Thursday, 07 February 2008


Ken Berwitz

I've written a number of times about Barack Obama's hard-left voting record, and I've written about McCain, Huckabee and Romney (who may be dropping out as I write this) fighting for their party's conservative base. 

 But Mr. Bozell has addressed these two issues and juxtaposed them in a way that I have not, and I think he's done an excellent job.  So here it is:

Move On, Obama

by L. Brent Bozell III
February 7, 2008

Theres one little three-syllable word that has been left out of most of the Democratic primary coverage on the TV: liberal. Were constantly told by anchors and reporters how the Republican contenders are fighting over the conservative vote and whos more conservative, and thats true. But exactly the same fight is taking place on the left side, with the Clintons trying to suggest Barack Obamas not sufficiently liberal (he praised Ronald Reagan!) and Obama trying to take Hillarys Iraq war vote and turn her into Rumsfeld in a black pantsuit.

But the news media cannot routinely bring themselves to say that word, liberal. Obama landed a major victory in the whos-more-liberal sweepstakes. Hes been endorsed by, the screechy hard-left group that distinguished itself last year by taking out newspaper ads denouncing our commander in Iraq as General Betray Us.

Not only did endorse Obama. Obama endorsed radioactive MoveOn, in glowing terms. In just a few years, the members of MoveOn have once again demonstrated that real change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, he declared in a a statement. From their principled opposition to the Iraq war a war I also opposed from the start to their strong support for a number of progressive causes, MoveOn shows what Americans can achieve when we come together in a grassroots movement for change.

So Obama supports the people who accuse our generals of being traitors to their country. Thats principled opposition. Im sure this will make him look impressive to his commanders in Iraq if he gets the keys to the Pentagon.

Obama won 70 percent of the MoveOn member vote, and hes also winning 70 percent of the readers poll at the Daily Kos the radical website whose founder Markos Moulitsas declared when four American contractors in Iraq were burned to death and hung from a bridge, I feel nothing over the death of merceneries [sic]...They are there to wage war for profit. Screw them.

You might not have noticed this turn of events. The news media barely did. Thats because Obamas hard-left base is one of those uncomfortable facts that ruins the long-standing narrative that Barack Obama is running for national moderator, a centrist deal-maker prepared to manufacture the audacity of hope in fizzy two-liter bottles.

At the start of his Senate career in early 2005, Newsweek put Obama on the cover and lauded him as the incredibly pragmatic soul of civility who is uniquely qualified to nudge the country toward the color purple (merging the red states and blue states). He was all about embracing our hybrid origins and transcending our often narrow-minded past.

That article did not display the audacity of hope, but the audacity of phoniness, claiming something even the interns at Newsweek knew was untrue. Obamas record since then is about as centrist as Trent Lotts. Obamas lifetime American Conservative Union rating is eight percent conservative. Lotts is 92 percent.

Not every endorsement from the ultraliberal side went unnoticed. Obamas endorsement by Ted Kennedy was greeted by the media in ecstatic terms, as passing the torch of Camelot. So much for the color purple.

As January ended, National Journal magazine reported its finding that Senator Obama was the most liberal politician in the Senate in 2007, 95.5 percent liberal. Both Hillary Clinton and Obama shifted further to the left last year to compete for the left-wing base. Obamas campaign reacted with sheer denial. Spokeswoman Jen Psaki insisted to National Journal that he's the one candidate who's shown the ability to appeal to Republicans and the ability to appeal to independents.

Apparently, thats all it takes to put a lid on the Obamas-a-liberal talk. Once again, large parts of the news media didnt find any news in the National Journal ranking to disturb their bizarre centrist-Obama storyline. Newsweek did notice the ranking briefly in an item that touted allegedly dedicated Republicans who are switching to Obama, the Obamacans. Why are the Obamacans important? According to reporter Richard Wolffe, even small numbers of Obamacans can reinforce the candidates unity message...the friendly outreach may blunt the ferocity of GOP attacks.

Yes, especially if those small numbers of pseudo-Republicans are aggressively promoted by Newsweek, which they will be, if Obamas the Democratic nominee. Mark my words.

