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« July 2008 | Main | September 2008 »

August 29, 2008

Defending Against the First Attacks on Sarah Palin

As John McCain has shocked pretty much everybody with his pick of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, it's important to prepare for the attacks on her that will be launched, starting this afternoon, by the Democrats and the media. For attack they will, relentlessly. And they'll start with these three things:

First - "Palin has no experience". That's an easy one to dismiss. Sarah Palin has had more executive experience, meaning experience in running either a business or a government, than either Barack Obama or his running mate, Joe Biden. She has more executive experience than even her running mate, John McCain. Governor Palin served as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska from 1999 to 2002. She was elected as President of the Alaska Conference of Mayors. She was elected as Governor of Alaska in 2006. And she has quite a few concrete achievements, considering the amount of time she's been in office.

Second - "Palin's part of the corrupt GOP establishment in Alaska (Stevens, Young, etc.)". That's an even easier one to dismiss. Governor Palin has always run as the anti-corruption candidate. She served as Ethics Commissioner of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission from 2003 to 2004, when she resigned in protest over the actions of her fellow Alaskan GOP leaders, including then-Alaskan Governor Frank Murkowski. She was furious over the fact that they ignored her reports of rampant GOP corruption. When she chose to run for Governor, the GOP establishment ignored her and supported the incumbent Murkowski. Palin beat him, and went on to beat former Democratic Governor Tony Knowles with no support from Alaskan GOP leadership. She has actively supported and helped the GOP primary opponents of current indicted Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens and Representative Don Young, and denounced both of them often in public.

Oh, and the forthcoming claim that Palin's in the pocket of big-oil? Her ethics complaints were filed against people who really were in the pocket of big oil - she was on the outside, investigating.

Third - "Palin used her position as Governor to get back at the man whom her sister was divorcing, and fired the man who refused to fire her sister's ex-husband". This is the slimiest attack that the Democrats and the media will launch. It concerns a current investigation into allegations that Governor Palin fired former Alaskan Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan because he would not bend to her will.

When Palin fired Monegan, her office gave no reason for her decision. As the Commissioner serves at the discretion of the Governor, no reason is needed. In an effort to save his job and get back at the person who fired him, Monegan claimed that he was fired because he would not fire an Alaskan State Trooper, Michael Wooten, who was going through a messy divorce with Palin's sister. Recently, the Associated Press ran an article about some tapes that surfaced regarding phone calls made by some of Palin's staff worried about Wooten - and worried about the safety of the Palin family:

JUNEAU, Alaska – Gov. Sarah Palin on Wednesday said at least two dozens calls were made from her staff members to Department of Public Safety officials questioning the employment of a trooper who went through a messy divorce with Palin's sister.

But Palin maintained none was done at her direction, a claim backed up by one administration member caught on tape.

...The Palins have accused Wooten of drunken driving, illegal hunting and firing a Taser at his 11-year-old stepson, Palin's nephew. These allegations led to an internal investigation, which occurred before she ran for governor.

Todd Palin has said the family was concerned about the governor's safety, claiming Wooten threatened to kill Sarah Palin's father and made vague threats to her. Todd Palin has said he took concerns about Wooten directly to Monegan.

So, the tapes seem to prove that Governor Palin was unaware that anyone from her office was aware of this, which should take care of questions about Palin's possible complicity. But we should go past that, and look at the facts of the entire situation. Even if this investigation shows that someone in Palin's office did pressure the Public Safety Commissioner to fire Wooten, this is a fight that we should relish having with the white male hierarchy of the Democratic Party and the drive-by media. Let's get all of the dirt about Wooten out in the open. Show that the police union and the Commissioner was protecting him, and then ask why? What would any American do, if faced with the same situation - an overt threat to their family?

Over the years, many of the allegations against Wooten - including the fact that he Tasered Palin's sister's 10 year old son and threatened the life of Palin's father - have turned out to be true:

Grimes suspended Wooten for 10 days. He also was punished for illegally shooting a moose and using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson. The trooper admitted to using the Taser on his stepson in a "training capacity" and said he shot a moose on his wife's tag, but didn't think the act was illegal.

...Wall's investigation did find that Wooten threatened Palin's sister, Molly McCann, with shooting her father if he hired a lawyer to represent her. Wooten denied making the statement, but Palin, McCann and Palin's son all confirmed that he did.

Wall said the act wasn't a crime because Palin's father was not present when Wooten made the statement.

