Wednesday, August 20, 2008

NY Times: "Afghanistan on Fire"

Could somebody please ask McCain what he would do to save Afghanistan from falling to the Taliban, again.

The news out of Afghanistan is truly alarming. This week, Taliban forces staged two of their most complex and audacious attacks of the war. Nearly 100 insurgents killed 10 French paratroopers in an attack near Kabul. At least 10 suicide bombers mounted a coordinated assault on one of America’s largest military bases, wounding three American and six Afghan soldiers. An earlier attack at the base killed 12 Afghan workers.

The number of United States and NATO casualties is mounting so quickly, that unless something happens soon this could be the deadliest year of the Afghan war. Kabul, the seat of Afghanistan’s pro-Western government, is increasingly besieged. And Taliban and foreign Qaeda fighters are consolidating control over an expanding swath of territory sprawling across both sides of the porous Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Let us be clear about why this is so dangerous. The more territory the Taliban controls, the more money it can raise from narcotics and black-market activities to mount an even fiercer challenge against the foundering civilian governments in Kabul and Islamabad. And the more territory the Taliban controls, the more freedom Al Qaeda will have to mount new terrorist operations against this country and others.

There is no more time to waste. Unless the United States, NATO and its central Asian allies move quickly, they could lose this war. The following steps need to be taken in the coming weeks.

Senator Biden Writing his VP Acceptance Speech

This only means that Biden will not be the nominee. Why would they allow this story to become public. It should be a highly kept secret. Biden has also said publicly that he didn't think that he would be the pick. This seems like a strange about face. Obama has probably already informed Biden that he wouldn't be his choice.

In an indication that he expects to be Barack Obama's vice-presidential pick, Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del) has begun writing a 50,000-word acceptance speech, aides to the senator confirmed today.

The address, which Mr. Biden has been working on around the clock, is an abridged version of a 200,000-word acceptance speech that Mr. Biden wrote when he ran for President in 1988.

According to those familiar with the speech, if Mr. Biden is tapped as Mr. Obama's vice presidential choice the Delaware senator would begin delivering the speech on Wednesday night of the Democratic convention and conclude it on Thursday night.

Representatives of television news divisions said they were undecided as to how to cover the Biden speech, but none were willing to commit to covering the speech live in its entirety.

John McCain VP Pick: Neocon Joe Lieberman?

It would be a stupid Vice Presidential choice. Senator Lieberman brings nothing to the McCain campaign. But like Bush, McCain puts personal friendship above logical political decision making. And the Conservatives are not having it. This from Hotair:

Lieberman’s endorsement did not win John McCain the primary, either. His friendship with McCain probably hurt him among Republicans as much as it helped among independents voting in GOP primaries. It certainly lent some heft to the RINO charge, especially since Lieberman’s liberal record is very plain to see. By the time the official endorsement came on February 3rd, McCain had already won more primaries than his rivals (New Hampshire, South Carolina) and held a slim lead in delegates over Mitt Romney.

The addition of Joe Lieberman will not convince independents that McCain is a maverick; it will convince an already-skeptical GOP base that McCain is a RINO. Patrick knows better than most how essential enthusiasm is to the GOTV efforts and fundraising. McCain appears to have finally generated some of that enthusiasm, and picking Lieberman would snuff it out for good. Republicans respect Lieberman, but they don’t want a liberal Democrat as the person who would succeed to the Presidency if something happened to McCain — which is the entire point of the Vice Presidency.

Lieberman may not be the worst choice, but he’s close to it. If McCain wants a Democrat, let him pick John Breaux, whose positions really do reflect conservative values. Otherwise, the Republican Party has plenty of options for a Republican ticket.

Lieberman is McCain's political guru. Remember the whispering into the ear when the Republican nominee couldn't answer a simple question on the war in Iraq? This is why all the talk about a pro-choice pick:
The McCain campaign is not shooting down reports to Washington Whispers that senior aides are polling top donors, delegates, and even radio talk show hosts for their reaction to a pro-choice running mate. "We are in constant contact with our donors and supporters and it wouldn't be at all surprising if people were soliciting their thoughts about any aspect of the campaign," said a McCainiac on background. Our sources suggest that the questions were a way to float the possibility that former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was in the running for the No. 2 slot, though Republican Party officials said later that Ridge was not on the veep list. Others believe that the pro-choice question is an indication that McCain is seriously considering independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, a close friend and former Democratic vice presidential candidate.