In every election cycle, the allegedly professional media elite deny the obvious truth before the electorates eyes: that the Democrats are nominating a doctrinaire liberal. To in any way dissent from this media distortion is, in turn, reported as a ferocious partisan attack. Its going to be a long and frustrating year for conservatives. Were not only going to have to weather constant accusations of racism or sexism (or both) for opposing the Democratic nominee, were going to be described as vicious for simply telling the truth about their ideology..

There isn't a lot I can add to Bozell's analysis.  It is superb. 

The one thing I would mention, though, is that Richard Wolffe of Newsweek, whose comments promote the ridiculous idea that Mr. Obama could be a unifier, is one of the most frequent guests on keith olbermann's nightly left-fest, "Countdown". 

Maybe in olbermann's world, Wolffe himself is some kind of centrist.  If so, that's some nutty world.

Right now Mr. Obama is getting a modicum of positive reaction from some Republicans, presumably because they are unaware of how far to the left he actually is.  That is the fault of people like Wolffe. 

If Mr. Obama wins the nomination he will be running against a Republican, rather than someone fighting for the same left wingers as he is.  And you can be sure that his hardest-of-hard-left voting record will become known to the folks who have been kept in the dark about it so far. 

What an eye-opener that will be!!


Ken Berwitz

Here is an Associated Press article which indicates how at least one Egyptian official feels about people from Gaza breaching the border wall and coming into his country: 

Egyptian FM threatens to break Palestinians' legs if they breach border again
Thursday, February 7, 2008

CAIRO, Egypt: Egypt's foreign minister said that no further violations of its borders would be tolerated in the wake of a 12-day breach of its frontier with Gaza and said anyone daring to cross would have their legs broken, the state news agency reported.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit also met on Thursday with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State David Welch and discussed the situation in Gaza and efforts to push forward the peace talks.

Welch said that the border crisis was not Egypt's fault and a system had to be instituted to get the situation under control and avoid a repetition of the recent problems.

The earlier, uncharacteristically assertive, remarks by Aboul Gheit came during a late night Wednesday interview on state television, in which he criticized both Israel and the militant Hamas movement for creating the unstable situation on Egypt's border.

"Anyone who violates Egypt's borders will get his leg broken," Aboul Gheit was quoted as saying. He added that Egypt only allowed the Palestinians to cross the border after Hamas blew up the wall because of fears over the humanitarian situation resulting from Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

He blamed Israel for the humanitarian crisis and hardship that Gaza is experiencing, and for "responding to the Palestinian (Hamas) missiles with collective punishment."

He also criticized Hamas for launching those missile attacks, describing the confrontation as a "laughable caricature" resulting in self-inflicted wounds.

"After Hamas's take over of Gaza, it has decided to clash with Israel, though this clash seems to be a laughable caricature, because clashing with an opponent in battle is supposed to mean damaging them," he said. "You do not go into battle just to damage yourself."

He noted that Hamas' missiles either fall back in Gaza and injure Palestinians or give the Israelis a pretext to attack them.

The Egyptian's remarks drew a quick response from a Hamas' leader in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, who called them "inappropriate" and said he did not believe they reflected the official Egyptian stance.

"All we want is an open border crossing," Abu Zuhri said. "Instead of making these threats against the Palestinian people, he (Aboul Gheit) should voice his anger against the Israeli occupation, which is what is closing the border crossings between Gaza and Egypt."

After 12 days during which Palestinians stocked up on food fuel and consumer products, Egypt re-closed the border pending a return to the 2005 international monitoring agreement involving Israeli and EU monitors.

Hamas rejects the agreement and has called for a role in controlling the border. Since the closure, Palestinians have clashed with Egyptian border guards.

Apparently seeking to cast a more favorable light on the strained relations between Egypt and the militant Gaza rulers, Abu Zuhri said Hamas was "in daily contact with the Egyptian brothers in order to find a solution for the problem of the border crossing.".

Now you knew this was going to be Israel's fault, didn't you?  That is de rigeuer for Gazans and Egyptians.  Yawn.

But there are a couple of less expectable, very interesting comments made by Mr. Gheit which should be noted.