Who the heck uses a Taser on a 10 year old kid!? It appears as if Wooten's gotten off scott-free so far, and it's those that are protecting him that should be ashamed. And once the facts of the entire situation come out, the voters will largely agree. I can't wait until Keith Olbermann attempts to use this!

Read as much as you can about Sarah Palin. Her story is remarkable and inspiring. She's about as solid a conservative as you can find right now. There will be many attacks on her launched in the media over the next 60 plus days, primarily because she is such an excellent pick for McCain. A suggestion - don't rely on the ads or the pundits, go to the Internet and read the original source material. Then launch a counter-attack, armed with the facts.

When this year's Presidential campaign started, shortly after the 2006 elections, I felt that this would be the last of the old-guard GOP elections. Regardless of who wins this election, I felt that 2012 and beyond would belong to the likes of Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin. As a matter of fact, I was kind of rooting for a one-term McCain Presidency followed by a Jindal-Palin or a Palin-Jindal ticket.

I'm pleased that the future of the GOP is coming a little early.

Dick Morris on the Dems "Bush III" Meme

Dick Morris has a new article up at The Hill's website, Morris: Dems’s big blunder and McCain’s big chance. In it, he assails the Democrats' foolish attempts to paint John McCain as a clone of President Bush.

They are so anxious to run against Bush, their animosity is so pent up, that they persist in running against a man who is not seeking a third term. In speech after speech, the Democrats knock the Bush record and then add, lamely, that GOP candidate Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is the same as Bush. Or they call the McCain candidacy Bush's third term. It was no accident — or Freudian slip — when vice presidential nominee Sen. Joseph Biden (Del.) spoke of John Bush instead of George in his litany of attacks.

Morris, along with many of us, think that this is just foolish, and strongly believe that the American people are smart enough to remember that for the past decade (almost), the press regarded McCain as the "anti" Bush Republican.

Morris then helpfully reminds us of some of the many issues that McCain took positions on that were opposite those positions embraced by President Bush at the same time:

• McCain fought for campaign finance reform — McCain-Feingold — that Bush fought and ultimately signed because he had no choice.

• McCain led the battle to restrict interrogation techniques of terror suspects and to ban torture.

• McCain went with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) on a tough measure to curb climate change, something Bush denies is going on.

• McCain opposed the Bush tax cuts when they passed.

• McCain urged the Iraq surge, a posture Bush rejected for years before conceding its wisdom.

• McCain favors FDA regulation of tobacco and sponsored legislation to that effect, a position all but a handful of Republican Senators oppose.

• McCain's energy bill, also with Lieberman, is a virtual blueprint for energy independence and development of alternate sources.

• After the Enron scandal, McCain introduced sweeping reforms in corporate governance and legislation to guarantee pensions and prohibit golden parachutes for executives. Bush opposed McCain's changes and the watered-down Sarbanes-Oxley bill eventuated.

• McCain has been harshly critical of congressional overspending, particularly of budgetary earmarks, a position Bush only lately adopted (after the Democrats took over Congress).

I hope that the McCain campaign, along with GOP and conservative pundits everywhere, are saving a copy of this article for referral.

August 28, 2008

Jimmy Carter: McCain "Milking" P.O.W. Experience

Thank God for Jimmy Carter. On the day of the most important speech of his party's 2008 Presidential nominee Barack Obama's life, the former President decides to insert himself into the national conversation. By claiming that Obama's opponent John McCain is "milking" his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, of all things! Here's an excerpt from the breaking news report at USA Today, Carter: McCain 'milking' POW time:

DENVER — Former president Jimmy Carter called Republican presidential candidate John McCain a "distinguished Naval officer," but said the Arizona senator has been "milking every possible drop of advantage" from his time served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

Oh, and I suppose that you'd prefer that he never mention it?

Way to go Jimmy, you never manage to disappoint!

Obama Camp Dangerously Paranoid and Thin-Skinned

Obama and his campaign should start worrying more about themselves and what they say, rather than be concerned about what others are doing or saying. Here's the latest bizarre statement out of Obama's campaign, via the Politico's Jonathan Martin, Obama camp: McCain would be committing "political malpractice" with veep leak tonight:

Annoyed by all the mind-games and leaks meant to divert attention from their candidate's long-anticipated acceptance speech tonight, Barack Obama's campaign is hitting back this afternoon and accusing their counterparts of playing poltiical games.