Or talk about choosing Lieberman could be a clever tactic. It could be Romney, the most talked about candidate:
HALPERIN: I don't think he will in the end. In fact I think a lot of this may well be, some of my sources say, just a feint in order to set up the pick of someone like a Mitt Romney who is pro-life but has not had a long history of being pro-life, and that this focus on perhaps Joe Lieberman, perhaps someone else who's pro-choice is a way to make people who are pro-life happy with the eventual choice and to send a message that he's considering people from all parts of the party.

The problem with Lieberman is he is not a Republican:
GOP strategist adds that a Lieberman pick would require the waiving of a RNC rule that currently says VP nominee must be a registered Republican for at least 60 days.

This from the NY Times:
  • But other conservatives said that Mr. McCain, who has long been in step with the Republican Party platform in opposing abortion, was unlikely to be the first Republican presidential nominee in decades to select such a candidate. They said that Mr. McCain’s recent public flirtation with Tom Ridge, a former Pennsylvania governor who supports abortion rights, was as much to give the appearance that Mr. McCain had an open mind on the issue as it was an embrace of Mr. Ridge.
  • The campaign has refused to comment on who is under consideration, but current conjecture has settled largely on three possibilities: Mr. Ridge, former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota. Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut and a McCain ally, is also said to be under consideration.
  • Some Republicans said that Mr. McCain could still choose Mr. Ridge and get around the problem with social conservatives by assuring them that the vice-presidential candidate would support the position of the presidential candidate and the party, no matter his personal views.

    Such a formulation would be unlikely to satisfy Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host and longtime McCain nemesis, who on Tuesday sounded a siren for his listeners. “If he picks a pro-choice running mate, it’s not going to be pretty,” Mr. Limbaugh warned, adding that Mr. McCain would have “effectively destroyed the Republican Party and pushed the conservative movement into the bleachers.”

    Republicans said Mr. Romney remained a contender, although the two were bitter rivals in the primary campaign and do not have strong chemistry. In addition, Mr. Romney, a Mormon, could be a difficult sell to Christian conservatives. A person associated with Mr. Romney said Tuesday that he had detected no strong interest from the McCain campaign in recent weeks.

    Republicans said Mr. Pawlenty, an evangelical Christian, was also a strong possibility. His main drawback is that he has little name recognition outside of Minnesota.

It seems more like that Lieberman will become McCain's Secretary of State:
McCain men Joe Lieberman (a rumored veep choice) and Lindsey Graham are leaving today for a two-day tour of Poland, the Ukraine and Georgia, where they will meet with President Mikhail Saakashvili. The Senate Armed Services Committee Codel comes in the wake of (rumored veep choice) Joe Biden's ballyhooed trip last weekend. It was in the works for a week -- probably before Biden's excursion was announced, a Graham staffer said.

The schedule includes stops in Kiev, Warsaw, Tblisi and a bank of microphones.

The purpose of the trip, says Lieberman, is to discuss the Russian invasion with local leaders and assess its impact on NATO and future U.S.-Russia relations. They return late Thursday.

Will McCain listen to Rush? McCain's arrogance could lead him to resist the pressure from Conservatives and pick his own man. And that person is Lieberman:
Referencing reports McCain advisors are seriously considering both former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge and former Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman — both of whom favor abortion rights — Limbaugh said picking either of those men would ensure a GOP defeat, and damage the party’s brand for years to come.

"How about some discussion from the McCain campaign about a conservative who can be counted on across the board, who can help lead the country in the right direction?" said Limbaugh. "Who can help rebuild the Republican Party? Lieberman can’t do that — and rebuild the conservative movement? McCain nor Lieberman nor Ridge can do that.”

The comments come amid reports senior advisors to McCain are floating both Lieberman and Ridge's names among key social conservatives in an effort to measure the blowback the Arizona senator will face if he names either man to the ticket. One party insider tells CNN that McCain campaign manager Rick Davis has called several state party chairs and indicated Ridge will be the Republican vice presidential pick this cycle.

Limbaugh said Tuesday that the drawbacks of choosing either man far out-weighed any potential benefits.

"McCain has already seen to it that he can walk across the aisle that he’s the top of the ticket," Limbaugh said. "If anybody is going to attract moderates, it’s going to be the top of the ticket guy. He’s not going to help himself any additional way, he’s going to hurt himself by putting a liberal or a liberal Republican on this ticket, particularly pro-choice.”

- Lieberman will be speaking at the Republican Convention. But in what capacity? And we don't know what night he will be speaking, which would tell us if he were the vp pick.