One is the threat to break Gazans' legs if they try to get into Egypt again.  That wasn't some angry man on the street talking, it was the Egyptian foreign minister.  Does anyone doubt for even one minute that he is reflecting his government's position?

Obviously, Egypt does not want Gazans any more than Israel does. That is a point of similarity.  But the reasons are completely different:  

-Gazans breach Israel's wall to commit terrorist acts and kill civilians. 

-Gazans breach Egypt's wall to see relatives, buy goods and services and make shopkeepers (the ones who know what real Israeli currency looks like anyway) a lot of money and then go back home.

Ironically, if all Gazans wanted in Israel was what they wanted in Egypt, there wouldn't even BE a wall.  Israel would welcome them.  But Egypt wants to break their legs.

The other interesting point is what Gheit said about hamas.  He ridiculed their attacks and - after the requisite condemnation of Israel - pointed out that hamas' actions were bringing Israelis retaliation on themselves.

Did it fall on deaf ears?  Do you even have to ask?


Ken Berwitz

God I love this stuff. 

Here, verbatim, is Ms. Streisand's endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President.  It is copied straight from her web site (  What else would you expect)?

If you can wade through the clichs (you'll need hip boots, believe me), see if you think this is more of an endorsement or more of a self-promotional exercise in PR drivel.  I have bold-printed the self-promotional parts for your viewing pleasure:

Barbra Streisand Endorses Hillary Clinton
Today I endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Below is the announcement the Clinton campaign released to the media with my endorsement statement.

Barbra Streisand Endorses Hillary Clinton

Legendary filmmaker, artist, and Democratic activist, Barbra Streisand, today endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Streisand cited Clinton's ability to bring about change and the historic nature of her campaign as reasons why she is supporting Hillary's candidacy.

"Madame President of the United's an extraordinary thought. We truly are in a momentous time, where a woman's potential has no limitations," said Streisand. "Hillary Clinton has already proven to a generation of women that there are no limits for success. She is driven by her passion for public service and her belief in the enormous potential of our country. Smart, capable and strong in her convictions, Hillary has transcended the dictates of what is thought to be possible for our time.

"Hillary is a powerful voice for change as we find our country at an important crossroads. Under her leadership, our country will regain its respect within the global community. She will prioritize issues of global climate change, universal healthcare and rebuilding a strong economy. After 8 long years, the public will once again have faith in their government.

"Another former first lady, Eleanor Roosevelt once wrote, 'In government, in business, and in the professions there may be a day when women will be looked upon as persons. We are, however, far from that day as yet.' More than 50 years later 'that day' is now upon us...and Hillary Clinton is ready to shatter through that glass ceiling for all women."

Streisand has been working on behalf of Democratic candidates for over forty years, performing at fundraisers and participating in campaign events. In addition, the Streisand Foundation has raised millions for causes including the environment, women's equality as well as human and civil rights and liberties.

"I'm honored to have Barbra's support," said Clinton. "Barbra has used her immense talent to be an advocate for truth, justice, and fairness and I deeply appreciate her confidence in my candidacy as we work together to change the direction of our nation."

Barbra Streisand is a singer, theatre and film actress, composer, film producer and director. She has won Oscars for Best Actress and Best Original Song as well as multiple Emmy Awards, Grammy Awards, and Golden Globe Awards. She is considered one of the most commercially and critically successful female entertainers in modern history.

Do you happen to notice what percentage of this "endorsement" is self-promotional?  Or, put another way,

~~~Clinton, Babs endorsing Clinton, is the smarmiest PR, in the world.....

~~~You're sheeple, nothing more than sheeple, and by letting you know my choice, I want to be your voice..... ~~~ etc.

That's enough.  Even I can't take any more.


Ken Berwitz

Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. rowan williams, has a history of taking positions and saying things that make him sound like a hopeless idiot, intent on ending western civilization as we know it.  Here, courtesy of BBC News, is the latest in this series:

Sharia law in UK is 'unavoidable'

The Archbishop of Canterbury says the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK "seems unavoidable".

Dr Rowan Williams told Radio 4's World at One that the UK has to "face up to the fact" that some of its citizens do not relate to the British legal system.