"Tonight would be political malpractice," Obama communications chief Dan Pfeiffer told Politico.   "It's one more piece of evidence that the McCain campaign is a war room masquerading as a presidential campaign."

From the way the piece is written, I gather that Martin agrees with Pfeiffer. I would advise both of them to grow up.

GDP Rises 3.3%, Democrats Furious

The Bureau of Economic Analysis just released its revised GDP figures for the second quarter of 2008, and it shows a surprising 3.3% growth - much larger than the initial estimate of 1.9%, and much higher than analysts' predictions (Economy rebounds in 2Q, mostly spurred by exports):

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The economy shifted to a higher gear in the spring, growing at its fastest pace in nearly a year as foreign buyers snapped up U.S. exports and tax rebates spurred shoppers at home.

The Commerce Department reported Thursday that gross domestic product, or GDP, increased at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. The revised reading was much better than the government's initial estimate of a 1.9 percent pace and exceeded economists' expectations for a 2.7 percent growth rate.

The rebound comes after two dismal quarters. The economy actually shrank in the final three months of 2007 and limped into the first quarter at a feeble 0.9 percent pace. The 3.3 percent growth in the spring was the best performance since the third quarter of last year, when the economy was chugging along at a brisk 4.8 percent pace.

There's no doubt that Americans are feeling an economic pinch, but the constant message from the Obama campaign and the Democrats have been that we're in the worst economy since the depression. In fact, in an August 18th speech, Obama claimed that we're in the middle of an economic disaster. It's a recurring theme that he's bound to expound on in his acceptance speech this evening. Unfortunately for Obama and the Democrats, there exist no facts to back this up.

Our high oil and gas prices are self-created by the environmental policies adopted by Congress over the past 30 years (Democrat and Republican). The 'housing crisis', while painful, is a long overdue market correction. Most housing booms last eight years - the latest lasted twelve, so logic dictates that the correction is going to be more severe. The credit crisis is also self-created by government policy, especially from the Democrats. Much of the blame here is due to the collapse of the "sub-prime" market. But that was also to be expected, since that market is - by definition - filled with non-credit worthy borrowers. People who historically don't pay their bills, unless it's caused by something temporary like a medical disability or a short-term job loss, usually don't magically change on their own and pay all of their bills in the future. Lending to such people has always been a bad bet for financial institutions to make - this latest credit 'collapse' just proves it once again.

If we drill domestically now and develop nuclear power and other realistic alternative energy sources for the future, our energy costs will decrease overall and the chances of us having to go through a rapid price increase such as we just went through will decrease. Once the housing market bottoms out (and it might already have), homes will be affordable once again to millions of potential buyers, and we will experience yet another housing boom - until the next market correction. As for the sub-prime market, that's probably largely gone for now in the private sector. If Congress wants poor people with bad credit to own houses, the government will have to finance and accept all of the risk itself.

That's the way a free-market economy works. Too bad the Democrats refuse to acknowledge it, and continue to talk down the economy and scare people. I guess that's the only way they can get elected...

As for the revised GDP figures? Let the conspiracy theories begin!

Democrats Now Having Reporters Arrested?

Here's a stunning story that has gotten zero national coverage in the major media other than from ABCNews.com, although if it happened during the Republican Convention is would be the everyone's lead story for days. Apparently, someone in power doesn't want the cozy relationship between the Democrats, Obama and rich lobbyists donors exposed (ABC Reporter Arrested in Denver Taking Pictures of Senators, Big Donors). And I find it hard to believe that it would be a Republican ordering this:

DENVER -- Police in Denver arrested an ABC News producer today as he and a camera crew were attempting to take pictures on a public sidewalk of Democratic senators and VIP donors leaving a private meeting at the Brown Palace Hotel.

Police on the scene refused to tell ABC lawyers the charges against the producer, Asa Eslocker, who works with the ABC News investigative unit.

...Video taken at the scene shows a man, wearing the uniform of a Boulder County sheriff, ordering Eslocker off the sidewalk in front of the hotel, to the side of the entrance.

The sheriff's officer is seen telling Eslocker the sidewalk is owned by the hotel. Later, he is seen pushing Eslocker off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic, forcing him to the other side of the street.

It was two hours later when Denver police arrived to place Eslocker under arrest, apparently based on a complaint from the Brown Palace Hotel, a central location for Democratic officials.

During the arrest, one of the officers can be heard saying to Eslocker, "You're lucky I didn't knock the f..k out of you."

