So, it looks like Jeb! has learned his lesson on Iraq, and is doubling down on the family legacy:
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, issued a blistering attack on Tuesday on the Obama administration’s handling of Iraq and terrorism issues, asserting that Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had “stood by” as secretary of state as the situation in Iraq deteriorated.
He said President Obama and Mrs. Clinton had orchestrated an early withdrawal of American troops, setting the stage for the chaos sweeping the region now and the rise of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Jeb Bush walked past a portrait of former President Ronald Reagan after speaking at the RedState Gathering in Atlanta on Saturday.
“That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill,” Mr. Bush declared in a speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library here on Tuesday night.
It’s come to this, I guess: We were right all along.
I heard this guy interviewed on NPR on the way home tonight. Fat lot of good that’ll do:
The problem with the legend of the surge is that it reproduces the very hubris that led America into Iraq in the first place. In 2003, the Bush administration believed it could shatter the Iraqi state and then quickly and cheaply construct a new one that was stable, liberal, democratic, and loyal to the United States. By 2006, many conservatives had realized that was a fantasy. They had massively overestimated America’s wisdom and power, and so they began groping for a new approach to the world. But then, in 2007 and 2008, through a series of bold innovations, the United States military bribed, cajoled, and bludgeoned Iraqis into multiple cease-fires. The Iraqi state was still broken; its new ruling elite showed little of the political magnanimity necessary to reconstruct it in an inclusive fashion. And the Band-Aids that Petraeus and his troops had courageously affixed began peeling off almost immediately. Nonetheless, Republicans today say the Iraq War was won, and would have remained won, had the U.S. left 10,000 troops in the country after 2011.
How much damage will the GOP’s revived hubris do? Inconceivable as it would have seemed a few years ago, Graham, who is now a Republican presidential hopeful, has suggested sending 10,000 American ground troops back into Iraq. (His GOP rivals generally support this idea but have not proposed exact troop numbers.) The U.S. is unlikely to send a sizable American ground force back into Iraq. But this line of thinking is troubling nonetheless, because the same wild overestimation of American power that fueled the war in Iraq now fuels the right’s opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. To hear hawks tell it, the United States can scuttle the current deal, intensify sanctions, threaten war, and—presto—Tehran will capitulate. But Iranians have been living under the threat of attacks from America or Israel for more than a decade now. And British and German diplomats have warned that if the U.S. Congress torpedoes the agreement, sanctions pressure on Iran will go not up but down, as countries that have lost billions by limiting their trade with Tehran stop doing so.
Here’s what bothers me most about this: Jeb! will likely not be able to sell this to voters. He won’t be able to sell much else to them, either — has there ever been a presumptive GOP nominee this unimpressive in our lifetimes? (Well, yes. But never mind that.) So with Jeb! a far, far thing from a lock for the top spot, what does that leave us? I’m thinking maybe Scott Walker? Marco Rubio? One of those guys. And what happens if Hillary falls and breaks a hip, or finds a lump in her breast, or is otherwise incapacitated? President Scott Walker. Think on that for a minute. And shudder.
This is the state of our politics right now. It’s rather terrifying.
The next 16 months or so are going to be just so much fun. As for the sideshow acts leading up to the main event, well, we have this, too:
Ben Carson defended the use of fetal tissue for medical research Thursday, after a blog published excerpts of a 1992 paper describing work the neurosurgeon-turned-presidential candidate carried out using aborted fetuses. In an interview with The Washington Post, Carson called the revelation “desperate,” and ignorant of the way medical research was carried out.
“You have to look at the intent,” Carson said before beginning a campaign swing through New Hampshire. “To willfully ignore evidence that you have for some ideological reason is wrong. If you’re killing babies and taking the tissue, that’s a very different thing than taking a dead specimen and keeping a record of it.”
Can someone please explain what that means? Because I have no idea. A month ago, he said there was “nothing that can’t be done without fetal tissue.” He also said 17-week fetuses were “definitely” human beings. Guess what Carson’s research used? Fetal cells from a 17-week fetus.
I’d have more respect for the guy if he said something about having different beliefs then, and he evolved or something.
I first learned of the vile labor practice of “on-call” shifts when Kate worked at Cold Stone Creamery. She explained that she couldn’t make plans for Saturday night because she was on call and might have to work.
“What are you paid for an on-call night?” I asked. Stupidly.
This is how it works: You’re scheduled to work, but they reserve the right call you an hour or two ahead of time and tell you not to come in, because it’s slower than expected. (In the winter, at an ice-cream shop, this happened a lot.) I told her, “Well, now you know why we had a labor movement in this country. And why we still need one.” At least one practitioner is calling it off, albeit with a nudge from the guvmint:
The office of the New York State attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in April that it was investigating 13 large retailers over whether the increasingly unpredictable work schedules adopted by some retailers violated state labor laws.
Abercrombie & Fitch said in a statement on Friday that all of its brands would end the practice for workers paid by the hour. As of the end of January, the company ran 799 Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister stores in the United States.
And how did I know that somehow, “data” would be behind this?
…Retailers often rely on sophisticated software to track the flow of customers, assigning just enough employees to handle ever-changing demand, resulting in far less predictable work hours for much of their part-time work force.
When you’re a 16-year-old working your first minimum-wage job, the stakes are low. I had no idea it was as widespread as it is, but it is. And it’s horrible. I’m sure President Walker would approve.
I need a break from all this gloom. My boxing trainer sent me this today, a 40-year-old Sports Illustrated story on the Thrilla in Manila, Ali-Frazier, 1975. It was an ugly fight, but this is a beautiful piece of writing. At the end of the 14th round:
“Joe,” said his manager, Eddie Futch, “I’m going to stop it.”
“No, no, Eddie, ya can’t do that to me,” Frazier pleaded, his thick tongue barely getting the words out. He started to rise.
“You couldn’t see in the last two rounds,” said Futch. “What makes ya think ya gonna see in the 15th?”
“I want him, boss,” said Frazier.
“Sit down, son,” said Futch, pressing his hand on Frazier’s shoulder. “It’s all over. No one will ever forget what you did here today.”
And yet, we apparently have forgotten what we did in Iraq. Some people have, evidently.
Have a nice weekend! It’s gonna be sunny and hot here.