Dr Williams argues that adopting parts of Islamic Sharia law would help maintain social cohesion.

For example, Muslims could choose to have marital disputes or financial matters dealt with in a Sharia court.

He says Muslims should not have to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty or state loyalty".

An approach to law which simply said - there's one law for everybody - I think that's a bit of a danger
Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

In an exclusive interview with BBC correspondent Christopher Landau, ahead of a lecture to lawyers in London later on Monday, Dr Williams argues this relies on Sharia law being better understood. At the moment, he says "sensational reporting of opinion polls" clouds the issue.

He stresses that "nobody in their right mind would want to see in this country the kind of inhumanity that's sometimes been associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states; states; the extreme punishments, the attitudes to women as well".

But Dr Williams says the argument that "there's one law for everybody... I think that's a bit of a danger".

"There's a place for finding what would be a constructive accommodation with some aspects of Muslim law, as we already do with some other aspects of religious law."

Dr Williams adds: "What we don't want either, is I think, a stand-off, where the law squares up to people's religious consciences."

"We don't either want a situation where, because there's no way of legally monitoring what communities do... people do what they like in private in such a way that that becomes another way of intensifying oppression inside a community."

Multiculturalism 'divisive'

His comments are likely to fuel the debate over multiculturalism in the UK.

Last month, one of Dr William's colleagues, the Bishop of Rochester, said that non-Muslims may find it hard to live or work in some areas of the UK.

The Right Reverend Dr Michael Nazir-Ali said there was "hostility" in some areas and described the government's multicultural policies as divisive.

He said there had been a worldwide resurgence of Islamic extremism, leading to young people growing up alienated from the country they lived in.

He has since received death threats and has been placed under police protection.

williams, it should be noted is the same Archbishop of Canterbury who advocated British divestiture from Israel.  Oh, wait, excuse me, he didn't exactly say that.  Here's his explanation:

The motion is quite carefully phrased. It asks for appropriate action. When we have considered ethical investment issues, there is quite a range of options, from constructive engagement to raising particular questions at AGMs. Thats quite a lot short of disinvestment, he said...

williams also characterized Christian Zionists as being "very strange, and not at all easy to accept."

To summarize, williams, a man who clearly detests Israel and is unable to fathom why a Christian would support it, wants to incorporate "some" areas of shari'a law into the UK so Muslims don't have to assimilate into the country they voluntarily live in.

Is it just me, or do you detect an ever-so-slight lean here?



Ken Berwitz

In my last blog on the idiots who comprise Berkeley, California's city council, I excluded one member, Gordon Wozniak.  He was the only member who didn't sign on to their idiocy.

However, here is what Mr. Wozniak said earlier today:

"Berkeley is supposed to celebrate diversity and free speech and we welcome homeless people here. We welcome illegal immigrants. We give them sanctuary. We should welcome the Marines.  I mean they're basically dedicating their lives to protect their country....".

In other words, Mr. Wozniak equates the U.S. Marines, who dedicate their lives to protect "their country" (not ours, theirs) with homeless people and illegals. 

Allow me to take this opportunity to retract my exclusion.


Ken Berwitz

Today John McCain will speak at a CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) conference in Washington D.C. 

He's got his work cut out for him.

Let's be bluntly honest.  Mr. McCain's status as odds-on favorite to become the Republican candidate for President is due to a combination of two factors, neither of which says anything positive about his chances: 

1) Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are splitting the majority of Republicans who don't want him;

2) McCain has gotten to this point largely by winning big in solid blue states (e.g. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut) he is almost certain to lose in the general election.

Simply stated, John McCain's problem is that conservatives, who he must have the support of to become President, don't like or want him as their nominee. 

On the surface this seems odd, given how conservative most of McCain's positions are, coupled with his unwavering support of the war in Iraq.  But even a cursory look below the surface tells you why.

One reason is that Mr. McCain, while still conservative overall, is less conservative than he used to be.  Illustratively, in 2004 the ACLU gave him a rating of 22% (i.e. on votes of interest to the ACLU he voted for their position about 1 time out of 5).  In 2005-2006, that rating rose to 33% (1 out of 3).   Conversely, The American Conservative Union (ACU) rated Mr. McCain 80% in 2005, but dropped to 66% in 2006. 

