Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Farewell Gerald Ford

Former President Gerald Ford (1913-2006)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas 2006: Promises to Keep and Those Who Will do it

Today's Washington Times editorial by Larry Kudlow states that:

[T]wo of the most important qualities necessary for a run to the Oval Office are decisiveness and strength of character. In recent weeks, Sen. John McCain has proven he has more stock in these traits than almost any public official today.


Mr. McCain is standing tall against the tides of wartime fatigue, the polls and the conventional Beltway wisdom. Whatever the outcome of the Iraq debate, and even the 2008 presidential election, the senator is behaving in a remarkably brave and steadfast manner at a time when so many of our leaders are shrinking from those crucial public duties.

Kudlow's observations fortuitously coincide with our chosen Christmas message this year.

Our Christmas message is taken from the PatriotPost.US and appropriately so. The message is one of keeping promises...promises to self and promises to this great nation.

"December seems somewhat unsuitable for the appearance of the promised hope of Christmas—the message of the birth of Jesus. Why then is this month of long, cold nights proper for celebrating the “Dayspring from on high”?

The audacious claim of Christmas is that, to redeem us, God Himself came in the most vulnerable human form. Multiple prophecies foretold His birth in Bethlehem of a virgin mother, of the line of David. Each prophecy is more than a prediction; it is a promise. He is the Messiah, the Promised One, Emmanuel, who fulfills the promise of reconciliation with God.

At Christmas 2006, we are still warring with an asymmetric enemy pledged to our ultimate destruction, and many argue that these are among the most difficult days our nation has faced. Yet Decembers past have seen American Patriots keep promises during many dark and trying times.

Surely, for our troops arrayed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those of us supporting them on the home front, our straits are not as severe as those pressing General George Washington during the early years of the Revolutionary War. As his Continental Army troops left bloody footprints along the path to Valley Forge, the good General fell to his knees for prayer in the snow, beseeching God’s guidance as to how he might persevere to victory.

Victory did come in the Christmas Campaign successes of 1776 at Trenton and Princeton, about which Washington presciently wrote, “If every nerve is not straind to recruit the New Army with all possible Expedition I think the game is pretty near up... No Man I believe ever had a greater choice of difficulties & less the means of extricating himself than I have—However under a full perswation of the justice of our Cause I cannot but think the prospect will brighten.”
A year later, however, came the aforementioned retreat to Valley Forge. Even with Christmas approaching, Washington’s discouragement was evident in his writing of “A character to lose—an estate to forfeit—the inestimable blessing of liberty at stake—and a life devoted, must be my excuse,” and about how “it was much easier to draw up remonstrances in a comfortable room by a good fire-side, than to occupy a cold bleak hill, and sleep under frost and snow, without clothes or blankets.”

However, on 17 December, Washington issued general orders: “Tomorrow being the day set apart by the Honorable Congress for public Thanksgiving and Praise; and duty calling us devoutly to express our grateful acknowledgements to God for the manifold blessings he has granted us, the General directs that the army remain in its present quarters, and that the Chaplains perform divine service with their several Corps and Brigades. And earnestly exhorts, all officers and soldiers, whose absence is not indispensably necessary, to attend with reverence the solemnities of the day.”

Lt. Col. Henry Dearborn’s diary entry of 18 December read, “This is Thanksgiving Day. God knows we have very little to keep it with, this being the third day we have been without flour or bread, and are living on a high, uncultivated hill, in huts and tents, lying on the cold ground. Upon the whole I think all we have to be thankful for is that we are alive and not in the grave with many of our friends.” As Surgeon Albigence Waldo observed of that encampment, “Mankind is never truly thankful for the benefits of life, until they have experienced the want of them.”

We began as a nation of great promise and great promises—the sheer force of which compelled our Founding Fathers to persevere. Clearly, these mortal men believed human liberty to be the Gift of the Creator and they captured this belief in our nation’s seminal document: “And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.”

Our Founders had promises to keep—as do we. In the coming year, then, may we look to the Christ Child, and may we embrace the promise He so faithfully fulfilled.

The claim that Emmanuel fulfilled the promised reconciliation with God challenges the rising conceit and doubt in our culture, that nothing can be known to a certainty. That is why this holiday of light, marked by the shining of the miraculous Christmas Star, is best honored at the deepest darkness during the year. The brightest promises are those made at the bleakest times.
During this Christmas season, and every day of the coming year, may God’s peace and blessings be upon you and all those around you. Merry Christmas!"

Friday, December 22, 2006

McCain On Top

A KCCI poll is out showing that McCain is on top in Iowa among caucus goers.

If the 2008 Republican Caucus were held today, Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain would be the top vote-getter, with 27 percent of Iowa Republicans polled saying they would pick him. Republican Rudy Guiliani was second with 26 percent, and Republican Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was third with only 9 percent of votes overall.