Funny, major Democrats were trying their best to get as much air time as possible this week to spout their campaign themes, which include denouncing the connection between politicians and lobbyists the rich. When there is evidence that the Democrats are having high-ranking meetings with those same lobbyists rich donors, a complaint is fabricated to have a reporter arrested on a public sidewalk. I wonder what the connection is?

Follow the link above to a video of the arrest - it's pretty entertaining. I have to hand it to the Democrats, when they talk about "changing" the way things are done in America, they really mean it. However, I'm pretty certain that their plan to "change" to a police state and having reporters arrested and silenced will come as a surprise to most of the voters, especially moderates and independents.

MSNBC Imploding

I can't even watch MSNBC these days, and can barely watch NBC, because of their...well, I can't even call it bias. I can handle bias, as long as it's done with class. MSNBC is now just plain idiotic. Which is really a shame, because back before Fox News was widely available (it wasn't here in Rhode Island until 2002 or early 2003, I think), I always watched MSNBC. Even sent get well messages to Chris Matthews when he went down with malaria.

Well, the chickens might be about to come home to roost, according to the Politico in their piece MSNBC prez defends convention team:

Amid a spate of awkward on-air conflicts among MNSBC anchors at this week’s Democratic convention, some staff members say there are sharp internal disputes at the cable network over whether its opinion and personality-driven political coverage has crossed the line.

“The situation at our channel is about to blow up,” a high-ranking MSNBC journalist told Politico on Wednesday.

Two other MSNBC sources said some of the testy on-air exchanges between Keith Olbermann — whose quick-witted and often caustic commentary has fueled ratings growth — and other network personalities were a public glimpse of much more intense behind-the-scenes turmoil.

MSNBC has turned into the TV version of DailyKos. One of these days, Keith Olbermann is going to have an on-air nervous breakdown - and it will be glorious. And no-one - not even his fans - will shed a tear.

August 27, 2008

Democrats Losing Domestically on the War on Terror and in Iraq

Rasmussen has just released the results of a new poll on voter confidence in the War on Terror and the War in Iraq, and it shows a remarkable turnaround in public opinion since the Democrats took over in 2007 - no thanks to them: "War on Terror Update - Confidence in War on Terror and Iraq at Highest Level Ever".

Voter confidence in the War on Terror is at the highest level ever recorded since Rasmussen Reports began regular tracking in January 2004. Fifty-four percent (54%) of American voters now think the United States and its allies are winning the war. The previous high-water mark for optimism--52%--was reached a handful of times in September and October 2004.

Optimism about the situation in Iraq is also at an all-time high. Forty-eight percent (48%) now expect the situation in that troubled country to get better over the next six months. Only 17% expect things to get worse. In addition to being the most optimistic assessment ever recorded, these numbers reflect a remarkable turnaround over the past year. Last August, just 27% thought things were going to get better while 47% were pessimistic.

The public's confidence level turnaround on the War on Terror is remarkable, especially when you take into consideration that it flies in the face of everything that the Democrats and the media has been promoting during Election 2008. The Democrats' main tactic over the past two years has been to repeatedly claim that our mere involvement in the Iraq War has caused us to ignore the larger War on Terror, and has taken away enough assets from that war so as to put the overall outcome against Al Qaeda and terrorism in jeopardy. The media has purposely mimicked the Democrats' claims (or the other way around - sometimes it's hard to tell). Apparently, that message isn't resonating as well as the Democrats thought it would. Sometimes facts do come out, no matter how hard certain people and organizations try to ignore them.

When the Democrats took over Congress in January '07, 33% of the public thought that the United States and its allies were winning the War on Terror, while 36% thought the terrorists were winning. In the latest poll, 54% think that we're winning the War on Terror, while now only 19% think that the terrorists were winning. If the Democrats were not so obstinate in whining about how badly we are doing in the war theater, and weren't so foolish in delaying funding for our troops as long as they could in order to score some cheap political points, they would probably be able to unjustifiably claim some credit for the turnaround. With their very public and consistent record on the war, however, they can not.

The opinion turnaround on the Iraq War is even more remarkable, although it still has a ways to go to match what our troops are doing on the ground. In January of 2007, just 23% of the public thought that things were going to get better in Iraq over the following six months, while 51% thought they would get worse. Today, 48% believe that things will be better in Iraq in six months, while only 17% think (hope) that the situation will get worse.