Obviously Mr. McCain was and remains mostly conservative.  But those ratings suggest a noticable move away from conservatism;  too much to just be shrugged off as anecdotal.

Another reason is the issues on which Mr. McCain has moved away from conservatism.  They include several high-profile wedge issues sure to infuriate CPAC members.  Here are just three:

-He voted against the Bush tax cuts. 

-He combined with Ted Kennedy to propose what most conservatives consider amnesty for illegal aliens. 

-He joined with leftward liberal Russ Feingold to give us the McCain-Feingold campaign reform act, which most conservatives (and just about everyone else except the Democratic people) consider a fiasco of epic proportions.

So now Mr. McCain is up at bat with CPAC and, more generally, his party's conservative base.  What will he say?  What assurances can he give?  What promises can he make? 

Can McCain make himself palatable to conservatives, while still maintaining the significant crossover appeal that he'll need to win a general election?

I don't think it is unreasonable to conclude that Mr. McCain's success or failure today will tell us a great deal about whether he has any realistic chance to win the presidency.


Ken Berwitz

Remember that NIE report  a couple of months ago, with a title that suggested Iran had killed off its nuclear weapons program?  Remember how it turned out that the body of the report didn't actually say what the title suggested -- but media had no problem trumpeting it as a conclusion anyway? 

Well here, courtesy of the New York Sun, is further information on that report and Iran's actions.  The Sun is owed great thanks because, unless I missed it, the story wasn't covered at all on Today and the New York Times buried a tiny little mention of it so deep in another story that virtually no one would ever notice it was there.  I'll bet it was just as anonymous on the network news last night too. 

Let me show you what I'm talking about. Please pay special attention to the segments I've put in bold print:

Correcting the CIA

New York Sun Editorial
February 7, 2008

What a difference two months make. On December 3, when the director of national intelligence released an estimate of Iran's nuclear program that said the Mullahs had suspended its bomb making in 2003, the left could barely contain its glee. The New York Times featured a front page analysis that said, "Rarely, if ever, has a single intelligence report so completely, so suddenly, and so surprisingly altered a foreign policy debate here." The Majority Leader, Senator Reid took the opportunity of its release to call again for a "surge of diplomacy with Iran." Senator Obama said, "The juxtaposition of this NIE with the president's suggestion of World War III serves as an important reminder of what we learned with the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: members of Congress must carefully read the intelligence before giving the President any justification to use military force."

Careful, indeed. It turns out that on Tuesday, as our Eli Lake reported on page one of yesterday's Sun, the director of national intelligence, Mr. McConnell says he now regrets the phrasing of the unclassified estimate that so stirred America's enthusiasts of diplomacy. In testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Mr. McConnell went further. He noted that Iran is developing both the long range ballistic missiles and the nuclear fuel for a potential weapon. What had halted, it turns out, was work to design the actual warhead and secret enrichment activity. The Iranians continued to enrich uranium in the open in Natanz in defiance of two Security Council resolutions.

As for the secret enrichment and weapons design, Mr. McConnell is not even sure as of mid-2007 whether the Iranians have restarted this work. "We assess with moderate confidence that Tehran had not restarted these activities as of mid-2007, but since they comprised an unannounced secret effort which Iran attempted to hide, we do not know if these activities have been restarted," he told the assembled senators. So why then did the opening sentence of the December 3 assessment state with no equivocation, "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program"? Mr. McConnell said that it was because he had to assemble quickly a declassified estimate in late November and that it did not occur to him that this kind of declarative statement would confuse the issue.

For the unelected intelligence bureaucrats who pushed through December's distortion and the newspapers that cheered them on, the walk back from the director is a serious blow. It's hard to recall a situation quite like it. Only a few lines about Mr. McConnell's testimony on this point appeared in yesterday's New York Times, and that was buried in a story that focused on the improvements Al Qaeda has been making in its ability to strike the home front. Yet for a brief moment the unclassified assessment about which Mr. McConnell now has regrets ended political debate about the urgency of stopping the world's leading sponsor of Islamic terror from obtaining an apocalyptic arsenal.

