What Would the Founding Fathers Do? and Other Matters

April 19, 2007 at 7:58 pm | Posted in America, American politics, Bush Administration, Cho Seung-Hui, Congress, Democrats, George W Bush, Iran, Iraq, liberals, McCain, Middle East, Military, nationalism, Republicans, secret combinations, violence, Virginia Tech, War, War on Terror, World Events | 9 Comments

( Updated )

Many things in the news today that are noteworthy. The first is the foolish childish John McCain joking about bombing Iran.

In response to an audience question about military action against Iran, the Arizona senator briefly sang the chorus of the surf-rocker classic “Barbara Ann.”

“That old, eh, that old Beach Boys song, Bomb Iran,” he said in jest Wednesday, chuckling with the crowd. Then, he softly sang to the melody: “Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, anyway, ah …” The audience responded with more laughter.

Huh, what would the Founding Fathers do? Would they joke about something so serious? I don’t know which is worse, that McCain would joke in such a fashion, or that his crowd loved it. I don’t know which speaks worse about those Americans in South Carolina (though we shouldn’t be surprised, seeing South Carolina’s history for violence that they would love a joke about such things).

( Updated)
Moveon.org has created a TV ad featuring Mr. McCain’s “joke.” It will air in Iowa and New Hampshire starting next week:

( Updated )
Matthew Yglesias writes:

Brian Beutler: “It occurs to em that if an Iranian leader with great visibility–say, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad–had been videotaped singing ‘Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb bomb America,’ (which, yes, sounds foolish but you get the idea) it wouldn’t be taken lightly here. Fox News would treat it as a sign that the regime was unstable and dangerous and, voila, we’d allow it to bring us a step closer to war.” This is probably the single largest foreign policy-related failing among American politicians and members of the policy and media elites: A failure to make a serious effort to ask how things look from the perspective of other countries.

Gates to Iraqis: “I’m using the Democrats’ real threat to hold your feet to the fire”

Defense Secretary Robert Gates once again uses the Democrats’ real threat of withdrawal to press Iraqis to move. Imagine that, real threats work, and just talk doesn’t. Huh…

The defense secretary stressed again, however, that the debate has been helpful in letting the Iraqis know that American patience with the war is ebbing. Democrats have seized on those remarks to bolster their arguments that there must be a deadline for the Pentagon to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq.

huh, no kidding.

on Gonzales’ poor testimony this morning to Congress

As Andrew Cohen writes:

If there was one single moment in this morning’s testimony by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales before the Senate Judiciary Committee that encapsulates the sheer gall and shamelessness of the man in the hot seat, it occurred at about 10:52 when he said that questions about “partisan politics” within the Justice Department actually are an insult to (and criticism of) the career attorneys who bring controversial cases. For that cruelly cynical statement alone– pretending that legitimate criticism of his own failed leadership as Attorney General actually is instead unfair criticism of some of the victims within the Justice Department– Gonzales deserves to be fired. Not in a month. Not in a week. Today.

Gonzales said precisely this: “Because, when you attack the department for being partisan, you’re really attacking the career professionals. They’re the ones, the investigators, the prosecutors, the assistant U.S. attorneys, they’re the ones doing the work.” And, just in case you might be inclined to give him credit for making a slip of the tongue, he went down this rocky road again, at approximately 12:36 p.m., in an exchange with Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.). What utter nonsense offered by our nation’s top law enforcement official! Career professionals within the Justice Department are the ones who have traditionally not been political– and who have thus brought the Department its greatest measure of respect and success and admiration. They are the ones who have suffered most from the current purge. They are the ones who have been aced out recently, over and over again and in systematic fashion, by relentlessly political operatives like 1) Kyle Sampson, the now discredited former chief of staff; 2) Monica Goodling, the zealously unqualified former top lieutenant, and 3) the Attorney General himself, the long-time grandaddy of cronies in Washington.

So for Gonzales to try to defend himself and his lackeys from attack before the Committee by playing the “career professionals” card is not only disingenuous it is downright appalling. It demonstrates once and for all that Gonzales isn’t merely a hapless hack in over his head and a lethargic lapdog for the White House. It demonstrates that he is willing to say or do anything to protect himself and his allies at the expense of the people he purports to lead. It demonstrates that he is still unable or unwilling to accept responsibility for his own lack of leadership that has led directly to this controversy. And it proves conclusively that he is a big part of the problem and certainly not the solution at the Department.

Over and over again this morning, Gonzales was asked why he wouldn’t simply resign for the good of the Department and the country. Over and over again he told Committee members that he still believes that he can do a good job over at Justice. It is precisely this sort of flawed judgment that has made him the object of scorn and ridicule within the world of the law; precisely this sort of faulty rationale and muddled sense of responsibility that has brought shame upon an institution that has for a century held a special place in the life of the nation. Even if you ignore all the parts of his testimony that made no sense this morning or that otherwise contradict the formal record in this investigation, and even if you believe the Justice Department has been well-run during his tenure, surely you have to concede that the good, earnest, honest, unbiased people who toil at the Department deserve better than what they are getting (and hearing from their boss. And we all deserve better, too. Much much better.

Boy, Americans when looking back at this moment in time, under this Administration surely will be highly embarrassed by just everything about this administration.

Finally, Joel Achenbach writes about the media giving Cho his last laugh:

We’re seeing some very strong opinions this morning, mostly negative, about the decision by NBC to air excerpts of the Cho video and to publish Cho’s photos. The rest of the mainstream media are taking a hit, too, for alleged sensationalism.