The question about how history will judge our mission in Iraq is also getting better, albeit at a slightly slower pace. In January 2007, 28% though that Iraq will be judged a success, while 52% thought it would be judged a failure. Today, 38% think that Iraq will be seen as a success, while 41% believe that it will be seen as a failure.

Neither the Democrats nor the mainstream media have anything to do with either these improving opinion numbers or the indisputable facts behind them. In fact, the opposite is true. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid even went as far as to state the War in Iraq as officially "lost" on April 19th, 2007. That 'fact' was trumpeted by the mainstream media, and no major Democrat, aside from the now Independent Joe Lieberman, ever went on public record disagreeing with Senator Reid's declaration. To this day, Barack Obama has never said that Harry Reid was wrong to claim that we officially "lost" the Iraq War back in 2007. He will soon regret that he did not.

This change in voters' public opinion is very unwelcome news to the Democrats, the media, and our enemies. It shows that the American public is smarter than many of them think. The media has attempted to suppress any good news coming out of the war zones for the past few years, and amplify all of the bad. There are two theories as to why that has happened. The first is the old "if it bleeds, it leads" style of journalism. Bombs, blood, and death mean good ratings. A winning war effort is just boring. The second theory is that the media hates President Bush, hates the troops, hates Republicans, and believes that America is the real evil in the world - so they will go out of their way to help their soul mates the Democrats, even if that means helping our enemy during a war that America is currently engaged in.

Regardless of what theory is in play here, we're finding out that the public can see through it. People realized that just because the media took the war largely off of the front page doesn't mean that it went away. Obviously, much of the public sought other means of finding out what's been happening, be it by going to the Internet or simply speaking with the military and vets locally, and are becoming increasingly comfortable with what they have found.

Another thing that is coming into play as we head into the fall elections is that the American public loves to win, and hates to lose. If they get a sense that we are not trying to actually win a war - and are just flailing around out there with no clue as to how to persevere - they will stop supporting it. As soon as the voters see concrete evidence that when we get into trouble our tactics and leadership change in order to get back on the winning track, they will support whatever we need to do to win.

The Democrats had a chance to be the long term beneficiaries of these emerging public opinion trends. During the 2006 election season, they were constantly screaming that we needed "a change in tactics in Iraq". Once they assumed power, however, it became quickly apparent that the Democrats' recommended change in tactic was surrender and evacuate, as quickly as possible. The Democrats claimed that they were just answering the message that the electorate sent when they granted the Dems the majority. What we're learning is that while losing the war is what their far-left base wanted, it never was what the majority of Americans desired. Those voters wanted to win, if at all possible.

The trends shown in this poll also bodes well for our ultimate victory over our enemies in the propaganda war, and eventually over our enemies themselves on the ground. Since the Vietnam War, our enemies have realized that the only way to defeat America was to manipulate public opinion against whatever war we happened to be fighting. As soon as that happened, the United States would give up and go home. In January of 2007, our enemies were succeeding in achieving that, with help from the Democrats. Now they are losing the public opinion war, both here and around the world, and if the trends continue public opinion will be overwhelmingly on our side. It's at that point - the time that our enemies realize that they can no longer galvanize American or world public opinion against the war - that we will be in a position to overwhelmingly and convincingly defeat our enemies on the ground.

It's unfortunate that since the Democrats and the media have been solidly against our victory, it's taking longer than it should have.

 

August 26, 2008

Gallup Shows a Negative Early Convention 'Bounce' for Obama!

When a presumptive Presidential nominee names his Vice-Presidential pick and his party's political convention begins, it's assumed that there's going to be a bump upwards in his polled support. The full effect of the so-called "convention bounce" doesn't happen at the beginning of the event, however - it usually only becomes fully evident a few days after the convention ends. Having said that, there's always, at the very least, a slight "Vice-Presidential pick" bump between the time of that pick and the beginning of his party's nomination convention.

Shockingly, Barack Obama isn't even enjoying the slight upward "bounce" that the announcement of a Vice-Presidential pick usually warrants - he's heading in the opposite direction! The latest from Gallup, Gallup Daily: No Bounce for Obama in Post-Biden Tracking:

Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Aug. 23-25, the first three-day period falling entirely after Obama's Saturday morning vice presidential announcement, shows 46% of national registered voters backing John McCain and 44% supporting Obama, not appreciably different from the previous week's standing for both candidates. This is the first time since Obama clinched the nomination in early June, though, that McCain has held any kind of advantage over Obama in Gallup Poll Daily tracking.