* * *

It's a lesson to remember. Mr. McConnell's regrets came in questioning from Senator Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana who once harbored hopes of running for president before his party was taken over by the likes of Mr. Bayh cited an article about the estimate that was issued Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal and written by John Bolton, the man accused three years ago, when President Bush nominated him to be ambassador to the United Nations, of intimidating all those intelligence professionals. We'd like to think Mr. McConnell's correction will steer the American debate on how best to counter the threat from the Iranians away from the aspirations of our professional diplomats and spies to appease them and back toward an unvarnished view of the danger that is building in Iran. .

Are there conclusions to be drawn from the fact that Mr. McConnell's retraction of the NIE claim has been buried so completely by mainstream media? 

Can they possibly hate President Bush so much that it is ok to keep their readers/viewers ignorant of Iran's very real and very aggressive nuclear threat?  If so, when Charles Krauthammer coined the term "Bush Derangement Syndrome" he didn't know the half of it.

Or maybe it isn't BDS.  Maybe it is that some media are rooting for Iran to "wipe Israel off the face of the earth" with nuclear weapons, just as its prime minister, ahmadinejad, said.  I would hate to think that's the case, yet the degree to which this story is being suppressed forces me to at least consider the prospect.

Just one thing would resolve these possibilities:  Mainstream media reporting McConnell's admission the way they reported his original wording.  Based on the coverage so far, however, I see no likelihood that it is going to happen.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.


Ken Berwitz

Well, John McCain has spoken to the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC).  I've read a couple of accounts that described how he was received, but will not mention what they said until tomorrow.  For the moment I'll let you decide how conservatives might have reacted by posting his speech verbatim.

Here it is, and sorry for the length of this blog.


Thank you. Thank you for inviting me. It's been a little while since I've had the honor of addressing you, and I appreciate very much your courtesy to me today. We should do this more often. I hope you will pardon my absence last year, and understand that I intended no personal insult to any of you. I was merely pre-occupied with the business of trying to escape the distinction of pre-season frontrunner for the Republican nomination, which, I'm sure some of you observed, I managed to do in fairly short order. But, now, I again have the privilege of that distinction, and this time I would prefer to hold on to it for a while.

I know I have a responsibility, if I am, as I hope to be, the Republican nominee for President, to unite the party and prepare for the great contest in November. And I am acutely aware that I cannot succeed in that endeavor, nor can our party prevail over the challenge we will face from either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama, without the support of dedicated conservatives, whose convictions, creativity and energy have been indispensible to the success our party has had over the last quarter century. Many of you have disagreed strongly with some positions I have taken in recent years. I understand that. I might not agree with it, but I respect it for the principled position it is. And it is my sincere hope that even if you believe I have occasionally erred in my reasoning as a fellow conservative, you will still allow that I have, in many ways important to all of us, maintained the record of a conservative. Further, I hope you will grant that I have defended many positions we share just as ardently as I have made my case for positions that have provoked your opposition. If not, thank you for this opportunity to make my case today.

I am proud to be a conservative, and I make that claim because I share with you that most basic of conservative principles: that liberty is a right conferred by our Creator, not by governments, and that the proper object of justice and the rule of law in our country is not to aggregate power to the state but to protect the liberty and property of its citizens. And like you, I understand, as Edmund Burke observed, that "whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither . . . is safe."

While I have long worked to help grow a public majority of support for Republican candidates and principles, I have also always believed, like you, in the wisdom of Ronald Reagan, who warned in an address to this conference in 1975, that "a political party cannot be all things to all people. It must represent certain fundamental beliefs which must not be compromised to political expediency or simply to swell its numbers."

