EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Morning Briefing for October 7, 2009
The White House made a big deal of the support it has garnered from physicians around the country. Yesterday they even held a doctors’ rally – complete with white smocks – to show support. Yet the physicians in attendance weren’t the disinterested crowd President Obama suggested – many were longtime Democrat donors.
Based on the list of attendees provided to Time, it seems that the crowd was full of ringers. Here is a look at the history of political donations by some in attendance. It is not complete, but this is what I was able to find by searching the database at Congressional Quarterly . . .
In the constellation of op-ed writers it is hard to find a fainter star, or dimmer bulb for that matter, than Eugene Robinson. Today, however, he out does himself. In his effort to defend The One from all criticism, he not only criticizes General Stan McChrystal for something he didn’t do, he trashes some 250 years of the American tradition of civil-military relations and reveals himself to be a rather shameless liar in the process.
At issue, of course, is Barack Obama’s rather obvious intention to abandon any pretense at winning the war in Afghanistan. As I’ve noted before, Obama comes from a political tradition that is in equal parts deeply suspicious of American power and hostile to American strategic interests. He has stated that his is uncomfortable with the idea of victory in Afghanistan (though not as uncomfortable as I am with him thinking Emperor Hirohito signed the surrender document on the USS Missouri) and already his minions have started to walk back from the Afghan strategy he inarticulately articulated (in all seriousness, this speech would have passed as a computer generated hoax had he not been seen reading it) on March 27.
The administration has begun a whispering campaign, a campaign that will inevitably result in the ousting of General McChrystal, to lay the ground work for a withdrawal of US combat forces from Afghanistan for no other reason than Afghanistan is a distraction from what Obama really wishes to do to us.
This brings me to Eugene Robinson and his pair of working synapses.
Note the plural: while this Boston Globe article primarily references one organization (Iran Human Rights Documentation Center)…
For the past five years, researchers in a modest office overlooking the New Haven green have carefully documented cases of assassination and torture of democracy activists in Iran. With more than $3 million in grants from the US State Department, they have pored over thousands of documents and Persian-language press reports and interviewed scores of witnesses and survivors to build dossiers on those they say are Iran’s most infamous human-rights abusers.
But just as the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center was ramping up to investigate abuses of protesters after this summer’s disputed presidential election, the group received word that – for the first time since it was formed – its federal funding request had been denied.
…it goes on to note that there are reports that more Iranian human rights groups have been defunded by an administration looking for a less… confrontational… relationship with the current Iranian regime.
I have my disagreements with Steven F. Hayward’s column in this past weekend’s Washington Post entitled “Brain Dead Conservatism”, but I do think we, as activists, need to get beyond our gut to the point of being able to articulate why we know what we know and think what we think. In the spirit of Ecclesiastes that “there is nothing new under the sun,” I think we ought to explore the ideas together in a Great Books program of sorts. As I wrote in my rebuttal to Hayward’s column, “[W]e should be excited by the opportunity to begin again with old ideas made new for a new generation of citizen showing itself to be instinctually conservative.”
Here is my proposal:
Below is a list of books in no particular order. Some are easy. Some are hard. Some are meaty. Some are light. But they are all thought provoking. They all serve as bedrock for our believes and knowledge.
I am going to read each book and want you to join me. We will read one chapter a week. On Mondays we will all write posts with our thoughts on the chapter. It will not be a “book review”, but rather our candid thoughts on the chapter, up to and including “the baby was sick all week and I didn’t get a chance to read it.”
We will pace this out over a good long time so that those of you with jobs, families, and other activities can still participate.
You have three commitments:
- Get the book.
- Read the assigned chapter or chapters (usually 1, but more if the book is short).
- Write a post over the following weekend with your thoughts on the chapter.
You can use the tag “Book Notes” in your post and we’ll track them and engage each other in the comments sections.
Here is the list (again in no particular order):
A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard
Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg
Economics in One Lesson by Hazlitt
Liberty & Tyranny by Mark Levin
The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek
The Conservative Mind by Russell Kirk
Free to Choose by Milton Friedman
Conscience of a Conservative by Barry Goldwater
Democracy in America by Tocqueville
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
God and Man at Yale by W.F. Buckley
Witness by Whittaker Chambers
The Political Writings of St. Augustine (a compilation available here)
Read A Message to Garcia. It is extremely short. And you do not need to buy it. As conservative activists, we should set this book to heart. In fact, I keep a copy of it on my desk at all times and re-read it frequently.
You can download it here as a PDF. It is an extremely quick read.
We’ll all post our thoughts on October 12th.
This gives us time to get ready for the next book. Aaron and I decided, though we’re going in no particular order, we’d really kick things off with Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism.
We hope you will join us in this endeavor.