This is pretty stunning. Obama names his Vice-President, and promptly loses ground in the polls - now falling behind John McCain for the first time since he wrested the Democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton. In fact, according to Gallup, Barack Obama was actually up 2 points in the last poll conducted before naming Biden - so there's been a 4 point swing towards McCain in the Gallup Daily Tracking polls since Biden was chosen as Obama's VP.

To put it bluntly, this development does not bode well for a significant post-convention Obama-Biden bounce.

Boy, is it going to be fun at the Democratic Convention in Denver tonight!

Well, This Is What the State Department Wanted in Pakistan

It's clear that the State Department wanted former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf out of power and replaced as the leader of Pakistan by the late Benazir Bhutto, a long time favorite of the Western intelligentsia. This was despite substantive allegations that Ms. Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, had looted Pakistan during her previous two reigns as its Prime Minister. And it was also despite the fact that Bhutto midwifed the Taliban and its elements in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the same group whose offshoots and associates eventually assassinated her late last year:

It was under Bhutto's watch that the Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, first installed the Taliban in Afghanistan. It was also at that time that hundreds of young Islamic militants were recruited from the madrassas to do the agency's dirty work in Indian Kashmir. It seems that, like some terrorist equivalent of Frankenstein's monster, the extremists turned on both the person and the state that had helped bring them into being.

But Bhutto remained a favorite amongst elite foreign policy types, and it was she to whom the State Department turned to run against Musharraf when they felt that the then-President of Pakistan had outlived his usefulness to them.

After Bhutto was murdered, her husband became the de facto leader of her political organization, the Pakistan People’s Party. That party was victorious in the recent parliamentary elections, and formed a coalition government with the other victorious party - the Pakistan Muslim League headed by another former Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Amidst the reports of Sharif pulling out of the coalition government yesterday (Sharif Maneuvers for Power in Pakistan), the government of Pakistan is now turning quickly from being reasonably stable under Musharraf to being an unstable nuclear armed country with close ties to our enemies. As Sharif is considered by many to be a true partner with Islamic fundamentalists such as the Taliban, his ascension to full power and the Pakistani presidency is not a development that would be widely welcomed.

To offer an example of the damage that Sharif is capable of doing, during the late 90s he assisted the Taliban by proposing that Pakistan be ruled under sharia law and become a de facto Islamic state. He was successful in establishing such a "state within a state" in the tribal districts along the Pakistani-Afghanistan border, which have subsequently become the new home base of the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and Al Qaeda. Before Sharif got any further in turning Pakistan into a nuclear-armed Islamic fundamentalist state, he was removed from power in a coup by Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military.

That leaves as the only barely acceptable candidate for the leadership of Pakistan, either as president or within parliament, the late Ms. Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari.

But there's a bit of a problem with that scenario as we're just finding out. The Financial Times reports that Mr. Zardari isn't quite mentally healthy, a vital qualification if one wants to be the leader of a nation with nuclear weapons: Doubts cast on Zardari’s mental health.

Asif Ali Zardari, the leading contender for the presidency of nuclear-armed Pakistan, was suffering from severe psychiatric problems as recently as last year, according to court documents filed by his doctors.

The widower of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was diagnosed with a range of serious illnesses including dementia, major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder in a series of medical reports spanning more than two years.

Did anyone in the State Department ever stop to think, during their promotion for elections to get their friend Benazir Bhutto back in charge of Pakistan, that perhaps Pervez Musharraf was the best we could do for the time being given the alternatives?

I should hope that the State Department knows what it's doing. Unfortunately, based upon past experience, I'm acutely aware that it does not. It operates in its own reality, accountable to no-one. President Bush had his chance to change things during the aftermath of 9/11 - when the country would have whole-heartedly supported a virtual colonic of the entire foreign policy and intelligence establishment. Neither President Bush, nor then-Secretary of State Colin Powell, did so - and we are all worse off because of it.

But back to Pakistan for a moment. What's going to happen? Historically, the real power and stability within Pakistan has been the Pakistani military. When internal Pakistani politics become troublesome (if not outright dangerous to the outside world), it's the military who inevitably takes charge. That's a good thing, since they are the ones now in charge of the nuclear weapons.

What we might see, sooner rather than later, is another coup by the military in Pakistan. And perhaps that's what we should all be hoping for.

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