I attended my first CPAC conference as the invited guest of Ronald Reagan, not long after I had returned from overseas, when I heard him deliver his "shining city upon a hill" speech. I was still a naval officer then, but his words inspired and helped form my own political views, just as Ronald Reagan's defense of America's cause in Vietnam and his evident concern for American prisoners of war in that conflict inspired and were a great comfort to those of us who, in my friend Jerry Denton's words, had the honor of serving "our country under difficult circumstances." I am proud, very proud, to have come to public office as a foot soldier in the Reagan Revolution. And if a few of my positions have raised your concern that I have forgotten my political heritage, I want to assure you that I have not, and I am as proud of that association today as I was then. My record in public office taken as a whole is the record of a mainstr eam conservative. I believe today, as I believed twenty-five years ago, in small government; fiscal discipline; low taxes; a strong defense, judges who enforce, and not make, our laws; the social values that are the true source of our strength; and, generally, the steadfast defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I have defended my entire career as God-given to the born and unborn.

Those are my beliefs, and you need not examine only my past votes and speeches to assure yourselves that they are my genuine convictions. You can take added confidence from the positions I have defended during this campaign. I campaigned in Iowa in opposition to agriculture subsidies. I campaigned in New Hampshire against big government mandated health care and for a free market solution to the problem of unavailable and unaffordable health care. I campaigned in Michigan for the tax incentives and trade policies that will create new and better jobs in that economically troubled state. I campaigned in Florida against the national catastrophic insurance fund bill that passed the House of Representatives and defended my opposition to the prescription drug benefit bill that saddled Americans with yet another hugely expensive entitlement program. I have argued to make the Bush tax cuts permanent, to reduce the corporate tax rate and abolish the AMT. I have defended my position on protecting our Second Amendment rights, including my votes against waiting periods, bans on the so-called "assault weapons," and illegitimate lawsuits targeting gun manufacturers. I have proudly defended my twenty-four year pro-life record. Throughout this campaign, I have defended the President's brave decision to increase troop levels in Iraq to execute a long overdue counterinsurgency that has spared us the terrible calamity of losing that war. I held these positions because I believed they were in the best interests of my party and country."

Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won't pretend otherwise nor would you permit me to forget it. On the issue of illegal immigration, a position which provoked the outspoken opposition of many conservatives, I stood my ground aware that my position would imperil my campaign. I respect your opposition for I know that the vast majority of critics to the bill based their opposition in a principled defense of the rule of law. And while I and other Republican supporters of the bill were genuine in our intention to restore control of our borders, we failed, for various and understandable reasons, to convince Americans that we were. I accept that, and have pledged that it would be among my highest priorities to secure our borders first, and only after we achieved widespread consensus that our borders are secure, would we address other aspects of the problem in a wa y that defends the rule of law and does not encourage another wave of illegal immigration.

All I ask of any American, conservative, moderate, independent, or enlightened Democrat, is to judge my record as a whole, and accept that I am not in the habit of making promises to my country that I do not intend to keep. I hope I have proven that in my life even to my critics. Then vote for or against me based on that record, my qualifications for the office, and the direction where I plainly state I intend to lead our country. If I am so fortunate as to be the Republican nominee for President, I will offer Americans, in what will be a very challenging and spirited contest, a clearly conservative approach to governing. I will make my case to voters, no matter what state they reside in, in the same way. I will not obscure my positions from voters who I fear might not share them. I will stand on my convictions, my conservative convictions, and trust in the good sense of the voters, and in my confidence that conservative pr inciples still appeal to a majority of Americans, Republicans, Independents and Reagan Democrats.

Often elections in this country are fought within the margins of small differences. This one will not be. We are arguing about hugely consequential things. Whomever the Democrats nominate, they would govern this country in a way that will, in my opinion, take this country backward to the days when government felt empowered to take from us our freedom to decide for ourselves the course and quality of our lives; to substitute the muddled judgment of large and expanding federal bureaucracies for the common sense and values of the American people; to the timidity and wishful thinking of a time when we averted our eyes from terrible threats to our security that were so plainly gathering strength abroad. It is shameful and dangerous that Senate Democrats are blocking an extension of surveillance powers that enable our intelligence and law enforcement to defend our country against radical Islamic extremists. This election is going to be about big things, not small things. And I intend to fight as hard as I can to ensure that our principles prevail over theirs.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama want to increase the size of the federal government.

