The Heritage Policy Weblog answers the question, with help from the National Center for Policy Analysis's John Goodman and the fine folks at the Cato Institute.
Hint: The answer is "no."
From a Talon News article today comes this February 9, 1998 quote from then-President Bill Clinton:
[I]f you don't do anything [with Social Security], one of two things will happen. Either it will go broke and you won't ever get it, or if we wait too long to fix it, the burden on society ... of taking care of our generation's Social Security obligations will lower your income and lower your ability to take care of your children to a degree that most of us who are parents think would be horribly wrong and unfair to you and unfair to the future prospects of the United States.
Ed Haislmaier sent over this New York Post editorial by John Podhoretz, drawing particular attention to this observation:
...But others speak in pessimistic tones about the inability or the unwillingness of the residents of the "Sunni Triangle" to participate. Sunni Muslims, who were the dominant force in Saddam Hussein's regime, constitute 20 percent of Iraq's population. And yet the argument is seriously made that a Sunni boycott will invalidate the election results.Good point.
If white South Africans had refused to participate in that nation's first-ever free elections back in 1994, nobody on earth would have argued that their lack of participation invalidated the election results.
Speaking of the Center for American Progress, it has an essay posted today on its main page by a Reverend Debra W. Haffner saying, "we have a moral imperative to ensure access to abortion services."
The essay says even parental notification (not just consent) laws are immoral as well as any limits whatsoever on any abortion procedures.
The essay gives the following as the moral reasoning behind this position: "...it is precisely because life is sacred that it not be created carelessly."
But -- isn't destroying life the ultimate in treating it "carelessly?"
Jeffrey Lynn, the father of a Marine on his second tour of duty in Iraq, has set up this website to support the troops with gifts of CDs and messages of support.
Says Jeff: "My goal is to get music in the hands of any soldier that needs a taste of home - and that's just what our Tunes for Troops program does."
By a $10 CD and they send a CD to you and another to a soldier or Marine in Iraq or Afghanistan, along with a (optional) message from you.
By coincidence, after I read Andrew Sullivan's denunciation of a piece by Rabbi Daniel Lapin as "a new nadir" in the "degeneration of the American right," I caught up on reading my email and found a copy of Lapin's entire essay in my in-box.
Let's put it this way: After I read all of what Lapin had to say, I had a very different impression of his thoughts than I had after reading Sullivan's post.
Google has 440,000 entries for the phrase "end of an era"; yet, few of its uses are likely to be more apt than in referring to the loss of Johnny Carson.
It is not just Carson's uniqueness -- which others are addressing better than I can -- but that for much of his "Tonight Show" career, most of us had 3-4 TV channels at most. So we all had Johnny Carson in common. For thirty years.
Some reports about Carson say he was painfully shy. I'm pretty sure he was. Back in the mid-70s my parents took our family to tour NBC. Our tour was walking though an indoor parking lot when our tourguide was briefly called away. As we waited, a car pulled up. It was Carson, and he had to get out and get by us to get into the studio.
He looked at us. (We had looked at him first.) After the first few seconds it was kind of awkward -- the way it can be if you look at a stranger in an elevator and he happens to look at you and then you both feel as though someone has to say something, but no one actually has anything to say. But this was Johnny Carson; the master of talk! Who could be more comfortable filling just a few seconds with friendly chatter?
Somebody else. The King of Late Night was too shy to speak.
Soon realizing this, my Dad -- who as an engineer had professional training about as different from a professional talkmeister's as it is possible to have -- filled the awkwardness (I think he simply made a comment about the weather). Carson did reply; he was friendly, actually, but I had the definite impression that if one of our group had not spoken first, Carson would never have said a word.
Once in a long while, I think about that incident. Mostly, I think it was pretty cool that there was a social situation in which my Dad was a better conversationalist than Johnny Carson (I mean, really, it was Johnny Carson!). But I also think that if someone so painfully shy he could not even think to say something like "have a nice day" could become The Interview King, then we all should take a look at the personal weaknesses we have that we think we can't overcome. Because, just maybe, we can.
Douglas Brinkley (the one who appears on cable shows with the title "historian") complains in the Washington Post that "the right has hijacked the word 'freedom' from the progressive movement."
...Historian Douglas Brinkley points out that Bush's use of "freedom" as political rhetoric pulls a fast one on liberals. The word had mostly been adopted by Democratic and progressive movements. Think of Franklin D. Roosevelt's "Four Freedoms," Brinkley said, or the "Freedom Rides" into the segregated South during the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, or the "freedom movement" to end the Vietnam War in the same period.Comments:
But Brinkley, whose book on John Kerry's Vietnam service, "Tour of Duty," became grist for a conservative attack on the Democratic candidate during the presidential campaign, says conservatives have given the word a different spin.
"The right has hijacked the word 'freedom' from the progressive movement," he said. "It's now becoming associated with the global liberation policy of the Republican Party. The left hasn't put up much of a fight to stop it."
1) Brinkley remembers the civil rights Freedom Rides of the early 1960s as part of the "Democratic and progressive movements." The progressives (read: liberals) did support the Freedom Rides. Democrats, at best, were split. (Think for a minute about which political party controlled the segregated southern states.)
2) At the 1964 Republican National Convention, in the most significant non-Reagan American conservative speech of the last 100 years, Barry Goldwater said:
"...My fellow Americans, the tide has been running against freedom. Our people have followed false prophets. We must, and we shall, return to proven ways -- not because they are old, but because they are true.The word "freedom" was a major theme of conservatism in the 1960s. And since. (Does Brinkley not remember that the #1 objective of the Reagan Administration was victory in the Cold War -- or does he not understand what the Cold War fundamentally was about?)
We must, and we shall, set the tide running again in the cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom.
Freedom made orderly for this nation by our constitutional government. Freedom under a government limited by laws of nature and of nature's God. Freedom balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the slavery of the prison cell; balanced so that liberty lacking order will not become the license of the mob and of the jungle.
Now, we Americans understand freedom; we have earned it, we have lived for it, and we have died for it. This nation and its people are freedom's models in a searching world. We can be freedom's missionaries in a doubting world.
But, ladies and gentlemen, first we must renew freedom's mission in our own hearts and in our own homes...
3) Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech concludes with a message that could have been -- and, arguably, was -- delivered by George W. Bush:
This nation has placed its destiny in the hands, heads and hearts of its millions of free men and women, and its faith in freedom under the guidance of God. Freedom means the supremacy of human rights everywhere. Our support goes to those who struggle to gain those rights and keep them. Our strength is our unity of purpose.Contrast them with the ideas expressed in these lines from Bush's Second Inaugural:
To that high concept there can be no end save victory.
From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights and dignity and matchless value because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave.Bush is continuing Roosevelt's work, not hijacking it. (I refer to continuing FDR's work as outlined in the quoted excerpt and the passages supporting it -- parts of the rest of FDR's speech, including its January 1941(!) support for disarmament, could be read as a case study of how liberalism failed).
Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time. So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.
Freedom is neither a Republican nor Democrat value; it is an American value. We do not hijack it from one another; we defend it together.
Douglas Brinkley, partisan, just doesn't get it.
Michelle Malkin has a link to an on-the-scene report from a writer who serves on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln, which is engaged in tsunami relief in Indonesia.
The writer, "Ed Stanton," does not mince words.
"There's snow! It's on the playground! That's beautiful!"
That's what my four-year-old son said when he saw the newest picture atop the Everything I Know Is Wrong blog earlier this evening.
(The articles there are nice, too.)