Friday, May 23, 2008

And this country, it belongs, to folks like me and you

Steve Clemons writing at TPM Cafe makes 2 points. The first is spot on, that Dwight Eisenhower would be shocked by his formerly conservative Republican Party today:
How far you can go without destroying from within what you are trying to defend from without?

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

If men can develop weapons that are so terrifying as to make the thought of global war include almost a sentence for suicide, you would think that man's intelligence and his comprehension. . . would include also his ability to find a peaceful solution.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you want total security, go to prison. There you're fed, clothed, given medical care and so on. The only thing lacking. . . is freedom.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

In most communities it is illegal to cry "fire" in a crowded assembly. Should it not be considered serious international misconduct to manufacture a general war scare in an effort to achieve local political aims?

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower

Indeed. But Steve's second point, that the Republican closest to "Ike" today is Chuck Hagel is slightly off, I think:
If I was in Barack Obama's shoes and Hillary Clinton had turned down my offer to run as Vice President, I'd go with Eisenhower in a unity ticket -- and because Eisenhower is not available, I'd go for Chuck Hagel. John McCain couldn't put a ticket together to beat that combo.
Sure, Hagel has been critical of the GWBush government on several issues, like Iran:
However, now is the time for the United States to actively pursue an offer of direct, unconditional, and comprehensive talks with Iran. We cannot afford to refuse to consider this strategic choice any longer. We should make clear that everything is on the table – our issues and Iran’s….similar to the opportunity that we squandered in 2003 for comprehensive talks with Iran. This should include offering Iran a credible way back in from the fringes of the international community, security guarantees if it is willing to give up nuclear weapons ambitions, as well as other incentives. This will require the day-to-day efforts and presence of a very senior administration official, higher ranking than the American Ambassador to Iraq.

Of course, I'm waiting for him to be called an appeaser by some idiot like Hannity.

Hagel is also Reality-Based™ on Iraq:
If the war continues to lose support from the American people, the limited options we have today will vanish. The president will be left with a bitter few allies in our party, and we will be forced to withdraw from Iraq in a way that greatly damages U.S. interests in the Middle East and leaves the world far more dangerous than it is today. Forging a bipartisan consensus now that places responsible conditions on U.S. war funding could forestall a time when we have no options. The Baker-Hamilton report could have been the base for that bipartisan consensus.

Cool. But there are other problems lurking below his reasonable surface:
Although he was pressured by some to run for Governor of Virginia, where he had lived for 20 years, in 1992 Hagel moved back to Nebraska to become president of the McCarthy Group, an investment banking firm. He also served as a Chairman and was CEO of American Information Systems Inc. (AIS), a voting machine manufacturer, until its name-change to Election Systems & Software (ES&S) in 1997. He had ownership interest in ES&S through its parent company The McCarthy Group as of January 29, 2003, when The Hill reported that, due to his ownership interest, “Hagel’s ethics filings pose disclosure issue”.[4]

And on other key issues:
  • Voted YES on barring HHS grants to organizations that perform abortions. (Oct 2007)
  • Voted NO on expanding research to more embryonic stem cell lines. (Apr 2007)
  • Voted YES on notifying parents of minors who get out-of-state abortions. (Jul 2006)
  • Voted NO on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education & contraceptives. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during other crime. (Mar 2004)
  • Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. (Mar 2003)
  • Voted YES on maintaining ban on Military Base Abortions. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted YES on banning partial birth abortions. (Oct 1999)
  • Voted YES on banning human cloning. (Feb 1998)
  • Rated 0% by NARAL, indicating a pro-life voting record. (Dec 2003)
  • Rated 100% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-life stance (190 members). (Dec 2006)

  • Voted YES on recommending Constitutional ban on flag desecration. (Jun 2006)
  • Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes. (Jun 2002)
  • Voted YES on loosening restrictions on cell phone wiretapping. (Oct 2001)
  • Voted NO on expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation. (Jun 2000)
  • Voted NO on setting aside 10% of highway funds for minorities & women. (Mar 1998)
  • Voted YES on ending special funding for minority & women-owned business. (Oct 1997)
  • Supports anti-flag desecration amendment. (Mar 2001)
  • Rated 60% by the ACLU, indicating a mixed civil rights voting record. (Dec 2002)
  • Rated 0% by the HRC, indicating an anti-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)
  • Rated 11% by the NAACP, indicating an anti-affirmative-action stance. (Dec 2006)

  • Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions. (Mar 2005)
  • Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy. (Jul 2001)
  • Rated 87% by the US COC, indicating a pro-business voting record. (Dec 2003)

  • Voted NO on granting the District of Columbia a seat in Congress. (Sep 2007)
  • Voted YES on requiring photo ID to vote in federal elections. (Jul 2007)
  • Voted YES on allowing some lobbyist gifts to Congress. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on establishing the Senate Office of Public Integrity. (Mar 2006)
  • Voted NO on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads. (Mar 2002)
  • Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration. (Feb 2002)
  • Voted NO on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations. (Apr 2001)
  • Voted NO on funding for National Endowment for the Arts. (Aug 1999)
  • Voted NO on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance. (Oct 1997)

So Hagel is reliably Republican, except perhaps on the war. He may be in line with Eisenhower's Republican Party, although the corporatist voting record probably wouldn't endear him to Ike.

But with a voting record like that, he's hardly a viable candidate for VP in a Democratic administration. The enemy of my enemy isn't always my friend. And probably the only common ground I can find between Hagel and a Presidential ticket I would vote for is his position on Iraq. And that ain't enough. It's time to take our country back from the far-right, and not use their tools anymore. And except for his stand on Iraq, Hagel is a tool.