I intend to reduce it. I will not sign a bill with earmarks in it, any earmarks in it. I will fight for the line item veto, and I will not permit any expansion whatsoever of the entitlement programs that are bankrupting us. On the contrary, I intend to reform those programs so that government is no longer in that habit of making promises to Americans it does not have the means to keep.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will raise your taxes.

I intend to cut them. I will start by making the Bush tax cuts permanent. I will cut corporate tax rates from 35 to 25% to keep industries and jobs in this country. I will end the Alternate Minimum Tax. And I won't let a Democratic Congress raise your taxes and choke the growth of our economy.

They will offer a big government solution to health care insurance coverage.

I intend to address the problem with free market solutions and with respect for the freedom of individuals to make important choices for themselves.

They will appoint to the federal bench judges who are intent on achieving political changes that the American people cannot be convinced to accept through the election of their representatives.

I intend to nominate judges who have proven themselves worthy of our trust that they take as their sole responsibility the enforcement of laws made by the people's elected representatives, judges of the character and quality of Justices Roberts and Alito, judges who can be relied upon to respect the values of the people whose rights, laws and property they are sworn to defend.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will withdraw our forces from Iraq based on an arbitrary timetable designed for the sake of political expediency, and which recklessly ignores the profound human calamity and dire threats to our security that would ensue.

I intend to win the war, and trust in the proven judgment of our commanders there and the courage and selflessness of the Americans they have the honor to command. I share the grief over the terrible losses we have suffered in its prosecution. There is no other candidate for this office who appreciates more than I do just how awful war is. But I know that the costs in lives and treasure we would incur should we fail in Iraq will be far greater than the heartbreaking losses we have suffered to date. And I will not allow that to happen.

They won't recognize and seriously address the threat posed by an Iran with nuclear ambitions to our ally, Israel, and the region.

I intend to make unmistakably clear to Iran we will not permit a government that espouses the destruction of the State of Israel as its fondest wish and pledges undying enmity to the United States to possess the weapons to advance their malevolent ambitions.

Senator Clinton and Senator Obama will concede to our critics that our own actions to defend against its threats are responsible for fomenting the terrible evil of radical Islamic extremism, and their resolve to combat it will be as flawed as their judgment.

I intend to defeat that threat by staying on offense and by marshaling every relevant agency of our government, and our allies, in the urgent necessity of defending the values, virtues and security of free people against those who despise all that is good about us.

These are but a few of the differences that will define this election. They are very significant differences, and I promise you, I intend to contest these issues on conservative grounds and fight as hard as I can to defend the principles and positions we share, and to keep this country safe, proud, prosperous and free.

We have had a few disagreements, and none of us will pretend that we won't continue to have a few. But even in disagreement, especially in disagreement, I will seek the counsel of my fellow conservatives. If I am convinced my judgment is in error, I will correct it. And if I stand by my position, even after benefit of your counsel, I hope you will not lose sight of the far more numerous occasions when we are in complete accord.

I began by assuring you that we share a conception of liberty that is the bedrock of our beliefs as conservatives. As you know, I was deprived of liberty for a time in my life, and while my love of liberty is no greater than yours, you can be confident that mine is the equal of any American's. It is a deep and unwavering love. My life experiences in service to our country inform my political judgments. They are at the core of my convictions. I am pro-life and an advocate for the Rights of Man everywhere in the world because of them, because I know that to be denied liberty is an offense to nature and nature's Creator. I will never waver in that conviction, I promise you. I know in this country our liberty will not be seized in a political revolution or by a totalitarian government. But, rather, as Burke warned, it can be "nibbled away, for expedience, and by parts." I am alert to that risk and will defend against it, and ta ke comfort from the knowledge that I will be encouraged in that defense by my fellow conservatives.

You have heard me say before that for all my reputation as a maverick, I have only found true happiness in serving a cause greater than my self-interest. For me, that cause has always been our country, and the ideals that have made us great. I have been her imperfect servant for many years, and I have made many mistakes. You can attest to that, but need not. For I know them well myself. But I love her deeply and I will never, never tire of the honor of serving her. I cannot do that without your counsel and support. And I am grateful, very grateful, that you have given me this opportunity to ask for it.

Thank you and God bless you.

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