The poll is good news and welcome validation for McCain going into the Holidays after which he and his team will finalize their pre-announcement plans. Surprising to many was Romney's failure to garner more than ten percent. Claims suggesting Romney's Iowa organization is robust may be true, but ordinary caucus-goers don't seem intrigued by his candidacy. Interesting, given the amount of time he has spent here.

At the same time be wary of this poll given KCCI's past polling issues. STIS knows that Team McCain is not taking anything for granted and will be working Iowa and every other state hard for every vote until Election Day.

Monday, December 18, 2006

McCain Announcement Expected

Fox News is reporting that John McCain will make an announcement after the new year regarding his Presidential aspirations.

The Arizona Republican is aiming to create a campaign organization that will rival, and possibly surpass, that of George W. Bush's 2000 and 2004 campaigns. McCain ran against Bush in the 2000 election, winning the New Hampshire primary but eventually losing the nomination. Now, he is turning to President Bush's winning template, drawing on Bush's Pioneer and Ranger fundraisers, the powerhouse groups of donors who helped raise record amounts of cash.

This report seems to mirror much of the internal chatter we are hearing coming out of the McCain camp.

Friday, December 15, 2006

McCain Inc...Thain top Fundraiser...Beats Hillary Hands down...

Faithful readers:

Many apologies for the absence of postings this week. So let's get to it...some reading for the weekend.

Bob Novak on McCain signing up the Establishment in preparation for 08.

John Thain, head of the New York Stock Exchange, has signed on as McCain's Fundraising Chair.

McCain beats Hillary hands down.

McCain won't just walk through Iowa, swing through New Hampshire and sling shot down to North Carolina ending up with a big win on Super Tuesday. It's going to take some work and he knows it. Column's like Novak's are instructive but should be taken with a grain of salt given the kind of ground game that McCain will have to mount in the Early States. He's up to it and Novak's article certainly confirms the establishment's validation. Further, inking Thain sends a welcome message to contributors everywhere.

Have a great weekend and Happy Hanukkah!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Senior McCain Campaign Staff Announced Today

The Hotline runs down the names of those working as senior staff on Team McCain.

In short, many veteran McCain and Bush 04 aides who are experienced, well-respected campaign leaders. Additionally, McCain is lining up the key conservative grassroots leaders here in Iowa like, Chuck Larson, Jr., and Marlys Popma.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kudlow: Americans Trust McCain

Larry Kudlow says that McCain stands tall by standing firm against the current tide of public pessimism facing America's mission in Iraq:

In the midst of all the latest doubt, pessimism and arguing over our direction in Iraq, along comes John McCain, digging his heels in the sand and standing up for what is right. John McCain is fighting the tide.

The tide is defeatist.

The tide is asking us to throw our arms into the air and allow iniquity to win the day.

The tide is asking us to allow ruthless and evil totalitarians in Iran and Syria to seize victory.

The tide is asking us to blow American credibility for fifty years.

Fortunately, in the middle of all this, in the middle of James Baker's wishful thinking Iraq Study Group fog, along comes John McCain, reminding Americans we have two choices: win or lose.

Kudlow mentions that former Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni, an early opponent of U.S. efforts to liberate Iraq, is now standing with McCain:

The New York Times reported this morning that retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni--who originally opposed the Iraq war--now agrees with McCain on the need for more troops in Iraq. Zinni believes it would be a catastrophic mistake for American foreign policy if we bail out now. He said, "This is not Vietnam or Somalia or those places where you can walk away. If we just pull out, we will find ourselves back in short order."

Further, and most recently, Newsweek is reporting that Cong. Silvestre Reyes, the incoming House Intel Chair, is calling for more troops in Iraq:

“We’re not going to have stability in Iraq until we eliminate those militias, those private armies,” Reyes said. “We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq … We certainly can’t leave Iraq and run the risk that it becomes [like] Afghanistan” was before the 2001 invasion by the United States.

Reyes' comments certainly fly in the face of pre-election Democrat party orthodoxy. Yet, they are a tacit admission that Iraq is the linchpin to regional stability in the Middle East, which ultimately impacts American National Security.

McCain's immediate challenge will be to cut through the morass of public opinion created by the "got-have-it-now" culture, yearning for a quick easy war, which does not exist, and the mainstream media's incessant attempts to turn public opinion against the need to kill off terrorism where it lives. His war record, his credibility and his stance on Iraq will go along way towards achieving that intermediate objective.

Further, the greater challenge for McCain and perhaps one of the keys to the presidency is tapping into a deeper American sentiment. That same sentiment that you get a taste of on the Fourth of July, or when you hear about the funeral of a fallen solider, or even on college game day. That sentiment that exists in the hearts of most Americans, American Exceptionalism.

It means we are not going to allow ourselves to lose this thing; so stop messing around, take the gloves off, win this war, make mom and dad proud and come home victorious. America may not be happy with the war but that doesn't mean they want us to pack up and go home. America needs a leader it can trust to make that happen.