise, the Bush’s White House, underwriting their war in Iraq on loans from Beijing, headed off any talk that President Bush would cancel his appearance at the Olympic Games when spokeswoman Dana Perino said Bush believed that the Olympics "should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics." Earlier, the European Union said a "boycott would not be the appropriate way to address the work for respect of human rights, which means the ethnic and religious rights of the Tibetans."...(Click here for remainder of post.)

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