And rightly so. Do the innocent people he murdered get a chance to have their final word on worldwide television? The media, in their quest for more viewers, and therefore a higher value to their advertisers are utterly corrupt, highly selfish and they now do actually have blood on their hands. They all ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Indeed, what would the Founding Fathers do?

(Updated)

One more item. Recently a very troubling incident occurred in Illinois.

On Friday March 30, 2007 at around 3:00pm, Mr. Kuldip Singh Nag, a Sikh American who was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Navy during the first Gulf War, was at his home in Joliet, IL when a local police officer noticed that a van parked on Mr. Nag’s private property had expired registration tags. Upon being confronted with this, Mr. Nag’s wife, Vera Kaur Nag, informed the officer that the van is parked on their driveway and was inoperable.

Mr. Nag then came outside to answer the officer’s questions regarding the van. The Joliet police officer then demanded that Mr. Nag park the van inside his garage and not on the driveway, to which Mr. Nag responded to the officer that it was not possible and that regardless, the van is parked on his private property and he has a right to park it on his driveway.

At this moment, the officer pulled out his pepper spray and attacked Mr. Nag. As Mr. Nag screamed in agony, the officer removed his baton and violently struck Mr. Nag numerous times until he fell to the ground. While the assault ensued, the officer was reported by both Mr. and Mrs. Nag as saying, “You f****** Arab! You f***** immigrant, go back to you f****** country before I kill you!”

Sikhs have been mistaken before for Arabs. Police precincts across the nation ought to look carefully at the culture that pervades their officers. This kind of action is completely unacceptable and intolerable.

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  1. NBC created this monster and they are trying to create another one by playing his propaganda video over and over. All the victims’ families should join together in a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against NBC for wrongful death. You don’t believe it? Well, why did he sent his garbage to NBC? He knew that his propaganda would be shown by them because all he was really doing was mimicking their propaganda anyway. The Left says all us crackers deserve to die for what some moronic morons who lived 200 years ago did, and this guy just took that stupidity to it’s illogical conclusion. NBC is Cho’s father and ABC is his mother, and they are proud of their bastard child. Just turn on the TV and you can see their pride and joy.

  2. Concerning your title to this post:

    The archives are full of such lightheartedness. If you get a chance, you ought to read Madison’s notes from the Constitutional Convention. While most of it is somewhat serious, there is plenty of rhetoric, pompitousness, aristocratic behavior, and lightheartedness about serious issues, both domestic and foreign.

    You might also peruse a few accounts of both Jefferson and Adams, and especially Franklin. It was not uncommon for political leaders to advocate kicking some redcoat butt while raising glasses in the local pub.

  3. Or French butt, for that matter. Yeah, they didn’t much like them either, even back then. At least not Adams.

  4. jk,

    Thank you for your comment. I really do believe that was a terrible decision by NBC to air the footage and the tape. Mr. Cho was not created by NBC or ABC, nor are they liable for his actions. They are liable, however, for giving him international airtime. They really ought to be ashamed of themselves. They don’t care though, because their advertisers will continue paying them well.

  5. Practicalist,

    Can you share some examples from Madison’s notes? I’m curious to see just what lighthearted comments he had to make about nations with whom his own country was close to war with…

  6. Hate to nitpick on the Kuldip Nag story, but the local law in many jurisdictions (including where I live) says that an unregistered vehicle can not be parked in public view, even if it is on private property. In my county, for instance, it has to be in a garage or shed.

    I don’t know what the law is in Joliet, but the police officer may have had a legitimate reason to get close to the van – before Mr. Nag tried to push him away. (That of course doesn’t justify the officer’s choice of words.)

  7. John,

    I’m rereading the story and I can’t see where Mr. Nag “tried to push him away.” It seems that Mr. Nag said that because the vehicle was on his private property he could have it wherever he wants it. Now, Mr. Nag probably wasn’t quite clear on the laws of his county, but his words were certainly no justification for the police officer’s next moves.

    Secondly, it’s not just the police officer’s choice of words. What exactly prompted the police officer to need to use pepper spray and a baton on Mr. Nag?

  8. I saw that in other sources – let me find a link . . .

    http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=local&id=5204526

    “‘The officer was explaining to him that he wanted to put this sticker on the vehicle, explained to him the process involved in getting the vehicle removed so it wouldn’t be towed. Mr. Nag became upset and pushed the officer. At that time the officer went to arrest him and a struggle ensued,’ said Cmdr. Keith Turney, Joliet Police Department.”

    Of course none of us was there and neither was anyone with a camcorder or cameraphone.

    I’m not disputing whether the officer was out of line in how he dealt with the situation. I’m just saying it’s possible he was justified in going on the Nag property in the first place:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-0704120687apr13,1,540113.story?coll=chi-newslocal-hed

    “Both sides agree that on March 30 the officer pulled up to the Nag residence in the 3500 block of Buck Avenue on Joliet’s west side and began writing a tow order for the family van parked in the driveway. Police said a neighbor called about the van.”

    I don’t know what the specific law in Joliet, Illinois, is, but the police apparently thought the neighbor’s complaint was worth checking out.

  9. John,

    I’m just saying it’s possible he was justified in going on the Nag property in the first place

    I don’t doubt the officer had a valid reason to go talk with Mr. Nag on Mr. Nag’s private property. That’s not what troubles me. I’m troubled by the officer’s remarks and extreme reaction.


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